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reproach. Yet it was the sovereign will of his Providence that they should take place. Peter, then, is introduced into the place where he falls. Peter is so cautious as not to stand by the side of Jesus; yet he is not so cautious as to hide in a corner. He mingles with the officers and servants round the fire. Here he is again and again recognised. Yet not a word about the recognition of John, or of any other! Peter is the only man that is so often identified. He who sees not Providence in this affair is as blind as Bartimeus. He who will not recognise Sovereignty in this Providence may deny design in the works of creation.
PROVIDENTIAL MEETING OF JESUS AND THE WOMAN
OF SAMARIA.—John iv.
The woman of Samaria, and many others of the city of Sychar, were to be called to the knowledge of Jesus. But how was this to be brought about ? In passing near the city, Jesus apparently was about to proceed without entering it. His disciples went into the town to buy victuals, while he rested at Jacob's Well. How many chances, then, were there, that neither this woman, nor any of the other persons, should hear of him! Had the disciples brought provisions with them, or been previously provided came? Why was she not a little sooner or a little later?
way, there would have been no need for de. lay; and the Lord would have passed before the woman came to the well. Now, when he is sitting at the well, why is it that at this moment the woman
Why was she a woman of such a particular character? Were not all these circumstances ar. ranged by Providence to lead to the calling of the woman of Samaria, and to Christ's entrance into the city, where he had others to call ? In this we have a specimen of the ways in which God opens an entrance for the gospel into different places. How often is this by accidents, which are all appointed by Providence to fulfil his purposes !
THE MAN BORN BLIND.-John ix.
Sickness and afflictions of every kind are all wisely ordered by the Lord. In every case they have an end. But they are not always in judgment. Men, however, are prone to ascribe them to judgment, and to decide rashly on particular cases. Judgment is one end of afflictive providential dispensations ; but there are other ends to the Lord's people, which ought always to be distinguished. Taking it for granted that blindness was always the effect of some particular heinous sin, the disciples, on passing a blind man, asked Jesus whether the sin had been committed by himself, that he was visited with blind. ness; or his parents had sinned, that he was born blind. Jesus, without denying that the thing might happen on either of the accounts referred to, ascribed the affliction to another reason. The man was born blind, yet it was not for any particular sin of his parents ; but “ that the works of God
should be made manifest in him." He was born blind that Jesus might have an opportunity of giving him sight. Here we see the Providence of God in the blindness of an infant, whom God designed that Jesus should cure in manhood. All this previous affliction must be endured by this individual, because that at a particular time God was to be glorified by his cure. And is not this great consolation
of the Lord's people who have been born blind, or who may have lost their sight? They must not, indeed, expect a miracle to give them sight; but they may be assured that their affliction is for the glory of God; and, consequently, must ultimately be for their own good. God has some purpose to serve by their blindness, and in that state there is some way in which they may glorify God, more than they would have done with sight. There are many ways in which this may be true; each individual may undoubtedly discern something in his own case, in which he can realize its truth.
The same thing is true with respect to deafness, and many other calamities with which God's children are afflicted. This affliction is in one way or other for the glory of God. And a conviction of this, firmly and abidingly impressed upon the mind, would enable them to support their affliction with patience.
Sometimes Christians are inclined to suspect God's love towards them, when they are greatly afflicted. Nothing can be more without foundation in the word of God. In the school of Christ, this disci
pline is as necessary as teaching. Christians ought to take affliction as medicine from the hand of a lov. ing parent. In the question of the disciples, we may see the opinion of the Jews with respect to Providence. It proceeds upon the principle, that God governs the world by a particular Providence, and that afflictions are always from his hand. How unlike to this is the philosophical doctrine now held by many who call themselves Christians, in which God is in a manner excluded from working, and acts merely by general laws. The clock was made by him, and wound up at the beginning, and it can go on without him till it has run down. This Atheism ought to be the horror of Christians. It was not the doctrine of the Jews. The disciples were aware of a particular Providence: They erred with respect to the grounds on which it proceeds. Their views were too limited on this subject. Affictions
may arise from particular sins, or be the fruit of the sins of parents ; but they may also be without a view to either, and be sent for the glory of God, as well as the good of the sufferer.
SICKNESS OF LAZARUS.-John xi. 4.
Here we have an instance of providential sick
Lazarus was visited with grievous sickness, so that he died, for the very purpose of being brought to life by Jesus for the glory of God. This is the interpretation which is given by Wisdom itself-the Lord Jesus Christ. This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.” Now, who was Lazarus ? He was a true disciple of Jesus. Was he the least in the kingdom of God ? He was one who was the peculiar object of the love of his Mas. ter. His sisters sent to Jesus, saying, “ Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick :" and the Jews exclaimed, “ Behold how he loved him !" Yet this peculiar favourite of Jesus was visited with sickness unto death, that God in him might be glorified. Let not God's people, then, think that they are not the objects of his favour, or that they are comparatively little in his favour, because he has visited them with sickness, or any other grievous affliction. Let the case of Lazarus answer, and silence all the murmurings of unbelief. Their affliction is for the glory of God, and for their own good. And if it was not to answer these purposes, it would not have been sent. For, though God afflicts his people, he never afflicts them willingly. He never afflicts out of caprice. Sometimes parents may injudiciously and capriciously put to pain with a good intention. God never acts in this man
He never sends a single instance of affliction in which he is not one way or other to be glorified; and which will not turn out for the good of his people. This ought at once to give them confidence against the power of affliction when they are without it; and patience and resignation when they are in it.
" The bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.” God will not wound his