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they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him." Observe, how the Lord overruled his providence in this event; that the cripple being so well known to the people, from his forty years' disease; and his being laid "every day at the gate of the temple," made the identity of his person impossible to be mistaken. They could not, therefore, but be fully satisfied of the miracle itself. And observe, moreover, how it is said, that they were "filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him." And among the wonders, though the multitude of the carnal which looked on, saw nothing more than the healing of the body; yet they felt astonished in beholding him with the apostles. "walking and leaping and praising God." Had no other miracle been wrought on this man than that of the body, instead of entering the temple he would probably have ran home; and delighted with the ability which he never before had known of the use of his feet and ancle bones, his first object would have been to have told his neighbours of his cure. But the healing the crippled state of his body, there is every reason to suppose, was accompanied with grace to his soul. The temple, therefore, and not home; praises to God, and not merely information to man ; first occupied the cripple's attention. And such is the case with all the Lord's people.
The Holy Ghost hath been pleased to make a very beautiful record of a similar nature, as relating to the church at large, in one of the Psalms, when celebrating the deliverance of the Lord's people from Babylon. "When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing. Then said they among the heathen, the Lord hath done great things for them.” Yea, answered the church, "The Lord hath done
great things for us, whereof we rejoice." (Psalm cxxvi. throughout.) So unexpected, so unlooked for, was the deliverance of the church at the time the Lord brought his people from their captivity in Babylon, that to the greater part of the people, like this poor cripple, it seemed too good news to be true. But it was so great also, that they could not refrain, by outward acts of holy joy, to testify what inward feelings the Lord had given them upon the occasion of his grace and mercy. And so great was it even in the sight of the heathens around, that they were constrained to acknowledge the hand of God in it. And if the heathen acknowledged the hand of God to have been in it, though they knew nothing of the God they spake of; how must this have called forth, as we see it did, the acknowledgment of the Lord's own people!
But shall the writer and reader of these observations stop here? Shall we not, from the contemplation of the church's deliverance from the captivity in Babylon, direct our views to that infinitely higher subject, of which that was but a figure, to the spiritual deliverance of the whole church of Christ, from sin, death, and hell? Did the heathen confess that the Lord did great things then for the church, in bringing the people from Babylon; did the people at the gate of the temple look with astonishment at the cripple then healed; and shall not you and I now behold, with ten thousand times greater wonder and delight, the mighty deliverance which the Lord Jesus Christ hath wrought out and brought in; and by his own incommunicable work, accomplished in the everlasting salvation of his people? Yea, to go one step further. Have we an humble hope that we ourselves are interested in it ; and can, and do look back to our original state innature, when in our spiritual faculties we had
been (like this cripple in body) lame from our mother's womb? And whether, like him, laying at the gate of the temple without, regardless of the ordinances within; or even of entering into the mere trammels of religion; content with the form, while ignorant of the power of godliness? And have we now, through sovereign grace, like him, found strength in the same adorable name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth? Well may we cry out with the Psalmist, and say, "Who can utter the noble acts of the Lord, or shew forth all his praise?" (Psalm cvi. 2.)
One view more of this interesting scene remains to be noticed; I mean, the earnestness with which the healed cripple clung to the persons of the apostles Peter and John, as they went together into the temple. It is said, that the "lame man which was healed, held Peter and John." Yes: he felt no doubt a great attachment to their persons, as instruments in the Lord's hand, for the mercy he had received. But what were the man's feelings towards the Lord himself, in whose Almighty name the sovereign cure had been wrought? And such is, and must be the case of every one whom the "Lord hath called from darkness to light, and from the power of sin and Satan to the living God."
The change wrought upon this cripple, was not unsimilar to what is wrought upon every cripple in soul in the temple of the Lord, when a sovereign cure is accomplished by the mighty power of God. Beggars still we are, only with this vast difference. We no longer make the object of our boon, as the first and great concern of our lives, for the bread that perisheth with using; but for the bread that endureth to everlasting life. Having now tasted that "the Lord is gracious," we find it is impossible to live without constant supplies of the same quickening and re
newing mercy; but every day, and all the day, we are seeking to drink of the streams of that river, "which make glad the city of God." (Psalm xlvi. 4.) The Holy Ghost hath most blessedly expressed this cleaving to Christ, in one of his verses of Scripture by the apostle Paul. "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him; rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught; abounding therein with thanksgiving." (Col. ii. 6, 7.) Now what is it to "walk in Christ;" and to be "rooted and built up in Christ ;" but to feel the same need of him, as when at first we received him? For have I any more to bring Christ, than I had the first moment I received Christ? Did this cripple at the gate of the temple bring any thing for his cure, when at the command of the apostles, in the name of the Lord Jesus, he arose up and walked? Did he (as some would have it) do the best he could, and leave Christ to do the rest? The fact is the contrary. Alas! he was in body, as all men by nature are in soul, helpless and impotent from his mother's womb. And if he then received Christ, as the whole cause of his healing; a beggar to Christ he continued, for all he stood in need of to the very end of his being.
Let us for the moment drop the view of the cripple at the gate of the temple, and bring home the doctrine to ourselves, and to our own hearts. If you or I have truly and spiritually received Christ Jesus our Lord; it can be no difficult point to ascertain how we received him. Every one who knows the plague of his own heart, knows as Paul saith he did: "I know that in me (said Paul) that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing." (Rom. vii. 18.) Under this conviction, it will undeniably follow, that as we first received Christ, so the right apprehension is to receive him now. I have no more to bring him, in a way
recommendation, the very last day of my continuance upon earth, than I had the first day I heard of his holy name. And as I did not then, no more than the cripple, halve it with Christ; so neither can I now. As the blessed truth is expressed in one of the Psalms, so doth it entirely correspond with the spiritual state and condition of the Lord's people. "My. mouth shall shew forth thy righteousness and thy salvation all the day: for I know not the numbers thereof. I will go in the strength of the Lord God; I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only." (Psalm lxxi. 15, 16.)
And if within a parenthesis I might express, without giving offence, my apprehension of the subject, I would say, that I venture to believe, if this gracious plan of salvation, taught and commended as it is by the Holy Ghost himself in this Scripture, was diligently regarded; preached by all ministers in the churches; and by grace, made the practice of the Lord's people who profess the truth as it is in Jesus; it would tend, under the Lord's blessing, more effectually to humble the pride of our own hearts, and promote the divine glory in a scriptural and spiritual demonstration; that the salvation of the church, from beginning to end, is all of divine accomplishment. "For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." (Eph. ii. 8, 9.)
I only add a prayer to the God of all grace, that the perusal of this sovereign act of divine mercy manifested to this poor cripple, may be accompanied with the sweet savour of the same divine love to all the Lord's redeemed ones. That as the apostle told the astonished multitude which looked on "his name, through faith in his name, which made this man strong; yea, the faith which is by him," may give to the whole of his family "a perfect soundness in the