For her wound is incurable
Samaria and Jerusalem were, in a material and political sense, in a desperate and hopeless condition.
I. Moral incurableness is a condition into which men may fall.
1. Mental philosophy shows this. Such is the constitution of the human mind, that the repetition of an act can generate an uncontrollable tendency to repeat it; and the repetition of a sin deadens altogether that moral sensibility which constitutionally recoils from the wrong. The mind often makes habit, not only second nature, but the sovereign of nature.
2. Observation shows this. That man’s circle of acquaintance must be exceedingly limited who does not know men who become morally incurable. There are incurable liars, incurable misers, incurable sensualists, and incurable drunkards. No moral logician, however great his dialectic skill, can forge an argument strong enough to move them from their old ways, even when urged by the seraphic fervour of the highest rhetoric.
3. The Bible shows this. “Speak not in the ears of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.” “If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! But now they are hid from thine eyes.” We often speak of retribution as if it always lay beyond the grave, and the day of grace as extending through the whole life of man; but such is not the fact. Retribution begins with many men here.
II. It is a condition for the profoundest lamentation. “Therefore I will wail and howl, I will go stripped and naked. I will make a wailing like the dragons and mourning as the owls.” Christ wept when He considered the moral incurableness of the men of Jerusalem. There is no sight more distressing than the sight of a morally incurable soul. There is no building that I pass that strikes me with greater sadness than the Hospital for “Incurables”; but what are incurable bodies, compared to morally incurable souls? There are anodynes that may deaden their pains, and death will relieve them of their torture; but a morally incurable soul is destined to pass into anguish, intense and more intense as existence runs on, and peradventure without end. The incurable body may not necessarily be an injury to others; but a morally incurable soul must be a curse as long as it lives. (Homilist.)
An incurable wound
The late Dr. A.J. Gordon gave the following anecdote in one of the last sermons he preached: “Dr. Westmoreland, an eminent army surgeon, tells of a soldier who was shot in the neck, the ball just grazing and wounding the carotid artery. The doctor knew that his life hung on a hair, and one day as he was dressing the wound the walls of the artery gave way. Instantly the surgeon pressed his finger upon the artery, and held the blood in check; and the patient asked, ‘What does this mean?’ ‘It means that you are a dead man,’ answered the doctor. ‘How long can I live?’ ‘As long as I keep my hand on the artery.’ ‘Can I have time to dictate a letter to my wife and child?’ ‘Yes.’ And so the letter was written for him, full of tender farewell messages, and when all was finished he calmly closed his eyes and said ‘I am ready, doctor.’ The purple tide ebbed quickly away and all was over. What a parable is here of a far more solemn fact. Oh, unsaved one, you are by nature ‘dead through trespasses and sins’! But God keeps His hand upon your pulse, preserving your life that you may have an opportunity to repent and be saved.”