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lay' my hand upon my mouth ;” as being unworthy to speak in the presence of such a great and glorious One : therefore he adds, “ Once have I spoken, but I will not answer; yea, twice, but I will proceed no further.”'. And chap. xlii. 5,6. “ I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eyes seeth thee: wherefore, I ab. hor myself, and repent in duft and adhes.” See how the discovery of Christ makes the prophet Isaiah to condemn and abase himself to the lowell, and to coinmend and exalt Christ to the highest, chap. vi. 1.5. He saw the Lord fitting upon a throne high and lifted up, and his train filling the temple; thensayshe,“Wo isme, for I am undone! because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” To this purpose we may see Ifa. xlv. 22,—25.“ Look unto me and be fared, all ye ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else." Well, what will issue upon that saving light of Christ ? Both the abasing of himself, ver. 23. To bim every knee Jhall bow; and the high commendation and exaltation of Christ, Surely shall one say, In the Lord have I righteousness and strength : In him shall all the feed of Israel be justified, and shall glory,” ver. 24, 25. — But palling many other proofs, I suppose it will be found evident in the experience of all the saints, that every manifeitation and discovery of Christ tends to work both thefe effects at the same time, even to make them condemn and debase themselves to the lowelt, and to commend and exalt Christ to the highest.
This subject is very large, but I design, for shortening the work, to confine myself especially to the circumstances and effects of the discovery that Christ here gives of himself to the woman of Samaria, in the following method.
1. I shall show what we are to understand by Christ
manifesting or discovering himself to a person. II. What are these fin-discovering and foul-debasing
effects of Christ manifesting himself; or, when may one be in case to say, that Christ hath told him all things that ever he did ?
III. What are these Christ-exalting commendations,
wherein such discoveries of Christ vent themselves; and so notice the particular import in what the woman here fays, Come see a man that told me all
things that ever I did; Is not this the Christ? IV. I will shew the reasons of the doctrine, whence
it is that saving discoveries of Christ have such a felf-debasing and Christ-exalting influence. And
then, V. Make application of the whole subject.
I. I will speak a little of Christ's discovering and manifesting himself to finners. And here I would confine myself to the circumstances of the discovery that he makes of himself to this woman, which wrought this effect in her, and which, in most particulars, will be found to agree with all the saving manifestations that our Lord makes of himself to his people, either at first conversion, or any renewed visit he makes to them. And here we may notice, 1. Some things relating to the means of the discovery that Christ makes of himself to this woman. 2. Some things relating to the manner of it.
ist, There are some things in the context relating to the means of this discovery.
1. One of the more remote means was his taking occasion to come to a place where she was also to come, and so casting himself in her way, as it were. This is noticed very remarkably, ver. 4th of this chapter, where it is faid, He must needs go through Samaria : Whatever other reasons there were for his going this way, here was a special one; he must needs meet this woman, and with those Samaritans, whom, on this occafion, he converted to the faith. If there be bat one foul that Christ hath an errand to, the world will not keep him away from the place where that soul is. He must needs through that place: there is a sweet neceflity he lies under; he must needs bring a gospel-ministry there ; he must needs bring gospel-ordinances where he has any fouls to meet with, and discover himself favingly unto. They to whom Christ hath discovered himself, will find
a merciful providence exercised about them, in his ordering their lot so, that either they are brought to the place where Christ and his ordinances are, or Christ and his ordinances come to the place where they are.
2. A second more remote means of this discovery is, our Lord ordering matters fo as her fecular errand is made the occasion of her spiritual good and advantage, ver. 7. There comes this woman of Samaria to draw
Providence may be intending much mcrcy to those who are both very unworthy of it, and very unconcerned about it. Little was this sinful woman minding any other thing but to draw water ; yet a happy providence made her to meet with the Saviour of finners. Some have come to ordinances, as this woman did to Jacob's well, with no other view, save upon fome fecular and carnal errand; may be to draw the water of damnation to themselves, or to draw in some applause to themselves amongst their neighbours, or merely fron custom and curiosity, little minding any saving good, which yet the Lord hath prevented them with.
3. A third mean of this discovery is, Christ falls a discoursing with her, and upon occasion of his seeking, and her refusing him a drink of water, he shews his pity and compassion on her, as an ignorant and insenfible finner, having no knowledge of her real want and necessity, with respect to that better water which he had to give; and particularly he lets her know, that the well of living water was in his hand to dispense as he pleased; and that as he offers his grace before we ask it, fo he will not refuse it to them who ask it upon his offer and promise : “ If thou hadst known, thou wouldst have asked, and I would have given thee living water." And, befides, in his discourse, he commends his wares to her, ver. 14.; his gifts, his graces, his Spirit, as a well above all wells, A well of water springing up to everlasting life; and all to be freely dispensed by way of gift and donation. And this is the way he deals ftill with finners in the free dispensation of the gospel.
4, A fourth mean of this discovery, is his working a work of conviction upon her conscience, by ihewing her tranfgreflions to her, and setting her fin in order before
her, ver. 18.; and thereby discovering his prophetical office to her, and raising fome esteem of him as a Prophet, ver. 19. The freeft offers do not prevail with finners, till they be convinced of their finfulness and misery. Indeed, it is not every fight of fin that will convince the finner'; but Christ must set it home upon the conscience, and discover fin to them marked by his all-feeing eye, his all-searching cye; for the woman kuew pretty well, how matters were with her, and yet, without any due fenic, till he ript up and laid open her bobom, and made her fee and understand that all her fins were naked and open unto the eye of him with whom she had now to do; and though she did not know him to be the Christ, yet ihe begins to have some high thought of him as a Prophet that had the mind of God, and by whom God was discovering her finfulness to her. But it does not appear, as yet, that fl:e perceived any thing in him above ordinary prophets; fo gradually, by little and little, did he manifest himself to her. Only it is evident here, that in God's order and method of working effectually on the hearts of sinners, as there is a discovery of sin that goes before a discovery of Christ, without which perfons do not see their need of Christ; fo the more that Christ discovers fin, and touches the finner's heart therewith, it breeds the more respect and estimation of him, though it may be very weak and low at first.
5. A fifth mean of this discovery, is his opening up to her the nature of true spiritual and acceptable worship, ver. 21,-24. Here he gives her such instruction as might tend to let her see that he was a Prophet above all prophets, that knew what changes were quickly to fall out with reference to the place of religious worship, and what fort of worship God would have, what a Spirit he is, and what service he requires. As faith comes by hearing, fo discoveries of Christ, the glorious object of faith, come by the means of instruction and divine teaching, such as the Lord Jesus here gives this woman. And this paves way to
6. A fixth mean of this discovery, namely, his working in her lieart a kindly remembrance of, and higli efleeni
for the Messias, ver. 25. The longer she conversed with Christ, the is the more enamoured with him. Though he disclaimed the Samaritan worship, and declared they had no warrant for their religion ; yet having, at ihe same time, shewed that the Jewish worship was warrantable by the word of God, though yet their temporary way of worship was what his coming to the world was to give a burial to, and to abolith, upon which a more excellent way of worshipping God was to succeed; I lay, the more the hears him fpeak, the more she is enamoured with his discourse, and filled with great respect and regard to the Meffias, from whom flie expected such irItruction as that ;
" I know that Melias comes, which is called Christ; when he is come, he will tell us all things :” not knowing, as yet, that he was speaking to him. She is speaking with a very high estimation of him, as the great Teacher of his church, that would fully rcveal the counsel of God concerning his service and means of salvation. And now the woman, by these mears, being brought to have precious thoughts of Christ, and to give such a notable evidence of her faith concerning lim, then he discovered himself, saying, I that speak unto thee
When people are brought to sublime thoughts of Christ, then it is certain Christ is not far off from them.-Thus ye have the means.
We shall, 2dly, Notice the manner of the discovery that Christ makes of himself, I ibat Speak unto thee, ain be. Here is a clear manifestation and revelation that Christ himnself gives of himself, I ibat speak unto thee, am be. It is not ordinary for Christ to give such testimony of himself; there inust be fome rare thing here : for, when Jcha's disciples came to ask him, “Art thou he that should come, or may we look for another?” He does not say, “ I that speak unto thee, am he;" nay, but, “Go tell John what ye hear and fee; the blind receive their fight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them,” Matth. xi. 5.; let him draw the conclusion from these premises whether I am he or not: but here he gives as clear a discovery of himself as in all the book of God,