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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 pur chase 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 the 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 you find, remember 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 as 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." 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
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 infirmi ties, 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 experience, 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 alarmed 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 meaner 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 unnaturally against their own interest. To reject it, when the great Physician himself offers it in his word, is