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be as scarlet, they shall be as wool, though they be red like crimson, they shall be white as snow;
- to him is “given beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; "--of him it is said, that the “ high and holy one who inhabiteth eternity,” dwelleth “ with him also who is of an humble and contrite spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” So also, when Christ applies to himself the words of the prophet, and says that he was sent “ to preach deliverance to the captives,” and “to set at liberty them that are bruised,” i. e. galled with the chains they have worn, he only addresses himself to those, who long for such deliverance, and who have felt the oppression of the sore bondage to sin in which they have lived. It would be in vain to proclaim liberty to those, who are the willing captives of the devil. Alas! they have no desire to be free; they do not feel their slavery; they think Christ's yoke to be galling, and his burthen heavy; and they would scoff at those, who should recommend his service to them as one “of perfect freedom.”
But with what delight does the poor unhappy being, who has been immured in a dungeon, who has deeply felt all the miseries of his captivity, behold his prison doors thrown open, and
then rush forth to enjoy the light of the sun, the wonders and beauties of God's creation, and to exercise with freedom, those limbs which have so long been bound ; a just, but feeble illustration of the joy which he experiences, who, having long groaned under the oppressive dominion of sin, and not knowing how to escape, at length hears the good tidings of his release by Christ, feels his bonds burst asunder, and issues forth unshackled, to partake of the “glorious liberty of the sons of God.”
Moreover, Christ was sent to preach “the recovering of sight to the blind.” Not to all the blind,- not to those, who, though blind as the rest, think themselves clear-sighted; they say that they see already, " therefore their sin remaineth.” It is to those, who are conscious of their blindness, and who come with faith to Christ, praying that they may receive their sight, that he imparts this great blessing. He takes away the veil from off their hearts, he enlightens their ignorance, and adds his effectual assistance to their humble endeavours after the attainment of that best knowledge " which is able to make them wise unto salvation."
Come then, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, ye meek and poor in spirit, ye brokenhearted and sorrowful on account of sin, ye un
happy captives who long to be free, ye blind who desire the recovery of your sight,-come unto me
, (says your merciful Saviour) and I will remove all your griefs, and supply all your wants ;-I will heal all your infirmities, I have already borne all your sins in my own body on the tree.
66 Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” “ Return unto me, for I have redeemed The acceptable year of the Lord is at hand, that happy year of jubilee, when you shall enter upon your forfeited and lost inheritance; when all debts and offences shall be blotted out for ever, and the reign of eternal rest and peace shall begin.
May God give us all grace to see our great need of these proffered blessings, to pray earnestly for them, to be humbly and heartily thankful for them, and to show forth his praise for the same, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up ourselves to his service, and by walking before him in holiness and righteousness all our days, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CHRISTIAN MINISTER.
HEBREWS xiii, 17.
Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give an account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief; for that is unprofitable for you.
My dear Friends,
I do not know any thing more interesting or important, than the meeting of a christian pastor with his flock in the house of God, when both the parties are mutually disposed to execute with fidelity their respective duties; i. e. when he is anxious to feed the sheep whom Christ, “the chief shepherd,” has entrusted to his care, and they are desirous to receive the spiritual nourishment which he is appointed to administer. Otherwise, such a scene as we now witness, would be a very melancholy one, if both parties were indifferent to