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example that we should follow His steps, it is needful to remember that it was not merely for the purpose of setting a perfect example before mankind that He came down from heaven. This He necessarily did, when He dwelt with men on earth, since He was without sin. He knew no sin, He did no sin, sin was not in Him. His own account of His design in coming into our world was, The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost 18 to give His life a ransom for many.19 We were lost to God, lost to eternal happiness. To restore us to the blessings which by sin we had forfeited, He graciously assumed our nature, that as our kinsman Redeemer, our Surety, He might perfectly obey the law of God which man had broken, and suffer the penalty due to the transgression of it, which man had incurred. Until we are convinced of our lost condition by nature, it is in vain that we are called upon to imitate the holy conduct of the Lord Jesus Christ. Until, from a sense of our miserable and perishing state by nature, we have fled for refuge20 to Jesus Christ as the only Saviour of lost sinners, without believing in whom we must be undone for ever, it is of little use that the example of Christ is set before us for our imitation. However we may profess to admire it, we shall not be influenced by it to holiness of heart and life. Until the cry of the awakened conscience be, Lord, save, or I perish, the beauty of holiness will not be perceived. Until the love of Christ, the Redeemer, be shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost,» there can be no constraining principle which will cause us to live to the glory of God. This constitutes the great, the important distinction between one man and another, and this will make the essential difference between men at the bar of God: He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; but he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.22 All who truly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, as the Saviour of lost sinners and the Saviour of their own souls, will love Him; and all who really love Him, will desire to be conformed to His image in holiness, and will therefore pray earnestly that the Spirit of God would sanctify them wholly, that their whole spirit, soul and body may be preserved blameless to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.23
18 Luke xix. 10. 19 Matthew xx. 28. 20 Hebrews vi. 18.
The subject of our text addresses itself especially to the young. The character and conduct of our Lord Jesus Christ in His youth is left on record in the holy Scriptures for their example and admonition. If, my young friends, you would go to heaven, you must resemble the holy child Jesus. Seek, then, Divine wisdom, and Divine grace to conform you to His blessed image. Thus you will enjoy the favour of God. Thus you will be a comfort to your parents, an ornament to the station you fill in society, and a blessing to all around you. Observe attentively the character given of the Lord Jesus in the holy Scriptures, and seek grace to enable you to imitate it. His was a lovely character. If yours be like His, it will be lovely to. May you be enabled to copy it, to the glory of God, and your own happiness and salvation.
21 Romans v. 5.
22 John iii. 36. 23 Thess. v. 23.
And let us all, young and old, like the blessed mother of Jesus, keep His sayings in our hearts. Let the word of Christ dwell in us richly in all wisdom, 24 that we may have our conversation such as becometh the gospel of Christ,95 and having our conversation in the world ordered and directed by the grace of God, may look forward in hope to the time when He who was once offered to bear the sins of many,26 shall appear again to the salvation of His redeemed people, shall come and receive them unto Himself, that where He is they may be also.
24 Colossians iii. 16.
25 Philip. i. 27. 26 Hebrews ix. 18.
SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY.
THE MARRIAGE AT CANA : AND THE WATER
TURNED INTO WINE.
John ii. 11.
THIS BEGINNING OF MIRACLES DID JESUS IN CANA OF GALILEE, AND MANIFESTED FORTH HIS GLORY : AND HIS DISCIPLES BELIEVED ON HIM.
The first miracle wrought by our Lord Jesus Christ, soon after His entrance upon His public ministry, was, it appears from these words, performed with the view of promoting His own glory; and of confirming the faith of His disciples, who had but recently attached themselves to Him. The Evangelist had given an account of the manner in which Andrew and Peter, and Philip and Nathanael had become the disciples of the Lord Jesus. It is probable that James and
John, the sons of Zebedee, had at this time also been added to their number, and perhaps some others. The glory of his Lord and Master had been spoken of by the Evangelist in the preceding chapter ; both that glory which He had with the Father before the world was, the glory of the only-begotten of the Father,27 and also that which He displayed to His disciples, of which they said, We beheld His glory. A hint respecting it was likewise given in the testimony of John the Baptist concerning Him, He who cometh after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose ; this is the Son of God: and in the address of Nathanael to Him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God, Thou art the King of Israel. 27 The Evangelist demonstrates that this was His real character, by recording the first miracle in which His Divine power was publicly displayed.
The third day after His arrival in Galilee, where it was before recorded that He intended to go, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there ; and both Jesus was called, and His disciples to the marriage. Cana was the place in which Nathanael resided. Whether it was his marriage, or that of St. John the Evangelist, (as some have supposed,) or any other of the disciples of Christ, we are not informed. But it was most probably that of
27 John i. 14, 27, 34, 49, 43.
28 John xxi. 2.