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will not talk much with you; for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.'
He was thinking, no doubt, of His approaching agony, when Satan would make a last effort to shake His confidence, and to stop Him in His great work of mercy. .
And well would it be for us, if, when the Tempter comes to us, we could say, · He hath nothing in me, nothing that the Evil One can lay hold of, nothing for him to feed upon, no room in my heart for him to enter in, and take possession. Why is it that we so often yield to temptation ? Is it not because Satan finds something within us that he can take advantage of, some door left open by which he may enter in? You know well enough, that if there is straw left upon the floor, a single spark will set it on fire. And so if sinful inclinations and desires are allowed to exist within us, the Tempter will soon kindle them, and lead us into some act of sin.
Therefore, I say, it is well to be so prepared, and to have our sinful affections
so kept under, that when Satan comes, he has nothing in us.
In the last verse our Lord tells His disciples that what He was now going to do and to suffer was in obedience to His Father's will; and that from love to Him He was ready to meet the worst; That
· the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave me commandment, so I do.' Ah, how meekly, how lovingly, how
, cheerfully, did Jesus submit to His Father's will! 'I have a baptism,' He said, “to be
! baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished !' 'I delight to do Thy will, O God!' And if we have the same love in our hearts, we shall also be ready to do the will of God, however difficult it may be to us.
And we shall be filled with the same earnest desire to glorify Him, either in life or in death.
St. John, 111. 1–15.
There was a inan of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews : the same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God : for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old ? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born ? Jesus answered, Verily, verily I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water, and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth ; so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be ? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things ? Verily, verily I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen ; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not ; how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things ? And no man
hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man who is in heaven. Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
In the passage of Scripture chosen for the Gospel of today Nicodemus is brought before us; the nature of his visit to our Lord is mentioned; and also the stirring truths which Jesus declared to him. Nicodemus was a Jew. He belonged
. to the sect of the Pharisees, and was a ruler—a member, that is, of the Jewish Council. He was a man therefore of some importance in his nation.
But new views and feelings had lately come over him regarding Christ. Though the Pharisees were almost to a man decided opposers of Jesus and His doctrines, he saw things differently from the rest of his brethren. He felt in his heart a yearning after something which the Jewish religion could not give him, and he longed to know Christ, and to become acquainted with the truths which He proclaimed.
Having therefore ascertained where Jesus was, he steals out in the dusk, with fear and trembling, lest his feelings about the Saviour should be suspected by his brethren. He obtains the desired interview with Christ; and we are here told what passed between them.
Nicodemus begins by expressing his great respect for our Lord; 'Rabbi (or Master), we know that Thou art a teacher come from God; for no man can do these miracles that Thou doest except God be with him.'
Now, Jesus was aware of everything that had passed through the mind of Nicodemus, and knew that he was quite prepared to welcome all that He might say to him. Therefore at once, and without any loss of time, He placed before him some of the most important doctrines of the Gospel.
He began by telling him that all who would belong to His kingdom must experience such a change of heart, as would make them love His service ; Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again (or_born from above) he cannot see the kingdom of God.' This was a new truth to Nicodemus, and it somewhat staggered him. He seems at