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single instance, that the Son of God was manifested to destroy the works of the devil! The case of this young man is certainly a very lively description of converted sinners in coming to Jesus. It was a singular favour that this youth had a father who could tell him of the Saviour; and it is an equal privilege for any one convinced of sin to set under an evangelical ministry, possess the attention of a Christian friend, and especially to have a tender parent, who, instead of conducting him in paths of error or of carnal pleasures to stifle the convictions of conscience, will point him to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. And, I may also add, delightful and honourable is it to be the happy instrument, by advice and by prayer, to take a convinced sinner by the hand, and tell him of a Saviour's love and unbounded grace! May such employ daily increase !—To return to the young man: No sooner was he on his way to Christ, than the devil increased his distress; and when brought within the presence of the physician, he was torn and cast down to the earth. Let men stay away from Jesus, and satan will keep them undisturbed; but when once they are alarmed, their conscience is convinced ; and desire and hope are exercised for obtaining pardon from the Saviour: then the grand adversary levels his infernal darts, and torments the heart with unbelief, guilt, fear, and ten thousand evils, unfelt before. However, even these exercises, distressing and painful as they may be, are certainly useful, as they tend to show us the greater depravity of our hearts, the inability of creatures to relieve, and to magnify the power and grace of Jesus in our salvation. So true is it, they that be whole, need not a physician, but they that are sick. No man would ever fly for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before him in the
Gospel, until convinced of the danger of perishing in sin. If this be your case, take encouragement from the relief obtained by this young man. Had we been present at the scene, with what tender emotions of soul should we have beheld the blessed Jesus stretch forth his hand, raise the tormented youth from his misery, and then present him in health to the embraces of his tender father! What eye could have witnessed this scene, without starting the tear of sensibility? The same Jesus is as full of compassion now; he is as able to save you from sin and from satan. And, remember, that the lower you lay at the feet of Jesus, the more welcome will his mercy be to your heart. Can your case be more complicated and wretched than this youth possessed by the devil? Surely not. Let the invitation of Jesus encourage your approach. Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take him at his word, and salvation is your own.
The issue of this miraculous cure of the lunatic is worthy of observation. All the people were amazed at the power of God. Well might they, and well might we. If Jesus had not been IMMANUEL, God with us, the devil would not have departed from the youth, nor his father sent home with joy. Nothing more illustrates the Godhead of Christ than the conversion of a sinner. What opinion, think you, could this young man have formed of Jesus? That he was a mere man? No. He had been carried to his disciples, some of the best of men, and they could not relieve him. Every converted sinner is a living witness of the divinity of Christ; and every one glorifies him as God over all, blessed for evermore! Besides, this young man, who had received such virtue from Christ, could never have forgotten his kind bene
factor. Cured of the most desperate malady, by the speaking of a word, without money and without price ; surely his heart must have overflowed with gratitude and praise. Men may talk of Jesus the Saviour, as worthy of our praise; but certain I am, that none are competent to render him the praise he demands, but those who have actually experienced the healing of his grace. If you are such, you need not my aid to remind you of your dutiful obligation. Time, talents, body, soul, all are engaged to honour his holy name. Besides, while you are a sojourner in this vale of tears, you must expect to find frequent need of Christ to defend you from the assaults of satan. Although the infernal spirit knows he cannot finally destroy you, he will leave no method untried to perplex your minds, and to lead you to neglect your duty to Jesus the Physician of your souls. Remember, your having already, like the young man, received favour from Christ, is an argument which should encourage you to apply to him in time of need. And certain I am, the more you feel his power to heal, the more you will be disposed to honour him in every duty, and in every part of your lives. In this employ, may you pass your days, and rejoice in hope of rendering more perfect praise in the regions of eternal bliss!
THE YOUNG CHRISTIAN UNDER THE
SIMILITUDE OF A LAMB.
UNDER the beautiful emblem of a lamb, it is presumed our Lord intended to commit to the ministerial care of Peter, those young converts who, by his grace, were introduced to the duties and experiences of the Christian life. As the duty enjoined upon Peter is equally binding upon every Minister of Christ, I shall attempt to discharge it by explaining the first stage of the Christian's experience under the similitude of a LAMB; and then offer such ADVICE as may tend to their advantage.
1. The LAMB is a well known emblem of innocence, and, as such, is descriptive of that purity of intention, hatred of sin, and thirst after holiness, which is characteristic of that person who is born again of the Spirit of the Lord. God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. The grace of God, which bringeth salvation, teacheth to deny all ungodliness and wordly lust; and creates a spiritual disposition to obey the known will of God; follow after the example of Jesus the Shepherd of Israel, and thus to perfect holiness in the fear of God. The Spirit of God, in his operations,
dictate nor produce, contrary to his own holy nature; therefore the new born soul hates sin for its vileness. as well as for its condemning consequence. And, as sin is a monster with many heads, the Christian convert would not willingly, nor allowedly, spare one of them, however pleasing such might have been to him in the days of his unregeneracy. Purity is the spiritual element of a believer: the bird that mounts the air could sooner exist in the waters of the sea, than a man, in the exercise of grace, can enjoy the pleasures of sin, though it were for a season.
In the early experience of some persons, in the duties of abstinence, peculiarities in dress, with other externals, there may be evident marks of extreme; and be apt to unchristian those who, in such things, may not be so precise as themselves. Paul, for ought I know, referred to such a temper in his juvenile state, when he said, When I was a child, I thought as a child, I spake as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. Happy would it be if we could prevail upon young Christians to meliorate their judgment, and siuly consider the circumstances of education, habit, office, rank, or station, which may dictate to other persons in such extras beyond their own practices; and also, to make a necessary distinction between such little punctilios, and the transgressions, whether of law or Gospel. However, he that is born of God sinneth not with intention ; in all the exercises of his heart, and in all the regulations of his life, he wishes to approve himself unto God, and, if possible, to live as innocent as a lamb.
2. Nature directs the lamb, instantly on its birth, to seek its dam for sustenance; and grace stimulates the young Christian to apply, by faith, and by prayer, to