the First Week of Lent
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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“He went out into a solitary place and prayed.”
The Sun of Righteousness was up before the sun. How much must our Lord have loved prayer to renounce his needed rest in sleep, in order to hold converse with his heavenly Father. He was sinless, and yet needed prayer: far be it from us to dream that we can do without it. In private we must, like our Lord, equip ourselves for the public battle of life.
Seclusion was not used as a luxury by him, nor did he plead his devotions as an excuse for escaping public duties. He was ready to preach or to pray, according to the demand of the hour. In such readiness for service should all his followers excel.
Mark 1:39 , Mark 1:40
Probably this poor man in his eagerness to be healed had broken the rules which kept him in seclusion, and dared to enter the house where Jesus was, contrary to the law of leprosy. His was a venturesome faith. It was no small confidence which could believe the Lord Jesus to be able to heal a disease so loathsome and incurable. It will be well if we can have the same assurance with regard to our sin.
That touch bespoke the sympathy of Jesus. Any one else would have been made unclean by contact with diseased flesh; with him it was otherwise, for his touch and word removed the cause of uncleanness.
Time is not wanted for divine cures. One word is enough to blot out all sin, and make the loathsomeness of lust depart. If we can but trust him, Jesus is able to heal.
The healed leper had better have obeyed his Lord and held his peace, for his grateful declarations hindered the Lord’s work of mercy, and took him away from hundreds who needed him. However generous and natural the promptings of our grateful hearts may be, it is always wisest to do exactly as we are bidden. Lord, heal us, and make us thy servants for ever.
Now, Lord, to whom for help I call,
Thy miracles repeat;
With pitying eye behold me fall
A leper at thy feet.
Loathsome, and foul, and self-abhorr’d,
I sink beneath my sin;
But if thou wilt, a gracious word,
Of thine, can make me clean.
Whene’er the angry passions rise,
And tempt our thoughts or tongues to strife,
To Jesus let us lift our eyes,
Bright pattern of the Christian life.
Oh how benevolent and kind!
How mild, how ready to forgive!
Be this the temper of our mind,
And these the rules by which we live.
To do his heavenly Father’s will,
Was his employment and delight;
Humility and holy zeal
Shone through his life, divinely bright.
Dispensing good where’er he came,
The labours of his life were love:
Oh, if we love the Saviour’s name,
Let his divine example move.
“The Son of Man is come to save that which is lost.”
That man is highly favoured who has godly neighbours labouring for his salvation.
Feeling that all they had to do was to bring their sick friend under the eye of Jesus, they did not stick at difficulties. If we loved men’s souls better, we should oftener seek out unusual methods of bringing them to the Saviour.
He struck his disease at the root. When sin is forgiven, every other evil is a small matter.
Mark 2:13 , Mark 2:14
This was Matthew, the tax gatherer. The Master’s voice said little, but effected much. Two words are enough to win a man to Jesus if they are attended by the power of the Spirit. As soon as he was converted, Matthew gave a feast, that his former friends might see Jesus.
Everything should be in harmony. To make babes in grace live in the same manner as aged veterans would be unnatural. Rigid forms no more suit the free spirit of Christianity, than an old skin bottle would suit new, fermenting wine.
From fisher’s net, from fig-tree’s shade,
God gathers whom he will:
Touched by his grace, th’ elect are made
His purpose to fulfil.
O grant us grace, that to thy call
We may obedient be;
And, cheerfully forsaking all,
May follow only thee.