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Are these things so? If they be, may the Almighty God awaken you to a sense of your danger! O that hè may set home and fix such a conviction of sin upon your consciences, that, feeling your malady, you may earnestly seek the great Physician's help, and may happily find that there is balm in Gilead ! which is the
Second particular I was to consider. Glory be to God, who has not left us without remedy! Our disease is dangerous, but there is balm in Gilead, which can heal perfectly and eternally. The country of Gilead was famous for a precious balm which grew there. 66 Go up to Gilead, and take balnı,” says the prophet Jeremiah, xlvi. 11. Its healing virtue is described by him, chapter li. 8, where, speaking of the downfal of Babylon, he says, “take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed.” This sovereign medicine, which then grew in Gilead, could assuage the pain of wounds and heal them, and thereby was a type of the gracious remedy which God had provided for the healing of the wounds of sin, namely, the most precious blood of the Lanb of God, applied and effectual by the Holy Spirit: for as this cleanses away all the pollutions, so it heals all the diseases of sin. The scripture has treated largely of its healing virtue, but it is no where more forcibly recommended than in the parable of the good Samaritan. Our Lord
says, a certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.” This certain man was Adam, whose possession was in a paradise of peace and rest, and there he was innocent, safe, and happy: but he left this blissful state of his own accord, contrary to God's express commandment, and he fell among thieves, Satan and luis angels, who drew him into sin, and stripped of his raiment, robbed him of his righteousness, in which his soul had hitherto appeared in immaculate purity before God. This spotless robe they took away, and left poor fallen man naked and
wounded. They wounded his body with those paińs and diseases which bring it down to the dust, from whence it was taken; and they wounded his soul in all its faculties, his understanding with darkness, his will with a vicious choice, and his affections with worldly-mindedness, so that he placed his love upon the creature instead of the Creator; they wounded his conscience with guilt, and with fear of death and of hell. * And they departed, leaving him half dead :" for his soul, the better part, was separated from God, and already dead in trespasses and sins, and the body was dying. When man was fallen into his helpless state, the patriarchal dispensation took place from Adam to Moses, under which the first born was priest, and had a right to offer up the appointed sacrifices; but these could not give life to the sinner, and therefore the priest came and looked upon him, and passed by on the one side, being unable to raise him up from the death of sin. Next succeeded the levitical dispensation from Moses to Christ: the Levite came and looked upon him and passed by on the other side, being unable, by any of the legal rites and ceremonies, to raise fallen man to his former righteousness and perfection. “But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was.” Samaritan signifies a keeper, and it here stands for the Keeper of Israel, whose compassions fail not: " for when he saw him he had compassion on him.” His love disposed him to use his power for the sinner's recovery; he was almighty, and he resolved to use his almighty power to heal him. He went up to him and applied the balm of Gilead~" he bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine;" wine, the established type of the most precious blood of the Lamb of God, and oil, the known emblem of the salutary influence of the Holy Spirit. Pour these into the deepest and most dangerous wounds of sin, and they will infallibly work a perfect cure; for the blood has a divine virtue to heal, being appointed and ordained of God for that very purpose. It cleanseth us, says one who had experienced its virtue, and by cleansing healeth us from all sin. And no wonder, because it is the blood of God. He who shed it was God and man united in one Christ, and therefore it had infinite and divine merit. And when he stood in the place of sinners, obeyed and suffered for them, and was obedient even unto death, his obedience and sufferings could want nothing to render them as satisfactory as the law and justice of the Father could require : because his blood had virtue as a release to discharge believers from all the pains and penalties to which they were subject for their sins, and as a purchase to put them in possession of their forfeited estate. The apostle describes its operating as a release when he says, " that we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins," and as a purchase, when he says, “that Christ, having washed us from our sins in his own blood, hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father."
Now since the blood of Christ has this sovereign healing virtue, and since we have through it redemption, even eternal redemption, from all the pains and miseries of sin, surely then it is an essential ingredient in that precious balm of Gilead, which has virtue to heal every sinner who takes it, let his case be ever so dangerous ? But then it must be taken. A sick man may have a very good remedy at hand, but if he never take it, it can never cure him. In like manner it is not enough that the blood of Christ can heal, but in order to heal it must be applied. The application makes it effectual, and therefore we read of ihe blood of sprinkling, both in the old testament and in the new. . The blood must be sprinkled upon the conscience, in order to heal the wounds of sin, and this is the office of the Holy Spirit. He applies the blood of Christ; he brings this healing balm to the wounded soul: and as oil was the emblem of his salutary influence, therefore in the good Samaritan's prescription we find the medicine was made up of oil and wine, of the blood of Christ, and of the grace of
his Spirit, which two, sweetly joined and tempered together, make up the healing balm of Gilead.There is not a wound of sin so deep, a disease of sin so desperate, but the blood of Christ applied by the Holy Spirit can heal them: for God hereby healeth the broken in heart, and giveth this medicine to heal their sickness. Although they be half dead, yet it can recover them, because it operates by a divine and almighty power. The blood of Christ can raise the deadest soul to justification of life, and through sanctification of the Spirit this life is renewed and strengthened day by day, until every spiritual malady of sin be removed, and sorrow and sighing be done away for ever. Hear this, ye mourners in Sion, and lift up your drooping heads. Looking into yourselves you may have reason to grieve. Your sins are many and great. They have wounded your consciences. You feel the smart, and your distress is exquisite. But despair not. Lo, there is balm in Gilead. The blood of Jesus is an infallible remedy. The Holy Spirit is almighty to apply it, and he has already showed you your
want of it. O that he may give you grace to wait until he supply your wants, and you feel its sovereign virtue healing your wounded consciences ! And to encourage you to seek and wait until
find, remeber that there is not only balm in Gilead, but also that there is a physician there, as I am, in the
Third place, to consider, under whose hands you cannot fail of a perfect recovery; and he is no less a person than the great physician of souls, who is also God over all blessed for ever. He who created all things, visible and invisible, and who supports them by the word of his power, vouchsafes to heal his
people of their sins; so there can be no doubt of his power, because he is almighty to heal. And can there be any doubt of his love? Did not his love bring him down from heaven to the lowest humiliation, even to veil his divine glory under a covering of flesh, and did not his love then lead him to put forth his divine power to heal every one who applied to him for a bodily cure? Whereby he demonstrated to us his readiness to exert the same power to heal the spiritual infirmities of those who come to him for his asa sistance. The eternal God, whom angels and archangels worship and adore, was pleased to be manifested in the flesh, so that God and man were one Christ, and the one Christ, the God-man, stood up in the place of sinners as their representative, for them he obeyed the law, and suffered the pains and penalties due to the breach of it, that by his stripes they might be healed: he was obedient, even unto death, and then rising from the dead as their representative he wrought out an all-perfect righteousness for them, which, being imputed unto them by faith, they thereby receive justification. Thus the great physician of souls has demonstrated his love. You may read it in every action of his life, and in every suffering unto death. You may read it engraven on every wound of his crucified body. What were the marks and scars which the crown of thorns made in his head, and the whips and scourges made on his back, but visible signs and seals of his love? The love which led him to his agony and bloody sweat, to his bitter cross and passion, was greater than that of the strongest instinct and natural affection in the human breast : " for can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion upon the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will not I forget thee, saith the Lord; for I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands."
hands.” While he looks upon them he cannot forget his people; because on the palms of his hands are the prints of the nails by which he was fastened to the cross, and these prints are the precious engravings of his wonderful love. Look upon the crucified Jesus, my Christian brethren, as wounded for your transgressions and bruised for your iniquities, and see if ever there was love like his. Every wound speaks forth his love, every bruise loudly proclaims the greatness of it. His death demonstrates his love to have been stronger than death, and his