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CHRISTIAN QUIETNESS :
BY ROBERT SCOTT, M. A.
LIDDELL AND son, BODMIN: BENNICKE, LISKEARD :
HANNAFORD, EXETER : AND HEARD, TRURO.
Price 2 d. or 3s, 6d. for 20 Copies,
The following Sermon was preached by way of warning against a crying evil,—a series of (so called) REVIVALS of Religion, accompanied by such excesses as scandalized, or tempted to scoff, all who were not led away by them.
Mr. Caswall's volume on THE AMERICAN CHURCH may be referred to, in further illustration of the subject.
R. S. Duloe Vicarage, near Liskeard,
March 25, 1841.
St. John, i. 47, 48.
Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guile :
Nathanael saith unto Him, whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, before that Philip called thee, when thou wert under the fig tree, I saw thee.
THE Nathanael mentioned in this morning's lesson a has been supposed, both in ancient and modern times, to be one of our Lord's twelve Apostles. And it is very probable: for he is here described as called along with the earliest of the Apostles ; and when his name appears again, in the last chapter of St. John's Gospel, he is in company with the Apostles :--aye, in company with them as a witness of their Lord's resurrection : when He
gave to St. Peter, and through him to the other Apostles, their commission to feed His sheep.
Now, if Nathanael was an Apostle, he must be mentioned in the other Gospels under another name; just as we know that Levi is Matthew,—that Jude is Lebbëus and Thaddëus. And it has been very ingeniously shewn, that, from accidental circumstances, we can all but prove what that name was.
Not Matthew or Jude; for we have just seen their other names :—not Peter, or Andrew, or Philip; for they are named along with Nathanael in this chapter :--not James, or John, or Thomas ; for they are mentioned with him in the 21st :---not James the son of Alphëus; for he was a kinsman of our Lord, whereas Nathanael wondered how Jesus knew him :-most certainly not Judas Iscariot.
a Preached March 14.
There remain two,Simon and Bartholomew: and it is with Bartholomew that Nathanael has been identified. In which there is also this probability,---that Nathanael is a name given in circumcision, (answering to our Christian names,) and so is Simon. And this Simon had a surname, as had his namesake, Simon Peter. But Bartholomew is, itself, only a surname, like Bar-Jona, Bar-Timëus, Bar-Jesus, Bar-Abbas : it is Bar-Tholmai, son, or pupil, of Tholmai or Ptolemy : so that this man must have had some other personal name given him in circumcision, whether that name was Nathanael or not. And besides this, it is here Philip who brings Nathanael to Christ; and in the
gospels of both St. Matthew and St. Mark, the names of Philip and Bartholomew are coupled together in the list of the Apostles.”
So much, as a probable account of the Nathanael of whom our LORD speaks in the text. Let us set ourselves to consider the temper which drew down so hearty a commendation from our SAVIOUR :--a soul without guile, quiet and serene; seeking God in tranquillity of retire. ment and meditation,-in his garden,—under his fig-tree; as in the fine climate of Judea it was not unusual for holy men to seek communion with God in the
open air, apart from all converse of their fellow men. Sojourning in a town, and in the house of another, Simon Peter retired to the flat roof for the purpose. In the times of old it was thus that Isaac is mentioned as having gone out “to meditate (or pray) d in the field at the eventide, when he lifted up his eyes and saw Rebekah coming unto
b See Nelson's Festivals, and Newman's Sermons, (2, p. 368,) St.
c Acts, x, 9.
him. And when we remark that so very few things are recorded of the Patriarch Isaac's life, and see how he was honoured in being made the type of our REDEEMER, we shall not think it without some reason that a thing seemingly so trifling is mentioned of him. Trifling as it may seem, it has, in Isaac and Nathanael alike, this importance, that it marks a character: and further, we see in the cases of Isaac and Nathanael alike, a character pleasing to God. It marks a holy calm and stillness of soul, such as seeks for God not in outward bustle or inward emotion, which, at the best, is but for a time : but in an even and orderly course of service,-not of cold and formal service, indeed, but of service and worship deep and heartfelt; and, from its very depth, calm and unruffled on the surface. When God revealed Himself to Elijah, great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the LORD was not in the wind : --and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:--and after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire : and after the fire A STILL, SMALL VOICE.
And so it is not in noise and tumult, not in wind and storm, not in fire and fury, that the Spirit of the LORD reveals Himself either unto Christians, or in them : but the voice of the Spirit is a still, small voice. It was not by shouting and confused noise that the Captain of our Salvation foiled the temptations of the Evil One: it was in the depth of a solitary wilderness that he met him,—with all that was excitable, all of emotion and impulse, sobered and subdued by the endurance of a forty days' fast. Thus He, who put on our nature, that in it He might contend with the Devil, taught us how, alone, that nature can resist him; and how, therefore, we are bound to do it. And, when the Evil Spirit laid bare all his engines, to pervert and seduce, how was he rebuffed ? Was it by much speaking? Was it by clamour, and uncontrolled bursts of enthusiasm ? It was by the calm resistance of