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and to be tormented with the worm that never dieth, and in the fire that never shall be quenched? What! is not that a wound indeed which thus alienated you from the life of God ? yea, a most dreadful wound, the torment and anguish of which you may suffer for ever and ever? Men and brethren, are these things so? Examine the evidence and determine. Is not sin the great murderer, who has wounded your bodies with pains and diseases and mortality, and has separated your souls from God, the fountain of life, and made you subject to the first and second death? Is not the proof of these truths as complete and full as the case will admit of? Does it not amount even to a demonstration ? And do you not then stand in need of some sovereign balm to heal you, and do you not want a physician ? You certainly do, as much as ever dying men did. And why then do you neglect the re. medy, and slight the physician ?
But perhaps some person may say, how can these things be? Am not I in perfect health, and how then can I labour under those diseases which you are mentioning ? Yes, my brother, you may be in health, your body may be perfectly well, but you have a miserable, sinful soul within you, which is infected with the plague and foul leprosy of original sin, and which has been wounded with thousands of actual crimes. This is your case, and it is most deplorable. All the powers in nature can give you no relief. There is no remedy in heaven or earth, but the blood of Jesus Christ, applied by the grace of his good Spirit; and yet sin has such power over you as to persuade you to neglect that precious medicine, without which you must perish everlastingly.
What! say you, can I be in this desperate condition, and not know and feel it? Yes, you may. It is an undoubted matter of fact, that sin brought as many diseases upon the soul as it did upon the body. Indeed it left the soul entirely sick, and without any soundness in it, as we daily confess in the words of our church- there is no health in us." And if there
be no health in you, surely then you are sick in every part. And you have no sense of your malady, because sin has so impaired all your faculties that you have no spiritual discernment. You do not discern your case to be dangerous, which is one of the worst symptoms you could have. It proves you to be far gone in a spiritual lethargy,, so that the less sense you have, the greater is your danger. And is not this a dangerous disease which makes the patient insensible? For how can he avoid perishing of it, while conscience, which ought to give the alarm, is seared as with an hot iron, and the other faculties of the soul are past feeling? This is the scripture account of your condition, and if it has not convinced you, may the Lord God Almighty make you sensible of your malady, that you may apply to the great Physician of souls for the balm of Gilead, along with those convinced sinners who are now waiting upon him for the sovereign remedy!
2. When sinners are first brought to a sense of their guilt and of their danger, and conscience begins to do its duty, they are apt to write bitter things against themselves, and througb unbelief to reject the offered mercies of the gospel. They feel the wounds of sin more sharp and painful than ever its pleasures had been sweet and delightful. The law stirs up guilt, terrifies their consciences with its threatenings, sets God before their eyes as armed with almighty justice to inflict the threatened punishment, and they see no way open to escape. Speak to persons in this distress of the balm of Gilead, the remedy appointed of God for their disease, they cannot believe it is able to heal them; or if they are brought to believe this, yet they reject the comforts of the blessed medicine for want of faith to apply it to themselves.
Let us consider this case a little. My brethren, sin has wounded your bodies and souls, and you are become sensible of the malady. You feel the anguish of it, and you desire to be healed. What objection have you to the remedy which the Lord God has ap
pointed for your recovery? Has it not virtue to heal your wounded consciences? You know what the remedy is : it is the balm of Gilead, the most precious blood of the Lamb of God, applied by the eternal Spirit; and it heals, not by any natural or physical qualities, but by a divine and spiritual efficacy. The power of God is always present with it to heal.You cannot therefore object against the medicine; because God has provided it, and he with his own arm renders it effectual for the cure of wounded consciences.
True, say you, I believe the remedy is infallible, but how do I know that God will apply it to my soul? You are wounded, and it is balm for wounded consciences, therefore for yours. God has awakened you, he has brought you to the knowledge of your disease, and you feel the pain of it. For what reason has God done this, but that the sense of your mi. sery might send you to the Physician for his advice and assistance? When the enemy of souls sees you thus escaping out of his hands he would try to persuade you that the remedy is not for you; whereas you are the very persons to whom the gospel offers it. Christ says, he came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance; and you are sinners, you feel the misery of sin, and therefore Christ came to call you. Since you are sick, he calls you as much as if he had called you by name in the gospel, to receive of him the balin of Gilead, to heal all your spiritual infirmities. .
You think you should be happy, if you could believe this, but you find so many and such desperate wounds, so many soul-murdering sins, that you dare not believe the remedy is for such as you. But why not? Is not the medicine for sin-sick souls? And the more sick you are, the more you want the media cine; and be your case the worst that ever was, yet the virtue of the medicine is almighty. If from the sole of the foot even to the crown of the head there was no soundness in you, but in every part wounds and brui
ses and putrifying sores, yet the balm of Gilead can make a perfect cure; yea, if you had ten thousand more wounds than you have, it could heal them all. Consider, then, how greatly you disparage and vilify the love and power of our divine physician, by supposing your sins more able to kill than he is to heal. Is he not-the Lord God Almighty, and are not all things possible with him ? O be not faithless then, but believing! ,
But perhaps guilt suggests to you, my case is singular, I have sinned against light and conviction ; often did I resolve to leave my sins, but I as often broke my resolutions, and therefore I fear that I have sinned away my day of grace, and that there is no mercy for me. Your case is bad, but not desperate. Looking back on your past life, you should be humbled, but not despair; for are you not convinced of your want of the balm of Gilead, and does not it by a divine virtue heal all manner of sins? Sins against light, against many solemn resolutions, and against many warnings of conscience, as well as other sins? The medicine certainly can heal them all; because it is appointed of God for that purpose, and by his almighty power he renders it effectual, and therefore whatever keeps you from relying upon its power to heal you is an enemy to your soul. O pray against unbelief, for that is at the bottom of all your objections against this sovereign medicine, and may the Lord give you faith to be healed !
What ! can it heal me, says some poor dejected broken-hearted sinner, who sees nothing but sin in his heart and life? Yes, it is appointed for you by name: “ He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds." - Psalm, cxlvii. 3. The great Physician has an especial regard for your case. He says he was sent to heal the broken-hearted. But not such as I am, says one, my heart is worse than broken, it is dead to God, and to the things of God. Be it so. Our Physician is famous for raising the dead. It is his office and his glory. In the parable of the good Samaritan he healed the man who was half dead. His soul was as dead to God as yours is. But the precious balm, which was applied to him, made him alive to God. The same remedy can quicken you, although you have been dead in trespasses and sins; and as you are so far quickened as to see your want of this remedy, may you soon experience its sovereign virtue, and receive from it saving health!
After many doubts and fears have been silenced, new ones still arise. Unbelief may perhaps have been suggesting to some of your hearts—the medicine certainly can heal all cases, but I have nothing to recommend me to the physician. Have you nothing ? Then this is your best recommendation. He always relieves poor distressed, dying objects, who have no. thing to bring him but their sins and their miseries. He is therefore a physician, that he may relieve such: for by healing those whom none else can heal he gets, all the glory: and by healing them freely he exalts his sovereign grace. Thus he acted in the parable of the good Samaritan. What bad the wounded tra. - veller to recommend him? Was it not that he was miserable and helpless? This moved the Lord's compassion, and he showed him mercy. “Go and do thou likewise.” Apply to the great Physician, because thou art sick, and canst not heal thyself, and then he will exalt his rich grace and love, by freely forgiving thee all thy sins, and by pouring the balın of Gilead into thy wounded conscience, to heal all thize infirmities. . When this objection, which arises from pride and unbelief, is removed, and we would persuade the convinced sinner to rely upon the promises of health and salvation which God has made in his word, he has still difficulties to get over. He is afraid it would be presumption in him to rely upon the promises, and to take comfort from believing that he shall have his share and interest in them. Whereas he is the very person to whom the promises are made. His parti.