(From the Spiritual Chymist, William Spurstowe, 1666)
Upon the Weapon Salve
Who was the author of this weapon salve, cannot certainly be affirmed. Some attribute it to Paracelus who was very pregnant in mysterious inventions: others to one Parmensis Anshelmus, an Italian, who was called a “Saint” as Simon Magus of old, the great power of God, though both were no better than sorcerers. But whoever he were, the ointment is much famed (yet not altogether unquestioned) for its strange manner of healing and curing wounds, differing from other physical applications in a double respect: the one is that it is applied not other person who receives the wounds, but to the active instrument that inflicts it, which is a subject not at all capable of sickness of sanity, or ease or pain, and so cannot be receptive of the alternative power of the ointment; which, if it work by virtual contact must necessarily have the intermedial bodies to participate of it. The other is, the salve cures at distances which are inconsistent with the rule of a mediate contact: it heals the patient when he is a hundred miles off, as well as when he is hear; and the it requires a vicinity of place, as well as a right disposition of the medium.
Now these difference, though they have served to heighten its esteem in the apprehensions of many, and have given learned men who are great admirers of sympathies to write for it or to be fautors [patrons] of it; yet others of no less worth and repute have divided from them and have slighted it as an empty vanity or censured as a magical impiety.
For my part, I am not satisfied with such subtle niceties as are used to defend it, of common and universal spirits which convey the action of the remedy to the part and conjoin the virtue of bodies far disjoined; neither can I think it worthy of such speculations: it commonly healing only simple wounds, and such, which being kept clean need no other hand than that of nature and the balsam [anything healing] of the proper part.
But there is a weapon salve of which it is easy to speak much, but impossible to say enough: so full it is of divine and mysterious wonders, if we consider what it is, or what the cures are which it effects, or what the distance is in which it operates.
Would you know what this salve is? The blood of Christ crucified, whose sufferings do all turn to the advantage of believers:
The blood is his,
but the balm is theirs;
the thorns are his,
but the crown is theirs;
the price is his,
but the purchase is theirs.
Would you hear what cures it does? It heals inveterate ulcers and mortal wounds; it extinguishes the fiery darts of Satan. It eases pressures; it destroys yokes, and what not that rise to let [stop] or bar to a believer’s life or happiness.
Would you know the extent of its virtue, and at what distance it operates? Paul tells us that by the blood of the cross he has reconciled all things to himself, whether they be things in earth or things in heaven. [Col. 1:20]
There is no person that can stand so remote or be at any such angle or corner of earth but he may partake of the influence of it, if he do but cast an eye of faith toward heaven and be as fully healed as any other. Like as to the stunned Israelite who lay in the utmost part of the camp did receive equal benefit by looking to the brazen serpent with him that stood next unto the pole upon which it was erected.
O therefore let not any who are exercised with spiritual conflict cast away their confidence, but fight the good fight of faith unto the end. For though they be not invulnerable, yet none of their wounds are incurable. The blood of Christ is more powerful to save, than sin or other enemies to destroy; else the great end of Christ’s coming into the world of being a physician to the sick, a deliverer to the captive, a healer of the broken hearted would be in vain and all the saints must still be in their sins.
Set then faith on work you that faint and droop in your minds; and say not, who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring this salve unto us that we may live? Or who shall go over the sea for us and bring this sovereign balm [all powerful medicine] of Gilead [Jer. 8:22] unto us that we may e healed by it.
Do but believe and the cure is wrought. Faith is the instrument which makes a virtual contact between Christ and every believer: It receives healing grace from him, and straightways conveys it uno the subject in which it is to terminate.
For as futuriton [existing in the future] in respect of the existence of things is no prejudice to the eye of faith in beholding of them in the present; so neither is distance of place any hinderance to the efficacy of the touch of faith, but that it may forthwith transmit the sanitive efflux of Christ’s blood [Christ’s blood pour out makes holy] unto him, who by faith touches him [touches Christ]. The woman that labored many years of the bloody issue in the same instant that she touched the hem of Christ’s garment, get in herself, that she was healed of her plague. [Mark 5:24-34]
But I am jealous, that while I commend this sacred remedy, some presumptuous sinner who is more apt to abuse grace, than a wounded spirit to improve it [make use of it]should make no other use of it than to think he may sin securely and need not fear what bruises and wound he contracts, seeing the cure is certain and speedy.
I can therefore, do no less than express myself in a holy indignation against such who would make the precious blood of my Savior subservient to their lusts, desiring rather to be freed from the danger than from the dominion of sin.
O my soul, come thou not into their secrets; unto their assembly mine honor be not thou united: Cursed be their lusts, for they are vile, and their desires for they are devilish. [Gen. 49:6-7] Let me bless God who has made me whole, and sin no more lest a worse thing come unto me. [John 5:14]