and on his return was sitting in his chariot, reading Isaiah the prophet.
1. An inquirer.
2. A spiritually awakened inquirer, one who had come to see that his own personal relations with God were matters of extreme importance.
3. A wise seeker, who had found the revealed Word of God, and was searching it in full confidence that therein was the "eternal life." To such a seeker help will never be long withheld. "God waiteth to be gracious." Philip was divinely guided to meet the eunuch on his return from the holy city, and to join him in the chariot just when he was hopelessly puzzled with his reading. The passage which engaged his attention was one which opened up the applications of truth to sinful souls. The great chapter of the evangelical Isaiah deals with human sins, calling them transgressions; and it discloses that wonderful scheme of Divine wisdom and love by which those transgressions were vicariously borne, and borne away. Philip preached unto him Jesus, who "was wounded for our transgressions," on whom the "Lord laid the iniquity of us all," whose "soul was made an offering for sin;" who now saves his people from their sins; from the penalty of their sins, by the virtue of his great sacrifice, from the power of their sinfulness by the cleansing energies of his Holy Spirit. With opened soul the eunuch listened, and the truth dawned upon him; Christ, the Messiah, the Savior, was revealed to him. He believed the record, and longed at once to seal in baptism his faith and love to the crucified One. He thus simply declares his faith, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." What was this eunuch's faith? and can we learn from him what the saving faith is? Evidently it was a simple acceptance of and confidence in the testimony rendered by Philip to Christ, based as the testimony was upon the revealed Word of God. And that is faith still - receiving the record which God hath given us of his Son, and acting on the record. Faith is the great difficulty in the way of seekers, yet, when it is won, it seems strange that so simple a matter should have hindered. Some of the expressions and figures of Scripture may help us.
I. To BELIEVE IN CHRIST IS TO APPREHEND OR LAY HOLD OF HIM. AS St. Peter, sinking in the waters, put out his hand and grasped the offered hand of Christ, so our souls, sinking in sin and despair, by faith lay hold of the strong, rescuing Savior.
II. To BELIEVE IN CHRIST IS TO RECEIVE HIM. As the imprisoned debtor welcomes and receives the man who brings into his cell the money of his ransom, so our souls, by faith, welcome and receive him by whose precious blood we have been bought out of our prison-house of sin.
III. To BELIEVE IN CHRIST IS TO ROLL OUR BURDEN UPON HIM. To shift the weight of all the trouble and anxiety from our own shoulders, and let Christ bear it all for us; as one might do who had an important trial coming on, but trusted the whole matter to his skilful lawyer-friend.
IV. To BELIEVE IN CHRIST IS TO APPLY TO HIM. As the hungry and the thirsty apply for food and drink, so the hungry soul applies to Christ for the bread which, if a man eats, he lives for ever.
V. To BELIEVE IN CHRIST IS TO COME TO HIM. To flee to him as the villagers flee into the strongholds before invading armies; as the doomed man fled into the sanctuary to lay hold of the horns of the altar, or as the manslayer fled before the avenger of blood to gain the shelter of the city of refuge. So the soul enters the stronghold of Christ, takes sanctuary with Christ, passes within the gates of Christ, the Refuge for the sinner.
VI. To BELIEVE IN CHRIST IS TO LEAN UPON HIM, TO STAY UPON HIM, as we lean upon a staff for support. Christ is the strong Staff, on which the soul, with all its eternal interests, may safely lean; Christ is the healthy, strong Friend, on whom the sick, fainting, weary soul may wholly rely.
VII. To BELIEVE IN CHRIST IS TO ADHERE TO HIM, TO CLEAVE TO HIM. As the drowning man clutches so must we grasp, cling to, cleave to, the Lord Jesus, binding the soul to him as with everlasting bands. With so many and so simple illustrations, how well you may be urged now - even now - to believe on the Son of God, and find the pardon he speaks, the life he gives, and the love with which he will make you his own forever. - R.T.
Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet
(Prof. I. H. Hall.)
1. We forget thereby the hardships of the way.
2. We look not aside to forbidden paths.
3. We make thereby blessed travelling acquaintances.
4. we go forward on the right path to the blessed goal.
(K. Gerok.)I. SOME REMARKS ON THIS SUBJECT. It is a duty —
1. Incumbent upon all.
2. In accordance with the dictates of reason.
3. To be performed irrespective of rank and condition.
II. INSTRUCTION RESPECTING IT.
1. Before you read consider whose book it is.
2. Read with a teachable spirit.
3. Practise what you learn.
4. Never read without prayer.
(J. Clayton, M. A.)
(H. W. Beecher.)
(J. Hamilton, D. D.)Isaiah 53., and compared it with the account of the crucifixion, and became a profound Christian. That man is now in high favour with the Nizam of Hyderabad, and has founded a church which has several hundred Christian worshippers.
(S. T. Coleridge.)
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