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knew him not 1."
darkness, and the
He "shone in the darkness compre
hended him not." And yet his deep powers of penetration were declared, his clear insight into the hearts of all men was manifest, when he pronounced Nathanael an Israelite indeed, pure and guileless, from having read his thoughts while he sat beneath the fig-tree. And the same faculty was often exhibited, by his answering those injurious things which his enemies only "said within themselves 2," and removing those doubts and hesitations to which his friends had not given utterance 3.
When Nathanael found that Christ possessed this power, he exclaimed at once," Rabbi, thou art the Son of God, thou art the King of Israel +." Does it convey to us any evidence of divinity? Let us see in what terms the Scriptures speak of it, and to whom they attribute it. In the excellent advice which David addresses to Solomon (you will find it,
2 Matt. ix. 3.-Luke vii. 49. * John i. 49.
1 John i. 10.
my brethren, in the xxviiith chapter of the 1st book of Chronicles), he speaks thus, "And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart, and a willing mind, for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts." This same David addresses the Lord as the Being who has searched him out, and known him, and understood his thoughts long before they were uttered'. Job says, that from God no thought can be withholden. And the prophet Amos writes, "Lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought, is the Lord, the God of hosts is his name
The knowledge of the thoughts, then, is an attribute of the supreme Deity. But here in the Gospel, every statement of which is true, we find Jesus Christ searching all hearts, and understanding all the imaginations of the thoughts, we
1 Psalm cxxxix. 1, 2.
2 Amos iv. 13.
find Jesus Christ knowing the thoughts long before, and declaring unto man what his thought is; we find him, in short, knowing what is in man, and needing not that any should tell him. should tell him. And what are
we to conclude? Is not this the Son of God? Is it not God manifest in the flesh? He heareth that, to which it would be vain for mortal ear to listen. be any other than he who planted the ear? He seeth that which hath ever been invisible to mortal eye; shall he who made the eye do more? He knoweth the thoughts of man ;" is not this he who gave man every sense, and teacheth man all knowledge.
We drew the same inference from that part of Christ's conversation with the woman of Sychar which evinced his knowledge of all things whatsoever she had done. And I repeat it in this place, that you may perceive, my brethren, that the all-important doctrine of the divinity of Jesus Christ does not rest upon the mere assertion of certain passages of Scripture, (however direct and explicit, and there
fore satisfactory, such assertions may be), but is necessarily implied in numberless other places, so that there are few pages of the Bible in which it is not to be found, either conveyed by necessary inference, or plainly and openly taught.
But now, to turn once more from argument to practice. It has been adduced as a peculiar excellence of the Christian religion, that it lays so much stress on the government of the thoughts. We are shown, that by so doing it goes to the root of all evil at once. We are reminded in the language and according to the significant illustration of Holy Writ, that if the fountain be made pure, pure also will be every stream that flows from it; that if the heart may be made clean, the tongue will utter neither defilement nor deceit, the hands will execute no wickedness. Nothing can be more true than all this. Nothing can be more true, than that it is an excellency, and a characteristic excellency of the Gospel, that it goes at once to the seat of sin, and would stifle it at its birth. But we must remember,
that we are not commanded to purify the fountain only that the streams may be pure we are not enjoined to cleanse the thoughts of our hearts, only to prevent the exhibition of sin in our words and actions. But the heart must be attended to for its own sake-" out of it are the issues of life "" in a fuller sense than we are accustomed to understand that expression. If it be essential that the waters of the stream be clear-is it of no importance whether or no the spring itself be unpolluted ?—In the estimation of men, it may be because they see it not till it breaks forth from the rock, and if by any means it has been rendered in its passage fit for their use and purposes, they need care or seek no farther. If the outward actions of a man be such in every way, as the exigences of society require-if every duty be fulfilled, and every moral restraint observed unbroken-it is not perhaps in the province of man to inquire from what motives, by what secret springs such conduct
1 Prov. iv. 23.