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work." How beautiful, and how just a représentation of the character of Jesus! The work assigned him as Mediator was, to reveal the will of God, and to save mankind by his own obedience unto death. Did he not show that it was his meat to do this will, by engaging in it with fervent affection, with indefatigable diligence, with undaunted courage? With affection. Nothing could exceed the delight with which he undertook this task; nothing the zeal with which he accomplished it. Whether we view his private addresses to God, or his public ministrations among men, we shall see that in him was that
prophecy accomplished, “ The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up." With diligence. From the commencement of his ministry to the end of it, not a day was unemployed. Frequently after having laboured all the day, he spent the night in prayer, and resumed his labours with the returning light. Like the sun in the firmament, he proceeded in one steady course, nor ever ceased from his work till he could say, " It is finished.” With resolution. What continual opposition did he endure! From the very first discourse that he uttered till the hour of his crucifixion, his enemies never ceased to seek his life. Yet did he persevere in the face of every danger, and at last complete his obedience, by surrendering up his life upon the cross. Behold
your model, Christians. We have also a work to do for God. It is great: but oh! how different from that which was committed to our Lord ! We have not to satisfy the demands of justice, or to endure the wrath due for sin. Blessed be God! that was the Redeemer's work, and it has been finished by him on our behalf. The work that we have to do is to believe in Christ, and from a sense of his love.
to devote ourselves unreservedly to his service. Let it become our meat to do it. Let us engage in it heartily; a lukewarm service is unacceptable, nay, hateful to God. Let us be fervent in spirit, while we serve the Lord. Uniformly. It is not an occasional act of zeal that will please God, but a steady, conscientious, uniform discharge of our duty. Courageously. We may perhaps meet with reproach, if we set out in earnest to seek the Lord; but wo to us, if we draw back through the fear of man. Let us take up our cross daily, after Christ's example, and suffer with him, that we may also be glorified together.
Whilst Jesus thus spoke to his disciples, the Samaritans, who had been struck with the representation of the woman, were approaching. Jesus, seeing them disposed to believe, pointed to them and said, “ Say not ye, there are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? Behold, I say unto you,
lift up your eyes and look on the fields, for they are white already to harvest.” That is, do not now use the proverbial expression employed at the time of sowing. Do not suppose that in spiritual matters, a long time must always intervene before the harvest. The seed was sown but a few hours ago: behold a multitude ready for harvest, disposed to believe.
John iv. 43–54. LUKE iv. 16-30.. MATTHEW iv.
In reading the lives of those ancient or modern heroes, whom poets, and orators, and historians have celebrated, we sometimes admire their fortitude, their bravery, and skill; but we are much oftener shocked at the methods which they employed to aggrandize themselves, and to secure renown. We are ready to weep, when we behold them raising their trophies on the ruins of slaughtered nations; we are compelled to regard them as the scourges of mankind, when we see their proud laurels wet with the blood of thousands slain by their means, and moistened with the anguished tears of countless widows and orphans, who have suffered a bereavement worse than death. How different are our feelings, as we prosecute the life of Jesus! Here we meet with nothing that does not give delight to the benevolent heart. Trace him through all his ministry; you
will never find him unattended by mercy, by compassion, by love to man. Here, you will behold . the eyes, on which he has just poured the light of day, gazing upon him with wonder, with gratitude, and joy: there, you will perceive the ears, which he has just unstopped, drinking in, with eagerness and attention, the accents of heavenly wisdom and grace which fall from his lips. Here, the withered hands that he has restored are stretched forth to proclaim his praises, and the feet that he has strengthened leap for joy: there, the tongues that he has loosed declare their thankfulness, and those whom he had dispossessed of devils sit with composure before him. Here, the sick rise from the bed of languor and disease, and are restored to their anxious relatives and friends: there, Death himself hears the voice of the Son of God, and drops the chains with which his prisoners are bound, and permits them again to spring into life. What joy is conveyed to the heart by contemplating such a character! How great does Jesus appear in these displays of his mercy! Who would not desire to have such a Saviour for his friend?
These reflections are naturally excited by the next event that occurs in our Lord's history, and by the account which the Evangelist gives of the manner in which he was employed during that period which we are now to consider.
After spending two days in Sychar, where many of the Samaritans believed on him, Jesus went down into Galilee, where many attended his ministry with proper dispositions, having been convinced of his divine mission by the miracles they had seen him perform at Jerusalem during the passover. Among other places, he came to Cana, where he had formerly changed the water into wine. This was situated a day's journey from Capernaum, at which latter place the son of a nobleman, of the court of Herod Antipas, lay at the point of death. Full of anxiety for his child, the nobleman came to Cana to beseech Jesus to go down with him to heal his son, supposing that the personal presence of the Saviour was necessary to effect a cure. Jesus replied to him, “ Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe ;" i. e. • The Samaritans, whom I have just left, were so moved by the holiness and excellency of my doctrine, as to believe on me; but on you Jews, nothing but the greatest miracles will have
effect.' The nobleman, not discouraged by this reproof, and full of tender concern for his son, whose case he thought would bear no delay, replied, “ Sir, come down ere my son die.” Jesus, pleased with his faith, notwithstanding he weakly supposed the Saviour could not heal his son at a distance, answered, “ Go thy way; thy son liveth :" • There is no need of my attending you; I can heal your child here as well as if I were with him; return home in peace, for at this present moment he is perfectly recovered. The nobleman, believing the declaration of Jesus, departed, and on the road was met by some of his servants, who told him that his son was recovered. Inquiring of them the hour when he began to grow better, they informed him that, instead of mending by degrees," yesterday at the seventh hour," the fever suddenly left him, and he was restored to perfect health in an instant. Finding that this was the very moment when Jesus pronounced his cure, and struck with the power and goodness of his benefactor, the nobleman “ believed, and his whole house."
1. This event, my brethren, is full of instruction. It teaches us, the effect which personal or domestic troubles ought to, have upon us.
We are all of us exposed.