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to afflictions. Your experience has shown you that every child of Adam must expect to have his heart torn by personal griefs, or the distresses of those whom he loves. Earthly greatness, we see from the example in our text, is no defence against them; disease and death enter the gates of the nobleman, as well as of the beggar. But these afflictions, painful as they are to nature, are sent in love, and

may be eminently serviceable to us.

When every thing smiles around us, we are apt to forget our God, to neglect our Saviour, and to look to the earth as the source of our happiness. Affliction cries to us, “ This is not your rest." Affliction dries up the sources of earthly enjoyments that we may be led to the fountain of living waters. Had not the son of this nobleman been sick, his own soul and the souls of his family would, perhaps, have remained for ever in ignorance and unbelief; and, doubtless, he blessed God while he was on earth, and blesses God still, for that affliction which was the means of bringing him to an acquaintance with Jesus, and an experience of his grace. Like him, let your trials drive you to Cana to seek Christ, and the water of sorrow shall be changed into the wine of gladness."

2. This history shows us the effects even of a weak faith, and the benefits attached to it. How weak was the faith of this nobleman, compared with that of the good centurion! He cried, “ Master, come not under my roof, for I am not worthy; only speak the word, and my servant shall be healed :” whilst the nobleman limits the power of Jesus, and supposes that he cannot heal his son at a distance. Yet, imperfect as was his faith, it induced him to go to Jesus, and to apply to him with humility and respect. It prevailed in obtaining the mercy for which he ask

ed. It is always thus, my brethren. The weakest faith, if it be sincere, will lead us to Jesus with reverence and humility, and make us urgent with him for his benefits. The smallest degree of true faith will surely bring the pardon of our sins, and every thing necessary for salvation; and will be nurtured and confirmed by the conduct of Jesus to us.

3. Let us never attempt to prescribe to the Lord the mode in which he should work. He knows best how to deal with his people. He went to the centurion's house, because he was humble and believing; he refused to go to the nobleman's, that he might more effectually check his pride and unbelief. Thus he may pursue various methods with us; but in all things he will act with consummate wisdom. Let us then commit ourselves to him, saying, When thou wilt, and what thou wilt, and as thou wilt.” In this way we shall have our minds composed, and our thoughts established; and though he may lead us, as he did the Israelites, by a tedious and circuitous path, we shall find at last that it was “ the right way."

4. Let the goodness of the Lord to us induce us to strive to bring others to him. This nobleman, doubtless, related to his family all that Jesus had spoken to him, and was instrumental in bringing them to believe on him. And shall not we make this improvement of his mercies vouchsafed to us? Shall we not exhort those over whom we have influence to trust in his word ? Surely, if we express a concern for their bodily welfare, we should be no less solicitous for the salvation of their souls; and if we have found the benefit of believing in him ourselves, we should labour that all around us may be partakers of that benefit. By telling of his goodness, we shall pay that tribute which he expects at our hands, and anticipate that employment in which we hope to be occupied to all eternity.

Having remained some time in the other cities of Galilee, Jesus came to Nazareth, the town in which he was educated. Here, he went, as was his custom, to the synagogue on the Sabbath-day, and stood up to read the Scripture. The book, of which a portion was that day to be read, was the prophecy of Isaiah. On opening it, the Saviour was directed to a remarkable passage, which clearly foretold himself, and emphatically described his office. This place was the beginning of the sixty-first chapter, where Jesus read these words: “ The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” As soon as he had read this passage, he returned the book to the ruler of the synagogue, and, according to the custom of the Jewish doctors, who always preached sitting, sat down to instruct the people. Their eyes were fastened on him, when he told them that this prophecy was that day fulfilled in their ears. This assertion he proved in a sermon of considerable length, the subject of which only is mentioned by Luke, though at the same time he leads us to think of the sermon itself; for he tells us that all the congregation “ bare him witness, and wondered at the

gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth." And shall not we, too, my brethren, be filled with wonder, with gratitude, and with trust in him, at hearing these consolatory words? Listen to him, mourning soul, that art lamenting thy misery, and

a poor, afflicted

trembling at thy danger; listen to him, and let the accents of grief be changed into the song of praise. “ The Spirit of the Lord is upon him;" the Holy Spirit,“ given to him without measure,” anointed and commissioned him with full power to relieve every distressed sinner that should apply to him for salvation. He acts not without authority; he was solemnly inaugurated into his office by the descent of the Holy Ghost upon him; and you may therefore confidently rely upon

him. Are

you sinner? He brings glad tidings of great joy to you; . he was ordained to preach the gospel to the poor, to the poor in this world and to the poor in spirit. Is your heart broken and contrite, under a sense of your unworthiness and vileness, your guilt, and your danger? He is sent to heal the broken-hearted. Are you in bondage to sin, to Satan, and the law? He is sent to preach and give deliverance to the captives. Are you complaining of your ignorance in spiritual things, and of the darkness of your understandings? He is sent to give recovering of sight to the blind. Are your souls in as miserable a condition as persons that are galled and bruised with fetters and chains? He is sent to set at liberty those that are bruised. Lift up thine head, then, mourning soul; an offer of deliverance from all thy miseries is made unto thee. Christ is appointed by God, and has a divine commission, to supply all thy wants. Only believe in him, and thou shalt be safe and happy. · Arise, then, and sing, thou that sittest in the dust; put off thy sackcloth, and gird thee with gladness.”

Jesus, knowing that, notwithstanding the attention which was paid to his discourse, there were some objections against him lurking in the minds of his hearers, anticipated these objections, and proceeded to give an answer to them. The first was derived



from his residence among them; in answer to which he observed, that prophets were not generally received in their own country, since those who had known them as equals were averse to submit to them in their prophetic character. They were also displeased that he had performed no miracle in their town, and especially none like that which they had heard he had performed at Capernaum, in healing the nobleman's son who was in Cana. They supposed that, since their townsman was possessed of such powers, there ought not to be a diseased person in Nazareth. “ Ye will surely say to me, Physician, heal thyself : whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do thou here in thine own country:" i. e. Since thou art possessed of such miraculous powers, that thou canst cure sick people at a distance, in thine absence thou oughtest to have healed the sick of this city, in which thou hast been brought up, rather than of any other town; as it is expected of the physician, that he will bestow the healing virtues of his art upon his friends and relations, rather than upon strangers. In reply to this objection, our Lord teaches them that God exercises a holy sovereignty in the dispensation of his favours, conferring them not as to man appears most proper, but as to himself seems good; that the prophets of the Lord often wrought miracles, not for those who supposed that they had the best right to them, but even for the poor and despised Gentiles; that thus Elijah relieved the heathen widow of Sarepta, whilst many widows in Israel were left to starve; that thus Elisha healed Naaman the Syrian, while many Jewish lepers were uncleansed.

How uncertain and transient is popular applause! However just may be the grounds of the praise that is bestowed, the smallest circumstance is sufficient

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