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have done by thy grace, had we enjoyed thy bodily presence. And may we follow thy blessed steps; may we walk as thou also walkedst, knowing that, after following thee upon earth, we shall assuredly arrive where thou art, and see thy face in glory.

21. And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 22. But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let

the dead bury their dead. 23. And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.

Lord, give us the instructions from this passage which it was intended to convey. We know not whether this man wanted to be excused from following thee till after the death of his father, or only till he should go and bury his father already dead. But whatever were the circumstances, they were fully known to thee, and thou wast the best judge of his duty. We bless thee that in ordinary cases, love to thee, which is the first of all duties, does not interfere with any marks of regard, or affection, to relatives, but teaches us to abound in thein; and that in no case it interferes with loving them most tenderly yea, it requires us, if we should be called to part with them for thy sake, to love them as much as ever, and to do them all the good in our power. Säve us, on the one hand, from imitating the Pharisees, whom thou severely reprovedst for making unbidden services in religion a pretence for want of duty to relations; and, on the other hand, save us from hesitating a moment, when we are clearly called by thy word to forsake father and mother, wife and children, and our own lives also, for thy sakė.

SECT. XXVIII.

The Tempest stilled.

24. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. 25. And his disciples

came to him and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us; we perish. 26. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose,

and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. 27. But the men marvelled,

saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?

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Here, Lord Jesus, we behold thee in a storm at sea, but all thy company as safe and secure, as thy falling asleep among them intimated. They, however, being weak in faith, did not think so, but in a fright awoke thee, saying, "Lord, save us, we perish!" a prayer very fit for awakened sinners under apprehension of perishing for ever. In this view we would earnestly cry to thee, "Awake, Lord, for our help; carest thou not And we trust "that our souls perish? Lord, save us.' thou who wouldst not let their lives be lost will not suffer our immortal souls to be cast away. But their fear of perishing in the tempest, while they had thee with them, was groundless. They might easily have known they were perfectly safe under thy protection, though thou wast asleep; therefore, thou saidst to them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?" Lord, let not us be among the fearful and unbelieving; do thou dwell in our hearts by faith; and then, whatever danger threatens us in following thee, let us not be afraid. Thou canst keep our minds in perfect peace amidst the most dreadful storms. Thou rebukedst the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. Thus thou didst shew thy power over the boisterous elements. Oh! when our minds are troubled, do thou speak peace in them; when storms of perplexing thoughts or unruly passions arise, do thou command a calm, and let not our faith fail when all the waves of affliction roll over us, for thou canst save us. Give us to be strong in the faith of thy power and grace.

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SECT. XXIX.

Christ healeth two Men that were possessed.

28. And when he was come to the other side, into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils,

coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. 29. And behold, they cried out, say

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ing, What have we to do with
thee, Jesus, thou Son of God?
art thou come hither to torment
us before the time? 30. And
there was a good way off from
them an herd of many swine
feeding. 31. So the devils be-
sought him, saying, If thou cast
us out, suffer us to go away into
the herd of swine. 32. And he
said unto them, Go. And when
they were come out, they went
into the herd of swine: and,

| behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters: 33. And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils.

34. And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts.

It seems they abode among the tombs, as melancholy places which suited their disease, or the inclination of the unclean spirits that possessed them; yet this ought not to hinder us from looking on the tombs of thy saints as very agreeable and pleasant, especially when we remember that thou thyself didst lie in a tomb. The spirits of darkness have no power over the dust which is united to thee. These demoniacs were exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way; but they stood in awe of thee, and dared not abide thy coming. They were obliged to confess thy power over them, and their fear of future judgment from thy hand: "What have we "to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God; art thou (6 come hither to torment us before the time?" Dreadful words! both of hatred and despair. Lord, give us the directly opposite temper, to rejoice in thy nearness to us now, and to look for thy second coming with a cheerful hope. We see farther in this passage the malice of the evil spirits, in seeking to prejudice the inhabitants of that country against thee, by asking leave to enter into their swine. Thou didst permit them; and here thy grace was glorified, in pity shewn to the two poor men; thy power was displayed over the infernal spirits, who durst not do this without thy permission; their inclination and ability to do hurt was also shewn; and lastly, the wicked Gadarenes were deservedly punished for their covetousness and inhumanity. Unaffected with the mer ciful recovery of the two men, they were concerned

only for the loss of their swine, and besought thee to depart out of their coasts. Unhappy men! their impiety punished itself; for nothing can be a greater misery than thy departure from any. Lord, keep us from a worldly inhuman spirit, and never, never depart from us.

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CHAP. IX.

SECT. XXX.

Jesus healeth a Paralytic.

fore think ye evil in your hearts? ND he entered into a ship, 5. For whether is easier to say, and passed over, and Thy sins be forgiven thee; or came into his own city. 2. to say, Arise, and walk? 6. And, behold, they brought to But that ye may know that the him a man sick of the palsy, Son of man hath power on earth lying on a bed and Jesus, see- to forgive sins, (then saith he to ing their faith, said unto the the sick of the palsy,) Arise, sick of the palsy, Son, be of take up thy bed, and go unto good cheer; thy sins be for-thine house. 7. And he arose given thee. 3. And, behold, and departed to his house. 8. certain of the scribes said with-But when the multitude saw it, in themselves, This man blas- they marvelled, and glorified phemeth. 4. And Jesus, know- God, which had given such powing their thoughts, said, Where- er unto men.

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What wouldst thou have us, blessed Lord, to learn from this passage? In the first place, it is clear that the faith of the persons who brought the man to be cured was acceptable to thee. Give us, Lord, the same kind of faith with respect to thy ability and willingness to heal our souls. In the next place, thou exhortedst him to be of good cheer; not because he was to be cured of his bodily disease, but because his sins were forgiven him. Give us to be more desirous of pardoned sin than of any earthly blessing, or of life itself. Lord, we believe thy power to forgive sins. We want no more to set our consciences at perfect ease, but to know that our sins are forgiven by thee; then shall our souls cheerfully arise to go where thou pleasest.

SECT. XXXI.

Matthew called.

9. And as Jesus passed forth | said unto his disciples, Why from thence, he saw a man, eateth your Master with publi named Matthew, sitting at the cans and sinners ? 12. But receipt of custom: and he saith when Jesus heard that, he said unto him, Follow me. And he unto them, They that be whole, arose and followed him. 10. need not a physician, but they And it came to pass, as Jesus that are sick. 13. But go ye and sat at meat in the house, behold, learn what that meaneth, I will many publicans and sinners have mercy, and not sacrifice:came and sat down with him for I am not come to call the and his disciples. 11. And righteous, but sinners to repentwhen the Pharisees saw it, theyance.

Blessed be thy name, for allowing publicans and sinners to sit down with thee. The Pharisees thought they would be defiled by the approach of such persons; but thou graciously receivedst them. And how comfortable is it to hear from thy mouth on this occasion, "that the "whole have no need of a physician, but the sick.” The greater our need is, we have the more encouragement from this merciful declaration to implore thy pity. Thou also appealest to that scripture, "I will have 66 mercy, and not sacrifice." Thus thou shewest that it is the will of thy Father, and thy will, that poor sinful creatures, instead of being despised, should be kindly invited to use the means of salvation, and called to repentance; and that this was one end of thy coming. Lord, we confess we have been very great sinners. heal our sadly-distempered souls, and give us that thorough repentance to which thou callest us, and save us from the greatest of all condemnations, "abusing thy grace.'

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