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And, with a conviction of his all-sufficiency, let us say with Peter-]
3. We may take occasion from it to bless God for the preached gospel
[The word of Christ in his gospel is as powerful as in the days of his flesh
It quickens many who were dead in trespasses and sinsIt rescues them from the second death, and awakens them to an eternal life
How many have seen the souls, over which they had long mourned, called forth to life by the almighty voice of Jesus!Let the whole multitude of us then "fear the Lord and his goodness"
Let us glorify him for sending us such an adorable SaviourAnd let us seek, both for ourselves and others, fresh displays of his power and grace-]
• John vi. 68, 69.
P Hos. iii. 5.
CCXCI. THE BLIND AND DUMB DÆMONIAC HEALED. Matt. xii. 22, 23. Then was brought unto him one possessed
with a devil, blind and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David?
THE power of Satan is far greater than is generally supposed-In the days of our Lord it was exercised in a visible and most tremendous manner-Perhaps God suf fered him to display his power then more than at any former period, in order that the triumphs of Jesus over him might be more manifest-We have reason to be thankful that since the apostolic age a considerable restraint has been imposed upon him-Still, however, he retains a fatal power over the souls of men-Nor is any human strength sufficient to counteract his malignant efforts-To Jesus alone can we look for deliverance from him-He alone who rescued this dæmoniac from his oppression, can deliver us
From the miracle before us we shall take occasion to
1. What power Satan still exercises over mankind Though he is not permitted to vex their bodies, he too successfully assaults their souls
He blinds them
[It is expressly asserted in the scripture that he is the "God of this world who blinds the eyes of unbelievers"a. Through his agency they are kept from discerning their duty, their interest, and their happiness-One would suppose that none need to be told, That it is their duty to love and serve God, and to cleave stedfastly to their Lord and Saviour; that it is their highest interest to seek the favour of God and an everlasting inheritance-And, that there is no happiness to be compared with the enjoyment of God's presence, and the prospect of his glory-Yet these things they cannot see-They are even foolishness to the natural man-And the broken cisterns which can hold no water are preferred before the fountain of living waters-What a lamentable proof of the darkness of their understandings, and the blindness of their hearts!d]
He makes them dumb
[The tongue is justly called "our glory," because it is the member whereby we most glorify Gode-But, as far as respects this use of our tongue, we are as dumb as the very beasts-We speak not to God in fervent prayer and praise, notwithstanding our daily wants should stimulate us to the one, and our daily mercies to the other-We speak not of God to our friends and families, but prefer every other topic of conversation-We speak not for God in the world, even though we witness the indignity with which he is every where treated-Were we to hear our friend or father insulted thus we should endeavour to vindicate their honour-But for God and his glory we feel no concern-And whence is this but from the agency of that "Spirit, who ruleth in all the children of disobedience?"f_]
We need not however be cast down, if we consider II. That all who apply to Jesus shall surely obtain deli
Our blessed Lord is as able and willing to help us as
[Nothing could withstand the energy of his word when he was on earth-Nor did any make application to him in
a 2 Cor. iv. 4. a Eph. iv. 18.
b 1 Cor. ii. 14.
e Ps. xxx. 12.
c Jer. ii. 13.
f Eph. ii. 2.
vain-Is then his strength impaired now that he is in heaven? Is not all power in heaven and in earth committed to him on purpose that he may exert it on behalf of his church?s And has he not the same zeal for his Father's glory and our good which originally brought him down from heaven and induced him to submit to death for us?-Surely then we have no reason to doubt his ability or willingness to help us in the time of need-]
Nor shall any make their application to him in vain
[His ready compliance with the requests of all the multitudes who came unto him, may justly warrant us to expect relief at his hands-Yea, there are many living witnesses of his power and grace from whose success we may derive encouragement-However blind we have been; he will open the eyes of our understanding-However impotent we have been with respect to the right use of our tongue, he will loose our tongue that we may speak plainly-He will fulfil to us his promises beyond our most sanguine expectations; "Our eyes that were blind shall be opened, and our tongues that were dumb shall sing?"-]
No sooner shall we obtain deliverance than we shall find
III. That an experience of his mercy will excite our admiration, and confirm our faith
Nothing astonishes the soul so much as a discovery of Christ's power and grace
[The people who beheld the miracle, were amazed-And doubtless the person also who received the benefit was filled with admiration-Thus is the converted soul made a wonder unto many-Many will "glorify God in him"-Nor will he wonder less, whose faculties are renewed by grace-How plainly does he now see his former bondage to Satan!-How does he marvel at the rich mercy vouchsafed unto him!— Above all, how does he adore the sovereignty of God who has thus distinguished him from others!-Often does he exclaim, Why me, Lord? why hast thou taken me, while so many others are yet left in a state of nature?-]
Nor does any thing so much confirm our faith in Christ
[The people justly concluded from the miracle that Jesus must be the promised Messiah-And can any one see the effects of his grace, and not admire him in them?-Can any one receive his spiritual benefits, and not acknowledge his sufficiency to save the soul?-When once we can say, He, has opened
* Eph. i. 22.
h Isai. xxxv. 5, 6.
my eyes, we can have no doubt of his ability to do for us whatever we need-We shall exultingly appeal to others, Is not this the Christ?-Yea, we shall recommend him to others as a sure refuge, and an almighty friend-]
1. To those who are yet under the power of Satan
[If we should credit men's account of themselves, none of this description could be found-But are there none whose lives evince this melancholy truth; none whose powers of speech have been employed only for secular and carnal purposes, and who have been utterly blind to the beauty and excellency of true religion?-Know then, that however great an object of commiseration a man is, who is incapable of seeing to supply his own wants, and of speaking to make them known to others, he is in a far happier state than you-His wants may be supplied, yours cannot; his will end at death, but yours will follow you into the eternal world-Look then to Jesus, and pray with David, "Open thou mine eyes," "Open thou my lips"-Thus shall you become monuments ●f his mercy, and adore him for his goodness to all eternity-]
2. To those who have been delivered from Satan
[No person restored to the use of speech and sight has so much reason to rejoice as you-Employ then for Jesus the faculties which he has given you-And guard against the devices of Satan-He can again (alas! how often does he!) both blind your eyes, and seal your lips-In Jesus is your strength-Your application to him must be renewed yet daily -In this way you will grow in knowledge and in grace-And you will be progressively fitted to behold his glory and to sing his praises for evermore-]
CCXCII. CHRIST STILLETH THE TEMPEST.
Matt. viii. 27. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?
THE more we see of hrist, the more we are constrained to admire him
Every fresh miracle discovers to us more of his unbounded power and grace
The disciples had often been struck with wonder at the miracles wrought by him
They now beheld a miracle in which they themselves were deeply interested
And were stimulated by it to more exalted thoughts of his august character—
It will be profitable to enquire
I. What it was at which they so marvelled
The disciples in crossing the lake were overtaken by a
And were in imminent danger of being overwhelmed by the waves
In this strait they called upon their Lord for help [They had put to sea in compliance with their Lord's commanda
Yet were they not exempt from the dangers incident to navigation
Christ himself submitted to be thus tossed by winds and
And in so doing has taught us what his church must expect in this tempestuous world
His disciples, having exerted themselves in vain, applied to him
In this they afford us a good example under our distressesPerplexed by fear, and agitated by impatience, they addressed him rather in a querulous expostulation
Alas! how feeble is our nature under the pressure of heavy trials!
How apt are we to mix our supplications with complaints against God!d
They shewed however, with all their weakness, in whom their trust was
And that they had no hope but in his almighty aid-]
[He could, if he had seen fit, have prevented the stormBut then the disciples, would not have discovered their own weakness
Nor have seen this marvellous display of their Master's power
It is for the same gracious ends that he permits our troubies
And, when they have brought us to him in fervent supplication, he will deliver us from them
He arose from his pillow, and with authority rebuked the
a Ver. 18.
c Job. iii. 23. & vi. 4. & vii. 20.
b Acts xiv. 22.
d 1 Pet. i. 6, 7.