Sermon 2018. Cured At Last!
DELIVERED ON LORD'S DAY MORNING, APRIL 8, 1888,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healedof any, came behind Him and touched the border of His garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched." Luke 8:43, 44.
THOUGH I take Luke's statement as a text, I shall constantly refer to the version of the same story which we find in Mark 5:25 to 29. Here we have one of the Lord's bid ones-a case not to be publicly described because of its secret sorrow. We havehere a woman of few words and much shamefacedness. Her malady subjected her to grievous penalties according to the ceremonialLaw. There is a terrible chapter in the Book of Leviticus concerning such a case as hers. She was unclean-everything thatshe sat upon and all who touched it-shared in the defilement. So that, in addition to her continual weakness, she was madeto feel herself an outcast, under the ban of the Law.
This created, no doubt, great loneliness of spirit, and made her wish to hide herself out of sight. In the narrative beforeus she said not a word until the Savior drew it out of her, for her own lasting good. She acted very practically and promptlybut she was a silent seeker-she would have preferred to have remained in obscurity, if so it could have been. Some here maybelong to the great company of the timid and trembling ones. If courage before others is needed to secure salvation, matterswill go hard with them. They shrink from notice and are ready to die of shame because of their secret grief.
Cowper's hymn describes their inward feelings, when it says of the woman-
"Concealed amid the gathering throng She would have shunned your view, And if her faith was firm and strong, Had strong misgivingstoo."
Such plants grow in the shade and shrink from the light of the sun. The nature of their sorrows forces them into solitaryself-communion. Oh, that the Lord may heal such at this hour!
The immediate cure of this woman is the more remarkable because it was a wayside miracle. The Savior was on the road to restorethe daughter of Jairus. This woman's healing was an extra portion of Divine Grace, a sort of over-splash of the great fountainof mercy. The cup of our Lord's power was full, full to the brim-and He was bearing it to the house of the ruler of the synagogue.This poor woman did but receive a drop which He spilt on the way. We do well if, when going upon some errand of love, we concentrateall our energy upon it and do it well in the end-but the Savior could not only perform one great marvel but He could workanother as a sort of by-play incidentally-I almost said "accidentally," on the road.
The episodes of the Lord Jesus are as beautiful as the main run of His life's poem. Oh, that this day, while my sermon mayseem meant for one and distinctly directed to his salvation, it may also, by the power of Jesus, save another not so clearlypointed at! While the Word is aimed at one particular character, may the Lord cause the very wind of the Gospel shot to overcomeanother-or, to change the figure for a better one, while we spread the table for some bid guest, may another hungry soul haveDivine Grace given him to take his place at the banquet of Grace! May those who hide away and whom, therefore, we are notlikely to discover, come forth to Jesus and touch Him and live!
Let us at once speak of this much-afflicted woman, for she is a typical character. While we describe her conduct and her cure,I trust she may serve as a mirror in which many tremblers may see themselves. We shall carefully note what she had done andthen what came of it. This will lead us on to see what she did, at last, and what we, also, should do. May the
Holy Spirit make this a very practical discourse by causing you to follow her till you gain the blessing as she did! The preacheris very weak. And may the Lord, for this very reason, work by him to your salvation.
Consider, therefore, concerning this woman, WHAT SHE HAD DONE. She had been literally dying for twelve years. What had shebeen doing? Had she resigned herself to her fate, or treated her malady as a small matter? Far from it. Her conduct is highlyinstructive.
First, she had resolved not to die if a cure could be had. She was evidently a woman of great determination and hopefulness.She knew that this disease of hers would cause her life to ebb away and bring her to the grave. But she said within herself,"I will have a struggle for it. If there is a possibility of removing this plague it shall be removed, let it cost me whatit may of pain or payment." Oh, what a blessing it would be if unsaved ones here would say each one for himself, "I am a lostsoul. But if a lost soul can be saved, I will be saved. I am guilty. But if guilt can be washed away, mine shall be washedaway. I have a hard heart and I know it. But if a heart of stone can be turned into a heart of flesh, I long to have it soand I will never rest until this gracious work is worked in me!"
Alas, it is not so with many! Indifference is the rule. Indifference about their immortal souls! Many are sick with dire spiritualdisease but they make no resolve to have it cured. They trifle with sin and death and Heaven and Hell. Insensibility has seizedupon many and a proud conceit-they are full of sin, and yet they talk of self-righteousness, they are weak and can do nothing-yetthey boast of their ability. They are not conscious of their true condition and hence they have no mind to seek a cure. Howshould they desire healing when they do not believe that they are diseased? How sad that beneath the ruddy cheek of moralitythere should lurk the fatal consumption of enmity to God!
How horrible to be fair without and leprous within! Are there not many who can talk freely about religion and seem as if theywere right with God and yet in the secret of their hearts they are the victims of an insincerity and a want of the Truth ofGod which fatally undermines the life of their profession? They are not what they seem to be-a secret sin drains away thelifeblood of their religion. May the Holy Spirit show every unregenerate person the fatal nature of his soul's disease. Forthis, I trust, would lead to the making of a firm resolve to find salvation, if salvation is to be had.
No doubt some are held back from such action by the freezing power of despair. They have reached the conclusion that thereis no hope for them. The promises of the Gospel they regard as the voice of God to others but as having no cheering word forthem. One might suppose that they had searched the Book of Life and had made sure that their names were not written there.They act as if their death warrant had been signed. They cannot believe in the possibility of their becoming partakers ofeverlasting life. They are under a destroying delusion, which leads them to abandon hope. None are more presumptuous thanthe despairing. When men have no hope, they soon have no fear. Is not this a dreadful thing? May the Lord save you from sucha condition!
Despair of God's mercy is an unreasonable thing-if you think you have grounds for it, the lying spirit must have suggestedthem to you. Holy Scripture contains no justification for hopelessness. No mortal has a just pretense to perish in despair.Neither the nature of God nor the Gospel of God, nor the Christ of God, warrant despair. Multitudes of texts encourage hope.But no one Scripture, rightly understood, permits a doubt of the mercy of God. "All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgivenunto men." Jesus, the great Healer, is never baffled by any disease of human nature-he can cast out a legion of devils andraise the dead. Oh that I could whisper hope into the dull ear of yonder mourner! Oh that I could drop a rousing thought intothe sullen heart of the self-condemned-how glad should I be! My poor desponding Friend, I would gladly see your chains snapped,your fetters broken off! Oh that the Spirit of God would cause you, like this woman, to resolve that if there is healing foryour soul you will have it!
Alas, many have never come to this gracious resolution because they cherish a vain hope and are misled by an idle dream. Theyfancy that salvation will come to them without their seeking it. Certainly they have no right to expect such a thing. It istrue that our Lord is found of them that sought Him not. But that is an act of His own sovereignty and is not a rule for ourprocedure. The plain directions of the Gospel are, "Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near."How dare they set these gracious words aside? They fancy that they may wake up one of these fine days and find themselvessaved. Alas, it is more likely to happen to them as the rich man in the parable, "In Hell he lifted up his eyes, being intorments."
God grant that none of you may trifle your souls into such misery! Some fancy that in the hour of death they may cry, "Godbe merciful to me a sinner," and so may leap into salvation. It seems to them a very slight business to be recon-
ciled to God. They imagine that they can be converted just when they will and so they put it off from day to day, as if itwere of no more consequence than going to shop to buy a coat or a gown. Believe me, the Word of God does not set forth thematter in this way. It tells us that even the righteous scarcely are saved and it rouses us to strive to enter in at the straitgate. God save you from every false confidence which would prevent your being in earnest about the healing of your souls.
Spiritually, your case is as desperate as that of the poor woman now before us. May the Lord sweetly constrain you to feelthat you must be healed and that you cannot afford to put off the blessed day! If beneath the firmament of Heaven there ishealing for a sin-sick soul, seek it till you find it. When the Lord brings you to this resolve by His good Spirit, you willnot be far from the kingdom of Heaven.
Let us next note that this woman, having made her resolve, adopted the likeliest means she could think of. Physicians aremen set apart on purpose to deal with human maladies, therefore she went to the physicians. What better could she do? Thoughshe failed, yet she did what seemed most likely to succeed. Now, when a soul is resolved to find salvation, it is most fitand proper that it should use every likely means for the finding of salvation, Oh that they were wise enough to hear the Gospeland to come at once to Jesus! But often they make grave mistakes. This woman went to gentlemen who were supposed to understandthe science of medicine. Was it not natural that she should look for help to their superior wisdom?
She cannot be blamed for looking to the men of light and leading. Many, in these days, do the same thing. They hear of thenew discoveries of professedly cultured men and hear their talk about the littleness of sin and the larger hope and the non-necessityof the new birth. Poor deceived creatures! They find in the long run that nothing comes of it. For the wisdom of man is nothingbut pretentious folly. The world by wisdom knows neither God nor His salvation. Many there are who know less of the savingTruth of God because they know so much of what human fancy has devised and human search discovered. We cannot blame the womanthat, being a simple soul and anxious for healing, she went to those first who were thought to know most. Let us not, withChrist so near, go roundabout as she did but let us touch our Lord at once.
No doubt the sufferer also tried men who had diplomas, or were otherwise authorized to act as physicians. How can you blameher for going to those who were in the succession and had the official stamp? Many sin-sick souls nowadays are, at first,very hopeful that the ordained clergy can benefit them by their duly performed services and duly administered sacraments.At least, good men, eminent in the Church, may be looked to for aid-surely these know how to deal with souls! Alas, it isvain to look to men at all, and foolish to depend on official dignity, or special repute. Some teachers do not know much abouttheir own souls and therefore know less about the souls of others.
Vain is the help of man, be the man who he may. Whatever his popularity, learning, or eloquence, if you seek him for his prayers,or his teachings, as able to save you, you will certainly seek in vain. As this poor woman did-she is not to be blamed butto be commended, that she did what seemed best to her, according to her light. But you are warned-go not, therefore, to men.
No doubt she met with some who boasted that they could heal her complaint at once. They began by saying, "You have tried So-and-Sobut he is a mere quack-mine is a scientific remedy. You have used a medicine which I could have told you would be worthless.But I have the secret. Put yourself absolutely into my hands and the thing is done. I have healed many that have been givenup by all the faculty. Follow my orders and you will be restored." Sick persons are so eager to recover that they readilytake the bait which is offered them by brazen impudence. An oily tongue and a bland manner, backed with unblushing assurance,are sure to win their way with one who is anxious to gain that which is offered.
Ah, me, "All is not gold that glitters." And all the professions which are made of helping sin-sick souls are not true professions.Many pretenders to new revelations are abroad but they are physicians of no value. There is no balm in Gilead. There is nophysician there-if there had been, the hurt of the daughter of my people had long ago been healed. There is no medicine beneaththe sky that can stay the palpitations of a heart which dreads the judgment to come. No earthly surgery can take away theload of sin from the conscience. No hand of priest or presbyter, Prophet or philosopher, can cleanse the leprosy of guilt.The finger of God is wanted here. There is one Heal-all, one Divine Catholicon and only one.
Happy is he that has received this infallible balm from Jehovah Rophi-the "Lord that Heals." Yet we marvel not, that whensouls are pressed down with a sense of guilt, they try anything and everything which offers even a faint hope of relief. Icould wish that all my hearers had an intense zeal to find salvation. For even if it led them into passing mistakes, yet,under God's blessing, they would find their way out of them and end by glorifying the Divine Grace of our Lord Jesus Christwhich never fails.
This woman, in the next place, having resolved not to die if a cure could be had and having adopted the likeliest means, perseveredin the use of those means. No doubt she tried many and even opposite remedies. One doctor said, "You had better go to thewarm baths of the lake of Tiberius-such bathing will be comforting and helpful." She grew worse at the warm bath, and wentto another physician who said, "You were wrongly treated. You need bracing up in the cold baths of the Jordan." Thus she wentfrom vanity to vanity, to find both of them useless. An eminent practitioner assured her that she needed an internal remedyand he alone could give her an infallible receipt.
This, however, was of no use to her. And she went to another who said that an external application should be tried, such asIsaiah's lump of figs. What perseverance that woman must have had! I am not going to say anything about our doctors nowadays,no doubt they are the most learned and skillful that can be-but in earlier times surgery was murderous and medicines werepoisonous. Many of the prescriptions of those days are sickening and yet ridiculous. I read yesterday a prescription, of ourSavior's time, warranted to cure many diseases which consisted of grasshopper's eggs. These were supposed to exercise a marvelousinfluence but they are no longer in the list of medicines.
The tooth of a fox was said to possess special powers. But I noticed that one of the chief drugs of all, the most expensivebut the surest in its action, was a nail from the finger of a man who had been hanged. It was important that he should havebeen hanged-another fingernail might have had no efficacy. Poor creatures were made to suffer most painfully by cruel medicineswhich were far worse than the disease. As for surgical operations, if they had been designed to kill, they were certainlyadmirably arranged for their purpose. The wonder is that for twelve years poor human nature could stand out, not against thedisease, but against the doctors.
Brethren, the case is much the same spiritually. How many, under their burden of sin, go first to one and then to an-other-practicethis and agonize after that and pine for the other-perseveringly and still without avail! Travel as fast as you may in a wrongdirection you will not reach the place you seek. Vain are all things save Jesus our Lord.
Have you been to Doctor Ceremony? He is, at this time, the fashionable doctor. Has he told you that you must attend to formsand rules? Has he prescribed you so many prayers and so many services? Ah, many go to him and they persevere in a round ofreligious observances but these yield no lasting ease to the conscience. Have you tried Doctor Morality? He has a large practiceand is a fine old Jewish physician. "Be good in outward character," says he, "and it will work inwardly and cleanse the heart."A great many persons are supposed to have been cured by him and by his assistant, Doctor Civility, who is nearly as cleveras his master. But I have it on good evidence that neither of them apart, nor even the two together, could ever deal withan inward disease.
Do what you may, your own doings will not stanch the wounds of a bleeding heart. Doctor Mortification has also a select practice.But men are not saved by denying themselves until they first deny their self-righteousness. Doctor Excitement has many patientsbut his cures seldom outlive the sunset. Doctor Feeling is much sought after by tender spirits. These try to feel sorrow andremorse. But, indeed, the way of cure does not lie in that quarter. Let everything be done that can be done apart from ourblessed Lord Jesus Christ and the sick soul will not be better. You may try human remedies for the space of a lifetime butsin will remain in power, guilt will cling to the conscience, and the heart will abide as hard as ever.
But this woman not only thus tried the most likely means and persevered in the use of them but she also spent all her substanceover it. That was perhaps the chief thing in ancient surgery!-the golden ointment which did good to the physician, whateverbecame of the patient. The most important point was to pay the doctor. This woman's living was wasting away as well as herlife. She continued to pay and to pay and to pay. But she received no benefit from it. You might say, rather, that she sufferedmore than she would have done had she kept her gold. Thus do men waste their thought, their care, their prayer, their agonyover that which is as nothing-they spend their money for that which is not bread.
At last she came to her last shekel. In the end there was an end to her means. But so long as the silver lasted, she lavishedit out of the bag. What would not a man give to be saved? I never wonder that dying men give their estates to priests in thehope that they can save their souls. If gold could purchase pardon, who would withhold it? Health of body, if it could bepurchased with gold, would be cheap at any price. But health of soul, holiness of character, acceptance with God, assuranceof Heaven-
these would be cheap if we counted out worlds as poor men pay down their pence for bread. There are men so mean that theywould not part with a pound for a place in Paradise. But if these once knew their true condition they would alter their minds.The price of wisdom is above rubies. If we had mines of gold, we might profitably barter them for the salvation of our souls.
Beloved, you see where this woman was. She was in downright, desperate earnest to have her mortal malady healed and so shespared neither her labor nor her living. In this we may wisely imitate her.
II. We have seen what the woman had done. Now let us think of WHAT HAD COME OF IT. We are told that she had suffered manythings of many physicians. That was her sole reward for trusting and spending-she had not been relieved, much less healed.But she had suffered. She had endured much additional suffering through seeking a cure. That is the case with you who havenot come to Christ but, being under a sense of sin, have sought relief apart from Him. All that you do apart from Jesus, inorder to win salvation, will only cause you increased suffering.
You have tried to save yourself by prayers. Your prayers have turned your thoughts upon your sin and its punishment and thusyou have become more wretched than before. You have attended to ceremonies and if you have used them sincerely, they haveworked in you a solemn sense of the holiness of God and of your own distance from Him. And this, though very proper, has onlyincreased your sorrow. You have been trying to feel good and to do good, that so you may be good. But the very effort hasmade you feel how far off you are from the goodness you so much desire.
Your self-denial has excited cravings after evil and your mortifications have given new life to your pride. Efforts aftersalvation made in your own strength act like the struggles of a drowning man, which sink the more surely. As the fruit ofyour desperate efforts, you have suffered all the more. In the end I trust this may work for your good, but up till now ithas served no healing purpose-you are now at death's door and all your praying, weeping, Church-going, Chapel-going and sacrament-taking-donot help you one bit. There has been this peculiarly poignant pang about it all, that you are not better. Cheerily did youhope but cruelly are you disappointed.
You cried, "I have it this time," but the bubble vanished as you grasped it. The evil of your nature, when repressed in oneplace, broke out in another. You dealt with the symptoms of your disease but you did not cut off the root of the mischief-itonly showed itself in another form-it never went away. You gave up one sin only to fall into another-you watched at the frontentrance and the thief stole in at the back door. Up till now, O Soul, you have not come to Jesus and after all your goingselsewhere, you are not better!
And now, perhaps this morning you are saying, "What can I do? What shall I do?" I will tell you. You can do nothing exceptwhat this woman ultimately did, of which I will speak by-and-by. You are now brought to this extremity-that you are withoutstrength, without merit, without power, and you must look out of yourself to another-one who has strength and merit, and cansave you. God grant that you may look to that glorious One before this service is over!
We read of this woman, that though she suffered much, she was not better but rather grew worse. No better after twelve yearsof medicine? She went to the Egyptian doctor and he promised her health in three months. She was worse. She tried the Syriandoctor-he was a man who had great knowledge of the occult sciences and was not ashamed to practice enchantments. She was bitterlydisappointed to find herself decidedly weaker. Then she heard of a Greek practitioner, who would cure her, presto! in a instant.She paid her remaining money but she still went backward. She bought disappointment very dearly.
Friend, is this your condition? You are anxious to be right, and therefore you are earnest in every effort to save yourself.But still you are not better. You climb a treadmill and are no higher after all your climbing. You drift down the river withone tide and you float up again when it turns. Night after night you pull up in the same old creek that you started from.Oh, pitiful condition! Getting gray, too-becoming quite the old gentleman. And yet no nearer eternal life than when, as alad, you used to attend the House of God and wish to become a child of God.
Was she better? No. She grew worse? Fresh mischief had developed-other diseases fed upon her weakness. She was more emaciated,more lifeless than ever. Sad result of so much perseverance! And is not that the case with some of you who are in earnestbut are not enlightened? You are working and growing poorer as you work. There is not about you so much as there used to beof good feeling, or sincere desire, or prayerfulness, or love for the Bible, or care to hear the Gospel. You are becomingmore careless, more dubious than you once were. You have lost much of you former sensitiveness. You are doing certain thingsnow that would have startled you years ago and you are leaving certain matters undone which once you would have thought essential.Evidently you are caught in the current and are nearing the waterfall. The Lord deliver you!
This is a sad, sad case! As a climax of it all, the heroine of our story had now spent all that she had. She could not gonow to the Egyptian doctor, or to the Syrian doctor, or to the Hebrew doctor, or to the Roman doctor, or to the Greek doctor.No. Now she must do without their flattering unction in the future. As for those famous medicines which raised her hopes,she
can buy no more of such costly inventions. This was, perhaps, her bitterest grief-but let me whisper it in your ear-this wasthe best thing that had yet happened to her. And I am praying that it may happen to some of you. At the bottom of your purseI trust you will find wisdom.
When we come to the end of self we come to the beginning of Christ! That last shekel binds us to the pretenders but absolutebankruptcy sets us free to go to Him who heals diseases without money and without price. Glad enough am I when I meet witha man who is starved out of self-sufficiency. Welcome, Brother! Now you are ready for Jesus. When all your own virtue hasgone out of you, then shall you seek and find that virtue which goes out of HIM.
III. This brings to our notice, in the third place, WHAT THIS WOMAN DID AT LAST. Weaker and weaker had she become and herpurse had become lighter and lighter. She hears of Jesus of Nazareth, a man sent of God who is healing sick folk of all sorts.She hears attentively. She puts the stories together that she hears. She believes them. They have the likeness of the Truthof God about them. "Oh," says she, "there is yet another opportunity for me. I will get in the crowd and if I can only touchthe bit of blue which he wears as the border of his garment, I shall be made whole."
Splendid faith! It was thought much of in her own day and we may still more highly prize it now that faith has grown so rare.Note well she resolved to trust in Jesus in sheer despair of doing anything else. My dear Friend, I do not know where youare sitting this morning in this great congregation-I almost wish I did, that I might come up to you and say to you personally,"Try Jesus Christ, trust Him and see whether He will not save you. Every other door is evidently shut-why not enter by Christ,the Door? There is no other life buoy. Lay hold on this! Say with our poet-
"I can but perish if I go; I am resolved to try; For if I stay away, I know I must forever die."
Exercise the courage which is born of desperation. May God the Holy Spirit help you now to thrust forth your finger and getinto touch with Jesus! Say, "Yes, I freely accept Christ. By God's grace, I will have Him to be my only hope. I will haveHim now." Be driven to Jesus by force of circumstances. Since there is no other port, O weather-beaten boat, make for thisOne! Wanderer, here is a Refuge! Turn in here, for there is no other shelter.
After all, this was the simplest and easiest thing that she could do. Touch Jesus. Put out your finger and touch the hem ofHis garment. The prescriptions she had purchased were long. But this was short enough. The operations performed upon her hadbeen intricate. But this was simplicity itself. The suffering she had endured had complicated her case. But this was as plainas a pikestaff. "Touch with your finger the hem of His garment-that is all." O my Hearer, you have tried many things, greatthings and hard things and painful things-why not try this simple matter of faith? Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and youshall be saved. Trust Jesus to cleanse you and He will do it. Put yourself into your Savior's hands once and for all, andHe will save you.
Not only was this the simplest and easiest thing for the poor afflicted one, but certainly it was the freest and most gracious.There was not a penny to pay. Nobody stood at the door of the consulting room to take her guinea. And the good Physician didnot even give a hint that He expected a reward. The gifts of Jesus are free as the air. He healed this believing woman inthe open street, in the midst of the crowd. She had felt that if she could but get into the throng, she would, by hook orby crook, get near enough to reach the hem of His garment and then she would be healed.
It is so this morning, dear Hearer. Come and receive Divine Grace freely. Bring no good works, no good words, no good feelings,no good resolves, as the price of pardon. Come with an empty hand and touch the Lord by faith. The good things which you desire,Jesus will give you as the result of His cure. But they cannot be the cause or the price of it. Accept His mercy as the giftof His love! Come empty-handed and receive! Come undeserving and be favored! Only come into contact with Jesus, who is theFountain of Life and you shall be saved.
This was the quietest thing for her to do. She said nothing. She did not cry aloud like the blind men. She did not ask friendsto look on and see her make her venture. She kept her own counsel and pushed into the press. In absolute silence she tooka stolen touch of the Lord's robe. O my Hearer, you can be saved in silence. You have no need to speak to any person of youracquaintance, not even to mother or father. At this moment, while in the pew, believe and live. Nobody will know that younow are touching the Lord. In after days you will own your faith but in the act itself you will be alone and unseen. Believeon Jesus. Trust yourself with Him. Have done with all other confidences and say, "He is all my salvation." Take Jesus at once,if not with a hand's grasp, yet with a finger's touch. O you poor, timid, bashful Creature, touch the Lord! Trust in His powerto save. Do not let me tell you to do it in vain but do it at once. May God's Spirit cause you to accept Jesus now!
This is the only effectual thing. Touch Jesus and salvation is yours at once. Simple as faith is, it is never-failing. A touchof the fringe of the Savior's garment sufficed-in a moment she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. "It istwelve years ago," she said to herself, "since I felt like a living woman. I have been sinking in a constant death all thiswhile, but now I feel my strength come back to me." Blessed be the name of the great Healer! She was exceeding glad. Trembleshe did, lest it should turn out to be too good to be true. But she was most surely healed. O my dear Hearer, do trust myLord, for He will surely do for you that which none other can achieve. Leave feeling and working and try faith in Jesus. Maythe Holy Spirit lead you to do so at once!
IV. And now, poor convicted Sinner! Here comes the driving home of the nail. DO AS THIS WOMAN DID-ask nobody about it-butdo it. She did not go to Peter, James and John and say, "Good Sirs, advise me." She did not beg from them an introductionto Jesus but she went of her own accord and tried for herself the virtue of a touch. You have had advising enough. Now cometo real work. There is too much tendency to console ourselves by conversations with godly men-let us get away from them andspeak to their Master. Talks in the enquiry room and chats with Christian neighbors are all very well. But one touch of Jesuswill be infinitely better.
I do not blame you for seeking religious advice-this may be a half-way house to call at but do not make it the terminus. Presson till, by personal faith, you have laid hold on Jesus. Do not tell anybody what you are about to do. Wait till it is done.Another day you will be happy to tell the minister and God's people of what the Lord has done for you. But for the present,quietly believe in the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world. Do not even ask yourself about it. If this poorwoman had consulted with herself she might never have ventured so near the Holy One of God. So clearly shut out from societyby the Law of her people and her God, if she had given the matter a second thought, she might have abandoned the idea.
Blessed was the impetuosity which thrust her into the crowd and kept her head above the throng and her face towards the Lordin the center of the press. She did not so much reason as dare. Do not ask yourself anything about it. But do it. Believeand have done with it. Stop not to parley with your own unbelief, nor answer your rising doubts and fears. But at once, thisinstant, put out your finger, touch the hem of His garment and see what will come of it. God help you to do so while I amspeaking!
Yield to the sacred impulse which is just now operating upon you. Do not say, "Tomorrow may be more convenient." In this woman'scase there was the Lord before her. She longed to be healed at once and so, come what may, into the crowd she plunged. Shewas so enfeebled that one wonders how she managed to get near Him. But possibly the crowd took her off her feet and carriedher onward, as often happens in a rush. However, there was her chance and she seized it. There was the fringe of the Lord'smantle-out went her finger-it was all done.
O my Friend, you have an opportunity now, by God's great grace, for you are in His House of Prayer. Jesus of Nazareth passesby at this moment. He who speaks to you is not trying to say pretty things but he is pining to win your soul for Jesus. Oh,how I wish I could lead you to that saving touch! The Spirit of God can do it. May He now move you to cry-"I will believein the appointed sacrifice and trust my soul with Jesus"! Have you done so? You are saved. "He that believes in Him has everlastinglife."
"Oh but I tremble so!" So did she whom Jesus healed. Her hand shook but she touched Him all the same for that. I think I seeher quivering finger. Poor emaciated woman, with pale and bloodless cheeks! What a taper finger was that which she held outand how it quivered! However much the finger of your faith may tremble, if it does but touch the hem of the Lord's garment,virtue will flow from Him to you. The power is not in the finger which touches but in the Divine Savior who is touched. Solong as there is a contact established between you and the almighty power of Jesus, His power will travel along your tremblingfinger and bring healing to your heart.
A telegraph wire may shake with the wind and yet convey the electric current and so may a trembling faith convey salvationfrom Jesus. A strong faith which rests anywhere but in Jesus, is a delusion. But a weak faith which rests alone on Jesus,brings sure salvation. Out with your finger, dear Soul, out with your finger! Do not go away till you have touched the Lordby a believing prayer or hope. Holy Spirit, do not suffer any to quit the Tabernacle until, by a believing desire, or trust,or confidence of some sort, they have established a contact between themselves and Jesus and have felt the virtue enter themfor their instant healing.
O Lord, save this people! Why do you come, Sunday after Sunday, in such crowds? And why must I stand here and bleed my heartaway in love to your souls? Is the sole result to be that I help you to spend an hour-and-a-half in a sort of religious amusement?What a waste it is of my labor and of your time unless some gracious work is done! O Sirs, if you are not brought
to Christ, my preaching will prove a curse to you! It appalls me to think that the preaching of the Gospel will be a savorof death unto you unless it brings you life. Put not the day of Divine Grace from you.
By the living God, I do implore you, trust the living Redeemer. As I shall meet you all, face to face, before the JudgmentSeat of Christ, I do implore and beseech you-put out the finger of faith and trust the Lord Jesus, who is so fully worthyto be trusted. The simple trust of your heart will stay the death which now works in you. Lord, give that trust, for Jesus'sake! Amen.