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plainly ascribed to the things here typifiedy.” It is therefore in reference to Christ that David says, " Purge me with hyssop.
In the purification of a leprous house, water was used with the blood? This further typified the renewing influences of the Spirit of Christ, and David seems to allude to it, when he adds, “ Wash me,” &c. Nor is this by any means a forced or fanciful distinction. An inspired writer lays peculiar stress upon ito, and every enlightened person sees as much need of Christ's Spirit to wash him from the defilement of sin, as of his blood to purge him from its guilt.]
The efficacy ascribed to these means is not at all exaggerated
[There is no sin whatever which the blood of Christ cannot cleanse. We cannot conceive more enormous transgressions than those of David, yet even he could say with confidence, “Purge me, &c. and I shall be clean." Purified in this way, his soul would become “whiter than snow." This blessed truth is attested by the beloved Apostle, and it is urged by God himself as an inducement to repentance. Our renewal indeed by the Holy Spirit is not perfect in this life, but it shall be continually progressive towards perfection", and, when the leprous tabernacle shall be taken down, it shall be reared anew in consummate purity and beauty® ]
1. How mistaken are they, who seek salvation by any righteousness of their own!
[We can no more eradicate sin from our souls, than a leprosy from our bodies. No man ever more deeply bewailed his sin, or more thoroughly turned from it than David', yet he did not say, “ Purge me with my tears, my repentances, or my duties, but, purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean:" he would make mention of no righteousness but that of Christ B; nor would St. Paul himself trust for a moment in
otherh. Shall we then boast as if we were more penitent than David, more zealous than Paul ? Let us rather humble ourselves in the language of Job', and determine to glory in nothing but the cross of Christk.]
2. What encouragement is here afforded to mourning penitents !
y Rom. iv, 25. 2 Lev. xiv. 48–53. a 1 John v. 6. 0 1 John i. 7. c Isai. i. 18.
d 2 Cor. iv. 16. e 2 Cor. v. 1. Phil. iii. 21. f Ps. vi. 6. and xxxviii. 4–6. 8 Ps. lxxi. 15, 16. h Phil. iii. 9. i Job ix. 15. and xl. 4. k Gal. vi. 14.
[If David did not despair of mercy, who else can have cause to do so ? If the blood of Christ could so purge him, why may it not us also ? If it had such efficacy a thousand years before it was shed, surely it will not be less efficacious now it has been poured forth. But it is not the mere shedding of Christ's blood that will profit us. We must, by faith, apply it to our own souls. Let us then go to the blood of sprinkling which speaketh such good things to us!: let us cry with earnest and repeated entreaties, “ Purge me, wash me !" thus shall our polluted souls be whiter than snow itself, and ere long we shall join in that general chorus m.] 1 Heb. xii. 24.
m Rev. i. 5, 6.
THE OPERATIONS OF SIN AND OF GRACE.
Ps. li. 8. Make me to hear joy and gladness, that the bones
which thou hast broken may rejoice. NEXT to the obtaining of pardon, a penitent will desire the manifestation of that pardon to his soul. A state of suspense on such a subject as the forgiveness of sins, is too painful to be endured without earnest prayer to God for the removal of it. We wonder not, therefore, that the Psalmist, after imploring mercy at the hands of God through the blood of the great Sacrifice, should seek a restoration of peace and joy : for, in truth, a soul that has once tasted peace with God, and known the joy of his salvation, can never be satisfied, till it basks in the beams of divine love, and has the light of God's countenance lifted up upon it.
The terms in which the Psalmist implores this blessing, will lead me to shew, I. The power of sin to wound the soul
We may all have some idea of the anguish arising from broken bones. But that is small, in comparison of that which is brought upon the soul by sin. “ The spirit of a man will sustain any bodily infirmity : but a wounded spirit, who can bear?” Deep indeed are the wounds inflicted by sin, in the case of,
1. An unconverted sinner
[Hear the desponding complaint of Cain: "My punishment is greater than I can bear.” He felt himself an outcast from God and man; and was haunted by a guilty conscience, which was ever tormenting him with its accusations, and causing him to anticipate, with terrible apprehensions, his final doom. The state of Judas was not less appalling than his. The traitor had promised himself much pleasure from the wages of his iniquity: but no sooner had he betrayed his Lord, than he was filled with remorse, and constrained to confess his guilt, and could no longer retain the money with which he had been bribed, yea, could no longer endure his very existence, but went and hanged himself.
Previous to the commission, sin appears but a light and venial evil: and, even after it has been committed, often leaves the mind in a state of extreme insensibility and obduracy. But let it once be brought home to the conscience by the operation of the Spirit of God, and it will inflict a wound there, which will be a foretaste of hell itself, even "a certain looking-for of judgment and fiery indignation that shall consume” the soul for ever.] 2. A blacksliding saint
[The example of Peter may teach us the bitter effects of sin on a mind susceptible of its enormity. What pangs did he feel, when his Divine Master looked upon him, and fixed conviction on his soul! No longer able to contain himself," he went out and wept bitterly. But let us fix our attention more particularly on David, whose words we are considering. Under a sense of his enormous guilt, “his bones waxed old through his roaring all the day long : for God's hand was heavy upon him, so that his moisture was turned to the drought of summer a." Hear his cries under the agonies he endured: “O Lord, rebuke me not in thy wrath, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure: for thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore. There is no soundness in my flesh, because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin. For mine iniquities are gone over my head; as an heavy burthen they are too heavy for me. I am troubled: I am bowed down greatly: I go mourning all the day long. I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart b.” In another psalm he still further complains, “ My soul is full of troubles; and my life draweth nigh unto the grave.
Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps. Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves." Who that hears these bitter wailings must not acknowledge that sin is a tremendous evil, and that, however it may be “ rolled under the tongue for a season as a sweet morsel," “ it will bite at last like a serpent, and sting like an adder? "]
a Ps. xxxii. 3, 4.
b Ps. xxxviii. 1-8.
c Ps. lxxxviii. 3, 6, 7,
Let us, not, however, be so intent on the power of sin to wound the soul, as to forget, II. The power of grace to heal it
What were the sins which had broken David's bones? Adultery and murder. And was it possible that they should be forgiven, and that the person who had committed them should ever “hear again of joy and gladness ?” Yes: there is nothing too hard for God's power to effect; nothing too great for his mercy to bestow.
The provision made for sinners in the Gospel is adequate to the necessities of all
[This is a blessed truth, and full of the richest consolation. If there were any bounds to the mercy of God, or to the merits of his dear Son, millions of the human race must sit down in utter despair. But, when we learn that Christ is “a propitiation for the sins of the whole world," and that “his blood cleanseth from all sin ;” when we are informed also, that persons who are accepted in the Beloved, stand before God “ without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, and are holy and without blemish ;” none can say, “ There is no hope for me.” On the contrary, even David himself is authorised to say, “ Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean ; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”]
The man who lays hold on the Gospel shall have all his sorrows turned into joy[Of this, David himself was an eminent example. Even
“ Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing; thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness." Who can tell the full efficacy of “the balm of Gilead?” Who can fully declare what peace and joy are imparted to the sinner, when God lifts upon him the light of his reconciled countenance ? Verily, the peace that is then imparted to his soul “passeth all understanding ;” and “the joy” that flows in upon him “is unspeakable and glorified." Behold the converts on the day of Pentecost, or the jailer, when once the Saviour was revealed to him: how speedily were all their sorrows dissipated, and their griefs turned into the sublimest joy! And cannot many amongst ourselves attest
he could say,
d Ps. xxx. 11.
that God is still the same, and that his grace is as effectual as ever for the reviving and the comforting of the contrite soul e? Be it known to all, that “God will not contend for ever ; neither will he be always wroth; lest the spirit should fail before him, and the souls which he has made t"] We may LEARN from hence, 1. What folly it is to “make a mock at sin”
[Yes truly; they are justly called fools” who do so: for whilst sin robs us of our innocence, it can create a very hell upon earth. And who is he, against whom it may not prevail? Look at David, the man after God's own heart; see from what an eminence he fell, and into what an abyss of guilt and misery! Does not his example speak loudly to us all? Does it not say to every one of us, “ Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall ?" Beware, then, of sin: beware of the very first motions of sin in the soul. “ Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!” And let all of us “ flee from sin, as from the face of a serpent;" and cry daily unto God to "hold us up in his arms, that our footsteps slip not."]
2. What a mercy it is that the Gospel is sounding in our ears, [Where can the
and heavy-laden soul find rest, but in Christ Jesus? What hope could David ever have entertained, if he had not looked to the great sacrifice to purge away his sin? The Law did not so much as prescribe any offering for such sins as his : and if he had not looked forward to the Gospel, he must have died without hope. But his broken bones were healed by a sight of Christ; and so shall ours be, if we “flee for refuge to Him, as to the hope that is set before us." To all, then, I will say, Improve your privileges: and if your bones be broken with a sense of sin, the prophet's counsel is given you this day by my mouth: “ Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up."]
e Isai. lvii. 15. f Isai. lvii, 16. 8 Hos. vi. 1.
TRUE RENOVATION OF HEART.
Ps. li. 10. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right
spirit within me. PARDON and peace are the first blessings which a penitent will seek. But no true penitent will be satisfied with them: he will desire with no less ardour