Page images
PDF
EPUB

saw the

[ocr errors]

mighty, power, but that He also felt the tenderest com. passion for the distresses of the human race. When he

poor

widow drowned in sorrow for the loss of her only son, whom she, with a train of mourners, was attending to the grave, without waiting for solicitation, he hastened to give her comfort. The corpse was not in a coffin, but on a bier, covered over with a kind of winding-sheet (according to the custom of the country). The words spoken by our LORD, when he approached the bier, proved that he had divine authority; Young man, I SAY UNTO THEE, Arise : and the immediate effect produced, made it manifest that the power of God was inherent in him.

When our SAVIOUR had thus restored the youth to life, instead of demanding his attendance on himself, he delivered him to his mother, testifying by this action the pleasure he took in turning her sorrow into joy.

Though it is impossible for us to perform such won. derful works as our Saviour did; yet the relation of them furnishes us, not only with arguments to confirm the belief of his divine nature, but also with practical in. structions for our own conduct. From the instance we are now considering, we may learn to be compassionate to all persons in affliction ; but particularly to exert our endeavours “to wipe tears from widows' eyes, and make their hearts sing for joy."

Those who were afflicted with leprosy were objects. of great commiseration ; for the disease was in itself both painful and loathsome, and excluded the afflicted person from society. Such a miserable creature as a leper readily found the relief he sought from our mer. ciful SAVIOUR, who rewarded his faith by an immediate cure. It is supposed that our LORD took him apart from the multitude, who, it is likely, would have driven

21

him away for fear of infection or defilement. The rçason of our LORD's commanding the man not to publish the miracle, seems to have been, that the priests might allow the cure to be perfect, before they knew by what means it had been effected, and that it might serve as a testimony of Christ's divine power; for the Jews con. fessed, that leprosy was sent and removed by the hand of God alone, and it was not lawful for a physician to attempt the cure of it.

Besides the motive above mentioned for enjoining the man to silence, our LORD was also willing to avoid drawing such a multitude together as would have ohstructed the approach of those who came to him for relief, and prevent their hearing his discourses; and we find this was the consequence

of the

man's inattention to his injunctions ; for Jesus soon found himself under the necessity of withdrawing from that city, since his remaining there would have exposed the inhabitants to much inconvenience, from the great concourse

of people. We must not suppose that our Lord rejected those whom belief in his power induced to become his followers. As he could heal at a distance

distance as well as near, and all hearts were open to His view, we can. not doubt but that he healed and comforted all who by faith in Him gained His favour, though this was not immediately apparent.

It has been already observed, that whenever our LORD was disengaged from the service of mankind, he retired to devotion. Some of his public prayers are recorded by the Evangelists; from these we may judge, that when alone, He earnestly implored the FATHER TO bless his ministry, offered thanksgivings for the success of it, and for the honour conferred on his human nature, by the union of the Divine WORD,

Our

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Our LORD did not withdraw from the multitude for.. his own ease or conveniency; but having preached the Gospel, and displayed his divine power before such a number of people, there was no occasion for him to re. main there any longer ; and he resolved to remove, when he saw they were likely to grow. tumultuous. Those who were converted to his doctrine were at li. berty to follow him; and those who were obdurate, would have remained so still, even if he had fixed his, abode among them.

As the Scribes had great reputation and authority among the Jews, our Lord, if He had been endeavour. ing to establish a temporal kingdom, would have, availed, himself of the offer made Hin by one of them, to.“ fol, low him whithersoever he went:" but from our LORDS, answer, which seems to have been addressed to his thoughts, we may infer, that he was induced to follow CHRIST, from an opinion that he would shortly, be a great prince, and reward his, adherents, with honoure, and riches.

As the Scribe's views were worldly, he was rejected by his Saviour, who was more pleased with the honest sim. plicity of the poor fishermen, who were sincerely devoted to his service, than he could have been, even had all the Scribes assembled to make such empty professions.

The fault of the disciple, who requested leave to defer his constant attendance on CHRIST till his father's death, and of him who desired to return home and settle his affairs, were of a very different nature. These men seem to have formed deliberate resolutions to follow the LORD, but were slow in executing them; yet as they were candidates for the honourable employment of being his immediate companions, they should have given him the preferer.ce to all persons and things what.

F

ever. Merely to perform the last offices for a father, who, it is probable, was at that time dead; or to settle a few worldly concerns, and take leave of relations, who, most likely, would have exerted all their influence

o detain him, was of no importance in such an emer. gency; for there were enough of those who were spiritually dead, or unconverted, to attend to such particulars. Our LORD, intending to send some of his disciples shortly to preach in different parts, had occasion for their immediate attendance; and the absence of these persons would have excluded them from the number. We must not from this incident infer, that: Christ requires all Christians to be entirely inattentive to their worldly concerns : for this is not the case. The service he now expects is perfectly consistent with our domestic and social duties; but it was very different in the beginning of Christianity, when perhaps one per. son in a family became a convert, and the rest adhered to their prejudices and vices. If, indeed, any extraor. dinary circumstance should occasion our spiritual and worldly interests to clash, we should, without hesitation, prefer the former, and leave all to follow CHRIST.

SECTION XLII.

THE DEMO.

JESUS STILLS A TEMPEST, AND CURES

NIACS AT GADERA.

From Luke, Chap. viii.- Matt, viii.-Mark, iv. v.

Now it came to pass on a certain day that he went into a ship, and his disciples followed him, and he said unto them, Let us go over to the other side of the lake; and they launched forth. And behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea,

insomuch

insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves, but he was in the hinder part of the ship asleep on a pillow, and they awoke him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?

And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still : and the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful ? how is it that

ye

have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

And when he was come to the other side, into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man night pass by that way.

And one of them, who had devils a long while, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs;

When he saw Jesus, cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high ? I be. seech thee, torment me not.

(For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains, and in fetters, and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.)

And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion : because many devils were entered into him.

And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into thee deep.

And there was there an herd of many swine feeding

on

« PreviousContinue »