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By the water which he offered her, he meant the Holy Ghost
[The Holy Spirit is often represented in the scriptures under the figure of water-It is he of whom the prophet Isaiah speaks when he says, that God will pour out water upon thirsty souls Ezekiel also explains himself as referring to him, when he promises to the church, in Jehovah's name, that clean water should be sprinkled on them to cleanse them from their pollutions-We are taught by God himself to put this interpretation on similar expressions used by our LordBy the help of these passages we ascertain beyond a doubt the import of that before us- -]
This water he had full authority to give
[Jesus had not received the Spirit by measure only, like other prophets"-He had the residue of the Spirit abiding in hime Yea, he had all the fulness of the Godhead dwelling in him bodily-As mediator he was commissioned and empowered to bestow this Spirits-Hence he frequently arrogated to himself this power-He actually exerted it while he continued upon earth-and in a more abundant measure after his exaltation to heaven-The effusion of the Spirit on the day of pentecost is expressly ascribed to him-Hence we may understand why the Holy Ghost is so emphetically called the Spirit of Christ—]
To excite her desire after it he proceeded to set before her,
II. The properties it possesses
Contrasting it with that which he had solicited at her hands, he told her it was
1. Satisfying in its nature
[Water from an earthly spring will quench the thirst only for a short time-Nor will it at all allay our appetite for other things-The men of this world are insatiable in their desire after the vanities of time and sense-The more they have of pleasure, riches, or honour, the more they want. But a draught of this living water will satisfy the soul-Of this heavenly spring indeed, all who have once tasted, will
a Isai. xliv. 3. b Ezek. xxxvi. 25-27. e John vii. 37-39. d John iii. 34. e Mal. ii. 15.
f Col. i 19. and ii. 9.
g Ps. Ixviii. 18 with Eph. iv. 8. and Acts ii. 33. He received in order that he might give.
h Thrice did he claim this authority in his conversation with the Samaritan woman, and often afterwards in the plainest terms. John xv. 26. and xvi. 7. 14 i John xx. 22. 11 Pet. i. 11. m Job xx. 22.
Acts ii. 33. before cited.
wish to drink again-Yea, they will pant after it as the hart after the water-brooks-But their desire of earthly things will be greatly abated-The consolations of the Spirit will be regarded as the only satisfying portion"-And they make every thing else appear insipid, as the beholding of the meridian sun will obscure the splendor of all inferior objects°—]
2. Heavenly in its tendency
[The supplies of water in "a well" are constant and uniform-So the Spirit operates in the heart of man-There will indeed be seasons when his operations will be less manifest
But he will always reside in us as a principle of life3—He will excite holy and heavenly affections in our breasts-He will keep heaven itself in our view-And the one aim of all his motions will be to lead us to everlasting life-Nor, if we cherish his motions, will he fail of bringing us to the possession of it-]
1. How glorious a person must Christ be!
[The Holy Spirit is God equal with the Father-Yet Christ has power to send him into our hearts-He can as easily bestow him on us, as we can give a cup of water from a spring-Even though the whole world should ask him, he could impart the Spirit to all of them at the same instant". Let us then entertain worthy thoughts of him-And look to him for constant supplies of this living water-]
2. How earnest should we be in our application for this heavenly gift!
[The worldly man is indefatigable in his pursuit of earthly vanities-But which of them can be compared with this living water. Which of them can give us life? or satisfy the soul? or bring us to glory?-0 that we might thirst after this, and this alone! Then would the invitations of Christ be precious to our souls-And we should speedily receive his promised blessings-]
3. How dead ought we to be to all earthly things!
[Our Lord represents all who have received his Spirit as thirsting no more-Hence we can have no evidence that we have drunk of the living waters, but in proportion as our thirst for other things is abated.-Let those, who profess to have the Spirit dwelling in them, consider this-The scriptures that confirm this truth are numberless.2-May God im
n Isai. lv. 2.
Gal. iv. 6. Eph. i. 14.
Acts v. 3. 4. u See notes c and ".
• Ps. lxxiii. 25. Phil. iii. 7, 8.
y Rev. xxii. 17. z Isai. xli. 17, 18.
a Jam. iv. 4. John ii. 15-17. Rom. viii. 9.
P John xiv. 16, 17.
s Rom. viii. 13, 14.
* Phil. i. 19. and John i. 16.
press them deeply on our hearts!-Let the world then be crucified unto us, and us unto the world-And if we would indeed be found partakers of Christ, let us both live in the Spirit and walk in the Spirit-]
b Gal. vi. 14.
e Gal. v. 24, 25.
CCXXIII. THE BEAM AND THE MOTĘ.
Matt. vii. 3-5. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
OBSERVATION and experience shew, that the less any person is acquainted with his own infirmities the more he will be disposed to censure the infirmities of othersBut as such a disposition is totally repugnant to that love which Christianity inculcates, our Lord cautioned his hearers against it, and taught them, in the parable before us, to scrutinize and reform themselves before they presumed to take upon themselves the office of censuring and reclaiming others.
In this parable we may observe,
I. The evil of censoriousness
Censoriousness is a compound of pride and malice-It originates in an high conceit of our own worth, and a desire to reduce others to a level with ourselves, or to a state below us.-It is an evil,
1. Injurious to our neighbour
[Every person values his reputation, and esteems the loss of it as a great misfortune-But in judging any man with severity, or exposing needlessly his faults, we rob him of his good name, and impoverish him without enriching ourselves.
-How injurious such conduct is we may see, if we will only consider what we feel when we are rigorously or unjustly censured-The sensibility we manifest, and the keen resentment we express, are sufficient indications of the injury which we suppose ourselves at least to have sustained-]
2. Insulting to our God
[God claims it as his prerogative to judge-As he alone is privy to all the circumstances of any case, he alone can judge of it aright-Besides, he has appointed a day wherein he will display his righteousness, in awarding to every one a judgment suited to his real character: and he requires us to defer our judgment till that time-But in taking upon ourselves to censure and condemn others we invade his prerogative, we usurp his power, we set ourselves in his throne, we supersede, or anticipate at least, his judgment-In this light censoriousness is often stated by God himself: and an holy endignation is invariably expressed against those who shall presume to indulge it3]
3. Hypocritical in itself
[The man who censures others professes an high regard for virtue, and a zeal for the honour of God-But what regard has he for virtue who does not cultivate it in his own soul? or what zeal has he for the honour of God, who does not bring his own heart into an obedience to his will?-Even supposing that he were not himself notoriously faulty in other respects (which supposition however will never be found true) how flagrant is his breach of duty at the very instant he pretends such a regard for duty!-He violates the most acknowledged principle of common equity; he acts not to others as in a change of circumstances he would think it right for them to act towards him; and therefore at the very instant he condemns others, he unwittingly condemns himself Who does not see the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, who were indignant with our Lord for working miracles on the sabbath, while they themselves were conspiring against his life? Such, in their degree, are all they, who are offended with a mote in their brother's eye while they have a beam in their ownWell therefore does our Lord address them by that humiliating appellation, "Thou hypocrite"-]
Our Lord having exposed the unreasonableness and impiety of this sin, subjoins
II. Advice to those who are addicted to it
The evil here reprobated is but too common and that too, even among the professors of religion: yea, perhaps, (their profession not being sufficiently tempered with humility and love) they are more exposed to it than others, from a mistaken idea, that their professed regard for reli
a Rom. xiv. 10. 1 Cor. iv. 5.
Rom. xiv. 4. Jam. iv. 11, 12. and ii. 13.
gion entitles them, as it were, to the office of censors. But to every one who has been guilty of it we should say,
1. Consider your own great and manifold infirmities
[There is no greater antidote to censoriousness than this -While we continue ignorant of ourselves, we shall consider our own faults as few and venial, and shall be disposed to magnify whatever we may see amiss in others—But a knowledge of our own hearts will convince us that if there is a mote in our brother's eye, there is a beam in our own"-We may conceive many extenuating circumstances that may lessen the enormity of his conduct; but we shall know many aggravating circumstances, to which God and ourselves alone are privy, which may serve to heighten our guilt, and to humble us as the very chief of sinners-When the woman taken in adultery was brought to our Lord, he bade those of her accusers who were without sin to execute the law upon herWe all know the effect which a conviction of their own personal guilt produced upon them—Thus shall we also drop the atone which we have taken up to cast at our neighbour, when once we are acquainted with our own vileness-]
2. Recollect the relation in which he, whom you would condemn, stands to you
[As every person wishes to conceal his own faults, so he will be ready to extenuate the faults of those who are near and dear to him-We do not usually hear men descanting on the infirmities of their parents or children, their wife or brethren-Now the person, whom the calumniator would traduce, is his brother-No less than thrice in the short space of the text is this endearing appellation given to our neighbour. -Is he not entitled then from this consideration to some portion of that regard which we pay to our more immediate relatives? Should we officiously pry into his defects? Should we presume to criminate his motives? Should we judge of his general character by a single act; or take an instance or two of indiscretion, and consider them as fixed and accustomed habits? Surely our "brother" should receive far different treatment at our hands-We should cast a veil over his infirmities, and exercise towards him that charity which hopeth all things and believeth all things—]
3. Purge your own heart from evil, that you may be the better qualified to reprove or advise others as occasion shall require
c John viii. 7. 9.
[As persons who dispense the laws must of necessity pass judgment on those who are brought before them, so must all
d 1 Pet. iv. 8. 1 Cor. xiii. 7.