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how her Heart leap'd for joy, when she saw him sit up, and with what pleasing and greedy Attention she
hearkend unto him when he began to speak; how her Passions were mov'd and heighten'd, no Tongue can utter; and what Exultation of Spirit she felt within her, is out of the reach of words to declare. The Death of her Son had almost brought her to Death's door, and his coming to Life again, put in a manner a new Life into her; she that was before overwhelm’d with Grief, now became transported with Joy; and our Saviour's Compassion for her fürmer Trouble, was no doubt turn'd into a Sympathy of Rejoicing with her.
This is, in brief, the Miracle here recorded in the Gospel for this Day, together with the many remarkable Circumstances that attended it.
But what were the Effects that follow'd after it? Why that the next words declare. As,
Ift, There came a Fear on them all.
3dly, They all said, that a new Prophet was risen up among them, and that God had visited his people. And,
Lastly, That this Rumour went of him throughout all Judea, and the Regions round about.
Ift, 'Tis said that a Fear came on them all. But why fo ? One would think rather, that Love should have seiz'd them all upon the fight of so much Goodness; and such a Love too, as should have cast out Fear, and fild them with all manner of Joy and Rejoicing.
True, the Goodness of his works no doubt poffefs'd them with a great Love of his Person, but the Greatness of his works struck them with no small Awe and Dread of his Power. They were surpriz'd with Wonder at what they faw, and were fillid with Astonishment at his great and marvellous Works. This effect we find the Miracles of Christ generally had upon the Minds of the People, to seize them with Amazement and Terror. Upon his curing the deaf and dumb Man, 'tis said the People were beyond measure aftonish'd, Mark 7. 37. and here, that Fear came upon them all; i.e. they were taken with a sudden Affrightment at that Divine Power, that was able to do such ftrange and wonderful Works
But yet, zdly, their Fear was not so great, as to hinder their Devotion, for the next Words tell us, that they glo
rify'd God: meaning, that the Awe and Dread with which they were struck at the sight of this Miracle, put them upon Praises and Acknowledgments unto God of his infinite Power and Goodness, giving him all the Glory of these marvellous and miraculous Acts, and rendring all due Thanks for the Good and Benefit they receiv'd by them. This is a Tribute we owe for all the daily and common Favours of Providence, but much more for these extraordinary and astonishing Acts of his Bounty ; saying with the Pfalmist, Unto thy Name be all the Glory; and how excellent is thy Name in all the World!
3dly, The sight of this Miracle done by our Saviour, mov'd all the People with one Voice to say, that a great Prophet was risen up among them, and that God had visited his people. That a great Prophet was to come, they learnt from the Prophecy reveald to Moses, Deut, 18. 18. A Prop phet Mall the Lord thy God raise up like unto thee, and to him they mall hearken : which is quoted by the Apostle, Acts 3. 22. & Chap. 7. 37. That this Prophet should come with a Power of working Miracles, such as raising the Dead, and healing all manner of Diseases, they had learnt froni the other Prophets, and that the time of his coming was then at hand, they concluded from sundry Prophecies to that purpose.
Now when Christ came doing such great and wonderful Works, and shewing himself a Prophet so mighty in Word and Deed, some faid, We have found him of whom Moses in tbe Lam and the Prophets did write, John 1.45. Others said, Of a truth this is that Prophet that mould come into the World, John 6. 14. And these in our Text, that a great Prophet is risen up arong us. This they gather'd partly from the Excellency of his Doctrine, for no Man (say they) ever Spake like him; and partly from the Greatness of his Works, for no Man (say others) ever did the Works that he doth. And being thus mighty in Word and Deed, they well enough concluded from both, that this was that Prophet or proniis'd Messiah, that was to come for the revealing of God's Will, and the Redemption of Mankind : by both which God is here said to have visited his people; that is, he hath fent one in our own Nature to pity our Condition, to relieve our Wants, and to visit us with his Salvation : which made Zachariah fall a blessing of God, for thus visiting and redeeming his People, and raising up a Horn of Salvation for them, out of the House of his Servant David; Luke 1. 68, &c.
The Fame as well as the Benefit of it is gone abroad into the World. And this will lead us to the
Last Thing recorded of this Miracle; and that is, that this Rumour of him went forth throughout all Judea, and all the Regions round about. The Fame of his Miracles, and the Testimony they gave to the Truth of his Messiahship, spread into all parts, insomuch that all Galilee, and the ci ties of Judea and Palestine, and all the circumambient Regions round about them, receiv'd the Report of him : which drew many to see and partake of the Benefit of his Miracles, and thereby become Profelytes and Converts to his Doctrine.
Thus we see the Miracle here related in all its Circumstances and Effects, the greatest indeed of all Miracles, which is the raising of a dead Person to Life, the sole Work of a Divine Power and Goodness. It remains only to infer a few practical Lessons from the whole : And,
It, From Christ's Readiness to go from the Centurion's Servant at Jerufalem, to the Widow's Son at Nain, we may learn not to omit any Opportunities of doing good to the Bodies or Souls of Men. We fee here how forward and sollicitous our Saviour was about both, making no Scruples or Delays in serving of either ; but cheerfully embracing all Opportunities of contributing to their bodily Health, and promoting their eternal Welfare. He sooner wanted ()bjects, than Will to fhew Kindness; and nothing pleas'd him better, than to find Men to have Faith enough to come to him, and to be heal'd by him. This was the Business, the Recreation, and the whole Employment of our Blessed Lord, and nothing renders us more like unto him, than a Desire and Delight in doing good in the best way and manner that we are able.
2dly, From our Saviour's compassionating and comforting the disconfolate Widow upon the Death of her dear and only Son, we may learn to commiserate and condole with each other upon the Loss of Friends and Relations, and to bear part as well in the Sorrows as Joys of one another. We are apt and forward enough to share in the Comforts and Prosperity of others, and to rejoice with them that rejoice; but are commonly too shy and backward in pitying or partaking in their Troubles and Misfortunes, and to weep with them that weep: The one gratifies the Corruption, but the other tends more to the Perfection of our Nature; and
our Saviour's Example here directs us as much or more to the latter than the former, for we often read that he wept and shed Tears, but never that he laugh’d, or indulg'd himfelf in too much Mirth.
3dly, From the Miracle here wrought in raising the Widow's dead Child to Life again, we may learn farther to confirm our Faith in him, and to take him for the Son of God, and the Saviour of the World, for the mighty Works that were done by him, which nothing less than a Divine Power and Goodness were able to effect. Miracles are the Broad Seal of Heaven, which is never set to any Commiffion but what comes from God; which made Nicodemus, a Ruler of the Jews, fay to our Saviour, I know that thou art a Teacher come from God, for none can do the Works that thou dost, except God were with him ; John 3. 1, 2.
These Miracles abundantly testify his Mission, that his Doctrine is divine, and contains the Words of eternal Life, and that his Precepts are the best, the wifeft, and the fafest Rules to lead us to it: And therefore it must be not only our Duty, but our Wisdom and truest Interest to receive the one, and to obey the other.
4thly, From the Fear that fell on the People at the fight of this Miracle, we may learn to fear the Lord and his Goodness, as 'twas promis'd and prophefy'd of the latter Days, Hosea 3.5. Let us fear to offend' so great and so good a God, who is able to do such great things for our Happiness or our Destruction. Such was the Fear of these in this Gospel, a Fear of Astonishment, that set them a wondering at the Greatnefs of his Power; not a Fear of Defperation, to make them distrust his Goodness: for we find their fear did not drive them from, but to him ; it led them to the admiring and adoring his infinite Power, and instead of falling away, they fell to glorifying of God. From whence we may learn,
Sthly, To give God the Glory of all his Mercies ; not afcribing, any thing to our felves, to our own Power or Merits, but acknowledging our Weakness and Worthlessness, and adoring his Power and Goodness in all the ordinary and extraordinary Acts of his Providence towards us.
6thly, From their unanimous owning this great Prophet to be risen up among them, let us learn to do likewise, and to bless God for thus visiting us with his Salvation,
Lastly, From the Rumour that went of him throughout all the Country and Regions round about, let us learn to
publish his Honour, and to spread the Fame of his Miracles and good Works to Mankind.
Upon the whole, let us take heed of an evil Heart of Unbelief, in departing from the Truths of the Gospel reveal'd to us. Remember the Fate of Corazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, who for not believing in Christ, when they heard his Do&trine and faw his Miracles, were sentenc'd to a more heavy and intolerable Doom than Tyre and Sydon, and other barbarous Nations, where the Sound of these things never came : and better would it be for us, not to have known the ways of Righteousness, than having known them, to depart from the holy Commandment. In a word therefore, let us all fay with him in the Gospel, and fay it heartily, Lord I believe, help my Onbelief.
The EPISTLE for the Seventeenth Sunday after
that ye walk worthy of the Vocation wherewith ye are callod, with all Lowliness and Meekness, with Long-suffering, forbearing one another in Love; endeavouring to keep the Unity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace. There is one Body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called into one Hope of your Calling, &c.
E are taught to pray, in the Collect for this Day, that the Grace of God may always prevent and
follow us, and make us to be continually given to all good Works, thro Jesus Christ our Lord. To this end,
St. Paul, then a Prisoner at Rome for the Cause of Christ, makes mention in the Epistle for this Day, of some of those Graces and good Works, that we are continually to Vol. IV. Part 2.