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which he had manifested in the Divine power of the Messiah, the promised Saviour of His people, which had been the means of effecting his recovery. For if he had not, in consequence of a belief in the power of Jesus to heal even the incurable disease of the leprosy, earnestly implored mercy from Him, the cure would never have been wrought.
The compassion of our Lord Jesus Christ to this wretched leper and his companions, is left on record for our encouragement, that we may make our earnest supplication to Him for the healing of our souls, in like manner as they did for the restoration of health to their diseased bodies. The object of His coming into our world, was not merely to relieve the bodily disorders of those diseased persons who might fall in His way. This is a light matter in comparison with the great design of His incarnation. He was manifested to take away our sins. He came to save the souls of men, to heal those diseases of the immortal soul, which were bringing de struction on both body and soul for ever. The miracles which He wrought, were merely intended to show His almighty power; and to lead those who witnessed them to receive Him as the Messiah, the Saviour of their souls. Those whom He saves, are led to cry to Him for mercy;
24 1 John iii. 5.
and He graciously hears their humble and earnest supplications, as He did the cry of the lepers, and has mercy upon them. We have repeatedly prayed to Him for mercy, while we have been in the house of God, but have we asked this blessing from a sense of our need of it? No prayer reaches the throne of grace but the prayer of the heart. If we heartily pray to the Lord Jesus for mercy, He will not cast out our prayer. But if we utter petitions for Divine blessings as words of course, which we repeat merely because they are in our prayer-book; or if we only listen to the prayers as words uttered by the minister in which we have little or no concern, surely we cannot think that we shall derive any benefit from them. A form of godliness may make us appear righteous before men, but it is of no avail in the sight of God. It is the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man which alone availeth much 25 with Him. The offering of the body without the soul cannot be acceptable to Him who says, My son, give Me thy heart.26
To all who are humbled at the Saviour's feet, and heartily implore His mercy to heal their spiritual diseases, the diseases of their souls; He is ready to speak in the same encouraging language which He addressed to the grateful
25 James v. 16.
26 Proverbs xxiii. 26.
Samaritan, Arise, go thy way, thy faith hath made thee whole. Let the penitent sinner, the sinsick soul, apply to Him for healing, and it will not be denied. By faith in Christ, par
don is brought home to the guilty conscience. By faith in Christ reconciliation with God is enjoyed. By faith in Christ the sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit are received. And thus every blessing which is needed for this life is enjoyed; and a good hope is obtained with regard to the life to come. Let us then humble ourselves at the mercy-seat, and implore those blessings which we need at His hands; and we shall find that He is able to do for us exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think, and shall have cause to praise His holy name as the Hearer of prayer; and we shall also be enabled to look forward with a good hope through grace to that abode of the blessed, where prayer shall be turned into praise unceasing and eternal; where those who have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, shall be before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple, and rejoice in His salvation for evermore.
27 Ephesians iii. 20.
28 Revelation vii. 14, 15.
BUT SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND ALL THESE THINGS SHALL BE ADDED UNTO YOU.
THE things that relate to this present life are those which occupy the attention of mankind, and excite their chief anxiety. In the Sermon on the mount, our Lord Jesus Christ repressed all such anxiety in His disciples, and directed them how to live without distraction from the cares of this world. If the advice here given by our blessed Saviour were followed by those who call themselves Christians, it would save them from much uneasiness, and
cause them to enjoy inconceivable happiness. The children of this world, are the servants of the mammon of unrighteousness.99 Worldly riches are the object of their pursuit. To gain these they spare no pains; for these they are ready
to compass sea and land; they rise up early, and sit up late, and eat the bread of sorrows,30 and think themselves well rewarded, if they can obtain their desire at last.
In reference to this matter, our Saviour observes in the Gospel for this day, No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. These two masters are diametrically opposed the one to the other. What the invisible God commands, the world that lieth in wickedness forbids; and what this present evil world sanctions and approves, is opposed to the will of God. Self-gratification is what the world pursues. Self-denial is that which the word of God enjoins. The inquiry of the worldling is, Who will show us any good, in the things of time and sense, that may gratify the desires of the flesh and of the mind? of God is, Lord, lift countenance upon me;
The prayer of the child Thou up the light of Thy
for that shall put gladness my heart more than is to be derived from the
29 Luke xvi. 9. 30 Psalm cxxvii. 2. 31 Eph. ii. 3. 32 Psalm iv. 6,7.