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me ;

as man.

done. These mutual respects draw on each other. Cheerful and diligent service in the one calls for a due and favourable care in the other. They, that neglect to please, cannot complain to be neglected.

Oh, that I could be but such a servant to my Heavenly Master! Alas! every of his commands says, Do this, and I do it not : every of his inhibitions says, Do it not, and I do it. He says, “ Go from the world;" I run to it: he says, “ Come to

I run from him. Woe is me! this is not service, but enmity. How can I look for favour, while I return rebellion ? It is a Gracious Master, whom we serve; there can be no duty of ours, that he sees not, that he acknowledges not, that he crowns not. We could not but be happy, if we could be officious.

What can be more marvellous, than to see Christ marvel? All marvelling supposes an ignorance going before, and a knowledge following, some accident unexpected: now, who wrought this faith in the Centurion, but he, that wondered at it? He knew well what he wrought, because he wrought what he would: yet he wondered at what he both wrought and knew, to teach us, much more to admire that, which he at once knows and holds admirable. He wrought this faith as God; he wondered at it

God wrought, and man admired. He, that was both, did both, to teach us where to bestow our wonder. I never find Christ wondering at gold or silver, at the costly and curious works of human skill or industry; yea, when the disciples wondered at the magnificence of the Temple, he rebuked them rather. I find him not wondering at the frame of heaven and earth, nor at the orderly disposition of all creatures and events : the familiarity of these things intercepts the admiration. But, when he sees the grace or acts of faith, he so approves them, that he is ravished with wonder. He, that rejoiced in the view of his creation, to see that of nothing he had made all things good, rejoices no less in the reformation of his creature, to see that he had made good of evil. Behold, thou art fair, my love ; behold, thou art fair; and there is no spot in thee. My sister, my spouse, thou hast wounded my heart, thou hast wounded my heart with one of thine

eyes. Our wealth, beauty, wit, learning, honour, may make us accepted of men; but it is our faith only, that shall make God in love with us.

And why are we of any other save God's diet, to be more affected with the least measure of grace in any man, than with all the outward glories of the world? There are great men, whom we justly pity; we can admire none, but the gracious.

Neither was that plant more worthy of wonder in itself, than that it grew in such a soil, with so little help of rain and sun. The weakness of means adds to the praise and acceptation of our proficiency. To do good upon a little is the commendation of thrift: it is small thank, to be full handed in a large estate: as contrarily, the strength of means doubles the revenge of our neglect. It is not more the shame of Israel than the glory of the Centurion, that our Saviour says, I have not found so great faith in Israel. Had Israel yielded any equal faith, it could not have been unespied of these all-seeing eyes : yet were their helps so much greater as their faith was less ; and God never gives more than he requires. Where we have laid our tillage and compost and seed, who would not look for a crop? But if the uncultured fallow yield more, how justly is that unanswerable ground near to a curse !

Our Saviour did not mutter this censorious testimony to himself, nor whisper it to his disciples; but he turned him about to the people, and spake it in their ears, that he might at once work their shame and emulation. In all other things, except spiritual, our self-love makes us impatient of equals ; much less can we endure to be outstripped by those, who are our professed inferiors. It is well, if any thing can kindle in us holy ambitions. Dull and base are the spirits of that man, that can abide to see another overtake him in the way, and outrun him to heaven.

He, that both wrought this faith and wondered at it, doth now reward it; Go thy ways; and as thou hast believed, so be it unto thee. Never was any faith unseen of Christ ; never was any seen, without allowance; never was any allowed without remuneration. The measure of our receipts in the matter of favour, is the proportion of our belief. The infinite mercy of God, which is ever like itself, follows but one rule in his gift to us, the faith that he gives us. Give us, O God, to believe, and be it to us as thou wilt; it shall be to us above that we will,

The Centurion sues for his servant, and Christ says, So be it unto thee. The servant's health is the benefit of the master, and the master's faith is the health of the servant. And if the prayers of an earthly master prevailed so much with the Son of God for the recovery of a servant, how shall the intercession of the Son of God prevail with his Father in Heaven for us, that are his impotent children and servants upon earth! What can we want, O Saviour, while thou suest for us? He, that hath given thee for us, can deny thee nothing for us, can deny us nothing for thee. In thee we are happy, and shall be glorious. To thee, O thou mighty Redeemer of Israel, with thine Eternal Father, together with thy Blessed Spirit, one God, infinite and incomprehensible, be given all praise, honour, and glory, for ever

Amen.

and ever.

CONTEMPLATIONS.

BOOK III.

TO MY RIGHT WORTHY AND WORSHIPFUL FRIENN,

JOHN GIFFORD,

OF LANCRASSE, IN DEVON, ESQ.

ALL GRACE AND PEACE.

SIR, I hold it, as I ought, one of the rich mercies of God, that he hath given me favour in some eyes which have not seen me; but none, that I know, hath so much demerited me unknown, as your worthy family. Ere therefore you see my face, see my hand willingly professing my thankful obligations. Wherewith may it please you to accept of this parcel of thoughts; not unlike those fellows of theirs, whom you have entertained above their desert. These shall present unto you our Bountiful Saviour, magnifying his mercies to men in a sweet variety; healing the diseased, raising the dead, casting out the devil, calling in the publican; and shall raise your heart to adore that infinite goodness. Every help to our devotion deserves to be precious; so much more, as the decrepit age of the world declines to a heartless coldness of piety. That God, to whose honour these poor labours are meant, bless them in your hands; and from them, to all readers. To his protection I heartily commend you, and the right virtuous gentlewoman, your worthy wife, with all the pledges of your happy affection, as whom you have deserved to be Your truly thankful and officious friend,

JOSEPH HALL.

CONTEMPLATION I.-THE WIDOW'S SON RAISED.

LUKE VII.

The favours of our beneficent Saviour were, at the least, contiguous. No sooner hath he raised the Centurion's servant from his bed, than he raises the widow's son from his bier.

The fruitful clouds are not ordained to fall all in one field. Nain must partake of the bounty of Christ, as well as Cana or Capernaum. And, if this sun were fixed in one orb, yet it diffuseth heat and light to all the world. It is not for any place to engross the messengers of the Gospel, whose errand is universal. This immortal seed may not fall all in one furrow.

The little city of Nain stood under the hill of Hermon, near unto Tabor; but now it is watered with better dews from above, the doctrine and miracles of a Saviour.

Not for state, but for the more evidence of the work, is our Saviour attended with a large train; so entering, into the gate of that walled city, as if he meant to besiege their faith by his power, and to take it.

His providence hath so contrived his journey, that he meets with the sad pomp of a funeral. A woeful widow, attended with her weeping neighbours, is following her only son to the grave.

There was nothing in this spectacle, that did not command compassion.

A young man in the flower, in the strength of his age, swallowed

up by death. Our decrepit age both expects death and solicits it; but vigorous youth looks strangely upon that grim serjeant of God. Those mellow apples, that fall alone from the tree, we gather up with contentment: we chide, to have the unripe unseasonably beaten down with cudgels.

But more: a young man, the only son, the only child of his mother. No condition can make it other than grievous, for a well-natured mother to part with her own bowels; yet surely store is some mitigation of loss. Amongst many children, one may be more easily missed; for still we hope the surviving may supply the comforts of the dead: but when all our hopes and joys must either live or die in one, the loss of that one admits of no consolation. When God would describe the most passionate expression of sorrow, that can fall into the miserable, he can but say, O daughter of my people, gird thee with sackcloth, and wallow thyself in the ashes ; make lamentation and bitter mourning, as for thine only son. Such was the loss, such was the sorrow, of this disconsolate mother. Neither words nor tears can suffice to discover it.

Yet more: had she been aided by the counsel and supportation of a loving yoke-fellow, this burden might have seemed less intolerable. A good husband may make amends for the loss of

Had the root been left to her entire, she might better have spared the branch : now both are cut up, all the stay of her life is gone; and she seems abandoned to a perfect misery.

And now, when she gave herself up for a forlorn mourner, past all capacity of redress, the God of Comfort meets her, pities her, relieves her. Here was no solicitor, but his own compassion. In other occasions, he was sought and sued to. The centurion comes to him for a servant; the ruler, for a son ; Jairus, for a daughter; the neighbours, for the paralytic: here, he seeks up the patient, and offers the cure unrequested. While we have to do with the Father of Mercies, our afflictions are the most powerful suitors. No tears, no prayers can move him,

a son.

so much as his own commiseration. O God, none of our secret sorrows can be either hid from thine eyes or kept from thy heart; and when we are past all our hopes, all possibilities of help, then art thou nearest to us for deliverance.

Here was a conspiration of all parts to mercy. The heart had compassion; the mouth said, Weep not; the feet went to the bier; the hand touched the coffin ; the power of the Deity raised the dead. What the heart felt was secret to itself; the tongue therefore expresses it in words of comfort, Weep not. Alas ! what are words to so strong and just passions ? To bid her not to weep, that had lost her only son, was to persuade her to be miserable, and not feel it ; to feel, and not regard it; to regard, and yet to smother it. Concealment doth not remedy, but aggravate sorrow. That with the counsel of not weeping therefore she might see cause of not weeping, his hand seconds his tongue. He arrests the coffin, and frees the prisoner ; Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. The Lord of Life and Death speaks with command. No finite power could have said so without presumption, or with success. That is the voice, that shall one day call up our vanished bodies, from those elements into which they are resolved, and raise them out of their dust. Neither sea, nor death, nor hell can offer to detain their dead, when he charges them to be delivered. Incredulous nature! What dost thou shrink at the possibility of a Resurrection, when the God of Nature undertakes it? It is no more hard for that Almighty Word, which gave being unto all things, to say, “ Let them be repaired," than, “Let them be made."

I do not see our Saviour stretching himself upon the dead corpse, as Elijah and Elisha upon the sons of the Shunamite and Sareptan; nor kneeling down and praying by the bier, as Peter did to Dorcas : but I hear him so speaking to the dead, as if he were alive ; and so speaking to the dead, that by the word he makes him alive, I say unto thee, Arise.

Death hath no power to bid that man lie still, whom the Son of God bids arise. Immediately, He that was dead sat up. So,

the sound of the last trumpet, by the power of the same voice, we shall arise out of the dust, and stand up glorious : This mortal shall put on immortality ; this corruptible, incorruption. This body shall not be buried, but sown; and, at our day, shall therefore spring up, with a plentiful increase of glory. How comfortless, how desperate, should be our lying down, if it were not for this assurance of rising! And now, behold, lest our weak faith should stagger at the ascent to so great a difficulty, he hath already, by what he hath done, given us tastes of what he will do. The power, that can raise one man, can raise a thousand, a million, a world : no power can raise one man, but that, which is infinite; and that which is infinite admits of no limitation.

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