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And shewed that we could never expect too much at his hands
What advantage for eternal life did the Centurion derive from hence!
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
No, verily-That declaration shall be found true to all eternity-]
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"
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!r
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] APPLICATION
[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 others
Job, like the Centurion, found benefit from his own intercessions
Nor shall our supplications be in vain either for ourselves or others-]
P 1 Sam. ii. 30.
91 Sam, xxx. 13. r What a contrast to him who, entirely at his own expense, erecto ed a synagogue for people of another communion! , Matt, viii. 12.
t Job xlii. 10.
CCXC. THE WIDOW'S SON RAISED.
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
Now we behold him employed in restoring a dead man to life
We shall consider 1. 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 attention
[She was a mother following her own son to the gravem How afflictive is such an event to a tender parent! This son had
grown up to the estate of manhood 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
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 given 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 another
He 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
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.
6 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.
d 2 Kings iv. 34, 35. e “ He sat up, and began to speak.” VOL. III.
Hence we are not told what the man spake, or how the mother was affected at the first interview with her
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 interes ing
[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 reuniced 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-
This is natural to man, when he beholds any signal appear. ance of the Deity
It is equally produced whether God appear in a way of judgment or of mercy
Somewhat of this kind is felt by the Seraphim before the throne
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.
& Isai. vi. 2.
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 rejoice
Doubtless they congratulated each other on this glorious event
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! Let us at least profit by the example they then set us
And labour to-glorify God for the inestimable mercies he has conferred upon us-] IMPROVEMENT
1. This history may teach us to sit loose to the things of this life
[If we possess personal and family mercies, let us be thankful for them
The contininuance of them is no less a favour than the res. toration 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
And place our affections on those things which will never be taken from us
2. It shews us whither we should fee 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 troublen
Let us then call upon him under every spiritual or temporal affliction
k Job i. 134-19.
I ! Cor, vii. 29-31.