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visits of such a guest! And may we not add too, how happy is our own land in being visited by the everlasting gospel, which is now much more clearly discovered to us than it was to these coasts while Christ began to open his ministry among their inhabitants.
In us is this prophecy of Isaiah eminently fulfilled: We but a few ages ago sat in darkness; and behold we see a great light. Our country, amidst all the advantages of its soil and situation, was, in a spiritual sense, the region and the shadow of death; but the Sun of Righteousness is risen upon us, nor do we only behold his rising beams, but his meridian lustre. May we not be so ungrateful as obstinately to shut our eyes against it, lest the valley of vision, and Emanuel's land, should on the whole prove to us the land of destruction and the valley of death itself!
That this may never be our case, let us diligently attend to this Divine Teacher, who speaks with such authority, and whose words are so weighty and powerful. May we feel the energy and authority of them! May they call us off from every undue attachment to the business or the pleasures of life! And if ever he should see fit to try us, as he did these his servants, with a command to forsake our nearest relations and our earthly all, for his service, let us do it with pleasure; remembering on the one hand, that he who loves father or mother, wife or children, houses or lands, more than Christ, is not worthy of him; and on the other hand, that he who abandons these engagements, for his sake, shall receive an hundred fold now in this time, and, in the world to come, life everlasting. (Matt. x. 37, and Mark x. 29, 30.)
MARK I. 21-28.
LUKE IV. 31-37.
AND they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught them. And they were astonished at his doctrine; for his word was with power, for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes. And there was in their synagogue a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and he cried out with a loud voice, 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.
rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and thrown him in the midst, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him, and hurt him not. And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? What new doctrine is this? for with authority and power he commandeth even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him, and come out. And immediately his fame spread abroad, throughout all the region into every place of the country round about Galilee.
Justly may we join our astonishment with that of the inhabitants of Capernaum, and say, What manner of teaching is this? and with what regard should it be received, when the devils themselves, and the most desperate diseases, are thus apparently subject to him who uses it?
We see the malice of Satan in possessing and tormenting the bodies of men. God then permitted it, to render Christ's triumph over him so much the more illustrious, and the appearance of that great Deliverer so much the more welcome. Such diabolical operations as these are now restrained; and it is matter of great thankfulness that they are. But would to God that malignant enemy did not, in a yet more fatal manner, possess the souls of men and work in the children of disobedience! Yet there can the power of Jesus prevail, to bind the strong man and spoil his goods.
Wisely did Christ silence the suspicious praises of an unclean spirit, and vain is all the hope which men build merely on those orthodox professions of the most important truths, in which Satan himself could vie with them.
MATT. VIII. 14-17.-MARK 1. 29-34.-LUKE IV.
AND forthwith when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon Peter and Andrew, with James and John. And Simon's wife's mother lay sick of a great fever: and anon they told him of her, and besought him for her. And he came, and stood over her, and took her by the hand, and rebuked the fever, and lifted her up, and
immediately the fever left her. And she arose, and ministered unto them.
And at even, when the sun did set, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him, and they brought unto him many that were possessed of devils. And all the city was gathered together at the door. And he cast out many devils with his word, and they cried out, saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And he rebuking them suffered not the devils to speak: for they knew him, that he was Christ. And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases: and he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.
MARK I. 35-39.-Luke IV. 42-44.
AND in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a desert place, and there prayed. And Simon, and they that were with him, followed after him: And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee. And the people sought him, and came unto him, and stayed him, that he should not depart from them. And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also. I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also, for therefore came I forth. And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils.
MATT. IV. 23-25.
And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness, and all manner of disease among the people. And his fame went throughout all Syria: And they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were pos
sessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judæa, and from beyond Jordan.
Christ, returning from the synagogue, finds the mother-inlaw of Peter detained from the solemn assemblies, a prisoner at home under an afflictive providence, which that circumstance of confinement probably rendered yet more afflictive to her. But the mercy which the evening brought with it was a rich equivalent for all the sorrows of the day. Jesus, their welcome guest, appears as the great Physician both of soul and body; a touch of his hand assuages the tumult in her veins, and at his voice the distemper leaves her. Surely, as the great Lord in the kingdom of Providence, he performs those cures which are now wrought by natural means, and is to be owned in them. Must not each of us thankfully acknowledge how often he hath rebuked fevers and other distempers by the skill of physicians, and the efficacy of medicines; so that they have departed from us perhaps when we esteemed them desperate, and had received the sentence of death in ourselves?
Let us learn to imitate the pious gratitude of this good woman, who, when recovered, immediately arose and ministered unto Christ. Thus let it be our care that those lives which are spared by his goodness, and that strength which is renewed by his power, may be faithfully and affectionately. devoted to his service.
How delightfully were the sabbaths of Christ spent in the midst of all his fatigues! How pleasantly did the sun go down upon him, when he had been imitating that heavenly luminary in his steady and constant course; scattering a brighter light and more beneficial influences upon all about him.
And when the sabbath had been spent in these labours of piety and love, how happily were the fruits of it carried into the ensuing week? The first morning of it, that it might be most pleasantly and most profitably begun, Jesus rose before it was light, that he might enjoy God and himself in religious retirement. It surely becomes us sometimes willingly to deny ourselves the gratification of sleep, that we may have the better opportunity for devotion. And it should be the peculiar care of those who are employed in God's public service, to cultivate communion with him in private; lest while they keep the vineyard of others, their own be neglected and impoverished. Cant. i. 6.
Our Lord's retirement is interrupted by the people, who eame to inquire after him and desired to have detained him longer among them: and who that has ever known the pleasure of conversing with him, would not desire that it might be longer continued and frequently renewed? But in this instance, their request must be denied; the great purpose of his ministry required his presence elsewhere, and he breaks through all that importunity which would have broken in upon his schemes of usefulness: a resolution which we must learn in some cases to imitate, if we would prosecute the business of life with vigour and success. Let us often reflect wherefore we are sent; and judge by that where God would have us to be; that by the intimations of his pleasure every motion may be regulated, and every abode determined.
Wherever Christ removes, he still goes about doing good, publishing the gospel and confirming it by the most amazing works of power and mercy. How well were these miracles suited to awaken men's attention, and to convince their consciences of his Divine mission! Well might his fame go over the whole country: may it extend itself now to the remotest regions, that all the ends of the earth may look unto him and be saved, (Is. xlv. 22,) while he displays a healing power over their spirits proportionable to that which he here exerted on their bodies!
MATT. V. 1-16.
AND seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain. And when he was sat, his disciples came unto him. And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peace-makers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake; for theirs is the kingdom of