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CLEANSING OF LEPROUS SINNERS

“And there came a leper to Him, beseeching Him, and kneeling down to Him and saying unto Him, If Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth His hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.” – Mark 1:40-41.

What an encouraging part of the word of God is this, shewing how welcome poor guilty sinners are to come to a throne of grace; and how suitable and compassionate the eternal Son of God is towards those who feel their need of Him. I believe the Lord’s people will be kept sensible of their sinnership down to the end of their pilgrimage, and will continually have to come as leprous sinners, again and again, to confess their sins, to supplicate for mercy, and to cry to God to be kept in the strait and narrow way. “Keep me, and I shall be kept; hold me up, and I shall be safe.” Sin to a child of God will ever be attended with guilt, trouble, sorrow, and remorse. “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.” “If ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards and not sons.”

“His chastening, therefore, prize,
The privilege of a saint;
Their hearts are hard who that despise,
And theirs too weak who faint.”

I have known what it is to preach against sin in others, with my conscience flogging me all the time. But my desire is before the living God, never to attempt to JUSTIFY SIN, or what is wrong in myself or others. May I ever bring it to His footstool, supplicate for mercy, and adore that God who “Though He cause grief, yet will He have compassion according to the multitude of His mercies.”

Last evening, during the time of singing, how my soul was led out in godly sorrow! How I entreated the Lord to pardon and forgive my multiplied iniquities. How I besought Him to keep me from evil that it might not grieve me! What a mercy to be kept alive in our souls, and to have that “godly sorrow which worketh repentance unto salvation not to be repented of!” May your cry and mine be unto the Lord, may our desires be warm and fervent at His throne, that He would keep us as the apple of His eye, and give us to feel that He has blotted out our sins as a cloud, and our iniquities as a thick cloud.

Is there a poor sensible sinner here to-night who in his own apprehension is ready to perish? Jesus is the sinner’s only true Friend! Is there a poor burdened, distressed soul, whose conscience is loaded with sin and guilt, whose mind is oppressed with sorrow and remorse? Our text speaks of such going to Jesus –

“Few, if any, come to Jesus,
Till reduced to self-despair.”

It speaks of the supplication of a poor leprous sinner, and the compassion of a God.

How my soul has felt the foolishness and vanity of carnal men. How anxious they are about the things of time and sense; how careful to possess the things of this life, and to add to their store, but they have no heart to seek after God; no desire for the tokens of His love; no panting for the true riches; never concerned to say with Jeremiah, “The Lord is the portion of my soul; therefore will I trust in Him.” They are ever following after vanity, grasping after shadows, and delighted with baubles: nevertheless death and eternity will soon overtake them, and bring them to feel their awful position before that God against whom they have sinned. “When the wicked spring as the grass, and when the workers of iniquity do flourish, it is that they may be destroyed for ever.”

The plague of leprosy was a very trying disease! But there is no plague to be compared with the plague of sin. We come into the world wholly infected with this malady, the plague of sin. Not only is it attended with sorrow here, but, if grace prevent not, it will destroy both body and soul in hell for ever. Dear Hart says to vain man –

“Thy flesh, perhaps thy chiefest care,
Shall crawling worms consume;
But ah! destruction stops not here,
Sin kills beyond the tomb.”

Dying sinner, all are infected with this deadly malady. “We all have sinned and come short of the glory of God;” and but for the interposition of Jesus, and His righteousness, this plague would prove our eternal destruction. Are we alive to our danger? Are we fleeing for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us in the Gospel? Are we coming to Jesus as the leper in the text? Are we objects for the compassion of God? Are we supplicants for mercy through His dear Son? Do we know our interest in the peace-speaking, balmy blood of the Lamb? There is much said about the leprosy in the precious word of God. When the plague of leprosy broke out in a house, he that owned the house had to come to the priest and say, “It seemeth to me there is as it were a plague in the house.” How this confession of the man expresses the feelings of a poor sinner beginning to see out of obscurity. The stones in which the plague was, were to be cast into an unclean place; the house had to be scraped within round about, and other stones put in with fresh mortar to plaster the house; and then, if the strakes in the wall should break out, as the revivings of sin do, to the confusion of the sinner, threatening the soul with everlasting confusion, “the house was to be broken down, the stones of it, and the timber thereof, and all the mortar, and it was to be carried forth out of the city into an unclean place.” The leprosy was an incurable disease. And so with you and me, poor child of God, we shall never be rid of the plague of leprosy (sin) till death has taken down our houses of clay.

The spirits of the just,
Confined in bodies, groan;
Till death consigns the corpse to dust,
And then the conflict’s done.”

In the day of death, the thoughts, intentions, desires, and the spring of this rankling plague will for ever cease; for,

“Death that puts an end to life,
Will put an end to sin.”

And so the apostle says, “We that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened, not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.” Not that we are afraid of eternal damnation, but our righteous souls, like Lot’s, are vexed with the continual conflict within us, where

“Swarms of ill thoughts their bane diffuse,
Proud, envious, false, unclean;
And every ransacked corner shows
Some unsuspected sin.

Sin is the Christian’s burden, his load, his plague, and his torment while in this lower world, but when the Lord shall take His people home to Himself, there will be an end to it; then, no more sin, no more plague, no more sorrow; but eternal peace and rest at God’s right hand for evermore.

“And the leper in whom the plague is.” He is not to talk merely about the plague of sin. Talkative could prate well, and speak of it as a “great outcry against sin;” but Bunyon observes, (and do lay it to heart, Christian) “it is not so much a great outcry about sin, as a secret loathing of thyself on account of it before God.” Dying sinner, how stand matters in thy conscience? Is sin thy plague? If not thy plague here, let me tell thee, it will be thy destruction hereafter; if not bitter to thee in this world, it will be bitter to thee in hell; if not thy torment in this time-state, it will be thy torment and misery in eternity! Nothing disgusts me so much as to hear people trifling with sin. Sin should never be spoken of but with the greatest abhorrence, and to magnify the exceeding riches of the grace of God. Some people fancy, the more they talk about the devilism of their fallen and corrupt nature, the greater Christians they are. But I want to know, poor sinner, dost thou feel it to be thy chiefest plague? Is Christ formed in thee, “the hope of glory?” Art thou from necessity coming to Jesus, that thou mayst “obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need?”

“His clothes shall be rent.” His creature righteousness must COME OFF; he must be THOROUGHLY STRIPPED, and a CHANGE of raiment given him, even the righteousness of Christ. “And his head bare.” He shall feel exposed to the vengeance of eternal fire, unless chosen and “accepted in the Beloved.” “And he shall put a covering upon his upper lip” (mourning before the Lord), “and shall cry, Unclean, unclean.” But all our confessions about sin and uncleanness, if they do not arise from a deep conviction wrought in the heart by the Holy Ghost, and drawn forth in simplicity and godly sincerity, are only mockery and deceit. Look at the four leprous men that were at the gate of Samaria, when the army of the Syrians had come up against it to besiege and destroy it. See how deep necessity wrought upon their minds to bring them to the conclusion to which they arrived! They said one to another, “Why sit we here until we die? If we say, we will enter into the city, then the famine is in the city, and we shall die there; and if we sit still here, we die also. Now therefore come, and let us fall into the host of the Syrians; if they save us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die.” How this condemns the do-nothing and stand-still religion of thousands of professors of the present day. These famishing men said, “If we sit here, or if we enter into the city, we shall die, and therefore their last resolve is, to fall into the hand of the enemy; and “if they save us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die.” O, poor sinner, what an apparent enemy and angry judge God is to us in a broken law. What an enemy justice appears to the poor guilty wretch. How the poor sinner is brought at last to Esther’s resolves “I will go in unto the King, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish!” Nor did the poor lepers perish in their desperate venture: it was “a day of good tidings.” “The Lord caused the Syrian host to hear a noise of chariots and a noise of horses, even the noise of a great host;” and they left their horses, their tents, and their camp, and fled for their lives! So with the poor leprous soul, when he has venturing faith to cast himself on Jesus, sink or swim, all the enemies of his soul flee before a manifested Christ, and pardon and peace flow in: it is a day of good tidings indeed!

We read also in the days of His flesh, that “as Jesus entered into a certain village, there met Him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: and they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy upon us!” What multitudes there are in this day, who still stand afar off, and are perpetually talking about “mercy”: who are not really in earnest about it, but who are only making a great noise about “mercy through Jesus Christ.” What a solemn thought, out of these ten lepers there was only one that needed mercy to be applied to his soul! “And when Jesus saw them, He said unto them, Go, shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass that as they went they were cleansed.” And how many in our days get an outward cleansing, satisfied with an external reform, and the sanction of the priest; like the outward cleansing which these lepers got from the plague of leprosy, who knew nothing of the powerful cleansing through the blood of Christ (nor their need of it) from the internal leprosy of sin. “And one of them, when he saw that he was healed,” – the man wounded in his conscience, and perishing in his own feelings, when he saw his redemption, completeness, oneness, and holiness in the Son of God, – “turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks; and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.” Dying sinner, bring thy religion to the test. It is only a talking of mercy, or a feeling sense of thy need of mercy?

Art thou professing Jesus Christ? or art thou panting to possess Jesus Christ? Art thou satisfied in a form of godliness? or art thou a poor, needy, perishing wretch, saved by a free-grace salvation, and from necessity returning to give God the glory (all of it – Ed.) for the great things done for thy soul? May you and I judge of our state by the unerring word of truth. Death is indeed on the road; and we must soon pass through the narrow gate, and appear before the heart-searching God, the tryer of the reins of the children of men! But if there is any “good thing” in our heart towards the Lord God of Israel; if we are made partakers of the divine nature, if we have mourned over the plague of sin; if we have felt the malady, and had the precious remedy, the balmy blood of Jesus applied to our conscience, and are clothed in His righteousness, and accepted in the Beloved, feeling Him precious and suitable to our souls, we shall spend a joyful eternity in blessing, thanking, and praising the God of our salvation.

“And there came a leper to Him.” He did not stand at a distance, and merely talk about or wish to get at Him; but he “came to Him.” Now, in the days of His flesh, His mother and His brethren came to Jesus where He was preaching, and desired to get at Him, but they could not get near because of the press. Berridge says, and truly, –

“If unto Jesus thou are bound,
A crowd about Him will be found,
Attending day and night;
A worldly crowd to din thy ears,
And crowds of unbelieving fears,
To hide Him from thy sight.”

Poor sinner, art thou in reality desiring to see Jesus? Hear what He says, “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me, and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” Have we come to Jesus? Do we confess our sins at His foot-stool? Have we supplicated for mercy? Have we felt the need of His atoning blood to cleanse from the guilt and power of sin? “And there came a leper to Him, beseeching Him.” How the Holy Ghost uses this expressive word, “beseeching.” How it seems to imply earnestness, need, and importunity. Look at it, poor sinner; “beseeching Him.” How it implies also, utter destitution, poverty, distress, and pinching want. The poor thing came by the leading and teaching of the blessed Spirit. He had nothing in hand, no stock of his own to present. He did not come to barter with Jesus for salvation; but he came with humble boldness, that he might “obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” “Beseeching Him.” And so, poor sinner, if you and I feel deeply our need of Jesus to save us; if we are seeking peace through His blood; if we want justification through His imputed righteousness; the language of our hearts will be that of deep necessity, fervency, and importunity. We shall be like this poor leper, earnestly “beseeching Him” to give us these things. God will not be mocked by His creatures: we might lie and deceive each other, but we cannot deceive our Maker. How many persons assemble themselves at a chapel merely, as they call it, “to do their duty,” and are glad in their hearts when they get to the end of the service. (Ah, a good measure to see if the truth is in love – Ed.) How many adopt the language of true penitents, who have never known what it was to have one real conviction of sin. How many say, “We are tied and bound with the chain of our sins,” who have never felt the plague in their heart, or known really and truly what sin is. But what mockery it is, poor sinner, to confess before God what you do not feel in your heart. Never tell God that you are ready to perish, unless He has given you a sense of it in your soul. It is awful hypocrisy. Poor sinner, tell the truth, or say nothing. Do not come to the Lord with a lie in your mouth. O how few there are who know the God they are professing to worship. But God abhors the sacrifice of fools; and a painted hypocrite is known by Him through the disguise he wears. Now do, poor sinner, look at the words you use before God. Lay them to heart; and be not self-deceivers. Are you like this poor leper. “Beseeching” for mercy, from a feeling sense of your need, misery, poverty, and woe? May you and I consider what we are about when we attempt to address the Lord of heaven and earth; for nothing is acceptable to Him but that which arises from a heart made honest by His own Spirit. May we never say what we are not, and what we do not feel: but may we confess and feel ourselves to be the chief of sinners. The man that confesses himself to be an ill and hell-deserving sinner, and never felt it, is a liar before his God. The man who declares that he is nothing, can do nothing, and less than nothing and vanity, and never felt it, is a mocker before Jehovah’s throne. Satisfied am I, that those who know what it is to have intercourse, fellowship, and communion with the God of heaven, will be deeply impressed with the solemnity of approaching His gracious presence. I have sometimes wondered to see some persons, how ready they are to call upon God; and as soon as it is ended, are light and trifling in their conversation, full of jesting, and as eager after the things of time and sense, and the things of the flesh, as a worldling. Such never seem to be mourning and sorrowing for sin; but directly they are called upon to pray, they are always ready; and it is no sooner over, than they are as frivolous as before, and ready to do anything but that which is God-honouring. How delighted such persons seem if they can but hear themselves talk. It is to be feared, there are many who would walk miles to pray at a prayer-meeting. Alas, alas! if they knew something of the solemn awe which I have known in coming before the Lord, they would not thus trifle with the God of heaven.

“And there came a leper to Him, beseeching Him.” The poor creature had not a rag of creature merit to bring. It is as though the poor sinner had said, “If mercy comes to me, it must be mercy indeed, if ever favour be shewn to a wretch like me, it must be free and unmerited indeed; if pardon comes to me, it must be of sovereign grace alone; if righteousness comes to me, it must be imputed freely. All must come entirely of the Saviour’s free grace and compassion.”

“And there came a leper to Him, beseeching Him, and kneeling down to Him.” When the Holy Ghost speaks to a poor sinner’s conscience, He brings him into the dust; He causes him to know sooner or later, that nothing but God’s free mercy through His Son, can ever pluck such brands from the burning! “Beseeching Him.” How a dying thief besought Him. “Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom!” How Peter besought Him when he cried out “Lord, save, or I perish.” How the Publican besought Him when he smote on his breast, saying, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” How the poor Syrophoenician woman besought Him when she said, “Lord, help me.” How blind Bartimeus who sat by the wayside begging, besought Him, when he said, “Jesus thou Son of David, have mercy upon me.” Did Jesus ever turn a deaf ear, or cast off any poor sinner that came to Him beseeching Him? “The bruised reed He will not break, nor quench the smoking flax.” “All the Father giveth Me shall come to Me, and him that cometh to Me” (with the leprosy in his heart, with the plague in his soul, to crave the Bread and Water of Life), “I will in no wise cast out.”

“If Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean.” Now, this good (sic) man felt what Mr. Hart describes in his experience. He says, “The question with me now was, not whether I would be a Christian, but whether I might; not whether I should repent and believe, but whether God would give me true repentance and a living faith.” When a man comes to this spot, he is brought to know that salvation and damnation hang on the sovereign will of God.

“If my soul were sent to hell,
God’s righteous law approves it well.”

“If Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean.” “But O,” says the poor sinner, “is He willing? Did He die for me? Is there reconciliation for me? Will He shew favour to a poor wretch like me? If He deal with me according to my sins, banishment from His presence must be my portion for ever.” O what a trying spot this is to be in! sometimes hoping, sometimes fearing; sometimes rising, sometimes sinking. What anxious state of suspense, with no certainty of salvation! He knows there is efficacy in the blood of Jesus to pardon him; he knows the righteousness of Christ is sufficient to clothe and justify the church. But what he is most anxious to know is, whether he is interested in it? The enquiry with him is, “Has Jesus shed His precious blood for ME? If all in the world were interested in it, and I not, of what use,” he says, “would it be to me? I believe there is more efficacy in the blood of Christ to cleanse and pardon me, than there is demerit in all my sins to destroy me: and could I believe He had shed His precious blood for me, how happy should I be. But here is the suspense, here is the doubt; this is it that casts me down; this is what I want cleared up to my soul, “If Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean.” Why, poor sinner, if universal redemption be a truth, I am satisfied that universal salvation must be a truth also. If Jesus died for all, who is there that will say He is not as mighty and able to save all for whom He laid down His life? If He is willing to bleed for all, then He is able to save all. But, “let God be true, and every man a liar;” He says, “I lay down My life for My sheep.” Jesus never did anything in vain. My soul is grounded and settled in God’s unerring truth, that “Israel SHALL be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation; they shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.”

“If Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean.” But here is the question, “Did He die for MY soul?”

“Lord, I believe Thy grace is free,
O magnify that grace in me.

Let me tell thee, perishing sinner, this is the Holy Ghost’s work to lead thee to Jesus, all unworthiness in thyself; let me tell thee, that all living sensible sinners that thus come to God by Jesus Christ, He will in “no wise cast out;” let me tell thee, the leper’s experience, the leper’s entreaty, the leper’s desire, and the leper’s success is thine — He died for thee! and in His own time He will reveal His love and mercy with power to thy heart.

“And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth His hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will, be thou clean.” O how did Jesus treat this case? What was there in it to merit His notice, or to barter with the God of heaven to procure peace and salvation! Here is a poor leprous wretch; an object not fit to be looked at, one that cannot be touched without producing infection! O how this spreading, damning malady, sin, overruns the whole human race! How corruption spreads and grows, and man gets worse and worse! Is thy soul in earnest for peace and salvation to be applied to thy conscience by the blood of sprinkling? Poor sinner, look at the case! What had the man to plead on his own behalf? He had nothing to say for himself on the ground of merit. He was a sinner, an ill-and-hell-deserving wretch, a leper from head to foot. None could be worse. But how did Jesus treat him? Did He turn His back upon him, and say, “the plague was too great;” or, “it had been too long upon him;” or, “if it bad not been quite so corrupt;” or, “if his sins were not so immense”? O, poor sinner, Jesus did not treat this poor leper in this conditional way and manner; it was all unconditional favour to a perishing wretch. It is not said, Jesus was “moved” because the man entreated Him; Jesus was “moved” because the man besought Him; Jesus was “moved” because the man was not quite so bad as others; but it says just what suits thee and me, poor sinner. “And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth His hand and touched him, and said, I will; be thou clean.” He was moved toward this poor guilty, perishing sinner, because he was an object of His everlasting mercy. Now, suppose, literally, you and I had a poor creature come to us, beseeching and imploring our aid and help, we could not forbear showing pity and compassion to him, unless we were hard-hearted wretches, when we know him to be in want and destitution. And so with Jesus. He was moved with compassion towards this poor wretch, this penitent sinner, this destitute beggar, who had nothing of self-righteousness to glory in, but everything which proved him to be a needy supplicant. And his God, his Saviour, his tender-hearted High Priest, was moved with compassion towards him, because he was one of those for whom He came to shed His precious atoning blood. Were it not for the compassion of God to poor perishing sinners, what hope could we have? O, poor sinner, when the blessed Spirit is bringing a soul to feel his need of God’s compassion, he appears, in his own feelings, to get worse and worse, poorer and poorer, blacker and blacker, and nigher and nigher to the pit; but God says, “Deliver him from going down to the pit, I have found a ransom.” Nothing but the free mercy and compassion of God can suit a wretch like you and me.

Now, poor sinner, look at the cry of two or three others. There was that madman, the Gadarene; every one was frightened at him; he was so exceedingly fierce that no man could tame him; he break the chains with which they bound him, and fled away to dwell among the tombs, (Mark 5:2-5) That is the place you and I were before mercy met us – among the tombs, dwelling among the dead. But when Jesus in love and pity, grace and compassion, found the poor wretch, He brought him down; and he that was possessed with the Legion was seen, “clothed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, and in his right mind!” The rest of the Gadarenes besought Christ to depart out of their coasts, but the poor man who was saved with an everlasting salvation, and loved much because much had been done for him, besought the Lord that he might abide with Him; but Jesus said unto him, “Go home to thy friends, and tell them what great things the Lord hath done for thee, and how He hath had compassion on thee.” O what a notable instance was this of the mercy and compassion of God!

Then again, the Holy Ghost directs us to look at the prodigal son. How he had wasted his substance in riotous living. What a wretch he was. But he found mercy. It is said, that “when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran and fell upon his neck and kissed him.” O how it humbled the poor prodigal. “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.” Nothing breaks the heart like the compassion and tenderness of a father’s love. He says to the servants, “Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat and be merry: for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”

And look also at that poor backslider, (and it will take in all my and thy backsliding and departures, poor child of God) “who went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.” The priest and the Levite passed by, but they could not help him. There was no eye to pity him, nor anything to touch his case. But after a time “a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion on him.” I cannot look upon a fallen child of God without having a feeling of pity and compassion in my soul toward him; and my cry to my God and Father is, that He would raise up such a poor soul by giving him penitence and godly sorrow, for, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” “And when He saw him, He had compassion on him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow, when he departed, he took out two-pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him, and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.” O poor fellow sinner, “Jesus, moved with compassion, touched him.” O what a mercy to have a religion that cannot be satisfied short of a touch from a living Christ. All profession short of this will leave the soul to perish at the last.

“I will, be thou clean.” In some instances, we find the poor sinner touched Jesus. The poor man with the withered hand was bidden to “stretch forth his hand,” and he stretched it forth, and it was restored whole as the other; but in this case, Jesus touched the poor sinner, and said, “I will, be thou clean.” The poor woman with the issue of blood said, “If I may but touch the hem of His garment, I shall be made whole.” We never can have union and communion without receiving from the fullness of Jesus; we cannot be fruitful, without we are branches of the True Vine. If we are destitute of vital union, we shall be sapless and lifeless. It is not talking of vital union to Jesus Christ; it is not merely professing His Name; or, if a minister, preaching the gospel; there must be something more than that – there must be the living touch. And the moment the touch takes place, that moment, life, sap, nourishment, joy, and peace are received.

Have you and I ever conversed with the Lord, and felt Him near, either in confession, supplication, praise, or thanksgiving? Do we know anything of that true godliness which consists in conversing with Him and feeling Him near? A living sinner cannot have access to God without knowing something of this feeling. We cannot draw near to the Lord, and feel a spirit of grace and supplication, without knowing something of conversing with our God, and feeling His near. We cannot enjoy fellowship and communion with the Father, through His Son Jesus Christ, by the anointings of the Holy Ghost, without feeling Him near.

But was there ever a case where the crown of glory was more seen to be put upon the Saviour’s head, and less of merit in the creature, than in the case of this poor supplicating leper? “I will, be thou clean.” Now, who in the presence of God this night is really in the destitute condition of this poor supplicating leper, and cannot be satisfied with anything short of a living touch? What did Thomas say, “Except I shall see in His hand the print of the nails, and thrust my hands into His side, I will not believe.” And there is something of this feeling in all God’s poor tried people. They want a token, a testimony, a manifestation, in their own breast. And when the Lord appears He says to them in effect as He said to Thomas, “Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hand, and thrust it into my side, and be not faithless, but believing.” And then the poor man, that would not believe from the testimony of the other disciples, exclaims from his very heart and soul, “My Lord and my God.” Are you and I wanting a faith’s touch? Have we ever had a touch? O what a mercy of mercies, if we are daily coming to Jesus, receiving from His fountain fullness and ‘grace for grace’, and saying with David, “My soul shall make her boast in the Lord; the humble shall hear thereof and be glad.” O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together. Amen.

Daniel Smart, 1847
Zion’s Witness, January, 1983, 126,
Middle Watch, Swavesey, Cambridge, CB4 5RP, England.