Imágenes de páginas
PDF

prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. 46 And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see. 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!

The last person mentioned in this chapter, who was called to own and embrace Christ for the Messiah, is Nathanael: who this Nathanael was, doth not certainly appear; but, it is evident, he was a sincere, good man, though prejudiced for the present against Christ, because of the place of his supposed hirth and residence, Nazareth: Can any good thing come out of Nazareth? That is, can any worthy or excellent person, much less the promised and long-expected Messias, come out of such an obscure place as Nazareth is? Whereas Almighty God, whenever he pleases, can raise worthy persons out of contemptible places. Observe farther, How mercifully and meekly Christ passes over the mistakes and failings, the prepossessions and prejudices, of Nathanael; but takes notice of and publicly proclaims his sincerity: Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom ther'e is no guile! That is, no guile imputed, no guile concealed, no prevailing guile. It being only true of Christ, in a strict and absolute sense, that there was no guile found in his lips; but, in a qualified sense, it is true of Nathanael, and every upright man: they are true Israelites, like their father Jacob, plain men; men of great sincerity and uprightness of heart, both in the sight of God and man. And whereas our Saviour speaks of him with a sort of admiration, Behold an Israelite in whom is no guile! We learn, That a person of great sincerity and uprightness of heart towards God and man, a true Nathanael, an Israelite indeed, is a rare and worthy sight, Behold an Israelite indeed! Learn, 2. That such indeed as are Nathanaels, need not commend themselves; Christ will be sure to do it for them. Nathanael conceals his own worth: Christ publishes and proclaims it, and calls upon others to take notice of it. Behold, Sfc.

48 Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before

that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig-tree, I saw thee. 49 Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabhi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. 50 Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig-tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.

Observe here, How Nathanael wondereth that Christ should know him, having (as he thought) never seen him. Christ gives him to understand, that by his allseeing eye he had seen him, when he was not seen by him: When thou -wast under the fig-tree I saw thee. Chrisfs all-seeing eye is an infallible proof of his deity and godhead. Christ seeth us whatever we do, though we see not him. He seeth the sincerity of our hearts, and will own it, and bear witness to it, if we are upright in his sight. Observe farther, How Christ's omnipresence and omniscience convinces Nathanael that he was more than man, even the Messias, God and man in two distinct natures and one person. Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God. Philip called Christ the son of Joseph; Nathanael calls him the Son of God. Such as believe Christ's omniscience, will never call in question his divinity. Observe lastly, How Christ encourages 1he faith of this new disciple Nathanael, by promising him that he shall enjoy farther helps and means for the confirmation of his faith, than ever yet he had. All that Christ said to him, was only this, that he saw him under the fig-tree, before Philip called him. How ready art thou, O Lord! to encourage the beginnings of faith in the hearts of thy people, and to furnish them with farther means of knowledge, when they wisely improve what they have received! Never wilt thou be wanting, either in means or mercy to us, if we be not wanting to thee and ourselves.

51 And he saith unto him, Vc" rily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Sou of man.

The heavens were open to Christ, and the angels attended upon him, first at his baptism, Matt. iii. ult. then at his ascension, Acts i. 9. Whether Christ alludes to the one or the other, or to both, I shall not posilively say; but gather this note, That the ministry and attendance of the holy angels upon the Lord Jesus Christ, in the time of his humiliation, was very remarkable: An angel foretells his conception to the Virgin, Luke i. 31. An angel publishes his hirth to the shepherds, Luke ii. 14. In his temptations in the wilderness, the angels came and ministered unto him, Matt. iv. 11. In his agony in the garden, an angel is sent to comfort him, Luke xxii. 42. At his resurrection an angel rolls away the stone, and proclaims him risen to the women that sought for him, Matt, xxviii. 6. At his ascension, the angels attended upon him, and bare him company to heaven. And at the day of judgment, he shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels. Now, thus officious are the holy angels to our blessed Saviour, and thus subservient to him upon all occasions. 1. In point of affection and singular love to Christ. 2. In point of duty and special obligation to Christ. There is no such cheerful and delightful service, as the service of love. Such is the angels' service to Christ for the services he has done them, he being an Head of confirmation to them: For, that they are established in that holy and glorious state in which they were at first created, is owing to the special grace of the Redeemer: Glorify him then, all ye angels, and praise him all his bost.

CHAP. n.

^^ND the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: 2 And both Jesus was called and his disciples to the marriage.

The former part of this chapter acquainis us with the first miracle which our Saviour wrought, in turning water into wine; the occasion of it was, his being invited to a marriage-feast. Here note, 1. That whenever our Saviour was invited to a public entertainment, he never refused the invitation, but constantly went; not so much for the pleasure of eating, as for the opportunity of conversing and doing good, which was meat and drink unto him. Note, 2. What honour Christ put upon the ordinance of marriage; he honours it with his presence and first miracle. Some think it was St. John that was now the bridegroom; others, that it was some near relation of the virgin mother's ; but whoever it might be, doubt

less Christ's design was rather to put honour upon the ordinance than upon the person. How bold is the church of Rome in spitting upon the face of this ordinance, by denying its lawfulness to the ministers of religion! When the apostle, Hcb. xiii. 4. affirms that marriage is honourable among all. Neither the prophets of the Old Testament, nor the apostles of the New, (St. Peter himself not excepted,) did abhor the mamage-bed, or judgcthemselves too pure for an institution of their Maker. Note, 3. That it is an ancient and laudable institution, that the rites of marriage should not want a solemn celebration. Feasting with friends upon such an occasion is both lawful and commendable, provided the rules of sobriety and charity, modesty and decency, be observed, and no sinful liberty assumed. But it must be said, that feasting in general, and marriage-feasts in particular, are some of those lawful things which are difficultly managed without sin. Note, 4. That our Saviour's working a miracle when he was at the marriage-feast, should teach us, by his example, that in our cheerful and free times, when we indulge a little more than ordinary to mirth amongst our friends, we should still be mindful of God's honour and glory, and isy hold upon an occasion of doing all the good we can. Note lastly, As Christ was personally invited to, and bodily present at the, marriage-feast when here on earth; so he will not refuse now in heaven to be spiritually present at his people's marriages. They want his presence with them upon that great occasion, they desire and seek it; he is acquainted with it, and invited to it, whoever is neglected; and where Christ is made acquainted with tht match, he will certainly make one at the marriage. Happy is that wedding where Christ and his friends (as here) are the invited, expected, and enjoyed guests.

3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him. They have no wine. 4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. 5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.

This want of wine was probably so disposed by the providence of God, to g^»e our Saviour an opportunity to manifest his divine power in working a miracle to supply it. Observe here, 1. How the Virgin.

enquires into the family's wants, and then makes them known to Christ. Learn hence, That it is an argument of piety, and an evidence of christian love, to enquire into the wants, and to recommend the necessities of others to Christ's care and consideration; whose bounty and munificence can readily and abundantly supply theni. Thus far the Virgin's action was good: she laid open the case to Christ: They have no -wine. But Christ, who discerned the thoughts of Mary's heart, finds her guilty of presumption; she thought by her motherly authority, she might have expected, if not commanded, a miracle from him: whereas Christ was subject to her as a man during his private life: but now being entered upon his office as a mediator, as Godman, he gives her to understand she had no power over him, nor any motherly authority in the business of his public office; therefore he says to her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? He that charges his angels with folly, will not be taught when and how to act by poor crawling dust and ashes. Observe therefore, 2. Christ calls the Virgin, Woman, not Mother; but this was not out of any contempt, but to prevent her being thought more than a woman, above or beyond a woman, having brought forth the Son of God. Woman, ays Christ; not Goddess, as the Papists would make her, and proclaim her free lroru sin, even from venial sin; but Christ's reproving her shows her that she was not faultless. Observe, 3. Christ would not bear with the Virgin's commanding on earth, will he then endure her intercession in heaven? Must she not meddle with matters appertaining to his office here below, and will it be endured by Christ, or endeavoured by her, to interpose in the work of mediation above? No, no ; were it possible for her so far to forget herself in heaven, she would receive the answer from Christ which she had on earth, Woman, what have I to do with thee? or thou with me, in my mediatorial office? But instead of this, she returns answer from heaven to her idolatrous petitioners here on earth, " What have I to do with thee? Get you to my Son, go you to Christ, he that was the Mediator of redemption; he, and only he, continues the Mediator of intercession." O how foolish, as well as impious, is it to think, that she who had not so much power as to direct the working of one miracle on earth, should have now lodged in her hands all the power of heaven!

6 And there were set there six water-pots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. 7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the water-pots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.

8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.

9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was, (but the servants which drew the water knew,) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, 10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. 11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

In this miracle of our Saviour's turning water into wine, Observe, 1. The reality of the miracle, and the sincerity of Christ in the working of it. To evidence there was no deceit in the miracle, not winecasks, but water-pots, are called for; winevessels, in which some lees were remaining, might have given both a vinous colour and taste to the water; but stone-pots could contribute nothing of this nature; and being open pots, there was no stealing wine into them without observation. Again, our Saviour's employing the servants, and not his disciples, takes off any suspicion of collusion; and his sending it to the ruler or governor of the feast, was an evidence that the miracle would bear examination. Our Saviour's miracles were real and beneficial; they were obvious to sense, not lying wonders, nor fictitious miracles, which the jugglers in the church of Rome cheat the people with. The greatest miracle which they boast of, transubstantiation, is so far from being obvious to sense, that it contradicts the sense and reason of mankind, and is the greatest affront to human nature that ever the world was acquainted with. Observe,2. Though Christ wrought a real miracle, yet he would not work more of miracle than needed; he would not create

-wine out of nothing, but turned water into wine. Thus he multiplied the bread, changed the water, restored withered limbs, raised dead bodies, still working upon that which was, and not creating that which was not: Christ never wrought a miracle but when needful, and then wrought no more of miracle than he needed. Observe, 3. The liberality and bounty of Christ in the miracle here wrought; six water-pots are filled with wine! enough, say some writers, for an hundred and fifty men; had he turned but one of those large vessels into wine, it had been a sufficient proof of his power; but to fill so many, was an instance both of his power and mercy. The Lord of the family furnishes his household not barely for necessity, but for delight, giving richly all things to enjoy. And as the bounty of Christ appeared in the quantity, so- in the excellency, of the wine; Thou hast kept the best wine until now, says the governor of the feast. It was fit that Christ's miraculous wine should be more perfect than the natural. But, O blessed Saviour, how delicate and delicious shall that wine be, which we shall drink ere long, with thee in thy Father's kingdom! Let thy Holy Spirit fill the vessel of my heart with water, with godly sorrow and contrition,) and thou wilt turn it into wine. For blessed are they that mourn, they shall be comforted. Observe, 4. The double effects of this miracle; Christ hereby manifested forth his glory, and his disciples believed on him. 1. He manifested forth his glory; that is, the glory of his godhead, as doing this by his own power. Here shined forth his omnipotence, his bounty and liberality, every thing that might bespeak him both a great and good God. The second effect of this miracle «as, that the disciples believed on him. The great end of miracles is the confirmation of faith; God never sets the seals of his omnipotence to a lie; all the miracles then that Christ and his apostles did, were as so many seals that the doctrine of the gospel is true. If you believe not me, says Christ, believe the works which I do, for they bear witness of me, John v. 36.

12 After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued tlvere not many days. 13 And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to

Jerusalem, 14 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: 15 And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables; 16 And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence ; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.

Observe here, 1. How obedient in all things Christ was to the ceremonial law. He was not naturally subject to the law, but, to fulfil all righteousness, he kept the passover yearly, according to the command of God, Exod. xxiii. 17. That all the males should appear before him in the temple at Jerusalem. Hence it is probably concluded, that Christ came up to the passover continually during his private life; and being now come up to Jerusalem to this first passover after his baptism, and solemn entrance upon his office, his first walk was to the temple, and his first work was to purge and reform it from abuses, not to ruin and destroy it, because it had been abused. Now the abuse and profanation of the temple at that time was this: in the outward court of the Gentiles, there was a public mart or market, where were sold oxen, sheep, and doves, for sacrifice; which otherwise the people, with great labour and trouble, must have brought up along with them for sacrifice. Therefore as a pretended ease to the people, the priests ordered these things to be sold hard by the altar; the intention was commendable, but the action not justifiable. No pretence of good ends can justify that which is forhidden of God: a good end can never justify an irregular action. Observe, 2. Our Saviour's fervent zeal in purging and reforming his Fattier's hotse. The sight of sin in any persoas , but especially in and among professors, ought to kindle in our hearts (as it did here in Christ's breast) a burning zeal and indignation against it. Yet was not Christ's zeal so warm as to devote the temple to destruction, because of its abuse and profanation. Places dedicated to the worship and service of God, if idolatrously abused, must not be pulled down, but purged; not ruined, but reformed. There is a special reverence due to the house of God, both for the Owner's sake, and the service' sake. Nothing but holiness becomes that place, where God is worshipped in the beauty of holiness. Christ by purging the court of the Gentiles from merchandise, not unlawful in itself, but necessary for the sacrifices which were offered in the temple, though not necessary to be brought there, did plainly insinuate, that a distinction is to be made betwixt places sacred and profane; and that what may be done as well elsewhere, ought not to be done in the house of God, the place appointed immediately for his worship. Observe, 3. The greatness of this miracle, in the weakness of the means which Christ made use of to effect and work it: he drove the buyers and sellers before him out of the temple. But how and with what > St. Jerome, in Matl. xxi. says, That certain fiery rays or beams, darting from Christ's eyes, drove out these merchants from this place. I dare not avouch this, but I am satisfied that Christ drove them out, unarmed with any weapons that might carry dread and terror with them, at most but with a whip of small cords; which probably might be scattered by the drovers that came thither to sell their cattle. Behold then the weakness of the means on the one side, and consider the greatness of the opposition on the other. Here was a confluence of people to oppose Christ, this being the most solemn mart of the passover, and here were merchant-men, whose hearts were set upon gain (the world's god) to oppose him. But neither the weakness of the means, nor the greatness of the opposition, did dismay him, or cause our Saviour to desist from the attempt of reforming what was amiss in the house of God. Learn we hence, That it matters not how weak the means of the church-reformation is , nor how strong the opposing power is; if we engage Christ in the undertaking, the work shall certainly be accomplished. O, how great was the work, and how weak and unlikely were the means here! a parcel of sturdy fellows, whose hearts were set upon their wealth, Christ no sooner speaks to them, and shakes his whip at them, but like a company of fearful hares they run before him. Christ, in purging of his church, will make every thing yield and give way to his power. Let it comfort the church under all unlikelihood of reformation. Who art thou, O great mountain? before our spiritual Zerubbabel, thou shall become a plain. I shall close my observations upon this miracle of Christ's whipping the buyers and sellers out of the temple, which both

Origen and St. Jerome do make the greatest miracle that ever Christ wrought, all circumstances considered; I shall close it with this reflection, viz. Was there such power and terror in Christ's countenance and speech here in the temple in the days of his flesh? Oh, how terrible then will his face and his appearance be to the wicked and impenitent world at the great day! Lord! how fearful will his iron scourge then be; how terrifying that voice, " Depart, depart from me, depart accursed, depart into fire: depart into everlasting fire, into a fire prepared for the punishment of apostate spirits, the devil and his angels!" God grant we may wisely consider it, and timely flee from the wrath to come.

17 And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.

The disciples upon this occasion called to remembrance the words of David, Psal. lxix. 9. The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; which was verified in Christ as well as in David. Where observe, 1. The grace described, zeal, which is the ardour of the affections, carrying forth a man to the utmost for God's glory, and his church's good. Zeal is not so much one affection, as the intense degree of all the affections. Observe, 2. The object about which our Saviour's zeal was conversant, God's house, that is, all things relating to the worship of God, temple, tabernacle, ark, &c. which were the pledges of God's presence. Ohs. 3. The effect of this, it hath eaten mc up, like fire that eats up and devours that whereon it lights. What was said of St. Peter, That he was a man made up all of fire; and of St. Paul in respect of his sufferings, that he was a spark of fire burning in the midst of the sea, may much more truly be said of Christ, when he was engaged in the work of church-reformation, Learn, That as Christ was, so christians ought to be, very zealous for the glory of God, the honour of his house, and the purity of his worship. The zeal of thine house, that is, for the honour of thine house, hath eaten mc up, Sec.

18 Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing thnt thou doest these things? .19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will

« AnteriorContinuar »