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the purpose of showing that He was ready to heal all who applied to Him, in faith, or believing in His Divine power, with whatsoever disease they were afflicted. He never refused to heal any suppliant who came to Him to seek for the exercise of His compassion in the time of distress. This is recorded for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world are come.29 Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the means of making whole those who are spiritually diseased now, in the same manner as it was requisite for the healing of the bodily diseases of the persons who applied to our Saviour in the days of His flesh. And none who believe in His almighty power ever earnestly implore His mercy in vain.
The condition of the leper of old affords a striking emblem of the wretched and miserable condition to which mankind are reduced by sin. The prophet's description of the Jewish commonwealth may also be considered as illustrating the same matter. The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot, even unto the head, there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores ; they have not been closed, neither bound
neither mollified with ointment. Sin has marred all the faculties of mankind, both in soul and body; has introduced weakness of intellect, unsound
I Corinthians x. 11.
23 Isaiah i. 5,
ness of judgment, disease of body, and liability to death. We have reason, therefore, to dread it as the greatest of evils.
The consequences of sin, in the disorders which it inflicted upon the bodies of men, were removed by our Lord Jesus Christ in the days of His flesh, in order to show His ability to remove the more fatal diseases of the soul from those who apply to Him now that He is in heaven. It seems wonderful that so many of those who were at this time healed by Him of the dreadful disease of the leprosy, should have been ungrateful for the benefit conferred upon them. But how many are there, who receive temporal blessings from God, and are unmindful of the hand that bestows them! Is this uncommon? Does the obtaining of this world's goods usually cause gratitude to God? Is not the reverse more generally found to be the case; that God is forgotten, when men are surrounded with the gifts of His bounty? And when people who have been brought low by sickness, have been raised up again ; how many are there who make use of their returning health to follow more eagerly than before the devices and desires of their own hearts; how many who, instead of loving and serving the Giver of all good, are unthankful and unholy. Let us pray for thankful hearts, that we may praise Him for the mercies which He is pleased to bestow upon us.
The manner in which our blessed Saviour was affected by the conduct of these persons, appears from His inquiry in the text: Were there not ten cleansed ? but where are the nine? Ten persons had received extraordinary benefits from Him, He had shown that mercy to them which they had supplicated; but nine of them did not evince any gratitude for the mercies of which they had been made partakers. What is our conduct with regard to the benefits which we receive from the God of all grace? Do we possess all things needful for life and godliness? Have we bread to eat, and raiment to put on? Are we in health of body? Have we kind friends? All the comforts we enjoy, are the gifts of His bounty. All the evils from which we are freed, we are indebted to Him for averting. Do we thank Him for His goodness? Do we praise Him for the protection which He affords to us?
But further, How many spiritual blessings do we enjoy? What privileges are conferred upon us! We have the word of God in our hands. He has given us His holy Sabbaths. We have the means of grace, the ordinances of His house and worship, and all things needful both for life and godliness. Do we render according to the benefits done to us? Do we make a right use of the advantages with which we are favoured ? Alas, how much ingratitude to God do we mani
fest in our conduct, notwithstanding all His undeserved goodness and mercy to us. implore His pardon for the past, and seek His grace to enable us to love Him more, and to serve Him better for the future, that we may give evidence that we are not unmindful of His benefits.
When our Saviour had asked these questions, and shown His disappointment at the ingratitude of nine of the lepers who had been healed by Him, He remarked, There are none that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. Here we learn that it is the duty of those who receive benefits from God, to give glory to Him, to acknowledge His goodness, and their own unworthiness of the gifts of His bounty. It was probably the pride of the Jewish lepers which prevented them from returning to give glory to God. The Jews were accustomed to pride themselves on the outward privileges which God had conferred upon them as a nation; and imagined that these entitled them to receive benefits which others, who had not their privileges, were unworthy of having granted to them. How common is a mistake of this kind among formalists in religion. They entertain high thoughts of themselves, on account of the advantages which they possess; instead of being humbled before God, because they have not made that use of them which they ought to have done. But if the privileges we enjoy are not the means of leading us to give glory to God, and of humbling us under His mighty hand, we have reason to fear that they will rise up against us to our condemnation. If the grace of God be not sought in the use of the means of grace, we have reason to fear that our hearts may be hardened by them; and that which should have been for our help, may be to us an occasion of falling. Here a stranger gave glory to God, and was accepted; while those who, in consequence of the religious advantages with which they had been favoured, should have known better, did not render according to the benefits done to them. Let us seek to give glory to God, to praise and thank Him for our religious privileges, and to make use of them for the purposes, or to answer the ends for which they were bestowed upon
While our blessed Saviour complained of the ingratitude of the nine lepers whom He had cleansed, He commended the stranger who returned to give glory to God. He said unto him, Arise, go thy way, thy faith hath made thee whole. How encouraging was this address! The man was humbled at the feet of his Benefactor. Jesus then commanded him to arise, and go away to fulfil the duties of his station in life; which his recovery from his disorder enabled him again to do; and He assured him that it was the faith