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THE FEMALE PREACHER; or, The Woman of
Samaria's Sermon to the Men of the City: or, The
Joun iv. 27.
Is not this the Christ?
IF F our glorious Lord Jesus has been here present this
day, conversing with us as he did with the woman of Samaria, discovering us to ourselves, and discovering himself to us; if he hath been telling us what vile sinners we are, and what a glorious Saviour he is, so as the entrance of his word hath given light to us, to fee our blackness on the one side, and his beauty on the other : surely it cannot but lead us to fome such felf-condemnation and Christ-commending exercise, as here this woman is employed in : Come see a man that told me all things that ever I did; Is not this the Christ?
In the preceeding part of this chapter, there stands recorded a very notable conversation betwixt Christ and this woman, the particulars whereof are too many to be considered at this time, though some of them may fall in our way, when we speak of the circumstances of her conversion : only, in the general, our Lord Jesus, as a
This subject was handled in one sermon, preached July 13th, 1729. immediately after the celebration of the facrament of the Lord's fupper at Dunfermline.
wearied traveller fitting down by Jacob's well, and this woman coming to draw water, he seeks a drink from her, both to quench his thirst, and to take occasion of conferring with her, with a design of mercy to her foul. She apprehending him to be a Jew, refuses to give him a drink, upon an old quarrel that was between the Jews and the Samaritans; whereupon Christ shews her how she mistook her own mercy, and that he had better water to give her than that which she refused to give him, ver. 10.; and that if she knew what a valuable mercy were at her hand, she would have turned a supplicant to him, and not suffer him to be fo to her. But she still reasoning against his offer, he points out further the excellency of what he offered, ver. 13, 14. ; this raised fome natural desire in her : but our Lord refolving to take hold of her heart, and knowing that the richest offer of his grace in the world, will work no defire in the heart of finners, further than what is natural and carnal, unless he effectively convince them of their fin and misery, and savingly manifest himself to them ;, therefore he takes this method with her.
Ist, Hè convinces her of her sin and misery, and lets her understand that he knew all the lewdness and wickedness she was guilty of, by shewing her how many adulteries she was chargeable with, ver. 18. Whereupon fhe begins to conceive fome high opinion of him as a Prophet, and to seek further light from him with reference to the right way of worshipping God, there being. controversies about religious matters, and particularly about the place of public worship, betwixt the Jews and the Samaritans: and, indeed, the woman's discourse here thews, that though she was a profane Samaritan, yet she was no ignoramus. She had knowledge of the controversy of the day she lived in, and the grounds thereof; and knew that the Messias was to come :: yet her knowledge was no sanctified knowledge. But now her conscience being awakened with a sense of fin, she is folicitous to have her mind informed; and accordingly is instructed at large by our blessed Lord Jesus, both concerning the place and the right manner of worshipping
God. And thus from one thing to another, he leads her on, until,
2dly, He manifests himself to her, ver. 26. Christ's discourse about the change of religion that was to take place, brought the woman to mind of the Messiah's coming; “ I know, says she, that Meffias cometh, which is called Christ; when he is come, he will tell us all things.” And while she is expressing her high estimation of, and great defire after this coming Meffias, Jesus faith unto her, “ I that speak unto thee, am he.” Christ may be present with people, and speaking to them, and yet they cannot know, or take him up till he reveals himself, as here he did to this woman; “ I that speak unto thee, am he."
No sooner did Christ thus kindly discover himself to her, than immediately this sweet conference is broken up, by the return of the disciples, who had gone to the city to buy meat, ver. 8. The sweetest fellowship with Christ on earth is but of short duration ; and the most pleasant manifestations may meet with very sudden interruptions; and poor finners may have such a fweet time in Christ's company, that even the company of disciples may be an interruption to it.
But now, how she was affected with this discovery, is evident from two things.
1. She forgets her errand that she came upon ; Sbe left her water-pot, and went ber way: having got a taste of the excellency of Christ, and a drink of the living water which he gave her, she minds no other water now; nay, she forgets all other things that before were in great esteem with her.
2., She spreads the name and fame of Christ in the place where the dwelt; Come see a man, says He, that told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? Wherein we may notice,
(1.) An invitation ; Come see a man : having got a taste of his goodness, she would have the men in the city to taste and fee with her.
(2.) A commendation; a man tpat told me ALL THINGS that ever I did; a man that hath discovered himself to be God as well as man, in that he hath ript up and ran.
facked my heart and life. He had discovered her lewd ness to her, and hereby represented all other things to her as seen by him. There is here implied a humble sense she had of her finfulness, which Chrili had given her a discovery and conviction of; and by his searching word she understood that he was the Searcher of hearts, and fo commends him as a man tbat told ber all things that ever fe did.
(3.) A conclusion, by way of interrogation and expoftulation, Is not this tbe Cbrist? Importing 110 manner of doubt about it in her own breast, but a strong affirmation, pointing at him unto them. He had told her what she was, and in this glass she saw her own vilene's; and he had told her what he was, and in this glass the saw his glory: and by both these means he discovered himself to be the true Messias, the God-man, the promised IMMANUEL, God with us; and her heart being full of Christ, and overflowing with the living water of the Spirit that he had given her, it vented itself and ran over in his praise and commendation unto others; Come see a man that told me all things that ever I did; is not this the Christ? _I fall endeavour fonie further explication of this text, upon a note of doctrine, palling over many others. What I mainly fixt upon is, Observ. That those saving discoveries of Christ, that
make persons to condenin and abase themselves to the lowest, lead them, at the same time, to commend and
exalt Christ to the big best. Self-searching, foul-humbling, and fin-discovering manifestations, issue in Christ-exalting commendations. I think it is remarkable in this woman, that kindly hunailiation did not take place in her, till after that Christ had clearly manifested himself to her, saying, I that speck unto thee, am be. It is true, when Christ first discovered her wickedness and lewdness to her, she appeared to be self-condemned and convicted, saying, I perceive that thou art a Prophet; and a true Prophet indeed, that can tell me how many acts of lewdness I have been guilty of: her conscience flying in her face, and subscribing to the truth of what he had told her; but yet, as VOL. III. + Gg
her first conviction appeared to be very partial and weak, in that, as some think, she seemed to shift any discourse about her owa vileness, and started a queition relative to a national diiference betwixt the Jews and the Samaritans, to divert that subject concerning her bafeness ; fo, I think, we may conclude, that her convictions before were very legal, driving her rather to her works and duties than to Clirist; for, instantly the falls a queltioning lin about the means of worshipping God, as if when now she was convinced of her fin against God, hier only way of obtaining his favour, was by endeavouring to please him by her duties of worship, whom she had displealed by her wickedness and lewdness. And, indeed, the first airth that an awakened confcience looks to, is the law, the first Husband. But now, when once Christ discovers and inanifests himself to her, she is kindly humbled under a sense of her vilenefs ; yea, and of all her heart and life-wickedness represented to her under that; and in the light wherein Christ discovered himself, she saw all her abominations; He told me all things that ever I did. She is now humbled and abafed to the lowest: Why? her fense of fin is not now partial, but full; He told me all things that ever I did. Neither is it now legal but evangelical; for it was now in the glass of a saving manifestation, in the glass wherein Christ discovered his glory and excellency that she saw all her own filthiness and deformity.-And while she is thus debased and humbled by the discovery of Christ, how does she commend and exalt him to the highest? She commends him to her neighbour-citizens, and puts the greatest honour upon him, both as he is the true God incarnate, that by his omniscient ere could fee, and to declare to her, all that ever she did; and as he is the true Mellias, the anointed of God; Is 110this the Cbrift?
The truth of this doctrine might be cleared from many fcripture passages, That saving discoveries of Christ tend to make perfons condemn and debase themselves, and to commend and exalt Christ, as it was with Job, chap. xl. ver. 4, 5. God having manifested his glory, he cried out, "Behold I am vile! what shall. I answer thee? I will