of our

ministry who was before a blasphemer, a persecutor, and injurious; but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace Lord was exceeding abundant, with faith and love, which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, (adds Paul,) and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief." (1 Tim. i. 12—15.)

Shall I observe also, that it is no small addition to the delusion of the mind, which the mere professors of religion receive from the customs of the world, when, like horses in a team, each follows his leader ; and content in going with the multitude, stay not to enquire as to the final event. If, at any time it should happen, that the eternal safety of such persons is called in question, men of this complexion will take comfort from the example of others. You will hear them say in justification: Were not my father, or my mother, members of the church, and lived and died in the use of church privileges? And were they not well spoken of in the world, as good sort of people? And can any one doubt but that they are gone to heaven, who lived such good lives upon earth? Shall I alter my religion, or desire to be better than they?

And in the midst of this carnal security, when we take into the account also, the subtilty of the great enemy of souls, to lull such persons on to their ruin; what a phalanx the whole army forms together, to imprison, and shut up the sinner in unbelief. The Holy Ghost, by Paul, hath stated this in strong characters :-" If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost, in whom the God of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, which is the image of God, should shine unto them." (2 Cor. iv. 3, 4.) The "god of this world" is, by a figure of

speech, meant to refer to Satan; who, elsewhere, is called "the prince of the power of the air; the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience." (Eph. ii. 2.) He is thereby represented, as throwing dust into the eyes of his vassals, and keeping them in blindness and ignorance, lest they should run out of his kingdom. And indeed, until the Lord of hosts, by a sovereign act of grace, opens the eyes of all such, in their spiritual understanding, and breaks down their prison-walls, they remain for ever in darkness and the shadow of death. Hence, therefore, very blessedly it is added, in a verse or two after, in the same Scripture, that the emancipation of the whole church of God, from these united causes of bondage, is wholly the effect of the divine sovereignty. God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ." (2 Cor. iv. 6.)

I pause, for the moment, to ask, whether the impressions of these things have found their bearing on the reader's heart?-Both the crippled in body, like this man at the gate of the temple, and the crippled in soul, in all ages of the church, can only find salvation in one and the same adorable name. The feet and ancle bones of the one, and the renovation from deadness and death in the other, can receive strength only in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

The next delicious gathering from this Scripture, is the contemplation of the effect wrought upon the cripple, in the powerful name of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, instantly on hearing it, leaped up, and entered with the apostles into the temple, "walking and leaping, and praising God." A sight truly animating, if considered only in relation to the body; but how infinitely increased, when beheld as repre

senting the healing of the soul! And could the imagination form an adequate idea of what is daily going on in the spiritual church of Christ, when, at his name, all the variety of diseased cases, among his people, find cure; what wonders would appear to our apprehension, which, for the most part, are now hidden and obscured! And yet, such the Holy Ghost taught the people of God to expect in the gospel church; and by which, the presence of the Lord was to be known in the auspicious era which should mark the latter days. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; even God, with a recompense he will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart; and the tongue of the dumb sing." (Isa. xxxv. 4-6.)

But though thus expressly taught by the Holy Ghost to expect such miracles of grace in the church, and by which the latter day dispensation was to be known; yet the apprehension of it, and the enjoyment of it, is never known, nor felt, nor understood, until by sovereign grace the Lord works the work of faith in the soul. All men, by nature, (like this poor man at the gate of the temple) are crippled in spirit, from their mother's womb; neither can all the effects of nature give to their spiritual feet and ancle bones the least strength to walk. The mind, unawakened, untaught of God, yet, sometimes alarmed about eternity, will send forth her feeble desires for healing, in her own way. A man will endeavour to set up a reform in himself; and in a round of exalted things, aim to pacify the conscience; but conscience, by all her efforts, cannot beget faith. Conscience, when alarmed, will attempt to do any thing, and every thing, self-righteousness can invent; but to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, to the sal

vation of the soul, this is the sole gift of God. (John xvi. 18.)

The Holy Ghost hath himself most graciously explained this doctrine to the church, by the ministry of the prophet Ezekiel; under the similitude of a valley full of dry bones, which (like this cripple at the gate of the temple) had no life, until communicated by the sovereign power of God. "The hand of the Lord was upon me, (saith the prophet) and carried me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley, which was full of bones. And the Lord said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord God, thou knowest. Again he said unto me; Prophesy (that is preach) upon these bones, and say unto them, O, ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live. So I prophesied as I was commanded: aud as I prophesied there was anoise; and behold, a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo! the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above; but there was no breath in them. Then said he unto me; Prophesy unto the wind. Prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God: come from the four winds, O breath; and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came in unto them; and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army." (Ezekiel xxxvii. 1-10.)

Who doth not, or who will not, see in all this the correct delineation of our whole nature by the fall, like these bones in the valley of this world; or like the cripple at the gate of the temple. The preaching of the prophet to the one, to hear the word of the Lord; or the call of the apostles to the other, to look

on them, had similar effects. The bones moved, and there was a shaking among them; such as there sometimes is when the consciences of sinners tremble under the preaching of the word; or like the awakened attention of the cripple, expecting to have received something from the apostles. But neither in the one or the other was there any effectual work wrought to the salvation of the soul, until the Holy Ghost breathed upon the slain; and the quickening, life-giving name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, imparted healing to the cripple. Then, and not before, "when the breath came unto the one, they stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army;" and when the other, at the glorious name of our most glorious Christ, felt the divine impulse, and leaped from his crippled state, and "walked, and entered into the temple with the apostles, walking and leaping, and praising God." Such are the blessed effects of regeneration in all instances; however, the enjoyment of it will be more or less, according to the greater or smaller apprehensions of it, received into our spiritual minds. But in respect to the saving efficacy, all is one and the same; the babe, new born in grace, is as truly united to Christ as the oldest disciple of the Lord. And from being made "a partaker of the divine nature," by receiving "the spirit of adoption," all the blessings in Christ, and by Christ, become alike the portion of all. "By him, all that believe are justified from all things." (Acts xiii. 39. 2 Pet. i. 4. Gal. iv. 4. Rom. viii. 15.)

In gathering the many sweet fruits from the bough of this Scripture, we must not overlook that which is held forth for us to pluck also of the effects wrought upon the minds of the lookers on to this miracle. "All the people saw him walking and leaping, and praising God. And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple; and

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