The world not only needs Christian women, it needs Christian men. Our text today deals exclusively with men, the Master, and the man, and it is my intention, as God shall help me this morning, to show you what the Holy Spirit means to convey to us in this great theme.
A sermon from Simon Peter Long, delivered in 1903.
Fourteenth Sunday After Trinity. The Men, The Master And The Man. Luke 17:11-19.
And it came to pass, as He went to Jerusalem, that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And as He entered into a certain village, there met Him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: and they lifted up their voices, and said Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when He saw them, He said unto them, Go, shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And He said unto him, Arise, go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole.
Sanctify us, O Lord, through Thy Truth: Thy Word is Truth. Amen.
Beloved in Christ –
The world’s greatest need today is true Christians. The world needs Christian wives and mothers, Christian women. Any one who has a Christian home knows what a Christian woman in that home means, and God pity the home that has not a Christian wife in it.
The world not only needs Christian women, but it needs Christian children. If this world is to be Christian for fifty years to come, it is time that we were paying more attention to the Christian training of our little children.
Not only does it need Christian children, but it needs Christian men. Our text today deals exclusively with men, the Master, and the man, and it is my intention, as God shall help me this morning, to show you what the Holy Spirit means to convey to us in this great theme
The Men, The Master And The Man.
“And it came to pass, as He went to Jerusalem, that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And as He entered into a certain village, there met Him ten men that were lepers.”
(I) I call your attention first of all, then, to the men.
(1) Some men are moral lepers. What is a leper? I choose to find the answer this morning from men who have stood on the ground and faced lepers. There are still countries in which there are many lepers, and no man has seen more lepers and studied their character more than Gen. Lew Wallace, and Thompson, who gave us “The Land and the Book.” Many of you have read that “Tale of the Christ,” “Ben Hur.” Do you remember Lew Wallace’s description of the lepers? Let me just read you two paragraphs:
“To be a leper was to be treated as dead – to be excluded from the city as a corpse; to be spoken to by the best loved and most loving only at a distance; to dwell with none but lepers; to be utterly unprivileged; to be denied the rights of the Temple and synagogue; to go about in rent garments and with covered mouth, except when crying, ‘Unclean, unclean!’ To find home in the wilderness or in abandoned tombs; to become a materialized specter of Hinnom and Gehenna; to be at all times less a living offence to others than a grieving torment to self; afraid to die, yet without hope except in death.”
Describing the mother and her daughter who for eight years were prisoners, he says of them:
“Slowly, steadily, with horrible certainty, the disease spread, after a while bleaching their heads white, eating holes in their lips and eyelids, and covering their bodies with scales; then it fell to their throats, shrilling their voices, and to their joints, hardening the tissues and cartilages – slowly, and, as the mother well knew past remedy, it was affecting their lungs and arteries, and bones, at each advance making the sufferers more and more loathsome; and so it would continue until death, which might be years before them.”
Dr. Thompson in his famous work, “The Land and the Book,” speaks of lepers in the East, and says, “The hair falls from the head and eyebrows; the nails loosen, decay and drop off; joint after joint of the fingers and toes shrink up and slowly fall away. The gums are absorbed, and the teeth disappear. The nose, the eyes, the tongue, and the palate are slowly consumed. This disease turns a man into a mass of loathsomeness, a walking pile of pests. Leprosy is nothing better than a horrible and lingering death.”
Such is the description of these ten men, by men who have seen the lepers face to face, and, as we look over our own country, do we not find men who show in their very faces that they are moral lepers? The pulpit is too pure even to describe the sins of some men in our own city. There is a decaying flesh upon their bones, all the result of a horrible sin well known.
(2) Not only is it true that many men are moral lepers, but it is true that all men and all mankind are born spiritual lepers. The leper, as you well know, was a man who had an incurable disease; dared not associate with his fellow men; was excluded from even the Temple of God, and was, in the eyes of all men, a picture of sin. Never has sin brought about a worse disease than leprosy, called incurable by all the best physicians. Only God could help. And isn’t it true that you and I were born in sin? Isn’t it true that our sin, in God’s sight, in the holy eyes of God, is leprosy? And yet, many men in the present day are perfectly satisfied, it seems, to live in the same sinful condition in which they were born. Oh, men! beware that you do not remain moral lepers.
(3) We find that they are not only moral lepers, and that they are born lepers, but we find that men as a rule will do all in their power to regain physical health. Shall we find fault with them for this? No. But how many men there are who would not spend a dollar on their sick wives, who would go to little trouble for their sick children, who would travel over land and sea to regain their own health. We have here the picture of ten men that did not hesitate to do wonders in order to get health. They had the horrible disease of leprosy. Jews and Gentiles associated together, for one was a Samaritan, and nine of them were Jews; they not only associated themselves together, but they went to the village and waited for the Lord Jesus Christ, and cried unto Him; in opposition to all law they drew near the village, and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us,” and when the Lord Jesus Christ told them to go and show themselves to the priests, it is remarkable what a faith these ten men showed. I say they showed it, The law was to go to the priests in order to be declared clean. These men felt that they were not clean for they were still lepers; they not only felt that they were still lepers, every one man saw nine others around him, with his own eyes, who were lepers, but when the Lord Jesus told them to go and show themselves to the priests, they knew that to show themselves to the priests meant to be clean, and that therefore the thing for them to do was to go, in spite of their own feelings, and in spite of their own eyesight. So, contrary to their own senses, they started to get well. In other words, men will do anything to get well themselves, even if they do let their families, perish. We do not particularly hold this up as a fault, except that love sometimes to others is not shown as it should be by men.
(4) We not only find that men will do these things that I have mentioned, but we see men as a rule are perfectly willing to get rid of their own superiors. When these ten men were walking toward Jerusalem, and they discovered all at once that they were clean, one started back after Christ – this one was a Samaritan; this one was far superior to all the other nine; Jesus Christ holds him up as an example, as a stranger, and yet as a man who gave glory to God, and the nine did not; but you do not hear one word by the nine saying, “Come on with us, we cannot get along without thee.” No. Nine men were perfectly willing to get rid of the Samaritan; perfectly willing that he should go back, and they would again be nine Jews together. In other words, those nine Jews are a picture of professional men all over the world. There are nine doctors in every large city perfectly willing that the tenth, who is the best, should die; nine school teachers in every school are perfectly willing that the tenth, who is the best, should pass away; there are nine preachers in every county who would not be sorry if the tenth should die. You will find this jealousy creeping around all over the world and nowhere is it found more than in those up in the professions – those calling themselves men. I will dare say when McKinley died, some people were glad, though they never confessed it; I have no doubt when Mark Hanna died, some people were glad; and whenever a superior man, a man that stands above men, passes away, there are little bits of men that rejoice in their hearts and in their souls.
(5) These nine men not only rejoiced to get rid of their superior, but also were very unthankful. “ . . and they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when He saw them, He said unto them, Go, shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks; and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering, said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?” Were there not ten cleansed? Yes, but nine men were unthankful. Nine men were just selfish enough that when they got well they did not ask any question any more, who healed them. Have you ever noticed in your own association with men that the very ones that you have accommodated the most, are the very most unthankful? the very friend that you have helped in time of need, never recognizes the fact that you were kind to him? Whenever we see a man whom we have favored we always feel and think, Oh, I deserve thanks from him; but whenever we meet the man who has served us, we never think of saying, I owe thanks to him. Ask ourselves the question as men, Are we thankful, or are we unthankful? It does seem to me if a man would stop a moment and think that God has made him a man, and has given him the privilege of being a citizen of the United States, and has given him the privilege of being a member of the Christian Church, and has given him the privilege of being a power for good among all around him, and has given him a certain number of years of health and strength, that man ought to be thankful all the rest of his days. A man that lives from twenty-five to thirty years in this world with good health and strength, has no right to complain if all the rest of his life is spent in sickness; but, Oh! how unthankful men are; they never recognize, as a rule, the honor that has been bestowed upon them, and the kindness shown them.
(6) That is not the worst of it. Men, as soon as they get well, as a rule, start right for hell. That is a strong assertion, but we have the very picture in our text. Ten men came to the Lord Jesus as if they had a wonderful faith; they were sick; they wanted health, and they cried to Jesus for mercy, and Jesus said to them, “Go, and show yourselves unto the priests” – healed! well! – but nine of them never turned back; we do not even know whether they ever saw the priests or not; we have no record of them afterwards. Tradition tells us that they were so unthankful that they got the leprosy the second time, and perished; but whether they did or not, one thing is certain, God Himself put the question, “Where are the nine?” Here is this stranger, a Samaritan, come-back and gives thanks to Me, and I shall now save his soul as well as his body. Thy faith hath made thee whole; go thy way; but where are the nine? and we have never got the answer yet. Is it from heaven or from hell? The very fact that Jesus said to one, “Thy faith hath made thee whole,” leads me to understand that their souls went on to destruction and perished; they are a picture of the men I, and all faithful pastors, meet; when on their sick beds they want prayer – the service of God; they want health; they want help, and they make all kinds of promises how they are going to serve their God when they get well again; but let them be well three weeks, and where are they? As soon as the men get well the most of them start right for hell, that is where they go. I am not ashamed of the man, but I am ashamed of the conduct of men, and I would to God that I might reach the ears of all the men in the world this morning, to show them their unthankfulness; to show them their jealousy; to show them how they are ungrateful to God for all that He has done for them!
(II) In contrast with these men, let us notice the Master. “And they lifted up their voices and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.”
(1) I called attention to the fact that Jesus Christ is the Master who loves to save men – not only women and children. When the Lord Jesus Christ became man, He did not become a woman – He became a man; and when He selected His apostles, He did not go around in Jerusalem and through the villages and hunt up women; He hunted up men as apostles; and I would love to have you as ladies and women remember that if God wanted women to preach, as they are doing in some churches today, contrary to God’s Holy Word, He would have selected a woman as an apostle. The Lord Jesus Christ not only selected men as apostles, but in all the three years of His ministry He was dealing almost exclusively with men. I say almost. He did save women; He did bless children, but His great work was among men. It was the man Nicodemus whom Jesus showed the way to heaven, and through that way has shown hundreds and thousands the way ever since; it was on Calvary’s hill that He saved a man by His side; and Jesus Christ, the Savior, instituted the holy ministry through men, to give the Gospel to the world; and has made woman a helpmeet in all things.
(2) Not only is it true that Jesus Christ wants to save men, but it is just as true that He will go out of His way to save them. It is a wonderful description we have here of the Lord Jesus Christ. “It came to pass as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.” That is a strange way to go to Jerusalem. It is about the same as if I were to say that a certain man of Mansfield went to Kentucky, passing through Michigan. If you understand the geography of the Holy Land, you know that Galilee lies north of Samaria, and Jerusalem lies south of Samaria, and yet we are told here that Jesus Christ went up to Jerusalem and passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee, showing us the great lesson that I wish to impress upon men this morning, that the Lord Jesus Christ not only wants every man to be saved, but will go out of His way to save that man, if necessary; He will leave Samaria and go north to go south, if necessary; He leaves Samaria and travels east between Samaria and Galilee to come on around to find the ten lepers in order that He may save them; and Oh! how God has been after you men; He has been going up and down the streets of Mansfield, up and down your own homes; He has followed you with His Providential hand in order that He might find you and lead you to the everlasting abode above, where you might be well forever. O man! God wants you saved, and will go out of His way to save you.
(3) Not only that, He will draw very near to you, though you are a leper. You know what the law was, among the people of Israel, and in Moses’ time, that the leper would not dare come near any human being, but would have to stay away and cry out “Unclean! unclean!” In the “eighth chapter of Matthew we read of the Lord Jesus Christ’s preaching that wonderful Sermon on the Mount, and when He came down one leper came to Him and said, “If Thou wilt Thou canst make me clean,” He did not step back and say, Cry out Unclean! unclean! but stepped up to him, and put His hands on him, and said, Be thou clean, and he was clean; and in today’s lesson, when going into the little village, and ten lepers are standing in the way, Jesus Christ does not walk around through some distant field, or around in some alley, but goes right up within hearing distance, and, as you heard from the description of Lew Wallace, that these ten lepers’ voices when lifted up are not very loud. No, the poor lepers, when the disease takes hold of them, can hardly cry above a whisper. They must have been close to the Lord Jesus Christ when they lifted up their squeaky voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” They were near to One who was not afraid to draw near unto them – near to One who would hear their cry.
(4) Not only did He draw near unto them, but He demanded as a condition of help that they should believe. He gave them one of the hardest tests that I think was ever given to man. As I told you awhile ago, they saw with their own eyes they were lepers; they felt in their own bodies that they were lepers; every one of them knew that, and yet those ten men started oft to the priests as if they were clean. Wonderful faith! but God demanded that. Whenever you are to have yourself cured of your moral leprosy, you have to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned.” All your own good works will never save you. Your own righteousnesses are as filthy rags, says God. You need something better than your own morality to get to heaven. You need Christ, the Master! “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” It is the only way to be saved.
(5) You will notice, too, that this Master has great respect for the Divine law. It was a law in the days of Moses that they should show themselves to the priests. The Lord Jesus Christ, when He was circumcised, put Himself under the law, and as the One who gave the people the law, He was obedient to the moral law; He was obedient to the ceremonial law; and up to the day of His crucifixion, you will find that every ceremonial law must be obeyed to the letter. “Show yourselves to the priests.” What a grand lesson that is for you and me, as citizens of this country. If the Lord God, the giver of the law, was so subject to His law that even the people must obey it, though He Himself is the law-giver, how much more should not you and I be subject to all the laws, for “the government,” says the Bible, “is of God.”
(6) He not only had great respect for the Divine law, but this Master, you will notice, can easily cure all. When He healed the one leper, He touched him, and he was clean; when He healed the ten lepers He does not touch them; He stands and cries out, “Go, show yourselves to the priests,” as much as to say, “Your health will now lie in your obedience; if you do what I tell you to do, you are clean, and if you do not obey you will not be clean.” Faith, in other words, demanded obedience, and the moment they took the step to obey, their flesh became like the flesh of a child, their disease was all gone, and they were well. Oh, my dear friends, there is a great comfort in this to me, and that is that the Lord Jesus Christ can easily help all – help ten just as well as one, and He does it so easily. It is just as easy for the Almighty God to hold up the worlds on the palm of His hand, as it is to hold a grain of sand; it is just as easy for God to proclaim worlds into space, as it is to sustain the world on which we live; it is just as easy for the Lord God to help all men as it is to help one man; it is just as easy for the Lord Jesus Christ to say this morning to this whole congregation, “Thy sins are forgiven thee,” as it is to say to me or to you, “Thy sins are forgiven thee.”
(III) Having seen the Master, and the men, let us now turn to the man. “And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks; and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And He said unto him, Arise, go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole.”
(1) And there stands the man! – the man cured in body, and cured in soul. In some respects you cannot distinguish the man from the men. We find that the man, and the men, knew that they were lepers; but do you know it is a mark of true manhood to know you are a leper? The reason some people never will be saved, is because they never find out they are lepers until it is too late, I always have more hope when I step to the sick bed of a really wicked man – more hope of bringing him to Christ, than I have of a self-righteous moralist. Some men that are going to be lost and damned are the good men of Mansfield, too good to be church members, too good to curse, too good to swear, too good to drink, too good to commit what the world calls sin, trusting in themselves instead of Christ, never crying for mercy for anything, believing when they lie down on their beds to die that God must accept them because they are so good, and the devil laughs, and says, “You are mine,” and they are his. The mark of a true man is to know that he is a leper.
(2) Not only did this man know that he was a leper, but he knew, furthermore, that as a mark of true manhood, he must associate with men who hear God’s Word. This man was a Samaritan, and a Samaritan, as you know, was half heathen, a mixture of a heathen race and those Israelites taken captive to Babylon, and the consequence was he had a false religion, and if he ever wanted to find the true and living Savior, and get help as a poor leper, he has to go and associate with Jews, and the consequence was, he came across the border and associated with nine Jews, all in one company, and, being with them, he learned something; he learned of the Jews that there is a God; he learned that there is a Messiah coming; he learned that this One who comes is Jesus, the Savior; he learned that there was One who a year and a half before did cure a leper, and if he could find the same One, he could get help; and so he stayed with them, and learned of this Savior, Jesus, and when Jesus did come that way, they all sang the same song, they all prayed the same prayer; they all joined their weak voices until it made one strong voice in the ear of God, “Jesus, Savior, Master, help Thy subjects; we do not deserve help, but help us, out of Thy mercy; have mercy on us!” and there was the mark of a man, – a man that knew that he must hear God’s Word, if he is ever to be brought to the right faith.
(3) And then, having that faith, which he learned by association with men who hear God’s Word, he cried to God for mercy, and that is the mark of a man. Some people think it is manly never to acknowledge their sins; some people think it is belittling, themselves to confess that they are sinners. Oh, my friends, to be a real genuine man, you have got to go to Jesus Christ and confess your sins, and hold fast to Him, and acknowledge yourself as His subject, and call Him Master. Master includes subject; subject includes obedience; obedience means* to be a child of God; and so this man was a man in every respect, in the fact that he heard of the Savior, and believed on Him, and then cried to Him for mercy.
(4) The man, as well as the men, were put to a severe test when they were told to go and show themselves to the priests as clean, when they could see with their own eyes and feel that they were still lepers; but they believed Christ rather than their own senses, and obeyed the command, and they were cleansed as they went. Here is a case where the man believed what he absolutely thought not true. When Jesus speaks, the real man will believe Him, for He cannot lie, and is the Truth. Is it not strange that today many churches treat the doctrines of baptism and the Lord’s Supper as if it were manly not to believe that Jesus meant what He said?
(5) He also showed that he was a man inasmuch as he further wanted to have his soul saved. Nine of those men seemingly were just as great men as the Samaritan, up to a certain point; they were all men until they were healed, then the nine ceased to be men, and the one showed himself a man. In other words, this one Samaritan said, “If He can cleanse my body, and give me a new body, I will be a child of the Master, then I want my soul also saved, and I want to dwell with Him forever and ever, and I am going back to where He is, and fall down before Him, and give Him thanks, and stay with Him until He says, ‘Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole’ ” – and then he was a man! Oh, my friends, when a man wants to be a real genuine man, he has got to be a saved man. A human being, though he belong to the male sex, as long as he is not a child of God, is a child of the devil, and in so far is not manly. It is only when he comes back, and stands before God forgiven, as Adam stood before God in the Garden of Eden before he sinned, that he is an actual man, and may God help us all this morning to be men, and not only human beings.
(6) One of the beautiful marks of this man that I so love to dwell upon, is this, that he saw many things to do without being told. If there is any man that lacks the true manhood, it is the one that can never see anything to do unless he is told to do it. That is about the way some people are living today – if I am to work six hours a day, I will work just six hours and not a minute more; if I am to do a certain thing, I will do just what you put down black on white, and not a thing more – a lack of manhood. The Lord Jesus Christ, when He started from Samaria to Jerusalem, did not say, “I will take the shortest route and miss these ten men up here.” Oh, no; no way is too far for Him to do something He was not told to do; and when these ten men were told to go and show themselves to the priests, Jesus did not mean that was all they were to do the rest of their lives. There are some things a man ought to see to without being told.
This one man saw it was his duty now to walk in the footprints of his Master. If Jesus could go to Jerusalem by going north, “Why,” says this Samaritan, “then I can go to the priests by going to Jesus, theGreat High Priest,” and, instead of stumbling on up the hill to the city of Jerusalem, before human priests, he comes back before the Great High Priest, and falls down, and says, “I am going to walk in the footprints of the Master.” And whenever you want to see a genuine man, you will rind him walking in the footprints of Jesus Christ. He was not told to do this. Thanksgiving led him to do it.
Then another thing he did that he was not told to do, and that was to sing songs of praise to God. “And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,” With his leper’s voice he cried out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us;” with his healed voice he started back and said, “Now I am healed, and I cannot be satisfied until I glorify Jesus, until I praise His holy name.” He was not told to do this, but he did it; he did it because he could not help it; and I say this morning, when a man is a true Christian he wants to praise God, and he cannot help it. God has not given us all equal voices to sing; he has not helped us all to have the equal gift in praising Him; but one thing every Christian on earth can do; if he can read, he can get a hymnbook, and open it up, and prayerfully follow that hymn, and if he is a true Christian, realizing what God has done for him, he cannot sit down like a stone or like a block. Beware my hearers, that you yourselves, do not prove in our Divine service, to be the nine unthankful people, stumbling on to Jerusalem above without a song of praise to the Master. Must you be told to buy a hymnbook? The fact that Jesus bled and died for you, and saved you, isn’t that enough?
He not only praised God, but he fell down in true humility before Him, and gave the mark of a living faith. “Fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks; and he was a Samaritan,” and God says of this same one, “There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.” Children raised in Christian families seem to go to the devil sometimes, while some child, born of leprous parents comes to God, and God in astonishment looks down and says, “The stranger is here, but where are the nine?” The true marks of humility are great in God’s eyes. Get down on your knees; give glory to the Master, and stay at His feet. That is the mark of a man.
And he gave thanks. As I showed you a while ago, men as a rule are unthankful, but once in a while you find a stranger that is thankful, and when he is thankful, it stirs up the very heavens, it even surprises God. Oh! may God help us men this morning to be truly thankful. A number of ministers of the Gospel some time ago met in conference; one of them came into the conference and said, “I never thanked God as I have today.” “What has happened?” “Well, I was riding across yonder dangerous bridge, and my horse stumbled, and I came within one of falling, not only off the horse, but into the deep waters below; and I have never been so thankful to God in all my life as I have today.” Another minister rose and said, “I have never been more thankful in my life than I have today.” “What has happened?” “I rode across that bridge, and my horse did not stumble at all.” Didn’t he have just as much reason to thank God as the other man did? Some men, if you take them right down to the gates of hell, if you bring them right down to the very grave, and then God raises them up, they have courage enough to say, “I thank Thee,” but they could go on throughout life, well every day, and never think of thanking Him. Should I not give thanks to God for the health I have? Will we never learn to be thankful for the things we have got and kept, instead of the things we must first lose and then get? Even the heathen sometimes puts the Christian to shame. I read in ancient history that Plato, the great philosopher, gave thanks to his gods every day for five things: First, that he was a human being and not a brute. Did you ever thank God that you were not born a brute? Plato did, every day. In the second place he thanked his gods every day that he was a man. Have you men ever thanked God that you were men? Third, he thanked his gods every day that he was a Greek. Have you ever thanked God that you were born an American? In the fourth place, he thanked his gods every day that he was an Athenian. Have you ever thanked God that you are in Ohio? Fifth, he thanked his gods every day that he was born in the days that he might have Socrates as his teacher. Have you ever thanked God for the teachers and instructors that you have had, who have made you what you are? It was in 1648, in a little village in Saxony, that an aged man heard the trumpets blow, and cried out, “Just God, are the soldiers here again?” You will never understand what that meant until you realize that in the Thirty Years’ War out of that little village nine hundred homes had been reduced to ashes, and only two hundred and seventy-six were standing. “Just God, are the soldiers here again?” His wife came in and said to Martin Rinkart, the pastor, “I believe the war is over; I hear them down the road shouting and praising God.” Martin Rinkart put on his little cap and started down the road, and found the people embracing each other, some weeping, some shouting praise to heaven. The war is over, and peace has been declared! He went home and took out his pen and began to write down on paper
Now thank we all our God, With heart, and hand, and voices, Who wondrous things hath done, In whom His world rejoices; Who from our mother's arms Hath blessed us on our way With countless gifts of love, And still is ours today.
Then he wrote the second stanza:
O, may this bounteous God Through all our life be near us, With ever joyful hearts And blessed peace to cheer us; And keep up in His grace, And guide us when perplexed, And free us from all ills In this world and the next.
When he wrote the third stanza, it seemed God from heaven gave him the music. He wrote the words first:
All praise and thanks to God The Father, now be given, The Son, and Him who reigns With them in highest heaven, The one eternal God, Whom earth and heaven adore; For thus it was, is now, And shall be evermore.
He took his paper and walked out into the street and began to sing this song. I will sing the verse according to the melody that God gave him: (Thereupon the pastor sang the first stanza, as above given, according to the old melody), And when Martin Rinkart sang the last stanza every citizen in that village was kneeling before his home in prayer, and all gave thanks to God; and it was the swan song of this man, for the next year he went home to his God, Amen.
We invoke Thy divine blessing, our Heavenly Father, upon this message of Thine; we thank Thee for the gift of Thy Son Jesus Christ, who has come into this world of leprosy, and has gone out of His way to find us, and has, through His Word given us a faith that has enabled us to say, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us;” and we thank Thee for Thy Holy Sacraments through which Thou hast given us the cleansing Spirit; and we pray Thee, dear Lord and Master, that Thou wilt now, since we have been cleansed by Thy Holy Spirit, and Thy means of grace, that Thou wilt give us the spirit of thankfulness, that we may, as true men, come back to Thee, and, in true humility, fall down before Thee, and cling to Thee, stranger-like, yet saved body and soul. We ask it all in the name of Jesus, who taught us to pray:
Our Father, who art in heaven: Hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us, this day, our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen. – Long, Simon Peter. The Eternal Epistle: Sermons On The Epistles For The Church Year. Originally Published 1908 by The F. J. Heer Printing Company, Columbus, Ohio.