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result from a work so greatly superior to all soul exists separately, when the body is the power of the sons of men.
laid in the chambers of the grave. Having thus bricfly addressed the mourn
Having performed this benevolent miraers, he entered the chamber where the
cle, our blessed Saviour left the ruler's damsel was lying, but suffered none to fol.
house, and was followed through the streets low him, except Peter, James, and John ;
by two blind inen, imploring assistance ; together with the father and mother of the
nordid they implore in vain. The Redeemdamsel ; probably his reason for suffering the peritions of those who made application
er of mankind was always ready to grant these only to be spectators of so stupendous to bim for relief. Accordingly, he was no a miracle, was that they might have an opportunity of examining the whole transac
sooner entered into the house, to avoid the tion in the most careful nanner, and be thronging of the multitude, than he touched theuce enabled, afterwards, to report it
their eyes, and said, “ According to your upon the fullest conviction, and with every | immediately the valuable gift of sight was
faith, be it unto you.” Matt. ix. 29. And circumstance of credibility:
bestowed upon thein, The blessed Jesus now approached the The blind men were so overjoyed at bebody, took her by the hand, and with a holding the light, that though he charged gentle voice, said, “ Maid, arise.” The them to keep the miracle a secret, they heavenly command was instantly obeyed; published his fame in every part of the the damsel arose, as from a sleep, and country, being unwilling to conceal what, with all the appearance of health and vigour ; | in gratitude for so great a mercy, they for Jesus commanded to give her something thought themselves obliged to divulge. to eat : a plain proof that she did not appear in the weak and lauguishing condition The men who had thus miraculously of a person worn out with disease, or even received their sight, being departed, the like one who had fainted away ; a circum multitude brought unio him a " dumb man stance that abundautly proves the greatness | possessed with a devil.”. So moving a sight and perfection of the miracle. It is there could not fail of attracting a compassionate fore no wonder that her parents should be regard from the Saviour of the world, who astonished at so stupendous a work, the being never weary of well-doing, immedifame of which was presently spread through ately cast out the apostate spirit; on which all the neighbouring country; though Jesus
the dumb man recovered the use of his who was in every sense above praise, and speech, and spake in a very rational manner therefore never courted it, hadstrictly charg to the inultitude, who, with one voice deed them that they silould tell no man what clared, that such wondrous works were was done.
never wrought by any of the old prophets.
“ It was never so seen in Israel.” Matt. ix. These instances of power did the blessed 33. Jesus display to convince the world that those who die in him are not dead ; and that he hath These works did not remove the prejudice the keys of life and death. Those also of the of the Pirarisees, who being unable to deny presenteare, who belice e that the soul sleeps the miracle
; insinuated that he did it by a do well to consider the expression of the prince of the devils.”. A poor pretence inEvangelist, “ her spirit came again.” Luke deed! and did not escape the animadverviii. 55, which sufficiently shews that tbe sion it deserved from the Saviour of the
world, as we shall see in a succeeding chap tions of the Pharisees and Sadducees, dister. Well might the prophet Isaiah cry tracted the minds of the people. out in a prophetic extacy, « Who hath believed our report ? and to whom is the arm The inhabitants of Judea were truly in a of the Lord revealed ?"
deplorable situation, which called loudly
for the compassion of the Son of God, who But all their calumnies could not provoke always regarded the descendants of Jacob, the neck and merciful Jesus, to cease from with the most tender affection. He saw the performing tlese compassionate offices for sheep of Israelscattered on the barren wastes the children of men. On the contrary, he of error and superstition, without a shepherd exerted himself still more and more, to to lead them to the heavenly pastures of the promote the prosperity and salvation of the law and the prophets
law and the prophets. He saw, he comwhole human race. And accordingly he miserated their distress; and be resolved to left Capernaum, and travelled through the provide some remedy for it. Accordingly, country in search of miserable objects, on he directed bis apostles to intercede with whom he might confer happiness and peace ; the Almighty, who by his servants the provisiting all the cities and villages, teaching phets had sown the seeds of piety and virtue in their synagogues, and preaching the gos in the minds of the Jews, that he would pel of the kingdom, and healing every sick not suffer the rich harvest to be lost, for ness, and every disease among the people.” want of labourers ; “ the harvest (said the Matt. ix. 55.
blessed Jesus to his disciples) truly is plen
teous, but the labourers are few. Pray ye, In his return from this tour to Caper therefore, the Lord of the harvest, that he naum, he was attended by a great number will send ford labourers into his harvest." of people, who expressed a more than com Matt. ix. 37, 38. mon desire to hear the doctrines of the gospel. An incident abundantly sufficient to To these gracious acts, he added the engage the attention of this divine teacher, most powerful of all intercessions to the who was always careful to cultivate the la- throne of grace, his own prevailing prayer. tent seeds of virtue, and cherish the least And accordingly ascended to the top of the appearance of piety and religion.
mountain, and there spent the night in
making the most powerful petitions in beIt was not this desire of the people alone half of " the lost sheep of Israel, to bis heathat excited his compassion towards them : venly Father.” he well knew they were wholly destitute of spiritual teachers; for the Scribes and Pha Having spent the night in this pious exFisees, who ought to have instructed them, ercise, he lost no time in putt ng his benewere blind, perverse, and lazy guides, who, ficent intentions in execution ; for no sooner instead of seeking the glory of the Almighty, had darkness withdrawn her sable veil, and made it their whole business to support and the blushing rays of the morning adorned augment their own. They magnified the ri the chambers of the east, than this benevotal ceremonies and traditions ; but took no lent Redeemer of mankind called bis discicare to iospire the people with a love of vir ples unto him, and chose twelve, whom be tue. “ To do justice, love mercy, and named apostles, to be always with him ; walk humbly with their God,”
and that he might send them forth to preach. parts of their doctrine. The small appear He ordered them to be constantly with bim, ance of religion they entertained, was that they might learn from his own mouth wholly hypocritical: and the disputes carried the doctrines they were to preach to the on with su much bitterness between the fac whole world ; that they might see his glory,
the transcendent glory of the virtues which where under the protection of the civil goadorned his human life ; and that they vernment; and, in short, to reform ile might be witnesses of all the wondrous manners of mankind, then universally corworks he should perform, during his resi rupted. dence on the earth, and by which his mission from the courts of heaven was to be Had the choice of instruments for so grand fully demonstrated.
an undertaking, been committed to human
prudence, such doubtless would have been These twelve persons thus qualified, were chosen as were remarkable for learning, to supply the people with that spiritual strong reasoning, and prevailing eloquence. food they so greatly wanted, both while But behold the wisdom of God, infinitely their Master continued here below, and superior to that of man, acted very diffeafter bis ascension to the right hand of rently; for the treasure of the gospel was power.
committed to earthen vessels, that the exccl
lency of its power might in all countries apHaving ordained them to their respective
pear to be of God. offices, he sent them out by two and two, into the most distant parts of Judea, to Accordingly, the religion which these preach there the glad tidings of the gospel, | illiterate Galileans taughtthrough the world, and prepare the way for their Master, the exhibited a far juster notion of things, than great Shepherd of. Israel.
the Grecian and Romau philosophers were
able to attain, though their lives were spent And that nothing might be wanting to in study and contemplation. Hence, by its render their preaching acceptable to the own intrinsic splendor, as well as by the expeople, and confirm the important doctrines ternal glory of the miracles that accompathey delivered, he invested them with full nied it, this religion sufficiently appeared to power to cure all diseases, cast out devils, be wholly original and divine. and even to raise the dead.
Besides, its truth and dignity was suffiPerhaps the number of the twelve apo ciently attested, by the remarkable success stles was fixed upon, rather than any other, that attended it. It was received every to sliew that God intended, bytheir ministry, where, by the bulk of the people, with the to gather together the scattered remnant of highest applause, as something they had the twelve tribes of Israel. But be that as been hitherto seeking in vain; while the it may, these twelve apostles courstantly maxims and precepts of the philosophers continued with Jesus, from the time of their never spread farther than their respective election, till he offered himself a sacrifice schools. on the cross for the sins of mankind, never departing from him, unless by his own ap
It was therefore with the highest wisdopr pointment.
that the foundations of the church were laid
in the labour's of a few illiterate fishermen ; All these persons being illiterate Gali for it demonstrated, with irresistible evileans, and at first destitute of all the qua dence, 'hat the immense fabric was at first lifications necessary in the
necessary in the discharge of raised, and is still sustained, not by the arm their duty, integrity alone excepted, were of man, but by the hand of the Governor of the most unlikely persons in the world to the universe. confound the wisdom of the wise, baffle the power of the mighty, overturn the many After appointing twelve apostles, he false religions which then flourished every came down from the mountain, and was
joyfully rocivived by multitudes of people, “ Woe unto you that are full, for ye shall who were waiting for bim in the plain, and hunger.” The pain ye shall suffer, in a pressed to touch bim ; well knowing, that future life, shall be sharp and excruciating. if they could only touch the border of his The opportunities you neglected of doing garment, they should be healed of whatever good to your afflicted brethren, in this life, distemper they were afflicted with. A suf shall then be remembered with the most ficient reason why they were continually poignant grief, and bewailed with the most waiting for bin, and were willing to accom: bitter lainentations. pany him, even into the remotest corners of the wilderness.
“ Woe unto you that laugh now, for ve
shall mourn and weep.” This malediction Tlie preaching and miracles of our Lord of our blessed Saviour is most inconsistent were not attended to by the low and vulgar with the apostle's precepts, which command only ; persons of the first rank and charac- people always to rejoice. Neither is the ter cume from distant parts of the country, mirth against which the woe is here de to converse with him, hear his doctrine, and nounced, to be understood of that constant be spectators of his wonderful works. It cheerfulness of temper, which arises in the therefore evidentiy appears, that persons of breast of true Christians, from the comfortall ranks were desirous of following him: able and cheerful doctrine with which they and their desire could be founded on nothing. are enlightened by the gospel, the assubut the truth of his miracles.
rance they bave of reconciliation with God,
the hope they have of overlasting life, and After healing all the sick among the mul the pleasure they enjoy in the practice of titude, he turned towards his disciples, and virtue, and the other duties of religion : delivered a divine discourse something like but it relates to that turbulent, carnal mirth; that he had before preached to them on the that excessive levity and vanity of spirit, mountain ; but in the former, he only pro which arises not from any solid foundation, nounced blessings, whereas in the latter he but from im moderate sensual pleasures, or aurled carses also ; and in this principally those vain amusements of life, in which the it differs from that recorded by St. Mat- giddy and the gay contrive to spend their thew : I shall therefore only seleet a few time; that sort of mirth which dissipates paconges from the sermon now delivered, as thought, leaves no time for consideration, I have given a large paraphrase on the and gives them an utter aversion to all seriforajer.
ous reflection. Persons who constantly in
dulye theinselves in this kind of mirth, shall “ Woe unto you that are rich, for you weep and mourn, eternally, when they are have received your consolation.” Luke ri. excluded from the joys of heaven, and ba24. Riches, considered in themselves, have nished for ever froin the presence of God, no tendency to render us the objects of the by the light of whose countenance all the Almighty's hatred, unless accompanied righteous are enlivened, and inade transcenwith those vices, which too often flow from dently happy. an opulent fortune ; as luxury, covetousness, and the like. The woe, therefore, is Woe unto you when all men shall speak here denounced against such only, as are well of you, for so did their fathers to the contaminated with these vices ; for those false prophets." Woe unto you, if by prom who make a proper use of their wealth, and pagating such doctrines as encourage men possess the virtues which would accompany in sin, you shall gain to yourselves the ap-. affluence, have no share in the maledic. plause and flattery of the generality of men ; tion.
for thus in old times did the false prophets
and deceivers, who accommodating their found so great faith, no not in Israel." doctrines to the lusts and passions of men,
Luke vii. 9. gained their applause, but incurred the wrath of an all-seeing just God.
The persons having delivered their mes. sage, returned to the house, and found the servant who had been sick, perfectly reco
vered. · CHAP. X.
Many persons have thought that this miContinuation of our Lord's glorious Doc
racle, and that mentioned in Matt. vii. are trines, beneficent Acts, and astonishing the same ; but this is a mistake. The Cen' Miracles, wrought in Confirmation of furion, in the former, came in person, but. his Divine Mission, and the extending in the latter, the petition was sent by the of his heavenly Kingdom.
elders of Capernaum. There is not the least
hint, in the first miracle, that the CentuTAE Divine Preacher, having closed this
rion was a proselyte ; but he, in the seexcellent sermon, he repaired to Ca
cond, is said to have been a lover of the pernaum, and was met by certain messen
Jewish nation, and to have built them a gers from a Centurion, desiring him to synagogue. Several other particulars, which come and heal a servant, who was dear to prove these miracles to have been really him, and ready to die.
different, will easily occur to the reader,
and therefore we shall not here enumerate This Centurion, from the account given
them; what has been said will, we preof him by the evangelist, seems to have
sume, be sufficient to remove any objection been a proselyte to the Jewish religion, as
that may be offered against our considering he was a lover of the sons of Jacob, and had
them as different transactions. erected for them a place of worship ; and accordingly the inhabitants of Capernaum,
Having thus miraculously healed the strongly espoused bis cause, on this occa
Centurion's servant, he repaired to Peter's
house to eat bread : but the multitude sion, saying, “ that he was worthy for whom he should do this. For he loveth our na
came again together and surrounded the tion, and he hath built us a synagogue.”
house in a very tumultuous manner, deLuke vii. 4, 5.
inanding, in all probability, that he would
heal their sick : and it was not without There was not the least danger that this difficulty they were dispersed by his friends. petition would be rejected by the blessed The multitude being dispersed, Jesus Jesus, who sought all occasions of doing called unto him the twelve apostles he had good to the children of men. Accordingly, before chosen," and conferred on them the he very readily accompanied the messen
power of working miracles, in confirmation gers; but before he came to the house, he
of the doctrines they were appointed to was met by some of the Centurion's friends, preach, and delivered them such instrucwho expressed the high idea that officer en
tions as he thought necessary to enable tertained of his power, and desired that he them to discharge the duties of this imporwould not take the trouble of coming to his tant commission. house, as bis word was abundantly suficient to perform the cure. At this message,
“Go (said their heavenly Master) and Jesus turned hin:self about, and said to the preach, saying, the kingdom of heaven is at multitude, “I say unto you, I have not hand.?! Publish in every corner of Judea,