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plaint before the Lord when he is overwhelmed. (Psal. cii. 1) No desires so strong in them as to have their eyes opened, their hearts purged, their sin removed, their peace enlarged, the truth of God vindicated, his worship restored, his ordinances preserved, his presence continued in the midst of his people. Promises of healing in God, do awaken prayers for healing in them. (Isa. xix. 22. Jer. xxxi. 8, 9, 10, and xxxiii. 6. Hos. vi. 1. Isa. lvii. 15)

III. The author of this healing is here the Sun of Righteousness, who came purposely, to bind up the broken-hearted, to appoint to them that mourn, beauty for ashes, &c. (Isa. Ixi. 1,2,3) Concerning him let us consider, 1. The reason of his appellation. 2. The manner of his healing. For the appellation, he was called by Balaam, a star,' one that was to have dominion; (Num. xxiv. 17, 19) a great light;' (Isa. ix. 2) 'Avatoλ the day-spring,' or sun-rising; (Luke i. 78) a' bright star of the morning;' (Rev. xxii. 16) an everlasting light that never goes down; (Isa. lx. 20) that takes away all night. (Rev. xxii. 5)

The apostle tells us, that by Christ the worlds were made; (Heb. i. 2) the old visible world, wherein is the natural sun; and a new heaven and earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness; (2 Pet. iii. 13) unto which belongeth this Sun of righteousness. And therefore the time of the gospel is called 'a day of grace and salvation;' (2 Cor. vi. 2. Rom. xiii. 12, 13) and believers, children of the light, and of the day:', (1 Thess. v. 5) wherein darkness of error and ignorance is dispelled; and glorious things, which had been hidden from ages and generations, manifest unto the world.

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Christ is the light of the world to come;' (as the evangelical church seemeth to be called, Heb. ii. 5) 'that light;" (John i. 8, and iii. 19) a heavenly light.' So evangelical doctrines are called тà éπoupávia, heavenly things.' (John iii. 12, 13. Heb. ix. 23)

A full light.' (John i. 14) In him, did all fulness dwell. (Col. i. 19) An indeficient light which endures for ever, as a faithful witness in heaven; (Psal. lxxxix. 36. Isa. lx. 19) a primitive independent light, which deriveth not his righ

• Luke iv. 18. Acts iv. 30. Isai. xxx. 26.

teousness from any other fountain; he sanctified himself by his own spirit. (John xvii. 19) A diffusive light; which sheddeth itself on every other vessel of light; "of his fulness we all receive." "He filleth all in all." (John i. 16. Ephes. i. 23) A moving light,' which goes through all the earth to the ends of the world. (Psal. xix. 3, 6) 66 He came and preached peace to those afar off, and to them that were nigh." (Ephes. ii. 17) An operative, influential, and benign light, which cometh with life, as well as with lustre; and therefore it is called the womb of the morning,' (Psalm cx. 3) reviving, restoring, ripening the fruits of the earth. (Psal. xxxvi. 9)

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IV. The means and manner of his healing, is by his arising unto us. There is a sun extant at midnight, as well as at noon; but he comforts not us but by his rising. Now this rising noteth;

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1. His incarnation: the word which is translated 'Avaroλn, Oriens, the day-spring, or sun-rising, (Luke i. 78) is, in the original, a branch.' (Zech. iii. 8) And as here a Sun of righteousness, so elsewhere a Branch of righteousness. (Jer. xxiii. 5, and xxxiii. 15) A Sun of righteousness; so is he the Lord from heaven, the Lord of David: a Branch of righteousness; so is he the son and the offspring of David. This is our comfort, that he is as well Germen,' springing out of the earth,-as Oriens,' looking down from heaven. (Psal. lxxxv. 11)

2. His manifestation in spirit and power, by the gospel, to the consciences of his people, by the beauties of his grace and holiness, enlightening the mind, inclining the will, healing the affections, converting the conscience, discovering to the soul the deep things of God, which is called the rising of the day-star in the heart.' (2 Pet. i. 19)

3. His rousing men out of ignorance and security, unto the business of a holy life: for the sun riseth, that men may go forth to their labour. (Psal. civ. 22, 23) The light saith, Awake thou, that sleepest. (Ephes. v. 14. Rom.xiii. 11)

4. His heavenly conduct and direction'; shewing us the way wherein we should walk, and leading us therein, discovering enemies and temptations behind us, precipices,

Psalm cxliii. 8. v. 8. Isai. xxx. 21.

gulfs, snares, and pits before us; (Luke i. 79) whereas he who walketh in darkness, knoweth not whither he goeth. (John xii. 35)

The Sun of righteousness, thus rising, doth heal us by his light, and by his influence. 1. By the light of his hea venly doctrine, whereby he convinceth of sin "," and so discovereth our disease; and then of righteousness, in him to pardon our sin,-and of judgement, to rescue us out of the dominion and power of Satan. 2. By the influence of his blessed spirit efficaciously enforcing the word, and educing that virtue out of it, by which it restoreth health and beauty to the soul:-this is called the revealing of the arm of the Lord;' (Isa. liii. 1) and the hand of the Lord' being with the word. (Acts xi. 23)

But Christ is in heaven, and we in earth: how shall we bring these together, that the medicine may be applied to the disease? "Omne agens agit per contactum;" and this must be either 'immediatione suppositi,' or 'immediatione virtutis,' as philosophers speak. And we have both here: his person, being divine, is immense and omnipresent. He filleth all in all. His virtue is further conveyed unto us by his wings,' the beams of this Sun of righteousness, most swiftly and suddenly flying with his truth and grace into the soul. And these wings are;

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1. His word and ordinances, in which Christ is present with his church, (Mat. xviii. 20) and presented to it. (Gal. iii. 1) The holy doctrines of the gospel, and duties of worship, are (if I may so speak) the drugs and materials, the balm of Gilead, whereby spiritual diseases, sin and sorrow, are cured. As we find usually in the gospel, he did but speak the word, and diseases were gone. His cures were commands. His ordinances are the leaves of the tree of life, which are for the healing of the nations. (Rev. xxii. 2)

2. Any illustrious providence sent down, as it were, from heaven, when he doth terrible things which we looked not for. Thus he healed the fears of Israel by opening a way in the Red Sea; and their murmurings in the wilderness, by giving them waters out of the rock. Thus he strengthened

John xvi. 8, 11.

• Matth. viii. 8, 9.

* Ephes. i. 23.

a Isai. lxiv. 3.

y Psalm cxxxix. 9.

the faith of Constantine, newly converted by the sign of the name of Christ in heaven, with this inscription, 'In hoc vinces.' Wonderful Providences, which bring any healing to discomposed and dilacerated nations, are as so many beams of the Sun of righteousness, who, as Lord of all creatures, orders them all for his church's good. The wheels in Ezekiel's vision of living creatures, whereby I understand the various and perplexed revolutions of all affairs in the world, were 'full of eyes;' noting the guidance of divine wisdom, ordering them all to the welfare of his church and people.

3. Any special servants and officers of his, whom he commissionateth and sendeth forth for the good of his people; whether the angels of heaven, as we read of a 'healing angel;' (John v. 4) or the angels of the church, to whom belongeth the dispensation of wholesome and healing doctrines, (1 Tim. vi. 3. Tit. ii. 1) to open the eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light; (Acts xxvi. 18) or any other renowned instruments and messengers of help and comfort to an afflicted people. These are, if I may pursue the metaphor, the apothecaries, to weigh out, mix, and temper, and prepare the drugs, according to the direction of Christ, which the apostle expresseth by the word oploтoμev rightly to divide the word.' (2 Tim. ii. 15) And our Saviour by didóval σitoμéτριον, 'to give the due portion of meat,' (Luke xii. 42) which some would have to allude unto the custom of measuring out, daily or monthly, unto servants their allowances of diet. d

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4. His own holy spirit, who, in Tertullian's expression, is 'Vicarius Christi,' as the beam is of the sun; who taketh from Christ, and sheweth unto us f; making report to the souls of believers of the favour of Christ unto them; shedding abroad his love into their hearts &; blowing upon his garden", that the spices thereof may flow forth; as a witness, a seal, an earnest, a seed; bringing Christ and all his healing graces and comforts unto the souls of his servants, in their sins and sorrows, to revive them.

V. Here is the subject of this healing. Where observe; 1. The gracious and special compellation: the Lord speaks

b Euseb. de vita Constantini, 1. 1. c. 22. 25. Raynolds Conference with Hart. cap 8. divis. 4. p. 508. c Ezek. i. 16, 18. d Stuckius de conviv. £ John xvi. 15.

1. 1. cap. 23.

g Rom. v. 5.

• Tertul. de præscriptionibus.

Cant. iv. 16.

by name to his sick and sorrowful servants, with a peculiar favour, as to his own sheep; (John x. 3) keeps a matricula, and public register, wherein their names are enrolled. (Mal. iii. 16. Psalm 1xxxvii. 4, 6) They are engraven on the breast of our High priest. (Exod. xxviii. 9) He takes exact notice of their wants, their complaints, their tears, their desires; and shines in with particular comfort and healing upon them. So to Mary. (John xx. 16) So to the woman of Syrophonicia; "O woman, great is thy faith; be it unto thee as thou wilt." (Matth. xv. 28) So to Peter; "Go tell his disciples, and Peter;" poor mourning Peter, comfort him by name. (Mark xvi. 7)

2. The immediate preparation, and proper disposition unto healing, to fear God's name. There is a double virtue of Christ towards men.

1. A quickening virtue; and the subjects of this virtue are those who are dead in trespasses and sins. (Eph. ii. 1, 5) 2. A healing virtue towards those, who though they be alive, are yet in a weak, wounded, languishing condition, looking out after help and recovery. No such way for a sick and wounded nation to be healed, as to fear God's name. See Solomon's prayer to this purpose, (1 Kings viii. 33, 39) and the Lord's gracious answer unto that prayer; (2 Chron. vii. 14)" If my people which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and heal their land." They are his people, his sons, his jewels; they call upon him, mourn towards him, turn to him, seek his face; they sink under the burden of corruptions; they cry out under the buffets of Satan, under the ravishments of temptations; they pine away under the judgements of God; they know not what to do, but to look up unto him. How can the bowels of a heavenly Father but yearn over a sick, a mourning, a weeping, a praying, a returning child! See Ephraim bemoaning himself, turning, repenting, smiting upon his thigh; and the Lord presently relenting over him, and resolving to have mercy upon him; (Jer. xxxi. 18, 19, 20) "Is Ephraim my dear son? Is he a pleasant child? For since I spake against him, I do earnest

i Rom. vii. 23.

k2 Cor. xii., 8. 2 Chron. xx. 12.

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