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[For the Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity.]
LUKE vii. 11.
And it came to pass the day after, that Jesus went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people.
HE gospel of the day gives us an account of a wonderful miracle performed by JESUS CHRIST, in restoring the only son of a poor widow. The story is told with great simplicity, and much tenderness; and gives us a beautiful view of the compassion of CHRIST's character; who was "touched with a feeling of our infirmities," and whose constant employment it was,
go about doing good," both to the bodies and souls of men. All our blessed LORD's miracles, indeed, were worked in
mercy and goodness; but some of them seem to have sprung from a feeling of tenderness for the situation of the poor sufferers in particular, for whose sake they were, wrought; a circumstance, which, if possible, makes the Saviour still more dear to us; because we regard him in the light of a "brother in the flesh;" who," in all points, was made like unto us, sin only "excepted;" and who had the same affections and feelings with ourselves. It was this tenderness of his nature, that led him to raise Lazarus his friend, and the brother of Martha and Mary, whom he loved, from the dead. The same humane feeling made him pity the agonies of the distracted father, who said to him, Come down, ere my
"child die ;" and to dismiss him with this comforting declaration, "Go thy way, thy "son liveth." The same compassion worked in his soul, when he healed the poor impotent man at the pool of Bethesda, who had been thirty-eight years afflicted with his infirmity, and who had no kind friend to lift him into the pool, when the angel came down to trouble the water. And when he listened to the cry of the blind son of Timæus, and restored him to the blessing of sight; the Saviour shewed, that he had a heart to feel for the personal sufferings of poor mortals,
while they continued in subjection to the infirmities of the flesh; as well as an earnest longing to forward and secure their everlasting salvation.
But, it may be useful to you, my christian friends, to consider the miracles of our blessed LORD under other points of view, as well as that of his compassion; to prove from them, that he was verily, and indeed, the great and mighty Saviour of mankind; and to conclude, by shewing you, how necessary it is to believe what he said, and to practise what he commanded. In the first place, the miracles of our Saviour were done in public, before a great many people ; so that numbers might see and judge for themselves, whether or not they were the tricks and contrivances of an impostor, or actual demonstrations of the power of God. CHRIST himself says, upon his trial; that he had done all things, not in secret, but openly, that he might avoid all suspicion of endeavouring to impose upon the world; and if you consider his miracles, you will see that what he said was strictly true. His first miracle, of changing water into wine, was performed at a marriage feast; where, according to the custom of the Jews, a great multitude of people were assembled together. When he cast out an unclean spi
rit, in the synagogue of Capernaum, (as mentioned in Mark i. 23,) it was before a whole congregation. When he healed a paralytic, (as recorded in Mark ii. 4.) who was let down through the roof of the house; it was in the presence of such a multitude, that there was no room, even at the door. When he commanded the man with the withered hand to stretch it forth, (as we find in Mark ii. 5,) and immediately healed it; all the assembly in the synagogue saw the whole transaction. When our LORD, at one time, fed the multitude by a miracle, there were four thousand; and at another time, five thousand presert, besides women and children. And when (in the miracle related in the gospel of the day) he raised the widow's son to life, there were much people of the city, to which she belonged, in com pany with her.
But the miracles of CHRIST were not only done in public, but performed also before his enemies; who, if these works had not been real miracles, (that is, works above the power of men to perform,) would immediately have found out, and exposed, the imposition. While the Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting by, who hated him, and only watched his motions, that they might find matter of accusation
against him, he commanded a paralytic to walk: (as St. Luke relates, v. 16. 17.) When he made the man' possessed with a dumb devil to speak, (recorded in Matthew ix. 32;) it was before the same wicked Scribes and Pharisees; who wished to persuade the people, that he did these wonderful things" through Beelzebub, the prince "of the devils." And when, in the temple of Jerusalem, he gave sight to the blind, and soundness to the lame, (according to St. Matthew, xxi. 14, 15;) his enemies, the same Scribes and Pharisees, were present, and "were sore displeased" at "the won"derful things" which they saw him perforn.
The authority with which CHRIST performed his miracles, was another proof that they were done by the power of God. "All manner of diseases;" unclean spirits of every description; and even the elements, the winds, and the waves, were rebuked by him. He said to the sea, "Peace, be still;"
-to the leper who prayed to be healed, “I " will, be thou clean ;"—to the dead son of the widow of Nain, "Young man, I say "unto thee, arise;"—to the deceased daughter of Jairus, " Damsel, arise;"—and to his departed friend Lazarus, who had now been dead four days, and was committed to the grave, "Lazarus, come forth:"-works,