Village Sermons by Robert Hawker
The Servants of the Most High God Known in the Showing
of the Way of Salvation
Village Sermons on true gospel principles have a peculiar recommendation to bring with them, on their very cover; in that it was not only the distinguishing character by which the day of Christ’s coining was to be known; but also a blessedness was to follow, on them that received his word. For when John the Baptist sent messengers unto our most glorious Christ, with the question, “Art thou He that should come, or do we look for another?” Jesus answered and said unto them, “Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see. The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached unto them. And blessed is he whosoever shall not be offended in me,” (Matt. 11:2-6). And in exact agreement with this account, we read in the life of Christ, while upon earth, that “He went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness, and all manner of disease among the people,” (Matt. 4:23). So that these divine acts of grace and mercy, both of preaching and healing, carried with them the fullest testimony to his Almighty, person and character. The prophet, ages before, had drawn the features of his portrait; and in Him we behold the original. “Behold, (saith the prophet) your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense: He will come and save you!, Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped; then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing,” (Isa. 35:4-6).
But we must not stop here. For the same divine Scriptures, which so plainly speak of the Lord’s coming, and describe the characters by which, when come, he was to be known, do as plainly show how the Lord testifies the same in the hearts and consciences of his people. The precious portion, which stands for a motto to this little work, in the title page, is, among many others, in proof. “Whithersoever Jesus entered, into villages or cities, or country;” such was his Almighty influence, that he inclined the hearts of his people to bring their sick before him and, by the same power, prompted their hearts to believe that the mere touch of his garment would impart healing; and the effect corresponded to the hope; for “as many as touched him were made whole.” Observe the marked character of faith: “As many as touched him.” As many as the Lord touched their hearts to believe; to so many the Lord imparted grace to be healed. We have another beautiful illustration of the same kind, (Matt. 5:24-34). A multitude thronged Christ; but a poor woman in faith touched Christ. We read nothing of them; but of her Jesus spake very blessedly. And elsewhere we read, that “as many as were ordained to eternal life believed,” (Acts 13:40).
From such views of our most glorious Lord, which are given of him in the days of his flesh, methinks I would have every poor cottager, and such whose habitations are at a distance from church or chapel, and indeed in every place “where there is a famine of hearing the word of the Lord,” (Amos 8:11-13), have these things always in remembrance, in this day of his power. The Lord is not confined to means; but in all places wheresoever any of his people are situated the Lord can and will adopt methods for the manifestation of himself to them. We behold him preaching on the mountain; (Matt. 5:1 &c.) —from a ship; (Luke v. 1. &c.) —in the fields;(Luke 6:1 &c.) —in the garden;(John 15:1 &c). In short, all places are consecrated by his Almighty presence: “wherever two or three are met together in my name, (Jesus saith himself,) there am I in the midst of them!” (Matt. 18:20). Let it be supposed then, that two or three of a village, or two or three of a family, among the cottagers, remote from the great congregation, were occasionally to meet together as opportunity offered, when the labors of the day were over, and more especially on the Lord’s day, that sweet day of rest; and after, by prayer and supplication, seeking a blessing on their little assembly, were to read a portion of the word of God, and then one of the Village Sermons, might we not hope, that as it was said of Christ, upon a memorable occasion of old, so it would be said now; “The power of the Lord was present to heal them?” (Luke 5:17). Lord Jesus! condescend by these feeble means to make known the Almightiness of thy strength! As far as these Village Sermons are in conformity to thy holy word, and the sovereign purposes of thy holy will, own them in the hearts and consciences of thy people. Let that sacred Scripture be felt, and made known thereby, in which it is said, “Not by might, nor power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts,” (Zech. 4:6).
HE SERVANTS OF THE MOST HIGH GOD, KNOWN IN
SHEWING THE WAY OF SALVATION.
The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.
Here is a short, but a very correct and comprehensive statement, in describing the two features of character, “between them that serve God, and them that serve him not,” (Mal. 3:18). The servants of the most high God show the way of salvation. Knowing the plague of their own hearts, they set forth the same to others. Having themselves tasted that the Lord is gracious, they proclaim, as Paul did, that “this is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,” (1 Tim. 1:15). Having been taught of God, that “salvation is in no other; and that there is none other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved,” (Acts iv. 12), they have determined for themselves, and uniformly to hold forth the same unto others, “not to know anything among men, save Jesus Christ and him crucified,” (1 Cor. 2:2). They prove themselves therefore “the servants of the most high God, in thus showing the way of salvation.” They have, as children, been taught of God, as the prophet predicted; and as Christ himself interpreted it: “every man therefore (said Jesus) that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me,” (Compare Isa. 54:13 with John 6:45). They are come to Christ, being taught who Christ is, by the Father. And they have discovered, that He and He alone is “the way, the truth, and the life, and no one cometh unto the Father, but by Him,” (John 14:6). And thus taught, and thus sent forth by the unction of the Holy Ghost, to show the way of salvation; they do, as they are commanded by Him that sends them, say; “Thus saith the Lord: Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths; where is the good way, and walk therein, and find rest for your souls,” (Jer. 6:16 compared with Isa. 28:12 and Matt. 11:28-30).
But while such men manifest, that they are the servants of the most high God, in showing the way of salvation; they possess no power of persuasion to lead men there. They simply act in this their high calling, as those directing posts, erected in roads, to show the traveler his path; yet cannot compel the wayfaring man to walk therein. Or perhaps the servants of the most high God, who not only show unto us the way of salvation, but are walking therein themselves, may more aptly resemble the star which guided the wise men unto Christ, which, it is said, “went before them until it came and stood over where the young child was,” (Matt. 2:9-10). But neither here, no more than in the former instance, was there any power to persuade to the belief in Christ. This is the sole prerogative of God. The servants of the most high God, who show unto us the way of salvation, though they themselves may say, as Paul said, “I know whom I have believed,” (2 Tim. 1:12), yet cannot communicate that knowledge to others. The faithful spies, Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which searched the promised land and brought down the rich cluster of grapes, and the pomegranates, and the figs, to invite by such dainties the people to go up, and take possession of the country, had no influence on the minds of others: they only were led by the Lord to see, and know the blessedness themselves unto their companions, they had no art of persuasion. The servants of the most high God show the way of salvation: but they can only show it; and go no farther. It is God only that shall enlarge Japheth, and persuade him to dwell in the tents of Shem, (Gen. 9:27).
But we must not stop here. Though the servants of the most high God have no power of persuasion; and “a man can receive nothing except it be given him from heaven,” (1 John 27); yet they are commanded to go forth, as though all depended upon an arm of flesh, “and preach the gospel to every creature,” (Mark 16:15). And herein, from the different effects induced under the same preaching, and by the same word, is shown the Lord’s people from the ungodly. While to the one it proves “the savour of life unto life; unto the other the savour of death unto death,” (2 Cor. 2:16). Where the Lord gives spiritual life there will be spiritual apprehension; and the hope of being sent to such encourageth the servants of the most high God to go forth to show the way of salvation, because they know that the Lord hath a people in the earth, to be gathered to himself, to whom He will give grace, “to know the joyful sound!” (Ps. 89:15). And who shall describe the pleasing emotions of their souls, when they discover that the Lord hath sent them, hath blessed them to the souls to whom they are sent? Paul felt this, in a very high degree, and so doth every faithful servant, sent of the Lord, like Paul; when he can, and doth, say: “We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; that our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost: and ye became followers of us and of the Lord,” (1 Thess. 1:2-6).
Neither do we stop here. For as it is God’s work, and not man’s, and in the instance of every one whom the Lord makes “willing in the day of his power;” the servants of the most high God in showing the way of salvation, unto the Lord’s people, depend for success upon their ministry on the sovereign pleasure of God; and not their labors; the weakest instrument hath nothing to fear, nor the greatest to boast. “We have (saith the apostle) this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us,” (2 Cor. 4:7). All that are made partakers are made alike partakers in the new and spiritual life; though not all alike sensible of it. From a state of deadness, and death, in trespasses and sins, when quickened, and made new creatures in Christ Jesus, they are equally brought into this participation of “the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust! Such honour have all his saints!” (2 Pet. 1:4. Ps: 149:9).
Keep these observations in view as we enter upon the subject held forth to us in the text. First; that the proof the preachers of the word give of their being servants of the most high God, is in that they show the way of salvation,distinguishedfrom all subjects which have not, for their first, and ultimate object, salvation. And whatever doth not tend to humble the sinner, and exalt the Saviour, is not salvation. Secondly; That the highest and best taught servants of the most high God, can only show salvation, not help to the accomplishment of it; can but preach it; not offer it. “For do I now (saith Paul) persuade men, or God?” or do I seek to please Men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” (Gal: If the subject was not too serious to be trifled with, one might be prompted to smile, to: hear the many wooings and winnings of those who offer Christ indiscriminately to all, and call upon the sinner “dead in trespasses and sins” to quicken himself, and believe: and concerning whom the Lord saith; “‘Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake! to the dumb stone, Arise; it shall speak!” (Hab. 2:10). And Thirdly; keep no less in remembrance that as creation work and renewing work is of the Lord, and not of man; and all whom the Lord quickens, into a new and spiritual life, are alike quickened; the servants of the most high God, who are distinguished as such by showing the way of salvation; have every suited encouragement to go forth “in the strength of the Lord, making mention of his righteousness, even of his righteousness only’,” (Ps. 71:16). And knowing, that it is the Lord that worketh in them, and by them, “both to will, and to do, of his good pleasure;” his promise is absolute, in which the Lord hath said: “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please; and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it,” (Isa. 55:11). The Lord’s pleasure be so, if it be his holy will, with us now!
If with these impressions on your mind, and looking to the Lord for his blessing, you will turn to the portion of Holy Scripture from whence the words of the text are taken, I shall hope, that the present season, will be a time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord!
It appears, that by a vision from the Lord to the apostle Paul himself, and Silas his fellow-laborer in the gospel, they had been directed towards Philippi: They had assayed to go into “Bithynia; but the Spirit suffered them not.” Here let us pause, to mark distinguishing grace. They were called by the Lord to go to Philippi; but forbidden of the Lord to go into Bithynia. And the same is now. Whence is it, that in some places the gospel is preached with the Holy Ghost “sent down from heaven;” whilst others have not those privileges? The Lord himself explains: “I caused it to rain upon one city: and caused it not to rain upon another,” (Amos. 4:7). And as it is in nature, so in grace. The Lord hath mystical showers for his people, while all the rest are left dry, like the fleece of Gideon, (Jud. 6:37-38). It should seem, that at this time, when Paul and Silas were not permitted of the Lord to go into Bithynia, there were none of the Lord’s people there; for we find that about six years after, the Lord had a church there, to whom Peter sent his first Epistle, (1 Pet. 1:1). And, if there be one of the Lord’s here, the Lord in his own time will find him out.
It is worthy observation also, that though the apostle had an intimation by vision from the Lord to go to Philippi, yet we are told that he and his companion were there “abiding many days,” before that they had an opportunity of preaching. Speaking after the manner of men, we should have thought, that no sooner had the apostles arrived at the spot appointed them by the Lord, but the Lord who sent them to preach, would have sent his people to hear. Here we learn another profitable lesson: “My thoughts are not your thoughts; neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord,” (Isa. 55:8). “There is a set time to favour Zion,” (Ps. 102:13). “The vision is for an appointed time; but in the end it shall speak and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it: because it will surely come, it will not tarry,” (Hab. 2:3). No waiting soul, or seeking soul, should ever be discouraged when means of grace do not seem profitable. The Lord’s time is the best time. The Lord is said “to wait to be gracious:” and the Lord’s people are said to be “blessed in waiting for the Lord,” (Isa. 30:18-19; Ps. 27:13-14).
At length the first among the causes for which the Lord called Paul to Philippi, appeared. A poor woman of the name of Lydia, who earned her bread by selling purple, (not a wearer of purple, 1 Cor. 1:26), came to the spot of Paul’s preaching; she heard; she listened to what those servants of the most high God were delivering, of the way of salvation; and it is said, concerning her “whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken by Paul.” Here then we behold the blessed effects, which follow, when the Lord’s word, and the Lord’s Spirit, work together, upon the hearts of the Lord’s people. What succeeded in the after circumstances of others in Philippi, I stay not at present to notice. But the church of Christ, at this hour, hath reason to bless the Lord for sending Paul to Philippi; for we have proof of the Lord’s planting his church there; and we partake in the blessedness of it from that divine epistle, which the apostle afterwards wrote by inspiration, to the church of the Philippians.
But the great enemy of souls, as now, so then, instantly takes alarm when his kingdom is in danger; a mighty opposition arose to Paul and Silas, to stop their preaching. The apostle hath stated particulars. “It came to pass (said Paul) as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying. The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying; These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.” It is highly observable, how, in all ages, the faithful in Christ Jesus have been opposed in their labors. And it is yet more highly observable how the Lord hath overruled such opposition to his glory, and his people’s happiness. When Balaam, who it appears had a head knowledge of God, hired himself out for this world’s gain, to curse the people of God; the Lord compelled, this wretched man to do the reverse of what he wished; even to bless those, whom he came to curse, (See Num. 22 and 23 and 24 compared with Rev. 2:14 and his awful end, Joshua 13:22). When Caiaphas the high priest intended to consign our Lord to death, the Holy Ghost made him utter a prophecy of our most glorious Christ, of which he had no consciousness what he said; but which hath refreshed, and will refresh the church of God forever. And when this damsel cried out; “These are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation;” she knew neither the Lord, nor what salvation meant; but the Lord overruled the whole for good. Paul was permitted to put an end to her soothsaying; and by exciting the indignation of her masters, for the loss of their craft, opened thereby a door, for the furtherance of the gospel.
I must not pass away from the opportunity here afforded me, in the historical part of this subject, for making a short observation, on the sad consequences which have followed; in all ages, the impudent and lying practice of soothsaying; or as it is now called fortune telling. It is really astonishing, that in the darkest times of our fallen nature, any person should be so credulous to believe in what, those conjurors pretend to possess, of foreknowledge: and by which they pick the pockets of the unwary. The whole of the brood are of the spawn of the devil. And nothing can more decidedly show, that both the persons who do it, and those who believe in it, are under the delusion of Satan. The very first view, which the Scriptures set forth, of the glorious gospel of the ever blessed God, is expressly summed up in these words: “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil,” (1 John 3:8).
It will be time for me now, to call your more immediate attention, to the words of the text. Spoken as they were by this damsel; and in a very different sense from what she intended; yet do they contain a most certain truth. All that are the true and faithful servants of the most high God “shew unto the people the way of salvation.” I purpose therefore, as the Lord shall enable me, in the first place, to define, and upon Scripture ground, what is the way of salvation. And when I have accomplished this purpose, I shall go on secondly, to show you, and upon the same divine authority, how those that minister to the Lord’s people, in the preaching of salvation, prove their being servants of the most high God, by the Lord’s speaking in the word, to the minds, and understandings of his people, by his inward grace confirming their outward labors; and thus as the apostle elsewhere states it; “not handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God,” (2 Cor. 4:2).
And before I enter upon the subject, I beg, by way of caution, to admonish all that hear me, from taking up with a mere hearsay account of salvation, or fancying that the clearest head knowledge of all the great and leading truths of the gospel, can be in the least profitable, without an heart enjoyment. The new birth must go before any one act of spiritual life. Hence our blessed Lord’s own testimony: “Ye must be born again,” (John 3:7). And hence in the instance of Lydia, we are told, that “the Lord opened her heart.” And then followed: “she attended to the things which were spoken of Paul.” But without this opening of the heart, or in other words, spiritually communicating life to her spirit: though she might have heard, yea, and given credit as far as her natural understanding could have led her, to the truths Paul uttered; she would have known nothing of that blessed assurance of Christ, when he said, “the words that I speak unto you they are spirit and they are life,” (John 6:63). There can be nothing more important, for those that sit under the ministry of the servants of the most high God, in showing the way of salvation, than to guard against a mere natural or rational belief, in the great truths of God. All the saving principles of the gospel may be preached, may be consented to, and yet, without the supernatural manifestation of them in the heart by the Lord himself, leave the hearers where they found them. Hence, under the preaching of the Lord Jesus himself, “who spice as never man spake,” the Pharisee unregenerate and unrenewed regarded him not. “Why do ye not understand my speech, said Jesus? Even because ye cannot hear my word. He that is of God heareth God’s words. Ye therefore hear them not because ye are not of God,” (John 8:43 & 48).
And let me add this one word more before we begin, for the encouragement of the little ones, who are anxious “to know the truth, that the truth may make them free,” (John 8:32). I would have you consider, that the spiritual apprehension of divine things doth not consist in great attainments, but in spiritual life; not in what you feel, but in what Christ is. The babe in grace, by the new birth, is as truly brought into union with Christ, and an interest in all that belongs to Christ, as the oldest, or strongest believer. Hence we hear our most glorious Christ thanking the Father, for having “hid these things from the wise and prudent: [wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight; (Isa. 5:21)], and revealed them unto babes,” (Matt. 11:25). If the Lord hath quickened you into a new and spiritual life, so that Christ is precious, and yourself in your own view loathsome; you will esteem all those “servants of the most high God, which shew unto you salvation!”
I begin now, as I proposed, under my first branch of discourse, to define on Scripture ground, what is meant by “the way of salvation.”
And here let us, by the standard of the holy word of God, previously consider what it is not; before that we consider what it is. The very word salvation implies the recovery from somewhat that is lost. And this is an exact correspondence to the utterly lost, ruined, and undone estate of man by the fall. We are all lost, debased and sunken, in one universal depravity. To show the way of salvation, therefore, must be to show a remedy equal to our disease. Anything short of this, however specious in appearance, can be no way of salvation. For preachers to hold forth flimsy discourses on morality is to deceive, instead of affording means of relief. Of all such, it may be said, as Job did of his false teachers; “miserable comforters are ye all: physicians of no value! “(Job 16:2; 13:4.). The servants of the most high God do not thus show the way of salvation.
Moreover: salvation is not only the sole act of grace, for the recovery of our fallen nature by the free sovereignty of God; but the proclamation of mercy which holds it forth presupposes the persons who are the happy partakers of it are simply receivers of it, not only as undeserving, but as ill, and hell-deserving sinners, “who have sold themselves for nought; and are redeemed without money,” (Isa. 52:3). Our Lord’s statement on this ground is striking and conclusive; “They that be whole need not a physician: but they that are sick: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance,” (Matt. 9:12-13). Do men in health take medicine? Do they in part heal themselves; and then call in the medical aid to their recovery? When the church fell in Adam she fell to rise no more by any exertions of her own. And she must have remained forever, and to all eternity, condemned under the just law of God, without the possibility of salvation but in the Lord Jesus Christ. The servants of the most high God do not show the way of salvation in creature help. The sinner being become the servant of sin, and the subject of sin, can do nothing to help himself. The Lord hath stated this, in his own full colors: when saying; “Can the Ethiopian, change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil,” (Jer. 13:23).
But if neither, of these be in the plan of salvation; the, question then follows: What is? And here opens to us a subject which surpasseth the province of men, or angels, to unfold; but which the Lord himself, (as far as the vast interest the church hath in it, becomes us to know), has rendered plain and clear to the spiritual apprehension of every redeemed and regenerated child of God. All the persons in the Godhead have alike engaged in it; and salvation itself, in the efficient accomplishment of it, is the sole work of the Lord Jesus Christ. By the marvelous grace of the Son of God, in taking into union with his divine nature that holy portion of our human nature, he, and he alone, became competent to the infinite undertaking as our Surety to work out our salvation. And from the dignity of his Godhead he gave value to all that he wrought in the manhood: and by both obtained eternal redemption, for us.: Every word he spake, every thought he had, every deed be accomplished; both in doing and dying; all derived efficacy from the essential and inherent Godhead which he had in common with the Father, and the Holy Ghost, underived in his own eternal nature. Hence as the Head and Husband of his church and people, he acted as their public Sponsor and Surety; and the salvation he wrought became a full, a complete, a finished salvation; from sin, and the tremendous consequences of sin; from death, hell, and the grave; and his righteousness their everlasting covering to all eternity, (Isa. 61:10). Such are the outlines of that salvation, which the servants of the most high God show the way of to the church in preaching Christ. They do, as the Scriptures do, hold up, and proclaim the person of Christ; the Work of Christ, the glory of Christ, the blood of Christ, the righteousness of Christ: and showing that the whole church of Christ hath “redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace,” (Eph. 1:7).
Let the present suffice in defining on Scripture ground, what is implied in the way of salvation; namely the person and work of Christ. Let us pass on to the second branch proposed, namely; how the servants of the most high God prove their being so, by the Lord sending them to his people, in giving their ministry an efficacy through the Lord the Spirit’s teaching, in the hearts of his people.
And here the illustration might be shown, in the work of grace wrought in the minds of the Lord’s chosen, from the first act of regeneration, until all is consummated in glory. No sooner is the child of God, by the new birth, called out of “darkness into God’s marvelous light;” but the whole nature is prepared for the gradual apprehension of the mighty change. The spiritual eye is enlightened, to see the hope of Christ’s calling. The spiritual ear is unstopped, to know the joyful sound. The spiritual mind which before was darkness, is now “made light in the Lord.” And the spiritual feet are taught to “run the way of God’s commandments:” now the redeemed and regenerated soul is set at happy liberty. In short; the man, “being in Christ Jesus, is a new creature: old things are passed away, behold all things are become new,” (2 Cor. 5:17).
But we must not stop here. While the servants of the most high God thus follow up their ministry, in showing the way of salvation, where alone it is, and where only to be found; they do as fully show that the whole is of free, rich, full, and sovereign grace. The Lord that freely gives, doth as fully provide for the cordial reception of it in the minds of his people. The hand of God the Father is in it, in “drawing the soul to Christ,” (John 6:44). The divine operation of God the Holy Ghost is in it, in convincing the heart of sin, and showing the absolute needs be of Christ, (John 16:1-15). And the blessed manifestations of God the Son are in it, from beginning to end, in those unceasing love-tokens he shows, in giving them to see, and know, that his whole heart is theirs, and that “He rejoiceth over them (as he saith of himself,) for good, with my whole heart and my whole soul!” (Jer. 32:41).
And now then, what is the result of all that I have been saying? Where shall we look, to what congregation shall we go, so as to say under the preached word: “These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation?” Nay let us not look farther than our present assembly, for an answer to the question. If there hath been shown you the way of salvation, by holding up to your view the person of our most glorious Christ, and his great and finished salvation; have you such divine teaching within, while hearing the word without, in the Spirit bearing witness to your spirit of the truths of God? Pause, I beseech you, over the solemn question; (for it is a solemn one) and do not hastily pass away from it until the Lord hath given you an answer of peace.
And let it never be forgotten by you, that the Lord, who provides the salvation, is the Giver of grace to receive it. So that it is suited in all its bearings, to the most desperate state of the most desperate sinner. The poor man we read of in the gospel found himself one of the very characters for whom it was intended. He came to Jesus, we are told, full of leprosy, (and the poorest sinner is full of sin) and as the Lord had taught him to believe, so he found the salvation of Christ suited to his circumstances, and immediately his leprosy was healed, (Luke 5:12). No state so lost, no case so deplorable, no misery so great, but what the salvation by Christ can be answerable unto. For “the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin,” (1 John 1:7).
I only add a prayer, in the offering of which I pray you to rise up, and join your spirit with mine; that the Lord who bath brought us together, on this occasion will bless us together, with the unction of his Holy Spirit! Lord! grant if it be thine holy will, that thy people before thee may have to say through thy divine teaching, that the words delivered at this time may be such as the servants of the most high God show “in the way of salvation.” And like the Samaritans, each for himself may be led to say as they did, from personal conviction—“Now we believe, not because of thy saying, for we have heard him ourselves, and know, that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world!” (John 4:42).