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my heart good. It takes me out of myself, and lifts me in a measure above bodily pain and distress. Surely this also is Thy gift, that I do thus love Thee for hearing me. Increase my love to Thee. Show me yet more clearly that Thou dost hear me. Bring home to me Thy promises to hear prayer ; may I have more of the witness of the Spirit in my heart that Thou hearest me, and hearest me now, and cause me now yet more to love Thee for it.

Oh, if Thou didst not hear me! Oh, if I had no Father in heaven to cry to, and knew no Saviour by Whom to approach Him ! I love Thee, O my God, because Thou hast taught me to know my Saviour, and the way of access to Thee by Him; I love Thee because Thou hast drawn me to seek Thee in prayer; I love Thee because I never seek Thee in vain. This Thy gracious hearing of me shall encourage me to seek Thee always. “ Because He hath inclined His ear unto me, therefore will I call upon Him as long as I live."

CHAPTER XXV.

“A LONG TIME IN THAT CASE.”

“ When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been

now a long time in that case, He saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?”John v. 6.

Eight and thirty years had the impotent man been afflicted; a great part of his life, whatever his age may now have been. He did not know that there was One near, Who knew exactly how long he had been a helpless cripple. But he knew it himself. Well did he remember when first he was struck; and of all the years that had passed since, eight and thirty years, he had kept sad reckoning. Often had he hoped, and as often been disappointed. He had not much, it is true, by which to mark the years, except disappointed hopes; but doubtless he would have been at no loss to answer, should some pitying stranger have asked him how long his trial had lasted. Perhaps few but himself knew. In eight and thirty years friends drop off, and relations are lost, and probably few were left now who could remember him before he was stricken.

He did not know that One stood close by, Who was looking at him with compassion, and Who knew just how long he had been “in that case." He did not know this at first, but soon he knew it, for Jesus did more than look and know, He made him quite well. O my Saviour, Thou knowest my case too, and Thou dost not disregard me; Thou dost look upon me, and pity me. It comforts me, that Thou knowest all. Here I lie. My illness has been long, and my helpless state still continues; and, though I cannot speak of eight and thirty years, yet to me the time since I was well seems long and weari

But Thou, O gracious and compassionate Saviour, seest me lie here, and knowest how long I have lain, and dost look on me with pity. Even to Thee it seemed that day a long time that the impotent man had been in that case. Thou didst not think lightly of his long-continued trial, Thou didst not count it short; and Thou dost not think lightly of my trial. Thou dost not think lightly of this part of it, that it has lasted so long. Oh, wilt Thou have compassion on me, and help me? Wilt Thou, of Thy great goodness, shorten the time? Wilt Thou say, “It is enough; stay now thine hand” ?

some.

I know that my Saviour looks upon me, pities me, knows all my case ; but more than this I do not know. Whether it will please Him to make me well; that is hidden from me. I know that He can; I do not know whether He will; for I do not knowbut He does know — whether it would be best for me to be made well.

But He gave this man leave to express his wish; He said to him, “ Wilt thou be made whole ?” Thou art not then displeased, O Saviour, when I pour out my heart before Thee, and beseech Thee to restore me. Thou dost let me speak to Thee my heart's desire.

Wilt thou be made whole ?" Oh, what a question to one whose whole desire it was ! He saw kindness in the look of Jesus; but

he did not know Who He was, and what he could do. The utmost he had even hoped was that some kind person would help him into the water at the right moment; he did not know that He Who asked him this question could make him well by a word.

But I know, O my Saviour, Who Thou art, and what Thou canst do; and I know that Thou art near and that Thou dost hear what I say to Thee. Lord, if Thou dost ask me too this question, oh, look into my heart for the answer. Thou wantest no words; Thou knowest my longing desire, my frequent disappointments, my hope deferred, the long and weary time; Thou knowest all; I need not speak. Yet, because I know Thee better, my heart goes beyond the answer of this man. He could but complain that there was no one to put him in; but I say to Thee,

Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me whole ; ” yet further, I venture to say, “Speak the word only, and Thy servant shall be healed.”

At all events, O my Saviour, Thou knowest, Thou seest, Thou pitiest. Now deal with

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