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the Lamb of God, to Whom he had looked as the rising Deliverer, had not helped him at all. The power of wickedness still prevailed, and the reign of righteousness and justice seemed as far off
And so John, thus undelivered, thus lingering in Herod's prison, began to have misgivings as to the character of Jesus Christ. He began to doubt whether He were indeed the Messias. He sent, we read in the Gospel for this day, he sent two of his disciples—two who still continued faithful to him in his imprisonmentto our Lord, and said unto Him, Art thou He that should come, or do we look for another?
Let us pause for a moment on this question. It was the question of a soul struggling with doubt-of a man who had not ceased to believe, but whose faith had been sorely shaken through adverse circumstances. And this should teach us that all doubt is not sin. This should make us more tolerant of those who, from circumstances beyond their control, have unhappily been led to waver in their allegiance. The state of such men is, in itself, sufficiently miserable. Like John the Baptist they are, as it were, shut up in prison ! All around them the air is dark, and no ray visits them from heaven.
Their mind, restless and unsettled, preys upon itself. It seeks and cannot find the light. The hope on which
they had leaned, no longer supports them. The things which they had learned, no longer give them peace. That is the state of a soul in doubt
a state of deep anguish to those who experience it-anguish not to be scoffed at, but pitied.
The way of deliverance from it seems to be pointed out by what we hear, in this Sunday's Gospel, about John the Baptist,--He sent messengers to Christ !
And so surely must the soul do that is troubled with religious doubt. We must not keep our doubt entirely to ourselves, for if so we shall utterly faint and fall. We must make known our distress to God. We must cry to Him by our messengers, i. e. by our prayers,-Lord, I believe ; help thou mine unbelief !
Consider, next, the reply of our Lord to the messengers of John.
When the men were come to Him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou He that should come ? or look we for another? And in the same hour He cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits ; and unto many that were blind He gave sight. That was our Lord's occupation at the moment the messengers of John reached him. And to it He pointed for an answer. Go, and show 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 to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in Me!
Observe, our Lord did not give a direct answer to the Baptist. He did not say, in so many words, that He was the Christ, the expected Deliverer.
But He did what was good, He appealed to His works—to what He did among the people, to His miracles of healing, to the good tidings which He proclaimed. Go, and show John again those things which ye do hear and see ! Go, and tell John what I have done, and am doing for suffering men. I do not ask him to believe on Me for any word of mine about Myself. The works that I do they bear witness of Me. Let him look at, and consider them, and he will no longer doubt- he will see and confess that I came out from God !
That was the answer to John the Baptist's question. And that is the answer still which the Lord makes to every doubting, mistrusting soul among His people. From whatever cause the doubt may come, the cure prescribed is always this,— Go, and show John again the things which ye do hear and see! Go, and consider Christ's mighty works! Could a mere man open the eyes
of the blind? or make the dumb to speak ? or the lame
to walk ? or cure with a word that most malignant disease the leprosy? or, more wonderful than all, call the dead to life again ? We know that it is impossible. Who, then, must He be Who did all these things ?— did them repeatedly in the sight, and hearing of large crowds of witnesses? Can He be anything less than what we have been taught to believe about Him — God manifest in the flesh? The Saviour that should come into the world?
But you may say, This might be very well as an argument to convince the Jews, who denied the Saviour when He appeared amongst them. We should have believed had we seen, and heard what they are said to have done. Nay, we would believe now, were we to see the like powers put forth amongst ourselves. To which I reply,—The like powers are put forth amongst ourselves. The outward miracles of Christ have indeed ceased, but there are greater things even than these yet done by Him,-sufficient, we might have thought, to convince the most incredulous.
For, indeed, I use no figure of speech, the gracious Saviour is still doing His cures in the world. He is the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever. He can point to a great company in all
ages, in our own age as well as in the ages that have gone before, who have come under His
healing hand-who have been cured by Him of worse plagues than blindness, or leprosy, or any mere bodily ailment. He can point to men whose inward eye has been enlightened; who have been brought by Him out of darkness into clear lightfrom Satan unto God. He can point to others who have been delivered by Him from the strong chain of their unruly passions—to men whose hearts have been touched, and they wholly changed by coming under His blessed teaching. He can point to men whose way, once perverse and crooked, is now made straight before them. He can point to souls once laden with iniquity, now released from their burden, and serving God acceptably in holiness, and without fear. He can point to whole nations civilized and softened their wild nature put off, and a new nature put on, created afresh unto all kind and Christian work by the influence of His Gospel. In short, He can say, with a yet deeper, and larger meaning than He said it of old to the messengers of John the Baptist,—Go, and show 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 to them. And blessed is he whosoever shall not be offended in Me!
And this, to my mind, brethren, affords a