Balm in Gilead

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JM

Puritan Board Doctor
It's one of J. C. Philpot's best sermons:

"Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?" - Jer 9:22

Sin is a damnable thing; and every one of God’s people is made, has been made, or will be made, to feel it so. And the more that they see of sin, know of sin, feel of sin, the more damnable will sin appear in their eyes, and with greater weight and power will its dreadful guilt and filth lie upon their conscience. Now there are but few, comparatively speaking, who have any clear sight or any deep feeling of what sin really is; and the reason, for the most part, is because they have such a slight, shallow, superficial knowledge of who and what God is. But let them once see the purity of God by the eye of faith, let them once have a manifestation of His justice and holiness, majesty and greatness to their soul, and let them, seeing light in His light, have a corresponding sight and sense of the deep and desperate state in which they are as fallen children of a fallen parent, then will they no longer have slight, superficial feelings of the nature and evil of sin, but will so see and feel its hideous and damnable character as to make them cry out with Isaiah in the temple, "Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts". Isa 6:5

But if we look at the words of our text, it would seem as if the daughter of God’s people, that is, the Church of God ("the daughter of God’s people" being a Hebrew idiom for God’s people), was suffering under wounds so as to need balm, and under a complication of diseases, so as to require a physician. There was work for the surgeon as well as for the physician; deep and desperate wounds which needed balm, and an inward destructive malady which required internal remedies. This is just what sin has reduced the family of God to. God has described His Zion as "full of wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores." When the Church of God fell in Adam, she fell with a crash which broke every bone and bruised her flesh with wounds which are ulcerated from top to toe. Her understanding, her conscience, and her affections were all fearfully maimed. The first was blinded, the second stupefied, and the third alienated. Every mental faculty thus became perverted and distorted. As in a shipwrecked vessel the water runs in through every leak, so when Adam fell upon the lee-shore of sin and temptation, and made shipwreck of the image of God in which he was created, sin rushed into every faculty of body and soul, and penetrated into the inmost recesses of his being. Or to use another figure; as when a man is bitten by a poisonous serpent the venom courses through every artery and vein, and he dies a corrupted mass from head to foot, so did the poison-fang of sin penetrate into Adam’s inmost soul and body, and infect him with its venom from the sole to the crown. But the fearful havoc which sin has made is never seen nor felt till the soul is quickened into spiritual life. O what work does sin then make in the conscience, when it is opened up by the Spirit of God! Whatever superficial or shallow views we may have had of sin before, it is only as its desperate and malignant character is opened up by the Holy Spirit that it is really seen, felt, grieved under, and mourned over as indeed a most dreadful and fearful reality. It is this sword of the Spirit which cuts and wounds; it is this entrance of life and light that gashes the conscience; it is this divine work which lacerates the heart and inflicts those deep wounds which nothing but the "balm in Gilead" can heal. And not only is a poor convinced sinner cut in his conscience, inwardly lacerated and gashed by sin as thus opened up by the Spirit of God, but, as the prophet speaks, "the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint." He is thus labouring under a complication of diseases. Every thought, word, and action is polluted by sin. Every mental faculty is depraved. The will chooses evil; the affections cleave to earthly things; the memory, like a broken sieve, retains the bad and lets fall the good; the judgment, like a bribed or drunken juryman, pronounces heedless or wrong decisions; and the conscience, like an opium-eater, lies asleep and drugged in stupefied silence. When all these master-faculties of the mind, the heads of the house, are so drunken and disorderly, need we wonder that the servants are a godless, rebellious crew? Lusts call out for gratification; unbelief and infidelity murmur; tempers growl and mutter; and every bad passion strives hard for the mastery. O the evils of the human heart, which, let loose, have filled earth with misery and hell with victims; which deluged the world with the flood, burnt Sodom and Gomorrah with fire from heaven, and are ripening the world for the final conflagration! Every crime which has made this fair earth a present hell, has filled the air with groans, and drenched the ground with blood, dwells in your heart and mine.

Preached on Tuesday Evening, 27th July 1852, at Eden Street Chapel, Hampstead Road.

Balm in Gilead
 

reformedcop

Puritan Board Freshman
Thank you for these resources!

I just read an excellent sermon preached on the same text by Edward D. Griffin. This and many of his other sermons are found in two volume set The Life and Sermons of Edward D. Griffin. I haven't been able to find any of his stuff online though. :think:
 
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