This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
"Go, -wash in th pool of Siloam." — Jonx ix. 7. The subject of the chapter from which our text is takeu is the miraculous giving of sight to a man blind from his birth bj our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus had just come from the temple ¦where he had so openly claimed a proper divinity that the Jews had begun to stone him for blasphemy. Having set himself above their father Abraham, and thereby provoked the charge of being possessed by a demon, he declared his original appointment as a Mediator, whose coming Abraham prophetically beheld; and when they were staggered by this claim, he asserted his pre-existence in terms which if the claim were not a real one, would indeed have been blasphemy of the highest order. " Before Abraham was I am " — was the positive declaration of Jesus. And this is not common language. He does not say before Abraham was I was. But he uses the words ''I am ; " a term only used in Holy Writ by Jehovah himself, signifying eternal being, " the same yesterday, to-day and forever." Let this be well pondered, before we pass to the miracle and its accompanying circumstances of impressive teaching. For in these days of wide-spreading heresy, we mean that "the trumpet" within these walls "shall give no uncertain sound." "We know not how to refute the charge of the Jews, that Jesus was a blasphemer, if he was not what the church holds him to be, truly God. We may now see how Jesus, claiming to be God, exercised his divine power. Seeing a blind man by the way-side, as he escaped from the temple, he declared to his disciples that he was " the light of the world," and then proceeded to give light to him who had been all his lifetime in darkness. Wettin"- a little clav with
84 SERMO IX.
the moisture of his own mouth, he anointed the eyes of the blind man, "And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloara — he went his way, therefore, and washed, and came seeing." The means used by our Lord were very simple, and he could have given sight to the blind without using any external appliances, had he willed so to do. But Divine Wisdom chose to display divine power in this particular way, by means of second causes, and to record these things for our instruction, that we may learn to trust to the efl&cacy of divine appointments, however simple they may seem. The instrumentality nsed by our Lord was very simple, but it was positive. There was no choice left to the man who needed Christ's help. There was but one way, " Go, wash in the pool of Siloam." Jesus might have led the blind man to the water and washed him, — or might have sent for water to wash off the clay, or wiped it off without water. These means used did not add poAver to him who employed them. They only tried the faith of the subject of Christ's tender care and compassion. Christ demanded faith in his power, and submission to his will, even in the most simple of his positive appointments. You will readily perceive therefore, my brethren, the main points of our text in its bearing upon the spiritually blind, to whom Christ alone can give sight. He is " the light of the world lying in darkness and sin." Mankind are all blind from their birth to all heavenly things. Christ gives light to all to whom he comes; he reveals the sinfulness of our hearts and the way to be cleansed from it; he discloses guilt, and offers pardon to the guilty. And while he unfolds to our opened eyes the glory and the bliss of a heavenly inheritance, he gives means of grace by which we may be trained through life for the state beyond the grave, of eternal dwelling near the throne of light. In order to have the benefit of those means, and hence of the discipline for, and foretaste of the bliss of the ransomed, we must have faith in the power and willingness of the offered Saviour, and show submission to his will even in his positive, and to us seemingly unessential ordinances. Has "the entrance of God's word, which giveth light to the simple," shown you the darkness of your sinful state and the need of God's mercy through an appointed Mediator? Have you realized your condition of peril
through wickedness, and turned your ear to the truth made known in the gospel, that " Christ is the propitiation for all sin?"
SERMO IX. 85 Have yoiT heard the precious assurance, " God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever helieveth on him should not perish, but might have everlasting life?" " He that heareth my word and believeth on him that sent me hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation." Have you heard the tender invitation of the Saviour, " Come unto me, all ye that are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest" — and the sure promise, "Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out?" And do you believe that Christ has power to save, that he will give you spiritual sight and spiritual clearness? Then will you be ready to listen to his positive command, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam;" go, wash in the water of baptism; there receive the sign of regeneration, the token of your new birth into a life of light and righteousness. There, too, give the sign and pledge of your acceptance of Christ's mercy and of your acknowledged duty to keep all his commandments. Will you rebel against this requirement of your Lord? Like the Syrian leper, who indignantly spurned the simple but appointed washing in the river Jordan, will you cast away a divine ordinance, deeming it unmeaning and ineffectual ? Think you that the leper would ever have been cleansed, or the blind man ever have received sight, had the simple but commanded rite, in either case, not been observed? We leave these questions to be answered to yourselves in all fairness. With these examples of physical healing by divine power with the use of means positively ordained, fairly set before us, we might strongly argue in favour of a like submission to simple ordinances in religious matters, in moral and spiritual healing, although we had no authoritative teaching on the suliject. But when we read the word of Christ, " He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved," and this commission to his apostles to make disciples of all nations, " baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost." When we hear the apostle's answer to the cry of the convicted, " What shall we do
to be saved ?" saying, " Repent, and be baptized for the remission of sin ;" when we know that the Spirit spake by the mouth of Ananias to Paul, bowed to the earth by the power of a special revelation, "Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins;" when we gather these and other like proofs of the importance and efficacy of baptism, we may well apply to every one seeking salvation through Christ to give the outward sign of faith, and receive the
86 SEIIMOI*^ IX. holy pledge of acceptance in the holy rite, which Christ has made the door to his visible church. The church demands no magnifying of the holy ordinances above the value which Christ gave them. She cannot surely allow any undervaluing of them. They are holy because they are his — they are efficacious because he made them so — and in the degree in which he ordained them to be subservient to his purposes of grace. To neglect them because we cannot understand their purport is as much a rejection of Christ's authority as any open way of denying him. And this we say on his own testimony, for one of his apostle's declarations is, "For whosoever shall offend in one point, he is guilty of all" — that is, (for God forbid that we should seem to strain the word of God or leave you under any misapprehension of its tone or teaching,) " disobedience of any one command is a transgression of the law" — and transgression of law is a defiance of authority. But the true test of faith is submission to the will of God in Christ — and that submission must be an unquestioning one, because it is prompted by faith in divine mercy, and sustained by grateful love for the Saviour. To the unbaptized, who profess with their lips to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the only Saviour from sin and death, we show the water of baptism, sanctified by the Lord, and repeat for his guidance the words of that Lord to the blind man whom he would heal, " Go, wash in the pool of Siloam." We make a like application of our text to the other holy ordinance of Christ — the Lord's supper, the communion of his body and blood, and the apostolic introduction to it, the rite of confirmation. And
we include confirmation, because, if the end is commanded, the means appointed by rightful authority are surely to be employed as a Christian duty. And we say to those who were baptized in childhood and have never openly confessed their Christian obligations, growing out of their Christian privileges, that the words of our text bear as strong an authority by force of analogy for the use of the ordinance of the supper, as for that of baptism. Would that all to whom it will apply, would take heed to its teaching? But alas, how many there are who have been washed in the water of baptism during the period of infancy or childhood, and who should have been nourished in the Christian life ever since by the holy influences provided by their almighty and merciful Saviour, but who are dead branches of the
SERMO IX. 8( Yine, giving no evidence of union with him. They have grown up to manhood or womanhood, perhaps, without availing themselves of their birth-right privilege, or avowing their obligation to keep the covenant of which they are partakers, through the ordinances of Christ, bringing the children in with their parents, and although they are answerable for the privileges afforded, and will if they persist in rejecting them be condemned, for despising the blood of the covenant, they withhold themselves from the joys of the inheritance, and their testimony to the truth of God's word and the efficacy of his holy sacraments. And this is a serious matter, a solemn consideration for all who are in the sad predicament. They who have been brought to Ibaptism by their parents or sponsors, and who neglect to take upon themselves the vows of baptism, do virtually refuse to obey the spirit of Christ's command to them, so well signified in our text. They resist his authority and despise his promises. How little do they consider the eternal consequences of their rejection of a privilege which affection or duty had placed within their reach. Grafted into the olive tree, ere they knew the wildness of their original root, they might have partaken of the fatness of the tree, and grown into a fruit-bearing vigour, after the like-
ness of that into which they were incorporated. Even now, my hearers, there may be life, although there be no development — life waiting action to give the outward manifestation of it. In many a soul there is, doubtless, a restlessness of feeling, under the prompting of God's Spirit, which from time to time bids the child of God, who has not yet fully bargained with Satan for his birth-right of Christian parents, leave the state of inaction, which is next to death, and spring into a condition of healthful action, of fruitful faith, of vital godliness. They want but the very turn of the scale in which they are now balancing to cast them on the Lord's side forever. Why not give an outward expression to the feeling which stirs you ? Why not confess that the Lord has already anointed your eyes for effectual healing, and has bid you, " Go, wash, and return seeing?" Go look at the pool in which you were unconsciously washed, see what duties the washing imposes, and begin the work of obedience. Convinced that Christ commands, let your future life be marked by a prayerful endeavour to submit to his will. If you have been united to Christ, in tlie brother-
hood of the church by the rite of holy baptism, feed upon him who is your life in the communion of his body and blood by faith with thanksgiving. Spiritual, as well as natural growth, requires nourishment; regular supplies of it promote the most healthy growth. Practical duties springing from true feeling serve to keep alive the feeling from which they spring. Let every baptized person strive to realize the obligation to confess Christ openly, and with an assurance that Christ will help him to fan the flame which he is disposed to cherish, let him go step by step (faltering though the first step may be,) on the way of obedience to his Lord. The positive ordinance is a trial of faith as well as a means»of growth in grace — of faith in the assurance that it is a means. So far is it a wholesome discipline. And then it is
a means of grace, reflexly considered, because it is a trial of faith which strengthens it, and keeps it in vigorous action. Why should it be neglected by so many who have been sealed with " the outward sign of regeneration," and who might, if they would, obey commands which they often feel pressing heavily on their conscience, become living, fruitful members of Christ, holding the pledges, and enjoying the foretaste of his heavenly inheritance? Have you then, my hearers, been thus brought nigh to Christ, sacramentally, and have you learned to look upon him as your divine and only Saviour, one mighty to save and merciful to heal ? Do you look only to him for salvation, and do you desire to confess him before men, and to walk by his help in all his commandments? Then give your pledge to him humbly in the rite of confirmation, as a step to the altar where the communion of his body and blood may be periodically enjoyed. Our text does not limit us to the application to the observance of Christ's positive ordinances. Faith manifested by obedience is the subject embraced by it. And as the observance of the positive ordinances, although commanded without respect to any moral benefits, and therefore binding, leads to the exercise of practical godliness in the cultivation of holy affections, and the working of the outspring;ing deeds of charity and virtue, we might properly extend our view to these. And we do press the obligation upon all " who name the name of Christ" to use Christian ordinances as a help to godliness of life. Let them be careful, too, lest they make the observance of ordinances a sub-
SERMO IX. »y stitute for a life of faith, having faith only in these, and trusting to them for sure salvation. The church, (properly understood,) gives you the true view of these ordinances. They are signs and pledges, means and helps, fruitful to those who rightly use them, binding rites, (although they might not be efficacious,) because commanded by divine authority, as pledges of love, they should stimulate affection, as means of grace, they should encourage effort, as tokens of participation in the inheritance of the
ransomed, they should prompt the heir to strive to make his calling sure. The holy affections cherished by the prayerful use of these means, should abound in all the manifestations of love— works of righteousness, which will be known as fruits of faith in the day of judgment. Let us appeal to you, once more, then, — whatever may be your religious hope, my hearers, and I ask you if you show true faith in Christ, by the sure sign, submission to his will? Examine yourselves. As sinful creatures needing pardon, as repentant sinners seeking pardon, as professed followers of Christ bound to walk in the way which he has marked out, have you listened meekly and submissively to that voice of the Lord which directs you, with authority not to be resisted without sin, and with as much positiveness as it directed the blind man, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam ?" We must not lose sight of an important bearing which the text has upon the relation which the subject of Christ's mercy should sustain towards him, through another divine institution, the ministry, as bonds uniting them in the same communion. Christ founded one church, under one ministry, and he prayed for the unity of that church, that it might be preserved. And it is the duty of every Christian, not only to observe ordinances and cultivate Christian affections, but likewise to receive these ordinances at the hands of a ministry of Christ's appointment, and in communion with the one holy apostolic church. o one to whom the claims of the church are presented, can be excused before God, for neglecting them. Truth and order alike spring from God, and he is a bold man who wilfully sets himself against either. And he is a guilty man who holds in low estimjftion any divine appointment. The Holy Scriptures were given to the church. The church was not made by man's device, with the help of the scrip-
90 SERMO IX. tures, according to private interpretation. In these days men are slow to understand these things. evertheless, they must be taught, as a part of the system of religion which Christ has
set forth. And we pray, in the words of Christ, that all who profess to be his followers " may be one," that the world may know that God hath sent him to be the Saviour of the world.
1. 68 FREE BOOKS http://www.scribd.com/doc/21800308/Free-Christian-Books
2. ALL WRITI GS http://www.scribd.com/glennpease/documents?page=970
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.