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Nor to the destitute in worldly wealth alone, is this consolation of the gospel confined. To all of you, my brethren, to every soul among you, , (for there is not one, who, in his natural condition, is not as destitute and as miserable as this beggar was; as blind to the light of God's promises as he was to the sun-beams of day :) to all I would speak in the words of my text; to your hearts I would speak, as the unworthy yet undoubting minister of God's revelations ; if, like Bartimeus, you feel your own wants, your own blindness, your own frailty ; if, like him, you are penitent; if, like him, you look to Jesus for help, “Be of good comfort, rise, he calleth you." Yes, even now his gracious summons is gone forth ; every word of his blessed will wbich you have heard to-day, is an invitation to enter his fold, to become members of his flock. But
you may be called, and yet not be chosen. You must obey the call, or it will have been made in vain. Had Bartimeus sat still in his despondency, had he turned away from his Redeemer's voice, the sightless eye-ball would never have been opened, nor the beams of day poured gladness on his soul. But he heard the summons with joy, and obeyed it with a cheerful and trusting heart.
“He cast away his garment, and rose and came to Jesus." .
And so must we rise when God sends his gracious invitation abroad; so must we run to him
when he vouchsafes to call us. We may learn, too, from the example of the poor wanderer of our text, that we must not hear his voice afar off; that we must not remain in idleness and indifference, in the vain expectation that he will compel our obedience. God proclaims bis message of mercy and love amongst us, he exhorts us to turn from our evil ways, to forsake our present course of guilt and misery, and promises to forgive the offences that are past, to cleanse us from the pollutions with which we are defiled; if we confess the enormity, and repent sincerely of the commission of our sins ; if we resolve, with his assisting grace, to amend the ways of our lives ; if we hope only to receive the pardon he holds forth, through the mediation and for the merits of Jesus Christ our Lord. In this sense, then, you must all rise and come to bim; and rise with grateful and gladdened hearts. For why does your Redeemer invite you, wherefore does he stand still in compassion, and command be called ? Because you are poor, and destitute, and helpless ; because he knows your wants ; because he has bought you with a price, and willeth not that one of his fold should be lost.
To the proud, the presumptuous, and the hard of heart, the summons of the Saviour conveys no tidings of joy, is no herald of mercy and pardon. It is on the softened and contrite spirit,
you to on the soul of the self-accused and self-convicted sinner, that this gracious beckoning falls, like the dew of Hermon on the hill of Sion. What tongue sball tell, what language describe, the gratitude of the returning prodigal, when the best robe is brought forth, and the fatted calf is slain? Bartimeus cast away
garment, and ran to meet Jesus. So must you cast off the filthy rags of your unbelief and presumption; you must wash you and make you clean from their defilements, ere yon come before your Redeemer's throne. When the nuptial feast was prepared, and guests from the highways and hedges were bidden to the banquet, remember the fate of him who appeared in unseemly clothing. Take warning by his example; it is recorded for your instruction: and forget not, that, at the marriage supper of the Lamb, you will also be cast into outer darkness, , if you come there without the wedding garment of penitence and faith.
And if, my brethren, you obey this summons of
your Saviour; if, when your hearts are melted within you, and the memory
your past transgressions becomes a burden too heavy for you to bear, you turn to his promises, and trust in his mercies, great will be your comfort, sure and abiding your joy. If the narrative before us has in any degree, by God's blessing, been made a lamp to our feet and a light to our paths, the con
cluding scene of the history, will afford us a never failing consolation, through all the chances and changes of the world. Though our lot in life be destitute, as was that of Bartimeus ; though we sit by the way side begging; yet will the comforts and encouragements of religion, cheer the darkest path, and heal the deepest wound. He received his sight; yes, the poor blind beggar, unnoticed and unknown by all his brethren, who lived and moved around him, was yet heard and relieved by him, who bath numbered the very hairs of our heads, and without whose knowledge not a sparrow falls to the ground. And so, my brethren, will your cry be heard, if you cry with faith, nothing wavering. If you put your whole trust in God; if you strive to keep his commandments, and to direct your lives by his unerring laws, he will put away the blindness of your souls, and illumine them with the full effulgence of the gospel light.
But once more, ere we part, saffer me to remark upon the importance of the lesson, contained in the words of
You must rise and go to Jesus. Even now he passeth by; he is yet willing to hear you; he offers you pardon and salvation. But the time of acceptance may soon glide away; the door of mercy, now open to receive you, may soon be closed for ever.
Be it your part, then, to seek the Lord while he may
be found, to call upon him while he is near. Your sins have, indeed, bowed you to the dust; you cannot in your own righteousness enter your Maker's presence; but if you do but acknowledge this guilt ; if you do but mourn for it with sincerity and remorse of heart; if you raise your thoughts from man's imperfections and errors, to God's eternity and holiness; if you rise when Jesus calls you, and leave behind the mouldering garment of
ways, you will find pardon and
seek it “ carefully with tears.” If there be one among you, who has listened to the exhortations he has this day received; who feels anxious to embrace his Saviour's promised mercies ; may that gracious Saviour be his shield and support; may he, in his goodness, cherish the seed of holiness in his heart, until it bring forth fruit with increase. And though great was the joy of Bartimeus when he received his sight, yet will thy joy be greater far, when, at thy Saviour's second coming, thy ears are greeted by the blessed sounds of welcome and forgiveness, "Be of good cheer, thy faith hath made thee whole.”