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13. And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, master, have mercy on
Their situation, in consequence of being excluded from society, was truly wretched; and having heard of the cures which Jesus had performed for others in a like situation, they hoped that he would grant them relief.
14. And when he saw them he said unto them, Go, show yourselves unto the priests.
They were the persons appointed by the law to judge whether a leprosy was cured: there was also this additional reason for sending them to the priests, in the present instance, that the certainty of the cure, and therefore the reality of the miracle, would be proved by the testimony of an impartial person.
And it came to pass that as they went they were cleansed.
It does not appear that Jesus told them that they should be cured, but as much as this was implied in his sending them to the priest; and they so understood him : for they immediately set out for that purpose, expecting to be cured before they came to him, which accordingly happened.
15. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God;
Although this miracle was performed at the will of Jesus, yet this man very properly considered God as the real author, who can alone alter the course of nature which he has established. To him, therefore, he first gives praises for the cure he has received; but he thinks that thanks are due to Jesus likewise, who was the instrument of God in conveying the favour: he therefore renders them to him next.
16. And fell down on his face at his feet, at the feet of Jesus, giving hint thanks; and he was a Samaritan.
17. And Jesus, answering, said, Were there not ten cleansed; but where are the nine?
18. There are not found that rea turned to give glory to God, save this stranger.
The Jews considered the Samaritans as strangers of Gentiles, although they worshipped the God of Israel. It is observable that Christ takes every opportunity of holding out to public notice the faith and other virtues of Gentiles; which must have greatly tended to remove the prejudices of the believing Jews against them.
19. And he said unto him, Arise: go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole, “ healed thee.”
We learn from numerous instances that a certain degree of faith in the divine power was necessary for those who received miraculous cures, as well as for those who performed them. This man possessed as much as was requisite for this purpose, and therefore is said to be cured by his faith.
1. We may observe from this passage that the duties of life are many and various. The husbandman and shepherd had not finished their work with the labours of the field; but they had duties to perform when they
came home, which were not less expected from them than the former. Thus every man has some duties which are peculiar to his profession, and others which are common to him with the rest of mankind: but the performance of both is requisite, in order to complete his services in other relations, as a husband, a master or a father; as a subject of civil government; as an inhabitant of a particular country; as a member of the world at large. He may have much to do in each of these capacities; and every other man will have a like variety in his duties, in proportion to the different relations in which he happens to be placed. The error into which men are most in danger of falling, in regard to this subject, is paying attention to that part of their conduct which is most conspicuous and likely to be noticed, while they neglect duties of a more private nature, but not of less consequence to the welfare of society. Let it be our care to discharge both.
2. Let us ever keep in mind the view here given of the merit of human conduct, even when it is most perfect. When we do our duty most exactly we have nothing whereof to boast. Our best services deserve no thanks: for they are no more than what our duty rcquires, and what we are bound to perform. It is also true that there is not one of us who does not in many instances fail of what is required from him ; who does not worship God with much less fervour, and observe his will with less care, than his perfections demand, and he himself is able to practise; who does not do less for restraining his appetites and passions, for promoting his own religious improvement and the good of others, than his circumstances will admit of. This consideration furnishes more ground for shame and sorrow than for boasting; and in regard to those instances in which men have done the best which they were able to do, they must remember, that both their inclination to do good and their ability to perform it, come from Godl; which precludes all pretences to pride. If at any time, therefore, O man, thou art inclined to be vain of thy
good deeds, and to glory in what thou hast done, recots lect these considerations, and be silent!
3. How great is the goodness of God in rewarding such services! Those good actions which he himself enables us to perform, which are accompanied with numerous failings and offences, he thinks proper to honour with his favour now, and with an eternal life of ever-increasing felicity, in heaven. What bounty and beneficence are these! Blessings bestowed, where punishment is due; an everlasting recompence, where there is no claim to the smallest favour. Let us never cease to admire and adore the divine goodness.
4. The circumstances attending the cure of the leprous men deserve to be noticed, on account of the evidence which they afford that it was done by divine power. The disorder with which they were atilicted is well known to be of the most obstinate kind, and never removed but by long medical or other treatment ; yet here we find that it is removed at once. The cure was also performed while Christ was at a distance, sở that there could be no room for any collusion between him and the lepers, or for practising any of the arts of imposture; and not upon one person only, who might perhaps be supposed to become well of a sudden, from some unknown cause, but upon ten men, at the same time. Such an event, taking place in such circumstances, can only be accounted for by the power of God, which was present with Christ, and acted by him.
5. How unnatural was the conduct of the greater part of these men ! They had received an important favour, which restored them to health and the society of their fellow men, at their own earnest request; but they would not turn back a few paces to thank their benefactor. A notable miracle had been wrought upon them; but they neglected to give God glory for it. Let us be careful to avoid the sin of ingratitude, either to God or man; and in particular, when our health is restored after long and dangerous illness, let us not omit to give God the glory of our recovery, by thanking him for it in public as well as in private.
Luke xviii. 1-14.
1. And he spake a parable unto them, to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
In this parable Jesus has a reference to what he had just been saying, in the preceding chapter, of the destruction of Jerusalem. This event was highly desirable to the disciples of Jesus, as it would free them from the persecution of the Jews, who proved to be their bitterest enemies: but as it would be many years before it took place, and Christians would suffer much in the mean time, they would be in danger of desponding, and of ceasing to pray for its approach. Against this error therefore he now endeavours to guard them, by recommending unremitting perseverance in their petitions to God for this important change.
2. Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man.
He was a man of abandoned character, yet intrusted with the important office of deciding differences which might arise among men, and of redressing the wrongs of the injured.
3. And there was a widow in that city, and she came to him, saying, Avenge me of, or, o do me justice against,” mine adversary.
This request was reasonable, and what a public magistrate was bound to comply with from his office. But this judge felt none of the principles which ought to have actuated one of his profession.
4. And he would not for a while. But afterward he said within himself,