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-notwithstanding, Take with you words, and say, "Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously, so will we render thee the calves of our lips. Enable me to see more of the excellence of this water; it is thine office to show it me: Oh, show it to ME."
Remember, at the same time, that there never was but one spring of living water for a sinner to drink at. They drank,' says the Apostle, 'of that spiritual Rock which followed them, and that Rock was Christ.' There never was but that one well of salvation, for satisfying the soul, and quenching the thirst of a needy and dying creature.
In conclusion, I would say, in the words of the Prophet, Ho! every one, that thirsteth, come ye to the waters and he, that hath no money, come:' for freely, without money and without price,' has God promised it to them that ask it.
THE NOBLEMAN OF CAPERNAUM.
JOHN, IV, 46-50.
So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain Nobleman, whose Son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down and heal his Son; for he was at the point of death. Then said Jesus unto him, except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. The Nobleman saith unto Him, Sir, come down, ere my child die. Jesus saith unto him, go thy way, thy Son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way.
THIS is a short, but instructive history. It seems to need no explanation, being a simple narrative. shall, therefore, at once endeavour to lead your minds to the Four following Observations:
It points out to us,
1. The INDIGENCE OF HUMAN GREATNESS.
2. The EXERCISE OF FAITH.
3. The ALL-SUFFICIENCY OF JESUS, OUR GOD, TO SAVE.
4. The PROGRESS OF HIS TEACHING.
I. Let us remark the INDIGENCE OF HUMAN GREATNESS; or the poverty of the rich and noble.
This is a subject little thought of in the world, but the Bible was written to set our minds right, and lead us to understand every thing that concerns us. If you speak of a rich man, a nobleman, Indigence and Poverty are the last ideas connected with the words : yet the Scripture shows that they ought to be so associated.
A Nobleman here comes to Jesus of Nazarethhimself so poor that he had not where to lay his head' a nobleman comes to him in distress: he had a sick child; and what relief can riches bring in such a case? "They can employ physicians." And what can physicians do? They frequently leave the house, and say, "We can do nothing!"
Let the Rich recollect that their riches can do nothing for them in many of the common sorrows in life, in pain and in sickness: they can give no comfort to a dying man; much less can they give ease to a guilty conscience: they cannot purchase peace.
Nor let the poor envy the rich man his possessions, when they consider how many things of vast importance there are, which his riches cannot procure for him; and Death stands waiting at his door, when he must leave every thing.
The Indigence of Greatness and the Poverty of Riches, are discovered in those wants which belong to the rich and noble and great, and which can have no relief but from Him who is infinitely rich.
See a general at the head of his army, sweeping from the earth every thing that men call their own: the man seems to think every thing at his will:-the point of a sword, the bullet of a distant enemy, or the common infirmities of nature overtake him: he falls down, and expires!
A man goes to the East Indies-amasses a large fortune-comes home: but his wealth cannot purchase peace, for such men have been known to destroy themselves, because they could not bear to live.
Belshazzar calls his thousand lords to a festival, and determines that festivity shall rule the hour: but a handwriting appears on the wall-Belshazzar! Thou art a poor man! Thou hast no Saviour! Thou hast no Almighty Friend!
Hezekiah may suppose that he has many years to live but Hezekiah! Set thy house in order, for thou
shalt die and not live.' Oh, happy for him. He knew who dwelt between the cherubim; and he lifted up his eyes to him, and owned his dependence on him. He prayed for help; and found him, who is 'a very present help in trouble."
My dear hearers, if you are tempted to envy the rich, consider what is the most invaluable blessing which a rich man can have: and that is when he is taught of God his poverty; and when, like Hezekiah, he knows to whom to lift his eyes, and how to do good to his neighbour, and to become a common blessing to society. I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed; that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve that thou mayest see.' If ever thou art clothed, if ever truly rich, if ever thine eyes are truly open, it is when thou art coming to the unsearchable riches of Christ.'
II. I shall notice, that this Nobleman was among those blessed persons, who feel their poverty. He acknowledged it: he came to Jesus, from Judea into Galilee. Here was the EXERCISE OF FAITH.
Not that great faith, indeed, of which you read in the Centurion: Speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.' But this man, according to his strength, came to the true Helper, and besought him that he would come down. Jesus said unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders ye will not believe. The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down, ere my child die.' Here was true faith. Faith made the report of the power, and grace, and friendship of Christ interesting to the man. He travelled fifteen miles made his application,-spoke like a man, who, though distrusting our Lord's ability to save at a disLance, yet seems to say, "He is able to do it, if he come down if he come before the child die." If
faith had been stronger, he would have said, "He
can do it, without coming down;" But, still, being in earnest, and being certain that Christ was the only helper, he says, "Come and help me: thou canst help me."
It is a blessed sign, when a great man can bear reproof; when he is willing to be instructed. Our Lord said to him, 'Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.' As if he had said, "I bring sufficient credentials, without working miracles. Look into the prophecies." The Nobleman, receives the reproof, but says, Sir, come down. There is something very natural in this. When our hearts are set on any thing, people may counsel us: they may tell us our duty: but the heart is set on the point. Though our Lord is speaking to him of signs and wonders, he dwells on the same thing: "Sir! My child is dying! come down. You may instruct me, if you please: you may reprove me if you please: but sir! come down." It shows the man is tractable, a child of instruction, when he can bear reproof: especially if he is a great man; and does not plead his quality, but is content to be treated as a poor man.
This is the reproof: 'Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.' As if he had said, "The truths which I preach, are proper objects for your dependance." Our Lord would teach us not to prescribe for our physician, and that the greatest must bow before him. Let us learn by this history. Let enthusiasts go to dreams: let the Papist go to wonders and lying miracles: but let us trust the word of an eternal and unchangeable God.
Jesus said, Go thy way, thy son liveth.
III. We may remark, the ALL-SUFFICIENCY OF JESUS, OUR GOD, TO SAVE: 'Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way, thy son liveth.'
The Divinity of Christ is the foundation of his Priestly Office. The Godhead gave such a value to his sacrifice, that it became "a full, perfect, and suffi