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supper of the Lamb. That it may, therefore, before the bright advancing sign of the Son of man shall be seen in the heavens, before he shall come to you, or you shall depart to him, be the heartfelt reply of every soul here present, may God of his infinite mercy grant !
John xiii. 8.
“ PETER SAITH UNTO HIM, THOU SHALT NEVER WASH
MY FEET. JESUS ANSWERED HIM, IF I WASH THEE NOT, THOU HAST NO PART WITH ME.”
It is one of the striking peculiarities of the method of teaching adopted by our Divine Master, that the truths which it was the object of his life to promulgate, were not elaborately preached in a series of continuous discourses, but rather incidentally touched upon in some striking apothegm, or shadowed forth under some significant symbol. Thus, it was while sitting upon Jacob's well, that our Lord so beautifully discoursed
(that well of water which springeth up into everlasting life.”1 It was while looking upon the “ fields white already to the harvest,” that he so strikingly alluded to that eternal harvest, when both “ he that soweth and he that reapeth shall rejoice together.” It was when the people followed him for the bread that perisheth, that he delivered one of the most instructive of his discourses upon “the living bread which came down from heaven." It was at the feast of tabernacles, while beholding the Jewish ceremony of pouring forth the water of Siloam, “ in the last day, that great day of the feast, that Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.”4
I John iv. 14.
In the incident with which the present Lecture commences, we shall find an additional and peculiarly beautiful testimony to the truth of this remark, while we behold our Lord, by one of the most significant actions of his life, illustrating one of the most important doctrines of his Gospel. We are told in the 13th of St. John, that at the supper which took place before the feast of the passover, or rather at the antepast, for it is evident that it occurred upon the same evening, “ Jesus laid aside his garments, and took a towel and girded himself. After that, he poured water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. Then cometh he to Simon Peter, and Peter, whose love for his divine Master could but ill bear to behold him so servilely employed, 66 said unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus said, What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter."
2 John iv. 35, 36.
3 John vi. 51. 4 John vii. 37.
At present you behold only the act itself, mysterious and unaccountable ; hereafter you shall be fully satisfied of its wise and merciful intention.
My Christian brethren, surely for our
sakes this was written; for us and for
! our children. For will not your own experience justify me in saying, that the Lord has dealt thus upon many, and most important occasions with
yourselves? How many an act of your gracious Redeemer, many a dark and mysterious providence in your lives, which was once utterly unintelligible, is even now made clear and satisfactory! You have, for instance, been visited with unexpected adversity; your situation in life is changed from affluence to poverty; or your trials have been of a different nature--you have been bereaved of those dear relatives, and friends, with whom your tenderest affections were bound up; and this, perhaps, at a time when they were most valuable, most useful, most endeared. Some of you, I doubt not,
I have lived to see, that these were acts of wisdom and of mercy; and some, perhaps, though fully reconciled to the blow, and prostrated in the dust before