Page images

And shewed that we could never expect too much at his hands

What advantage for eternal life did the Centurion derive from hence!

[ocr errors]

With what lively hope might he apply to Jesus for the healing of his soul!

We can never suppose that such love and piety, such humility and faith were left to perish

That declaration shall be found true to all eter

No, verily nity-]

3. He declared that many such persens should be saved, while many, with clearer light and higher privileges, should be cast out

[They who profess the true religion may be called "the children of the kingdom"

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

But how many of them are destitute of the attainments this heathen had made!—

How many would have imitated that vile Amalekite rather than him!

How many grudge the necessary contributions for keeping up the houses of God!"

What doubting of Christ's power and grace, yea, what a proud conceit too of their own worthiness, is to be found among professing Christians!

Surely what our Lord said respecting the unbelieving Jews shall be realized in Christians of this characters—

And the humbler heathens, who walked agreeably to the light that they enjoyed, shall be preferred before them

Nor can we doubt but that the Centurion, in reference to whom these things were spoken, shall be among that blessed number-]

[ocr errors]


[Let us then learn to plead earnestly for ourselves-——— Nor let a sense of unworthiness keep us from carrying our wants to Jesus

Let us also sympathize with, and intercede for othersJob, like the Centurion, found benefit from his own intercessionst

Nor shall our supplications be in vain either for ourselves or others-]

p 1 Sam. ii. 30.

q 1 Sam. xxx. 13.

What a contrast to him who, entirely at his own expense, erected a synagogue for people of another communion!

Matt. viii. 12.

t Job xlii. 10.


Luke vii. 14-16. And he came and touched the bier; and they that bare him, stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people.

THE more faithful any servant of God is, the more he will abound in labours

Of those who were men of like passions with us, none ever equalled St. Paul

But our blessed Lord far exceeded all the children of


No day elapsed without fresh manifestations of his power and compassion

He had on the preceding day raised the Centurion's servant from a bed of sickness

[ocr errors]

Now we behold him employed in restoring a dead man to life

We shall consider

I. The miracle

The Jews used to bury their dead without the precincts of their cities

At the gate of the city Nain Jesus met a funeral procession

The principal mourner that followed it engaged his


[She was a mother following her own son to the grave➡ How afflictive is such an event to a tender parent!This son had grown up to the estate of manhoodWe may see in David's lamentations for Absalom what an affliction this is!

Her loss was further aggravated in that this was her only child

If one out of many had died, she would have been deeply grieved: how much more in losing him, in whom her affections had so long centered!

That which added tenfold poignancy to her sorrow was, that she was a widow

[ocr errors]

When her husband had died she had been consoled by her surviving child—

But now she had none left to be the support and comfort of declining ycars

Destroyed both root and branch, she had no prospect but that her name would be extinct in Israel-]

Filled with compassion he wrought a miracle on her behalf

[Jesus, addressing himself to the mourning widow, bade her not weep

How vain, how impertinent had such advice been, if giveņ by a common man!

But, from him, it came as a rich cordial to her fainting spirit

He then stopped the procession, and said to the dead man, Arise

Nor were the hopes, occasioned by his interference, disappointed

On other occasions he wrought his miracles at the request of others

This he performed spontaneously, and unsolicited by any→→ Nothing moved him to it but that very compassion which brought him down from heaven

Nor did he exercise this power in the name of anotherbHe spake authoritatively, as one who could quicken whom he would

Nor did he merely recall the soul without renovating the bodyd

The restoration to life and vigour was effected perfectly, and in an instante

[ocr errors]

To complete the mercy," he delivered the man to his mother"

And preferred the comfort of the widow to the honour he himself might have gained in retaining such a follower-]

Such a stupendous miracle could not fail of exciting suitable emotions

II. The effect it produced

There is little in the scriptures to gratify our curiosity

a Intercession was made for Jairus's daughter, by her own father; for the Centurion's servant, by his friends; for the paralytic, by his neighbours; but none besought him for this distressed widow.

b Elijah and Elisha obtained this power by prayer, 1 Kings xvii. 21. 2 Kings iv. 33.; and Peter wrought his miracles in the name of Jesus, Acts iii. 6. and ix. 34. c John v. 21.

e❝ He sat up, and began to speak.”

d 2 Kings iv. 34, 35. VOL. III.


Hence we are not told what the man spake, or how the mother was affected at the first interview with her son

But, if once she forgat her pangs for joy that he was bern, how much more her sorrows now—

Doubtless the scene must have been inexpressibly interesting

[We may conceive Jesus, meekly majestic, delivering the man to his mother

But it is not easy to conceive the first emotions of their minds

Nature would stimulate the reunited relatives to expressions of mutual endearment

Grace, on the other hand, would rather lead them first to admire and adore their benefactor

Perhaps, looking alternately on Jesus and on each other, they might stand fixed in silent astonishment

We need not however dwell on that which, at best, is mere conjecture-]·

The effect produced on the multitude is recorded for our instruction

1. They were all filled with fear

[The people that attended Jesus, and those who followed the funeral, meeting together, the concourse was very great— And one impression pervaded the whole body

The fear which came upon them was a reverential aweThis is natural to man, when he beholds any signal appearance of the Deity

It is equally produced whether God appear in a way of judgment or of mercyf

Somewhat of this kind is felt by the Seraphim before the thrones

And it would be more experienced by us, if we realized more the divine presence

When it is excited only by some visible display of the Deity, it will generally vanish with the occasion

But when it is caused by faith, it will abide and influence our whole conduct

Happy would it be for us if we were continually thus impressed

2. They glorified God

[They did not know that Jesus was indeed a divine per


But they manifestly saw that he was "a great prophet"


Compare acts v. 11. and Luke i. 65. b Jer. x. 6, 7.

g Isai. vi. 2.

i Prov. xxviii. 14.

And that God, after suspending all miraculous interpositions for above three hundred years, had again "visited his people" In these tokens of God's favour they could not but rejoiceDoubtless they congratulated each other on this glorious


And gave vent to their gratitude in devoutest adorations— We have reason indeed to fear that these impressions were soon effaced

Happy had they been if they had retained this heavenly disposition

But who has not reason to regret, that mercies produce too transient an effect his mind?upon

Let us at least profit by the example they then set usAnd labour to glorify God for the inestimable mercies he has conferred upon us-]

[ocr errors]


1. This history may teach us to sit loose to the things of this life

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

[If we possess personal and family mercies, let us be thank

ful for them

[ocr errors]

The contininuance of them is no less a favour than the restoration of them would be

But let us not inordinately fix our affections upon any created good

We know not how soon our dearest comforts may become the occasion of our deepest sorrows→

The case of Job affords a striking admonition to men in all agesk

Let us then endeavour to practise that advice of the apostle'

[ocr errors]

k Job i. 13-19.

m Col. iii. 2.

And place our affections on those things which will never be taken from usm-]


2. It shews us whither we should flee in a season of deep affliction

[As no physicians could restore the widow's son, so none could heal her wounded spirit

But there was one at hand, when she little thought of it, that could do both

That same Almighty Deliverer is ever nigh unto us→

And calls us to himself when we are bowed down with trouble"

Let us then call upon him under every spiritual or temporal affliction


Cor. vii. 29-31.

n Ps. 1. 15. Matt. ix. 28.

« PreviousContinue »