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34. And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils ; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him.

The devils owning him could be no credit to him, nor advantage to the truth, and therefore he would not suffer it.

35. And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.

Was he so concerned for a blessing on his work, and so diligent in the use of the best means, and have we not one prayer for our souls? Hear especially, O minister !

36. And Simon and they that were with him followed after him.

37. And when they had found him, they said unto him, All inen seek for thee.

Nevertheless, he left them. they had as much of his time as he could spare, and might have made a saving use of his presence. He is always present with us, by his word and Spirit, until we provoke him to leave us. o that it could be said of us, all seek for thee!

38. And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also : for therefore came I forth.

39. And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils.

The labours of Christ were incessant: his miracles were intended to conciliate regard to his doctrines; by these he glorified God his Father, and removed his wrath from those who repented and believed in him, and by those lie demonstrated his good-will to men.-Ed.

40. And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

We have all a worse leprosy cleaving to us, and are defiled and spotted all over with sin, till we receive our cure from Christ. This we shall do whenever we come to Christ, with this saying in our mouths, and with earnest desire to be healed by him.

41. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.

42. And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed.

Perhaps in no miracle of healing did Christ more clearly point out his will and power to remove the guilt and pollution of sin from those who should come to him by faith, for the healing of their souls. Let us go to him with this prayer, and we shall not be sent empty away.- Ed.

43. And he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent bim away;

44. And saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man :

This was to avoid ostentation, and to set us a pattern of humility; as well as for the reason mentioned in verse 45. Not that we are forbidden to speak of Christ at all times, to one another as we are able.

44. But go thy way, show thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.

The cleansed man would thus yield obedience to a divine ordinance; and he would exhibit a mark of the finger of God in his cure : the leprosy being supposed incurable by human means.

45. But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places : and they came to him from every quarter.

We see here that the most serious inconvenience may arise to the usefulness of the ministers of the gospel of Christ, from the indiscreet zeal of those who have received mercy, through their means.-Ed.

SECTION V.

Chap. ii. ver. 1-12.

CHRIST HEALS THE SICK OF THE PALSY.

1. And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house.

Is he not here now, in this house, by his word, and Spirit? () that we were with him in will and desire for his blessings!

2. And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.

Whatever they came to him for he knew his own business, and what they wanted.

“ Herein he is an example to all ministers to the end of time.”Ed.

3. And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.

But who can bring us to him ? Christ himself, in the preaching of his gospel, and by his Spirit within us. But then while he is willing, bring thyself to him, O'sinful, and diseased man, who art sick of a deadly distemper. Thou canst not please him better.

4. And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.

Sense and feeling of sin will put us upon trying every method to come at Jesus. And come at him we shall, if we are in earnest.

5. When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.

Jesus saw the faith of those who brought the man, and also the faith of the person himself for his bodily cure. But he here reveals himself to them, and to all, in his better capacity of physician to the soul, and in such a manner as to show what he chiefly aimed at in his miraculous cures, namely, the spiritual recovery of mankind.

The paralytic had faith in Christ's power, and therefore the Saviour graciously extended it to the relief of all his wants; and when he healed him of one distemper, would not leave him under a worse. “Son, thy sins are forgiven thee," are sweet words to a fainting soul, and here spoken, once for all, to every believer. When a sense of sin presses hard upon thee, and thou art looking out every way for help, be not so much thy own enemy as to think they are not spoken to thee : thou mayest be taught by some to wait for a personal call, grant, or inward testimony, particularly assuring thee of it. But remember “ Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God;" Rom. x. 17; and it may never come to thee, if thou wilt receive it upon no other evidence than that of thy own feeling.

6. But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts,

7. Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies ? who can forgive sins but God only ?

8. And inmediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves,

This Jesus could not have done, if he had not been God as well as man. And observe from hence how clearly the hearts of all men lie open to him.

8. He said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts ?

9. Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk ?

Both were alike impossible to men, and both alike easy to Christ. Note from hence, that sin is more at the bottom of all our sicknesses than we think of. We cannot be mistaken in searching for it as the cause of them.

10. But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins,

This miracle was wrought and recorded, that ye might know and believe this. And take especial notice that your sin must be forgiven you upon earth. As the tree falls, so it lies. When did you think of this? When did your sins give you any concern ? When did you ever come with them to Christ for pardon ?

10. (He saith to the sick of the palsy,)

11. I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.

12. And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.

We now hear this that we may so wonder at Christ, in the power of his miracles, as to glorify God for our own conversion by him.

In reading the Scripture, do not let one story, or one miracle pass, without some application to yourselves. For instance, in the case of the paralytic; had he lost the use of his limbs ? and am not I in a worse condition, and stand as much in need of healing ? Yes, I am helpless and weak in my soul, my heart is insensible to God, my will is motionless, my affections are dead to heavenly things, till Christ restores them. Have I sins to be forgiven ? Yes, more than the hairs of my head. Will they be forgiven ? Yes, Christ wrought this, and all his miracles, that we might believe in him as the Saviour of sinners. Will he heal me, if I do not see, and confess my sin, and come to him for that purpose ? No, I must desire it of him, with the same earnestness and concern, as if I wanted healing in my body, and knew that he would, and that he alone could, cure me.

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