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And many more believed, because of his own word; and said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying, but we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.'* They went out, while the truth was burning within them, in pursuit of the woman who had given them the first intimations of the Saviour, and the very first words that came leaping forth from their full hearts were, that they knew this to be the Saviour of the world.
2. We learn this sentiment from the character of the Saviour. His benevolence was unbounded. It was like a fountain sending forth its pure streams on every hand; like the sun shining upon the evil and upon the good; like the silent, refreshing dews of heaven upon the tender plant; like a broad, overflowing river, watering and fertilizing its banks. It was manifested in every possible form: in opening the eye to all the glories of noon; in unstopping the ear to all the music of nature; in imparting health to the sick, vigor to the infirm, liberty to the oppressed, instruction to the ignorant, food to the hungry, clothing to the naked, rest to the weary, consolation to the mourner, soundness of mind to the insane, and life to the dead. And to crown the whole, he spent his last breath in pleading with Heaven for the forgiveness of his enemies. Now could a being possessing so much love be satisfied with anything short of the salration of the whole human race? It is in vain to say that he had such a desire in the days of his flesh, and does not possess it now he has ascended to the
* John iv. 40–42.
Father. For he is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever.' Immutability is one of the crowning excellencies of the Saviour of the world. Besides, is heaven the place for benevolence to grow cold? Can the compassionate Saviour desire less in his exalted state than when on earth, bearing our nature, and mingling his sympathies with the afflicted and disconsolate?
By mercy's hand upheld,
Firmly his purpose stands :
What kindness moved his hands!
Now, raised to realms above,
Where boundless mercies shine,
Forget this heart of mine?
IlI. The certainty of salvation. On this proposition, our remarks will be very brief; for many of the passages which assert the extent of salvation speak equally positive respecting its certainty. One is asserted as plainly as the other. Indeed, the moment we admit a Saviour, we must admit the absolute cer tainty of his mission. Are not the means as certain as the end? Where a failure exists, there must be either a want of power, or wisdom, or disposition. Now it cannot be said that Jesus is wanting in either. During his whole ministry, we find his wisdom equal to any emergency; he is never foiled in any of his plans, or entrapped by the cunning of his enemies.
He meets and overthrows their plots with a single word. We see the mightiest exhibitions of power. Disease in every form flies before him. The graves open at his word.
The winds and the waves become calm at his approach. Indeed, the physical, intellectual, and moral departments of creation were perfectly within his control. And that every doubt might be removed from the minds of his followers, he came, just on the eve of his ascension, and spake unto them, saying, 'All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.'
In the days of Jesus, there seems to have been no doubt on this point. When the Apostles became finally convinced that their Master was the true Messiah, they reposed the utmost confidence in him as the Saviour of the world. It remained for a later age to dispute that point. The faith of the great Apostle was so strong and clear that he even contemplated the work as finished. "For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted which did put all things under him.'* Mark the singularity of the exception! The Apostle ranges the universe, and in faith sees every being subdued to the Saviour of the world. Then he pauses for a moment, and makes an exception, not of a single human being, but God himself!
But we need not dwell on a point so plain. If, in the final winding up of the great drama of human existence, all are not saved, then Jesus cannot wear upon his crown, in eternity, the broad, blazing title of the SaviouR OF THE WORLD! If he fails, then the great plan of redemption lies unfinished before the eye.
* 1 Cor. xv. 27.
of God and the universe forever! And what a failure! It is not that of a human being, but of a God! The desire of the righteous is not granted ! The blood of Christ is shed in vain! Angels cease forever to rejoice at the return of the sinner! Their golden harps remain untuned to the song of redeeming love! Darkness, gloom, despair, sorrow, settle down upon God's universe forever! Can this be? Heaven forbid! No. It cannot be. For we have seen, and do testify, that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.'
Before the world was made,
Or sun or planets shone,
In God's anointed Son,
Hail, all-triumphant hour
In which my Saviour rose!
My soul, forget thy woes.
Behold my Servant, whom I have chosen ; my beloved, in whom
my soul is well pleased : I will put my Spirit upon him, and he shall show judgment to the Gentiles.'
Matt. xii. 18.
This word is applied to the Saviour in ten instances. It is the same word that is used for slave; but then a servant differs materially from a slave, for the one performs the work assigned to him with the concurrence of his own will, but the other must fulfil his task whether he will or not. His will is absorbed in that of his master, without a right of calling it in question. Of course we are not to view our Saviour in that sense, for though he came to perform the will of the Father, yet there was a perfect harmony between them both, and such a union as the world never has seen in any other instance whatever.
The motto is taken from a passage in Isaiah, quoted by our Lord himself. This whole subject may be embraced under three heads.
I. A servant must not create his message.
III. He must do his duty, whether his message is received or not.
I. A servant must not create his message. · Jesus said, 'For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will, that of all which he hath