Зображення сторінки



MORE than three thousand summers and winters have visited the earth since Moses raised, by divine command, the brazen serpent in the wilderness. Since then kingdoms have risen and fallen, and the twelve tribes of the children of Israel been scattered into all lands. Prophets have prophesied; the Lord of life and glory has suffered on the cross; and apostles have borne witness to the truth, sealing their testimony with their blood. But not yet has that brazen serpent erected in the wilderness lost its signification. It was but the type, the symbol, of what was to take place in after years; for, “ Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life:" John iii. 14, 15.

If the serpents of the wilderness stung their thousands, the serpents of sin have stung their ten thousands. The whole race of Adam have been bitten. “ All have sinned,” and the righteous sentence of the Eternal has gone forth, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” To the cross, sinner, to the cross! The Son of man is lifted up! the Saviour of the world is the only cure.

To the cross, without delay, ye high-minded and proud, for your disease is deadly and your danger imminent. “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall :” Prov. xvi. 18. The pride of your hearts has deceived you; ye are bitten, and the fiery venom is flowing in your veins. “Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the Lord :” Obad. 4.

Vain-glorious sinner, let this truth suffice,
The cross once seen is death to every vice;
Else He that hung there suffer'd all his pain,

Bled, groan'd, and agonized, and died, in vain." To the cross, ye bruised and broken, who, knowing your disease and danger, are smiting on your breasts, and crying aloud, "God be merciful to me a sinner.” To you, sin is exceedingly sinful; but

. there is balm in Gilead, and there is a physician there, and both will be found at the cross. Your plague will be stayed, your leprosy will be healed, and the venom of your serpent-bite be taken away. "To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against him :" Dan. is. 9. To the cross !


the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near :" Isa. lv. 6.

To the cross, ye covetous and worldly-minded, who bow down to mammon and worship wealth. Know ye not that “the love of money is the root of all

" Seek

[ocr errors]

evil”? The fangs of the serpent, sin, have infected you from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot. The herbs of the field cannot heal


the waters of the river cannot cleanse you. Every other

way is hedged up; you must renounce your worldly-mindedness, and hasten to the cross. Seek, and ye shall yet find mercy.

To the cross, ye careless ones, who know not the mortal malady with which you

are seized.

There is madness in your mirth and weakness in your apparent strength. The time is short, and you have need to pass the time of your sojourning here in fear. Away to the cross! If you say that you have no sin, you deceive yourselves, and the truth is not in you; but if you confess your sins, God is faithful and just to forgive you your sins, and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. To the cross, ye unbelievers and scoffers, lest

ye be mocked when your fear cometh. You, too, have been sin-bitten, and the malignant poison, if not counteracted, will bring about your eternal wo. The word of God is true, whether believed or doubted; and death, and judgment, and heaven, and hell, are realities that cannot be scoffed away. Cover your sins, and ye shall not prosper; confess, and forsake them, and ye shall find mercy. The cross is your only refuge. Remember that the Lord cometh as a thief in the night; and what if he should find you unprepared ?

To the cross, ye bold blasphemers, who give up yourselves to work iniquity with greediness, fearing neither God nor man, and glorying in your shame; for why should ye perish in your sins ? Remember that the day of the Lord cometh as a thief in the night, and while you are saying, Peace and safety, sudden destruction may come upon you. The serpent, sin, has bitten you without mercy, and the contagion is raging in your hearts. But look to the cross : For the grace of God that bringeth salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world, looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works :” Titus ii. 11-14. To the cross, without delay, for every hour is an hour of desperate danger.

To the cross, ye hypocrites and self-righteous ; for ye have been deeply bitten, and have need to fear the bitter pangs of eternal death. Without aid your hope shall perish, and your trust be as a spider's web. If not cured by the blood shed on the cross, your end must be weeping and gnashing of teeth. A wo is pronounced against you, for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which, indeed, appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. But there is yet hope even for you,

6 for the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost :' Luke xix. 10. Abhor yourselves in dust and ashes, and hasten to the cross, for He who hung there is « able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them :" Heb. vii. 25.

To the cross, ye benighted and blindfolded Israelites, whose eyes the fulfilment of prophecy has failed to open.

To the cross, ye turbaned and crescented Mohammedans, followers of a false prophet and blind guide. To the cross, ye idolatrous pagans, who bow down to images of wood and stone. And to the cross, ye backsliding sinners, whatever may be the sum of your transgressions. You are bitten by the fiery serpent, sin, and the cross of Christ is your only cure.

The brazen serpent healed the wounded body; Christ restores the sinstricken soul. The brazen serpent added to the days of him who gazed thereon; but the life of Him who hung on the cross is a death unto sin, a new birth unto righteousness, a sure and certain hope of heavenly glory, and an unfailing promise of a life that shall endure forever.




« НазадПродовжити »