scription but be content; yea, more than content to live in the body, amidst all the weariness and sorrows of it, if thereby he can minister to the Lord's glory, in administering to the welfare of the Lord's people.

[ocr errors]

And what is the upshot of the whole subject as it concerns my reader? Hath the Lord done by you as by him? Hath the Lord dispossessed the power of the enemy, and brought you to sit at the feet of Jesus? And doth the Lord say to you, as to him, "Go home to thy friends, and tell them what great things the Lord hath done for thee?" And have you, as he did, published far and near, "how great things Jesus hath done for you?" ?" Oh! what a subject for the whole church upon earth to speak of; when, as Hezekiah said, "The living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day: The father to the children shall make known thy truth." (Isaiah xxxviii. 19.)






"And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath day.

"And behold there was a woman, which had a spirit of infirmity, eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself." (Luke xiii. 10, 11.)


THIS illustrious history, of our most glorious Lord healing a daughter of Abraham by the word of his Almighty power, is very blessedly introduced in the account given, that it was wrought on the sabbath day, in the Jewish synagogue. We are told, that the Lord was teaching there on the sabbath. It is not said what was the immediate subject of our Lord's discourse. But if we may form conjectures, from the specimen given of Christ's preaching in his first sermon in the synagogue; we may conclude, that he himself was the great theme on which he dwelt; and the purport of his ministry on earth, the leading feature of his

whole doctrine. The Holy Ghost by his servant Isaiah, taught the church to expect her Lord under the endearing character of a Saviour, and his salvation, the great end of his coming. So that all his redeemed ones, when taught of God, might be led to make him the great object of faith, and his finished salvation the great subject of hope. And I have often thought, what a full and finished portrait the Holy Ghost hath drawn of the Lord Jesus Christ, by the pencil of his servant the prophet, so many generations before the Lord of life and glory openly tabernacled in this our world. And no less, what a beautiful correspondence at once appeared, as given by the Evangelist between the portrait and the original, when the Son of God stood forth in the days of his flesh in the Jewish synagogue. We are told that he was teaching in the synagogue; and there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears. And all bare him witness and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth." (Luke iv. 17-22.)

Let the reader duly ponder these words; and then remark how fully and completely every tittle is of Christ, and of his grace to his people. Salvation is wholly in Christ. It was wholly wrought out by Christ. It is the sole incommunicable work of Christ. And as the Lord himself hath stated: "My own

arm brought salvation unto me.” (Isa. Ixiii. 5.) And it is to be received wholly from Christ. For as the Holy Ghost taught by Peter; so is the unquestionable truth confirmed from age to age, in the hearts and consciences of all the Lord's people: "Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." (Acts iv. 12.)

And I shall not offend, I hope, if in this place I detain the reader one moment longer to observe, that if those who profess to minister in Christ's name would take for a model of preaching, Christ's pattern; here we discover what ought to form the sum and substance of every discourse; namely Christ, and his salvation. Such was the conclusion of Paul; and such will be the conclusion of every one, that is taught and ordained as Paul was, to the ministry the gospel. "For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord: and ourselves your servants, for Jesus' sake." (2 Cor. iv. 5.) It is among the most essential of all points, to have a clear, spiritual and scriptural apprehension both of the person of Christ, and the salvation by Christ. And where these fundamental truths are formed in the heart, and made the basis of preaching; they form no less the ground work of all spiritual and scriptural apprehension of the love, grace, and favour, of all the persons in the GODHEAD: not one of which can we have the least knowledge of, or communion with, but as we enjoy them in Christ. But when Christ is preached in all the glories of his person, and in the completeness and fulness of his salvation; and God the Holy Ghost shineth in our hearts; then the redeemed and regenerated child of God receives “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ." (2 Cor. iv. 6.)

The history of this daughter of Abraham, is related

in so plain and unvarnished a manner, as cannot but interest the mind with its simplicity. "And behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself." Though a daughter of Abraham, and included in the covenant of grace; yet as a descendant from Adam she was therefore the subject of sin and sickness; the sure consequences of fallen nature. The Holy Ghost hath, stated this so fully, as not to be mistaken. "Sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." (Rom. v. 12.) And hence the whole world is but as the cloisters round the pool of Bethesda, where every day are gathered the multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt and withered; and the numberless, nameless, diseases to which all mankind are heirs. One distinguishing feature marked the particular sufferings of this daughter of Abraham; namely, both in the duration and pressure of her disease. No less a time than eighteen years that she had laboured under this infirmity. A large portion in the life of man! And the length of her misery was only heightened by the aggravation of the degree of suffering; for it is said, that "she was bowed together, and could in no wise lift. up herself." What flood-gates of sorrow, pain, and misery, hath the fall of man opened into this our world! Our whole nature, more or less find, as Israel of old did, that even our proposed comforts are tinged with the waters of Marah. And let it be remembered that the Lord's people, as well as the ungodly, are alike the subjects of disease and pain. They differ indeed in the effects and issue of their operations. the pure," saith the Holy Ghost by Paul," all things are pure; but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving, is nothing pure." (Titus i. 15.) And long and wearisome are afflictions not unfrequently found


« VorigeDoorgaan »