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And behold, they brought to him a man fick of the

palsy, lying on a bed : and Jesus seeing their faith, said unto the sick of the pally, Son, be of good cheer ; thy fins be forgiven thee.

TH

XIV.

HE active and elementary parts of DISC.

nature, wheresoever they exist, will manifest themselves by their effects ; fire will warm, light will shine, aromatics will send forth sweet .odours. Jesus, in like manner, on all occasions discovers himself to be what his names implies, the SAVIOUR; leaving behind him, in every place,

the

VOL. III.

U

XIV.

DISC. the warmth of fervent charity, the light of

evangelical doctrine, and the fragrance of a good report concerning something done for the benefit of man, and the glory of God. He goeth about, not to gratify or to profit himself, but to diffuse his beneficence. He either teaches, or comforts, or raises from the dead, or heals, or feeds, or delivers, or departs into solitude to pray. And all for us. For us he preaches, that we may learn the truth; for us he heals, and performs other miracles, that we may believe him ; for us no less he retires, for us he

prays, for us he gives thanks to his Father. Thus he changes his situation often, his disposition never; in this, as well as other things,

- leaving us an example, that we should fol“ low his iteps," and not suffer any outward difference of circumstances to make us forget our Christian profession.

The Gergesenes, as we find by the conclusion of the preceding chapter, preferring the preservation of their swine to the falvation of their fouls, and therefore $ de

XIV.

*6 firing him to depart out of their coasts; DISC. " he entered into a ship, and passed over, *c and came into his own city, Capernaum,” i. e. the city not where he was born, but where he lived ; a trafficking, luxurious, proud city; and for that reason, as mercy looks out for the miserable, and a physician for them that are fick, chosen by him ; who, though the only man that ever was without fin, disdained not to dwell and converse with sinners, seeing he came to call such to repentance.

Here it was that he performed the miracle mentioned in the text, which it is the design of the following discourse first to illustrate, and then to apply.

It being

“ noised about” (as St. Mark in his account informs us) that Jesus was returned to Capernaum, and was in a certain house in the town, “ straightway many " were gathered together, insomuch that o there was no room to receive them, no not “ so much as about the door ; and he,"

who

V 2

XIV. than

DISc. who always rejoiced much more to teach

any

could do to learn of him, “preach" ed the word” of life and falvation " to “ them.” The sermon was with authority and power,

and the audience very attentive.

But behold (for fo St. Matthew introduces this miracle, and well worthy our bebolding it will appear to be) an object on a sudden presented itself, which quickly engaged the notice of the speaker, no less than that of the hearers. A bed, with a poor

wretch confined to it by the palsy, was seen descending from the roof, till it came down into the room and rested, where all that want reft must find it, at the feet of Jesus. Some good neighbours and friends of this unhappy man, it seems, who by the nature of his disease was rendered incapable of helping himself, were fo kind as to carry him between four of them where they knew he might have relief. For it is plain, by the pains they took, that they had no doubt but Christ could and would heal

XIV.

him, if they could only contrive to place disc. such a spectacle before his eyes.

But here was the difficulty. For upon bringing their burden to the house, they found such a crowd of people even about the door, that there was no room for a single person more to get in, much less for four, with so

ponderous and cumbrous a load. Men were not to be torn by any means from the lips of so eloquent a preacher, but were listening at the very doors and windows, to catch, if it were poffible, fomewhat of his doctrine. Such was, and such ever ought to be the vehement and unfeigned desire of hearing Christ's word, whenever it is preached.

What therefore is to be done? Shall they give it over, and return without having accomplished that for which they came? A lukewarm charity would have done so, contenting itself with the effort it had made, and concluding it impossible to do any thing more. But these men were not to be discouraged. They thought therefore of an expedient, and immediately put it in

U 3

practice,

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