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The Balm of Gilead.
“Is there no halm in Gilead? Is there no Physician there? Why. then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered ?".
JEREMIAH, viii. 22.
ALL men love health. The desire of it is founded
in nature. It is one of the natural instincts which never leaves us. So long as we love pleasure and hate pain, we cannot but love health, as the chief of all outward blessings. Indeed it is to be desired beyond them all, because without it we can enjoy none of them ; without it we are unfit for our worldly business and employment, and unfit for the duties of religion. A good man would therefore wish for health, with a view to the concerns of a better life as well as to those of the present life. All men desire it on a temporal account; but, alas, how few have any real desire for the health of the soul! If the body be in great pain, with what haste do they send for relief, and how carefully do they follow the physician's prescription ? But when their souls are wounded with sin, and they may endure the smart and anguish of their wounds for ever; for these are by any human means incurable; and when a divine remedy is proposed, and they hear of a loving and an almighty physician, under whose hands no patient was ever lost,
The Balm of Gilead.
Is there no halm in Gilead? Is there no Physician there? Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered ?". -JEREMIAH, viii. 22.
ALL men love health. The desire of it is founded h in nature. It is one of the natural instincts which never leaves us. So long as we love pleasure and hate re cannot but love health, as the chief of all
lessings. Indeed it is to be desired beyr
because without it we can enjoy ith ve are unfit for our worldly
und unfit for the duties of ould therefore wish for ncerns of a better life as t life. All men desire it alas, how few have any e soul! If the body be do they send for relief, ow the physician's preouls are wounded with
smart and anguish of se are by any human divine remedy is propoand an almighty phypatient was ever lost, yet they have not one wish to be healed. What can be the reason of this? Why are the very men, who with an invariable affection love bodily health, so far from desiring the health of the soul, that when they have an offer of being healed of all their spiritual maladies, they neglect the remedy and despise the physi. cian? Is not this unaccountable conduct? What can make the same men in the same case reason so differently? If they had an infallible remedy for the recovery of bodily health, there is not one of them who would reject it; but there is a sovereign remedy for the recovery of the health of the soul, there is balm in Gilead, and a most kind and able physician there to apply it, and yet spiritual maladies abound. Let us inquire into the cause of this inconsistent behaviour. It is an inquiry in which we are all nearly concerned. Our welfare depends on oor being healed of the wounds of sin by this balm of Gilead. We can have no true peace of conscience here, nor no true happiness, hereafter, unless we take this sovereign medicine. May the Lord God dispose us all to take it by means of what shall be said in opening and explaining the text, in which there is,
First, some sickness referred to.
Secondly, a sovereign medicine, there is balm in Gilead to heal it.
Thirdly, a great physician to apply it; and all the means of healing being thus ready at hand, the ques. tion naturally follows, in the
Fourth place, why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?
If we look back to the seventeenth verse we shall find an account of the sickness referred to in the text. The people were stung with serpents and cockatrices, and of the most venomous and fiery sort, whose poi. son once infused into the blood acts like the most ra. ging fire, consuming and drying up the fluids of the body, and in a short time bringing on certain death, 66 For behold I will send serpents and cockatrices among you, which will not be charmed, and they shall
bite you, saith the Lord.” This is a just picture of that more deadly poison which the old serpent, the devil, infused into both body and soul, the effects of which all the human race have felt; for he drew us all into sin, and the dreadful consequences of sin appear in that variety of diseases which brings down our bodies to the grave of death, and in that variety of corrupt and depraved appetites which proves the soul to be alienated from the life of God, and to be incapable, unless it be entirely changed, of enjoying God.. It was sin which thus poisoned our nature: for before sin entered into the world, all things were good. There was no evil to afflict either body or soul. But when sin entered, then the sanction of the law took place: “In the day that thou eatest of the forbidden fruit, dying thou shalt die.”—Gen. ii. 17. In that day thy body shall become mortal, and liable to those pains and diseases which in a course of years shall destroy its animal life, and thy soul shall be separated from the fountain of its spiritual life, and cut off from all communion with God in this world, and in the next it shall be separated from him for ever, which is the second death. O sin, what hast thou done! Thou art the author of all the evils which mankind are capable of suffering in earth and hell. Thou broughtest them all upon us, thou enemy of God and man! And wilt thou afterwards pretend to be our friend! Wilt thou come to court us with promises of happiness, that by deceiving us thou mayest more effectually poison and destroy our bodies and souls ! Look upon this base traitor, my brethren. Can he be a friend to your nature who has subjected it to all the miseries of mortality? If you have any true love for yourselves, how can you love and cherish sin, which has made you liable to suffer the first and the second death? What! is this a friend to be taken into your bosom, one that will murder your body and bring both body and soul into hell? Accustom youre, selves to view sin in this light, and it will help you to see the horrible destructive nature of it. When