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BY REV. WILLIAM ARNOT Ye will not come to me that ye might have life. — John v. 40,
  THE LAMENTATIONS OF JESUS.BY REV. WILLIAM ARNOT Ye will not come to me that ye might have life. — John v. 40,The Messenger of the covenant speaks. Our eternalinterests hang on his lips. How intently should sinnerslisten to the Saviour's words ! Gather up the fragmentsthat none of them be lost. Some of his words are commands, and some arewarnings; some are promises, and some threatenings ;in some he expresses approval, and in others he utters acomplaint. Out of that one loving heart proceed manythoughts embodied for our profit in human speech. Thenew man lives by every word that proceedeth out of themouth of God. Each is best in its time and place. Noneof them could be wanted in the full provision of ouiFather's house.The word of Jesus which we have chosen as our themeto-day is a COMPLAINT.It would be an interesting and instructive exercise togather from the Scriptures the complaints which wereuttered by the Man of Sorrows in the course of his per-sonal ministry, or by prophets and apostles in his name.We possess the Lamentations of Jeremiah; I wouldlike to see in one view the Lamentations of his Lord.In some points of view they are at once the grandestand sweetest of his words. Taken in connection with hisTHE LAMENTATIONS OF JESUS. 39person and his power, they distinguish him as the  Wonderful, the Counsellor. A command befits the dig-nity of the Supreme; a threat sounds seemly on theJudge's lips when criminals stand convicted at his bar;promises flow so naturally from the Shepherd of Israel,that they are counted on as things of coiorse. All thesewords, as soon as we learn who the speaker is, we expectto hear; but the tender complaint takes us by surprise.It brings Emmanuel closer to us than his other words. Itis not after the manner of men. Having the right andthe power to punish, he pleads. When we need him, hespeaks as if he needed us. Getting the homage of allunfaUen creatures, he follows the fallen, beseeching themto be reconciled : Ye wiU not come to me that ye mighthave life. What a word is this! There is fire in itsufficient to melt a nether miUstone heart, and make itflow down like water.I shall submit a series of observations, all logica,Uybased on the text, and tending, cumulatively, at once toopen its meaning and apply its power.I. Men, before regeneration, and apart from the sal-vation of God, are in a state which Jesus counts andcalls death. In this plaint of the Saviour the true con-dition of sinners is seen with awful distinctness. No roomis left here for dispute or mistake. The speaker know^swhat is in man, and what is, consequently, before him.In the bosom of the Father Jesus knows the mind of God.He sees the end from the beginning. On the foregroundof time he declares that death is men's character ; w4th4-0 THE LAMENTATIONS OF JESUS.his eye on eternity he pronounces that death will be theirdoom. If we remain to the last where we are found atfirst, we shall be lost for ever.This estimate of man's state and prospects which the  Redeemer has formed and recorded, is of vital importance atthe very threshold of religious knowledge and experience.Theoretically to deny, or practically to neglect it is tomake him a liar, and accuse him of coming to the worldon a needless errand, — wasting divine compassion in vain.If you do not accept his view of your own loss, you cannotpossibly close wdth his offer of deliverance. If you beginby disbelieving his word, how can you end by confiding inhis mercy ? If you think the physician has not taken upthe disease, how can you trust in his skill to cure it?It is death: down in the bottom of that deep, dark pit,must the foundation of our hope be laid.Hear, earth! for the Lord hath spoken. He who isthe way is also the truth. Speaking of the conditionwhich is common to all men, he calls it death. His word,spoken to Nicodemus as a sample of fallen humanity, hasbeen recorded for our use : Except a man be born again,he cannot see the kingdom of God. II. In order to pass from death unto life, it is neces-sary to come to Jesus. I am the way,'' he has said; No man cometh unto the Father but by me; Hethat hath the Son hath life. He that hath not the Sonshall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. Observe, on our part it is not a word but an act.Suppose you were standing aloft on a platform that hasTHE LMIENTATIONS OF JESUS. 41been undermined beneath, and must fall within an hour.Suppose, further, that one who cares for you, and knowsthe frailty of your footing, should Avarn you of thedanger, and point out the place of safety. You believethat the information is correct, thank your informant,and resolve to take his advice ; but you linger, forget,and fall asleep on the spot. You fall and perish, although  you were v/arned, and understood the warning, and be-lieved the Warner's word. Because you did not flee fromthe danger, it overtook and overwhelmed you; becauseyou did not go to the place of safety, you were not saved.^. ministering angel looking on, with no hand of flesh totouch the sleeper, and no human voice wherewith to pene-trate his ear, might weep for the falling, but his tears. ^ould not arrest the fall.A dead-letter knowledge, destitute of moving power,pervades and paralyses the Church. Oh, for the prodigal'ssense of need, and the prodigal's simple, earnest, honestresolving ! Having said, I will arise and go to myfather, forthwith he arose and went.Beware lest you lose your way in the mist which some-times gathers round the expression, Come to me. Aspiritual coming is as real in its nature, and as influentialin its effects, as any bodily coming can be. In the experienceof life we all pass over frequently from one view and oneconfidence to another. When our fond expectations have onone side been bitterly disappointed, we let go the brokenreed, and, perhaps, cast it away with loathing from ourpierced and bleeding hands. Thereafter, it may be, hopebeams forth from the opposite direction like dawn in the42 THE LiJIENTATIONS OF JESUS,east. The soul's inward trust is transferred to a newobject, and, as a consequence, the life course is reversed, asif a river by some convulsion of nature were made to flowbackward in its bed. We come in spirit from one con-fidence to another, as really and as potentially as we comein body from one place to another. Nor is this a rareexperience. It occurs to all, and it occurs often to each.It may still remain true,' in point of fact, that thosehave no distinct conception of what coming to Christ
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