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The Relations of Disease to Man.

The Relations of Disease to Man.

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Published by glennpease
BY SAMUEL WILBERFORCE


REVELATION xxi. 4.

" AND GOD SHALL WIPE AWAY ALL TEARS FROM THEIR EYES ;
AND THERE SHALL BE NO MORE DEATH, NEITHER SORROW,
NOR CRYING, NEITHER SHALL THERE BE ANY MORE PAIN :
FOR THE FORMER THINGS ARE PASSED AWAY."
BY SAMUEL WILBERFORCE


REVELATION xxi. 4.

" AND GOD SHALL WIPE AWAY ALL TEARS FROM THEIR EYES ;
AND THERE SHALL BE NO MORE DEATH, NEITHER SORROW,
NOR CRYING, NEITHER SHALL THERE BE ANY MORE PAIN :
FOR THE FORMER THINGS ARE PASSED AWAY."

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Published by: glennpease on Apr 10, 2013
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The Relations of Disease to Man.
BY SAMUEL WILBERFORCEREVELATIO xxi. 4." AD GOD SHALL WIPE AWAY ALL TEARS FROM THEIR EYES ;AD THERE SHALL BE O MORE DEATH, EITHER SORROW,OR CRYIG, EITHER SHALL THERE BE AY MORE PAI :FOR THE FORMER THIGS ARE PASSED AWAY."THE special object, my brethren, which has broughtus together, suggests to us as a matter for ourconsideration to day, those appointments of God sprovidence, which before we have advanced far inlife most of us know sadly, in our own personal experience, pain, sickness, and disease.The glorious revelation of Messiah s future kingdom, which was opened to the eyes of the beloveddisciple, shews the final passing away of these nowuniversal evils. There shall be a state for allChrist s perfected, in which there shall no morebe either pain, or sorrow, or crying ; from whichdeath itself, that capital plague -sore into which allthese lesser evils run up, shall be for ever banished.This is what is before us ; there shall hereafter be norelation between these evils and Messiah s kingdom ;and this may suggest to us, as an enquiry whicha St. Mary s, Oxford, Radcliffe Sermon, June 22, 1852.156 The Relations, of Disease to Man. [SEEM.will lead us on to some useful practical lessons,what is the present relation between sickness andthat kingdom of grace in which we are alreadyplaced ?ow, to enter into this, let us first see whatsickness is. We often speak of it as if it hadsome positive existence, was one of God s creatures. But this is really incorrect. Sickness isa negative state ; it is merely the deprivation of 
 
health ; it is, that is to say, an imperfection ; andas such, though permitted by God, it cannot besaid to be anything created by God. All Hisworks we know in themselves were, when theyleft His hand, perfect in their kind ; He lookedupon the man whom He had made, and like Hisother works, he, too, was very good : was completeboth in body and mind. Life in its perfectness existed in his body ; bounding, without clog or taint,throughout his wonderfully-constructed frame. Sucha being might, by the condition of his nature, sufferfrom any external violence, which should derangethe complicated machine through which life actedwithin him, but could not know internal self-originating disease. The first Adam, as he left thehand of God, must, to fulfil the conditions of perfection under which he was created, have beenfree from such a possibility. But he began hislife under a law of obedience, and to the violationof that law was appended a strange, unknown, andterrible penalty : in the day that he sinned he shouldsurely die. What was that awful sentence ? whatxiv.] The Relations of Disease to Man. 157could this rejoicing being, exulting in a perfectlife, what could he know of death ? As he thenwas, probably nothing; even in imagination. Butalas ! he soon knew it all too perfectly ; for hesinned, and incurred the penalty ; he ate, and died.On that very day he died ; death seized upon him,it began its work ; from that day he was dying.The process might be longer or shorter before itreached completion, but it had actually begun.Disease, which is death s first acting, and lesserinstance, had, as a possible condition of his being,laid hold of him. He was in body now imperfect ;under a new capacity of pain and sorrow, with aninevitable certainty of being at length worn out bythat which he had brought within himself.Here, then, is the first relation of disease to God sreasonable creation. It was an imperfection ; a robbing a perfect creature of its perfectness. It wasthe stamp of sin upon his body ; the shadow cast by
 
the clogged and tainted spirit within him on thematerial framework with which that spirit is so intimately united.And now follow the enquiry one step further, andsee what was the relation of this new condition of imperfection to that great dispensation of God, thelaw of Moses. That whole system was based onthe fact of the adoption of the children of Abrahamto live in covenant with God under a law of obedience, the observance of which was to be followedby immediate and visible blessings ; the breach of which was to be visited by immediate and visible158 The Relations of Disease to Man. [SERM.punishment. Under such a dispensation, we mightexpect to find the original penalty of disease, orbodily imperfection, holding an important place inthe system of immediate and visible penalties, bywhich the law was enforced. And such is the fact ;on the one hand, we find the promise, " If thou shaltdo all that I speak, ... I will take away sicknessfrom the midst of thee b ;" and again, "If thou wiltdiligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God,and wilt do that which is right in His sight, andwilt give ear to His commandments, and keep allhis statutes, I will put none of these diseases uponthee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians : forI am the Lord that healeth thee ." On the otherhand, we find the threatening, "If thou wilt notobserve to do all the words of this law, . . . thenthe Lord will make thy plagues wonderful, and theplagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sickness, and of longcontinuance. Moreover He will bring upon theeall the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraidof; and they shall cleave unto thee. Also everysickness, and every plague, which is not writtenin the book of this law, them will the Lord bringupon thee, until thou be destroyed 4 ."This is further most forcibly illustrated in theAY hole history of that singular and fearful disease,leprosy. Its sudden infliction, as on Miriam, Gehazi,

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