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The Instant Miracle

The Instant Miracle

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY REV. N. P. KNAPP


"I will; be thou clean." — Luke v. 13.
BY REV. N. P. KNAPP


"I will; be thou clean." — Luke v. 13.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jun 20, 2013
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06/20/2013

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THE ISTAT MIRACLEBY REV. . P. KAPP"I will; be thou clean." — Luke v. 13.This was the prompt and gracious reply, which our Lord madeto the miserable leper who desired to be healed. This afflictedoutcast from society, being "full of leprosy," as the evangelistdescribes him, a disease as loathsome as it was incurable ; seeingJesus, whose divine power had doubtless frequently been displayedbefore him, fell on his face, and besought him, saying, "Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean." He does not distrust thepower of Jesus, but only his willingness. He felt conscious of great pollution, such as debarred him from the privileges of socialintercourse, and even from the sympathies of his fellow-beings,and he could not help feeling somewhat fearful, that Jesus toomight shrink from a wretch so vile, and leave him to perish by awasting disease. He knew that Jesus was by birth and educa-tion subject to the law of Moses, and might, therefore, reasonablybe supposed to regard with abhorrence, one so deeply tainted witlian impurity which the law required all to avoid, and from whichit guarded the people by the most rigid enactments. So that hemust have come, trembling and afraid, to cast himself in the dustbefore a mighty Deliverer, whose power he readily acknowledged,but whose will he did not dare fully to trust. With his faceburied in the dust, as if ashamed of the pollution from which hesought to be cleansed, he cries out beseechingly, "Lord, if thouwilt, thou canst make me clean." Jesus felt the force of theappeal thus made to his sympathy, and prompt to show that hewas wilhng as he was able, to reheve the distress which no otherperson could, or would relieve, he put forth his hand, and touched372 SERMO XLIV.the leper, saying with a voice of divine authority, "I will, bethou clean." ow, in this case, the poor suppliant acknowledged
 
his vileness, and the power of Jesus to restore him to purity — thewillingness only of the Great Physician was doubted, and thatbecause of the greatness of his pollution. And the mercifulSaviour, being always ready to relieve the distressed, and satis-fied with the leper's acknowledgment of uncleanness, and of faithin his power, soon removed all cause for the only distrust (whichthe leper) manifested, by an expression of his willingness, accom-panied by the act of power which had been desired. ow, this,and every act of Jesus, showing his power to work miracles, wasperformed for the ultimate purpose of convincing the world intowhich he came, of his power to forgive sins. This we may inferfrom his language in a particular case, when the Pharisees chargedhim Avitli blasphemy, because he presumed to forgive the sins of the paralytic. Jesus replied, "Which is easier, to say. Thy sinsbe forgiven thee, or to say, Arise, take up thy bed, and walk?But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earthto forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, takeup thy bed and walk." The paralytic was immediately cured.ow this, in other words, means plainly, that the working of sucha miracle was sufficient evidence, that he could do all that heclaimed authority to do, and that a pretension so bold as thatwhich he had set up, viz., that he could forgive sins, was wellsupported. The cure of the leper then w^as designed to show thepower of Jesus to cleanse the soul, as well as the body, from pol-lution. And the circumstances of the case afibrd a good illustra-tion of the mode of obtaining the merciful aid of a spiritual De-liverer.Taking this leper as a fit representative of the sinner, who inthe sight of God, is as fully tainted with moral corruption, as theleper was with bodily disease, we may learn the course which heshould pursue to obtain pardon of the Saviour. The sinner mustfirst be conscious of his defilement, and willing to confess it.The world is full of sin — every man born into it needs redemp-tion. He is so corrupt from his birth, that as soon as he becomescapable of discerning between good and evil, that is, as soon ashe becomes a moral agent, and accountable to God for his con-duct in life, he commits sin, and incurs guilt. This is a truth
 
SERMO XLIV. 373which men are slow to believe. It is hard to convince the worldof sin, so hard that we might be prepared to expect the declarationof the Saviour, that to do this, is the office of the Holy Spirit.The influence of Him who is the Comforter of the penitent be-liever, is required to open the mind of the sinner, and to showhim that whereof he must repent. And this is the only goodreason which can be given, for the general indifi'erence which ismanifested on the subject of the soul's salvation. The heart of man is so unwilling to acknowledge its corruption, that the motionsof God's Spirit are constantly and obstinately resisted, instead of being encouraged and improved. Hence the work which he de-signs and ofi"ers to do, for the spiritual welfare of the sinner, isnot done, and the sinner remains unconvinced. Yet it might besupposed, that any who could be persuaded to believe in the ewTestament at all, would be easily made sensible of sin. For, if there be any truth in the Christian revelation, it is surely true,that the whole world is guilty in the sight of God, and can haveno hope of acceptance with him, but through the merits of theAuthor of this revelation. If there be any real ground for thebelief, that by the mission of Jesus Christ, life and immortalitywere brought to light, a future judgment, and a life of retribu-tion according to that judgment, were revealed ; if there be anyground for believing these things, — then, on the same authority,we must believe that all men have sinned, and come short of theglory of God, and can be justified only through his grace, by themerits of the sacrifice of Christ. Indeed it is the burden of allScripture, from Genesis to the Revelation of St. John, that "thesins of man have separated him from his heavenly Father."We come before the Lord in our solemn service, with the readingof such declarations of Scripture. W6 hear the words of theprophet, saying, "To the Lord our God belong mercies and for-givenesses, though we have rebelled against him;" the voice of the psalmist, saying, "Enter not into judgment with thy servant,Lord, for in thy sight shall no man living be justified;" andthat of the apostle of Jesus, declaring even to the believer in hisLord, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and

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