by Henry Law
"I am the Lord who heals you." Exodus 15:26
These words first cheered the heart of Moses. But they
are the common heritage of the Church of God. This day they reach our ears.
May they bring healing on their wings!
Reader! in thought survey the porches of Bethesda's
pool. Can earth present a sight of deeper woe? Malady makes every form
its prey. Each sound is burdened with a sufferer's groan. The heart is hard
which can repress the sigh, Oh! that these pains might end! But vain may be
the wish. For human ailment often baffles human skill. It knows no
certain cure. Are you prepared to see your own case in those cells? Transfer
the sickness from the body to the soul, and then your couch is
surely spread among these sufferers. Sin makes this world a
universal hospital. It drives earth's millions into one Bethesda.
Reader! do you sigh here, Oh! that these deeper pains
might end! This speedily may be. There is one sure relief. Jesus
stands near, a spiritual Healer, mighty to cause the blind to see, the deaf
to hear, the lame to walk, the leprous to be clean, and every wound to
close. No case exceeds His healing power! These lines are written,
that sin-diseased souls may now be led to drink at this truth's
Holy Spirit! grant Your aid. Show that the malady
of sin abounds throughout man's tribes. Show that all remedy much
more abounds in Christ. The cure will be more prized, if first we mark the
many features of our deep disease. Let us remove the mask, then, and behold
the multiform malignity of this fiend—sin. Sin is a universal taint. No
child of man escapes it. We tread this earth diverse in climate, in station,
in mental power, in mold of temper, and in frame of body. But all who
breathe life's breath are spotted with this plague. Adam's foul fall infused
the evil poison into nature's veins. Each parent sows this seed. No
offspring is infection-free. Cain was conceived in sin. The last babe must
be corruption's heir.
Reader! your cradle may have been wealth's downy pillow,
or poverty's harsh provisions. You may have intellect to command a gazing
world's applause, or you may crawl unknown to an unknown grave. In these
externals no two may be the same. But all are one in oneness of distempered
soul. Each mother's infant is transgression's child. Sin is an all-spoiling
evil. It is a weed which overruns the garden. It stains all men, and every
part in each.
It enters to pervade. Its root is in the soul.
Eden saw it planted there. But its fibers and its branches spread through
each faculty of mind and body. See how it masters the whole inner frame. The
heart first sickens. This becomes harder than the nether millstone, the nest
of every unclean bird, the den of lust's vile brood. The head soon grows
distempered. Hence error and ignorance expel right judgment. The world is
worshiped as a rightful lord. Hell is derided as some weak fable. Repentance
is reserved for dying moments. The glorious Word is scorned as the
bewildered page in which the brain-sick and fanatic glean delusions. The eye
is blind to see the 'chief among ten thousand, the altogether lovely One.'
The ear hears nothing but discord in the Gospel-note. The palate has no
relish of healthful food. The lips, the mouth, the throat, the tongue, are
festered with contaminating sores. Alas! how many words go forth to spread
contagion and to scatter death. Thus the disease runs wildly through the
Sin is the union of all spiritual maladies in one
compacted mass. It is no solitary evil. It comes in troops, in flocks, in
swarms. In our frames one member may be weak, the others strong. But in this
hospital, all sufferings at once make every sufferer their prey. One ailment
is all ailments. One part infected leaves no part in health. Sin never
yields to earth-born cure. All trials have been tried. But failure is the
end of each. Self has ransacked the stores of self. Wounds have been
washed with tears, and bound with bands of a strict moral life. The cup of
penance and of rigid religious vows has often been drunk with eager lip. But
remedy is not in these. A feather cannot halt the fast-rushing stream. A
little pruning will not kill the branch. Oil will not quench a flame.
Shall then the sin-sick fly to religious forms and
ceremonies and hallowed rites? Alas! their anguish lies too deep for
superficial cure. Uplifted hands and bended knees, and all the sacredness of
sacred things, have in themselves no virtue to choke evil's fount!
The love of holy service is a sign of health. But it cannot bestow
health. Restored cripples leap and walk and praise as evidence of
strength, but not to gain it. No human medicines give soul-health.
Sin's end is endless death. Its course is sure. The
falling stone rolls downward to the lowest depths. The stream flows on until
the ocean's bed is reached. Thus sin's strong bias rushes to the pit of
hell. Oh! mark those writhing sufferers in the burning lake! Ask them
what brought them to their woe. One wild shriek answers, Sin! Sin uncured,
unchecked. Ah! sinner, your inward malady seems little now. What will it
prove, hereafter? Its present touch gives little pain, but it has iron
arms. The embrace seems gentle now. But it will tighten into
This sketch is dark. The reality is darker far. But
why are these black colors laid? The purpose is, to form a background for
the Scripture-light. The malady's malignity is drawn to show that one
Physician alone can avail. Look now toward the chambers of the Gospel-feast.
The horizon gleams with rays. The Sun of Righteousness appears; and there is
'healing in his wings.' Amid Bethesda's crowded seats, the blessed Jesus
stood, omnipotent to heal. Amid the soul-sick, He as surely stands with like
omnipotence. He comes, and His voice is, 'I am the Lord who heals you.'
Behold His outstretched hands. They bear a perfect remedy. He takes away
sin's poison, and it cannot kill. He soothes its wounds, and they can no
more pain. He cuts its roots, and they can no more spread. Come, hear these
tidings from His Word of Truth.
Your first complaint is, that your sickness is the seed
of everlasting death. True! It is dragging you with rapid force towards a
gaping grave! But Jesus takes your sins and nails them to His cross!
Then in His death they die. Then in His wounds they disappear. He washes you
with His heart's blood. He bathes you in this precious stream. And never,
never are your sins found again. Thus condemnation is forever gone.
Is not that sickness healed which has no power to harm?
Thus Jesus is the sinner's Healer. He brings in pardon. Pardon changes
malady to health, because it changes death to life. Believer, you are thus
relieved. Let your song ever be, He forgives all my iniquities—and so He
heals all my diseases.
But you still sigh that, though future punishment is
gone, yet present pain still gnaws. The scar may cause pain, which is not
unto death. You are a guilt-touched wretch. And sense of guilt is an
unceasing ache. Truly these tears are bitter. But in Jesus there is solace
for these pangs. No ease can come, but by the Spirit's hand. He only takes
it from the Savior's blood. But He brings soothing virtue thence and lulls
the accusing conscience into rest. He can present, as an assuaging cup, the
tender promise, 'I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their
sin no more.' He can apply the calming argument—Why should memory dwell
sobbingly on what God casts behind His back forever? He can teach, that a
head crowned with pardon's crown should not hang down. Thus Jesus
fulfils the word; He gives 'unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for
mourning.' Thus sin is cured because its pain is soothed. Believer, will you
not confess it? He 'is sent to heal the broken-hearted'?
But you may add, that more is needed to restore full
health. You mourn that the vile roots lie deep within. No child of
God is unconscious of the lurking evil. While the flesh is flesh, it is the
hot-bed of corruption. But Jesus can subdue the plague! By
sanctifying grace He can create a clean heart and renew a right spirit. He
can implant a counteracting principle of godly love. He can give strength to
fight the good fight of faith, to run with patience in pure paths, and to
find no delight but in God's will. O my soul, cling then to the cross! In
its atmosphere evil withers, and holiness grows firm!
Thus Jesus cures all sin. It can no more condemn nor vex
nor rule. They walk in healthy peace with God, in healthy peace within, in
healthy paths of holy life, whose hearts have heard, 'I am the Lord that
Perhaps you still fear, lest the extreme malignity of
your case should baffle all this skill. It would be so, except the
Healer were Jehovah-Jesus. But mark. His title shivers all such doubts. He
cries 'I am the Lord who heals you.' Almightiness is the property of this
arm! He wills, and it is done. He works, and none can thwart. If all the
maladies of all the sufferers in earth and hell formed one huge sickness
centering on your soul, let Christ the Lord but speak, and perfect is your
Are you distressed, lest long lying on sin's couch
should bar against you every door of hope? Consider well, the Healer.
At Bethesda's pool he singles out the wretchedness of him who 'had been now
a long time in that case.' Extremity of misery was a melting
plea to Jesus. His heart is still the same. Take courage. If, from the day
of Adam's fall, your malady had rolled onward as a swelling stream, His
tender love could turn it all to health!
Does conscience groan beneath the load of prominent
provocations? You may have turned from many a gracious call. This very case
is met by mercy's sweet voice. Read your sure welcome in the page of life.
'I was angry and punished these greedy people. I withdrew myself from them,
but they went right on sinning. I have seen what they do, but I
will heal them anyway! I will lead them and comfort those who mourn.'
You reply, that the hand of faith alone can take the
remedy. But your faith so trembles that it scarcely lives. Behold the
timid woman of the Gospel. With down-cast eye, with tottering step, she
comes, and instantly the touch was life. Do but the same—and you will hear,
'Your faith has made you whole; go in peace.'
Shall all this earnest pleading fail? It only remains,
then, to pray again that the all-conquering Spirit would make you willing to
be among the Healer's healed ones. Oh! look to Jesus's cross. It was
ordained of old. It was erected on Calvary. It is uplifted in the Gospel. It
is magnified in every faithful pulpit. But why? Surely that miseries may
end, and spiritual diseases may be cured! On it the Heavenly Healer dies
Himself, that His death may be the death of sin! On it He bleeds,
that His blood may drop health. On it He suffers wounds, that the
wounded may be whole. On it He gives His body to most painful pains, that
ease may be His people's portion. On it He lays down His life, that they may
And now He cries, Come, without money, without price.
Come, leave your sickness, and return with health! Will you not join the
blessed company, who sing in renewed strength, 'With His stripes we are
healed'? Will you not enter the land in which no inhabitant mourns, 'I am
sick—the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity'?