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The Faculty Baffled, The Great Physician Successful
Delivered on Lord's Day Morning, August 23, 1868, by
C. H. SPURGEON
at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.
"And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood 12 years, and had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, when she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched His garment. For she said, If I may touch but His clothes, I shall be whole."
BRIEFLY consider this poor woman's case. She was afflicted with a disease of exceedingly long standing which not only wasted her strength and threatened to bring her speedily to the grave, but rendered her, according to the Jewish ceremonial Law, unclean, and therefore unable to mix in company. Thus she was doomed to be a poor, suffering, desponding, desolate woman. The physicians of those days were bold enough to attempt impossible cures, but their skill was not at all commensurate with their courage. They tormented their patients, but seldom relieved them of anything but their money.
Even a few hundred years ago many of the articles which were given to patients as medicines, and cried up as drugs of sovereign efficacy, were so unutterably disgusting that I should not like to repeat their names. And the processes of surgery, then common among practitioners, would have been exceedingly satisfactory if they had been intended to kill, but were both absurd and inhuman if proposed as salutary operations. The science of medicine, indeed, did not then exist. And in the age of our Lord, surgery and medicine were just a mass of quackery and daring pretension, without anything of skill or knowledge to support their claims.
This poor woman had, however, in her anxious desire to be restored to society and to health, gone first to one and then to another, and yet another—although all caused her suffering by acrid medicines or by severe operations. And after the end of 12 years she found herself penniless as well as worse in health. Just then, her physical state being still the highest thought in her mind, she heard that there was a Prophet who healed diseases. Having listened to one or two of the stories of the cures worked by Him, and having, perhaps, seen some of those who had been happy enough to be the subjects of His miracles, she said to herself, "That Man is doubtless sent of God. He professes to be the Messiah, the Son of David, the Son of God—I believe He is so—and if He is such an One, then He is so full of sacred force that if I may but get near enough to touch the hem of His robe I shall be restored."
Happy day it was for her when she imbibed that idea! Happier, still, when she put it into practice—when tremblingly she put forth her finger, touched the hem of the Savior's garment and was that moment restored! I shall not need to say more concerning the narrative itself. It commends the Savior to you—shows you His great power in the physical world—and so proves His Deity and endears Him to you for His mercy and compassion.
But this woman has many parallels in the spiritual world. Multitudes like she are diseased with a wasting despondency, an unceasing tendency to despair—and they have been trying all the miserable comforters with which this world abounds. And after wasting their substance and their strength, they are now brought to utter spiritual destitution—they feel they can do nothing—they are ready to perish. I hope this morning, if never before, they will hear of Jesus who is able to heal the most desperate cases, and that they will be resolved to apply to Him, that by a sincere, even if a feeble faith, they may be brought into contact with His healing energy and may today be delivered from all evil by the great Restorer's touch! God grant it, for the Redeemer's sake, by the power of the Holy Spirit and He shall have all the praise!
I intend, this morning, first of all, to expose the physicians upon whom poor sin-sick souls often trust. When I have done so, I will show you why all these physicians, without exception, fail. Thirdly, I shall describe the plight of the patient after the failure of these trusted physicians. And lastly, show how a cure can be worked even in those.
I. Let me EXPOSE THE PHYSICIANS WHO DELUDE SO MANY BY THEIR VAIN PRETENSIONS. Among the herd of deceivers I single out one of the vilest, first—an old, established doctor who has had a wide practice among sin-sick souls—a wicked old poisoner he is, but for all that exceedingly popular, named Dr. Sadducee. He adopts usually the homoeopathic principle, namely, to cure like by its like. He gives one form of sin as a cure for another.
For instance, as soon as he sees one melancholy with unbelief, he prescribes licentiousness. He says, "You are getting dull. You must cheer up! You need to mix with society. A young person like you ought not to be disturbed with these serious thoughts. Those are mere fanatics who alarm you. Be calm. I would recommend you to attend the theater or the music hall, these will drive dull cares away."
He feels the patient's pulse, tells him it is much too low—he must really take a little stimulant and try what gaiety will do. Alas, this old, but damning prescription, is frequently written out and pressed upon awakened souls as if it were wisdom itself, whereas it is a piece of Satanic craft and falsehood! It never did work a cure, and never can! It bids the man escape from drowning by plunging deeper beneath the waves! It tells him to quench the flame which is burning in his heart by adding fuel to it! It pretends to heal the leper by thrusting him into the inner recesses of the morgue where disease runs amok! By making bad worse, the lover of pleasure hopes to recover from the qualms of conscience.
As a notable instance of Dr. Sadducee's practice in its mildest form, I would quote the case of George Fox, the celebrated founder of the Quakers. When perplexed about his salvation, he went to several friends and ministers for advice. One said he thought it would do him much good to smoke tobacco. Another recommended him to get married as speedily as possible. Another thought if he joined the volunteers, that would certainly take his thoughts off of his melancholy. "Alas," he said, " I found them as empty as a hollow drum." Such physicians minister no medicine to a diseased mind.
A story is told of Carlini, the Italian actor, who, being the subject of heavy depression of spirit, applied to a French physician and it was recommended he attend the Italian theater, and, said the physician, "If Carlini does not dispel your gloomy complaint, your case must be desperate, indeed." The physician was not a little surprised when his patient replied, "Alas, Sir, I am Carlini. And while I divert all Paris with mirth and make them almost die with laughter, I myself am dying with melancholy." How empty and insufficient are the amusements of the world! Even in their laughter their heart rejoices not. Miserable comforters are all those who would drown seriousness in wine and merriment.
When the heart is breaking it is vain to offer music and the dance, or to fill high the flowing bowl. When the arrows of God stick fast in a man's soul, the world's vain songs suit not with the hour—they jar on the ear and increase the misery which they would remove. When God awakens a sinner, he cannot be so readily deceived as when he was in his dreams. The Holy Spirit has made him feel the bitterness of sin and bruised him with the rod of conviction—and now his broken bones demand a real and true Physician—and he cannot endure the simpering deceiver who tells him that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit! It is too late to say to such a man, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die." He dreads the thought of dying and trembles lest death should come upon him unawares.
A much more respectable firm of physicians has been established from time immemorial in the region of Mount Sinai, near the abode of one Hagar, known as the bondwoman. The business is now carried on by Dr. Legality and his pupil, Mr. Civility. You will remember, that in John Bunyan's time they were in large practice. Mr. Worldly Wiseman was their patron and sent the pilgrim round that way, telling him that the old doctor had much skill in delivering men of their burdens, and that if the old gentleman himself was not at home, his young man, Mr. Civility, would do almost as well. This firm was trading, in our Savior's day, under the name of Scribe and Pharisee. It was the same deceptive system, but under different names, and it will always be the same piece of imposture until the crack of doom.
The theory of practice is this, "Be careful in diet and regimen. Be very observant of certain laws and regulations, and then your issue of blood, or whatever it may be, shall be healed." Go all over England, and the great doctor for men's souls, the most popular of physicians now living, is this Dr. Legality! The one great prescription is, "Do this and do that. Abstain from this, and give up the other. Keep the commandments and pray at certain hours, and these things will save you." Dressed out in different fashions, but always the same thing, this great falsehood of salvation by the works of the Law is still holding men under its iron sway and deluding them to their destruction.
There may be some now present who are unhappy enough not to know the Truth of God which Paul tells us so plainly, "By the deeds of the Law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the Law is the knowledge of sin." I was myself for many a day treated by this Dr. Legality, and many a black draught have I swallowed under his orders. I tried to keep the Law of God, and thought that my repentance and tears would be an atonement for the past. But who can keep the Law? What man can keep whole what he has broken? We have, each of us, already sinned, and therefore the hope of salvation by our own goodness is a vain one!
The Law pronounces a curse upon the man that sins but once! How can a man, then, having already sinned 10,000 times, hope, by any future obedience, to escape from the curse which hangs thick and heavy over his head, soon to burst in eternal storm? Yet this is the fond delusion of humanity! Sinai is still the chosen route to Heaven for the crippled sons of a father who found the task too much for him. Some of you imagine that if you do your best—if you are kind to everybody, if you are generous to the poor, if you owe no man anything, if you conduct yourselves respectably—this is enough to save you. But it is not so! He that believes not on Jesus Christ shall be damned as well in his morality as in his debauchery! He that casts not himself upon the mercy of God, as revealed in the crucified Savior, has shut against himself the one portal to Heaven and shall never be able to enter into life eternal!
There is another physician whom I greatly despise, but am compelled to mention him because he has entrapped many, one Dr. Ceremonial. He is the vilest of quacks, a very mountebank, a transparent deceiver! His drugs are worthless trash and his modes of operation are rather the tricks of a Merry Andrew, or the antics of a dancing master than the sober teachings of thought and judgment. This Dr. Ceremonial has patented a lotion for producing regeneration in little children by the application of a few drops to their foreheads! He puts his hands on the heads of boys and girls, and by what he calls occult influence, confirms them in Divine Grace!
He professes to be able to make a piece of loaf and a cup of wine to be actually Divine, and in themselves a channel of Grace to the souls of men! The substances are material—a mouse may nibble at the one, a bottle will hold the other! You can touch them, taste them, smell them—and yet fools adore them as Divine and imagine that material substances can be food for souls! Surely this Dr. Ceremonial flourishes all the more because of the monstrous absurdity of his teachings! His pills are huge, but men have wide throats and can swallow anything! Why, think, for a minute, and then wonder for an hour—men are to be sanctified by gazing at genuflections, millinery, and candles!
The East is said to be a more gracious quarter of the heavens than the West, and creeds repeated with the head in that direction possess a peculiar efficacy! It appears that in spiritual operation certain colors are peculiarly efficacious— prayers said or sung in white are far more prevalent than in black—and according to the age of the year and the condition of the moon, violet, scarlet and blue, are more acceptable to God! I have no patience with these things. It is hardly good enough sport for laughter—but so long as fools abound, knaves will flourish—and this Dr. Ceremonial will get men to spend their substance in abundance, and laugh in his sleeve to think that rational beings should be his silly dupes!
I trust there are none such here. I hope none of you are so fooled. What is there in crossings, bowings and uttering over and over the same words? What is any worship unless the reason and heart enter into it? What can there be in one material substance to give it sanctity? Is it not as absurd as the fetishism of the Bushman, to believe that bricks and mortar, and slates and boards can make a holy place—that, indeed, any one place can be a jot holier than another—that any plot of ground can be holier than common ground? Or that any man, because certain words have been said over his godless, graceless head, can be made a dispenser of the Divine Grace of God, and a pardoner of sins?! We are not so befooled, but still this quack drives a good trade, and is held in very high repute.
Here I may name one Dr. Ascetic, who has taken a house hard by the abode of Dr. Ceremonial. His business, however, does not flourish quite so much now as formerly, for his methods are a little too rigorous for the times. Under his treatment men are taught that pain and virtue are much alike—that starvation is a means of grace, dirt is devotion— and horsehair next to the skin a sanctifying irritant. Few persons like this heroic treatment, but certain brotherhoods and sisterhoods amuse themselves with the treatment in a modified form. The more heroic doses of wormwood and gall are out of fashion, but still, men like a bitter in moderate quantities.
In the olden times this Dr. Ascetic flourished! Then men wore hair shirts, flogged their poor shoulders, went on mad pilgrimages and in other ways afflicted themselves—believing that great self-denials were patent medicines by which deliverance could be obtained from spiritual diseases. This system of soul-cure had such victims us hermits in caves and the followers of Simon Stylites elevated upon columns with other imbeciles which time would fail us to mention. Even in these days we read of the nuns of St. Ann who always sleep in their coffins upright, and become unable to sleep in any other posture. The Fakeers in Hindustan do but carry out to perfection the regulations which some in this Christian land would impose upon our respect. But all this is the mere invention of man, and he who follows it shall find that he torments himself in vain.
I shall now mention a physician who practices among Dissenters as well as elsewhere, and I am persuaded has some of you for his patients. His name is Dr. Orthodoxy. His treatment consists in this, that you are to believe certain doctrines most firmly and bigotedly and then you shall be saved. Have I not some in this place, this morning, whose great difficulty about salvation is that they cannot quite comprehend the mystery of predestination? If you talk to them about the precious blood of Jesus, and speak of the soul-saving efficacy of a simple trust in Him, they reply, "But I cannot quite understand the doctrine of election!"
And then they mention some passage of Scripture upon that subject—their notion being that if they could understand mysteries they would then be saved—if they could hold the orthodox faith in every point they would be delivered from their sins. But it is not so. I have known scores of persons who have been held in horrible bondage by exclusively thinking upon one part of orthodoxy to the exclusion of the rest. They have grown more wretched, more distracted, more hopeless than they were before, because, having heard the doctrine of election and predestination propounded, they must forever be harping upon it.
It is a blessed doctrine, and I believe it and hold it firmly, that God has a chosen people, but for all that, before men have come to Christ they often make that doctrine to be a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense. Even if you would be infallible and believe every Truth of God as it is taught in Scripture in the most correct manner, your belief would not save you! True religion is something more than correct opinions. A man may as well descend to Hell being orthodox as heterodox. There is a correct road to destruction as well as an incorrect one—I mean a way in which a man may carry truth in his right hand, as well as another road in which the pilgrim hides a lie in his left.
One more physician I will mention, and that is Dr. Preparation. He holds and teaches that the way to be saved is to prepare yourselves for Christ, and if you prepare and make yourselves fit for Jesus Christ, then you will obtain peace. The modes of preparation are very much these, "You must deeply wound yourself. You must doubt God's power to save you, and dishonor Jesus by your fears. You must endure terrors of conscience and be the subject of alarms.'' It is not said so in the Bible, but still, this is the current teaching of many and is so munch believed that men will not trust in Jesus Christ because they have not felt this nor experienced the other!
Do I not, every week, meet with persons who tell me, "You invite those to come to Christ who feel their need. I do not feel any need as I ought, and therefore I may not come"? I cannot understand why such people do not open their ears, for times out of mind I say that Jesus Christ did not come into this world to save sensible sinners only, but to save sinners from their insensibility! That Jesus Christ bids sinners, as sinners, believe in Him and does not limit the command to those who repent! Men are not only to come with broken hearts, but if they cannot feel their need, they should come to Jesus to be helped to feel their need—for this He gives them—" 'Tis His Spirit's rising beam."
My Lord and Master wants nothing of you, O lost and bankrupt Sinners! He bids you come simply trusting in Him, being nothing at all in yourself, and having all in Him. I believe those who think they do not feel their need, often feel their need the most. If anyone should say, "I have a sense of need," then he claims to have something good. But those who confess that they have no good feelings or emotions—that they are poor bankrupts, broken down, so that their last penny is gone—to them is the Gospel sent!
Trust Jesus, believe that He can do what you cannot do, and in the absence of any good in yourselves, believe that all the good you need is treasured up in Him! Cast yourselves—empty, naked, soul-diseased as you are—flat upon the perfect work of Jesus and you shall be saved!
I have just gone through a list of those physicians with which I believe many of you have long been acquainted.
II. WHAT IS THE REASON FOR THEIR FAILURE? Why is it that none of the prescriptions of these learned and popular gentlemen have ever been able to work a single cure? Is it not, first of all, because they, none of them, understand the disease? If the disease of human nature were only a matter of outward iniquity, or only skin-deep through intellectual error—ceremonies, perhaps, might have some effect and legal exhortations might be of some use. But since the inmost heart of man is depraved, and the sin of our nature lies in the very core of our humanity—and is inherited from our birth—of what use is consecrated water, or sacraments, or good works, or anything external which cannot change the nature and turn the bias of the mind?
The will is obstinate. The affections are depraved. The understanding is darkened. The desires are polluted. The conscience is stultified. And legal physicians can only make clean the outside of the cup and platter—they touch not these inward evils. They do not really know that man is dead in sin. They treat the patient as if he had wounded himself a little, and could be salved and bound up—and made whole again. They know not the deep pollution of sin and imagine that man has stained himself a little, and only a little—so a sponge of reformation, and a little hot water of repentance—will soon remove all unpleasant marks. But it is not so—the fountain of our being is polluted! The foundation of our nature is rotten, and not until we come to Christ do we find that the Physician who comes to the point and who touches the disease at its source.
Moreover, these physicians often prescribe remedies which are impossible to their patients. They tell the man, "You must feel so much." "Feel!" says he, "Why my heart is like granite! If I could feel, I could do all the rest. But I can no more make myself feel than I can make myself an angel. You bid me do what is far beyond my power." Then they bid him work, crying, "You must press forward, be in earnest, agonizing, labor!" "But," says he, "I do try. I have tried for years, but my endeavors are not such as God accepts, and I may continue trying till I perish. I want to be told a sure way to salvation at once! I long for immediate peace, and light, and liberty."
These physicians prescribe walking to those who have broken their legs, and sight as a remedy for those whose eyes are gone! They bid men to do what they cannot—and they never point them to what Jesus has done on their behalf. The Gospel bids the sinner cease from his toiling and trust alone in Jesus—having nothing and being nothing in himself— but taking Jesus to be his All in All. And when it adds that even this is the gift of God's Spirit—then it puts before him an available method for the weakest, guiltiest, and most distressed.
Many of the medicines prescribed by these physicians do not touch the case at all. As I have already shown you, outward ceremonies cannot, by any possibility, affect the inward nature. And the mere performance of good works, or the utterance of excellent prayers can have no effect in quieting the conscience. Conscience cries, " I have offended God! How may I be reconciled to Him? My past sins clamor for vengeance! God is not just if He does not punish me! Oh, where shall I find peace for my soul?" Where, but in the bosom of the Mediator?
Only at Calvary is the medicine for a wounded conscience to be found! From those five wounds of our blessed Lord, healing fountains are still streaming. He that looks to Him shall find peace and comfort and full salvation! But the doing and the feeling, and the performing of this and that, and 10,000 things besides are all a mockery, a delusion, and a snare! The disease of fallen humanity is wholly incurable except by the hand of Omnipotence. It is as easy for us to create a world as to create a new heart—and a man might us well hope to abolish cold and snow as hope to eradicate sin from his nature by his own power! He might us well say to this round earth, "I have emancipated you from the curse of labor," as say to himself, "I will set myself free from the thralldom of sin."
Jehovah alone can save! It is His prerogative, and they who tell me that they are to have a finger in it—that they and their deceivers, the priests, can assist a little in salvation—that their tears, their groans, their cries, their repentances and their humbling can do at least a something—these I say, fly in the face of God! These rob Him of His dearest prerogative! These impugn His Word! They rob Him of His Glory and provoke Him to jealousy. God is still a Sovereign and will be treated as such. Woe unto the man who contends with Him!
Brothers and Sisters, let me say plainly this one word and then leave this point. Rest assured that wherever in salvation you see a trace of the creature's power or merit, you see a work that is spoiled and polluted. If there is in the fountain one drop of anything but Jesus' blood, it will not cleanse! If there is in the robe one single thread of anything but what Christ worked out for us while here below, the whole robe is polluted and will not serve as a wedding garment! For a needy soul the work must be Christ's from top to bottom—all of Him and all of Divine Grace—if there is anything of human merit, or anything else that comes of man, the work is marred upon the wheel, and God will not accept it. These are some of the reasons why these physicians fail to bring health and cure.
III. I shall describe THE PLIGHT OF THE PATIENT WHO HAS TRIED THESE deceivers and now, at last, finds himself brought into distress. For five years I was in that plight, seeking by every way that I knew of to find peace with God. At the end of that period my condition was much like that of this poor woman. Now there were four pieces of mischief done in her case. First, the woman had lost all her time. Twelve years! Who knows the value of a day? Who can calculate the costliness of a year?
Twelve years, all gone! And what a pity that these poor people who are seeking to be saved by the works of the Law should be losing all that precious time! What a pity that you, dear Friends, who are not yet saved, should be getting gray, and so many years should be running to waste! They ought to be spent for the Lord! I hope they may be, what remains of them! Think and be humbled—you have been all this time outside the banquet door—all this time unwashed, when the fountain is full! All this time unhealed, when the restoring hand can save you in a minute—all this time in jeopardy, in danger of your soul—while the gate of the City of Refuge has been open! It is a solemn loss of time that these delusions bring on men—and yet we cannot tear them away from them, for if we prove the folly of one, they take to another—and if we prove the folly of all, yet still will they go back to them like a dog to his vomit. They will have anything, sooner than go to Christ, for Christ Himself has said, "You will not come unto Me that you might have life." Anywhere else men will cheerfully go, but not to Him.
The second mischief in the case was that she was no better. If she had felt a little better she would have had some encouragement. It would have been satisfactory to have some pain mitigated, some measure of the disease stopped. And so in your case—you are no better than you were when you first entered this house five years ago. You have reformed, perhaps, which is good—you have given up some evil things which were once very dear to you—that is well. But still you are not one grain happier! You could not die today with any greater comfort than you could have died five years ago—you have no better hope of immortality now than you had then. No, sometimes you have fancied the darkness thicken, and the prospect of hope become less and less apparent. A sad thing, is it not, that after doing so much it should come to so little? You have put your money into a bag that is full of holes. You have expended it for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which satisfies not.
The third evil in the woman's case was that she rather grew worse, and in addition to that she had suffered many things of the physicians. She had gained a loss. The doctors had blistered here, and lanced there, and given this acrid poison and that nauseous drug—and had been skillful in nothing but in causing needless pain. So, while to effect your salvation you have been looking away from Christ to someone else, you have been needlessly troubled and tortured. Despair has hovered around your path. Despondency has hung its pall above you and you have much more gloom yet to endure unless you give up all that comes of self, and cast yourself on Christ. I would make a venture of it, if I were you, for you cannot lose by it—you are as bad as you can be.
Better, even if Jesus were angry, to run into His arms than to remain apart from Him. Jesus Christ the appointed Savior of men is able to save to the uttermost, but while you seek others it is not possible for you to be saved! They will either bolster you up with self-righteousness, which will harden your heart, or else cast you down by putting before you impossible duties to attempt which will be to increase your despair—
"None but Jesus, none but Jesus
Can do helpless sinners good."
Yet helpless sinners pierce themselves through with many sorrows as they fly to earthly physicians for relief.
One more matter. The woman had now spent all that she had. Her poverty was a new ill of which the only good was that now she had no more to spend with the physicians! She was driven to Christ. So it is a most blessed, though painful experience, when a man has spent all—when he discovers that he has nothing left, no, not so much as an atom of merit— or hope of ever having any! It is well when the man cries, "I have always thought that perhaps there might be an escape for me, but I have no hope left now. As for power, I am as destitute of it as I am of merit. I feel that I would, but cannot pray. I would, but cannot repent. I want to believe, but I can no more believe than I can fly—it must all come from God."
At such a time it will come from God—for man's extremity is always God's opportunity. When you are empty. When your stock is all gone, even to the last rag and crumb, and you are left a helpless, hopeless, undeserving, Hell-deserving sinner and can truly feel that unless God stretches out His hand to save you, you are lost as the lost in Hell are—it is then that Jesus Christ reveals Himself, and the soul cries, "My Lord, the glorious Son of God, there is no hope except in You! You can save me! I cast myself upon You, whether I sink or swim. For I am persuaded nothing else can rescue me, and while I can but perish if I do rely upon You, so at a venture I will rely upon You. If I am cast into Hell, as I feel I deserve to be, yet, still, I will believe that You can save me."
Ah, then you cannot perish, neither shall any pluck you out of His hands! If God gives you power to believe Christ and trust yourself to Him, you are as surely saved as God is in Heaven, and Christ there pleading at His right hand!
IV. Now to those who have spent their all on the false physicians, I have A WORD TO SHOW HOW A CURE CAN BE WORKED. This woman said to herself, "The way of cure is for me to get near to Jesus. I can see that doctors are of no good. I cannot help myself, neither can all the world besides assist me. I must press to get near to Him. If I cannot put my arms around Him, yet a little of Him is enough. If I cannot press to Him so as to lay hold of Him with my hands, yet as much as I can touch with my fingers will be enough. I know if I cannot touch Him, if I can but get near the hem of His garment and touch it, it will do."
It is a sweet Truth of God that the least of Christ will save. The best of men, the whole of men, cannot benefit you an ounce—but the least drop of Christ, the least touch of Christ—will save! If your faith is such a poor trembling thing that it is hardly fit to be called faith, yet if it connects you with Christ, you shall have the virtue that goes out from Him. Remember, it was not this woman's finger that saved her—it was Christ whom she touched. True, the healing came by the act of faith, but the act of faith is not the healing—the healing all lies in the Person—so that you are not to be looking to your faith, but to Jesus the Lord!
Has your faith a good Object? Do you rest in Jesus, God's Son, God's appointed Propitiation? If so, your faith will bring you to Heaven—it is good enough. The strongest faith a man ever had, if it did not rest on Christ, damned him! The weakest faith ever man or woman has, if it does but terminate in the precious Person and all-sufficient work of Jesus, will certainly save. The fact is, Sinner, if you would be saved, you must, from this moment, have nothing more to do with yourself, with your goodness or your badness. "I cannot feel," says the sinner—that is yourself again. Away with that feeling! You are to be saved by what Christ felt, not by what you feel!
"I cannot," you say. What care I what you cannot do? Your salvation does not lie in what you can do, but in what Jesus can do, and He can do everything. Will you trust Him now? Let me help your faith with two or three words as the Holy Spirit may bless them. Christ is God—has He not power to save you? Christ, the bleeding Son of God, has bowed His head to the accursed death of the Cross, bearing His Father's anger that those who trust Him may not bear it. Cannot the bloodstained Christ pardon sin? Christ is His Father's darling, trust Him! Will not God grant mercy when you plead for Jesus' sake? Jesus lives today—He is no dead Christ that you are bid to trust in. He lives, and this is His occupation—He is pleading before the Throne of God, and this is His plea—"Father, forgive them for My sake."
Seeing He died to save, cannot He, now that He lives, save to the uttermost? At His last dying moment He said to the thief, "Today shall you be with Me in Paradise." Can He not say as much now, since He wears the crown of Glory? Yes, you may have come in here this morning without a good thought, never having spoken a holy word in your life, but He can save you as quickly as He did the thief! Yes, and though when that clock struck 12 you were a graceless wretch, yet at this moment you may already be a saved soul! Yes, and before the clock ticks again, another may be called, by Divine Grace!
Christ works not according to time. He is not limited by minutes. If you can turn your eyes to His Cross and say, "Lord, remember me," He can give us His reply, "You shall be with Me, before long, in Paradise." With God Incarnate, with the God-Man who bled on the Cross, with the Son of God ascended, clothed with majesty, reigning in splendor— with Him whose promise we this day proclaim to you—there can be neither difficulty nor debate! The promise runs thus—"He that believes on Him is not condemned." "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved." "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned."
Will you believe in Him? It is to come to Him, to trust Him, to lean upon Him, to hang upon Him, to make Him your sole and only ground of dependence. Will you do this? Has God enabled you, now, to do it? If so, go in peace—your faith has made you whole, your sins are forgiven you! Go and live to His praise, who bought you with His blood! Go, young man, and serve him earnestly who has served you so well. Go now, and till life's latest hour be His servant who has been so much your Friend. The Lord bless us for His name's sake. Amen.
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