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he cured their bodies, as a pledge to assure us thereof.
As this is a matter of infinite importance toward the advancement of a Christian in the true knowledge and spirit of the gospel, and not so obvious to common understandings, I have reserved it to my last expository lecture, that you may take advantage of all that has gone before : and when you see into the figurative intention of the miracles of Christ, you will want no more of my instructions concerning the language of the scripture.
The wonders which Jesus Christ wrought upon earth in the course of his ministry were all of a particular sort, because more ends than one were to be answered by them. The world was not only to believe the fact of his heavenly mission, but to understand the design and object of it. Any supernatural act would have shewn, that he was invested with supernatural power ; but as the object of his commission was to save mankind from their sins, all his miracles were signs of salvation towards the bodies of men; all explanatory of his great work in redeeming their souls from the fatal effects of sin. He went about doing good; and according to the present state of things under the fall; to do good, is to remove evil; to save mankind is to undo and destroy the works of the devil. The worst of these take place upon the soul"; but we cannot apprehend them without some help, because the soul is invisible. When we speak of the faculties of the soul, we are obliged to borrow our words from the faculties of the body; so the evils and distempers of the soul must be signified to us by the evils and distempers of the body: and both of these proceed from the same cause ; for had there been no sin in the soul, there would have been no death in the body. The bodies of men fell into infirmities along with their souls: and it was of God's mercy that it so happened, for we, who take all our notions of the soul and its operations from those of the body, could not otherwise have understood the distempers of the mind : whence it too frequently happens, that they who never were sick, are apt to be ignorant of the weakness of the inward man, and so become confident and self-sufficient--thou sayest I am rich, and have need of nothing, and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked *.
When man was first placed in paradise, his body was in health, and his soul had all its fa
culties . Kevelations iii. 17.
culties in perfection: and if we would know what a perfect soul is, we must consider what a perfect body is. When the body of man is in a state of perfection, its senses are all perfect. Its sight is quick and strong; its hearing is uninterrupted ; its limbs are vigorous and active; it distinguishes all tastes and all odours without error, and in its feelings it is sensible of all the impressions of the elements. So when the soul is in equal health, it sees and understands things spiritual; it sees God and his truth as plainly as the eye sees the light of the day; it hears and attends to all important and useful information : it walks with God in the way of his commandments, and even runs with pleasure to do his will, as the angels fly through the heaven for the same purpose : it distinguishes good and evil without error; and, apprehending their different effects and consequences, it relishes the one and abhors the other : its speech is employed in the praises of God, and will be telling of his wonders from day to day, for it knows no end thereof; it therefore preserves its relation to God, as his child, his scholar, his subject, in affection, attention and obedience. O blessed state ! who can survey this condition of humanity without bewailing its loss, and aspiring to its restoration ?
For lost it was; and under that loss we are now suffering; and as such sufferers we were visited by Jesus Christ. When sin entered, man fell from this perfect state of mind, into ignorance and blindness of heart; inattention to divine knowledge and instruction ; aversion to spiritual things; error of judgment; insensibility of the consequences of good and evil; and inability, as well as indisposition, to do the will of God. His soul is as a body maimed and distempered: for sin is not only a defect, but a positive disease, including the nature of all the diseases incident to man. The eyes of his mind are blind, its ears are deaf; its tongue is dumb; its feet are lame; its constitution infected with foul distempers ; it is agitated with vain cares, cheated with vain pleasures, and distressed with emptiness and want. When the apostle had this subject be-' fore him, well might he exclaim, O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death? For the life we have upon these terms as natural men, is rather death than life; and so the gospel hath considered it: we are dead in trespasses and sins, and the world in which we live is dead unto God.
Now as Jesús Christ came to restore us from this state of disease and death into which we P 4
are fallen, all his mighty works present him to us as a deliverer from these evils ; and therefore while his miracles were evidences of his own divine mission, they were signs of our salvation. They all spake the same sense ; and our Saviour himself hath given us a key to the right interpretation of them all: 'who, when he was about to give sight to a man born blind, did not proceed to the cure, till he had instructed his disciples in the sense of it, in such terms, as could not be applied to it as a bodily cure. “ As long as I am in the world, I am "the light of the world," as if he had said, “I
give light to this man born in darkness, as a
sign that I give light to mankind, who are all ç born in the like state. This man is but an s individual ; and all the persons to whom I « shall restore their bodily sight are but few : “ but a spiritual discernment in the eyes of the " mind is necessary to all mankind; therefore “ I who give it am a light to the whole world, “ and I give sight to this man as a sign of it."
That the miracle might be more instructive, a very peculiar form was given to it. He moulded the dust of the ground into clay, and having spread it upon the eyes of the man, he commanded him to go and wash off this dirt in the pool of Siloam. Here the reason of the