« הקודםהמשך »
to be regarded as the aecomplishment of a very remarkable prophecy concerning the Messiah ; and as proving two most important facts,-namely, the reality of the human nature of our suffering Redeemer, and the certainty of His death upon the Cross. In both these respects, doubtless, it is very important. Nor is it only, also, a theme for affectionate sorrow, and pious meditation, as fulfilling the prophetic announcement made to Mary, the Virgin Mother, by the aged Simeon, at the presentation of the child Jesus in the Temple, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be spoken against ; (yea, a sword shall pierce through thine own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed *.
be revealed *. Assuredly the sign was spoken against at Calvary; and assuredly the lance, which pierced the side of the Divine Son, went to the inmost soul of the loving mother. But there was mercy-heavenly mercy for her, flowing from that very cause which produced her pain; and through the love of our dying Lord, the same Evangelist who then stood by her side at the foot of the cross, and beheld the wound inflicted, and the gushing forth of the blood and of the water, has declared its sacred meaning, and has shown that there was heavenly life in those divine streams, which proved the fact of death.
If we refer to the first Epistle of St. John, we read
Luke ii. 35. cp. John xix. 25.
- Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? This is HE that came by water and blood ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. There are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the Water, and the Blood : and these three agree in one * St. John, who saw the fact, interprets the mystery—This is He who came by water and by blood, Jesus Christ.
“ He who came” is another term for THE MESSIAH. Art thou He that should come t, or do we look for another $? And, in St. John's Gospel, our Lord says, All that ever came before Me, that is, all who laid claim to the title of Messiah before Me, were thieves and robbers g. Therefore the words of St. John, This is He Who came by water and "blood—Jesus Christ, signify, This is He who claimed the title, and who exercised the office, of the MESSIAH, by Water and by Blood.
How, it may be asked, did Our Lord so come? He came, if we may so speak, even before His Coming; He came before His Incarnation; He came in Prophets; He came in Patriarchs. Before Abraham was, I AM ||. He came in all the purifications of the old Law, that were made by water, (and many and various they were,) and also by blood, for it is written,
† ó épxóuevoc, The Comer. The blood is the life *; and again, Without shedding of blood there is no remission t. The first Testament, as the Apostle to the Hebrews shows, was dedicated with blood and water f. All the legal purifications and oblations derived all the efficiency they possessed from Christ, and from His death. It was, if we may so speak, the Water and the Blood, shed from our Lord's side upon the cross, which imparted all the virtue to all the Water and the Blood poured out in the sacrificial rites of the Levitical Law in the Temple at Jerusalem, and in the Tabernacle of the Wilderness. Yes; and, we may add, to the Patriarchal sacrifices at Bethel, and on the plains of Mamre, and on the hill of Moriah, and on Mount Ararat; and to the sacrifice of Abel on the borders of Paradise. So this is He that came by water and by blood, even Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world .
* 1 John v. 5–8.
§ John X. 8.
St. John also says—It is the Spirit that beareth witness; because the Spirit is truth.
How is this?
The Spirit of faith infused into the hearts of Patriarchs and Prophets, and of all true believers under the Levitical and Patriarchal dispensations, enlightened their eyes with heavenly radiance, and enabled them to see the illustrious glories of the Gospel in the dim shadows of their own ordinances. By this, as the Apostle speaks, they saw the promises afar off, and embraced them* They rejoiced to see the day of Christ; they saw it, and were glad t. They beheld the day in which, as the Prophet Zechariah says, a fountain would be opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness t. Yes, a fountain opened in the bleeding side of the Son of David, in the City of David. They foresaw the time when God would sprinkle clean water upon them, and they should be clean: and from all their filthiness He would cleanse them, and give them a new heart; and put a new spirit within
* Gen. ix. 4.
† Heb. ix. 22. § Rev. xiii. 8.
This then is He who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ. That is, this is the One, Only, Universal MESSIAH; He who came not only by Apostles and Evangelists, but by Prophets and Patriarchs ; He who now comes, and will come to all ages forward to the end of time; and who also came to all the children of God, in all ages, backward, from Calvary even to Paradise.
Such are the clouds on which the Divine COMER, Jesus Christ, came, comes, and will come l\; the clouds
* Heb. xi. 9, 10. 13-26. † John viii. 56. # Zech. xiii. 1.
$ Ezek. xxxvi. 25, 26. || As St. Augustin says, Epist. cxcix. 45, Venit nunc in totá hâc horá novissima Christus in Suis membris tanquam in nubibus vel in totâ ipsâ Ecclesiâ quæ est Corpus Ejus, tanquam in nube magna fructificante in universo mundo, ex quo cæpit prædicare et dicere, Agite poenitentiam, appropinquavit enim regnum coelorum.
in the heaven of His Church: from which He
pours down the spirit of grace and supplications upon His people; and makes them turn their eyes and hearts, in penitential love, to Him; and by which He sends a gracious rain upon His inheritance, and refreshes it when it is weary t.
Let us consider now, specially, the prospective meaning of these words. How do they concern ourselves? What did St. John intend to impress upon our minds when he wrote, One of the soldiers pierced His side, and forthwith there came out blood and water? and when he added the solemn declaration, and he that saw it bare record, and his record is true : and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe ?
In reply, let us observe, that the Christian Church owes her life to Christ's death. Christ loveth the Church, and gave Himself for it, says St. Paul, that He might sanctify it with the washing of water by the word f. According to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost s. He hath purchased the Church with His own blood ||. And again: Ye were redeemed, not with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and Matt. iv, 17. So also Aquinas, following Haymo, in Ecce venit cum Nubibus ; i.e. Sanctis, qui pluunt per prædicationem, coruscant per miraculorum operationem, elevati fiunt per mundanorum abdicationem ; volant per altam contemplationem-Isa. 1x. 8. Qui sunt isti qui ut nubes volant.
# Zech. xii, 10. † Ps. Ixviii. 9. | Eph. v. 26. $ Tit. iji. 5.
11 Acts xx. 28.