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for the poor and needy; who would never known “in the palace," and we read of stoop to write a letter for a menial domestic; " saints even in Cæsar's household." And, who treat their servants no better than brutes Onesimus! you will have reason to bless --and often not half so well.
God for ever for his confinement and impriBut servants should be considered as fel-sonment there! low-creatures and as humble friends. It is a Do we lay too much stress upon this cirscandal to a Christian, to suffer a servant to cumstance !--The salvation of one soul, the leave his house unable to read. Are you not soul of a poor slave, is an event of far greater to do good as you have opportunity ? Shall importance than the deliverance of a patiaa we call that contemptible which God deigns from civil bondage. “There is joy in the to honour? Did not He who made thee in presence of the angels of God over one sipthe womb make them ? Has he not endued ner that repenteth. Besides, Onesimus bethe low-born child, the beggar, the slave, with came a minister; the Apostle speaks of him a portion of reason and immortality? Are as such in his epistle to the Colossians: Igna. they not the care of his providence? Are tius, in his epistle to the Ephesians, speaks they not the purchase of the Saviour's blood ? of him as pastor of their church immediately And has he not assured us that it is not the after Timothy: and the Roman martyrology will of our Heavenly Father, that one of these assures us that he was stoned to death in little ones should perish?"
Rome under the reign of Trajan the emperor. Secondly. Let us learn how impossible it There he entered a state of grace, and there is to hinder the work of God: or frustrate the also he entered a state of glory! How wopurposes of his grace.—“Whom I have begot- derful! At one time this man was there a ten in my bonds." Nothing comes to pass by wicked fugitive slave—and a few years after chance. What appears to be chance among a preacher of the Gospel, a martyr for the men is nothing less than the providence of word of God and the testimony of Jesus God permitting, appointing, arranging, over-Christ ! ruling all events. “He doth according to his Thirdly. Therefore let us learn to de own will in the army of heaven, and among spair of none of our fellow-creatures. Whatthe inhabitants of the earth, and none can ever time has elapsed; whatever means have stay his hand, or say unto him, what doest been useless; whatever lengths a man has thou? His counsel shall stand, and he will run, let us encourage ourselves with this do all his pleasure." And what a complica- thought, that other seasons may prove more tion of occurrences and circumstances some- favourable—that other instruments may prove times enters into the execution of his design: more successful—that he is not gone beyond some of them apparently inconsistent with it, the reach of the divine arm; of the mercy of others seemingly subversive of it! But he God to pardon; of the grace of God to change grasps and guides them by an unerring hand: and sanctify. he harmonizes them and gives them a unity This observation is for you, O parent, of tendency! they reach their end: none of whose heart is bleeding over those undutiful them are superfluous; none of them could be and ungodly offspring, who despise your auspared.—The very wrath of man praises him, thority, your prayers, and your tears. • Gui and the remainder of it he restrains.
is able, even of these stones, to raise up chilCan a man stop the rolling tide? Can he dren unto Abraham." retard the progress of the sun? The cause This observation is for you, O minister, of God is in motion and will crush every ob- whose sabbath-day evenings are imbittered stacle. Nor is this all —he makes opposition by the exclamation, “ Lord, who hath be an advantage : his enemies intend one thing lieved our report!"—who are looking with and he another; and they serve an interest despondency on that hearer who, after all they despise and labour to repress: their your faithful warnings, is rejecting the counschemes fulfil his plan; he turns them from sel of God against himself. The desire of their natural currents into secret channels his eyes may be torn from him. Sickness prepared to receive them, and in which they may recall him from the wanderings of flow along into “ the fulness of him that filleth health. He may go into a new neighbourall in all."
hood; he may meet with very different comPaul, persecuted in Judea, is driven to panions; he may hear another preacher; and Rome. But though he “suffers as an evil doer, he may so hear as that his soul may live. Is even unto bonds, the word of God is not any thing too hard for the Lord ?
He can bound.” In these bonds he did wonders. His vary his means. His resources are endless. sufferings turned out to the furtherance of We are prone to give up characters too soon. the Gospel. There he wrote many of his Persons have been considered as abandoned epistles. There he re-animated the timid by of God at the very time he was going to dishis example. He filled the capital with the play his power and the riches of his grace in savour of the Redeemer's knowledge. How their conversion. many were called by his instrumentality we This observation is for you, O sinner, who know not; but we find that his name was have to this hour been unhappy, or rather
criminal enough to live without God in the | Abraham by faith ; “I will bless thee and world, but now that you feel a willingness to thou shalt be a blessing.". return, are concluding that it will be in vain. Finally. We remark that our being useNo. “There is hope in Israel concerning ful does not depend upon our abilities and this thing." And “where sin has abounded, station. See Onesimus—a slave-profitable grace shall much more abound. That as sin -even to such men as Philemon and Paul hath reigned unto death, even so might grace -profitable to “thee and me.” It is with reign through righteousness unto eternal life the community as it is with the body. “The by Jesus Christ our Lord.”
body is not one member but many. If the foot Fourthly. Conversion makes a man use shall say, because I am not the hand, I am ful. “Who was in time past unprofitable, not of the body, is it therefore not of the but is now profitable.” This is the case with body? And if the ear shall say, because I every regenerate sinner. To render us pro- am not the eye, I am not of the body, is it fitable is the design of religion, and it is easy therefore not of the body? If the whole to see that it must be the effect of it. Reli- body were an eye, where were the hearing ? gion is social and diffusive. According to If the whole were hearing, where were the our Saviour's language, the possessors of divine smelling? But now hath God set the memgrace are the salt of the earth to keep it from bers every one of them in the body, as it hath corruption. They are the lights of the world pleased him. And the eye cannot say unto to keep it from darkness; and this light is not the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again, to be concealed " under a bushel,” but to be the head to the feet, I have no need of you." fixed “ on a candlestick, that it may give Thus we behold in the world and in the light to all that are in the house.' And church, difference of rank, of office, of talents; their light is “so to shine before men, that but there is a connexion between the whole, they may see their good works, and glorify and a dependence arising from it. And from our Father which is in heaven.” The ta- this none are exempted, even “ the king is lents they receive from God look beyond served by the labour of the field.” themselves. The blessings they enjoy they Every man, whatever be his condition and are to communicate. They are to “comfort circumstances, is of some importance in soothers with the comforts wherewith they ciety-and we should labour to impress our themselves are comforted of God.” Of their minds with this reflection—especially in three fortune they are only stewards, not owners.
- They are commanded to “bear one an- Let us remember it—when we are in danother's burdens.” And even in their prayers ger of pride and disdain with regard to any they are taught brotherly love-they are to of our fellow-creatures. The idol you adore plead for others as well as for themselves; is not every thing, and the wretch you dethey are to say, “our Father-forgive us our spise is something. Perhaps he is more netrespasses; and give us this day our daily cessary to you than you are to him. bread.” Divine grace never leaves us as it Let us remember it—when discouraged finds us. It produces a change the most from exertion. Oh! if I had such opportuniwonderful and glorious and beneficial. “The ties and means, I would serve my generation. wolf also dwells with the lamb: and the leo But if great faculties were necessary, they pard lies down with the kid : and the calf would be more frequently bestowed. Situaand the young lion and the fatling together, tions calling for ten talents are rare—those and a little child leads them. Instead of the which require five are more common-but thorn comes up the fir-tree, and instead of those which demand only one are to be found the brier the myrtle-tree. The wilderness every where and every day. And in nothing and solitary place shall be glad for them; and are we so likely to be mistaken as in such the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the conclusions. He that is “not faithful in litrose."
tle,” has no reason to believe that he would Divine grace destroys those vices by which be “faithful in much.” we are injurious to others. For the best We should also remember it--when we charity I can exercise towards my fellow- are tempted to do good in unlawful ways. creatures, says a good man, is to leave off What I mean is this. Some suppose that sinning myself. It subdues the selfishness they can only be useful in such a particular which is so common to our depraved nature; station or office, and hence they are ready to it enlivens and expands the affections; it leave their present condition to rush into it. leads us to rejoice with them that do rejoice, But, says the Apostle, “Let every man abide and weep with them that weep. It teaches in the calling in which he is called of God.” and enables us to act with propriety in every Things are so constituted, that if any capacity and relation in life. Every com- wishes to do good, he may do it in the circumpany and neighbourhood is the better for us: stances in which he is placed; he has some we are as " a dew from the Lord.” And thus influence. For instance and to refer to the the promise is fulfilled in every child of case before us are you a servant? Jacob
was a servant, and Laban, his master, said, the firmest basis of morality: secure God's “I have learned by experience that the Lord claims and you will not miss your own. has blessed me for thy sake.” Joseph was
Let this influence those who have com. employed by Potiphar, “and it came to pass panions to choose; and also those who have from the time that he had made him overseer connexions to form. Oh! young man, “fa. in his house, and over all that he had, that vour is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a the Lord blessed the Egyptian's house for woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be Joseph's sake: and the blessing of the Lord praised.” Oh! young woman, devote thy. was upon all that he had, in the house and in self to nothing profane, sceptical, irreligious; the field.” Hence, says the Apostle to Titus, marry, but “only in the Lord." “ Exhort servants to be obedient unto their Secondly. If religion be profitable to others, own masters, and to please them well in all it is much more so to ourselves. It sanctifies things; 'not answering again, not purloining, all our mercies. It sweetens all our trials. but showing all good fidelity; that they may It teaches us “in whatever state we are, adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all therewith to be content."
" Its ways are things.” And hence he says to Timothy, pleasantness. Its paths are peace." "Yea, “ Let as many servants as are under the yoke it is profitable unto all things, having promise count their own masters worthy of all honour, of the life that now is, and of that which is that the name of God and his doctrine be not to come.” blasphemed." Here we see how much de- No wonder therefore it should be called pends upon Christian servants : they may wisdom, and that Solomon should speak of it either recommend their religion or disgrace as he does. “ Wisdom is the principal thing: it. For the people of the world are not quite therefore get wisdom: and with all thy so blind as we sometimes suppose them to be: getting, get understanding." although incapable of entering into Christian experience, they can estimate the value of principles, by the goodness of their effects. DISCOURSE XXXVII. And what can they think of the gospel, if the professors of it are as bad, or even worse than others; inattentive to the duties of their THE CURE OF BLIND BARTIMEUS. places
, idle, gossippers, busy-bodies, heady, And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh insolent, unfaithful to their trust? On this
unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the principle, I am sorry to say, that there are
way-side begging : and hearing the multisome who have expressed a determination to
tude pass by, he asked what it meant. And have nothing more to do with religious ser
they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth pasrvants. But they surely mean servants who
eth by. And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou are religious only in pretence—who raise
son of David, have mercy on me. And hopes by their profession, which they disap they which went before rebuked him, that he point by their practice and thus cause the should hold his peace: but he cried so much way of truth to be evil spoken of:—for as to the more, Thou son of David, have mercy those servants who are really religious, they on me. And Jesus stood, and commanded must be better than others—they must be him to be brought unto him: and when he “ profitable.”
was come near, he asked him, saying, What Let us therefore conclude with two reflec- wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? and he tions.
said, Lord, that I may receive my sight
. First. If religion renders people, in all And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight. situations, valuable and useful, how deserving thy faith hath saved thee. And immediate is it of encouragement! Let therefore all ly he received his sight, and followed hin, unite together to promote it.
glorifying God.-Luke xviii. 35–43. Let governors and magistrates promote it. To read the Scriptures superficially This is the way to have good subjects and not answer the purpose of a man who is citizens. Innumerable are the advantages desirous of being made wise unto salvation." which communities derive from it in civiliz- He will peruse them with reverence
, he wil ing, restraining, and sanctifying mankind. explore them with diligence, and feel all Human laws cannot extend far enough, in a anxious and prayerful to have the end for thousand cases interesting to the peace and which they were given realized in his own welfare of a nation. They can never reach experience. And what is this end! The the heart. But religion lays hold of the con- Apostle tells us. “ Whatsoever things were science, and places a man, even when alone, written aforetime were written for our learn under the eye of God, and in sight of endlessing, that we, through patience and comfort happiness or wo.
of the Scriptures, might have hope." Let masters of families promote it in their Our Saviour made every misery he beheld households. This is the way to have
obedi- his own. “ He took our infirmities, and bare ent servants, and dutiful children. Piety is our sicknesses.” As he moved from place
to place, he restored friends to the bereaved, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the and health to the diseased. He raised the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.” dead. He made the lame to leap as an hart, And so here: “ It came to pass, that as he and the tongue of the dumb to sing. He was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind gare ears to the deaf, and eyes to the blind. man sat by the way-side begging.” Was
These things, even in a temporal view, then, you may ask, was his finding these obcannot fail of exciting in us a sympathetic jects accidental or designed ? Unquestionajoy with the poor wretches who received bly designed. He was not taken by surprise. relief, and adoring praise to the Author of He saw the end from the beginning: His their deliverance; but as intended to convey plan was formed; and he was "working all spiritual instruction, they acquire additional things after the counsel of his own will." importance. For if these miracles are not But he would show us that he is master not to be considered as types, they furnish us only of events, but of occasions, and of cirwith illustrations in explaining the disorders cumstances; and that though these cireumand cure of the mind.
stances appear loose, irregular, and continLet us therefore review the circumstances gent to us, they subserve his pleasure, and of the history before us—and endeavour to all occur in their proper time and place. derive some useful admonitions from it. Thus the bow “ drawn at a venture,” carried
The subject of the miracle was “a blind the arrow which fulfilled the purpose and the man." We are not informed whether he word of God in the death of the king of Israel. was born blind, or whether the calamity had The occurrence, however, was casual to befallen him by disease or accident. This Bartimeus himself; and when he rose in the however was his melancholy condition; and morning, and was led forth by some friendly a more pitiable one perhaps cannot be found. hand to the place where he was accustomed It is worthy of compassion even when found to beg, little did he imagine that before the in circumstances of affluence and ease-but evening he should obtain his sight, and be how much more so when it is attended with walking at the distance of some miles from indigence and want! And this was the ad-home without a guide! This was the most ditional affliction of blind Bartimeus—" He successful of all his begging days. Boast not; sat by the way-side begging." Poor people despair not—of to-morrow, for thou knowest should be thankful to God for the preserva- not, either as to evil or good, what a day may tion of their limbs and senses. If they have bring forth. no patrimony nor independence, they can Imagine him then sitting under the shadow labour ; and while they have hands and eyes, of some hedge or tree, against the side of the they should scorn habits of beggary. But road, listening to apprehend if any travellers the helpless are not to starve; nor are we were approaching, of whom he might ask a indiscriminately to reject every application small pittance of alms. For though he could we meet with upon the road. - Though, bless- not see, he could hear—this was an allevia ed be God, there is less need of this in our tion of his distress; and it has been remarked, highly-favoured land than in most other coun- that scarcely ever was there an instance of a tries, owing to the legal provision made in man being naturally both blind and deaf. And all our parishes for the poor and needy who in many cases we find the loss of one sense are unable to gain a subsistence by labour. in some measure made up by the greater per.
One of the characters of our Saviour's fection of another. Blind people are generally miracles was publicity. Impostors require very quick of hearing; as may be observed secresy and darkness. There have been mi- by those who visit their asylums. Well
, racles designed to delude the ignorant and while musing-a noise strikes him, and the credulous—but where have they been manu- sound draws nearer and nearer. He asks factured? In cells, convents, and deserts. what it means—and being told that “ Jesus Before whom have they been performed ? A of Nazareth was passing by”-he cried, say, few selected, interested witnesses. But says ing, “ Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy our Saviour, In secret have I done nothing. on me!. Though I am not deserving, my He wrought his miracles in the face of day; case is distressing. O pity me. O help me!" in the most open and exposed situations; be- But whenever was it known that a poor fore crowds of spectators; and among whom suppliant met with no hinderance in coming were found not only the curious, but mali- to the Deliverer for mercy? " They which cious. Thus he recovered this man before a went before rebuked him that he should hold multitude in the high way, and close to the his peace.” From what principle could this city of Jericho.
proceed? Knowing that silver and gold the Several of our Saviour's miracles seem to master had none, did they suppose that he have been unintentional. Thus it is said, was clamorous for alms ? Did they conclude “ As he entered a certain village, there met that his entreaties would be deemed noisy him ten men, that were lepers, who stood and troublesome? Did they deem him beafar off.” Thus again we read, that “when neath the Saviour's notice, and suppose that he came nigh to the gate of the city of Nain, the Son of David would have nothing to do with him? Alas! they discovered too little receiver, the agent and the subject, the phytenderness themselves, and were too little ac- sician and the patient. It is in this way that quainted with their Lord and Saviour, who so much is ascribed in the Scriptures to the never did and never will consider such im- influence of faith. portunity unreasonable or presumptuous; And what would be the feelings of this never did and never will break a bruised man as soon as he received sight! O what reed, nor quench the smoking flax. Nor was joy, what ecstasy, what gratitude, would he Bartimeus to be discouraged. He felt wisely. discover! How would he look, and gaze“ This is my opportunity, and it may never all things are become new !—But the first return. I have addressed thousands who object upon which he would fasten his eyes could give me bread—but never did I meet would be his Benefactor and Deliverer. He with one before who could give me eyes. would admire—and weep-and adore—and And, oh! in a moment he will be out of hear- kneel—and arise-and resolve never to leave ing—and when may
he pass by again? • He him. Thus the man lame from his mother's cried so much the more, Thou son of David, womb no sooner received strength in his feet have mercy on me!'
and ancle-bones than he, “leaping up, stood Such a cry arrests our Lord in his journey; and walked, and entered” with his deliverer he cannot take another step—" He stood." "into the temple-walking—and leapingWhat cannot prayer do? Once the sun of and praising God:” how exquisitely natural nature stood still at the desire of Joshua, who is all this! But what follows is no less so: was eager to complete his victory. And, lo! it is said—“The lame man which was healed now, “ the Sun of righteousness” stands still, held Peter and John, while all the people ran with “healing under his wings,” at the de- together unto them, in Solomon's porch :" be sire of Bartimeus, who begs a cure. “ He held them, grasping their hands or their garstood.” And has thereby taught us never to ments—it was a grasp of affection of gratithink it a hinderance in our journey to pause tude-perhaps also of fear, lest the malady to do good. To do good is our chief business; should return, and he should not be near those and to this every thing else is to be rendered who alone could cure him. subordinate and subservient. "And com- So here: as soon as Bartimeus received manded him to be brought.” By this circum- sight from the Lord Jesus," he followed him stance he administered reproof and instruc- in the way, glorifying God.” We may view tion. Reproof-by ordering those to help the this two ways. It was first an evidence of poor man who had endeavoured to check him; the reality and perfection of the cure. In instruction—by teaching us that though he other cases where human skill has removed does not stand in need of our help, he will blindness by couching—the restored orbs not dispense with our services; that we are cannot be immediately used; light is admitted to aid each other; that though we cannot re- into them by degrees; the man cannot meacover our fellow-creatures, we may frequently sure distances, nor judge with accuracy; and bring them to the place and means of cure. he is not fit to be left to himself. But it is
Our Saviour is acquainted with all our sins, said, our Lord, “ did all things well." His but he requires us to confess them; he under- manner distinguished him--the man saw at stands all our wants, but he commands us to once clearly: and was able to conduct himacknowledge them; he is always graciously self. Secondly, it was an improvement of the affected towards our case, but he would have greatness of the mercy. “I can never," says us properly affected with it ourselves. He he, “discharge my obligations to such a graknew the desire of this man--the case was cious and almighty friend. But let me devote too plain to be mistaken-but he would know myself to his service let me continually it from himself; and therefore when he was ask, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?"* come near, he asked him, saying, “What From the narrative thus explained, I wilt thou that I shall do unto thee!-And he wonld take occasion to bring forward FOUR said, Lord, that I may receive my sight. And ADMONITIONS. Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy And the First is this. BE PERSUADED THAT faith hath saved thee.” Wherein did this YOU ARE ALL SPIRITUALLY IN THE CONDITION man's faith appear? I answer, in his confes- OF BARTIMEUS—and that without divine illumsion-calling him the Messiah, and Jesus, ination, you are no more qualified for the conthe son of David: and also in his application cerns of the moral world than a blind man is --for had he not believed in his power as able, for those of the natural world. It may be as and in his goodness as willing, to succour difficult as it is important to convince perand relieve him-he would not have address- sons of this truth. For “ vain man would be ed himself so earnestly to him. Thus his faith wise, though he be born like a wild ass's honoured Christ, and Christ honoured his colt;" and inany, like the offended Pharisees, faith. Thus his faith excited prayer, and ask —“ Are we blind also ?" But to the law prayer brought him relief. Thus his faith and to the testimony. There is no image produced a unity of design and a correspond- under which the Scripture more commonly ence of disposition between the giver and the holds forth our natural condition than blind