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Written by J.H.Oliphant   


“Oh wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”

He had just been referring to his own evil inclination considering the indwelling corruption of his own heart, when he used this distressing cry. One would think that an apostle would see nothing evil in his heart, and that such expressions, if they are uttered by the Lord’s dear ones at all, would be uttered by some poor backslider who had brought scandal upon his profession, but no; the great Paul cries in dismay when he looks well into his own heart. I Suppose that God himself sees no human being’s heart to be good; not only are unregenerate shiners evil-minded, but our best men, our most devoted ministers and leading men have enough of sin about them to cry as bitterly as Paul did in this text. See the strife that exists among the people of God; envy and vainglory. We are a poor, evil set of beings. That we are saved only for the imputed righteousness of Christ is a cheering doctrine to some of us. We know our evil hearts too well; have learned too much of our own turbulent tempers, envious, covetous, jealous and neglectful and proud spirits to ever hope to reach heaven by our own goodness. In me dwells no good thing, unless it be the Savior, or what he has wrought there. Reader, how is it with you? Is there not yet a great amount of evil within you? And when you think of it aright, there is nothing in your record hid from God; your thoughts are open to his view; every imagination of the thoughts of your heart. Perhaps you are prayerful and humble at one time; his service is your pleasure; but how soon is that happy, devoted frame exchanged for one that you are ashamed of, under the influence of sin. You grow proud; filled with the love of the world; become tired of your meetings; seek pleasure in some other way: become easily offended by a brother; violate the rule in the 18th chapter of Matthew; read other books and let the Bible go for awhile: talk on other things sooner then Godliness. Do you not often feel that you are a barren tree? But then again he restores your soul, and you are caused in some way to inwardly say, “Lord be merciful to me a sinner. Purge me with- hyssop and I shall be clean.”

You say you will try to do better; Oh, what a tool you were tot neglecting your duty and violating such plain commands. Have you not learned sin to he incurable in your case? The poet says: “Nothing in my hand I bring” when my whole history is reviewed, it is, “ Nothing but sin have I to give.” Its true I have often tried to pray, and talk of the Savior and his cause. I have read his word and tried to explain it to others. I have given to the poor and needy of earth, and patiently borne the scoffs of the world. I have sided in the cause of Christ with my substance, and given to the ministry of carnal things, but in all this I have seen so much selfishness that I must confess that I am an unprofitabtable servant. Sometimes I have wanted the honor of my performances when the Lord has helped me, in his public service. If I have written well for one of our papers my poor heart craves applause, or if I have felt enlargement in prayer, pride follows quickly. If I am reproved by others for my good, I am apt to receive it in a wrong spirit. If I preach well I am so apt to be proud of it; or if I constantly attend church, or do much to defray its expenses, and wait much on the saints, I. must confess that there is enough pride and selfishness about it, to make the whole if no value as a price of pardon. The words, ‘‘God he merciful to me a sinner” suits me.

I once thought I would live to be comparatively free from sin, but here I am yet a poor sinner. HELPLESS, I look to him for grace and NAKED, I look to him for dress. I love saints, but I claim nothing for this, only it cheers me with the thought that I am one of their number. Brethren, I dare not trust in myself; I can look to nothing but a crucified Savior. I hope to be saved for his sake. I have done nothing good, but he has done all things well, and for his good doing alone I have hope. His death of suffering redeems from sin’s curse, and his life of holy obedience furnishes a righteousness that will shine in heaven to all eternity. It is for this that we hunger and thirst.

Should these lines come under the notice of some poor, sin-burdened creature, for there are yet such creatures; creatures that are sad and in deep trouble, that look upon themselves as being a long way from God; I say, if these lines come under the notice of such, that it is good news to you that Jesus is our righteousness; that he met on the cross the Law’s tremendous claim. No goodness of yours could meet it; you are not to expect life for your doing. Contemplate the spotless, matchless Lamb of God, the very brightness of God’s eternal glory. His pure living and holy doing alone will meet your wants. You are a poor, miserable wretch and you know it: but God and the angels and the glorified of heaven know that Jesus is holy, harmless and undefiled. You cannot trust yourself, but here is one you can trust. He came to save sinners, poor, sin-sick, sinners ruined, unworthy wretches as you are. He has a right to pardon you. He redeemed you by his blood on the cross, and now life is brought to light, through the gospel of the grace of God, and hence the poor in spirit are pronounced blessed, and this you know lit your case. Jesus is your life, your righteousness, hope, meat and drink. You already love his name. “Hew sweet the name of Jesus sounds” to you; you crave him more than gold or honor.

“Oh, what a privilege to tell sinners ‘round What a Savior we have found!”

He conceals our guilt with his blood. He takes every ray of self-righteousness away from us. He takes every prop from us, every rush from our nest and, although it takes deep, painful probing, he cuts away the last hope of life for our doing. He opens our eyes to see his fullness and throws his own pure garment of righteousness all around us. Oh, how wonderful is his love for poor sinners! How secure their eternal destiny! Who of us can forget “When first we believed, what joy we received.” We loved; we adored and glorified the name of the Lord. Oh, poor sinner, this Savior is yours; your guilt, your hard heart, your evil mind will not hide his love from you. Your tears shall all be wiped away, your sad heart filled with joy. Oh, go to him with your sad tale of woe; implore his mercy; confess your sins.

Would that the grace of God would reign and reign and reign among us till strife and evil speaking shall be put away; till our hearts would overflow with love to God and one another; till our churches would ho the living, shining light of earth, and till thousands and millions of poor, blind, ruined sinner’s would tell the wondrous power of the Lord Jesus to save.


Last Updated ( Wednesday, 27 September 2006 )
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