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to keep what I have committed to him unto the great day.”
Let none rest, till they can say this in their own persons, as the feeling of their own hearts. so an entrance shall be ministered unto them into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour.'
A NOBLEMAN'S SON IS RESTORED FROM A DAN
John iv. 43–54.
43. Now after two days he departed thence, and went into Galilee. 1
44. For Jesus himself testified, that a prophet hath no honour in his own country. 2
45. Then when he was come into Galilee, the Galileans received him, having seen all the things that he did at Jerusalem at the feast: for they also went unto the feast. S
46. So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum.
47. When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judea
1 Passing in his way through Nazareth, which lay between Sychar and Galilee.
2 See on Mark vi. 4 ; Luke iv. 24.
into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death.
48. Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.
We have an example here, if examples were needed, how little riches can effect towards real happiness. They cannot confer it, because they can neither remove the causes of affliction with which the world abounds, nor do much to sooth them. This nobleman, whose son lay at the point of death, found nothing to tranquillize his distressed feelings, either in his honours or his wealth. Affliction did more for him than either. Affliction brought him as a suppliant to the feet of Jesus.
The treatment which he received there was not exactly the same which other suppliants received. St. Matthew relates, (viii. 5—13,) how “ when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, and saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.” But here the petitioner met with a rebuke ; though higher in station, and though making his entreaty, not for a servant, but a son. Instead of answering, “I will come and heal him,” Jesus said unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.
No doubt, in either case the answer was exactly that which was most suitable. We know that the centurion was a proper object of encouragement ;
and look on the fields ; for they are white already to harvest.
36. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal : that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.
37. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth.
38. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour : other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.
The husbandman rejoices in his mind, and feels his labour recompensed, when on looking towards the fields which he has tilled, he sees a just hope of future harvest. And so Jesus bids his disciples look towards the fields of Samaritan ignorance and superstition, and already perceive a promise, even before the expected time. The regular season was not yet: he had not yet been “ lifted up” upon the cross, that he might“ draw all men after him.” And yet the fields were white already : for the Samaritans had listened to the summons of the woman to whom he had revealed himself, and were now hastening to see him, who, as she affirmed, had told her all things that ever she did : is not this the Christ?
And this was an earnest of that harvest which the apostles should reap, and which should be to them
a crown of rejoicing” in the end. He that reapcth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal : He receiveth wages : for the master whom he serves,
“is not" unrighteous to forget his work and labour of love: and he gathereth fruit unto life
eternal: he shall both “ save himself and those that hear him.” " If the faithful reform his own soul, that is fruit abounding to his account; it is fruit gathered to life eternal. And if, beyond this, he is instrumental in saving the souls of others too, there is more fruit gathered : souls gathered to Christ are fruit, good fruit, the fruit which Christ seeks for : it is gathered for him, and it is gathered to life eternal."
In the part assigned them in this work of mercy the apostles were greatly honoured and greatly favoured. In their case was the saying made good, one soweth and another reapeth. The seed of that harvest which was to be reaped now, had been sown during many centuries. Moses had laboured in it, when he conducted the Israelites to the field in which it should grow, and when he planted the law in preparation for the gospel which should follow. David and Isaiah, and the other prophets had also laboured, and tended the springing blade ; who prophesied of the grace that should come. But to these it was never permitted to say, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine
eyes have seen thy salvation.” To these it was not allowed to proclaim the glad tidings, how “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself :" how dispersing the long night of ignorance, he now commanded all men every where to “ repent,” and “ lay hold of everlasting life.” The gospel seed was sown, when that tradition was given to which the Samaritan woman alluded: I know that Messiah cometh which is called Christ. But
And we may
for he at once replied to our Lord, “ Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.” Jesus was well aware of this ; “ for he knew what was in man." be equally sure that he read something in the heart of this nobleman, which made him less fitted for a prompt and unhesitating compliance. Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. Now signs and wonders were part of the evidence of Jesus's divinity which should lead men to believe. But they were not the only proofs of the power in which he came.
“Gracious words proceeded out of his mouth.” The purity of his precepts and the authority of his doctrine showed that God was in those later days speaking unto man by his Son. * Perhaps the nobleman had appeared insensible to signs like these. Perhaps for this reason Jesus thought it good to humble him, instead of immediately declaring, “I will come and heal him.” The man, however, like the Canaanite woman in a case somewhat similar, receives the reproof in a meek and quiet spirit : he opens not his mouth, makes no complaint or defence, but urges his request once more.
49. The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die.
50. Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and went his way.
4 See Heb. i. 1, 2.