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by as altogether hopeless. I mean those who have broken all bounds, and gone their full length in sinful dissipation. These characters are often given up as past hope: for sin, viewed by many more in its offence against society than its true offensiveness, the alienation of the heart from God, appears shameful in its open acts, whilst the want of love to God, and of real love to man, are but little regarded. But to such sinners “The Master calls;" for, glory be to his name, “ He came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance:” “to seek, and to save those who are lost:" "to give his life a ransom for all; God not being willing that any should perish, but that all should come to the knowledge of the truth." Once more.
The Saviour calls to the true Christian ; indeed it is to this character that our text particularly applies. It was a family whom Jesus loved that he was now visiting -a family who had asked his aid, and whose every hope centered in him. “Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.” Such cha
racters, to use the language of the Psalmist, “are athirst for God.” They are not satisfied with pardon, great as this blessing is; they are panting for communion with their Lord. They desire to be like him; they
1; seek his glory; they long for his appearance; their constant prayer is, “God be merciful unto us, and bless us, aud cause the light of his countenance to shine upon us.” To them the Master also calls.
Think not, my brethren, that the Saviour overlooks his friends. Think not that he disregards their desires, or is inattentive to the movements of their hearts. When they speak to one another, “He hearkens and hears.' His ear is bowed down to meet their praise. He says to them, as he said to his church, “Let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.” And when in their retired chamber they pour forth the desires of their hearts, their prayers come up as incense before him. There is not a single Christian now in the house of God, who has been with him in secret this morning,
but the words of the text apply to him, “The Master is come, and calleth for thee.”
There are other characters for whom he calls, but time does not permit me to particularize them. His call to all is the same. However varied the particular sorrow or uneasiness: or however earnest for communion with him each may be ; His word is this,
, “ COME TO ME.” I am the Lord that healeth, the true Physician, the only real satisfier of the desires of the human heart, “the fountain of living waters.” Thus he says to those who are bowed down with distress, whatever be the cause, “Come unto me, and I will give you rest.
I will be so faithful a friend, so wise a counsellor, so constant a support; I will administer to you such consolations, that, however deeply wounded your heart may be, you shall have rest. A
peace “which passeth all understanding" shall
. possess your soul. As the Lord beauF
tifully says, by the Prophet Isaiah, “O thou afflicted, tossed with the tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and all thy borders with
fair stones; and all thy children shall be taught of the Lord, and great shall be the peace of thy children.” Instead of that troubled heart which now, like the waves, tosses hither and thither ; “the precious promises” of my word, the covenant of my peace, the assurance of my love, shall be so fixed in your soul, that
shall admire my work of grace as much as a beautiful pavement of the fairest colours. It shall, indeed, “ be paved with love.”
So to the dissatisfied in worldly pursuits, he says, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. Whoever drinks of this water shall thirst again ; but whosoever shall drink of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; it shall be in him a well of water springing up unto everlasting life. He shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of my house, and I will make him drink of the river of my pleasures.”* To
Το him also, who is disappointed amidst outward prosperity, the Lord says, It is of the
* Psalm xxxvi. 8.
very nature of earthly ambition to leave a corroding void. As the prime minister of the Persian monarch told his friend, although he was raised to the highest honours, “yet all this availeth me nothing, as long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king's gate.” There will still be some one who will not bend; but I will fill your soul with a higher glory than any earthly power can bestow. You shall sit down on my throne, and reign with me for ever. So, to the sinner, the Master says, “Come to me.”
” These are the words of the God of truth, “Come, let us reason together; though your sins be red as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. Let the wicked forsake his ways, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”
So to the sincere and earnest believer the Master in effect says, You have come, you are coming, but still come nearer. There are still unfathomable mines of excellence to