Upon Spiritual and Bodily Sickness
The soul has it’s maladies as well as the body; and such that for their likeness to them, do often borrow their names from them.
Pride is a timpani; avarice, a dropsy; security, a lethargy; lust a calenture; apostasy an epilepsy. And yet though these names of bodily diseases to happily serve to point out and shadow the nature of the spiritual. How wide is the difference between the patients of one and of the other, in regard of those qualities which may dispose them for a cure and recovery out of them.
In the diseases of the body it matters not whether the patient know the name of his disease, or understand the virtue of the medicines which are prescribed, or be able to judge of the increase, height, and declination of his distemper by the beatings of his pulse. The whole businesses is managed by the care and wisdom of the physician, who oft times conceals the danger on purpose, lest fear and fancy should work than his physic, and hinder the benefit of what he applies.
But in the maladies of the soul is far otherwise. The first step onto spiritual health is the distinct and clear insight of sin: which makes men to understand the plague of their own hearts. Christ heals by light, as well as by influence. He first convinces them of sin, and then he gives the pardon. He discovers the disease to them, and then it ministers the medicine.
Ignorance is a bar to the welfare of the soul (though not of the body) and makes the divine remedies to have as little effect upon it, as purges or cordials have upon the glasses and to which they’re put.
It is Solomon’s peremptory conclusion, that a soul without knowledge is not good, nor indeed can be, because it lacks a principle, which is this necessary to goodness as vision is a power to the eye to enable it to discern its object.
How can he ever value holiness who understands not what sin is? Or desire Savior, who is no sense of his needs?
O therefore blessed Lord
Do thou daily or open my eyes
that I may see myself to be among the sinners,
—and not among the righteous
Among the sick,
— and not among the whole:
That I may be so healed by thee
—who came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance,
nor to save the whole, but the sick.
Be thou my physician, and let me be thy patient,
Until thou makest me to say,
I am not sick,
Because thou hast forgiven me of all my iniquities.