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nervous disposition, are often unable to heal them. Some diseases are incurable, and some others, perhaps, are of too long standing to be healed. But Jesus Christ is invested with power, as well as clothed with knowledge. He is able to save to the uttermost all that come to God by him. Although your sins are as scarlet, he can make them white as wool; although they be red like crimson, he can make them like snow. The blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanses from all sin. No disease so inveterate, but what he can cure it ; no malady of so long standing, but what he can heal it.
* His doctrine is almighty love ;
There is virtue in his name,
A lion to a lamb."
3. He exceeds all other physicians, in his compassion and tenderness. In order that he might enter the more readily into the sensibilities of his patients, he had condescended to be clothed with a body like our own. That he might be a merciful and faithful high priest, and have compassion on the ignorant, and them that are out of the way, he has been tempted in all points, as we are, yet without sin. He knows the weakness of our frames, the strength of our passions, and the power of temptations over us ; and having himself been encompassed with the same infirmities, he is admirably qualified to sympathize with us in all the various stages of our diseases.
“ He knows what sore temptations mean,
For he has felt the same.'
So tender and sympathetic is this divine Saviour, that a bruised reed he will not break, and smoking flax he will not quench; neither will upbraid or reproach those with their past misdeeds, who seek to be cured by him, but will heal all their maladies, and forgive and forget all their follies. And after they are restored to moral soundness, he will not be ashamed to call them brethren, and to own them before the Father and the holy angels; and, finally, welcome them into the society of the blessed.
4. He excels all other physicians, in being always at hand when wanted. It is not unfrequently the case that physicians are at so great a distance, that they cannot be brought to the patient till it is too late. But not so with this heavenly physician; he is always at hand. Wheresoever, said he, two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst. And, indeed, were we to take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost part of the sea, behold his presence and his power would be there to heal us. We have not got to ascend up to heaven to bring him down, nor to descend into the deep to bring him up, for the healing power of his
word is nigh us, even in our own mouths and in our own hearts. We have no distance of space to traverse to call this physician; it only requires an effort of the soul to call him to our aid. Whenever, and wherever the soul resigns itself to the holy requisitions of the gospel, then and there he imparts the balm of consolation to the wounded heart.
5. He excels all other physicians in love and generosity. Selflove, and the desire of gain, prompt the great body of the physicians to all their labors. But not so with the Lord Jesus Christ. Benevolence was the moving cause which animated the Saviour when he entered upon the glorious work of redemption, and it is the same heavenly principle which still animates him in the prosecution of the work. Greater love hath no mun than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend. But the love of Christ far excelled this; he loved us while we were his enemies, and died for us to redeem us from all iniquity He became poor, that he might impart to us of his riches; he voluntarily submitted to degradation, that he might clothe us with honor; he submitted to a painful and ignominious death, that we might wear a crown of life; in one word, he yielded up his soul to the suffering of inexpressible agonies, and his body to death for the benefit of his patients. He has endured all these sufferings and privations, and imparts all these honors and benefits, without the hope of reward or desire of gain. 0, what unbounded benevolence is here displayed ! O, what unparalleled goodness is here exhibited! Be astonished at it, О ye heavens, and be amazed, 0 earth.
“For love like this, let rocks and hills,
Their lasting silence break;
Their Saviour's praises speak.” IV. Let us consider, in the fourth place, what Jesus Christ prescribes. In pursuing the figurative language of our text, we observe, first of all, that an emetic must be taken. We must be made so excessively sick of sin, that we shall loathe and abhor it, and cast it off. So long as our sinful appetites remain, and we take pleasure in unrighteousness, all efforts at reformation will be unsuccessful. We must be brought to perceive that sin is exceedingly sinful, and that it is highly offensive to God, and to all holy beings; that it is destructive and pernicious in its consequences, and, if persisted in, will prove the bane of our happiness and the ruin of our souls. We must be willing, from our very hearts, to renounce every sinful and vicious practice, and to turn from them with horror and disgust. In the anguish and bitterness of our souls, animated by the divine promises, we must seek for the healing efficacy of the gospel, and never give over the struggle till we obtain the balm of life. We must seek it by faith, by prayer, and in the use of all the means of grace. We must not merely seek, but
we must strive ; strive with great earnestness and persevering energy, and never give over the struggle till we are made partakers of the divine nature, and drink of the living waters of life.
After our souls have been made alive to God, by the quickening energy of the Holy Spirit, and our hearts are healed of all their deadly maladies, we must shun every poisonous atmosphere, and reject all unwholesome food. The society of the wicked and ungodly should be carefully avoided; for their very breath, like the cadaverous mists of hades, blasts, soils, and poisons as it touches. You should chose for your companions, those who love and fear God, that all you pious resolutions may be strengthened by their chaste conversation and holy example. Our intimate associates, whether they be impure or virtuous, will have a very powerful influence over us, in moulding or forming our characters to virtue or to vice. We are very much the creatures of imitation and habit, and imperceptibly imbibe the spirit and copy the example of our associates. We must also avoid all unwholesome food, or, in other words, all pernicious doctrines; all doctrines that would give license to sin—that would encourage idleness and indolence-that would engender a censorious and uncharitable spirit-or that would lead us to distrust the goodness, the power, and faithfulness of God.
In looking over this congregation, I perceive that a large proportion of this assembly are among the number of those upon whom sin is committing its depredations. I see here, sinners of all ages and descriptions ; from the man of gray hairs, whose locks have been whitened by the frost of fourscore years and ten, and whose tottering limbs are now trembling over the grave, down to the young transgressor of a day old. I behold the ravages of a desolating plague, defacing and deforming the fairest portion of God's creation, and conveying one after another to the gates of eternal death, and consigning their souls to the regions of darkness and blackness forever. O, sinner! are you sensible that this destructive malady has already seized upon your very vitals—that it is disseminating its poison through every avenue of the heart—that it is drying up all the fountains of moral life within you—that it has already conveyed you very near the shades of eternal death? When I reflect that the time is not far distant, when your mortal maladies will convey some of you to those dark abodes of wretchedness and misery, where there is weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth ; to those devouring elements where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched ; to those dreary caverns, where the groans of the damned shall reverberate through the prison of hell; to that land of mania, where the shrieks and cries of the despairing inhabitants shall fall upon the astonished ear, my soul is melted like wax within me, and I can but raise my cry to God, and plead with him to have mercy on a perishing world. O, ye mothers, do you consider that those daughters whom you have raised with so much care, and watched over with so much solici
tude, have been poisoned with the breath of sin, are now pining and wasting away under its corroding maladies, and unless they are healed by Christ, the great physician of souls, will be numbered among the damned in hell ? Have you no bowels of compassion to yearn over them? Have you no prayers to go up to heaven on their behalt? Have you no tears of love and pity to shed on their account? Yes! methinks
you feel deeply anxious that their souls may be awakened this day, to perceive and to feel the deadly evils of sin.
Blessed be God, the sinner's heart does melt under the warming influences of divine love—it yields to the impressions of the Holy Spirit of God. O, fellow-sinner, your case, though awful, is not desperate. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, to which the dying Israelites looked and lived, so God this day lifts up in our midst the Son of Man, who is able to save to the uttermost all that come to God by him. O, look to him, that you may be healed of your maladies, and live forever. He is full of compassion, and mighty to redeem. Of however long standing may be your maladies, Jesus is able to eradicate them ; how inveterate soever may
diseases, he is able to heal them. None need despair of his power or willingness to save them. O, may you resign all into his hands now, for behold, now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation. You have often formed resolutions of amendment at some future period, but these have only proved as so many illusions, by which you have cheated and defrauded yourselves. Indulge in these vain delusive hopes no longer, but enter immediately upon the great work of salvation, and you shall be numbered among the precious sons of God, when Jesus Christ shall make up his jewels.
Here are some who have been healed by this great physician. Grateful acknowledgements are due to the glory of his name. Be not like some mentioned in the gospel, who, after they were healed, neglected to give glory to God. Call upon your soul, and all that is within you, to bless his holy name, who forgiveth all thy iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases, who hath redeemed thy life from destruction, and crowneth thee with loving kindness, and tender mercy.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, who have thus been graciously restored from the moral malady of sin. 0, thut men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men. You must remember that there is danger of a relapse, and take the necessary precaution against it. You live in a contagious world, where noxious vapors infect the atmosphere we breathe ; a world which sin has converted into a hospital, where all are diseased. Shun the dangers which surround you, and avoid the very appearance of evil. Study to keep a conscience void of offence towards God and towards man, and seek to preserve your spiritual health. Let him whose cure has been effected, remember to watch and pray, lest he enter into temptation.
On Cultivating a Peaceful Disposition.
* Let us, therefore, follow after the things that make for peace."-Romans xiv., 19.
· The nature and tendency of the Christian religion, is altogether of a pacific character. It not only reconciles us to God by the blood of the cross, but it also inspires us with a peaceable and quiet disposition. St. James informs us, That the wisdom which is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. It is by the exercise of this disposition that the spirit of lust, which excites divisions, contentions, strifes, wars, and the like, diffusing death through every vein of society, is to be subdued and overcome. A man of a peaceful disposition will avoid giving or taking offence, and stand aloof from the quarrels and tumults of the neighborhood; he will also, if possible, by a wise, temperate and friendly interference, heal them at an early stage. While a contentious man blows the coals of party strife, and excites a fiercer war, the true peace-maker will quench them by the application of soft words and friendly advice. A peace-maker is a great blessing to the church, to a neighborhood, or even to a nation. Christ, himself, pronounced a blessing upon such: Blessed are the peacemakers ; for they shall be called the children of God. They are called the children of God, because they resemble him. He that seeks peace on pure and honorable principles is of God's mind, acting on the same principles as God acts, in reconciling the world to himself through Jesus Christ.
There is scarcely any blessing more desirable, either in church or state, than peace-true and well-grounded peace. It is so intimately connected with prosperity, that the Hebrew word which is rendered peace, signifies also prosperity. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces. The Hebrew word is the same in both places. In this view of the subject, we shall attempt to explain and enforce the exhortation contained in the text; for if peace be with us, prosperity will follow as a matter of course.
II. proceed, then, in the first place, to explain the exhortation contained in the text. Let us, therefore, follow after the things that make for peace. The exhortation which is here given, is to be understood in a general, and not in a forced or strained sense. There are exceptions to all general maxims. It is not, then, to be understood, that we are to be so fond of peace as to sacrifice truth and principle to preserve it; for this would be uprooting the very foundations of peace. If the foundations of Christianity are de