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of thw head, and regards thee as much as if God, for good. Seek the Lord, and ye shall thou wert his only care..
live." Observe, in the next place, the wisdom of O believer! If God thinks upon you, ought his thoughts. You have a dear child absent you not to think upon him? David did. “ How from you, and you follow him in your mind. precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O But you know not his present circumstances. God? how great is the sum of them! If I You left him in such a place—but where is should count them, they are more in number he now? You left him in such a condition— than the sand : when I awake I am still with but what is he now? Perhaps, while you are thee.” If he minds your affairs-Be not you thinking of his health, he is groaning under forgetful of his. Ever ask, “ Lord, what wilt a bruised limb, or a painful disorder. Perhaps, thou have me to do?" Ever cry, “Speak, while you are thinking of his safety, some Lord, for thy servant heareth.” enemy is taking advantage of his innocency. Perhaps, while you are rejoicing in his prudence, he is going to take a step that will
DISCOURSE XCVI. involve him for life. But when God thinketh upon you, he is perfectly acquainted with your situation, your dangers, your wants. THE FOUNTAIN OF LIFE. “ He knows all your walking through this great wilderness”—and can afford you the In that day there shall be a fountain opened seasonable succour you need.—For again,
for sin and for uncleanness.-Zech. xiii. 1. Observe the efficiency of his thoughts. THERE are many curious things in nature; You think upon another; and you are anxious and there are things useful and necessary. to guide, or defend, or relieve him. But in But we have things, shall I say, of the same how many cases can you think only! Solici- kind, in the world of grace, far superior; and tude cannot control the disease of the body; superior, because they regard the soul and cannot dissipate the melancholy of the mind. eternity. How is the rising of the orb of day But with God all things are possible. He surpassed by “ the Sun of righteousness, who who thinks upon you is a God at hand, and arises with healing under his wings!" How not afar off; he has all events under his are the meekness of the lily, and the fracontrol; he is the God of all grace. If, grance of the rose, excelled by “the rose of therefore, he does not immediately deliver, it Sharon and the lily of the valley!" It is is not because he is unable to redress, but be- pleasing to behold a number of trees adorned cause he is waiting to be gracious. “ The with blossoms, or bending with fruit—but we Lord is a God of judgment, and blessed are have in the Church "trees of righteousness, all they that wait for him.". -Let us con- the planting of the Lord, that he might be clude.
glorified.” It is delightful to view a river Here we see how it is that the believer refreshing and fertilizing the meadows through stands while others sink. He has supports which it murmurs—but we read of “the river peculiar to himself; and when creatures of the water of life, clear as crystal, proceedfrown or fail, he encourages himself in the ing out of the throne of God and of the Lamb." Lord his God. “ Although my house be not There are fountains. We hear of remarkable so with God, yet he hath made with me an ones abroad. We have some very valuable everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, ones in our own country. One of these buband sure: for this is all my salvation, and all bles up in the place of our residence; and to my desire, although he make it not to grow. which multitudes repair for relief. But I Although the fig tree shall not blossom, nei- have to invite your attention this evening to ther shall fruit be in the vines; the labour a fountain infinitely more wonderful and efof the olive shall fail, and the fields shall ficacious, and of which Zechariah speaks, in yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the words which I have read : “In that day the fold, and there shall be no herd in the there shall be a fountain opened for sin and stalls : yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will for uncleanness." joy in the God of my salvation. I am poor For, my brethren, to what can he refer, and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me. but the exclamation of John, the forerunner
Is this your portion? How anxious are of the Messiah-—" Behold the Lamb of God, men to gain the notice of their fellow-crea- that taketh away the sin of the world !" tures, especially if they are a little raised Nothing less will be found sufficient to jusabove themselves in condition! Many will. tify, or imbody the language. Even allowentreat the favour of the prince, and every ing thịt Zechariah had not the same distinct one is a friend to him that giveth gifts. and explicit views of the Saviour that we But in this case you are never sure you shall have who possess the explanations of the succeed; and you have gained nothing if you New Testament writers; it does not follow do. Whereas here—the success is sure, and that this was not his object; for we know the success is—every thing. Pray therefore, that the prophets often delivered predictions with Nehemiah, “Think upon me, O my which they did not completely understand ; 2 Y
and therefore studied them after they had and yet undiminished. He is in himself an announced them: “searching what, or what infinite and everlasting source of all the inmanner of time the Spirit of Christ which was fluences and blessings we need : “ In him in them did signify, when it testified before- dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodihand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory ly: and of his fulness have all we received, that should follow. Unto whom it was re- and grace for grace." vealed, that not unto themselves, but unto Secondly. This fountain was to be opened. us, they did minister the things, which are If a fountain was shut up, and sealed, though now reported unto you by them that have the contents would be equally precious in preached the Gospel unto you with the Holy themselves, they would be useless to us; yea, Ghost sent down from heaven; which things they would only provoke our desire, to torthe angels desire to look into."
ment us. And what would the Saviour's exI am not unmindful of the day* which has cellences and benefits be to us, if unattainassembled us together; but my choice of a able and inaccessible! But they are placed subject shows that I consider it of little im- within our view, and within our reach. This portance, to dwell upon the crucifixion of fountain was actually opened in his sufferings. Christ, as a wonderful, or a tragical scene. His blood flowed in the garden, and upon the I am aware that such a pathetical represent- cross. His back was wounded by the scourge; ation might be given of the history as would his temples with the crown of thorns; his draw tears from every eye—while the mind hands and his feet with the nails; his side remained uninformed of, and the heart in with the spear. Then was the fountain openaffected with, the nature and design of the ed; and one, hard by, beheld itevent The grand thing is, to know why
“ The dying thief rejoiced to see the dispensation was necessary; and, real
That fountain, in his day;" izing its accomplishment in ourselves, to be able to say, “ He was wounded for our trans And oh! that each of us, with humility and gressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: confidence, may be able
to add ; the chastisement of our peace was upon him;
" And there have I, as vile as he, and with his stripes we are healed."
Wash'd all my sins away!" I have two things in view.—L TO EX- The apostles laid it open doctrinally, in their PLAIN THE PROMISE.—II. TO IMPROVE THE preaching. Paul could appeal to the Corinthi
ans, and say; “I determined not to know any I. In THE EXPLANATION OF THE PROMISE, thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him three things are observable. The fountain, crucified.” And referring both to the subject the opening-and the end.
of his preaching, and the plain and lively First. The fountain. This image holds manner in which he had delivered it, he could forth the Redeemer. In distinction from crea- say to the Galatians, "Before your eyes Jesus tures, which are cisterns, broken cisterns, Christ hath been evidently set forth crucithat can hold no water,” he may well call fied among you.” himself the fountain of living waters.” The It was, unquestionably, open, when the Jews were accustomed, on the last, which apostles wrote their epistles; for thousands was called the great day of the feast, to fetch were rejoicing in the efficacy of this fountain, water from the pool of Siloam, singing the and could say, “We are come to the blood words of Isaiah, “ Therefore with joy shall of sprinkling-We are redeemed with the ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.” precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. The On that very occasion, we find our Saviour blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth from preaching; and he takes advantage of the all sin !"-And is it closed since ? No: it ceremony to proclaim himself to the multi- stands open now-open, in the means of grace tude as the true source of blessedness: “ In -open, in the invitations of the Wordthe last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus open, in the nearness, the power, and the stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let grace of the Saviour-how open while he him come unto me, and drink. He that be- says, “ Him that cometh unto me I will in no lieveth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out wise cast out!". of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." Tbirdly. This fountain is “opened for sin To the woman of Samaria he had said before, and for uncleanness.”. There had been “The water that I shall give him, shall be provisions for ceremonial pollution, under the in him a well of water springing up into Mosaical economy. There was the brazen everlasting life."-He shall possess a pleni- sea, fifty feet in circumference, and ten in tude himself: but the fulness of the Christian depth; in which the priests were to wash is limited; is derived; is the fulness of a ves- their hands and feet. There were also ten sel. This vessel is supplied from the fulness lavers, in which the things offered in sacrifice of a fountain—and this fountain is the Lord were washed, and whence the water was Jesus. His fulness is original and boundless, taken to sprinkle the offerers. There were It is the fulness of a spring; always flowing, also fountains for bodily diseases—the pool * Good Friday
of Siloam to which our Saviour sent the man
TRUTH IT CONTAINS.
bom blind; and the pool of Bethesda, where | And as things strike us most forcibly by conlay a great number of sufferers, waiting for trast, the more he is enlightened to see the the troubling of the waters. These probably purity and glory of God; and especially his had a preternatural quality imparted to them, grace and love in the person, work, and sufabout this period, to rouse the mind to expect- ferings of his dear Son; instead of being reation, and to prepare it to contemplate the ap- conciled to himself, the more will he feel of proaching Recoverer of the human race. He the temper of Job, who exclaimed, “ Behold, differed from all these, as a fountain for moral I am vile; what shall I answer Thee? whereand spiritual defilement—" for sin and for un- fore, I abhor myself, and repent in dust and cleanness."
ashes." And sin is uncleanness. Its very nature But there is a fountain that washes out is contamination. The moment it touched a even the stains of the soul-and of sin! And number of angels in heaven, it turned them it was opened for this very purpose: “In that into devils, and expelled them from their first day there shall be a fountain opened for sin estate. It is so contagious, that it infects and for uncleanness.” And I proceed, every thing in contact with it, so that, as the II. TO IMPROVE THE TRUTH CONTAINED IN house of the leper was to be taken down be- THE PROMISE. And should I dwell longer on cause of the inhabitant, “the heavens shall this part of our subject than on the former, it pass away with a great noise, and the ele- will not appear wonderful to those who rements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth fect, how much more ready people are to also, and all the works that are therein, shall hear than to apply; and how seldom practice be burned up”—not because they are guilty ; keeps pace with speculation. In order to but because they have been the witnesses, commend myself to every man's conscience the instruments, the abodes of sin.
in the sight of God, I arrange the assembly Sin is a pollution the most deep and diffu- in five classes; each of which has a relation sive: it stops not at the surface, but pene- to the truth before us. The first are ignorant. trates the inner man of the heart; it spreads The second presumptuous. The third selfthrough every power, from the highest intel- righteous. The fourth the fearful. The lectual faculty, down to the lowest animal fifth the believing. appetite. If any part were left uninjured, it First. The ignorant. The Apostle speaks would seem to be the conscience—but no; of some who cried, Peace, peace, while sudthe very conscience itself is defiled: and den destruction was coming upon them-such nothing has been too vile to be perpetrated a difference is there between confidence and ander its permission, and in obedience to its security. Our Lord tells us of some who are dictates. It is a pollution the most horrible “ whole, and need not the physician"—80 neand dangerous, as it disfigures us before God; cessary is a conviction of our spiritual state and renders us odious in his sight. And no- to excite a proper regard to the Saviour. And, thing else does this. Poverty does not; mean- to vary the metaphor, some are not defiled, ness does not; disease does not-Lazarus full and need not this fountain opened for sin and of sores, begging at the rich man's gate, and uncleanness. We do not mean that there Job, covered with biles, among the ashes, are any really in this condition, and the reawere dear to God, and lay in his bosom. But son is involved in the inquiry, "Who can sin is the abominable thing which his soul bring a clean thing out of an unclean ?" It hates. Men often roll it, as a sweet morsel, is a law pervading all nature, that “ like beunder their tongue; but it is more poisonous gets like.” A viper brings forth a poisonous than the gall of asps. They think lightly of brood. Swine produce something that loves it; but can that be a triffing thing which the mire. The skin of an Ethiopian will be causes God to hate the very work of his own black. What but depraved offspring can dehands—“ my soul loathed them!".—and' in- scend from sinful parents? Therefore, says duce the very " Father of mercies” to say at Job, "What is man, that he should be clean, last, Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting or he that is born of a woman, that he should fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” be righteous!" The Scripture assures us that
Have you, my hearers, such views of sin? “ all have sinned and come short of the glory Does it appear to you, as it does to the Judge of God.” It teaches us, that “the heart is of all, exceeding sinful?
deceitful above all things, and desperately Such is certainly the sentiment of every wicked.” It assures us that it is not the life man who is "convinced of sin.” The Holy which defiles the heart; but the heart the Spirit leads him to see, not only its guilt, but life: “For from within, out of the heart of its defilement; and while the one excites his men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornifear, the other calls forth his aversion. Self- cations, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickcomplacency is then ruined for ever. He no edness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, longer wonders that he stands excluded, in blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these evil his present state, from the presence of a holy things come from within, and defile the man.” God. He feels that he deserves to perish It requires no less than a change of nature, to and cries with the leper, “Unclean, unclean." | show that our nature is depraved; and it requires this change in every man, to show that Were we even pardoned for contracting this depravity is universal.
the disease, yet, while it continues uncured, Yet there are those who deny this mortify- we can have no ease within. If we entered ing fact; and though they live in a land of heaven with an unsanctified disposition, we vision, are so unacquainted with the Bible, should be incapable of relishing its enjoy. and ignorant of themselves, as to imagine ments. A title to glory can never give us a that they are pure. “There is a generation meetness for it. Wherever we carry sin in that are pure in their own eyes, but are not us, we carry hell with us. The Lord Jesus washed from their filthiness." We may con- is a Saviour, because he “ saves his people clude the reception our subject will meet from their sins.”—“ He gave himself for us, with from you. You cannot understand it, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, because you know nothing of the state to and purify unto himself a peculiar people, which it refers; and you cannot value it, be. zealous of good works." Beware of deceiv. cause you feel nothing that can render it in- ing yourselves. To be washed in this founteresting. The whole system of the Gospel tain, is the one thing needful. “If I wash is founded in the fact of our guilt and depra- thee not, thou hast no part with me." vity; and till a man is convinced of this, he Thirdly. The self-righteous.
I mean will be like the deaf adder, that stoppeth his those who hope to cleanse themselves in some ear against the voice of the charmer, charm other way than by this fountain. Some would he never so wisely. Pardon offered to the wash away their sins by the tears of repentinnocent will be deemed an insult. Alms ance. Some would cover them by charity : presented to the affluent will be rejected with for “ charity” (by the mistake of a passage disdain. () what a mercy, to feel our need of Scripture) “ covers a multitude of sins of mercy !—Beg of God to open the eyes of Some would pay off the old score by ceremoyour understanding, and lead you into an nial and superstitious observances- And here, acquaintance with yourselves; that, seeing what an article could religious folly furnish: what you are, and feeling what you deserve, What is there to which men have not had and what you need, you may be prepared to recourse while asking, “ How shall I come bewelcome the glad tidings of salvation, and fore the Lord, or bow before the high God!" deem it a faithful saying, and worthy of all Even when people are in a measure awakenacceptation, that, There is “ a fountain opened ed, and begin to feel their need of salvation, for sin, and for uncleanness.'
it cannot but be remarked, how inclined they Secondly. The presumptuous. Antino- are to some plan, some services, some sacrimian perversion is far worse than mere ig. fice, of their own. The simple provision of norance of the Gospel. We should be cau- God offends them; and they resemble Naatious in applying hard names ; but the man. Naaman was a leper. He had come Scripture makes no scruple to call those "un- with a splendid train ; and more full of pride godly men, that turn the grace of our Lord than of disease, he stood, with his horses and God into lasciviousness." And yet there are his chariot, at the door of the house of Elisha. men, whose very religion leaves them per- Hence, when Elisha sent a messenger unto sonally unchanged: who dream of mercy him, saying, “Go and wash in Jordan seven while they live in sin; and claim eternal times, and thy flesh shall come again unto life without “the washing of regeneration, thee, and thou shalt be clean, Naaman was and the renewing of the Holy Ghost.” But wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I there is no salvation without cleansing: “He thought, He will surely come out to me, and that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself, stand, and call on the name of the Lord bis even as he is pure.” For sin separates be- God, and strike his hand over the place, and tween God and the soul; and that wall of di- recover the leper. Are not Abana and Pharvision must be removed before we can meet. par, rivers of Damascus, better than all the There must be agreement before there can waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be intimacy. “ How can two walk together, be clean! So he turned, and went away in except they be agreed? What fellowship a rage.” And would have remained a leper hath righteousness with unrighteousness? had not the servants been wiser than the And what communion hath light with dark- master. Here was his error. He came for ness? And what agreement hath the tem- a cure, and it was, therefore, for him not to ple of God with idols ? for ye are the temple prescribe, but to submit. So it should be with of the living God; as God hath said, I will you. You are not to go about to establishi dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will your own righteousness, but to submit yourbe their God, and they shall be my people. selves to the righteousness which is of God. Wherefore come out from among them, and You are not to reason and speculate; but folbe ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not low the Divine will. You are lost, and ready the unclean thing; and I will receive you, to perish. The Gospel reveals a method of and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall salvation, and you should cheerfully and be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Al- thankfully bow to it-you should implicitly mighty."
acquiesce in it; remembering that you have
no claims on the sovereign Donor; and that I know that such language has been deemed the plan is the effect of his wisdom, as well altogether exceptionable; as if we encouraged as of his goodness.
sin, while we only encourage the sinner. And would he, at an infinite expense, have And how are we to encourage a sinner? Is provided, and made known, this way of sal- it by requiring of him, as the ground of his vation, if any other had been sufficient ? | hope, conditions which he cannot perform? Would he have called the attention of the Or is it by keeping him back from Christ, universe to the opening of this Fountain, for while waiting for qualifications which he can the ablution of souls, had other streams been never derive from himself? Are men to be available? Our having recourse, therefore, warmed before they go to the fire, to entitle to any other plan of salvation, is not only use them to the heat, and to prepare them for it? less, and sure to end in disappointment; but Are patients to be recovered, or, at least, conit is criminal. There is nothing than can siderably mended, before they apply to the render us more guilty before God. It is dis- physician? The sick and the dying are his obedience; it is opposition. It robs him of charge. Do not wait, therefore, for qualifihis peculiar glory. It degrades his under- cations to recommend you-We do need a standing, as well as detracts from his mercy. mediator between God and us, but not beIt “frustrates the grace of God, and makes tween us and Christ. What said Paul and Jesus Christ to be dead in vain."
Silas at once to the jailer's question ?
“ BeFourthly. The fearful. It is no easy lieve on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou thing to satisfy the conscience of awakened shalt be saved.” sinners: they need strong consolation who
“ Let not conscience make you linger, are “fleeing for refuge to lay hold of the
Nor of fitness fondly dream: hope set before them.”—And is it not pro
All the fitness he requireth
Is to feel your need of him." vided? Wherefore do you doubt ? knowledge the blood of bulls and of goats Finally. There is one class more who have could not take away sin. Neither could a relation to our subject; and it consists of blood merely human. But the blood of which those who by faith have applied to this Sawe speak is the blood of a Divine Sufferer ; viour: and who know, by experience, that and we know the all-sufficiency of it, because there is indeed a fountain opened for sin and it has been accepted by Him who required it uncleanness. You are witnesses. You can on our behalf. And if He has heard the voice vouch that it is accessible and free. Were of the blood of sprinkling, and is satisfied ; if you refused? Were you required to wait ? his law is magnified and made honourable ; Was your claim questioned ? Rather, were and he can be faithful and just, as well as you not welcomed with a smile, which showed, merciful and gracious, to forgive us our sins, that the backwardness had only been on your and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, side; and with a voice, that kindly anticipated we may well believe and enter into rest. your approach, and said, “Wilt thou be made
But you say, it is not the efficiency of the whole?" Fountain you question. What then? Why, You can vouch for its efficacy too. You whether I have liberty to make use of it? know that it can relieve a troubled mind; Let us examine this case. And for whom is that it can heal the broken in heart, and bind this Fountain opened? The innocent and up all their wounds. You know that, while the clean? No-It is opened “for sin and it deeply humbles before God, it can inspire uncleanness.” Guilt, therefore, constitutes a holy freedom: for you “ have boldness and no exclusion. We are told, he “came into access with confidence, by the faith of Him.” the world to save sinners;" and that “he You know that, while it renders the curse died for the ungodly.” As I can only at first harmless, it makes sin odious; and not apply to him in the character of a sinner, it only tranquillizes, but "purifies the conis obvious, that the warrant which authorizes science from dead works, to serve the living me to apply must be addressed indiscrimi- God." nately to all sinners. And so it is. All who When persons, labouring under a malady, have the Gospel have such a warrant—a have found relief, a grateful disposition leads warrant that will not only justify any man them, as opportunity offers, to commend the from presumption who acts upon it, but will physician; while a benevolent feeling urges be sure to condemn all those who do not. them to recommend his remedy to others, Come, therefore, come, whoever you are. who are suffering under the same complaint.
“ Praise ye the Lord. Declare his doings Stands open for all
among the people. Make mention that his
Name is exalted." Go, and divulge-not But I have nothing to pay. And you need only what you have read and heard, butnothing:
what you have known and felt. Are there “ This Fountain, though rich,
not thousands perishing around you? And From charge is quite clear;
are they not your brethren ; bone of your The poorer the wretch,
bone, and flesh of your flesh? What was
" This Fountain unsealed
Who long to be healed-
The welcomer here."