« PreviousContinue »
Finally. How glorious will be the voice of Jesus at the last day, when the Lord Jesus being revealed from heaven, when all mankind shall be roused by his voice the voice of the Archangel and the trump of God, when all that are in their graves shall hear his voice, and come forth, attend his bar, and receive their doom. Then may it be our happiness to hear, from his own blessed lips, that delightful sentence, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from before the foundation of the world. Amen.
CHRIST THE GREAT PHYSICIAN.
Mat. ix. 12. But when he heard that, he said unto them, They thất ba whole need not the physician, but they that are sick.
HE Scriptures of truth uniformly represent Jesus Christ as the supreme object of every believer's love, as being "precious to every one that believeth,"-" the chief among ten thousand, and altogether lovely." He is described as "the pearl of great price," to obtain which the spiritual merchant gladly parts with all that he is worth; and St. Paul goes so far as to say, "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed." But, Is the Saviour thus highly esteemed by all who profess and call themselves Christians? Is the gospel of his grace, his righteousness, his salvation, supremely prized by all who are called by his name? Alas! it is far otherwise. Like Gallio of old, many "care for none of these things;" and others satisfy themselves with an occasional and careless attention to them. Like Pilate, they "find no fault in the man," but their hearts are engaged in the pursuits and enjoyments of the present world, and they "mind only earthly things.' How shall we account for this? How is it that any, with the Scriptures in their hands, should thus forsake their own mercies, and lightly esteem the Rock of their salvation? The text resolves the difficulty. Here we find an answer "The whole need not a physician, but they that are sick."-It is
obvious to all, that a man in perfect health, who feels no pain, and is conscious of no disease, will not employ a physician. Whatever reports he may have heard respecting him, or whatever opinion he may entertain of his skill, he sees no present occasion for his assistance: and this was the condition of the Pharisees while our Lord was upon earth. He came to seek and to save that which was lost;" and in the pursuit of this benevolent object, he disdained not freely to converse with publicans and sinners: not that he meant to countenance their sins ; no; he mingled with them only to reclaim them, just as physicians go among the diseased merely to effect their cure. But this gave great offence to the proud Pharisees—men who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others." They complained of his conduct to his disciples, saying, "Your master keeps company, and eats and drinks with publicans and sinners;" but "Wisdom is justified of her children." Our Lord, in the text, vindicates his own conduct, while he accounts for that of the Pharisees: "The whole need not a physician, but they that are sick."-These men were insensible of the state of their own souls, while others were rejoicing that they had found a remedy.
These words may teach us the four following things:
First-That sin is the disease of the soul. Secondly-Jesus is the great physician. Thirdly-Those who are insensible of their sins neglect him.
Fourthly-Those who know their true condition are very desirous of his help.
In the first place, we are taught that sin is the disease of the soul. We brought it into the world with us, deriving it from our first parents; for "by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin." It is with strict propriety that sin
is thus described, for it has just the same effects upon the soul that disease has upon the body.Sickness destroys all our powers of action, and deprives us of ability to transact our affairs, however important and urgent they may be: whatever dangers we might avoid, whatever advantages we might obtain, there is a total inability for action; and thus it is with the soul. We have before us a vast eternity, and this is the only season for preparation; it is the seed time of eternity; we are now called upon to "work out our own salvation with fear and trembling," but while this sickness prevails, we have no heart to engage in this great work; we cannot bear the thought of necessary exertion. Even the ordinary means of grace are frequently neglected; the Bible and prayer, and Sabbaths and sermons, are shunned; for the sinner has no heart to them.
Sickness deprives a man of rest; he cannot be composed: he feels a constant uneasiness, an insatiable thirst and thus, as the Scripture saith, "There is no peace to the wicked;" he turns from creature to creature, seeking rest and finding none; the world disappoints him; he meets with repeated and perpetual difficulties; this perhaps irritates his temper, and makes him a burden to himself and others; to get rid of his cares he flies to amusements and intemperance; but the disease, instead of being relieved, is aggravated, and he grows worse and worse.
Disease frequently occasions delirium. A sick man knows not where he is, or what he says; when he is at death's door he fancies himself perfectly well, and if not prevented, would be in danger of destroying himself. Thus a man in a state of sin is furiously bent on his own ruin; he will not be persuaded there is any danger in his case; and he is very angry with the servants of Christ who would convince him of his error. Solomon says, "The heart of the sons of men is fully set to do evil;
madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead." How do such persons fondly imagine that their hearts are good, even while their ways are perverse and desperately wicked.
Sin deforms the body. "When God with rebukes correcteth man for his iniquity, he maketh his beauty to consume like a moth;"" he changeth his countenance, and sendeth him away." The finest face may be soon disfigured, and the most lovely person become loathsome; but, in the sight of God, nothing is so beautiful as holiness, nothing so loathsome as sin.
Finally, disease is the forerunner of death.Many diseases are mortal in their tendency, and if not seasonably checked, will bring the patient to the grave. Some diseases baffle the skill of the ablest physician-Sin, which is the disease of the soul, is certainly mortal, if Christ the great physician does not interpose: "Death" was the original threatening, to keep man from sin. God said to Adam, "In the day that thou eatest" of the forbidden fruit "thou shalt surely die;" and die he did; his body became mortal; and though he had a long reprieve, he returned at length to the dust from whence he came. But he immediately suffered a moral death; he became "dead in trespasses and sins," and liable to the bitter pains of eternal death. And thus, "by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation :" This is our state? we are, universally, dead in sin; we have bodies doomed to the grave, and souls exposed to the just anger of an offended God. This is indeed a miserable state; but it would be far more so if there were no remedy. "Is there then no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there?" Blessed be God we can, with confidence, say, There is a physiciau, and he no less a person than the Son of God; and this is what we propose,
In the second place, to notice-That Jesus