James Smith, 1859
While the railway carriage was hurrying along the line, the passengers were variously occupied, some reading, some talking, and perhaps some mentally praying, (for many a prayer ascends from the railway carriage as it rattles along the line,) all at once a shout was heard from several voices, "Hospital! Hospital!" It was one of the fruits of Christian benevolence, one of the efforts of true religion, which teaches us to feel for our fellow men, and provide for them according to their needs and diseases, How many noble institutions adorn our country! What varied and valuable provision is made for suffering humanity! What cause have the inhabitants of our land to be grateful; and, if it were lawful to be proud, an Englishman may well be proud of his country. But what ground is there for pride — when we have only done that which it was our duty to do? Man needs a hospital when sick, when aged, and when insane; and there are hospitals provided for him, under all these circumstances, either by voluntary benevolence, or the arrangements of the law.
But man needs a hospital also as a sinner. For the sick, the aged, and for the insane — man can provide. But where is the man, where is the society that can provide a hospital for a sinner? To make such a provision would baffle the wisdom, and beggar the resources, of the universe. If there is to be a hospital found for man as a sinner — God must provide it. Yes, the wisdom of God alone is sufficient to devise it; the wealth of God alone is sufficient to found it; and the love of God alone is sufficient to prompt to it. In our hospital just passed, the patient has provision made for his needs — means are employed for his cure — and until health is recovered, he remains. It is at once a home and a hospital to him; and, blessed be God, such a hospital is provided for poor, perishing, miserable sinners, in the person and work of Jesus!
Jesus takes the patient entirely into his own hands. All that is needful — he provides, and he provides all freely. However costly the provision, he provides the whole expense. When nothing less than taking the nature and place of the slave of sin would do — he took that nature, and occupied that place. When years of the most arduous, painful, and self-denying labor was required — he undertook to perform that labor, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. When nothing less than his life would do, and the laying down of that life under the most shameful, agonizing, and degrading circumstances — he so laid down his life. In this way, he opened a fountain to cleanse his patients from all sin; and provided a robe to clothe and cover them; and obtained the sanctifying Spirit, that each and every one may be brought to sit at his feet, clothed and in his right mind.
Precious Lord Jesus, you are the hospital for the guilty, diseased, and miserable sinner — man! You receive him with madness in his heart, mischief in his head, blood on his hands, and disease spreading over his entire frame! You did receive me, poor insane sinner as I was; and blessed be your holy name, you have dealt well with me!
Reader, Jesus has made full provision for the perfect cure of poor, degraded, sin-sick creatures like you. He will receive you; if you knock at the door of his mercy — he will take you in, and make you his care, and charge. His heart is exquisitely tender, his head is infinitely wise, and his care is as constant as the day. You need bring nothing with you, nor is recommendation necessary, nor you be put to one farthing's expense. No, only come to Jesus, and in him you will find wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. Only come to Jesus, and from him you will receive pardon, peace, purity, and everlasting life. Only come to Jesus, and you will be saved freely, certainly, and forever. He will take the greatest care of you, and tend to you — as if you occupied the whole of his thoughts, engrossed the whole of his love, and was the only object of his loving regard!
Blessed Jesus, you still receive sinners, and receive them to save them, to the glory of God, your Father! I thank you, that you have received me, and are willing to receive a million more, yes, hundreds of millions — all that are made willing to come to you!