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therefore will I call upon him as long as I live. The sorrows of death compass me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and
Then called I upon the name of the Lord; O Lord, I beseech thee, deliver my soul. Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful. The Lord preserveth the simple : I was brought low, and he helped me. Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee. For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.” Employ the physician; use the means ; boil the figs, put them on in the lump, as in the case of Hezekiah; but look above the means, and remember that exquisite account of sickness and recovery in Job, xxxiii. There are some persons who can see nothing but the patient, and the discease, and the doctor, and the medicine: the discerning eye, the pious and penetrating mind, sees, above and over all, the presiding will of God; and I have no language in which to express my sense of the blindness and infatuation of that man who thinks of nothing in the creation, no power, no influence, but that which his eye observes. In our recovery we praise God, and say, “ Not unto us, not unto us, but to the Lord our God give the praise."
I wish to observe, secondly, that bodily and moral diseases are sometimes healed at the same time. As the eye of the body looked on the brazen serpent, so the eye of the mind was to look on that which the serpent prefigured; and there was healing by looking to the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. Our Lord, in several instances, made healing to be contemporaneous and identified with the forgiveness of sin : “Whether it is easier to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or, Arise, take up thy bed, and walk.” Now a sound mind in a sound body is said to be the height of human enjoyment; but a man can go no further. And I beg to remark, that in the strict and proper sense, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was the greatest physician that ever appeared in the world; and viewed in that light, he is unparalleled and supreme; in this he has the pre-eminence. He was the physician to the whole nation of the Jews. They brought out before him maladies which were incurable, and in the greatest numbers : and not by delay, not by experiments, not by bitter medicine ; but by a touch, and in the twinkling of an eye, he healed every one, and there was no return of the malady. This is fact, this is no figure; but it is fact figurative and symbolical of that which is more important still; I mean the renovation, the healing power, the perfect cure which he accomplished for the soul. O my soul, put thyself into the hands of Jesus Christ ; and thou shalt be made perfect in him, triumphant, and for
My third remark is, that there will be no sickness in heaven. The inhabitants shall no more say, “ I am sick," for the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquities. I know that there stands in the book of Revelation this remarkable passage : “ In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month : and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations." But “ the healing of the nations” is effected here ; the nations are here in the world, and as they now exist, the healing is begun, And do you mark the strength of the metaphor: there were “ twelve manner of fruits," growing every year in their luxury, in their abundance, in their
variety. But it was not the fruit that healed the nations, only the leaves : there was balsamic virtue in the leaves: “Only taste, and live." And you are called by the figure to believe, and live : exercise faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and he will heal you. This is the cure for all the moral maladies of our diseased and disordered nature.
I have been wont to regard the condition of man very much in the light of this image. You may be no worse--you may be incomparably better, in many respects, than I am: one may have the disease more or less virulent than another. The cure depends on the taking of the medicine. Receive the leaf; eat the leaf; and let your malady be as deep as it may, you shall be healed. Decline the leaf: refuse to eat; say it has not the virtue in it, deny that the medicine can work the cure; die and perish. Precisely on this principle it is, receive Christ-be saved : reject Christ--you are undone for ever.. In heaven, as I said, I say again, there is no sickness at all. “And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: and they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there : and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light.” God shall wipe away every tear; the blessed shall be led to fountains of living waters; the sources of happiness in their perfection and plentitude shall be poured upon them, and flow spontaneously and for ever. Bless the Lord, O my soul, who healeth all thy diseases, and enableth thee to appear this day in his house, who will heal thee of thy last sickness, and endue thy soul with vigour and vitality, to dwell in brightness and purity for ever!
Thirdly, he “ redeemeth thy life from destruction.” I love the beautiful words of the patriarch, when pronouncing the benediction upon his grandchildren: "The God which fed me all my life long unto this day, the Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lad." He felt himself to be a redeemed creature-redeemed in every step, in the whole progress of his being.
You remember the application of the word " redeemed” to the Israelites in Egypt : " O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good : let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy.” They were in bonds and in subjection ; and their cry and their groanings went up to heaven; and God came down, and the paschal sacrifice was ordained, and the blood sprinkled on the door-posts, and the destroying angel went over; and the Israelites came forth; they passed through the Red Sea as upon dry land, and were eminently “the redeemed of the Lord;" their lives had been preserved in the most imminent jeopardy.
And now, I ask, To which of us does not this apply? In how many instances have our lives been redeemed from death? How many dangers have there been which we have not seen with the eye? What hair-breadth escapes : another inch and we had perished! How many a man in going up and down the earth, especially in these days, must have had experience of the redeeming power of God in keeping his life from danger! There are countless dangers which we have not seen : we have been in peril when we did not know it. There has been a pestilence walking round us in impalpability; it has not been allowed to touch us: no evil has befallen us.
“ Our life contains a thousand springs,
And dies if one be gone:
Should keep in tune so long!" You may say, at thc beginning of every day, “Who redeemeth my life from destruction;" and in the evening, when you lie down, having passed through the changes and multitudinous affairs of the day, “ Who has redeemed, for another day, my life from destruction." And if you live on, year by year, so as to arrive at maturity or advanced life, what can you do but apply to yourselves the ninety-first psalm? That psalm, I think, is intended to represent the progress of man from his infancy to his last days: and the manner in which, at every stage, he piously prayed to God, committing himself to the preserving hand of the Almighty, shall stand, until at length he has to say, “With long life hast thou satisfied me, and shown me thy salvation."
But who can read this clause without thinking of its deep spiritual meaning ? “The redemption of the soul is precious." It is a great mercy when the body is preserved; but if it only be preserved finally to fall, what will it avail? The soul of redemption is the redemption of the soul. You remember the words of the apostle : “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us." We were exposed to the punishment of the law, and justice might have cast us down at any instant. God dealing with us according to our deserts might have banished us from his presence and shut us up in the great prison of his wrath. Instead of this we have been redeemed, recovered by the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ his Son. So that redemption is the great principle which runs from the beginning to the end of Scripture : and if we arrive at glory our song will be, “ To Him that hath loved us, and redeemed us to God by his blood—to Him be the praise for ever!” Instead of being left in our condition of slavery and liability to punishment, we are redeemed; redeemed now so as to be in a state of favour and acceptance ; to live in the calm sunshine of the countenance of God; to feel that he is our Father ; that being redeemed by the blood of Christ, he hath given to us the Spirit of adoption, whereby we say, Abba, Father: we feel that we are saved, that we are under the preserving care of heaven; that being a part of the flock of Christ, we shall never perish, and none shall pluck us out of our Father's hand. redeemeth thy life from destruction;" and intends to consummate his plans and finish his purposes in glory. O to enjoy the final results of redemption in the presence of the Father and of the Lamb! “God hath not appointed to wrath, (may I not confidently say ?) “ but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him." “ The redeemed"-sensible of their redemption, carrying the marks and signatures of their condition upon their person" the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away."
" Who crowneth thee with loving-kindness and tender mercy." “Crowneth thee.” The word “crown" is employed on various occasions. The high-priest was crowned; kings were crowned ; virgins on their marriage-day were crowned. Among the Greeks, this image was variously employed; there were crowns of
fame, and crowns of victory “Crowneth thee with loving-kindness and tender mercy.” God's own hand weaves for you the garland, and prepares for you the crown: and the crown of mercy and loving-kindness which God shall put on the head is not like the diadem of royalty, which would make the king's head ache to wear it but a day; not like the chaplet, not like the garland worn by those who were victors in eastern games, which withered and began to die so soon as they were put on. God puts the beautiful crown of his loving-kindness and tender mercy on the man's head. O, let him wear it!
I cannot now enlarge on the mercy ; I cannot express myself in relation to his tenderness: but I will say this—Lift up your eyes to God and to heaven, and, responding to his own words, say, “I am a crowned one !" Go about in your coronation vesture, especially in God's own day; and in the midst of God's own institution, say, “My soul is joyful in the Lord; my spirit rejoiceth in God my salvation : he has adorned me with the robe of righteousness, clothed me with the garment of salvation, and put the beautiful crown on my head." He does for every believer what he is represented as doing for Joshua the high-pricst _" Take away the filthy garments from him :" bring the change of raiment fresh, fair, and fragrant, out of the ivory palaces in glory, whereby they who behold them, and those on whom they are put, are made glad: put the beautiful crown on his head, and let him minister to me in his office and in his condition. O God, crown us all with thy mercy! Let thine own soft hand, directed by thine own tender, loving heart, put the chaplet on my head, and upon the head of those who hear me! Come with thine own garments, that we may walk abont, festive, joyous, in holy, heavenly happiness, in the midst of one another, making this canticle our own—“Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits; who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases ; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with loving-kindness and tender mercies."
" Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things, 80 that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's”—in power of pinion and of flight, which shall never decay, but exercise itself for ever in regions congenial with its own, with Christ and his redeemeu. ( add no more : may God command his blessing.
THE WORKS OF GOD IN NATURE, PROVIDENCE, AND GRACE.
REV. A. F. FELL, A.M.
TRINITY CHURCH, ISLINGTON, JUNE 19, 1836.
" The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein."
Psalm cxi. 2.
The generality of mankind, engaged in the concerns of active life, cannot have any considerable portion of time to devote to the study of the works of God. Brethren, as Christians, we must ever remember that we are not our own, we are bought with a price ; and therefore our time, our talents, our faculties are given to us to occupy in that state and station of life to which God hath called us. And if his overruling providence has placed us in a sphere of labour and toil, it would ill become our character as his servants to refuse what is thus enjoined us, for the sake of that which, however pleasing, is out of the path of duty.
But though this is well to be laid down as a general rule, and indeed the whole state of civilized society in this country could not proceed without it, yet it is likewise true, that where the heart is really engaged to love God, it will, by a wise, and prudent, and proper distribution of time employ itself in the contemplation of things which redound to the glory of God. This is by no means inconsistent with duty, but on the contrary, it is the highest duty; it is that which shall demand our attention here, it is that which shall occupy our enlarged powers, if reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, throughout eternity.
That this is practicable, take as an example the writer of this Psalm, that highly favoured servant of God, the king and sweet singer of Israel, who, though in the midst of war, and whilst daily exercising the arduous functions of royaltyfound time and opportunity to praise God in the sanctuary, who could behold his works by day, and meditate thereon by night. Thus, then, we cannot excuse ourselves from that which appears to be the great end of our creation : and if we find no delight, no appetite, in meditating upon the works of Jehovah, we may be assured, my brethren, that our Christian principle is at a very low ebb, and our souls are far from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in us.
I must not, however, be understood to confine myself in this observation to the display of the divine majesty and power in the creation of the worlds, when I speak of the works of God, or the astonishing exhibitions of Deity in the preservation of created beings. All these are in truth powerful incentives to us to search out the works of God: but O be it still remembered with lively