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Man has a two-fold nature. He is both a material and a spiritual being. And both natures have been equally affected by the fall. His body is exposed to disease; his soul is corrupted by sin. We would therefore expect that any complete scheme of redemption would include both natures, and provide for the restoration of his physical as well as the renovation of his spiritual life. Nor are we disappointed. The Redeemer appears among men with both hands stretched out to our misery and need. In the one He holds salvation; in the other, healing. He offers Himself to us as a complete Savior; His indwelling Spirit the life of our spirit; His resurrection body the life of our mortal flesh. He begins His ministry by healing all that had need of healing. He closes it by making on the Cross a full atonement for our sin; and then on the other side of the open tomb He passes into Heaven, leaving the double commission for "all the world," and "all the days even unto the end of. the world;"--"Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. He that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe. In My name they shall cast out devils . . . . they shall lay hands upon the sick and they shall recover." This was "the faith once delivered unto the saints." What has become of it? Why is it not still universally taught and realized? Did it disappear with the Apostolic age? Was it withdrawn when Peter, Paul, and John were removed? By no means. It remained in the Church for centuries and only disappeared gradually in the growing worldliness, corruption, formalism and unbelief of the early Christian centuries. With a reviving faith, with a deepening spiritual life, with a more marked and Scriptural recognition of the Holy Spirit and the Living Christ, and with the nearer approach of the returning Master Himself, this blessed Gospel of physical redemption is beginning to be restored to its ancient place, and the Church is slowly learning to reclaim what she never should have lost. But along with this there is also manifested such a spirit of conservative unbelief and cold, traditional, theological rationalism as to make it necessary that we should "contend earnestly for the faith once delivered unto the saints." First of all we must be sure of our Scriptural foundations. Faith must ever rest on the Divine Word; and the most important element in the "prayer of faith" is a full and firm persuasion that the healing of disease by simple faith in God is, beyond question, a part of the Gospel and a doctrine of the Scriptures. The earliest promise of healing is in Exodus xv. 25, 26: "There He made for them a statute and ordinance, and there he proved them, and said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in His sight and wilt give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord thy God which healeth thee." The place of this promise is most marked. It is at the very outset of their journey, like Christ's healing of disease at the opening of His ministry. It comes immediately after the passage of the Red Sea. And we know that this event was distinctly typical of our redemption, and their journey of our pilgrimage. "These things happened unto them for ensamples, and are written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the world are come." 1 Cor. 10: 11. This promise, therefore, becomes ours, as the redeemed people of God. And God meets us at the very threshold of our pilgrimage with the covenant of healing, declaring that as we walk in holy and loving obedience we shall be kept from sickness, which belongs to the old life of bondage we have left behind us forever. Sickness belongs to the Egyptians, not to the people of God. And only as we return spiritually to Egypt do we return to its maladies and perils. Nay, this is not only a promise, it is "a statute and an ordinance." And so the Lord Jesus has left for us a distinct ordinance of healing in His name as sacred and binding as any of the ordinances of the Gospel. Ps. 105. 37: "He brought them forth also with silver and gold, and there was not one feeble person among their tribes." This shows us the actual fulfillment of that promise. Although they did not fulfill their part in the covenant, yet God kept His Word. And so, although our faith and obedience are often defective, yet, if Christ is our surety, and if our faith will claim His merits and His name, we too shall see the promise fulfilled. Job 1-2: The story of Job is one of the oldest records of history. It gives us an unmistakable view of the source from which sickness comes--Satan; and the course which brings healing, taking the place of humble self-judgment of the mercy-seat. If ever a sick chamber was unveiled it was that of Uz. But we see no physician there, no human remedy, but only a looking unto God as his Avenger. And when he renounces his self-righteousness and self-vindication and takes the place where God is seeking to bring him--that of self-renunciation and humility--he is healed. Ps. 103: 2, 3: "Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and forget not all His benefits: who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases." The Psalms of David are a continual record of affliction. But God is always the deliverer, and God alone. We see no human hand. As directly does he look to Heaven for the healing as he does for the pardon, and in the same breath, he cries, "Who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases." And it is a complete healing, ALL his diseases, as universal and lasting as the forgiveness of his sins. And how glorious and entire that was, is evident enough. "As far as the East is from the West, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us." But here, as in the case of Job, there is an intimate connection between the sickness and the sin; and both must be healed together. 2 Chron. 14: 12, 13: "And Asa, in the thirty and ninth year of his reign, was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he sought not to the Lord, but to the physicians. And Asa slept with his fathers." Here was a king who had begun his reign by an act of simple implicit trust in God, when human resources utterly failed him; and by that trust (verses 9-12) he won one of the most glorious victories of history. But success corrupted him, and taught him to value too highly the arm of flesh. So that in his next great crisis (2 Chron. 16: 7, 8) he formed an alliance with Syria, and lost the help of God. He refuses to take warning from the prophet, and rushes on to the climax of his earthly confidence. He becomes sick. Here is a greater foe than the Ethiopians, but again he turns to man. "He sought not to the Lord, but to the physicians." And the vivid picture of the outcome could not be more sad or sarcastic: “And Asa slept with his fathers." Isaiah 53: 4, 5. "Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows . . . and with His stripes we are healed." This the great Evangelical vision, the Gospel in the Old Testament, the very mirror of the coming Redeemer. And here in the front of it, prefaced by a great AMEN--the only "surely" in the chapter is the promise of healing; the very strongest possible statement of complete redemption from pain and sickness by his life and death, and the very words which the Evangelist afterwards quotes, under the inspired guidance of the Holy Ghost (Matt. 8: 17) as the explanation of His universal works of healing. The translation in our English version does very imperfect justice to the force of the original. The translation in Matthew 8: 17 is much better: "Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses." The literal translation would be, "surely He hath borne away our sicknesses and carried away our pains." Any person who will refer to such a familiar commentary as that of Albert Barnes on Isaiah, or any other Hebrew authority, will see that the two words here used denote respectively “‘sickness” and “pain,” and that the words for "bear" and "carry," denote not mere sympathy, but an actual substitution and the removal utterly of the thing borne. Therefore, in the same full sense as He has borne our sins, Jesus Christ has SURELY BORNE AWAY and CARRIED OFF our sicknesses; yes, and even our PAINS, so that abiding in Him, we may be fully delivered from both sickness and pain. Thus "by His stripes we are healed." Blessed and glorious Gospel! Blessed and glorious Burden Bearer. Thus the ancient prophet beholds in vision the Redeemer coming first as a Great Physician, and then hanging on the Cross as a Great Sacrifice. And thus the Evangelists have also described him; for three years the Great Healer, and then for six hours of shame and agony, the Dying Lamb. Matthew 8: 17. "He healed all that were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet saying, Himself took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses." This is quoted as the reason why He healed all that were sick. It was not that He might give his enemies a vindication of His Divinity, but that He might fulfill the character presented of Him in ancient prophecy. Had he not done so, He would not have been true to His own character, and if He did not still do so, He would not be--"Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever." These healings were not occasional, but continual; not exceptional, but universal. He never turned any away. "He healed all that were sick." "As many as touched Him were made perfectly whole." He is still the same. Now, this was the work of His life. We have been too ready to sum up all the Redeemer's work in the one act at the close; and in our zeal for the value of His blood, we have forgotten the preciousness of His earthly life. But God would not have us forget that He spent more than three years in deeds of power and love before He went up to that Cross to die. And we need that Living Christ quite as much as Christ Crucified. The Levitical types included the meat offering quite as much as the sin offering; and suffering human hearts need to feed upon the Great Loving Heart of Galilee and Bethany, as much as on the Lamb of Calvary. It would take entirely too long to examine in detail the countless records of His healing power and grace, or tell how He cured the leper, the lame, the blind, the palsied, the impotent, the fever stricken, "all that had need of healing;" how He linked sickness so often with sin, and forgave before he spake the restoring word; how He required their own personal touch of appropriating faith, and bade them take the healing by rising up and carrying their bed; how His healing went far beyond His own immediate presence, and reached and saved the centurion's servant and the nobleman' s son; and how sharply He reproved the least question of His willingness to help, and threw the responsibility of man's suffering on his own unbelief. These and many more such lessons crowd every page of the Master's life, and still reveal to us the secret of claiming His healing power. And what right anyone can claim to explain away these miracles, as mere types of spiritual healing and blessing, and not as specimens of what He still is ready to do for all who trust Him, is as inexplicable as the Mythical Theory. Such was Jesus of Nazareth. But was this blessed power to die with Him? John 16: 12: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works shall he do, because I go to my Father." Here is another "VERILY," nay a "VERILY, VERILY." Then it must be something emphatic, and something man was sure to doubt. Now, it is no use to tell us that this meant that the Church after Pentecost was to have greater spiritual power, and do greater spiritual works by the Holy Ghost than Jesus Himself did, inasmuch as the conversion of the soul is a greater work than the healing of the body; because Jesus says, "The works that I do, shall he do also," as well as the "greater works than these:" that is, he is to do the same works Christ did, and greater also. And so we know they did the same works that he did. Even during His life He sent out the twelve Apostles, and then He sent out the seventy as forerunners of the whole host of the Christian Eldership (for the seventy were just the first Elders of the Christian Age, corresponding to the seventy Elders of Moses), with full power to heal. And when He was about to leave the world, He left on record both these Commissions in the most unmistakable terms. Mark 16: 15-18: "Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe: In My name they shall cast out devils, they shall speak with new tongues, they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them, they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover." Here is the Commission given to them, the twofold Gospel, and assuring them of His presence and unchanging power. What right have we to preach the one without the other? What right have we to hold back any part from the perishing world? What right have we to go to the unbelieving world and demand their acceptance of our message without these signs following? What right have we to explain their absence from our ministry by trying to eliminate them from God's Word, or consign them to an obsolete past? Nay, Christ did give them, and they did follow as long as Christians continued to "believe" and expect them. And by such "mighty signs and wonders" the Church was established in Jerusalem, Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth. The unbelief of the world needs them today as much as in the Apostolic times. During the Apostolic age these manifestations of healing power were by no means confined to the Apostles. Philip and Stephen were as gloriously used as Peter and John. In 1. Cor. 12: 9-30, "the gifts of healing" are spoken of as widely diffused and universally understood among the endowments of the Church. But now, the Apostolic age is closing; is this to be continued, and if so, by whom? By what limitation is it to be preserved from fanaticism and presumption? By what commission is it to be perpetuated to the end of time, and placed within the reach of all God's suffering saints? We turn with deep interest to James 5: 14. "Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the Church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him." Now, let us notice first who gives this commission. It is James, the President of the Apostolic Board; the presiding officer of the Mother Church at Jerusalem; the one who had authority to say, in summing up the decrees of the Council at Jerusalem (Acts 15: 19), "My sentence is;" the man who is named first by Paul himself among the Pillars of the Church (Gal. 2: 9); he it is who rightly transmits the Apostolic gifts to the ordinary and permanent officers who are to succeed them in the oversight of the flock of Christ. Again, observe to whom this power is committed. Not the Apostles, who are now passing away, not men and women of rare gifts and difficult of access, but the elders, the ordinary officers of every single church, the men who are within reach of every sufferer, the men who are to continue till the end of the age. Again, notice the time at which this commission is given. Not at the beginning, but at the close of the Apostolic age; nor for that generation, but for the one that was just rising, and all the succeeding ages. For, indeed, these New Testament epistles were not widely circulated in their own age, but were mainly designed "for our admonition on whom the ends of the world are come." Again, observe the nature of the ordinance enjoined--the prayer of faith, and the anointing with oil in the name of the Lord. Now, this was manifestly not a medical anointing, for it was not to be applied by a physician, but by an elder, and must, naturally, be the same anointing of which we read, Mark 6: 13, and elsewhere, in connection with the healing of disease by the Apostles themselves. Any other interpretation would be strained and contrary to the obvious meaning of the custom, as our Lord and His Apostles observed it. In the absence of any explanation here to the contrary, we are bound to believe that it was the same--a symbolical religious ordinance expressive of the power of the Holy Ghost, whose peculiar emblem is oil. The Greek Church still retains the ordinance. The Romish apostasy has changed it into a mournful preparation for death. It is a beautiful symbol of the Divine Spirit of life taking possession of the human body, and breathing into it His vital energy. Again, observe that this is a command. It ceases to be a mere privilege. It is the Divine prescription for disease; and no obedient Christian can safely dispense with it. Any other method of dealing with sickness is unauthorized. This is God's plan. This makes faith so simple and easy. We have but to obey in childlike confidence; He will fulfill. And once more, we must not overlook the connection of sickness with sin, the suggestion that the trial has been a Divine chastening, and requires self-judgment, penitence and pardon, and the blessed assurance that both pardon and healing may be claimed together in His name. 3 John 2: "Beloved, I wish (pray) above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth." If more were needed than the testimony of James, the last of the Apostles, and the one who best knew the Master's heart, has left this tender prayer, by which we may know our Father's gentle care for our health as well as for our souls. And when God breathes such a prayer for us, we need not fear to claim it for ourselves. But, as we do, we must not forget that our health will be even as our soul prospers. Eph. 5: 30: "We are members of His body, His flesh, and His bones." These words recognize a union between our body and the risen body of the Lord Jesus Christ, which gives us the right to claim for our mortal frame all the vital energy of His perfect life. His body is ours. His life is ours, and it is all sufficient. Rom.8: 11. "If the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal body by His Spirit that dwelleth in you." This cannot refer to the future resurrection. That will be by the "Voice of the Son of God," not the Holy Spirit. This is a present dwelling and a quickening by the Spirit. And it is a quickening of the "mortal body," not the soul. What can this be but physical restoration, which is the direct work of the Holy Ghost, and which only they can receive who know the indwelling of the Divine Spirit? It was the Spirit of God that wrought all the miracles of Jesus Christ on earth. Matt.7: 28. And if we have the same Spirit dwelling in us we shall experience the same works. 2 Cor. 4: 10, 11: "Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be manifested in our mortal flesh. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal body. "This is Paul's physical experience, constant peril, infirmity, and physical suffering, probably by persecution and even violence; in order that the healing, restoring and sustaining power, and life of Jesus might be the more constantly manifest in his very body for the encouragement of suffering saints, "for your sakes." His life was a constant miracle; that it might be to all men a pledge and monument of the promise made to him, for all who might hereafter suffer. "My grace is sufficient for thee." This life, he tells us, v. 16, "was renewed day by day." The healing power of Christ is dependent on our continual abiding in Him, and, like all his gifts, is renewed day by day. Finally, as a voice that has been speaking for eighteen centuries, let us hear the sweet words, Heb. 13: 8: "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever." And this is but an echo of that voice that spoke these parting words a generation before :"Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." He did not say I will be; that would have suggested a break; but I AM, an unchanging NOW, a presence never withdrawn, a love, a nearness, a power to heal and save as constant and as free as ever, even unto the end of the world; "JESUS CHRIST, THE SAME, YESTERDAY, TODAY, AND FOREVER." Thus have we traced the teachings of the Holy Scriptures from Exodus to Patmos: we have seen God giving His people the ordinance of healing in the very outset of their pilgrimage; we have seen it illustrated in the ancient dispensation in the sufferings of Job, the songs of David, and the sad death of Asa; we have seen Isaiah's prophetic vision of the coming Healer; we have seen the Son of Man coming to fulfill that picture to the letter; we have heard Him tell His weeping disciples of His unchanging presence with them; we have seen Him transmit His healing power to their hands; and we have seen them hand it down to us and to the permanent officers of the Church of God, until the last ages of time. And now what more evidence can we ask? What else can we do but believe, rejoice, receive, and proclaim this great salvation to a sick and sinking world?

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