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of our happiness and duty to renounce deliberately the service of God; but we cannot resolve to break asunder the bonds of sin, and cast off their power over

And therefore we do some things to please God, and satisfy conscience, while yet we shrink from determining to follow him fully *, and in all things give ourselves up to His blessed will. Our gracious Lord has warned' us of the folly of thus endeavouring to join together what can have no concord or agreement. - No man can serve two masters : for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon

And we should reflect on that appeal of the holy prophet to the weak and wavering Israelites, “ How long halt ye between two opinions ? If the Lord be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him 6."

Let me know that true independence is found in depending always upon God; true freedom in His service; true fearlessness in fearing Him; true riches in remembering always the account which I must give hereafter for every thing that I seem to have. The various faculties of my soul, and body; the opportunities afforded by having my days lengthened; the gifts of station, education, friends, and worldly substance; the knowledge of religious truth, and all the means of grace; the various occasions for doing or receiving good; these, and numberless advantages and blessings which are daily and hourly extended to me, must all be accounted for to Him who knows most thoroughly what I can do, and what is beyond my strength; and who has taught me that he who, in ignorance of his lord's will, commits things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes; but that he who knew his lord's will and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. How much have I received of the Lord, and how much will therefore be required of me! What reason have I to repent of past waste and unfaithfulness, and to live with continual recollection of the day when it shall be said unto me, Give an account of thy stewardship, for thou mayest be no longer steward !

4 Num. xiv. 24.

5 Matt. vi. 24.

6 1 Kings xviii. 21.


“As Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sin

ners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners ? But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will bave mercy, and not sacrifice : for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.Matt. ix. 10— 13.—See also Ps. xxxviii. 2-10. Ps. i. 5. Matt. viii. 17. Luke iv. 23.

The sickness of the body is a continual type of sin in Holy Scripture; and our blessed Saviour, who came “ to make an end of sins?," is compared (or rather He compares Himself) to a great and compassionate Physician, who came to heal all the sicknesses and all the diseases of the soul. Thus also He compares Himself to the brazen serpent in the wilderness, which was lifted up upon a pole, that all those who were bitten by the fiery serpents might be healed by looking at it ®.

When it is said that He came to “ heal the sick," it is implied, that they who benefit by the remedy which is offered to them, are such as know " the plague of their own heart°,” and are truly desirous that it may be entirely and thoroughly healed. Too many are ignorant of their own spiritual malady, and fancy themselves “whole," when they are indeed “sore diseased,” and have no “whole part” in their soul. Others are conscious that they are indeed tainted as with a leprosy; but yet they are so averse to true holiness of life, and to the sharp remedies also which may be required in their case, that they do not truly desire to be healed. They wish to meet with physicians who will heal their hurt “slightly"," or will say to them “smooth things,” not the very truth of their sad case, but what they wish to hear. We shall not benefit by the Great Physician, if we either confess not our malady, or go to Him with only half a desire to have the wound probed and the disease removed. But if we go to Him as the leper went, who said, “ Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean ? ;" He will speak to us the gracious words, “ I will; be thou clean.” If we look to Him as the dying Israelites looked to the brazen serpent, (with the most earnest desire that the poison might be removed) or if we go to Him as the woman with an issue of blood, who came behind in the crowd, and touched the hem of His garment'; we shall find that such“ virtue" will pass out of Him, as will by degrees

7 Dan. ix. 24.

8 John iii. 14, 15.

9 1 Kings viii. 38.

heal the soul even of the most malignant and inveterate disorder. We need not ask the mournful question, “ Is there no balm in Gilead ? is there no physician there * ?” for we have a compassionate Healer ever near; and the miracles which He wrought on the bodies of the sick, were typical of the greater miracles which He is ever ready and willing to work in restoring our unhappy souls to spiritual health and soundness. The remedy is sufficient, if we are willing to use it; and if we have faith to give ourselves up to His guidance, and to walk by His appointed rules; though, perhaps, we may not see the reason for them, nor for some time experience their benefit.

1 Jer. vi. 14.
3 Luke viii. 43, 44.

2 Matt. viii. 2.
4 Jer. viii. 22.


“ Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed with

out money.” Isa. lii. 3.-See also Exod. ii. 23. Acts viii. 23. Rom.

vi. 16. It is said of the wicked, that they are taken captive by the devil at his will". It is said of them also, that they “have sold themselves for nought.” Satan could not take them captive, unless they consented to his wicked suggestions, and closed with the temptation by which he promises them some miserable gain, or pleasure, in exchange for themselves. What he offers is indeed tempting at the moment; but it is “nought;" it is good for nothing; and the deceived and unhappy sinner, to whom liberty was promised, finds himself only the servant of corruption : " for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.” How miserable is his state, when he sees indeed - the glorious liberty” which is enjoyed by " the children of God,” who “ walk in the light of the Lord;” and finds himself under a hard yoke to sin and Satan, which he knows not how to break! The Apostle represents the misery of this state, when (speaking in the person of one who is still groaning under it) he says, “ I am carnal, sold under sin.” And again, “ I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am ! who shall deliver me from the body of this death??"

Christ came to set us free from this disgraceful and unhappy bondage. His name of “Redeemer” implies that He came to pay a price to deliver such as were in captivity. In the first sermon which He preached at Nazareth® He applied to Himself the words of the prophet, “ The Spirit of the Lord God 5 2 Tim. ij. 26.

6 2 Pet. ii. 19. 7 Rom. vii. 14-24.

8 Luke iv, and Isa. Ixi. 1. [729]


is upon

Me: because the Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek: He hath sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted; to proclaim liberty to the captive, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” Whether the chains by which we are bound, are the chains of custom and habit; or the chains of the fear of man, and the dread of losing the friendship of the world; or the chains of sloth, or of some special forbidden indulgence; He will enable us to break asunder the bonds, if we are thoroughly desirous to be made free. He has paid the price of our deliverance, and puts the means of freedom into our hands. What deep disgrace is it, if, with the means of liberty in our hands, we hug our old chains, and sink back into our old corruptions ! How many a heathen who earnestly longed to be set free from the bondage of corruption", will rise up against us in the judgment and condemn us; if with the full opportunity afforded us of walking at liberty in the ways of holy duty, we choose rather to remain the willing bondmen of Satan!


“ Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring

lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith.” 1 Pet. v. 8, 9.-See also Job i. 7. Ps. vii. 2; xxii. 13. Rev. xii. 12.

We are told”, “ The lions roaring after their prey do seek their meat from God.” The lion is subtle as well as fierce and powerful; and no less active than subtle. He takes a wide range in quest of prey, or lurks for it in his secret den; and springs upon it with a strength which it is vain to resist, and a fierce ness which knows not what it is to spare.

9 Rom. viii. 21. 2 Ps. civ.

1 Matt. xii. 41. 3 Ps. x. 9.

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