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seeing the face of God for ever; a hope that maketh not ashamed, that purifieth, that is an anchor to the soul, and that is totally different from the unfounded expectations that he entertained before.
If in like manner, you attend to all the other affections of the natural man, you will find that the current of all of them is changed by regenerating grace.
4. Regeneration produces an equal change in the life. By their fruits ye shall know them,” is the test of piety given by the Saviour. It is a test, the truth of which is exemplified by the regenerate. . Though the remains of corruption within them still causes them to mourn, and sometimes draws them aside from God, and prevents them from attaining that perfection in holiness at which they aim, and which they desire, yet sin no longer reigns over them; they renounce those habitual transgressions in which they indulged; the main bent of their heart and life is against sin, and their chief desire and endeavour is to destroy it; and their delight is in the work and worship of God. They endeavour to perform the whole will of God; to perform all the social and benevolent duties, as well as to acquire those graces more peculiarly devotional. The great business of their lives is to glorify God, to extend the church of Jesus, to adorn the profession of the gospel, to benefit their fellow-men, and to save themselves.
Thus,my brethren, I have, in a very brief and cursory manner, shown you the nature of regeneration. I have endeavoured to speak so plainly, that every one of you may know what is his state and character.
May God sanctify unto us his preached word, give us regenerating grace, and enable us to know from experience, what it is to be “ born again.”
LIFE OF CHRIST.
CONVERSATION WITH THE SAMARITAN WOMAX.
JOHN iv. 1-42.
In our last lecture on the life of Christ, we heard him declaring to Nicodemus the most interesting truths. This ruler of the Jews appears to have been deeply affected by this interview, since from this time he became a disciple of Jesus, defended him in the great council of which he was a member, and with Joseph of Arimathea, paid him the honours of a funeral, when all his bosom friends deserted him. We are now to contemplate the Saviour conversing with a different character, with a woman who was a Samaritan, and whose life was immoral. Though the haughty Pharisees taught that she was beyond the reach of pardon; that the covenant made no provision for her; that she was undone without resource; yet the compassionate Saviour, who came " to seek and to save that which was lost,” spoke to her in different accents. Instead of confirming her
in guilt, or sinking her in despair, by such merciless doctrines, he taught her that the streams of grace could cleanse even her polluted soul ; that God was ready to receive her on repentance, and faith in the Messiah, and to forgive her iniquities, however numerous and aggravated they had been.
Jesus, having announced the gospel at Jerusalem, and confirmed it by many miracles during the feast of the passover, went into other parts of Judea to proclaim these glad tidings. The number of his disciples increasing daily, the pharisees were offended, and began to plot the destruction of a teacher who so clearly exposed their corrupt glosses of the law, and so boldly censured their vices and hypocrisy. The predestined time for his death not being come, he left Judea to avoid their fury. When the interest of God or of truth required it, he never shrunk from danger or persecution : but he prudently retires when his duty does not urge him to expose himself to sufferings. He departs then for Galilee, between which and Judea lay the province of Samaria, through which he was therefore obliged to pass. The first city at which he stopped was Sichar, the same as Sichem, so frequently mentioned in the Old Testament, as the metropolis of the tribe of Ephraim. It was situated at the foot of Mount Gerizim; and though it had been destroyed by Abimelech, had been rebuilt by Jeroboam, and made by him the capital of the kingdom of Israel. In its vicinity was a well, called Jacob's well, probably because this patriarch had caused it to be dug. There Jesus arrived about the sixth hour, fatigued with the toils of the day, and seated himself while his disciples went into the city to purchase food. He could easily have relieved his wants by miracle; but his miracles
he employed only for the relief of others. To himsell he reserved only the painful but glorious privilege of serving as a perfect model of patience and resignation.
While he was there alone, a woman, who was a Samaritan both by birth and religion, approached. She came only to procure water, but she found the treasures of grace and the way to eternal life. She came to Jacob's well, and she found there the illustrious Shiloh, whom Jacob foretold. Jesus, oppressed with thirst, said to her, “ Give me to drink.” Supposing from his language or his habit that he was a Jew, and knowing the aversion that the Jews had for the Samaritans, she expressed to him her surprise that he should ask water from her to drink; “ for," says the Evangelist,
“ the Jews have no dealings,” no intercourse of friendship, “ with the Samaritans.” According to the Jewish teachers, a person of their nation was polluted, not only by eating and drinking with Samaritans, but even by touching them. It was indeed permitted to buy from them, as well as from the heathens, things necessary for the support of life, but to accept any thing from them as a present, was declared a heinous crime. But the mind of Jesus knew nothing of this narrow bigotry, this odious illiberality, which differences of religion and diversity of opinions had excited among the Jews. His object was to benefit all, and he therefore freely conversed with all. He therefore replied unto her, “ If thou knewest the gift of God,” if thou wert sensible what an opportunity the good providence of God now confers on thee, of receiving the greatest blessing that was offered thee, - and who it is that saith unto thee, give me to drink, thou wouldst have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water :" meaning by this expression, that grace which at once cleanses the soul, and quenches its thirst for felicity. The Saviour, as you must have frequently remarked, often seizes upon passing incidents and objects before the eyes of his hearers, to shadow forth spiritual truths. Thus, when he saw a multitude of people following him, because they had been miraculously fed in the desert by the multiplication of the loaves, he spoke of himself as “ the bread which cometh down from heaven and giveth eternal life.” In like manner, being at Jerusalem, at the feast of tabernacles, when the people in crowds drew water from the pool of Siloam, he cried out with a loud voice, • If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.” Thus also, seeing the Samaritan woman solely occupied with the water which she was drawing, he takes occasion from it to elevate her thoughts to heaven.
Still supposing, however, that Jesus referred to common water, she objects to him that he has no mode of obtaining this water of which he spoke, since he had nothing by which he could draw it from Jacob's well: and since to suppose that he could elsewhere find better water, would imply that he was greater than Jacob, who esteemed this the best in all the territory of Sichem.
Jesus, pitying her ignorance, and bearing with her weakness, began more fully to explain the properties of that water of which he spoke : “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again; but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water, springing up into eternal life."
Let us paust a moment, to meditate on this just