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our fallen mother those heavy tidings were uttered by Jehovah himself, “ I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception, in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children”—from that moment to this " man has been born to trouble as the sparks fly upward !” and sickness, pain, and woe, have been the bitter ingredients of his cup. He is of few days and full of sorrow.
And in every age and in every clime has been heard the affecting exclamation of the text, “I am sick!” The polished European, amidst all his modern refinements, assisted by the aids of science, surrounded by every alleviation which ingenuity and skill can suggest, exclaims, “ I am sick, I am sick !” and he 'bows his head and dies. The proud Asiatic, beneath his canopies of silk, and amidst his vessels of gold-inhaling the incense of adulation from the slaves of his passions, utters the same lamentation, “I am sick, I am sick!” The wild Indian, strong and swift as the eagle, and fierce as the beasts of prey, is arrested in his course, his arm is palsied, his strength feebled, an invisible enemy withers his energies, and he impotently exclaims, “I am sick, I die!" And the poor African, from one end of his vast continent to the other, echoes back the note of woe, and he stretches himself out in his negro hut and dies !
And thus it has ever been, and ever will remain, so long as this world, like one vast hospital
of disease and death, shall exist. In the remotest periods, when men lived as Adam 930 years, or as Methuselah 969 years, still they became the helpless prey of sickness and of death. In all succeeding generations how invariable this law of fallen nature! The wisdom, strength, and splendour of man, together moulder in the dust. The hoary-headed sage, and the youth in manhood's prime, complain alike of sickness and decay. And the new-born babe-see how it weeps, listen to its piercing cries; behold its parched lips, its burning skin, and its little limbs convulsed—it seems to say, “I too am sick !” it dies, and its infant spirit returns to God who gave it ! Surely
we die, we perish, we all perish, we are consumed with dying !” Great God, why is this ! Why must tears flow from every eye? and why must every human heart beat with anxious throbbings ? and why must the earthly frame of the lovely and the strong thus droop, corrupt, and perish? It is for our INIQUITIES! The inhabitants of that heavenly city never say, I am sick, because “their iniquity is forgiven.” We all are sick, because we all dwell in the land that is cursed; and we have all ourselves sinned and come short of the glory of God.
This is the universal testimony of the word of God, and this alone is an adequate cause for all those evils which we endure in a world whose
foundations are out of course.”* So this same prophet declares, “ We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags, and we all do fade as a leaf, and our iniquities like the wind have taken us away.”+ Sin is the one only and fruitful source of disease and death. “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”[ the wages
of sin is death." This “plague-spot” is upon every child of man, eating as doth a canker. Here is the secret leaven of corruption that preys upon us all. A moral pestilence, a spiritual, a fatal disease, even sin! How continually do we experience the EFFECT, but forget the cause! And yet the uniform prevalence of the one should bring home to our conscience and our conviction the universality of the other. All are sick in body because all are sick in soul. The refined European, and the effeminate Asiatic, the wild Indian, and the simple, semi-barbarous Negro, are all alike in their utterance of sorrow, because they all alike are sinners! The old man complains of pain and debility, because he has sinned—and the earliest cry of the new-born babe is but nature's response to the truth of revelation, that “we are conceived in sin, and shapen in
+ Isa. Ixiv. 6.
* Psalm lxxxii. 5.
Rom. v. 12.
iniquity."* All people, in all lands, and in all ages and generations, by their involuntary acknowledgment of sickness and sorrow, have become witnesses against themselves as fallen creatures, born and living and dying under the heavy displeasure of their God!
Nor are true believers exempted from a share of this the common lot of man's sinful race. “ All things come alike to all, there is one event to the righteous and to the wicked ; to the good, and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not:..... there is one event unto all.”+ The servants of God have indeed found “a balm in Gilead, a physician there,” and they have consolations to assuage their sorrows of which the world knows nothing. But they have no promise of deliverance from the common evils of life; on the contrary, they frequently have a larger portion of them than the ungodly. “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” And when their heavenly Father is pleased to bless them with all outward comfort nd prosperity, and “no affliction comes nigh their dwelling,” they still are frequently compelled to exclaim, “I am sick !” They “know each one the plague of his own heart," the evil of sin, indwelling sin, the strife of corruption, the struggle with evil tempers and sinful passions, * Psalm li. 5.
+ Eccles. ix. 2, 3.
those spiritual disorders, incurable on this side eternity; they may be healed over, they may be mollified, but the seeds of moral infection and disease are too thickly deposited in the human heart ever to be entirely eradicated: the believer has the very elements of sorrow deeply concealed in his own bosom; and therefore with a body in perfect health, surrounded by every earthly comfort, and protected from all temporal evils, he still exclaims, “ I am sick !” “ Even ourselves also, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves,” saith St. Paul, “ groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body." How delightful then is it, now in this vale of tears, and while in our pilgrimage, to think of that “ city whose inhabitant shall never say,
I am sick!" Let us proceed, II. TO THE CONTEMPLATION OF THAT HAPPY DWELLING OF THE REDEEMED. And again we ask, of what glorious country, and of what favoured city does the prophet here speak? Certainly of no terrestrial dwelling inhabited by corruptible bodies. No, he speaks of that kingdom which flesh and blood cannot inherit,” and of that city whose streets can be trod by no mortal foot.
« This mortal must put on immortality, this corruption, incorruption,” before it can breathe the pure atmosphere of the celestial country. It is of the heavenly “ Jerusalem which
* Rom. viii. 23.