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in all the Scriptures, the things concerning, received him, having seen all the things that himself, and thus extending the boundaries he did at Jerusalem ai the feast: for they also of the kingdom of God, he pursued his jour- went unto the feast.” The report which they Jiey to Galilee, and returned to Cana, where made at home, of his mighty works, as wel: he made the water wine.” Beside his gene- as of his condescension and benevolence, ral and leading object, to preach the gospel had reached the ears of the great, and exof the kingdom, he might intend, by re-visit- cited attention. We fondly listen to what ing that city, to express the affection of a promises ease; we grasp the very shadows kind relation to the new-married pair who of probability, and frequently make experiresided there, to strengthen their union by ments with little hope of success. All that his benediction, by his counsel, by partici- medical skill could effect had, in this case pating in their domestic cares and comforts, undoubtedly been attempted, but atteinpted and to confirm them and the other inhabit- in vain. It is one, and not the least of the ants of the place in the faith which they had evils attendant on poverty, to know of a reprofessed.
medy without the means of procuring it. It was so ordered of Providence that at The rich have at least this consolation in exthe time of his return a distinguished family tremity, that every thing was done which in the neighbouring town of Capernaum was influence could command or money purchase. visited with a sore affliction. • There was But the nobleman of Capernaum is not to be a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at taxed with credulity for believing the report Capernaum.” The word translated noble-concerning Christ, or for building upon it the mail signifies courtier, one employed near hope of a cure which medicine had been unthe person, or in the service of a king. able to effect. Instead of sending for him, Herod was but a delegated and limited sove- as in the case of ordinary physicians," he reign: “Tetrarch of Galilee,” that is go- went to him.” The distance between Cavernor, under the Roman emperor, of the pernaum and Cana was about a day's jourfourth part of a province. But he was per-ney, as we may gather from verse 52. He mitted to assume the title and state of king, was met on his way homeward, rejoicing in because it swelled the pride of the imperial the belief of the power and grace of Christ, despot to lord it over many subordinate and the day after he had received the assurance: dependant thrones. Capernaum being with- “ Yesterday,” said the servants, “at the in the limits of Herod's government, he no seventh hour the fever left him.” Here then doubt occasionally resided in that city, and there we have nobility descending from its stateprobably at this time held his court; and liness, waving ceremony, assuming the form the nobleman in question might either offi- of a supplicant. Was it thereby degraded ? cially or from affection be in attendance No, to follow the honest impulse of nature, upon his master. But the vicinity of a court, to submit to the obligations of propriety and and the rank of nobility, are no security decorum, to employ fair means to obtain a against the inroads of disease and death, for desirable end, is no degradation, even to a they too are tainted with sin. The danger prince. Vice alone degrades, and exposes a of losing a child excites a thousand anxieties man to shame, and lowers his dignity in the in the bosom of a parent, whatever be the eyes of God, and of his fellow-creatures. station or condition. There are innumera Calamity brings down the loftiness of the ble circumstances which level all distinc-human spirit. We have a noted instance of tions. The honourable feelings of humanity this in the history of Ben-hadad the king of are of this description, parental and filial af- Syria. In the pride of his heart, in girding fection, with the kindred charities of the hu- on his harness, in the confidence of superiorman heart, sympathy with the distressed, and ity, he sends this insulting message to the a desire to assist and relieve them: these king of Israel; “Thus saith Ben-hadad, thy constitute a dignity, a nobility which God silver and thy gold is mine, thy wives also alone can bestow, and which the air of a and thy children, even the goodliest are coart tends rather to blight than to cherish. mine." Unmollified by submission, he asThis good man however has not sunk the sumes a still haughtier tone, and proceeds to father in the courtier. Anxiety about the take by violence what had been quietly yieldlife of his child suspends the pride of rank, ed to him. But brought to himself by a total the duties of office, the etiquette of nobility. defeat of his formidable army, he lowers his
When he heard that Jesus was come out tone and humbles himself to the man whom of Judea into Galilee he went unto him, and he had insulted: servants with sackcloth girbesought him that he would come down and ded on their loins, and ropes upon their heads, heal his son: for he was at the point of " came to the king of Israel, and said, Thy death."
servant Ben-hadad saith, I pray thee, let me “A city that is set on a hill cannot be live,” a confirmation of the truth of the wise hid.” The fame of Jesus was now spread man's observation: “Pride goeth before deover the whole land. When he came back struction : and an haughty spirit before a from Jerusalem to Galilee, “the Galileans fall.” We would not be thought to insina.
ate that pride is an inseparable concomitant , one of the twelve, who, after all the signs of greatness, or insolence of a prosperous and wonders of which he had been a specta. condition. But the flattery of inferiors, and tor, resisted the clearest testimony; " Except the constant means of self-gratification, act- I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, ing habitually on a principle radically cor- and put my finger into the print of the nails, rupt, have, without doubt, a very dangerous and thrust my hand into his side, I will not tendency to mislead the understanding, and believe.” The nobleman of Capernaum had to corrupt the heart: adversity dispels the probably expressed himself in similar terms, illusion, and tells a man feelingly what he and thereby incurred this reproof of his in. is. But for the indisposition of his son, the credulity, which seemed to convey a denial father might have remained a slave to the of his suit. world, and died a martyr to the pride of life, Parental affection perseveres in following and a stranger to the Saviour of mankind. up his request. He tacitly admits the jusBlessed is that dispensation, be it ever so se tice of Christ's censure, but waves discussion, vere, which loosens a man from the things and in the anguish of his soul renews his of time, which empties him of self, which supplication to him, to whom misery never leads him to God.
applied in vain : "Sir, come down ere my The faith of this nobleman, as in every child die.” Where the heart is deeply incase, was blended with much infirmity. He terested, the “ words are few," but O how reposed confidence in the goodness of Christ, forcible! The feelings of a parent are seen in the power of Christ to heal the sick; but with approbation by the friend of mankind, he weakly imagined that this power could who knows what is in man, and to whom operate only on the spot. Under this impres- nothing that affects humanity can be a matsion he travels from Capernaum to Cana in ter of indifference. “Jesus saith unto him, hope of being able to persuade Jesus to ac- Go thy way: thy son liveth.” That word, coinpany him to the former city, and stand that one little word, has in a moment, in the over the patient, and rebuke the fever, and twinkling of an eye, reached Capernaum, has restore him to health: "he besought him, expelled a mortal distemper, has relieved a that he would come down, and heal his son, wretched father from a pressure under which for he was at the point of death.” He urges he was sinking, and has inspired him with a the importance of despatch, lest death should confidence never more to be shaken. He interpose and extinguish hope for ever; for receives his son as one alive from the dead; his faith carried him no farther than to the he learns to correct his false ideas of the brink of the grave, and there gave up all power of Christ, and to submit implicitly to for lost. It was meet that one who thought, his decisions. “And the man believed the who felt, who acted so well, should be word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and taught to think, to feel, to act better. he went his way." It was meet he should be taught not to dic The sequel unfolds an amiable, interesting tate to divine sovereignty, but to adore, and and instructive view of domestic life. When submit to it; taught to enlarge his ideas of the master left his home to go in quest of rethe power and grace of the Redeemer, as ex- | lief to his child, the servants of the family, tending to universal space, and to every pos- some of them actually slaves, entering into sible state of things. This seems to be the their lord's feelings, tend the sick bed of the only rational interpretation which can be gi- young man with all the attention and soliciven of the apparent coldness of the reception tude, of humble friends, not with the eye-sergiven him by our Lord. Instead of his usual vice of mercenary or compelled drudges. promptitude to fly to the relief of distress, They observe every symptom of the disorder, the importunate and solicitous father meets, they watch over every motion of the patient, from the lips of Christ, with a seemingly un- they outrun his wants and wishes, they tremgracious reflection which had nearly chilled ble for the issue, they mark with transport his heart. “ Then said Jesus unto him, Ex- the moment of convalescence, and, to spare cept ye see signs and wonders ye will not the tender parent every unnecessary pang believe." In his progress through Samaria of painful apprehension, instead of waiting Christ had found greater faith than in Judea. for his return, they send off a deputation of The Samaritans exacted no sign, expressed their number, the instant that the fever came no suspicion, insisted on no condition. “Many to a crisis, to announce the welcome tidings more believed because of his own word, and to their beloved master. What honour does Haid unto the woman, Now we believe, not this reflect on all the parties! Human life because of thy saying: for we have heard consists of a reciprocation of kind affections, him ourselves, and know that this is indeed expressions, and actions, or their contraries. the Christ, the Saviour of the world.” But In vain does the unfeeling, insolent, tyranhis countrymen of Galilee, though they had nical despot expect dutiful, cheerful, cordial been witnesses of his miracles, were • slow attachment and submission from domestics of heart to believe." They demand further and dependants. By failure in his own duty, evidence, and in the true spirit of Thomas, he has set them the example of harshness,
want of sympathy, and disrespect. The in- it was in this case. And here was a display ferior almost always takes the tone from his of another divine attribute, time as well as superior. If you see obsequious, faithful, di- space subdued to the will of him who filleth ligent servants, or attentive dutiful, affection- all space; whose existence was before time ate children, rest assured that the master and began to flow, and runneth through the inistress of the family, that the parents of the whole extent of its duration; with whom a children are wise, gentle, and good. Most fa- thousand years are as one day, and one day milies in the metropolis, especially those of as a thousand years, who measureth the high ok, are uncomfortable, because mutual lapse of moments and of ages by a standard attachment subsists not between the rulers unalterable as the ordinances of heaven, and and the ruled. It is a mere intercourse of by a standard still more intelligible, sensible, accommodation and interest, in which nei- interesting, and endearing, uninterrupted, ther the heart nor conscience hath any part. unwearied acts of loving kindness and tenThe paltry consideration of a month's wages der mercy, settles the account on either side. In the It would be ungenerous and unjust to as remoter parts of the kingdom, the relation of cribe the nobleman's minuteness of inquiry master and servant is a tacit compact of un- to doubt, or slowness of belief, for the history limited duration. The servant is adopted expressly saith, “the man believed the word into the family, and looks up to the heads of that Jesus had spoken unto him, and went it with filial respect, gratitude, and confidence. his way,” confiding entirely in the truth and No separate interest, no divided or contra- faithfulness of that word, long before the dictory views and pursuits disturb domestic evidence of it met him on the road. But tranquillity. The family of this nobleman that Jesus in whom he trusted graciously, was not far from the kingdom of God, for gave him this confirmation of his faith, that the spirit of love was its governing principle, he might feel the, solidity of the rock on and God is love. “And as he was now going which all his hope rested. Faith is faith, down his servants met him, and told him, though but as a grain of mustard-seed; for saying, thy son liveth. Then inquired he of that grain contains an immortal germ, pregthem the hour when he began to amend. nant with all the beauty and richness of a And they said unto him, yesterday at the future harvest. The apostles themselves seventh hour the fever left him.”
were sometimes weak, at other times strong One of our highest mental pleasures con- in the faith: sensible of this, they prayed sists in comparing object with object, in or- unto the Lord that he would “increase” it. der to discover coincidence, similitude, dif- The principle is sound, it is vital; it may ference, or contrast. This pleasure must have lie dormant, it may suffer depression, but it been enjoyed in singular purity on this joy- cannot expire. “ So the father knew that it ful occasion. The distance of the two cities was at the same hour in the which Jesus was well known. It employed a whole day, said unto him, thy son liveth; and himself beand the exertions of a man of rank and for- lieved, and his whole house." tune, furnished with all the means of expe The miracles of Christ always look farther ditious travelling, and under the stimulus of than to their immediate object. Application paternal affection, to go from Capernaum to is made for the removal of a bodily infirmity; Cana. How pleasant was it to compare that the diseases of the mind are at the same time distance, and the usual rate of journeying, reached by the healing power of the Rewith the inconceivably rapid transition of deemer, and the spectators are made sensible the word of Christ! what a contrast! Here of a divine energy. The blind man comes then was a demonstration of the controlling in hope of having his sight restored, he goes power of Christ over space; it was not need-away seeing, and with the unspeakably ful that he should go up or come down, that greater blessing, the eyes of his understandhe should be on the same spot with the ob- ing are opened. Behold that helpless paraject of his beneficence, for the purpose of ef- lytic, "borne of four," stretched motionless fecting a cure. The divine attribute of om- on his couch. At the word of Christ he renipresence was accordingly displayed. The covers strength, arises, takes up his bed, goes measurements of time are equally well- forth before them all, and departs to his house, known and understood ;, and there was a pe- not only with a body every whit whole, but culiarly powerful motive on both sides to with a soul relieved from the dreadful presmark the precise moment. Here an oppor-sure of the guilt of sin: “Jesus said unto the tunity was afforded of instituting a second sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven comparison, and lo, what a coincidence be- thee.” Mark these ten lepers, outcasts from tween the time of the father's observation society, loathsome to themselves, an abomiand that of the servants, that is, when Jesus nation to others, labouring under a malady spake the word to the one, and when the which medicine could not reach; they stand others perceived a sensible change to the afar off, they lift up their voices, they cry for better, in their young master's health! If mercy. As they went, at the command of ever the relation of cause and effect existed, Christ, to show themselves to the priests,
they were cleansed. To nine of the ten it of heaven moves. The enterprizes of man proved a mere temporary relief, a corporal exhibit the noise and bustle of preparation, purgation; the fatal leprosy of sin remained and violence of exertion, and lo, they come to defile the conscience. To the tenth, a to nothing; they commence in a blaze, and stranger, a Samaritan, it proved at once the presently issue in smoke. The designs of cure of bodily disease, and of mental pollu- the Most High have, from imperceptible betion; " and one of them, when he saw that he ginnings, made a silent, unnoticed progress, was healed, turned back, and with a loud and have acquired strength irresistible before voice glorified God, and fell down on his face attention was excited ; they issue from a dark at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a cloud, and advance with growing lustre unto Samaritan. And Jesus answering, said, the perfect day. What more common than were there not ten cleansed ? but where are sickness in a numerous fainily? Uniform the nine? There are not found that returned health, not occasional disease, is the wonder. to give glory to God, save this stranger. And The malady of a beloved child spreads a sable he said unto him, arise, go thy way; thy faith veil over an honourable house; it threatens hath made thee whole."
to embitter the future days of survivors; the Illustrious to the same purpose is the history hand of death is lifted up to strike the deciof the miracie under review. The nearer sive blow. It is a critical moment. The and more immediate object is a sick child at Lord gives the word. The child lives, the Capernaum, restored instantaneously from parent believes, the whole house is converted threatening indisposition to perfectsound- unto the Lord, an impression favourable to
But consider how many momentous Christianity is made on the public mind, the circumstances are involved in that one object. dominion of grace is extended, and the kingThe father was a person of the very first dom of glory opens to view. From such a distinction, connected with the higher hidden source, inaccessible as that of the Nile, powers of this world, at the head of a numer-i issues the majestic river, destined to adorn ous and well-ordered household, a man of and fertilize distant regions and the nations urbanity, understanding, and address. Con- which inhabit them. This day salvation verted himself to the faith of the gospel, be- came to the house of that nobleman. It wore hold him disposed to employ the whole weight a lowering aspect, but it brightened as it of his influence, of his authority, of his exam- went. ple, in promoting the cause which he himself 2. Mark the impartial regards of the great had from conviction embraced. Incalculable Lord of all to his creatures of every order and is the effect which one man of character, condition. With some men there is a strong talents, and virtue may produce in a court, a prejudice in favour of nobility and affluence, city, a kingdom, a world. No one can be as if they implied greatness, generosity, casolitary either good or wicked. The conta-pacity. Others are actuated by a prejudice gion whether of virtue or vice is quickly equally violent and unreasonable against caught and communicated, with this differ- them. Wisdom says, look to the man, and ence, that in the one case there is a repulsive not to his circumstances. Goodness is the faculty that guards the system against the object of commendation and esteem, whether admission of the gracious principle, and in the high or the low, the rich or the poor; which therefore needs to be corrected; and vice is odious whatever be the condition whereas in the other there is a predisposition of life. A righteous judge considerėth the to absorb the poison, which it requires no cause, not the rank and character of the common skill and attention to prevent. What- parties. And lest there should be an improper ever might be the more remote, or more ex- bias to the side of poverty, as there sometimes tensive influence of this good man's faith and is to the side of wealth, the law very wisely piety, the evangelist informs us that it em- throws in this caution : “ Neither shalt thou braced at least the whole of his own family: countenance a poor man in his cause." Our " and himself believed and his whole house.” Lord sets the example of this impartiality. Here was another province, by a strong hand Nobility could be no recommendation to his rent from the empire of Satan, and added to favour, neither was it any bar in the way. the kingdom of the Messiah ; "for he must The distress, the importunity, the parental reign till he hath put all his enemies under affection of the man moved his compassion, his feet."
the current of which could not be impeded We conclude with a few practical reflec- by the consideration of his being a courtier. tions suggested by this portion of our blessed It is a melancholy reflection, " that not many Lord's history.
wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, 1. Events, to our apprehension, casual, or- not many noble are called ;” but it is pleasing dinary, merely things of course, are, in the to reflect that the rule is not absolute and purpose of the Eternal Mind, order, connex- universal. The history of the Christian ion, mutual dependence. Our eyes are too church and the state of the world at this day, feeo.e to discern how delicately fine the exhibit many glorious instances of the trihinges are on which the mighty machinery I umph of divine grace over the fascination of
high rank, the deceitfulness of riches, and , lation to us they derive pollution, guilt, conthe pride of life. As such persons had more demnation, and death ; and shall we not be to combat and to overcome than others, the stimulated to repair the injury we have done combat and the conquest redound the more them; and, by nurture, by example, by prayer, to the glory of God, in whose strength they and supplication, become the instruments of
making them “partakers of the divine na3. We have before us an example of high ture," and of raising them to the rank of moral virtue, existing without a principle of " heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.” saving faith. This nobleman adorned his Wo unto them, and unto us, unless they are exalted station by qualities estimable in adopted into a nobler family, and exalted to whatever rank. He ruled well his own higher privileges than those to which the nouse. He was an affectionate parent, and a birth of nature entitles them; and unless kind master. And when we behold a man they “receive the Spirit of adoption, whereby fulfilling the duties of one relation reputably they may cry, Abba, Father.” What will it to himself and usefully to others, we are be to present ourselves, at length, and our bound in charity to believe, that he acts offspring, whether after the flesh, or after worthily in the other relations of life. When the spirit
, or both in one, with joy unspeakaan instance of this kind presents itself, it ex-ble, and full of glory, saying, “Behold I, and cites regret, that such a one though " not far the children which God hath given me !" from the kingdom of God," should neverthe- Let this prospect direct our wishes, dictate less come short. It is religion that conters our prayers, animate our exertions, till, with dignity on high birth, and that gives energy Israel, we have power with God, and with to virtue. If then this man were respectable men, and prevail. and exemplary by his virtuous conduct, how 5. Finally, In the presence of that God much more so is he, when faith is added to with whom we have to do, and of Jesus, virtue, now that a divine principle sanctifies, “who is God over all, and blessed for ever," animates, ennobles every action, and renders all space shrinks into a span, all duration ordinary employments not only a reasonable into a moment. “ Am I a God at hand, saith but a religious service. Morality, then, may the Lord, and not a God afar off? Do not exist without religion, but there can be no I fill heaven and eartli, saith the Lord ?" religion without morality. “Faith, if it hath Realize that awful omnipresence as a guard not works is dead, being alone :" “ for as the upon the heart, upon the tongue, upon the body without the spirit is dead, so faith with lite; as a ground of hope and a source of out works is dead also.” If in his mere civil joy in every dark and trying hour. * God and moral capacity the nobleman of Caper- is a very present help in trouble.” “ Though naum administered his affairs so wisely and I walk through the valley of the shadow 80 well, what must have been the ardour of of death I will fear no evil; for thou art natural affection, his discretion in the manage- with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort ment of his household, the propriety of his me.” He is faithful who hath promised, to personal deportment, now that his under his Israel whom he hath created, whom he standing is illuminated, and his heart warmed, hath formed, whom he hath redeemed, whom and the path of his feet guided by the sacred he hath called by name. “When thou passest flame of religion! now that “the grace of through the waters, I will be with thee; and God, that bringeth salvation had appeared to through the rivers, they shall not overflow him, teaching" him, as it does all its subjects, thee: when thou walkest through the fire, “ that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, thou shalt not be burnt; neither shall the we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, flame kindle upon thee.” Are" a thousand in this present world; looking for that blessed years in his sight but as yesterday, when it hope, and the glorious appearing of the great is past, and as a watch in the night?”. And God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave do "we spend our years as a tale that is himself for us, that he might redeem us from told ?" “See then that ye walk circumall iniquity, and purify unto himself a pecu- spectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming liar people, zealous of good works." the time, because the days are evil.” There
4. Do we feel parental solicitude about is no commodity which men trifle with so the bodily health, and the mental improve- sadly, when they have it at command, as ment, ani the worldly prosperity of our chil- time; and no one the loss of which they so dren? What then ought to be the fervour bitterly deplore, when it is in their power no of our spirits at a throne of grace, to obtain longer. Account every instant critical and for thein an interest in the favour of God, decisive, for undoubtedly many are so. Rethe knowledge that maketh wise unto salva- member that you are the disciples of him tion, the Spirit of sanctification, a right to who saith of himself; " I must work the "an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, work of him that sent me while it is day: and that fadeth not away?" From their re- | the night cometh, when no ran can work."