John i. 47

Robert Hawker

" An Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile."–John i. 47.

And what are we to understand by our Lord's account, in this short but sweet history of Nathaniel, of an "Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile?" If, my soul, thou wilt do as thou art directed, (1 Cor. ii. 13.) attend "to the words which the Holy Ghost teacheth, comparing spiritual things with spiritual," thou wilt soon arrive at a proper apprehension of the Lord's account, of "an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile." It is our mercy that, on a point of so much consequence, we are not left to mere conjecture; for the Holy Ghost hath himself pointed out what it is to be without guile, in one of the Psalms of David. (See Psalm xxxii.) And in his comment upon it by the apostle, (Romans iv. 12.) he hath followed up the same doctrine more fully; "Blessed (saith he) is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile." Now here observe, that the blessedness here spoken of, is not said to be a man that hath no sin, neither had sin, but to whom the Lord imputeth it not. And wherefore is this blessedness? It is explained: because "his transgression is forgiven, and his sin covered." And the Holy Ghost is pleased, by his servant the apostle, to give a farther explanation, by tracing it to its source, in the forgiveness of sins "by Jesus Christ." And in the case of Abraham, the great father of the faithful, he most clearly and fully proves the truth of this momentous doctrine: "Cometh this blessedness then (saith he) upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? For we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham. How was it then reckoned? When he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision; but in uncircumcision. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had, yet being uncircumcised." Now hence, my soul, thou mayest learn what it is to have "no guile," and, by consequence thereof, to be an "Israelite indeed." If thou wilt consult Abraham's history, thou wilt discover that he was justified by faith: "he believed in the Lord, and it was counted to him for righteousness;" and this was many a year before he was circumcised; see Genesis xv. 6. Some have reckoned it full twenty years; very certain it is, that it could not be less than ten years; see Gen. vii. And from the moment of his justification by faith, Abraham might truly be said to be one "in whom was no guile." Apply what is here said by the Holy Ghost of Abraham, to the instance of Nathaniel, and of all the spiritual seed of Christ, and the conclusion will be the same: this it is to be "an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!" My soul! what sayest thou of thyself? Art thou "an Israelite indeed?" Is thy guilt taken away by the blood of Christ? Pause; and recollect what the scripture saith: "For he is not a Jew which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter, whose praise is not of men, but of God," Rom. ii. 28, 29. "And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." Gal. iii. 29.



Robert Hawker

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