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us, and we will never come under it again. “Sin shall not have dominion over you, for ye are not under the law but under grace.” We shall never come into eternal condemnation. “I give unto them eternal life ; and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of My hand.”
Our experience—“But is passed from death unto life." Spiritual death was once our affecting condition. We had no symptoms, no principles, no desire of spiritual existence. How sad and miserable! But what a change now ! We have been convinced of sin, our minds have been enlightened, our wills renewed, our hearts changed, and our conduct reformed, and all this has been effected by the word and Spirit of God. “We have passed.” How great is this change! It is a change from darkness to light, from death to life, from misery to happiness, and from sin to salvation. Happy experience! We are in a new world, and bound for a better world. “One thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see.” “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren."
Our security—“Verily, verily, I say unto you.” We have thus the word of Christ for it all, and His word is not like the word of man. It never can fail. What can be stronger than the double “Verily”? I, who am the Amen, the faithful and true Witness, say it, and my omnipotence shall bring it to pass.
THE ANXIOUS INQUIRY.
“ Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?"Jer.
GILEAD was famous for its balm. This balm was obtained from trees--was highly esteemed for its medicinal qualities—formed a great article of commerce-and was esteemed a valuable present even by princes. In this text we have a disease supposed - a physician sought-a remedy sought-and the anxious inquiry.
A disease supposed. This disease is sin, the soul's malady, and the worst of all maladies. It is a hereditary disease. “Behold I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Dead infants prove that the disease is hereditary, and living infants give early evidence of its reality. It is a disease both contagious and infectious. As we advance from childhood to youth, and from youth to mature years, the disease, unless cured, gathers and spreads. Its influence increases, its wounds deepen, and it becomes daily more difficult to cure it. It is a deadly disease. “The wages of sin is death.” It has brought temporal death on all, and will bring the second death on the impenitent. Like the pestilential plague, it walks in darkness, and makes sad havock wherever it
THE ANXIOUS INQUIRY.
goes, for it kills the soul with the second death. Reader, hast thou felt sin to be thy disease, and hast thou thought of its dangers, immediate as well as remote?
The physician sought. This physician is Christ. When He sat at meat with publicans and sinners, the Pharisees found fault. “ But when Jesus heard, He said unto m, they that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.” He is a skilful physician. He is able to detect every form of disease, and He never makes a mistake. He is able to cure every disease. All sins may be forgiven unto the sons of men, and His blood cleanseth from all sin. He is always accessible, never too busy, never from home, and never indifferent to the calls of the poor. All His cures are performed without money and without price. Truly, Jesus is himself the good Samaritan, whose eye never turned away from a scene of suffering ; and even though His prescriptions may have been despised and refused, He still pleads and urges. Reader, will He plead and urge in vain with you?
The remedy. The balm of Gilead was celebrated for its medicinal properties, and highly valued. "Go up into Gilead, and take balm, O virgin, the daughter of Egypt: in vain shalt thou use many medicines.” The grand balm made known in the gospel for the cure of souls is the blood of Christ. “By His stripes we are healed.” The blood of Christ is a suitable remedy. It both justifies and sanctifies. It not only cleanses from past sins, but from all sin. It is a satisfactory remedy, satisfactory to all the claims of divine justice, and satisfactory to all the accusations of conscience. It is a sufficient remedy, sufficient for every age of the world, and sufficient for all men. It is like the ocean, ever exhausting, and yet exhaustless still. It is like the sun, pouring forth his flood of light as brightly and as largely this day as when he was commanded to rule the day. The means by which we are put in possession of this remedy, are the word and ordinances of Christ, and the quickening influences of the Holy Spirit.
The anxious inquiry. “ Is there no balm ? " Those who make this inquiry are sick of sin. They know and feel that they are guilty before God- they are afraid of His wrath, and the evil consequences of sin—they loathe themselves, and loathe their previous sinful indulgences-and they are most anxious for a cure. It is only when we feel sin to be a burden, and its pleasures loathsome, that we seek and prize a cure ; and to the Great Physician we must come, with all our sins and sorrows, that He may heal us. Some try to make themselves better before they come, but this is impossible.
“ If you tarry till you're better,
You will never come at all."
THE HEART CLAIMED.
“My son, give me thine heart."-Prov. xxiii. 26.
This may be viewed as the earnest demand of Christ from every sinner. Whatever we may give to Christ or His cause, if we withhold the heart from Him, we cannot be accepted. We have in this sentence, a fact assumed-a claim made-and a duty required.
A fact assumed. This fact is that the heart of every man is alienated from God and fixed on objects that cannot satisfy it. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it? Such is the testimony of Scripture, and this testimony entirely accords with our experience. Every heart is inclined to evil rather than good, and this evil inclination is developed in very early life. “Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: these are the things which defile a man.” Observation confirms the same sad truth. Look at the miser; his heart is fixed on his wealth as firmly as if he and it could never part. Look at the worldling: his heart is fixed on worldly objects, as if they were the chief good, and could complete his happiness. Look at the voluptuary: he hunts eagerly after sensual enjoyments, and when he