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M ARY, the soft winds nursed you, that blow sweet
IVI Off the old forests by the southern seas;
"Neither shall there be any more Pain."
Rev. xxi. 4. his is a note of infinite sweetness from the other
side. No more pain! Is it true? It seems too good news to be true. “The whole creation
groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” “We that are in this life do groan, being burdened.” Is it true, then, that a time is to come when pain of every sort shall entirely cease ? Yes; we have it on the testimony of the venerable John, who simply repeats what he heard. This is what the great voice from Heaven announced, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.”
Where, and among whom, shall there be no more pain ? Within ? or without ? “Without,” shall be the unholy; those in love with sin; those wedded to sin ; those who have said, “Evil, be thou my good.” Shall pain have ceased for them? Ah, no! Where sin is, pain must be. The "outer darkness” shall resound with “weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth.” But “within ” the city, with its pearly gates and golden streets, and throughout the company of the saved, are no sounds of woe ; sorrow and sighing have fled away ; neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things have passed away.
During the present condition of things, pain is rife, is universal, because of sin. Pain is the fruit of sin, inseparable from sin. As sin is everywhere, so pain is everywhere. Put down your ear to the great beating heart of humanity, and you hear it throbbing with fierce passion, or moaning with bitter anguish. The pain of disappointment, the pangs of unrequited love, the sorrow of bereavement-disorder, disease, and death—are on every side.
Where shall an effectual remedy be found ? God's remedy for sin is God's remedy for pain-designed and fitted to secure, that, on the first application of it, the cure shall begin; that, through the continued use of it, both sin and pain shall be progressively abated ; and that whenever sin shall cease, pain shall cease also. Christ is the divinelyappointed Healer, and His work on our behalf is God's remedy for sin and pain. Viewed as a matter of experience, the abatement of the pain keeps pace with the abatement of the sin.
God's remedy was not fully ready for use for 4000 years or more after the illness of the sinful sufferer began. But God graciously promised that the Healer and the remedy for sin would be forthcoming in due time. His assurance on the subject was couched in terms suitable to the circumstances into which man had come through sin. The introducer of sin and suffering was to be met and overthrown by One of woman born, and by Him the mischief was to be cured. So, poor sinning man, who very soon began to taste the bitterness of sin, was fain to wait, and waiting in faith was the commencement of the cure. Promise after promise was given, and all who received and rested on the promise began to recover, and to taste the sweetness of returning health. Their attitude was one of hopefulness and trust—that the Physician and the remedy would come. Their attitude was that of the dying Jacob: “I have waited for Thy salvation, O Lord.”
Pass we on 4000 years. Behold the seed of the woman ; the promised One, who has come out from God to be the Saviour of the world. The world was very sick. Few of the sons of men, outside the circle of the favoured nation, knew of the promise or had received it, and the agony of the sin-sick world was very great. Jesus came as the Healer; He came to provide an effectual remedy for sin and woe. And how was that to be accomplished ? “Himself took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses.” Uniting Himself to us, and taking hold of us, He identified Himself with us, and by endurance in our room became an allwise įHealer, and possessed of an all-potent remedy-the result of His suffering unto death. This Physician graduated in the school of affliction. Being made perfect through suffering, He became the Author of eternal salvation to all who would put themselves under His care. And, as the point at which healing must begin is where our guiltiness before God comes into view, the remedy is, in the first instance, a provision for the cancelling of guilt. But its further efficacy appears in this, that, the moment it is applied, the inward malady is also met, and the cure proceeds. The blood and righteousness of Christ is God's remedy, because it is God's remedy for sin.
Now who among us have availed themselves of this remedy? Who are under treatment ? And how did we take the medicine? It was by looking. “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so shall the Son of Man be lifted up." The remedy for the destruction was a likeness of the destroyer. Christ was lifted up, not only as one made in the likeness of sinful flesh, but as a reputed transgressor in our room. He was not sin, but “made to be sin" for us; just as the brazen serpent had no poison itself, but was yet an image of the poisonous serpent by which the mischief had been done. As the serpent without venom was an antidote to the poisonous serpent, so the Son of Man—the Man without sin-is an antidote to the old serpent and the havoc which he wrought. And the experience of its power to heal is realised through faith. The serpent bite was healed by a look upon the serpent form, and faith in One who died conquers death. My faith is not only assent, but also consent. Once I am of God's mind in the matter, the plague of my soul is stayed; the cure is begun. “There is life for a look at the crucified One.”
“Oh, how unlike the complex works of man,
Heaven's easy, artless, unencumbered plan!
But what about the pain ? Has my pain ceased ? Not quite; because sin has not yet ceased to occupy a place within me. But the agony of a guilty conscience has subsided, and I have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. The pangs of disappointment, and mental anguish on other accounts, are much abated when I remember Him who endured agony unspeakable for me. Love serves to kill the pain. And even my bodily suffering I am enabled to bear, when I think of it as part of a plan, and a means of drawing me nearer to God. Oh, the antidote to pain of God's providing is wonderfully effectual: not only an anodyne, but a remedy, and one destined to work a thorough cure.
Sin-sick sinner, wilt thou be made whole ? Come to Christ, who “ready stands to save you—full of pity, full of power.” It is at the point of accepting Christ that your cure will begin. And you, now under the Physician's care-convalescent, but not yet quite well-continue under His care. “I am almost well,” Richard Baxter said on his death-bed. Byand-by the loving Saviour will put you to sleep, and in the morning you shall awake without pain. No weeping yonder. “The inhabitant of the New Jerusalem shall not say, I am sick; for the people that dwell therein shall hare been forgiven their iniquity.”
T. W. BROWN, M.A.
woe and need."
D ELP, Helper, help, in woe and need.
I1 Have mercy, Faithful God, indeed ;
Old Andrew's Proverbs.
NO. 11.-SURETYSHIP. PY HERE were at least a score of men standing round
Uncle Andrew's stall, one morning when we came near it on our way to school. This was
an unusual thing at such an hour, for though not a few of the men employed in the neighbouring factory often came at meal-time to have a talk with the old man, it