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supported. When, therefore, we use this form of prayer as we ought to do, we pray in the admirable words of our Church Catechism, “ for all things that be needful both for our souls and bodies,"'--for every spiritual as every temporal grace; not only “for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat also which endureth unto everlasting life.”
Since, then, it is evident from the scope of our Lord's reasoning with the Jews, that by eating his flesh and drinking his blood, he meant only the right reception into the heart of his word and sacraments; and by dwelling in us and we in him, that mystical incorporation by which we become members of his invisible Church, or in the words of St. Paul, “ of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones ;” and since it is by faith that these spiritual elements are conveyed to us, and this spiritual union is effected, let us beseech Almighty God to “increase our faith, and dispose us to “covet earnestly this best of gifts.” The great fault of the Israelites of old, lay in the want of a right practical faith. Whilst they were miraculously sustained in the wilderness, and were thus furnished with sensible and incontestable evidences of God's superintending care and providence over them, their minds were too fickle to dwell on these pledges of his love which required a dutiful return, and their hearts were too much engrossed by sensual objects, to be awake to the impression of such as are spiritual. Hence, their bodies wore out, and themselves perished, whilst their food and their raiment never once failed, and of all the adults who came up out of Egypt, but two were permitted to enter the promised land. Their want of faith broke the tie between them and their God, cut off the supplies of grace by which they should have been sustained, and exposed them to the evils of mortality, and the penalty of an early death.
Let us take heed that we fall not after the same example of unbelief, for unto us the Gospel has been preached as well as unto them. If we be holy, harmless, and undefiled; if our lives be spent in habitual dependence upon God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless; if our conversation be in heaven, from whence also we are looking for the Lord Jesus Christ; and if we count all things but loss that we may win him; our lives will be a practical exemplification of the faith we profess, and our whole deportment will evince, that it is our meat and drink to do the will of our Father which is in heaven. “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness : for they shall be filled.”
THE WATER OF LIFE.
JOHN vii. 37, 38.
IN THE LAST DAY, THAT GREAT DAY OF THE FEAST, JESUS STOOD AND CRIED, SAYING, IF ANY MAN THIRST, LET HIM COME UNTO ME, AND DRINK. HE THAT BELIEVETI ON ME, AS THE SCRIPTURE HATH SAID, OUT OF HIS BELLY SHALL FLOW RIVERS OF LIVING
THESE words were spoken by our blessed Lord at the feast of Tabernacles, which was one of the solemn festivals observed by the Jewish Church. It was held in
held in commemoration of their forefathers having dwelt in tents in the wilderness; and its object was, partly, to celebrate the miraculous supply of water from the rock, and, partly, to invoke the blessing of rain on the approaching seed-time. The mode of observing it in later times was peculiar. “ The priests every day marched round the altar of burnt-offering waving branches of palm, and singing, 'Save, we pray, and prosper us. This was done but once on the first seven days, but on the eighth it was repeated seven times: and when this ceremony was finished, the people, with extravagant demonstrations of joy and exultation, fetched buckets of
water from the fountain of Siloam, and presented them to the priests in the Temple, who mixed the water with the wine of the sacrifices, and poured it upon the altar, chaunting all the while that text of Isaiah, With joy shall ye draw water from the fountain of salvation.' "*
The last day, therefore, was called the great day of the feast, and it was in allusion to this practice of fetching water from the fountain of Siloam that Jesus said, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” this,” the Evangelist informs us, “spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive : for the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified.” By our blessed Lord's application of this ordinance to himself he clearly interpreted its true signification, and declared himself, in explicit terms, to be the fountain of life to the world. It was as if he had said, You are busily employed in drawing water from the pool of Siloam to testify your gratitude for past mercies, and your dependence upon heaven for future supplies of grace; but I am the real source of all God's gifts, the fountain of health and salvation to mankind. that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst."
In considering this subject I propose to show, First, That the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit
* Horsley-Sermon xxxii.
are frequently spoken of in Scripture under the emblem of water. Secondly, That as Christ is the author of these gifts by sending his Holy Spirit into our hearts, he is, in strictness, the water of life. And Thirdly, That faith in him is the only medium by which we can come and take of the water of life freely.
I. First, That the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit are frequently spoken of in Scripture under the emblem of flowing water, will be manifest to every one who makes himself acquainted with those ancient records. “I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.” There are divers passages of this kind scattered throughout the Prophets, evidently designed to prefigure that fulness of time, when the Spirit was to be poured out in the largest measure, and all men were to be invited to partake of its salutary stream; and the wilderness and the desert, the parched ground and the thirsty land, were intended to represent the then state of the world, when the supplies of grace were scanty, and the thirst for the knowledge of the Lord was growing more and more ardent. If we look at the condition of man under former dispensations of religion, we shall see not only that the operations of the Holy Ghost were exceedingly limited, both in their degree and extent, as compared with the Gospel age, but that man's acquaintance with that blessed person