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lift up but thy sincere cry to the Lord Jesus for help, and he will quickly be with thee. When the prodigal, the emblem of a convinced, humbled finger, said, in himself, I will return to my father, the father ran to meet him, Luke xv. 20. He can be with thee in a moment.
Sixthly, None fo willing to receive and undertake all distressed and afflicted souls, as Jesus Christ is : he refuses none that come to him.
Joho vi. 37:
“ He that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out.” Whatever their fins have been, or their sorrows are; however they have wounded their own souls with the deepest galhes of guilt; how desperate and helpless foever their cafe appears, in their own, or others eyes; he never puts them off, or discourages them, if they be but willing to come, Isa. i. 18, 19.
Seventhly, None so happy and successful, as Christ; he never fails of performing a perfect cure upon those he undertakes : Dever was it known that any foul miscarried in his hands, John iii. 15, 16. Other physicians, by mistakes, by ignorance, or carelessness, fill church yards, and cast away the lives of men ; but Christ suffers nope to perish, that commit themselves to him.
Eightly, None so free and generous, as Christ; he doth all gratis : he fells not his medicines, though they be of infinite value; but freely
, gives them; lfa.lv. 1. “ He that hath no mopey, let him come.”
If any be sept away, it is the rich, Luke i. 53. dot the poor and needy: those that will not accept their remedy as a free gift, but will needs purchase it at a price: Ninthly, and lastly, None rejoice in the recovery of fouls
, more than Christ doth. O! it is unspeakably delightful to him to see the efficacy of his blood upon our souls ; Isa. lii. 11. "He « shall see the travail of his soul, (i.e. the success of bis death " and sufferings) and shall be satisfied.” When he foresaw the fuccess of the gospel upon the world, it is said, Luke x. 21. "lo “ that hour Jesus rejoiced in Spirit.” And thus you see, there is no physician like Christ, for lick fouls. The uses of this point are,
For information and direction' First, From whence we are informed of many great and necessary truths, deducible from this : As,
Infer. 1. How inexpressible is the grace of God, in providing Juch a physician a's Christ, for the fick and dying fouls of finners!
blessed be God, that there is a balm in Gilead, and ở physiciar there! that their cafe is not desperate, forlorn and remedilels, as that the devils and damned is. There is but one cafe except ed from cure, and that, such as is not incident to any fepsible,
afflicted foul, Mat. xii. 31. and this only excepted, all manner of fins and diseases are capable of a cure. Though there be fuch a disease as is incurable, yet take this for thy comfort, never any foul was sick (i. e.) feasibly burthened with it, and willing to come to Jesus Christ' for healing : for under that sin the will is so wounded, that they have no desire to Christ. O inestima. ble mercy! that the sickest finger is capable of a perfect cure ! There be thousands, and ten thousands, now io heaven and earth, who said oace, Never was any cafe like theirs ; fo dangerous, so hopeless. The greatest of finners have been perfectly recovered by Christ, 1 Tim. i. 15. 1 Cor. vi. 11. O mercy, never to be duly estimated !
Infer. 2. What a powerful restraint from hin, is the very method ordained by God for the cure of it! Ifa. liii. 5. “By his stripes “ we are healed.” The physician must die, that the patient might live; no other thing but the blood, the precious blood of Christ, is found in heaven or earth able to heal us, Heb. ix. 22, 26. This blood of Christ must be freshly applied to every new wound sin makes upon our fouls, 1 Joho ii. I, 2. every new fin wounds him afresh, opens the wounds of Christ anew. O think of this, again and again, you that fo easily yield to the solicitati. ons of Satan : Is it so easy, and so cheap, to fin, as you seem to make it? Doth the cure of souls coft nothing? True, it is free to us, but was it so to Chriit ? No, no, it was not; he knows the price of it, though you do not : Hath Christ healed you by his tripes, and can you put him under fresh sufferings for you so easily? Have you forgot also your owo fick days and nights for fin, that you are careless in refifting and preveating it? Sure it is not easy for saints to wound Christ, and their own fouls, at one stroke. If you renew your fins, you must also renew your forrows and repentance, Pfal. li. title. 2 Sam. xii. 13. you most feel the anguish and pain of a troubled fpirit again, things with which the faints are not unacquaiated; of which they may say, as the church, “Remembring my affliction, the wormwood and ,“ the gall, my soul hath them Itill in remembrance,” Lam. iii. 19. Yea, and if you will get be remiss in your watch, and so easily incur new guilt, though a pardon in the blood of Christ may heal your souls, get some rod or other, in the hand of a difpleafed father, Mall afflict your bodies, or smite you in your outward comforts, Pfal. Ixxxix. 23.
Infer. 3. If Christ be the only physician of fick fouls, what fin .and folly is it for men to take Christ's work out of his hands, and attempt to be their own physician? ...Thus do those that fuperftitiously endeavour to heal their
fuls, by afflicting their bodies; not Christ's blood, but their own, must be the plaister : and as bliud Papists, so, many carnal and ignorant Protestants strive, by confession, reftitution, reformation, and stricter course of life, to heal those wounds that fin hath made upou their fouls, without any respect to the blood of Christ : but this course shall not profit them at all. It may, for a time, divert, but can never heal them : the wounds, so akioned over, will open and bleed again. God grant it be not when our souls fhall be out of the reach of the true and only remedy.
Ipfer. 4. How fad is the case of those fouls, to whom Chrift hath not yet been a physician? They are mortally wounded, by sio, and are like to die of their sickness; no saving, healing applications have hitherto been made unto their fouls : and this is the case of the greatest part of mankind, yea, of them that live under the discoveries of Christ in the gospel. Which appears by these fad fymptoms.
First, lo that their eyes have not yet been opened, to fee their fin and misery; in which illumination, the cure of fouls begins, Acts xxvi. 18. To this day he hath not given them eyes to See, Deut. xxix. 4. but that terrible stroke of God, which blinds and hardens them, is too visibly upon them, mentioned in Ifa. vi. 9, 10. No hope of healing, till the finner's eyes be opened to see his fin and misery.
Secondly, In that nothing will divorce and separate them from their lusts; a sure sign they are not under Christ's cure, nor were ever made sick of fin. O if ever Chrift be a physician to thy soul, he will make thee loathe what now thou loveft, and say to thy moft pleafant and most profitable lufts, Get ye hence, Ifa. XXX. 22.
Till then, there is no ground to thiok that Christ is a physician to you.
Thirdly, in that they have no sensible and presfing need of Christ, nor make any earnest enquiry after him, as, moft certainly, you would do, if you were in the way of healing and recovery. There, and many other fad fymptoms, do too plainly discover the disease of fin, to be in its full strength upon your souls; and if it fo continue, how dreadful will the issue be? See Ifa. vi. 9,
Infer. 5. What cause have they to be glad, that are under the hand and care of Christ, in order to a cure, and who do find, or may, upon due examination, find their souls are in a very hopeful way of recovery! Can we rejoice when the strength of a natural diseafe is broken, and nature begias to recoger cafe and vigour again? And Mall we eat much more re
joice, when our fouls begin to mend, and recover fensibly, and all comfortable signs of health and life appear upon them ? particularly, when the understanding, which was ignorant and dark, hath the light of life beginning to dawn into it; such is that in 1 Joho ži. 27. When the will, which was rebellious and inflexible to the will of God, is brought to comply with that holy will, faying, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ?” Acts ix. 6. When the heart, which was harder than an adament, is now brought to contrition for fin, and can mouro as heartily over it, as e. ver a father did for a dead son, a beloved, and only fon; when its aversations from God are gone, at least have no such power as once they had; but the thoughts are now fixed much upon God, and spiritual things begin to grow pleasant to the soul ; when times of duty come to be longed for, and the soul never better pleased than in such seasons : when the hypocrisy of the heart is purged out, so that we begin to do all that we do hear: tily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men, Col. iii. 23. i Thell. ii. 4. : when we begin to make conscieace of secret fios, Pfal. cxix. 113., and of secret duties, Matth. vi. 5, 6.: when we have an equal respect to all God's commandments, Psal. cxix. 8., and our hearts are under the holy, and awful eye of God, which doth, indeed, over-awe our fouls, Gen. xvii. 1. O what sweet signs of a recovering foul are these! Surely such are in the skilful hand of the great Physician, who will perfect what yet remains to be done.
Second use for direction. In the last place, this point yields us matter of advice and di. rection to poor fouls that are under the diseale of fin; and they are of two forts, which I will diftinctly speak to: viz, First, Such as are under their first sickness of spiritual sorrow for sin, and know not what course to take : or, Secondly, Such as have been longer in the hands of Christ the Physician, but are troubled to see the cure advance fo flowly upon them, and fear the ilue.
First, As to those that are in their first troubles for fin, and know not what course to take for ease and safety; I would address to them these following couosels.
First, Shut your cars against the dangerous counsels of carpal persoas, or relations; for as they themselves are unacquainted with thele troubles, fo also are they with all proper remedies : and it is very usual with the devil to convey his temptations to distressed souls, by such hands; because, by them, he can do it with least suspicion. It was Augustine's complaint, that his
own father took little care for his foul; and many parents act, in this case, as if they were employed by Satan.
Secondly, Be not too eager to get out of trouble, but be content to take God's way, and wait his time. No woman that is wise, would defire to have her travail halteoed one day before the due time; nor will it be your intereit to hasten too soon out of trouble. It is true, times of trouble are apt to seem tedious ; but a false peace will endanger you more than a long trouble : a inan may lengthen his own troubles to the loss of his owa peace, and may shorten them to the hazard of his own soul.
Thirdly, Open your cafe to wise, judicious, and experienced Christians, and efpecially the ministers of Cbrift, whose office it is 10 countel and direct you in these difficulties; and let not your troubles lie, like a fecret, fmothering fire, always in your own breasts. I know men are more ashamed to open their sins under convictions, than they were to commit them before conviction : but this is your interest, and the true way to your rest and peace. If there be with you, or near you, ao interpreter, one of a thousand, to sew you your righteousness, and remedy, as it lies in Christ; neglect not your own fouls, ja a finful concealment of your case: it will be the joy of their hearts to be employed in fuch work as this.
Fourthly, Be much with God in secret, open your hearts to him, and pour out complaints into his bolom. The eii. Pfalm bears a title very suitable to your case and duty; yea, you will find if your
troubles work kindly, and God intend a cure upon your souls, that nothing will be able to keep God and your souls afunder: whatever
your incumbrances in the world be, fume time will be daily redeemed, to be fo spent betwixt you and God.
Fifthly, Plead hard with God, in prayer, for help and healing, "Heal my soul, (faith David) for I have finned against thee,” Psal. xli. 4.
Tell him Christ hath his commission fealed for such as you are: he was fent to" bind up the broken-hearted," Ila. Ixi. 1. Tell him he came into the world, to seek and · fave that which was lost," and so are you now, in your own account and apprehensions. Lord, what profit is there in my blood? Wilt thou pursue a dried leaf? And why is my heart wounded with the fenfe of fin, and mine eyes open to see my danger and misery? Are not these the first dawnings of mercy upon finners ? O let it appear, that the time of mercy, even the fet time, is now come.
Sixthly, Understand your peace to be in Christ only, and faith to be the only way to Christ and relt; let the great enquiry of your souls be after Christ and faith ; study the nature and ne.