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conclusion was a very natural one. “Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.” But ere she left him, the dim twilight which now flashed across her mind, grew into clear, bright, full day-light. And the conviction on her mind now was that He was the Christ. And the feeling of reverence induced by the thought of His being a prophet, ripened into extasy, at the soul-inspiring thought of his being the Messiah. By this time the disciples had returned from the city, and in her newly inkindled joy, the woman of Samaria left her water-pot at the well, and went into the city, and told the inhabitants what she had seen and heard, and requested them to come with her, to see and hear for themselves, saying, “Is not this the Christ? " Let us meditate on this earnest and important question, as it brings up before us some of the most important events connected with our Lord's person, character, and work,
Apply this question to His Descent. The first promise of a Saviour, although sufficiently explicit with regard to the work He had to do, the struggle it would cost, and the triumphant issue to which it would be brought, was inexplicit with regard to the time of His coming, and the honoured offshoot of the parent stock from which he should spring. But as time rolled on, the promise was renewed, and made more definite. If we come down two thousand one hundred years, we find Abraham is called, and being the most distinguished man of his age, for faith in God, and obedience to His commands, he was honoured with a renewal of the promise made to our first parents. “In thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed." Genesis xii. 3.
But the promise would have been indefinite still, if Isaac had not been mentioned, as the son in whom all the families of the earth should be blessed. God said, " In Isaac shall thy seed be called.” Genesis xxi. 12.
Isaac had two sons, Esau and Jacob, and if God's choice': had not fallen upon and been made known to Jacob, the twin brothers might have disputed, which had the best right to the promise made to Abraham their grandfather,
and repeated to laaac their father. But God said to Jacob, at Bethel, “ In thee and in thy seed, shall all the families of the earth be blessed." Genesis xxviii. 14.
And it might have been the same with Jacob's twelve sons, each might have urged his claim, oue on this, another on that, and a third on some other plea, if Judah's tribe had not been mentioned, as that from which the Saviour should descend. Genesis xlxix. 10.
Upwards of one thousand years passed away and the voice of prophecy was again heard, announcing the descent of the long expected Messiah. Isaiah xi. 1. Great honour was conferred on the house of Jesse, two hundred years before, when it furnished the throne of Judah with a king, in the person of David, that throne being vacant by the death of Saul and his sons, who were defeated and slain on the fatal mountains of Gilboa by the Philistines. But it was still more honoured when the rod came forth in the person of Christ. “The root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” The agreement between those predictions and the descent of Him who sat weary and thirsty on the mouth of Jacob's well, is so perfect, that we cannot resist the force of the question, “ Is not this the Christ?"
Apply this question to His Birth. First as to time. The time of Messiah's coming was clearly foretold in Jacob's prophetic blessing to his son Judah, chap. 49th verse 10th. From the time that David ascended the throne, until Herod the Great became king of Judea, Judah’s line never once failed to supply Judah with a king or a governor. But now the sceptre had entirely departed. During the last year of Herod's reign, it being a time of taxing, Joseph and Mary went up to Bethlehem, the city of David, to whose lineage Joseph belonged, to be taxed; but Bethlehem was so crowded, that the humble pair from Nazareth could find no better shelter than a stable. And here Mary was delivered of her first-born. Don't despise the parents, or their innocent child, because of the unseemliness of the place. First look at that bright and beautiful star which is shining
over the humble place, and then enter the stable. You will find several persons there, but you will soon see which two are the parents, because they are looking with deep and tender affection into a manger, which holds the infant stranger. But who are those persons bent in lowly prostration around the manger cradle ?-worshipping the young child, and opening their treasuries, to present gifts of gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. They are wise men from “the East,” who were told by an angel, in their own country, of the birth of the child before them, and guided by the star shining over the stable, they came all the way to Bethlehem, to see Him and worship Him.
But why do they worship Him? The answer is, “Is not this the Christ? Secondly, as to time. It had been predicted, that He should be born in Bethlehem Ephratah. Micah v. 2.
The claims of Christ could not have been regarded as valid, settled beyond dispute, if His birthplace did not agree with that of the promised Deliverer.
Such a discrepancy would have been laid hold of by His enemies, and urged as a demonstrative proof of the falsity of His pretentions and the groundlessness of His claims. But since His birthplace was Bethlehem Ephratah, if His claims are disputed at all, it must not be on the ground of His birthplace. “Is not this the Christ ? ”
Apply this question to His Life. How poor, despised, and persecuted, was the son of Joseph and Mary of Nazareth. And yet how high, and some have said, proud and blasphemous were His claims, calling Himself the Son of God, and Israel's long expected king. But His very poverty, rejection, and persecution, instead of disproving His claims, iterate the question, “ Is not this the Christ.” And they are, at the same time, the best affirmative to their own interrogative. This is the Christ, for of Him it was predicted, “He is despised and rejected of men,
man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” Isaiah liii. 3.
Apply this question to His Baptism. Many, believing John to be a prophet, heard His doctrines, and came to
him for baptism. But on a certain day, a person came to John to be baptised, but John hesitated, not because he was unfit, but because John felt himself unworthy to baptise him. The bystanders were doubtless not a little surprised, to hear the Baptist say, “I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?" strange words, and uttered in a tone of deep reverence.
Who can this be? What is His dignity ? and above all, what is the purity of His zeal ? Again they listen, and hear His reply to John, but their surprise is increased, rather than diminished, “Suffer it to be so now, for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.” “ And John suffered Him." The baptised one went out of the Jordan, and something was seen descending from heaven, and as it came nearer, it resembled a dove, and it lighted upon Him. What can it mean? What can it be the symbol of ? are questions, no sooner asked, than a voice, so solemn and full of majesty, that all who hear it, know it to be the voice of God, says, “ This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased." “ Is not this the Christ ?”
Apply this question to His temptation in the wilderness. Who is this person alone, in so solitary a place ? No, not quite alone, for although not visible to human sight, there is some one with Him, with whom He is engaged in fierce conflict. Having fasted forty days, and forty nights, He is hungry, His invisible tempter tells him to command the stones of the wilderness to be made bread. But the tempted one resists. He is now led into the city, and set on a pinnacle of the temple, and is tempted to cast Himself down, that angels may bear him up in their hands. But He is still unmoved. And now as a last resort, the tempter taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, saying "all these will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” But the tempted one does not yield. Who this, to withstand for so long a time even forty days, so powerful an enemy, one who found it much easier to tempt large numbers of angels, to rebel against their Maker, and who in a much briefer space, succeeded in seducing from their allegiance to God our first parents? He who withstood him, by whom both angels and men fell, is the Christ.
(To be concluded in our next.)
FANNY AND AMY.
In a great city, not many years ago, in a pleasant house facing one of the Parks, lived two little girls, named Fanny and Amy. They had another sister, but she was a great deal older; and they had several brothers, but the two little girls were the youngest of the house, the pets of brothers and sister. These sisters, Fanny and Amy, did not resemble each other in appearance. Fanny, who was nine years old, had eyes blue as the sky; her cheeks were as round and rosy as the sunny side of a peach; her hair curled around her face and neck, and in the sunlight it looked like gold, so rich and beautiful was its colour. She was a joyous, happy-looking child, quick in all her movements, intending to do right, but alas ! often forgetting, and thus grieving the hearts of those who loved her. Amy, precious, holy Amy! had neither Fanny's blue eyes, nor golden hair, nor rosy cheeks. She was exceedingly beautiful ; but it was a beauty not of earth, though she was very fair to look upon. Her features were regular,--her eyes, large, dreamy, hazel, gazelle-like in their softness. No colour ever varied the marble whiteness of her cheek and brow, ! She was a child of God, and it was almost as if He had impressed His own signet upon her countenance, making it lovely as the face of an angel. Fanny was the picture of health ---Amy was delicate and slender; and friends, as they gazed upon her sweet face, and her temples, where the blue veins looked through the transparent skin, felt in their inmost hearts she would not long be spared to them.
In the summer of Amy's seventh year, it was thought best for her to pass a few months with an aunt in a distant and beautiful country town. So with many tears, and