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curse to his children after him. And even so is it with us lepers ; born lepers, lepers because sprung from lepers, the taint upon our inmost nature, the taint of the evil upon our soul and upon our spirit. Do you doubt it, my brethren? Does not every one of you, if you dare to look, see and know that the stain is within himself? Is it not round about us ? For how long the religion of Christ has been preached within this metropolis of ours, and what is the state of things amongst us still? Is it not as if that other curse, the leprosy upon the wall, had broken out amongst us Christians ? Are not houses of abomination multiplied in this great capital? Do not our streets swarm with the ministers and the enticers of iniquity? Have not we read that second lesson that we read to-night, time after time in our churches, and yet can we walk home this night from church, amidst a Christian people, without having every moral sense shocked by the abundant evil which throngs our thoroughfares ? What have we been doing, my beloved brethren? What have we been doing in our legislation, whether right or wrong, as to marriage, declaring that Christian people are so sunk in sin amongst us, that there must be facilities for putting asunder those whom God hath made one ? I ask you is not the leprosy plain? And can any one stand up and say it is not in himself? Well, then, my beloved brethren, is not this the n-essage of all messages, that there is One still amongst us that can heal the leper? There is no good covering it. No doubt in the o!d dispensation, when the discovered leper was 1 cast out of the company and of the suciety of bis family, many a man in the beginning of the disorder was tempted to cover it, and did cover it; but the leprosy was there. Covering did not cure it. And there is many a man who goes about this world, covering up his secret leprosy, covering it with religious phrases, covering it with zeal for certain doctrines, covering it with zeal for certain religious observances with forms and ceremonies and the like, covering up, but not curing the leprosy. And who can cure it for us? Remember, my brethren, the teaching, in passing, that it shuts out the soul that it possesses from the company of the pure. Is not this the question of questions for every one of us, if we would only dare to face it,—"Who will cure me of my leprosy? Who will say to me, 'I will, be thou clean?!”
Brother lepers, here is the message of Him who has come down amongst us in likeness of our flesh, that He may do this work for us—come down, even as He came down when He met this man-come down from the mountain, from the mount of teaching, yea, from the mountain of spoken benediction-come down amongst us and taken our very flesh, in order that He may touch us. And so He does touch one and another. ' From that body of his, there still goes out healing ; from that human nature of his, imparted to one and another, when they feel their leprosy, and come to Him for cleansing; yea, my brethren, to the most unclean, there goes out from Him this power of healing and this perfect cleansing, and still it is by ! his touch. Hearing about Him won't do; talking about Him won't do; knowing about Him won't do. Is there one amongst you who knows that he is leprous, that some lust has long tyrannized over him, who has groaned out bis, “I cannot
never given way to it; but I cannot get rid of it?" My brother, here is the power that can set thee free: not mere hearing of Him, not talking of Him, not making a profession of being his, but reaching to his touch; and thou canst reach to it. Oh! my brethren, who can tell what that touch is ? Who can speak of it? Who can convey to another what it is ? No, not even those whom He has touched can speak of it worthily. I know that I cannot. Would to God that He would open my lips to speak of it this night to some one amongst you; to speak of that change when the deliverance comes, when through every current of impure blood, the healing virtue flows, when there is the giving back, to the fallen son of the fallen Adam, the new life of the new man ;-not healing him here, not cleansing this sore, not delivering him from this infirmity, but flowing a fountain of renovation through the whole purified being. And, my brethren, do you doubt that He will do this for you? Is there any one of you to night who doubts for a single moment that you may receive the same healing which this leper at the foot of that mountain found? Why do you doubt it? Do you say it is because you doubt whether He can make you clean? No, my brethren, look at the lepers He has cleansed. It is not now as it was with this man. See the multitudes to whom He has given life ; see the impure to whom He has given back their flesh, like the flesh of a little child; see the miser whom He has made generous; the suspicious whom He has made loving; the peevish and the irritable whom He has made to bear the burden of others. See, every where around you, in the Church of the redeemed, that his touch can make the leper cleau.
And then, do you say, "Yes; but will He do it?” Ah ! brethren, listen to his own words. Hear Him say to you to-night, in the parable of this cleansed leper, “I will; be thou clean." His will is that every one of you should be clearsed. If it were not so, my beloved, why did He come down from heaven ? Why did He knit, in unity with his Divine self, the flesh which He took from his Virgin mother? Why did He lie in that cradle at Bethlehem? Why did He bear the spitting, and the scourging, and the crowning with thorns, and the bitter cross, and the shame of death? Why, if it was not true, as He declares, that He willeth not the death of a sinner, but that He should turn to him and live? Why, if he does not say to you tonight, in the midst of your soul-leprosy, “ I will; be thou clean ? "
Or, is it that you say, “This may apply to other sinners, but bow can it apply to me, so lost, so ruined, so wretched. I had a good education, I had parents who cared for me, and I have thrown all away, and chosen iniquity." This man was full of leprosy. Think of that-full of leprosy. There was not one part of that aching body of his but what the disease possessed. Look at thy soul, and set it side by side with his body full of leprosy; and he was so, in order that thou mightest have hope.
But perhaps you say, again, “Yes, if I could but cry to Him; yes, if I could but believe thoroughly in Him; yes, if I could but come to Him, as I would ‘ain come, his fears. He said, “If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean." I dare not say which is the worst unbelief, to doubt his power, or to doubt his will. But this man came as no perfect bel no perfect beggar for his cure; he did but go because his sense of disease drove him, he did but go with a trembling and doubting expectation that porchance he might get healed. And thou canst go so. Only go to Him because He does touch.
For see the healing: the man was healed immediately; and so it is even now. Of the guilt of thy sins thou art healed, when the Christ toucheth thee. Of the power of thy sins, in its measure, thou art healed by that touch ; and He has provided that thou mayest go again and again for that touch. What does He do in bis Word? What does He do in all the ordinances of his Church? What does He do in the blessed Sacrament of the Holy Communion, but come and touch the penitent man with that life-giving and cleansing touch of his? And are not these open to thee? Is it not of his love that this very building has been opened, and thou gathered this night amongst the company, in order that thou mightest meet thy Lord, and hear of his touch, and cast thyself before Him, the Lord of tenderness, as well as the Lord of power ? Oh! my beloved brethren, trifle not with such opportunities as these.
Remember, I beseech you, the lesson that leprosy is death, and that leprosy of the soul is the death of the eternal part of us. Remember, I pray you, that leprosy shut out the Jew from the company of the accepted, and that the uncleansed soul must be shut out from the company of the perfected creatures of God. There is no escape from the conclusion ; and so I say to you, in the name of the Lord, trifle not with this deliverance. Leprosy is death, is separation, is eternal suffering, is the death of the soul in its eternal parting from God, which itself is the very concentration of misery. Then, my brethren, go straight to Him, and go to no other. Go to Him, the Fountain of strength. Do not rest in word, do not take up with form, do not trust to feelings, do not trust in any particular religious profession, but go to Him. Find Him out as a person, a living Saviour. Take thy soul to Him, that wounded, sin-sick soul of thine; pierce through the crowd; it is a work that must be done alone ; thou must go to Him thou must say to Him, "Thou knowest my sickness, Lord, stretch out thy hand and give me healing," and never let Him go until He blesses thee. There is this truth, which every one of you, my beloved brethren, may know in his own experience. The Lord will meet you. Press only to Him, and He will draw you to Himself. His love is infinite; his power of healing infinite; his cross of power almighty. Hasten to Him in the inmost recesses of your heart. Take your own lust to Him. Look round about in your family; look round about in your house, in your lodging, in your daily life ; see where the leprosy has broken out. Is it in that sinful companion of thine ? Is it in thy having chosen the life of licentiousness, and not the life of chastened and obedient holiness? Find out where the leprosy has broken out in thyself, and take that thy spot to the Lord, the Healer, and do it to-night, for who can say that you shall see comes down from the mount of benediction, and stands beside thee in the valley of thy sin, that he may give theo cleansing ?
Oh! then, this night before you leave these walls, before there be the danger of a distracting thought, set yourself, -as each one of you can, by the wonderful power with which He has endued your soul-set yourself alone with Him in secret, mental prayer, and, bringing before Him your sin, your weakness, your infirmity, the you lack, cast yourself down, as this leper did of old, and worship Him in your heart, and say to Him, "Lord, I know thou wilt ; Lord, I know thou can'st; Oh, Saviour of the lost, reach forth thine hand, and say to me, thy lost one, ‘I will ; be thou clean.'” Put this prayer up to Him from the bottom of your soul: "O Saviour, who by thy cross and precious blood hast redeemed us, hear us, and save us, we humbly beseech Thee, O Lord.”
SALVATION TO THE UTTERMOST.
PREACHED ON SUNDAY EVENING, JANUARY 31, 1858,
BY THE REV. J. C. P. EYRE, M.A.
" Wherefore he is able to save also them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he
ever liveth to make intercession for them."—HEB. vii. 25.
The note of inference which commences this verse summons our attention, in the first place, to the context-" wherefore.” This word, just like the porous stem which channels the sap of life from the root to the bursting flower, carries life and perpetuity into the blessed assurance of the Redeemer's ability to save to the uttermost, by linking it to the vital truth from which it is a necessary deduction. “But this man, the Apostle writes, " because he continueth ever, hath an unchangable priesthood;" that is, a priesthood which is not transmissive,
--a priesthood which can never pass into the hands of another person--a priesthood whiclı admits of no succession, inasmuch as he who holds its dignity and responsibility never dies. He hung as a vicarious sacrifice upon the cross; and He now sits as a "priest upon his throne.” On that altar of shame, and agony, and blood, the Lamb of God was slain, an atoning victim ; and so salvation was made possible, as a gift to be universally offered. And in the royalities of his priesthood is he now upon that throne of glory, that the gift, offered universally, may be received and realised, individually, by all who come unto God by Him. He was the victim atoning in death, and He is the priest interceding in life; because, in that marvel of mingled wisdom and love, the scheme of human redemption, there was no victim worthy of the priest, and there was no priest worthy of the victim, but He who combined both in his own person. The working out of his great salvation in that hour of passion and shame on earth was perfect, "for by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” And the application of his great salvation to each earnest penitent by his life, in heaven, must be also perfect, that He may be able to save to the uttermost. His death was a real death, once for all; and his life must be an endless life of real intercession for each who rest upon Him. Is it so? Is his intercession as perfect through an endless life, as his sacrifice was perfect through a real death? Does the application of the benefits of his cross, to this or that yearning, aching beart, lie in other hands than his own ? Is his priesthood in heaven unchangeable or without succession ?
Now, mark the contrast which the writer draws in the context, to set all fears at rest. Under the Jewish dispensation, there were priests, that is, men appointed, called, and consecrated by God himself, who were to stand and transact, or mediate, by sacrifice and intercession, between the holy Creator and his offending creatures: For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifice for sins; who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is beset with infirmity." This ordinance, like every other part of the Jewish ceremonial, was pictorial and prophetical. It was pictorial because it placed before the very senses of men the lesson of their guiltful need; and it taught them that a priest of Divine selection must stand with sacrifice between them and their God,