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that can be conceived. Leading us back to the Rock from which we all were hewn, to the Pit from whence we were digged (Isaiah li. 1), they appeal to all the sympathies of our common nature, to all the energies of redeemed souls. They are the common interest, and demand the concurrence, of all the ransomed of the Lord : and pleasant, doubtless, in His sight are the highways of our land, as, at this season, they bear hither, from day to day, the successions of His faithful servants, eager to make new offerings of faith and love in the several Societies with which they are connected. May great grace be upon them all ! Especially may the prayers and praises which we have now offered, be accepted of our Heavenly Father in the Name of his Son Jesus Christ! And may the Holy Spirit be yet more sensibly with us, purify our minds, help our infirmities, and teach our hearts, as now we proceed to the Word of Erhortation, (Acts xiii. 15), in the same Divine Presence and Adorable Name In meditating on the most suitable passage of Scripture from which to address you, the words of the text so impressed my mind, from the views of Divine Benevolence and Missionary Instruction and Encouragement which they contain, that, familiar as they are, and short, it seems, as is the time since they were in part submitted to you on a former Anniversary, I could not scruple to adopt them. On an occasion like this, it were vain to affect novelty; and worse than vain to affect the applause of men. On such an occasion, above all others, it behoves us to watch and pray, that we preach not ourselves but Christ Jesus the Lord. Be His Name exalted among us, and it is well—God, even our own God, will give us his blessing. Whose words they were, you see ; and the occasion of them you, doubtless, well remember. They were the words of Jesus himself, on beholding the Samaritans flocking to him, on the report of the woman with whom he had been conversing at the well of Sychar, that he was certainly a great prophet—He told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ 2–He was the Christ l He had told her so: and does not the spirit of the compassionate Messiah breathe, as in his whole discourse with her, so particularly in that portion which has been read to you? He had arrived at the well, exhausted with fatigue, and hunger, and thirst. Resting himself on the side of the well while his Disciples were gone away to buy food, this woman came to draw water. He solicits of her a little water to drink, and she objects to him the enmity of the Jews toward the Samaritans. Thus unkindly repulsed, he takes occasion from it to apprise her of her own greater necessities —her spiritual necessities—which could be relieved only by that Heavenly Gift of which water was the known emblem, and which he himself had to bestow; and, to make her sensible of it, he proceeds, in answer to some other remarks, to shew her, that, though in appearance a mere man and a stranger, he was thoroughly acquainted with the impurities of her heart and life. (vv. 10–18.) Awed by the discovery, she endeavours to evade the conviction by a question concerning the Temple; and he replies to her by a solemn admonition of the spiritual nature of God, and the spiritual service which alone ... He could accept. (vv. 19–24.) She adverts to the expected Messiah; and he reveals Himself to her as the very Christ. (vv. 25, 26.) At this instant his Disciples returning, the astonished woman hastens back to the city; forgetting, at once, her own errand to the well, and the thirst of the mysterious stranger; while He—his soul, it seems, absorbed in the awful subjects of their discourse, and in compassion no doubt for the guilty woman—heeds neither the water-pot which she had left, nor the food which they had brought. His Disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of And, while they wondered at his words—looking still toward the city, whither he appears with eye and heart to have followed the woman, and seeing the men of the city coming out to him—My meat, he saith, is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish his work. Then, in allusion to the forwardness of their minds to hear him, and referring to the season of the year, Say not ye, he proceeds, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest ? Behold, I say unto you, lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal; that both he that soweth, and he that reapeth, may rejoice together. Such is the history and connection of our text. Interesting, however, and instructing as it is in all its parts, the one thing to which I wish to direct your present attention, is that Joy of the Redeemer, which it so strongly denotes, at the prospect of a people prepared to receive the Gospel. This is that view, in which it has particularly affected my own mind, and with which I could wish that it may
powerfully affect yours. It is a view in which it ibecomes, evidently, of an importance in our Missionary Concerns highly to be prized. In pursuing this Discourse I propose—first, to consider THE CAUSEs of THIS JOY OF THE BLESSED REDEEMER ; and, secondly, to APPLY THE SUBJECT TO THE SPECIAL PURPOSES OF OUR PIRESENT so I, EMNITY.
I. In considering the CAUSES OF THE REDEEMERS JOY on this occasion, we may trace it,
1. To THE FERVENCY, of His zEAL, FoR THE 1DIVINE GLORY. This is particularly, expressed, in the first words of the text—My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. 'What was that Will—that Work? A will and -work of mercylindeed to man, but of humiliation ..and death to himself. In his abundant love toward us, even when we were enemies, it was the purpose of the Father to restore again upon earth, that knowledge of himself and the glory of his Name, , which, through the successful temptations of the "Wicked One, sin had effaced from, the souls of , men; and to make Himself yet again, according to the very design of our creation, the object of su- preme love and delight even to our undeserving race. But how could this be effected? No attribute of the Divinity could be compromised, in any degree: that the Creator might be truly glorified, the , Divine Perfections must be preserved entire. This end could be effected only by a union of mercy and - truth, of righteousness and peace; by such means, walso, as, in their operation on the subjects of divine
grace, should produce in them the deepest consciousness of their guilt and ruin, and the liveliest gratitude for their redemption—the perfect reconciliation of their minds to God, and the glad submission of themselves thenceforth to all his dispensations. And what means could be devised adequate to such difficult, such conflicting purposes? None, we know, none less than the humiliation of the Only-begotten of the Father himself, even unto death, an accursed death, for us; and the ministration of the Holy Spirit, the fruit of his sufferings, in the souls of men. This, then, was that Will of the Father, this the Work, to do and to finish which the Son esteemed it his privilege, and more than his necessary food. It was, by the very sacrifice of Himself, to glorify among us the name of his Father—to display the adorable perfections of that God from whom we had departed—to magnify his violated Law, by illustrating in his preaching and reflecting in his own life the beauty of holiness, and by manifesting in his death the curse of transgression; and thus, by his own dying love and the love of the Father, to win us through the gracious operation of the Holy Spirit, to turn again to that God whom we offend and dishonour through sin, to lay aside the enmity of our carnal minds, and to be reconciled to him and his holy commandments, being made new creatures after the image of Him that created us; himself our peace, and our God the sole object of our praise. In all the ministrations of our Lord, we clearly discern this fervency of his zeal, to exalt alone the Father that sent him, and to captivate all hearts to him. Was the Son himself to be glorified in his work? Still it was his prayer, Father, glorify thy