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" In love to serve one another." Its being done at a time when.“ Jesus knew that his hour was come, that he should depart out of this world unto the Father," renders it additionally impressive. It was the same night in which he was betrayed ; a night in which it might have been ! thought, his own approaching trials would have engrossed his whole attention : yet then, he was fully employed in hehalf of others ; setting an example of brotherly affection, ordaining a standing memorial of his death, fortifying, by a speech full of unparalleled consolation, the hearts of his disciples, and commending them to the care of God His Father. « Surely, he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows;" not only in making his soul an offering for sin, but in every step that led on to that awful crisis.
Laying aside his garments, he took a towel, girded himself with it, poured the water into a bason, and went from one to another, performing the work of a menial servant. When it caine to Peter's turn, his feelings revolted at the idea. .“ Lord,” saith he, viewing his dignity on the one hand, and his own insignificancy on the other, “ dost THOU wash my fect!" Jesus answered, “What I do, thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter :"Intinating, that he had a reason for so doing; which, though it might not be manifest at present, would at a future time be rendered plain. “Nay,” saith Peter, almost indignantly, " thou shalt never wash my feet!" As though he had said, This is too much; and what I can never submit to!
Jesus answered him, “ If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me."What! If he washed not his fect'? No, his soul, from the pollution of sin, Transitions like this, from things natural to things spiritual, were usual with our Saviour. Thus, when he had healed a blind man, he took occasion to observe, “ For judgment I am come into this world, that they who sce not, may see; and that they who sce, may be made blind." The answer in the present instance, was to this effect:" Dost thou account it too great a stoop for me to wash thy feetLet une tell thee, I must stoop lower than this, or woc be to thee! I must cleanse thec froin a defilemento much more loathsome than this, or thou canst have no part with me in my kingdom."
Peter perceiving now that he spake of the purifying of his soul from sið, suddenly changed lris tone. « Lord, saith lio, "not my icet only, but also my hands and my
head. Q. d. If this be thy meaning, I know that I need to be cleansed throughout.
Jesus saith to him, “He that is washed, needeth not save to wash bis feet; but is clean every whit; and ye are clean, but not all.” As it is sufficient for persous who have bathed their bodies in the stream, to wash off the detilement attached to their feet by walking on the shore; so they that have believed in Christ, shall never come into condemnation, and need not the repetition of a passing from death to life ; 'but merely an application for the pardon of their daily sins. Such was the character of all The disciples, except Judas, who, notwithstanding his profession, was yet in his sins, ;
.. Froin this interesting conversation, we are taught 'several important truths.
1. We may sin against Christ, under a show of inodesty and reverence for his name. There is no doubt, but that Peter's first objection sprang from these motives 14 and had he yielded to the first answer, perhaps he had been blameless; but to resist, after he was assured that his *Lord had a good reason for what he did, though he at present did not comprehend it, was setting up his own wisdom and will against his. Nor was this the first instance in which Peter was guilty of so doing. When our Saviour spake of going up to Jerusalem, and of suffering many things, and being killed, and rising again the third day, he rebuked him, saying, “ Be it far from three, Lord ; this shall not be unto thee." In all this he “savoured not the things that were of God, but the things that were of men.”.vn
There is much of this spirit in our self-righteous objections to the grace of the Gospel, and self-willed oppositions to Christ's revealed will. One pleads, That salvation by mere grace is dishonourable to God's inoral government: but let him know, from the example of Peter, that there - may be a regard to Christ's honour, which he doth not require at our hands; and that we should act much more becoming by acquiescing in his will, than by obtruding OUP own conceits in opposition to it. Another alleges, It is too much for a sinner so unworthy as I am, to trope for so great salvation. But can you do with less ? and
is it the comparatively worthy that mercy delighteth to · honour? True wisdoin will fall in with that way of honouring God, which is revealed in the Gospel; and genuine inodesty will not dispute with the Saviour, but
humbly take hiin at his word. And the same spirit' that receives his grace without hesitation, will obey his precepte without delay: not asking why, or wherefore, the Lord requireth this, but accounting it our meat and drink, to do his will.
2. A cordial and practical acquiescence in the way of salvation, through the blood of Christ, is necessary to a participation of his benefits. It may seem rather singular, that Christ should suspend his blessing on his own act - If Iwash thee "nat, &c. but that act; supposes the concurrence of the party. He stood ready to wash Peter, and stands ready to wash the foulest of sinners. If, therefore, they be not washed, it is owing to their preference of pollution, or their self-righteous objections to the way of being cleansėd. To feel ourselves entirely polluted, and ready to perish; to despair of being cleansed by any thing that we can perform, or ; work ourselves up to; to place no dependence 'on prayers or tears, on our bitterest repentance or most
unfeigned faith, considered as acts of holiness; and to arepair altogether, „vile as we are, to the blood of Jesus, as to, a fountain set open for sin and for uncleanness : this is the hinge of true religion; without which, we shall have no interest with him in his benefits, nor portion with him' in his heavenly kingdom. If we come not to hiin as polluted sinners to be washed, our iniquities are still upon our head; and if we dte in this state, they will go down with us to the grave, - rise with us at the resurrection, be found upon us at judgment, and for ever bar those gates against us, through which nothing unclean can enter. In this case, so far as we are concerned, the Saviour might as well bave never come into the world, nor have laid down his life:— nay, better; for if our filthiness be found upon us at the last day, it will be the bitterest of all aggravations, that the kingdoin of Christ has been nigh unto us.
3. Though the believer who hath passed from death to life, shall never come into condemnation ; yet he standeth in need of continual cle:using from his daily de
filements. The notion that it is inconsistent for a believer - to pray for the pardon of his sins, is contrary to the express directions of Christ, and to the exainples of the godly in all ages. It belongs to a“ Life of Faith on the Son of God;" and without it, whatever self-Hattering ideas we may entertain, we are dead while we live i and in whatever degree wecome short of such a life, wearing away
our transgressions by forgetfulness, instead of washing
To the Editor,
try; and a certain facetious gentleman did her the ho. nour of a funeral-hymn : yet, I have lately been credibly informed, she is either still alive, or, what is more to be regretted, has been raised from the dead, and is now very busy among various clenominations of our fellow-christians.
It is, indeed, easy to deceive ourselves that we are dead to the interests of a party, while we are zealously pursuing it under another name. We may not profess hostility to any denomination of professing christians; but, while we dignify our own connexion exclusively with the honourable name of the Interest of Christ, we shall naturally look upon all others as rival, if not hostile interests.
I trust, indeed, the Lord Jesus has an interest among us all; and that the Episcopalian, the Dissenting, and the Methodist interests are all, in a measure, Christ's A thou. sand accidental circumstances, inore frequently than deliberate enquiry, determine us to the one or the other, and we do well to seek to glorify God and do good in our own line; but must we therefore quarrel with our brethren! This, I presume, is our infirmity; and if it cannot be wholly cured in this imperfect state, it should be remedied as far as possible, and our minds fortified against it. With this view, suffer me to offer a few hints, as subjects of reflection.
1. No interest is strictly Christ's, but that of vital practical religion.
2. All our distinct interests are so far Christ's, as they promote this great object, and no farther.
3. Vital and practical religion is certainly to be found in most denominations, at least of Protestants; and that, in inore or less instances, in a high and eminent degree. i
4. Different forins of religion may variously affect dif. ferent minds. It does not follow, that because a particular form of prayer has an effect on my mind favourable to deFotion, by fixing my thoughts and aiding my expression, that therefore it would have the same effect on my dissent
ing neighbour: his mind, in some measure, may be formed in another inould; and he may find written forms like fetters to his devotion.
Lastly. We should estimate our differences in proporrion as they affect the vitals of our religion. To give an instance :- My clerical brother, at the next church, prays by the same book that I do; wears the same robes ; and is a member of the same establishment: but then he degrades my adorable Redeemer, despises his precious atonement, derides the influence of his Holy Spirit, can I take this man into my bosom? can I bind him to my heart? Ah no; our interests are not only different; but they are opposite, and it is in vain to talk of union. - But here is my dissenting brother: it is true he will not pray from my book, nor wear my gown: he sits when I kneel, and differs from me in some other forms: but then he loves and adores the same JESUS-le trusts the same atopement-he iinplores the same Spirit--he preaches the same gospel, and aims at the same end, the salvation of sinners. In short, our object, our interest, is but oneand that is CHRIST; and it either of our labours shall be blessed to the conversion of a sinner, God forbid we should quarrel, whether he shall go to the steeple-house or meeting-louse!
: Yours, &c. CLERICUS.
THE TRUE VINE.
JOHN XV. 1 . " How beautifully,” said Juvenis to Eusebius, “ how
do beautifully does that vine shoot its branches around the window of your study! and, what is best, its blossoins seein to promise you a rich supply of fruit." --You are mistaken, iny young friend, said Eusebius, that is not the best of it; this vine often leads me to contemplations far more delectable to me than the choicest grapes, or the most delicious wine.-" How so, Sir?” was the reply?- Eusebius, whose mind was formed after the model of his divine Master, and delighted to spiritualize every object that presented itself before hiin, took this text froin the book of Nature, and preached Jesus to his friend Juvenis, and to Aspasia * his companion.
" That vine, whose luxurious branches and fragrant blossoms, so beautifully decorate my window, often leads my reflections to the True Vine a character which you