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conflict, he is guided to his compassionate work by the groans of the wounded. When he hears a soldier's cry, he does not enquire, “ Was that a Frenchman or a German, and what does he mean?" A cry is good French, and excellent German too; it is part of the universal tongae. The surgeon understands it, and looks for the sick man. And, what. ever language, 0 sinner, thou usest, uncouth or refined, if it be the language of thy heart, God understands thee without an interpreter.
Note well, that as we have seen when the physician interposed, we shall see next what he did. He saved them out of their distresses, and delivered them from their destructions. Oh, the infinite mercy of God! He reveals to the heart pardon for all sin ; and, by his Spirit's power, removes all our weaknesses. I tell thee, soul, though thou be at death's door at this moment, God can even now gloriously deliver thee. It would be a wonder if your poor burdened spirit should within this hour leap for joy, and yet, if the Lord visit thee, thou wilt do so. I fall back upon my own recollection : my escape from despondency was instantaneous. I did but believe Jesus Christ's word, and rest upon his sacrifice, and the night of my heart was over: the darkness had passed, and the true light had shone. In some parts of the world there are not long twilights before the break of day, but the sun leaps up in a moment: the darkness flies, and the light reigns; so is it with many of the Lord's redeemed, as in a moment, their ashes are exchanged for beauty, and their spirit of heaviness for the garments of praise. Faith is the great transformer. Wilt thou cast thyself now, whether thou live or die, upon the precious blood and merits of the Saviour Jesus Christ ? Wilt thou come and rest thy soul on the Son of God? If thou dost so, thou art saved : thy sins which are many are now forgiven thee. As of old, the Egyptians were drowned in a moment in the Red Sea—the depths had covered them, there was not one of them left; so, the moment thou believest, thou hast lifted a mightier rod than that of Moses, and the sea of the atoning blood, in the fulness of its strength, has gone over the heads of all thine enemies : thy sins are drowned in Jesus' blood. Oh, what joy is this, when, in answer to a cry, God delivers us from our present distresses and our future destructions !
But how is this effected? The psalmist saith, “He sent his word and healed them.” "" His word.” How God ennobles language when he uses it! That word “word” is uplifted in Scripture into the foremost place, and put on a level with the Godhead." THE WORD.” It indicates a God-like personage, for, in the beginning was the Word ; nay, it denotes God himself, for, the Word was God. Our hope is in the Word—the incarnate Logos, the eternal Word. In some aspects our salvation comes to us entirely through the sending of that Word to be made flesh, and to dwell among us. He is our saving health, by his stripes we are healed. But here the expression is best understood of the gospel, which is the word of God. Often the reading of the Scriptures proves the means of healing troubled souls; or, else, that same word is made effectual when spoken from a loving heart with a living lip. What might there is in the plain preaching of the gospel! No power in all the world can match it. They tell us, now-a-days, that the nation will go over to Rome, and the gospel.candle will be blown out. I am not a believer in these alarming prophecies ; I neither believe in the Battle of Dorking, nor in the victory of Pius the Ninth. Leave us our Bibles, our pulpits, and our God, and we shall win the victory yet. Oh, if all ministers preached the gospel plainly, without aiming at rhetoric and high fights of oratory, what great triumphs would follow? How sharp would the gospel sword be if men would but pull it out of those fine ornamental, but useless, scabbards! When the Lord enables his servants to put plain gospel truth into language that will strike and stick, be understood and retained, it heals sick souls, that else might have lain fainting long! Still the word of God in the Bible and the word of God preached cannot heal the soul unless God send it in the most emphatic sense. “ He sent his Word.” When the eternal Spirit brings home the word with power, what a word it is! Then the miracles of grace wrought within us are such as to astonish friends and confound foes. May the Lord, even now, send his word to each sinner, and it will be his salvation. “Hear, and your soul shall live.” Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God, and faith brings with it all that the soul requires. When we have faith, we are linked with Christ; and so our salvation is ensured.
That brings us to the last point—THE CONSEQUENT CONDUCT OF THOSE WHO WERE HEALED. First, they praised God for his goodness. What rare praise a soul offers when it is brought out of prison ! The sweetest music ever heard on earth is found in those new songs which celebrate our late deliverance from the horrible pit and the miry clay. Did you ever keep a linnet in a cage and then bethink yourself that it was hard to robit of its liberty? Did you take it out into the garden and open the cage door? Oh! but if you could have heard it sing when it had fairly escaped the cage where it had been so long, you would have heard the best linnet music in all the wood. When a poor soul breaks forth from the dungeon of despair, set free by God, what songs it pours forth! God loves to hear such music. Note that word of his, “I remember thee, the love of thine espousal, when thou wentest after me into the wilderness." God loves the warmhearted praises of newly emancipated souls; and he will get some out of you, dear friend, if you are set free at this hour.
Notice that these healed ones praised God especially for his goodness. It was great goodness that such as they were should be saved. So near death's door and yet saved! They wondered at his mercy and sang of“his wonderful works to the children of men.” It is wonderful that such as we were should be redeemed from our iniquities ; but, our Redeemer's name is called Wonderful, and he delights in showing forth the riches of his grace.
Observe that, in their praises, they ascribe all to God: they praise “ him for his wonderful work.” Salvation is God's work, from beginning to end. Their song is moreover comprehensive, and they adore the Lord for his love to others as well as to themselves; they praise him“ for his wonderful works to the children of men."
Forget not that they added to this praise sacrifice : “ Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving." What shall be the sacrifices of a sinner delivered from going down into the pit? Shall he bring a bullock that hath horns and hoofs? Nay, let him bring his heart ; let him offer himself, his time, his talents, his body, his soul, his substance. Let him exclaim, “Let my Lord take all, seeing he hath saved my soul.” Will you not lay yourselves out for him who laid himself out for you? If he has bought you with a price, confess that you are altogether his. Of your substance give to his cause as he prospers you; prove that you are really his by your generosity towards his church and his poor.
In addition to sacrifice, the healed ones began to offer songs, for it was to be a “sacrifice of thanksgiving.” May those of you who are pardoned sing more than is customary now-a-days. May we, each one of us, who have been delivered from going down to the pit, enter into the choir of God's praising ones, vocally singing as often as we can, and in our hearts always chanting his praise.
Once more, the grateful ones were to add to their gifts and psalms a declaration of joy at what God had done for them. "Let them declare his works with rejoicing.” Ye who are pardoned should tell the church of the Lord's mercy to you. Let his people know that God is discovering his hidden ones. Come and tell the minister. Nothing gladdens him so much as to know that souls are brought to Jesus by his means. This is our reward. Ye are our crown of rejoicing, ye saved ones. I can truly say, I never have such joy as when I receive letters from persons, or hear from them personally the good news, “I heard you on such-and-such a night, and found peace;" or, “I read your sermon, and God blessed it to my soul.” There is not a true minister of Christ but would willingly lay himself down to die, if he could thereby see multitudes saved from eternal wrath. We live for this. If we miss this, our life is a failure. What is the use of a minister unless he brings souls to God? For this we would yearn over you, and draw near unto God in secret, that he would be pleased in mercy to deliver you. But, surely, if you are converted, you should not conceal the fact. It is an unkind action for any person who has received life from the dead, through any instrumentality, to deny the worker the consolation of hearing that he has been made useful; for the servant of God has many discouragements, and he is himself readily cast down, and the gratitude of those who are saved is one of the appointed cordials for his heavy heart. There is no refreshment like it. May God grant you grace to declare his love, for our sake, for the church's sake, and, indeed, for the world's sake. Let the sinner know that you have found mercy, perhaps it will induce him to seek also. Many a physician has gained his practice by one patient telling others of his cure. Tell your neighbours that you have been to the hospital of Jesus, and been restored, though you hated all manner of meat, and drew near to the gates of death ; and, may be, a poor soul, just in the same condition as yourself, will say, “This is a message from God to me.” Above all, publish abroad the Lord's goodness, for Jesus' sake. He deserves your honour. Will you receive his blessing, and then like the nine lepers give him no praise? Will you be like the woman in the crowd, who was healed by touching the hem of his garment, and then would fain have slipped away? If so, I pray that the Master may say, “Somebody hath touched me,” and may you be compelled to tell us all the truth, and say, “ I was sore sick in soul, but I touched thee, O my blessed Lord, and I am saved, and to the praise of the glory of thy grace I will tell it; I will tell it, though devils should hear me; I will tell it, and make the world ring with it, according to my ability, to the praise and glory of thy saving grace."
Waiting for the Verdict,”.
BY JOHN ALDIS, JUN.
Romans viii. 33-34. I
WAS much impressed by two companion paintings in the International
Exhibition, entitled respectively “Waiting for the Verdict," and " The Acquittal.' A young man has been tried for some great crime. Counsel have been heard on both sides : witnesses have been called and examined: the judge has summed up; and the jury have retired to deliberate upon their verdict. The first picture pourtrays the agonizing suspense of his relatives whilst "waiting for the verdict.” The jury bring in the verdict, “ Not Guilty.”
The young man is acquitted; and, released from the prisoner's dock, be joins his family, from whom he has been forcibly separated. The second picture shows us the joyful meeting, when the suspense is removed by " the acquittal.”
The family evidently belongs to the peasant class; but is of the virtuous, thrifty, and more intelligent type of that class. The scene is laid in a room adjoining the Court, with the dark oak panelling common in sueh places. Whilst waiting for the verdict, we can look along a passage to the right of the picture ; and, through the open door at the end, we can dimly see the court sitting. There, on a high seat, presides the judge in bis scarlet robes, and beneath him are the lawyers writing, or hurrying to and fro, looking silent and wise: but we can see nothing of the prisoner. Recalling our eye into the room, it first rests on the prisoner's wife, who is sitting in the centre. She is neatly and modestly dressed, is young, of interesting features, and at a glance we take her for a woman both virtuous and intelligent. And there she sits, her hands compressed on her knee, her face burdened with intense anxiety, waiting in agonizing yet tearless suspense. Her little boy in wondering sorrow lies at her. feet. Behind her stands an artless maiden looking towards the court; and, when we see the prisoner, we at once tell from the likeness that she is his sister. His aged mother stands to the left, with her neat attire, comfortable bonnet, and clean cap, sorrowful, yet calm in the consciousness of upright
She holds his babe, her grandchild, in her arms. At the left sits the grey-headed father, burying his face in his hands; for he has less fortitude to bear the dishonour and the pain than the mother has. The faithful dog crouches sadly by his side. The whole picture is so touching, and withal so true, that one can alunost weep in sympathy.
But now the prisoner is acquitted and has entered the room. His wife fies to his embrace, flings her arms about his neck, and looks up into his counte
He is her husband once more; and all reproach and suspicion are removed: and, as we look at him, we feel sure the jury were right; he is not guilty certainly. Her face is the same face, but oh, how changed since last we looked upou her! The suspense is gone, and now ber eyes are red with weeping welcome tears of relief and joy. The aged mother looks with giad satisfaction on her son, but with no wild ecstacy; for she felt sure it would be 50. The aged father stands behind, rubbing his hands, in conversation with the lawyer, whom he is thanking heartily for his able advocacy of the case. The little ones, who could not understand the sorrow, share the joy. The sister in ber glee is mechanically tying on the boy's hat: even the dog fawns upon his master with evident delight; and the neighbours in the street wait to see them pass out, or to welcome them bome. So much of human happiness depends upon the verdict, “ Guilty” or “Not Guilty:" such majesty encircles law, such solemnity is there even in earthly courts of justice, that the bare recital often stirs our hearts' depths. The sight of these pictures led me to think of
By the late A. Solomon. They were also contained in the Exhibition of 1862.
the saints waiting for their verdict from the Supreme Judge, and of the saints assured of their acquittal from on high. And how much more deeply should
—a verdict to be pronounced in the high court of heaven, not on our relatives only, but on ourselves. With what intense anxiety should we be found waiting for the verdict," if we know not yet how we stand in God's sight! And what joy should swell our hearts if we have heard for ourselves this acquittal : " Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's eleet? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”
Let us look at THE SAINTS WAITING FOR THE VERDICT. Paul betrays neither suspense nor fear, for he knows that he has his acquittal, bat there was a time when even he was “ waiting for the verdict.* When the Lord arraigned him on the road to Damascus as a persecntor, and sent him to spend three days in the city in blindness (fit emblem of the darkness of his soul), think you not that then he waited for the verdict of the Lord, who had appeared to him, with far intenser eagerness than afterwards he waited for the verdict of Nero, at whose bar he was cited to appear ? Those of my readers who are now at peace with God, consciously justified, were once "waiting for the verdict," not knowing whether condemnation or acquittal were before them. Like Paul, we can laugh at the accusers when the favourable issue has been attained, but while the matter hangs in suspense, we cannot think so lightly of them. Many accuse us and try to condemn us.
Worldly men often accuse the saints falsely. Said the Psalmist, “They laid to my charge things that I knew not." It is not pleasant to have our motives or our conduct maligned; but it need not much trouble us. For we know that the judgment of God is according to truth, and all lying accusations will only rebound and wound our accnsers.
But there are others whose evidenee is far more formidable. “Who is be that condemneth ? " Why, God's holy law does; condemns us utterly for every action of our life, and condemns us almost as sternly for our deeds of supposed righteousness, as for our manifest sins. When we hear the pleading of this counsel for the prosecution, and find how strong a case he makes out, we may fear the judgment will go against us.
“In vain we ask God's righteous law,
To justify us now,
Is all the law can do." Wbo is he that condemneth ?" Well, conscience doth, and “if onr heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart and knoweth all things." We know that in ourselves we have no valid plea wherefore the sentence of condemnation should not be pronounced. And even after we have received our acquittal, conscience often lays many and grievous things to our charge; and, when faith is weak, we find no arguments to rebut the charges- we fear we shall be condemned after all.
“Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?” Why, the devil, the accuser of the brethren does. And the worst of it is, the liar from the beginning speaks truth on these occasions. Joshua stands before the Angel, and Satan stands at his right hand to resist him. He accuses him among other things of having filthy garments on; and poor Joshua says not a word in reply, for he knows that it is all perfectly true. Apollyon accuses Christian of unfaithfuluess. “Thou didst faint at first setting out, when thon wast almost choked in the Gulf of Despond; thou didst attempt wrong ways to be rid of thy burden, whereas thou shouldest have stayed till thy Prince had taken it off. Thou didst sinfully sleep, and lose thy choice things Thon wast also almost persuaded to go back at the sight of the lions. And when thon talkest of thy journey, and of what thou hast heard and seen, thou art inwardly desirous of vain-glory in all that thou sayest and dost." And the good man was