« AnteriorContinuar »
Lastly, This Miracle was great in respect of the End for which it was wrought ., and that was partly to confirm the Divinity of Christ's Person, and partly to confirm the Truth of the Doctrine deliver'd by him: both which were abundantly prov'd by such Works of Wonder, as no Man ever did, and such Words of eternal Life, as no Man ever spoke; and therefore we find our Saviour appealing to them for the Proof of his Mefliahship, laying, If I do not the Works of my Father, believe me not; but if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the Works, that ye may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in him. John 10. 37,38. This for the Miracle.
But what was the Effect of it? or what Influence had it upon those that faw it? Why, that the
Last words of the Gospel will inform us; When the Multitude saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, who had given such Power unto Men. Admiration and Adoration were the general and. usual Effects and Consequents of all his mighty Works, which carry'd such apparent Marks and Signatures of a Divine Hand, as could not but astonish, and make them stand amaz'd at the sight of them. They marvelled, that is, they were feiz'd with Wonder, and struck with Admiration at the Greatness of them, and the supernatural Ways of doing them; and that put them upon glorifying of God, ascribing all the Efficacy ana Operation of them to his Divine Hand, who alone was able to bring them to pass; adoring his Almighty and Infinite Wisdom and Goodness in making Men the Instruments of doing such mighty Works for their Conviction; for he it was that gave such Power unto Men. Such they yet thought Christ to be, being not fully instructed in his eternal Power and Godhead.
Thus we fee the Substance of this Day's Gospel, and the Miracle related in it, which is every way worthy of our most serious Thoughts and Meditations. And from the whole we may learn the following Lessons:
(1.) From Christ's pasting over the Sea, and going from place to place, we learn his unweary'd Diligence in doing Good, for that was the End and Design of all his Motions: His whole Life was soent in the Service of Mankind, and promoting their Welfare ., he did it not by the by, or now and then upon great Occasions, but 'twas the whole Employment ployment df his Life; his Meat, and Drink, and RecreaJ tion too was to be doing Good: His Practice herein is ad excellent Pattern for all his Followers, who are to iuiitate him herein as far as they can, and to omit no Opportunities of serving one another, according to their several Abilities and Capacities. But this hath been elsewhere prefVd and recommended more at large.
(2.) From what hath been faid, we may observe our Saviour's great Kindness to this poor Paralytick, in healing the Maladies both of Body and Soul together j for he at once remov'd his Palsy for the Health of his Body, and pronounc'd his Pardon for the Welfare of his Soul, and by both bless'd him with a perfect and compleat Cure of all his Infirmities: he did not things by halves, nor made any empty and insignificant Offers of Kindness, but ever did more than he seem'd to promise or pretend to, yea more than any could ask or think - , which is a farther Instance of his inexpressible Love to Mankind, and ought to be both admir'd and imitated by us as well as we mayj
(5.) From the Scribes and Pharisees carping at our Saviour, and charging him with Blasphemy for forgiving the Sins of this poor Paralytick, we learn the Pronenefsof evil Men to defame the best Persons, and find fault with the best Actions , and if they dealt so with Christ himself, his Disciples may not expect better Dealing from them. The Disciple is not above his Lord, and if our Master met with evil Treatment from the Scribes and Pharisees, we may iearn to bear with the fame Ufage from the like Persons: daily Experience shews us how apt ill-minded Men are to accuse and traduce such as are every way better than themselves^ and to spy a Mote in their Brother's Eye, when they cannot fee a Beam in their own; we find what perverse Comments and Constructions they make of the most innocent and well-meaning Actions, and how greedily they seek occasions of Trouble and Disturbance. We observ'd this in many other Instances of the Pharisees, and we may easily observe the fame in too many of their Followers.
(4.) From our Saviour's working a Miracle to take off the Charge of Blasphemy, and exerting his Divine Power to silence his Enemies, we may learn to use all possible Means, and particularly by well-doing (as the Apostle directs) to put to silence the Ignorance os foolish Men. St. Paul's Advice is, Let, not your Good be evil spoken os: Now though this be not always in our power to prevent, yet we are to do the best we.can^ to elude .the.Cavils and Calumnies of. evil Men. There are. some lyh'b Sje as ready now tobias p^e^e~'the Ways, as they w'ere of old the Person of Christ: and as to these, our Endeavour shouLd be to put a Muzzle upon thefr Mouthsy a* W'do upokisome Creatures, who are too apt both to bark and bite ^ that is, to cut off all occafton; frflm them that: seek occasion, that they may be either afraid or asham'd to speak evil of us. mmmmm mmm.
Lastly, From the People's glorifying and blesting God upon this Miracle of healing a sick Man, let us learn to give God the Glory of all his Mercies, and to ascribe the Honour due to his Name ., particularly, as we'are taught by the Gospel for this Day, let us praise God as, for the Lilfe and Doctrine/so for the Miracles of our Blessed Saviour, which gave the highest Honour and Confirmation'to both. Let us, frequently meditate-on the Number and Greatness of them, the better to raise our Minds to a higher Esteem and 'Thankfulness Cor them ^ that wilt mightily ' conduce to the confirming of us in the Belief of his *doctrine, and to the building of us up more firmly irt our 1oft Holy 'Faith,'.and that will bring us at last-to,the end four Faith, even the SaWatioi)'.'fif our Soul: Which God
^,^a^,m ;.;.:S ..; v'
, D I SCOURS E L. The EpisTLEfor the Twentieth Sunday after
See then that ye-walk cirtumsfe0y, ipti as Foph, bM}as^ift, redeeming the tiritf, hfipaqfothe'd& are Wherefore te ye not ttfwtfe* hut unfa* fe what the Will of the Lma % &zl
rj; rj ':} sdj^.aiwiJ to «i;.n)t3i0
E are taught in the Q>U«# tot to,jrffi that we may be' Jcept from'all' that pas
hurt us, that T6 being ready F"' 'Soul, we may chearfally accomplish tho would have done, &c. Which things' Care and Diligence to accomplish them,
The Epistle for the Day begins with an Exhortation to a wife, wary and circumspect Walking, to prevent the Evils that may otherwise befal us. The Apostle, in the foregoing part of the Chapter, had minded the Ebhesians of the happy Change wrought in them by their embracing the Gospel, how they were translated from Darkrufc « Light, and from the iWeffof Satan unto God, and therefore willed them to walk asCbildren ijs Light; ver.8. And because of the many Dangers, Difficulties and Discouragements they might meet with in the way, he would have them to look warily about them: See then that ye walk circumspeftly, &c. Where we have,
Erst, A Caution to look to our Ways, and walk circumspectly; which being usher'd in with a Note of Attention, See then, shews it to be a Matter necesfary to be observ'd, and dangerous to be omitted.
Secondly, We have a Pattern or Dyrectuw to iwalk- ty, express',& both negatively and positively j Not as Tooth but as Wife.
Thirdly, We have a Way or Means prescrib' d for our tircumspect Walking •, and that is by redeeming theTime.
'fourthly, A strong Argument or Motive to persuade thereunto •, ,arid that is, Because the Days are evil. These 'things,, with the good Use and Improvement to be made of "therri, .contain the whole of this Day's Epittle.
, , _ .a
'Christian's'Life is describ'd'by Walking, which we know is a progressive Motion, and implies.'a 'continual gotpk^forSmardytis pppos'd to fitting still, ",6'r 'indulging tb Ease arid "Idleness, arid' so gives us to understand,.'.that Christianity Ikti'o Idle, toy or fluggish thing-, but consists in"'Action, ^dis still moving us forward in the Ways.of'Holiness :ah8lVertue. 'fence" we find it set forth' in ScSruStufe by tfa^,Expression's as imply Activity and .MbiiopY tfs sometimes call'd a seeking or searching after Cod, which imports ^oHicitoufnefs and Jntention sometimes a prefling forward 'towards the Mark, which betokens Labour and ;Difficulty, and'engages the whole Man ; sometimes again '8s ^xprefs'd
by a Race^ which bespeaks the swiftest, Motion, and req'u ires Us hot only tb walk, but to fun' the Paths of God's Tpptrii^andmeritsV lastly, to mention ho, more, 'sis often, cbntpar'd.to a Warfare, which we know calls for our riiairt Strength,' and excites the greatest Diligence: all whkh and other like Exprestibns shew Religion. ,tb be no lazy^ hut an. active and busy thing, that finds Employment for au onr Faculties, and puts us upon the continual Exercise" of Vertue and good Works. This is imply'd here in the word Walking, so often us'd in Scripture to express our Christian Course.
But how are we here directed to walk? Why, that the next word tells us, See that ye walk circumspectly(/ The word in the Original is jnftCft, which signifies an exact, te* gular and accurate Walking, or a keeping close to the Rule, without transgressing or swerving from it, either by omitting what it requires, or committing what it forbids. Now' here great Care and Circumspection is necessary,
tjt. To find oat the right Way in .which we are to walk.
zdly, To walk warily, prudently'and inoffensively in it. And, , , ,'"J ', ,
idly, To persevere and keep in it to the very last.
E e a iÆ, I