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putteth down another." Hast thou success in thy just and righteous designs? One plants, and another waters; it is "God who giveth the increase." And if it is God who elevates, who bestows: so it is God also who withholds, who depresses, who denies. "Even so, Father; for so it seemeth good in thy sight." Could we keep this in view, it would banish discontent: for discontent is a want of dependance upon God: a forgetfulness, that as a man can receive nothing, so neither can he be deprived of any thing, but from heaven.
John proceeds to bear record to him whose messenger he was, and whose voice he now rejoiced to hear.
31. He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all.
32. And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony.
33. He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.
34. For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. 35. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.
36. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
John speaks here, as inspired with an ample knowledge of the blessings conveyed by "the covenant
of promise." He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life. Who can sufficiently comprehend what is intended in that phrase? The presence of God and in his " presence is fulness of joy :' :" the possession of a nature without sin and without sorrow the deliverance from fear or danger : the exemption from all decay or change for
This is the consummation. But the sentence both here and elsewhere speaks of something in possession. He that believeth hath everlasting life. He has now the beginning, the earnest of it. He has it, in reconciliation, acceptance, adoption with God. He has it, in union with Christ. He has it, in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. He has it, in a heart raised beyond this present world, and fixed on things above. He has it, in
righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." All these blessings are immediate; a new life given now, connected with life everlasting a life unknown to those who do not belong to the same covenant: a secret hidden life which is animating the man within, whilst outwardly he is partaking of the cares and duties of the world below.
pearl of great it belongs, and He that believeth
Is this indeed a "treasure," a price?" John here tells us to whom by what means it is obtained.
For the Father
on the Son hath everlasting life. loveth the Son and hath given all things into his hand. They, then, enjoy the blessing, who believe that God hath sent his Son, that he may give eternal
life to as many as receive him to all who receive the offer which is made in plain and simple terms, "Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die; but I will raise him up in the last day." "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
They who hear this offer with a hearing ear, reflect within themselves how far it may suit their case, how far it may supply their need. They perceive its fitness. For they are conscious of the distance which separates them from God: that though they live and move and have their being in him, their hearts are naturally strangers to the holiness which he requires. They gladly accept the offer, and take the promise home, as simply as it is made. It is offered to the believer, and they believe. It is held out to as many as receive Christ Jesus, and they receive him. They become one with him, and he with them: they dwell in him, and he in them. In all their spiritual growth, he strengthens and cherishes them, as the tree its branches. In their fears and dangers, he is their refuge, as the ark was a refuge to Noah. In their difficulties and labours, he directs them, as the head directs the members of the body. And though their life is sometimes feeble and ready to fail, and they are subject to many alternations of health and weakness; still it survives; they have life, they have everlasting life, as long as their faith keeps them united to the Saviour whom God hath sent, who speaketh the words of God. They have received his testimony, though multitudes re
fuse it they have set to their seal that God is true, and that "faithful is he who hath promised."
It is not so with those who despise the gift of God, and set at nought his offers. Their state is described here in words few and brief, but amply comprehensive. He that believeth not the Son shall not see life: but the wrath of God abideth on him. The ark has floated near them, but they have refused to enter it for safety; therefore the flood must come, and sweep them all away. They have been nigh to the " city of refuge," and have refused to take shelter within its gates; therefore the wrath of God abideth on them.
JOHN iv. 1-14.
JESUS DISCOURSES WITH A WOMAN OF SAMARIA.
1 When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,
2. (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)
3. He left Judæa, and departed again into Galilee. 1
1 See Matt. iv. 12; Mark i. 14; Luke iv. 14.
4. And he must needs go through Samaria.
5. Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.2
6. Now Jacob's well3 was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.
7. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.
8. (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)
9. Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.
10. Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
It was indeed an extraordinary providence, a signal gift of God, that what many prophets and righteous men had desired to see and had not seen, should now be unexpectedly granted to this Samaritan woman.
The restorer of a lost world was
before her. The author of eternal life was conversing with her. Without seeking it, without knowing it, she had met with that "hidden treasure," that "pearl of great price," which "when a man has found, he sells all he has " to obtain.
2 As related Gen. xlviii. 22, in the account of Jacob's death. "Moreover I have given to thee one portion above thy brethren, which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow."
3 A well which bore the name of Jacob.