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power. A desire after spiritual blessings is excited in the mind, and they are accordingly sought in humble and fervent supplication at the throne of grace. Then the blessing is vouchsafed. What He did in the days of His flesh is left on record for our encouragement, that we may be led to apply to Him to have compassion upon us; and may experience the working of His mighty power in raising us from the death of sin to newness of life. He who could give life to a dead body can also quicken a dead soul. When two blind men applied to Him for the restoration of their sight, He asked them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? And when they said unto Him, Yea, Lord. Then touched He their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.90 And their eyes were opened. So when the spiritually blind apply to Him, He will graciously vouchsafe to hear their cry, and give them sight. And with respect to the dead in sin, He has declared, Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live.91 He calls upon mankind by His word and His ministers, Awake thou that sleepest and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.92 He says, I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in Me, though he
90 Matthew ix. 28–30. 91 Johu v. 25. 92 Ephesians v. 14.
were dead, yet shall he live.93 Oh! that this voice Divine might reach all our hearts ; that those who are asleep in sin might awake, and arise from the dead; and believing in Him might live as new creatures in Christ Jesus. Relief is near at hand for all those who cry earnestly for mercy to Him who is able to bestow it.
We have seen the wonderful compassion, and the almighty power of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He displayed in behalf of the widow of Nain, in raising her dead son to life; and have considered it as affording encouragement to all needy sinners to make application to Him for the healing of the diseases of their souls. Let us heseech Him to have compassion upon us, and to display His almighty power in us, by giving us spiritual life, that we may turn from every evil way, and live to His glory and show forth His praise. As the dead man when he was restored to life, began to speak; so if we are made new creatures in Christ Jesus, we cannot but praise Him, who has had mercy upon us. The Psalmist says to the Lord his God, All Thy works shall praise Thee, O Lord; and Thy saints shall bless Thee. They shall speak of the glory of Thy kingdom, and talk of Thy power; to make known to the sons of men His mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of His kingdom.94 If, then, we are made partakers of quickening grace, and experience the happiness of spiritual life, the compassion and power of Him who has manifested His loving-kindness to our souls, will be our theme; and we shall desire that all around us may enjoy the same blessedness as ourselves. We shall endeavour in all our words and actions, by our life and conduct, to recommend the religion which we have embraced ; that we may show forth the praises of Him who hath called uis out of darkness into His marvellous light. May we be enabled thus to live to the glory of God, and to look forward to that day when He who once visited us in deep humility will appear again in power and great glory; and display His almighty power in the salvation of those who have trusted in His mercy; whose hearts shall then rejoice with a joy which shall never be taken from them.
93 John xi. 25.
94 Psalm cxlv. 10-12.
For WHOSOEVER EXALTETH HIMSELF SHALL
BE ABASED ; AND HE THAT HUMBLETH
HIMSELF SHALL BE EXALTED,
THESE words were spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ, in consequence of observing the conduct of the Pharisees in their intercourse among themselves, as well as on all other occasions. Their own advancement was the object at which they were continually aiming. The gratification of their pride and self-importance was never lost sight of by them at any time. This was not the only occasion on which our Saviour made the
same remark in reference to them. St. Matthew mentions that He made the same observation, when He warned His disciples against adopting the practices of the Pharisees, and severely reprehended their proud and oppressive behaviour to all around them.95 And our Evangelist records His repeating the sentiment, when He had contrasted the conduct of the Pharisee and the publican, who went up together into the temple to pray.96 At this time it appears that our blessed Lord was asked by a Pharisee to come into his house, professedly in a friendly manner, but in reality with an insidious design; that if He should do any thing which they might think to be a breach of the sabbath, there might be competent witnesses at hand, who could accuse Him before the council, and disgrace Him in the sight of the people.
The Evangelist states, in the Gospel for this day, that it came to pass, as Jesus went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the Sabbath-day, that they watched Him. It seems extraordinary that a person of any rank, a ruler, should lend himself to such a purpose. But the envy which the Pharisees bore towards our Lord Jesus Christ, on account of His credit with the people, was so great, that they were ready to adopt any means whatever to lower Him in the
35 Matthew xxiii. 12.
96 Luke xviii. 10, 14.