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pierced side showed that he had set his people as a seal upon his heart; for from thence there flowed blood and water-water, to cleanse the pollution, and blood, to heal the wounds of their sins. Surely then he who shed his heart's blood for them cannot want love. Let this encourage poor dejected souls to wait upon him. Why are ye so troubled, as if God had not provided a medicine to heal the broken-hearted ? Is there not balm in Gilead? Is there not a physician there? O wait upon him then for his kind assistance, and you will certainly find that the fountain of his love is not dried up! He is now indeed on the throne of glory, King of kings, and Lord of lords, but he has the same tender heart which once bled to death upon the cross. Apply to him for relief, and he will not cast you out.
You can have no distemper but what he has power to heal; for he is an almighty physician. And no distemper but what he has love to heal; for God is love, and the Saviour, the Lord Christ, is God. How great soever the wounds of sin may be, yet if you fall low at his footstool, crying for mercy, he will not reject your suit. What! was it ever known that he cast out the prayer of the poor destitute? No; there never was, and there never will be such an instance.When he was upon earth he never refused to heal any one who asked his help. He never sent one single person away unrelieved, whatever his disease might be, or however unworthy he was to be healed of it. He cured all that came to him, and he did not half cure them, but, it is written, they were made perfectly whole. Perfectly does he heal all the wounds of sin, and eternally. He heals for ever. His medicines restore his patients to everlasting health. He forgiveth all their sins, and healeth all their infirmities, and thus admits them into the city of the living God, the inhabitant of which shall not say, I am sick ; for the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity, and so freely and fully forgiven, that God will remember it no more. And is this indeed
the character of the great physician of souls? Is his heart so full of love that he is always disposed to use his power for the perfect recovery of convinced and afflicted sinners? Is he as willing as he is able to heal'them? No doubt he is. Let such persons then seek his help, and look up unto him for medicine to heal their wounded consciences. He hath wounded you out of love, and he will heal. He hath convinced you of your wants, in order that you might wait upon him to have them supplied. Wait then, and he will give you abundant reason to admire and to praise the wonders which he will do for you and for your salvation. He will pardon you freely, and will heal all the wounds which sin has made, and then he will enable you to declare, upon your own happy ex, perience, that there is balm in Gilead, and a physician there.
Now, since this is the case, why do men labour under the maladies of sin? Since the blood of Christ is the sovereign balm, and Christ is the physician, whose power and love are able and willing to heal the most desperate disease, and the Holy Spirit is almighty to apply the healing balm, may we not then reasonably inquire, “why is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered ?” And this is the
Fourth and last particular to be considered. Why are men sick, when they have an offer of health? Do they choose, do they love sickness? Yes: the same men whose every pulse beats after bodily health • choose and love spiritual sickness. They are alarm
ed at the least disorder which attacks the body, and yet they have no concern about the soul, although it be wounded with sin, and sick unto death, yea just ready to perish. How absurd is this conduct! Thus to prefer the health of the ineaner and baser part of their constitution to the more noble and exalted part, is a flagrant absurdity. Nay, not to desire the health of the soul, when it is offered them, is acting unnaturrally against their own interest. To reject it, when the great Physician himself offers it in his word, is
treating him with vile ingratitude; and not to receive this inestimable remedy at his hand, when he sends out his ministers to invite sinners to take it, to spurn it from them, as if it was a thing which they did not value or did not want, this is the beight of sin and wickedness : for whosoever thus accounteth the blood of the covenant an unholy thing, and thereby doth despite unto the spirit of grace, for him there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation.
This being the case, the question returns, what can be the reason that the healih of the daughter of my people is not recovered? Here is the all-healing balm of Gilead, here is an all-wise and an almighty physician, and why then, my brethren, will you not, for his sake, for your own sakes, receive the sovereign medicine at his hands? What other cause can be assigned, but that you love your disease more than health? Sin, with all its infirmities, is dearer to you than the full enjoyment of the pleasures of a perfect recovery. Sin, although you die of it, is more precious than to receive life from the hands of a redeeming God. Sin, although it sends you to hell, is more desirable than health in heaven. Sin, although it brings on you never ending torments with devils and condemned spirits, is sweeter to you than those eternal joys which are at God's right hand for evermore. O what a wonderful delusion is there in sin, that it should thus make men love it more than health and happiness ! How strong is the delusion, since the same men reason, in the things belonging to the body, directly contrary to what they do in things belonging the soul! Propose relief to any of them who are lying in a severe fit of the gout or stone, they embrace the proposal with eager joy. Propose immediate relief from the pains and miseries of sin, they will not hear of, much less take the remedy. There is balm in Gilead, a physician is there, even the Lord Jesus, the sovereign physician of souls, and yet they will not apply to him. Sick as they are, and ready to expire
with the infirmities of sin, yet they had rather perish than be beholden to him for a cure. All his attributes, his power, his wisdom, his goodness, cannot win them. All his graces, his pardoning, justifying, sanctifying grace, have no influence. He may be a God almighty to save, but the charms of sin, though but for a season, seem to then preferable to the blessings of his present and eternal salvation.
But whence is it that sin should be capable of deluding men so far as to make them prefer sickness to health? The true cause is this. Sin blinds their eyes, and hardens their hearts. It stupifies and deadens the senses, so that they feel not their spiritual, in the same manner as they do their bodily, cliseases. The understanding is in darkness, they know not that it is diseased. When they know it, the memory is short, and soon forgets it. When they remember it, yet conscience is fast asleep; it neither checks the will in the choice, nor the affections in the love and enjoyment of sin. Thus has sin impaired all their faculties, and they have no desire to be healed, because they are insensible of their malady. When we endeavour to convince them of it they will not believe us; and because they do not feel the immediate smart of their sins, they will not therefore give credit to us when we declare, from the word of God, that they will smart for them, and to eternity, unless they come to the physician of souls to be healed. And this will be the case so long as they are intent upon their present pursuits, and live entirely to sense and to its enjoyments. All this time their own hearts deceive them: for it is one of the greatest delusions of sin to keep men ignorant of the true state of their souls. It flatters them with peace, while the Almighty is at war with them; and it promises them happiness in the enjoyment of those things which will bring on them eternal torments. And while it keeps them in this state of carnal security, nothing can appear to them more absurd than to hear that they are sick, when they fancy themselves to be in perfect health.
1. My brethren, are any of you in this state? Do you feel no pain, and do you apprehend no danger
your sins ? Are you entirely secure, although your sins be unpardoned, and God might glorify his justice by immediately inflicting the deserved punishment? Nay, do you not find part of sin's punishment already inflicted, and why then should you hope to escape the remaining part? For have you not suffered some of those pains and sicknesses which, in a course of years, will infallibly bring down your bodies to the grave, and inflict the sentence on them, “ Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”. The body was not at first liable to this sentence, until sin poured its cursed poison into it, and infected it with those painful maladies, which no art of physic can heal, and which wear it down to the grave of death. Every pain which it feels, every sickness which it labours under, all the outward and inward dangers which threaten its mortal life, are owing to sin : for the wages of sin is death. All the harbingers
of death which afflict and weaken men's bodies, and thereby prepare the way for his seizing on them, and carrying them prisoners to the dark and cold regions of the
grave--all these derive their power over us from sin: for as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. Sin has most undoubtedly wounded your bodies with pains and sicknesses, with inortality and death; and what a madness then and infatuation is it to think, that sin has not wounded your souls as well as your bodies ? For what says the scripture? “ The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” Is not that a desperate wound?" It shall die.” How? Can the soul die? Yes: it may be dead in trespasses and sin. Its death consists in being separated from God, the fountain of life, and in having no communion with him either in this world or in the next. And is not this a greater punishment than the death of the body, and is it not infinitely more painful too, thus to die from God and glory,