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XXXIX. HOLY CHILD.
And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy
servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, by stretching forth thy hand to heal ; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.' Acts iv. 29, 30.
CHRIST is called a child in nine instances; holy child twice. The word here, however, should have been rendered servant, as in verse twenty-five of this same chapter
We shall not dwell long on this appellative, for it chiefly derives its importance from the connection in which it is found. It occurs in the midst of a fervent prayer uttered by the Apostle during a violent persecution, occasioned by a 'notable miracle' performed on a 'man who was above forty years old.'
The event here recorded in the life of the Apostles, presents a beautiful exemplification of their spirit and confidence in Jesus. They expected to accomplish every thing in his name. They never imagined they could do any thing in their own strength. If christians had always reposed the same confidence in the holy child Jesus,' the gospel would long before this have shone forth in all its purity and glory. They have trusted too much to their own wisdom and power. They have lost sight of the saying of their Master in his dying admonitions to his disciples, •Without me ye can do nothing. And the whole
history of the church has verified the saying; almost every system of religion that men have endeavored to build up without Jesus has come to nought. He must not be lost sight of for a single moment. We must preach, and pray, and sing in his name. See the grand effects which flowed from the preaching of the Apostles: 'And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they had assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart, and of one soul: neither said any of them that aught of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.'* A more powerful illustration of the mighty effects that flowed from preaching the name of Jesus is not to be found in all the acts and doings of his early followers. In this name, they touched the disordered intellect, and even the maniac was clothed in his right mind, and sat at the feet of Jesus. In this name, they
cast out devils,' 'healed the sick,' and even awoke the sleeping dead. They went every where, preaching that there was no other name under heaven given among men whereby they could be saved.' It is in and through this name that the world will ultimately be brought home to glory. 'God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in
* Acts iv. 31-33.
earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.'* Let us go forth then, and with all boldness speak the word,' and 'signs and wonders will again be done in the name of the holy child Jesus.'t
* Phil. ii. 9–11.
† For a learned and valuable Dissertation on the phrase, ‘Name of Christ,' see Critical Remarks on many important Passages of Scripture, by Rev. Newcome Cappe, vol. ii. p. 381 of his works. York, 1802.
XL. HOLY ONE OF GOD.
"And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit ;
and he cried out, saying, Let us alone ; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth ? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.' Mark i. 23, 24.
The evangelists, Mark and Luke, both relate the above account. We had some little doubt respecting the propriety of the insertion of the title, inasmuch as it had its origin with one who was sometimes under the influence of demons. But this might have been uttered during a lucid interval. That he was sometimes sane, is evident from the fact that he was often admitted into the synagogue, and he was there when he thus cried to the Son of God.
The Messiah is called the 'Holy One’ in Psa. xvi. 10. Isa. xli. 14. Luke i. 35. iv. 34. Acts iii. 14. Similar forms of expression to those in the motto are found in Matt. viii. 29, and perhaps the Evangelist had the same maniac in view. Dr. Clarke has presented some critical remarks on the language here that may be of great service to the reader. What have we to do with thee? 'Or, what is it to us and to thee? or, What business hast thou with us? That this is the meaning of the original,
τι ημίν Kypke has sufficiently shown. There is a phrase exactly like it in 2 Sam. xvi. 10. What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah? ma li v’lacem beney Tseruiah, What business have ye with me, or, Why
do ye trouble me, ye sons of Tseruiah? The Septuagint translate the Hebrew just as the Evangelist does here, τι εμοι και υμιν ; it is the same idiom in both places; as there can be no doubt but the dæmoniac spoke in Hebrew, or in the Chaldeo-Syriac dialect of that language, which was then common in Judea.'
We thought, on first approaching this title, that we would take up the subject of demoniacal possessions, but as our object is not so much to write dissertations as to present brief essays, we shall be obliged to pursue another course. 1st. Because it would be a very large subject. 2d. Because our path is marked out. 3d. A more pleasing and a more appropriate subject seems to lie directly before us, which is the manner in which Jesus exerted his power, when on earth. We find him here casting out the unclean spirit. This astonished those who witnessed it. Such mighty exhibitions, it would seem, ought to convince every mind that in the final result, Jesus will subdue all things. There, evidently, was no disease on earth too deeply seated for him to remove; no sorrow too great for him to console; and no sin too powerful for him to take away. The evils of pain and disease, of ignorance and vice, fled before him as the sun dispels darkness. That same power now exists with him, and the same disposition. How then can any rational mind come to any other conclusion than that Jesus will be the Saviour of the world ?'