Matthew xi. 30. My yoke is easy, and my burden is light
All religion, like virtue of all kinds, implies restraint. The Saviour did not come to institute a religion that would be without law, or that would give unrestrained indulgence to the passions. He did not come to establish a religion where there would be no burden to be borne, no cross to be taken up. He speaks, therefore, in the text, of his religion as a 'yoke'—the emblem of restraint; of a 'burden'—the emblem of obligation, implying that there were duties to be discharged and conditions of salvation to be complied with. But he says that, the one was 'easy,' the other 'light.' Compared with the heavy yoke of Jewish rites and ceremonies, (Acts xv. 10;) compared with the oppressive burdens of the heathen systems of religion every where; and compared with the yoke whiph fashion, and ambition, and corrupt passions impose on their votaries every yirhere, the yoke which he required his followers to hear was easy, and the burden light. It was not a hard thing to be a Christian; it was not difficult to be saved. la illustrating this truth, my object will be, ,Q$ ,
I. To show that salvation is easy; and .
II. To show why it is so.
I. Salvation is made easy for mankind.
I know that this proposition is one.that will not be conceded to be true by all men. It stands opposed to many feelings of the human heart, as well as to some sentiments maintained by a part of the Christian world. It is not introduced here for controversy, nor will my discussion of it be pursued for purposes of debate, but with reference to some prevalent feelings in the minds of men. It is felt by many to whom we preach, that salvation is difficult, ojc wholly impracticable for them. The feeling assumes a great variety of forms, for the existence of which we have only to appeal to your consciousness. It is felt by some that God has provided no salvation for a large part of the human family; or that the Holy Spirit strives with only a part of the race; or that God is insincere in his offers of salvation; or that he has determined by unalterable decree those who shall, and those who shall not be saved; or that man has no power to repent or believe, and that should he put forth all possible efforts, they would be utterly fruitless. At one time an impenetrable obscurity seems to rest on the whole subject of religion, and the mind of the sinner is in thick darkness; at another he feels that his sins are so strong that he has no power to overcome them; at another that some invisible power thwarts all his efforts and blasts all his purposes; and at another that salvation resembles some object in heaven to be brought down like bringing Christ again from the skies, or is like crossing the mighty deep to seek for it on a pilgrimage in the dreariness of a distant land. It is this feeling which I wish to meet in defence of the proposition derived from our text, that salvation is easy. There are three considerations which I trust will make it clear; or three sources of argument to which I shall refer you.
(1.) The first is, that such is the express testimony of the Bible. To this I appeal as perfectly plain on the point, and as meeting all the difficulties which are felt in the case. I appeal to the following passage, the very design of which is to state this truth with the utmost explicitness. "The righteousness which is of faith," or the plan of salvation in the gospel, "speaketh in this wise, say not in thine heart, who shall ascend into heaven? that is, to bring Christ down from above; or, who shall descend into the deep? that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead. But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth and in thy heart, that is, the word of faith which we preach; that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thy heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Rom. x. 6—0. The meaning is, the Christian religion does not require us to ascend into heaven —to perform an impossible work like going up to the throne of God, and bringing the Mediator down. It does not require us to go jnto the abyss, the grave, the regions of departed souls, and perform a work like raising a man from the dead. It demands an easier task—one that lies within the propeT exercise of human power. It demands, says Paul, simply a confession with the mouth of the Lord Jesus, and a belief in the heart that God raised him from the dead. And is this all, and is it then an erroneous inference, that Paul meant to teach that salvation is easy; that it demands no impracticable thing, and nothing which lies beyond the proper compass of human responsibility?
I appeal, in further confirmation of this position, to the following plain declarations of the Bible. "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat; yea, coiner buy wine and milk without money, and without price. Incline your ear, and come unto me; hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David." Isa. lv. 1. 3.— Is it impossible to incline the ear and hear? To come and buy ?—" Behold," said the Saviour, "I stand at the door and knock: if any man will hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him and sup with him, and he with me." Rev. iii. 20.—Is it impossible for a man to open his door for a friend, or for a stranger ?" And the Spirit and the bride say, come. And let him that heareth say, come. And let him that is athirst, come: and whosoever will, let him take the water of Mefreely." Rev. xxii. 17.—Is it impossible for the thirsty to drink at a running fountain ?" Come unto me," said the Redeemer, "all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. My yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matth. xi. 28—30. "In the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink." John viL 37. These passages, it Avill at once occur to you, are but a specimen of the language of the Scripture on the subject, and the meaning of such language cannot be mistaken. It is as far as possible from any representation that the provisions of salvation are limited in their nature or design; or that man is incapacitated from embracing the offer; or that there are, from any cause whatever, insuperable obstacles to his salvation. If there are passages in the Scripture which speak of difficulties and obstacles of any kind to the salvation of men—as there are, undoubtedly—they are such as refer to obstacles on the part of man, and not on the part of God; obstacles which the sinner has himself formed, and not those which arise from any want of fulness in the provisions which God has made, or any want of willingness on his part to save the soul.
(2.) The second consideration to which I refer for proof on this point is, that the difficulties which did exist in regard to salvation, and which man could not have overcome, have all been taken away by the plan of salvation. A specification of -a few of these difficulties will illustrate the idea which I now present. One of these obstacles related to pardon. Man had sinned. And yet it is manifest that he could not be self-pardoned, nor could he be pardoned by a fellow man, nor by the highest angel. It was only the being whose law had been violated, and who had been offended, that could extend forgiveness. A neighbor cannot pardon your child who has done wrong to you; nor can a foreign government pardon a traitor to his country; nor can a murderer pardon himself. The solution of the question whether the offender could or could not be pardoned under the divine government, was one that was lodged in the boisom of God, and over which man had no control. Pardon could not be extorted—for man had no power to do this; it could not be demanded—for then it would not be pardon, but justice; it could not be purchased by gold or pearls—for of what value are they to the Creator of all things; it could not be procured by penance, and selfinflicted pains—for what merit is there in uncommended self-torture? Yet all this difficulty has been removed. What all the gold and diamonds of the East could not purchase, has been offered as a free gift to all. None are so poor that they may not procure it; none are so guilty that it may not be freely bestowed upon them. A kindred difficulty related to the atonement. It was just as true that man could make no atonement for his sins, as it was that he could not of himself secure pardon. Nor had he any thing which he could offer as an expiation for the past. "Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?" Mic. vi. 7. Man had nothing which could be a compensation, or an atonement for his past sins; and after all the efforts, the costly oblations, the gorgeous ceremonials, and the bloody sacrifices, and the painful penances of the pagan world, man is just as far from having made any suitable atonement, as he was when Cain brought his uncommended and unacceptable offering to the offended Creator. And it would have been so to the end of time. Unless man could do something, or offer something that would repair the evils of apostacy, how could he make an atonement for his sins? But this difficulty has been removed. An ample atonement has been made. There is no more that needs to be done; and there is no more that can be done. The atonement is sufficient in its nature for all men. The death of Christ is declared to be the "propitiation for the sins of the whole world." It is expressly affirmed that he "died for all"; that he "tasted death for every man." Nothing on this subject remains to be desired; and no man can now approach God feeling that there is the slightest difficulty in the way of his salvation from any want of sufficiency in the provisions of the atonement; any want of willingness in the Redeemer to save him; or any want of efficacy in his blood to cleanse from all sin. It is impossible for the human mind to conceive that there should be a more complete and entire removal of all obstacles in any case, or in relation to any subject whatever, than has occurred in regard to the plan of the atonement through Jesus Christ. Again—there was a. difficulty also in regard to' the love of sin. It was certain that while man had all the requisite power to do the will of God, he never would of himself yield to his claims, and forsake his transgressions. He was so alienated from God, that that alienation would have forever prevented his return to God, even had there been no other obstacle. But God has met this difficulty also. What man would not do, he has provided the means of his accomplishing. To the sinner, sensible of the deep corruption of his own nature, he has granted the Holy Spirit, for the very purpose of enabling him to overcome his love of sin, and of turning him to God. And there is not a depraved propensity of his nature which the Spirit of God cannot subdue; not an unholy affection which he cannot remove; not a corrupt desire which he cannot obliterate forever.
God has, in this manner, met all the obstacles which stood in the way of salvation. He has designed that every thing on his part that can be regarded as a difficulty, should be removed; and that he should himself be able to approach men with the assurance that so far as he was concerned, there should be no obstacle to perfect and eternal reconciliation. He has devised a plan through which he can consistently offer full pardon, and so that he will be as fully glorified in the salvation as in the condemnation of the sinner. He has gone even beyond this, and has met man on his own side of the difficulty, and furnished him with the means of overcoming the sinfulness of the heart itself. The case is like this. When two of your neighbors are engaged in a controversy which has been long continued, you gain much if you can go to the party that has done the wrong, and say, 'Your injured neighbor is willing to be reconciled. Every difficulty which had existed in his mind has been removed, and he now desires to be at peace. By great self-denial and sacrifice, though without compromitting his own dignity or honor, he has removed all the obstacles which subsisted to perfect harmony, and he is now desirous of walking with you in the bonds of unity and concord.' So God approaches every impenitent man. With the assurance that all the obstacles on his part have been removed, he comes and offers life. He proclaims that every thing which man could not have done in this case, but which was needful to be done, has been accomplished, and that all that remains for the sinner is easy, and may be and should be performed.
(3.) The third consideration in support of my position is, that the terms of salvation are the most simple that they possibly could be. It is not only true that God has removed all the obstacles which existed on his part to salvation, but it is also true that he has made the conditions as easy as it is possible to conceive them to be.
These terms are repeated often in the Bible. "He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved." "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." "With the heart," Paul adds, "man believeth unto righteousness," i. e. unto justification, or in connection with believing he becomes justified"; "and with the mouth confession" i. e. profession "is made unto salvation ;'.' and the sense of the whole is, that simple reliance on the Lord Jesus in the heart, and a suitable acknowledgment of him before men will be crowned with everlasting salvation. Now the remark is obvious, that these terms are as simple and as easy as it is possible to conceive any terms to be. If man himself were to choose his own terms of salvation, he could not select any more easy than God has himself appointed. It is not gold which he demands; it is not a costly offering; it is not painful penance; it is not stripes, or imprisonment, or a pilgrimage to a distant land. It is an act of simple confidence in Jesus Christ, and a suitable acknowledgment of him before the world at large. And that man himself eould not ask more simple and easy terms, is apparent from the fact that when left to his own way, he has uniformly chosen some method infinitely more painful and self-denying than the gospel requires. He seeks salvation by costly offerings and bloody rites, by painful fastings and penances; by scourging, and torture, and self-inflicted woes; by pilgrimages over barren rocks and burning sands to some distant shrine of his idol god; but no where has man ever thought of a plan of salvation requiring so little personal sacrifice, and so little that is painful as the Christian plan. This stands alone, as admirable for the ease of compliance with it, as for the simplicity of its aim. It requires no impracticable thing. It is simply demanding that that should be exercised towards God our Saviour" which is every day exercised towards men. We exercise confidence every day in a father, a mother, a neighbor, a civil ruler; in a bank, a mercantile house, a book, and a promise; and God demands that similar confidence should be reposed in him, and in that Redeemer whom he hath sent. The reasonableness of this is not the object of our present research. It is the fact to which I am referring, and the remark is, that in a scheme of salvation nothing more simple than this could be conceived; and that God could not possibly require less. When a child has rebelled against his father, can that father do less than require proofs of returning confidence in him before he can readmit him to favor? When a professed friend has injured you in every way possible, can you do less than to demand proofs of returning confidence before you can treat him as a friend? Can there be any friendship, any union, unless that confidence shall be restored?
I regard, therefore, the proposition as one that is undeniable, that salvation is made as easy by God as possible; and that the terms are as simple and as practicable as can be conceived.
II. My second object is, to enquire why he has done so, or why he has selected the simple conditions to which I have referred, as those by which we may be saved.
It is undeniable, that it is on account of the very simplicity of this plan that multitudes reject it. Had it been attended with greater difficulties; had it required penance, and toil, and pilgrimages, it would have excited much greater interest in the minds of a large portion of the world. This is proved conclusively from the fact that the most painful and degrading of the heathen religions excite deeper interest among their votaries than the Christian scheme does in a nominally Christian community. Every pagan is devoted to his religion,and holds all that he possesses as at the disposal of his gods; nor does he deem any sacrifice too great, any penance too severe, any pilgrimage too long, if he may secure the favor of the fancied god. In a large portion of the community, however, where the gospel is preached, it excites no emotion, and prompts to no effort to secure an interest in it. By multitudes it is regarded as deserving contempt; by multitudes with hatred and indignation. It is still to one class a stumbling-block, to another foolishness. One reason undoubtedly is, the very ease of its terms; the fact that it appeals to all men as on a level; that it contemplates the salvation of the rich and the poor, the bond and the free, the master and the slave, on the same conditions, and all as without personal merit, and all as to
be saved by mere favor, without money and without price. My wish is now to state some reasons why God has appointed salvation on conditions so simple and easy.
(1.) One is, that the design of bestowing salvation on all classes of men, demanded of necessity some plan that was plain to be understood, and that was easy to be complied with. The mass of men are poor, and ignorant, and debased. They have no gold to offer—if gold were of value in obtaining heaven ; they are-incapable of long and painful pilgrimages—if pilgrimages would be of any avail. If a scheme of religion is adapted to our race, it must be fitted to the poor, the needy, the slave, the ignorant, and the wretched. It must be so easy that even children could appreciate and comprehend its essential elements. And this was and ought to have been the object. It was not to save the rich only, and philosophers only, and the great only—for their souls are of no more value than the souls of others; but it was to save men deeply depraved, and ignorant, and degraded. Besides, the design of religion is not to go to those who are already elevated and happy, but to go down to the poor, the beggar, and the slave, to elevate them to the skies.
The religion of the gospel, therefore, contemplated as a leading purpose, what has not been attempted, or if attempted, what has been unsuccessful in other systems. Its design was to elevate and save the mass of men, and at the same time, and in the same way, to save the more learned and refined of the race. It entered on the before untried task of adapting itself to the most degraded and vile of the human family; and at the same time of presenting such truths as should expand and sanctify the most profound intellects, on earth, and be fitted to the largest views which the human mind can form. And-it is done. It has truths which are fitted to excite the amazement of the most lofty intellects, and into which the angels desire to look; truths over which Bacon and Newton bowed with the most profound reverence; and it is at the same time so simple that it is understood in its mean features in the Sunday-school, and can communicate its saving messages to the beggar that lies at the gate. All may be saved by it; and the lofty intellect of the one class will feel that it is elevated by the gospel as well as the feeble powers of the other; the large heart of the one will feel that the gospel is as much fitted to promote its sanctification as it is to promote the eternal purity of the other; and the farthest extremes of the human family are met by that simple and pure system which requires as its great conditions repentance toward God and faith in Christ Jesus.
(2.) The system is designed to humble men, and was on that account made so simple and plain. It cannot be denied that it is fitted to bring down the intellect and the heart of man. To be saved by mere favor; to enter heaven by special grace; to be saved by the mere exercise of faith, without merit and without claim, is deeply abasing to the pride of man. God intended that it should be so, and one purpose of the plan was to "stain the pride of all human glory." Hence the gospel pays tribute to no rank, wealth, learning, or power. It seeks out no palace as its residence—and is as much at home in the cottage as in the most magnificent dwelling. It reveals no royal path to heaven. It saves no man because he is clothed in purple and fine linen. It comes into no dwelling because it is splendidly decorated, and garnished; and it offers bliss to no one because he is attended by a splendid train of menials, or because men do him homage. It saves no one because he is beautiful, or because he is strong, or because he is learned, or because he is honored. It does not refuse to save them; but it ofttimes passes by their abodes, and finds its home in the humble dwelling of the poor.
Is it not right that this should be so? What is there in that beauty that will soon become the prey of corruption and banquet of worms, that should constitute a claim to salvation? Is it more comely than the lily or the blushing rose that soon decays? What is there in that splendid mansion that should attract the presence of the God who dwells in light inaccessible, and who is encompassed with the glory of heaven? What is there in that pride of rank and office that should attract the great and eternal God to bestow his peculiar favors there? What is there in the amusements and plans of the gay and the rich, that should induce the God of heaven to accommodate his plans to their caprice, and bend his schemes to their pleasure? Nothing. But there may be much, very much there, that shall demand just such a humbling system as the gospel —a system that shall level all that pride, and bring the gay and self-confident sinner to the dust.. Does not the original taint of our fallen nature as deeply pervade his heart as the.heart of the obscurest man? Is not the gay and fashionable, the rich and learned sinner as deeply sunk in depravity as the rest of his fellow-mortals? Has he not a heart as offensive to God as they have who arc in humble life? Will not a few years bring that beauty and strength as low as the most degraded of the species? Will not the worm feed as sweetly on all that comeliness as on the most down-trodden of the race? And is it not well, is it not indispensable, that the system of religion should meet all this pride, and bring all this lofty-mindedness low in the dust? Men in their great interests arc on a level, and Christianity simply recognizes this fact. Their food, their raiment, their health, their vigor, are all given by the same God. The same blood flows in their veins; they have the same pains and sicknesses when 0:1 a bed of disease; they are partakers of the same depravity; they lie side by side in the same bed of earth, and moulder back to dust together. Why should not the system of religion be framed as if this were so, and be so humiliating as to reduce the pride of all, and yet so elevating as to raise all to the hopes of the same heaven, and fill all alike with wonder at their own real dignity as immortal beings, and at the condescension of the infinite God?
(3.) God has made the system so simple and so easy, because the terms which he proposes are just fitted to meet all the evils of the world.
In the Bible he has ma.de/aith indispensable, and has attached an unspeakable importance to it. "He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved; and he that believeth not shall be damned." Two or three remarks will show why God has selected this, and has made its exercise the indispensable condition of salvation. One is, that the true source of all evil to man is a want of confidence, in his Creator—a want of confidence in his promises, his law, his claims, his threatenings, his qualifications for universal empire. This want of confidence in God has produced the same evils in his administration which it docs any where. A want of confidence between a husband and wife annihilates their happiness, and turns their once peaceful dwelling into a hell; a want of confidence between parents and children is the ond of order and government; a want of confidence in a friend, a physician, a lawyer, or a pastor, is the parent of distress and wo; a want of confidence in a commercial community is an end of prosperity. And so it is in the government of God. Man is wretched only because he has no confidence in his Creator. He does not worship him as God; he docs not believe that he is wise; he does not go to him in trouble; he docs not rely on his promises; he docs not seek him in time of distress, he does not trust him in death. Now the only thing needful to make this a happy world, with all its sicknesses and sadnesses, is to restore confidence in God. This would meet all the evils of the apostasy, and would compose the agitated human bosom to peace—like oil on troubled waves. It will have just the effect under the divine government which it will have in a family, if you restore confidence to the alienated affections of husband and wife; and in a community, if you restore universal confidence between man and man. Another reason why this is. required is, that God could require no less of man. In a plan of salvation intended to be adapted to all the race, that was the lowest possible demand, as we have already seen that it is the simplest and most easy. Could God admit alienated creatures to himself on any other condition than that they should have confidence in him? Could he admit those to heaven—to dwell with him, to range the fields of glory, to encompass his throne—who had no reliance in his qualifications for universal empire? Can you admit the man who has been your professed friend, but who has slandered and injured you, again to your friendship, without evidence of returning confidence and regard? Can a parent admit a rebellious and ungrateful child again to the fulness of his affection and to his family, if he has no evidence of returning confidence? God, therefore, requires faith in him, because he could require no less. It is the lowest possible condition. And for a similar reason, he requires that that faith should be avowed. "With the mouth confession is made unto salvation." The want of confidence has been open. The injury has been public. The life of a sinner has not been passed in a corner. It is public; it is known; it is seen. The want of confidence in God here on earth is known above the stars; and wherever there is returning confidence, it should be avowed, and the restored sinner should be desirous that his return to God should be as widely known as his apostasy has been. When a man has calumniated you publicly, it will- not do for him to come and confess it to' you alone, and in the dark. He has done you public wrong, and the confession should be public, too. The sinner should be willing, therefore, that all worlds shall be apprized of his return, and seek that throughout the universe it shall be proclaimed that he has confidence in the Creator. Thus he will not only believe in his heart on the Lord Jesus, but will confess him with his mouth, and desire that the universe shall be acquainted with his repentance and return.
I have thus endeavored to show that the plan of salvation is the most simple and easy that man could conceive or desire, and that-it is proposed to man on the lowest possible terms, and on the terms which were indispensable in a design to save the world. There are some inferences following from the subject to which I now ask your attention for a moment.
1. One is, the necessity of a profession of religion. The view of the Lord Jesus on this subject has been expressed without any ambiguity. "Whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven." Matth. x. 32, 33. And this appointment is not arbitrary. Its propriety and reasonableness are obvious. Why should a man enter heaven who is unwilling to acknowledge God his Saviour in all the proper ways on earth? Why should he hope for approbation or reward who seeks to hide his light under a bushel, and is ashamed to have it understood that he loves God? How can he expect the divine favor, all whose influence is with the world, and who habitually neglects, or deliberately refuses to obey a positive command of the Lord Jesus Christ? And how can he infer that he has any love to God, who is never willing to avow it; how can he have any true dependence on the Saviour who is unwilling to recognize it; how can he have any sympathy with him who is unwilling to take up his cross, and to suffer shame and reproach, if need be, in his cause? God, therefore, has put this subject just where all other things are put. And as we infer that a man has no friendship for us whose name and influence are with our enemies, and who never ranks himself with us; as we infer that a man has no love of country who prefers that his name should be enrolled among her enemies, and who never comes forth to fight her battles, or to advance her cause, so are we not to infer the same thing respecting the great truths and duties of religion? Every man who truly loves the Lord Jesus is required in a proper way to express that love; every man who does not in the proper way express that love, gives evidence that it has no existence in his heart.
(2.) We learn from our subject that men have no excuse if they are not Christians, and are not saved. We have seen that that salvation is proposed on the simplest terms possible, and on the lowest conditions on which God could offer it to guilty men. And no one can doubt this fact who ever looked at the scheme. Nor can any one doubt it who contemplates what it has done. Thousands and tens of thousands of the poor, the illiterate, the despised; thousands of children, as well as of the rich and the great, have embraced it, and been saved. But if this is so, then man is without excuse. Had it been a scheme fitted to an intellect above that of man, then he could not have been under obligation to embrace it. Had it required us to do a work like raising the dead, or creating a world, then man would have been free from blan a if he did not embrace it. And in like manner, if God had required all to go on a pilgrimage to a distant land; or all to purchase salvation with gold, how few of the race could have availed themselves of the privilege, and been saved!
And thus, too, if it were dependent on any other impossibility, or any thing beyond the powers and capabilities of man, he would have been innocent in respecting it. Nay, he would not only have been innocent in rejecting it, but would have been required to reject it. But none of these things can be pretended. It is as simple as it can be; so plain that he that runs may read; as wide in its offers as the world; and it is offered to men on the lowest possible conditions. The simplest thing imaginable is all that is required to be saved. "Look unto me and be ye saved, all ye ends of the earth." "Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved." What can man ask more than this? What terms more easy, more feasible, more merciful, more just? And what excuse will be rendered in the last day if these terms are rejected,and if the soul shall be lost? Who will be to blame for the destruction of the soul? Who, if eternal ruin is brought down on our heads, and we sink down to wo? What can man say in the day of judgment, if he will not ask for pardon? Why should he not be lost if he will njjt do it?
(3.) Finally. I may state in one word the true reason which operates on many minds to prevent their being Christians. A nobleman of the East, rich and honored at a magnificent court, was affected with the leprosy. He heard, by a servant girl, of a celebrated prophet. He went to him. "Go," said the man of God, "and wash seven times in Jordan, and thou shalt be healed. And he turned away in a rage." "Lo, I thought," said he, "he will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of Jehovah his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? May I not wash in them and be clean ?" 2 Kings v. 11, 12. "To man, proud even in the deep leprosy of sin, God also sends a message of mercy. 'Go,' is his language,' to the man of Nazareth. Go to the cross. Go, without money and without price; go, poor, and weary, and heavy laden, and penitent. Go not on a pilgrimage; go not with pomp and parade; go not with your gold and your honors; go not depending on your rank, or your deeds of righteousness; go with the beggar and the slave. Go, and lie down beneath the cross with the most degraded of the human race, a lost, wretched, ruined, leprous man; go, and receive life as the mere gift of God, and render to the bleeding victim on the tree all the praise of your redemption.' And O when this is said, in how many hearts does the spirit of the proud yet leprous Assyrian rise; and the lip curls with scorn, and the brow is knit with anger, and the sinner turns away in a rage. 'Am I thus to be saved?' is the language of his heart. 1 Rather let me die.' And he dies—and sinks to wo, because it was too easy to be saved!