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into misery; and if there be any propriety in urging
those who are sick to apply to a physician, there certainly is the same propriety in urging sinners to come to Christ, that is, to come to his doctrine, to bis truth, to his spirit. And the language of the Redeemer's invitation is most reasonable; “ Come unto me all ye who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
The inotives wbich influenced the multitude, who thronged Jesus as he went to the house of Jairus, were no doubt various. Some probably, saw Jesus now for the first time, and were highly incited with the hope of seeing a miracle wrought. Perhaps others were his bitter enemies, and were on the look out to discover some fraud or deception in the man. Some went in the crowd because others were going, and they went for the sake of the company. Some no doubt went from the laudable motive of giving their countenance and support to the divine teacher in whom they most sincerely believed. Some very likely were there who had experienced the healing power of the Redeemer, and were rejoiced to have an opportunity of seeing a miracle of mercy again performed. But among the whole there was one distressed woman whose mind was far from speculative contemplations. She was impelled to press through the crowd that she might be healed of her own infirmity.
As it was with the multitude, who, on various occasions thronged our Saviour in the days of his ministry on earth, when some for one motive and some for another joined those vast assemblies, so, no doubt, it is with those who now assemble where the healing doctrine of Jesus is preached. Some from curiosity, some from babit, some froin fashion, some to keep the company of others, some we hope go because they love the words of everlasting life, and now and then one, perhaps, who feeling the infirmity of their own sinful heart, go with a
determination to press through every obstacle and come to Jesus, who is the way, the truth, and the life; who is the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness.
While delivering this course of lectures your servant has often thought of the possible motives which occasioned such uncommon assemblies to crowd every part of this house, and a hope has been entertained that anyong the many, a few, at least, were striving to find him of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets did write. A fervent desire has been exercised that the doctrine of our blessed Redeemer might be held up to the view of the hearers, that they might reach forth the band of faith and lay hold on the hope which is set before them.
Being taught by the Saviour, we did not indulge in an expectation that the word of truth would be received and kept by all who heard it. Jesus represented the success of his own preaching by the instructive parable of the sower, who went forth to SOW ; " and as he sowed some seeds fell by the way. side, and the fowls came and devoured them up. Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth; and forthwith they sprang up, because they had no deepness of earth, and when the sun was up they were scorched; and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundred fold, some sixty fold, some thirty fold.” If such has been the success of those feeble efforts made to propagate the gospel of the kingdom in this place, surely we have reason to be thankful to the Lord of the vineyard. If while the enemies of the word have, like the birds in the parable, taken away that which was sown in the heart, if while the spirit of persecution agitating the tongue of censure has caused many to shrink from a steady perseverance in what they gladly received, if while the cares of the world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the lust of other things have, like thorns, sprang up and choked the word in some, others have received it in good and honest hearts, have retained the precious grain, and brought forth fruit to the honour of God, our labours have not been in vain, our exertions are amply rewarded.
This last, of the course of lectures proposed for publication, in its conclusion, will call on all who hear, to form the resolution which enabled the woman to press through the crowd and come to Jesus, and come to him likewise. That is, that you strive to the utinost of your well directed abilities and means to come to the knowledge of the Saviour's doctrine.
Is it not the case with many, as it was with the woman, have you not spent much and suffered many things of those“ physicians of no value," who . have endeavoured to heal you with the doctrines and commandments of men ? and do you not find that after all you are none the better? Have you found peace in believing that our heavenly Father has elected some to everlasting life, and reprobated the rest to endless woe? Have you found that all your plague is healed by fancying that you are elected unto life eternal, while your companions and children may be devoted to everlasting sorrow? Can such inedicine as this make you perfect
. ly whole. No, but in the bitterness of
your souls, when you look on your little ones, and believe that they are exposed to endless ruin, you cry out as Abraham did, “ O that Ishmael might live before the Lord.” Come then, my friends, to the peaceful doctrine of Jesus, who took little children in his arms and blessed them, and said, « of such is the kingdom of heaven.” O the peace there is in be
lieving this testimony ? It overcomes the plague of unbelief, and fills the heart with joy.
Can you find any real relief from the power of a carnal heart, by believing that your immortal state depends on your own good works in this imperfect state? Do you feel whole from all your plagues by believing in this prevailing doctripe which rests the weight of eternity on the imperfect works of mortality and time? This doctrine of human contrivance, always associates the “ heart-chilling" doctrine of endless misery for those who come short of their duty, with every pleasing prospect of a world of joy for those who by their good works win the immortal prize. This doctrine as well as that of election and reprobation makes an eternal separation between those of the most endearing connexions on earth. Why is there so much mourning, so much gloominess on the countenances of those who hope to gain imınortal glory by their works? Is it because they have pressed through the superstitions of the church and caught hold of the garment of the Saviour ? No, this is not the case. They have endeavoured to mend their own garments, and they find the rent is continually growing worse. Let such come to to the Saviour's doctrine, and believe that the gift of God is eternal life, and they shall find peace in believing and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Nothing short of that which God has implanted in the soul can satisfy the mind.
The apostle says; the word is nigh thee, even in thy heart and in thy mouth, the word of faith which we preach. This word of faith is the gift of God, which is eternal life in Jesus; and nothing short of this can satisfy the mind. While we oppose this principle we oppose our own happiness; and while we shut one individual of the human family away from this word of life, we bring death to our own souls in so Some are embarrassed with one doctrine and some with another, that they are prevented from coming to the doctrine of Jesus. Many, very inany, are striving to feed on the husks that the unclean eat, and neglect to come to Christ. The vanities of youth, the pride and fashions of the age keep thousands back from coming to the purifying religion of Jesus; and yet his willing, his gracious arms are extended, as in the last day, that great day of the feast, when he stood and cried, “If any man thirst let him come to me and drink.”
To conclude-My christian friends, I feel it my duty as well as a pleasure, when I reflect on the more than ordinary attention which you have paid to these lectures, and the liberal patronage with which you have favoured their publication, to tender you my most grateful acknowledgments. And while I am constrained deeply to regret that my labours should come so short of the great subjects on which I have treated, I humbly prostrate my soul before God, and implore his forgiveness in every particular wherein I have erred through ignorance or infirmity; and earnestly entreat that these feeble efforts may be attended with the blessing of him who fed thousands of men, women and children with so small a portion. And to his name alone be all the glory.-Amer.