MATT, ix 6. “But
that ye may know that the Son of man hath, power on earth to
forgive sins, (then saith He to the sick of the palsy) Arise, take
up thy bed.”
THE general groove of Christ’s miracles was that He ad-
dressed Himself first to the body and afterwards to the soul.
In this miracle He had regard to the soul first. In the
apparently indiscriminate order of Christ’s procedure in
this matter, we like to see how body and soul are equally
dear to God; and that they, therefore, are wrong who hold it
a religious thing to think much of the spiritual wants, but
irreligious to pay great attention to our bodily infirmities.
To Him they are alike. This is a thought very pleasant
and important to the sick, the weary and the weak.
I. A temporal mercy was made the evidence and sign of
a spiritual one. May we not safely take the same line of
thought, and reason thus of some great earthly blessing
granted us. Would God have given me this, and not given
me the pardon of my sins? The very best use we can make
of any kind providence in outward things, is to accept it
as a mark that God loves and has mercy upon our souls.
The inference is a fair one, supposing a man to have that
anxiety about his soul which makes him wish for pardon.
II. The power which is given to Christ as “The Son
of man,” to forgive sins. There is beautiful justice in the
fact that He who purchased the pardon should be the One
to whom it is permitted to have the joy of giving it. The
Church claims and knows no absolving power. It merely
points the finger to Christ, and says “He does all; the Son
of man, He alone, hath power on earth to forgive sins.”
Let every man beware how he trespass on that exclusive
prerogative of the Son of Man.
III. In those words “on earth” there is a promise that so
long as this earth shall last that unwearied Presence is with us.
Jesus will always be here to do His own forgiving work,
for “the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins.”
Then why should there be any man unforgiven when the
relief is so close. There is no medicine, even for the body,
like the quiet of a mind that is at peace with God.
“The leaves of that tree are for the healing of the
nations.” James Vaughan, M.A.