The Grace of God to a Collier with a Broken Leg.
“There is nothing betwixt my soul and god; the blood of Jesus has put it all away.”
A few months ago the writer of this paper received a letter from a person at Hoyland, stating that a very dear friend, a collier, had had a most serious accident from a fall off a roof. His leg was broken in three places: and so badly crushed he was not expected to live. The writer of the letter felt assured that this accident was permitted for his dear friend’s salvation, and further, that the writer of this little paper would be used in blessing to him. He felt it was a question of life and death, nay of eternity; and immediately drove to Harley. There lay Aaron Hoyland, on that bed from which he was to rise no more. A few hours before, he was a strong, able-bodied man. He had been a steady, sober, industrious man; had a well-furnished house, and was greatly respected by all who knew him. The writer had been giving lectures lately at the Public Hall, Hoyland, and at once remembered the remarkably attentive face of this now lame man.
He had been greatly interested, if not awakened, by the Spirit of God. But as yet he was a stranger to the present, perfect, and eternal salvation in Christ Jesus.
This may be the reader’s condition. If laid on a bed from which you may never rise in health again, is it not an awful thing to be a stranger to God, because a stranger to Christ? However respected by friends and family, is that enough to enable you to face death, and after death the judgment?
The conversion of Aaron Hoyland was very similar to that of Lydia. The Lord opened her heart to attend to the things that were spoken. There he lay utterly helpless. His poor leg sadly broken and crushed. Little or no hope of recovery. He was too much shattered to have his leg amputated, until this was the last possible alternative. The quiet reading of the Word of God was what the Holy Spirit chiefly used in his bright and blessed conversion. He was shown that the message of God from heaven was no less than the forgiveness of sins, through the atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ. These words were read slowly to him — “Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by Him all that believe are justified from all things.” (Acts 13:38-39.) He heard God speaking to his soul in these words. He had heard the words before, but never heard God speaking in them to him as a lost, guilty sinner.
Very simple was the childlike faith with which he thus believed God. The certainty that God meant what He said broke in upon his soul. Jesus had glorified God on the cross in bearing the full judgment due to sins. God had raised that Holy Sin-bearer from the dead, and now every barrier was removed. God in righteousness proclaimed forgiveness of sins, and all that believe were, yea are, justified from all things. He believed God with his heart: that is, it was a message he needed, it concerned him, and he believed it; so that as sure as God speaks truth, he was justified from all things.
Then there was another scripture equally blest to him. These words gave him a threefold certainty. His heart was opened to hear them as the precious words of Jesus. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me hath everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but is passed from death unto life.” (John 5:24.) He never seemed for a moment to doubt the very truth of what Jesus said in these words. He believed God, and therefore knew his sins were forgiven. He knew he was justified from all things; accounted righteous before God. God said so.
And now he heard the words of Jesus. He believed God that sent Him; and he knew that he had everlasting life. Jesus said so. He knew he should never come into judgment. Jesus said so. He knew he was passed from death unto life. Jesus said so; and he did not need anyone else to say so. The word of Jesus was enough for Aaron Hoyland. Oh that it might be enough for the reader of this paper! Think of the love of God in sending His Son! Surely that love must be infinite to poor sinners, that spared not His Son, but freely gave Him up: who also gave Himself, in voluntary love to us, to bear our sins on the shameful tree.
Being justified by faith, he had perfect peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. He never doubted that that peace which Jesus had made through the blood of His cross must be perfect. Another scripture was very sweet to his soul for his blessed Jesus had said it. “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in nowise cast out.” (John 6:37.) His soul could adore the God of all grace who had given him to Christ, and now had used this terrible accident in bringing him to know Jesus. And it was so sweet to rest in that love that says, “I will in nowise cast out.”
And now he was looking for Jesus, not as an angry judge (this indeed He will be to all who reject Him now); but Aaron loved to meditate on that blessed moment when “the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Thess. 4:16, 17.) Yes, during those six weeks of great bodily pain, he loved to dwell on that blessed moment, the coming of the Lord to take His own, whether sleeping in Jesus, or alive and remaining. He would ask about the change in his body at the first resurrection: and when shown that just as he had borne the image of the earthy, so also should he bear the image of the heavenly: that he would be like the Lord in glory and have the same incorruptible body, as is shown in 1 Cor. 15:42-56: and that when Jesus came in glory he certainly would come with Him — then his soul seemed full of light, and joy, and peace.
It was beautiful to see how he drank in those words of Jesus, “Let not your hearts be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am there ye may be also.” (John 14:1-3.) Never once did he doubt the reality and certainty of these precious words of love.
They must fill the soul with unspeakable joy, if we believe Jesus. Just think, as surely as He died for us, as surely as He is gone to prepare a place for us, so surely will He come and receive us to Himself. Oh! wait my soul for the coming of thy precious, loving Lord.
What would an infidel have thought of that sight? The poor leg as black as a coal. Very offensive; decomposition, we suppose, had already, set in. But that dear face, as calm as the deep blue sky of heaven. Never shall we forget those few words he spoke, which express so much. — “There is nothing betwixt my soul and God, the blood of Jesus has put it all away!” Yes, the precious blood of Jesus was more to Him than ten thousand worlds. Nothing in heaven or earth can give this divine, calm, intelligent certainty, in the immediate prospect of death, or the coming of the Lord, but the blood of Jesus. He had entered in some measure by the teaching of the Holy Spirit into the depth of those words, “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7.) He could say, “Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood.” (Rev. 1:5.) “For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” (Heb. 10:14.) Thus, believing these divine statements of God’s Word, he could say with peaceful confidence, “There is nothing betwixt my soul and God, the blood of Jesus has put it all away!” Thus he had boldness to enter the holiest by the blood of Jesus. It was very blessed to witness the heavenly peace the precious blood gave to his conscience. He believed God that such was the value of the one sacrifice of Christ for those whose sins He bore, that God says, “Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” (Heb. 10:17.)
This contrast also gave great comfort to his soul.
“And it is appointed unto men (not all men) once to die, but after this the judgment; so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin, unto salvation.”
All his lifetime he had been taught to believe in a general resurrection of judgment; now he saw that all his sins had been laid on Jesus to be remembered against him no more. And now he could look for the very Jesus who bore his sins and their full judgment on the cross. Yes, when Jesus comes He will be the very one who bore his sins on the cross.
Thus justified from all things by His precious blood: and sin, (the root) condemned by the one sacrifice for sin, he believed what God said, that “there is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 8:1-3.)
There was no excitement, but the calm rest of the soul in God.
Aaron believed God, as a little child believes a mother’s word, a mother’s love.
After some weeks, the doctor decided to amputate the dead limb. The broken bones could not be set. When that trying moment came, there was no fear of death, nor of pain. It was however a great stroke to the shattered system. He did not survive long. Lock-jaw ensued in eight days. His sufferings were now so great he could scarcely be seen; but his peace flowed like a river, until that moment when he was “absent from the body, present with the Lord.”
He was a man of few words: but those few, and the way in which they were said, will never be forgotten by the writer of these lines. “There is nothing betwixt my soul and God: the blood of Jesus has put it all away.”
Oh, reader, canst thou say so? Are the sins of thy youth put away? Are the sins of middle life put away? It may be of old age? If called suddenly away, canst thou say There is nothing betwixt my soul and God? Hast thou tried by fasting, and prayers, and penance, to put them away? Are they put away? Darest thou die trusting to thy prayers of repentance, or penance? Has God said He will forgive for these things? Repentance will be inseparably connected with faith in the atoning death of Jesus, and produce the full acknowledgement of thy sins to God, in confession and self-abhorrence; but far greater was the price given before the sinner could be saved.
It was not at the beginning, but at the end of Job’s long history, that he truly repented. The Ninevites believed God, and then repented. And so the Jews at Pentecost. And often when the soul is brought to the lowest point, like Hezekiah, when he cried, “O Lord I am oppressed; undertake for me.” Ah, it is just then full deliverance comes. What is your state at this moment? Can you say in perfect peace, There is nothing betwixt my soul and God? or do you say I have tried to give up my sins: have tried to serve God: I have tried to repent and tried to pray: but oh my sins: O Lord I am oppressed; undertake for me? Yes, when brought to this: guilty, lost, without power, or strength to be better: and unless God undertakes for me I am lost for ever. “What shall I say?” says Hezekiah; “He hath both spoken unto me, and Himself hath done it.” (Isa. 38:14.) Is this true? It is not, will He speak to me? Will He undertake for me? No it is this; He hath spoken to me in His blessed Word. He hath undertaken for me: He hath done it! Oh what a fact, the eternal Son of God hath undertaken the lost, guilty, helpless sinner’s redemption; and He hath done it! “Sing O ye heavens; for the Lord hath done it.” (Isaiah 44:23.) It is not He will: He hath done it! “It is finished.” “Peace unto you.” Go over this paper again; the same word spoken to Aaron Hoyland, is now spoken to you. He Himself hath done it. “Be it known unto you . . . that through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him all that believe are justified.” He that believeth hath everlasting life. Do you say I do believe God: will He now forgive my sins, even mine? Yea, if you believe God, He hath spoken unto you, and Himself hath done it. To the poor woman at Jesus' feet believing Him, He did not say pray, and thy sins shall be forgiven. No! He said “Thy sins are forgiven thee: thy faith hath saved thee, go in peace.” (Luke 7:48-50.) Do you believe this point? You cannot separate faith and forgiveness. Faith links us with the infinite value of the blood of Christ. Nothing is left between our souls and God; the blood of Christ has put it all away. “I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and as a cloud thy sins; return unto Me for I have redeemed thee. Sing O ye heaven; for the Lord hath done it.” (Isaiah 44:22.) Thus will the Lord speak to Israel in mercy in days yet to come. And thus may He speak to the reader now, It is the earnest prayer of the writer that as God spoke peace to Aaron Hoyland through these portions, and others of His Word, so He may speak to the reader. Why should you doubt God? Why should you turn a deaf ear? Ponder these questions. Can anyone give me this calm peace with God; this boldness to enter His presence but the blood of Christ? Blessed be God! “Sing O ye heavens; for the Lord hath done it.” C. S.