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clean. All the days wherein the plague shall be in him, he shall be defiled; he is unclean; he shall dwell alone, without the camp shall his habitation be.19 The lepers were therefore not allowed to enter into any walled cities or villages, or even it is said, to travel on the customary roads. They were driven from the society of their fellow-men, and wandered about in the most desolate condition. Here it appears that ten persons of this description, not being able to mingle with any other society, endeavoured to console themselves by associating together as companions in distress.
The fame of our Saviour's miracles had, however, it seems, by some means reached their ears; and when they saw Him pass along the road at a distance, to enter into a village which they dared not approach, while they stood afar off, they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. Although they could not come near Him, yet it was in their power to cry aloud, so that their earnest supplications might reach His ears. They felt the misery of their condition, and that made them earnestly implore mercy. Mercy is shown only to the miserable. No others feel their need of it. No others are anxious to obtain it. wretched lepers did not implore mercy in vain.
These poor It was not, however, shown to them in the way that they might probably have imagined that it would be. They might have expected that some means would be made use of, and the cure effected through their instrumentality.
19 Leviticus xiii. 45, 46.
But instead of doing any thing of that kind, when Jesus saw them, He said unto them, Go, show yourselves unto the priests. This was appointed by the law of Moses,to be done either for the purpose of ascertaining the reality of the disorder in the first instance, or to denote any change in its circumstances at a later period. The poor men obeyed the command, notwithstanding the reason of it might not appear to themselves, as there was no alteration in their state apparent, which would make an application to the priest necessary.
And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. While they were on their journey to Jerusalem, and had gone far in advance of the Lord Jesus, they found that their loathsome ulcers were staunched, that the pain which they endured ceased, and the dire disorder had left them; they were entirely healed. They were doubtless all of them overjoyed at the discovery that the disease had departed from them. Nine of them who were Jews went on, as they had been commanded, to show themselves to the
20 Leviticus xiii. 9.
priests. Having received the benefit, they no longer troubled themselves about the means whereby they were healed, or thought of the obligation they were under to Him, who at their earnest request had shown mercy to them; but perhaps persuaded themselves that the disease had left them of its own accord; or, they might have gone on to offer the gift which the law required after their cleansing; but they had no idea of returning to thank the Lord Jesus for the
But one of them when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks; and he was a Samaritan. He had before lifted up his voice to cry for mercy, he now with a loud voice gave thanks to His merciful Benefactor. He knew the source from whence the blessing had been derived, if the others did not. And he was anxious to express his gratitude for it. He therefore took the trouble of going back at once to meet the Lord Jesus, who he knew was coming on the way, also journeying to Jerusalem; and as soon as he came to Him, which He now ventured to do without dread, as his defiling disorder had left him, be fell down on his face at His feet, he worshipped the Divine Saviour, whose almighty power had been so conspicuously manifested in the healing of which he had partaken.
He gave Him thanks and praise for the benefit that had been conferred upon one who was so undeserving of His kind and compassionate notice.
And he was a Samaritan. He was one whose whole race was regarded with hatred and contempt by the Jews; and who therefore might have been expected to be careless about expressing his gratitude for a benefit received. The nation was so odious to the Jews, that it might be supposed by strangers that they were destitute of all common virtues. But the conduct of this poor man proved that however ignorant he might before have been of the Messiah, whom the Jews expected to come into the world in the fulness of time; he could not receive a great benefit, and be insensible of the feelings of gratitude to his Benefactor. Bad as he might before have been, he was overcome with a sense of the goodness of his Benefactor in showing mercy to him, and healing him of his distressing complaint; and he made the only return in his power, by running to meet Him, and offering to Him the homage of his worship. The conduct of this man,
different from that of the others who had received the same benefit with him, excited the surprise of Him who had shown mercy to them all. And Jesus answering, said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.
Which was as much as to ask, Are the Samaritans the only grateful people ?
There was only one of them cleansed of his leprosy, and he turns back on his way to acknowledge it. There were nine Jews who received the same benefit, not one of them comes to make his acknowledgment; although they knew that if they had but waited a little on the road, Jesus would soon have come up with them, and might have accompanied them to Jerusalem.
And He said unto him, the grateful Samaritan who had fallen down at His feet, Arise, go thy way, thy faith hath made thee whole. Our Lord Jesus Christ did not refuse the homage and worship of this man, as His Apostles afterwards refused it, when a similar act was done to them. He did not say,
ир, I myself also am a man, and nothing more; as Peter said to Cornelius. He accepted the homage, and commended the man for offering to Him the worship that was justly His due. And having desired him then to depart in peace, He informed him that His belief in His almighty power, who had come into thë world as the long-promised Messiah, had been the means of procuring the healing which he had experienced; it was because he had earnestly implored mercy that it had been extended to him. And this was said for
21 Acts x. 26.