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the feast. So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death. Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die. Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way. And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth. Then inquired he of them the hour, when he began to amend: And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth; and himself believed, and his whole house. This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judea into Galilee.
How unreasonable are the passions and prejudices of mankind, and this in particular, a prophet should have no honour in his own country! One would have imagined that Jesus at least, free as he was from all the follies of childhood and youth, should have been an exception; nay, indeed, that he should have been peculiarly honoured there, where his early wisdom and piety could not but be observed.
Our Lord however intended them a visit, even at Nazareth; and it is the duty of his ministers to bear their testimony, whether men will hear, or whether they will forbear. Yet should they learn of their Great Master to study as much as they can to obviate those prejudices, which might prevent their usefulness, and should use the most prudent and gentle methods to vanquish them.
Such was this beneficial miracle of our Lord; which may afford us many particulars worthy of our notice. With what affection and zeal does this tender parent apply to Christ on the sickness of his child! Let us not be less importunate when soliciting spiritual blessings in behalf of our dear offspring: and so much the rather as their lives are so precarious,
and we know not how soon these lovely flowers may be cut down, and all farther petitions for them be for ever superseded.
Our Lord, while at a distance from the patient, wrought and perfected the cure. And has he not still the same Divine power, though he does not exert it in the same miraculous way? Let not his bodily absence abate our faith, while praying for others or for ourselves.
Salvation now came to this house, and blessings infinitely more valuable, than noble blood, or ample possessions, or royal favour, or recovered health could give; for the cure wrought on the body of one was a means of producing faith in the hearts of all. Blessed Jesus! thy power was no less employed in the latter than in the former. Oh may that power work in such a manner on our souls as that we all may be disposed cordially to receive thee and cheerfully to venture our eternal all upon thee! May we and our houses concur in so wise and happy a resolution: and not insisting upon evidence beyond what thy gracious wisdom has thought fit to give us, may we candidly receive the light we have, and faithfully improve it so as to be at length entitled to the blessedness of those who have not seen and yet have believed! John xx. 29.
AND he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias, and when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture
fulfilled in your ears. And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph's son? And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself; whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country. And he said, Verily, I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country. But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; but unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet, and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian. And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. But he passing through the midst of them, went his way.
We see that it was the custom of our blessed Saviour to frequent the synagogues every sabbath day; how well therefore does it become his servants to be constant in their attendance on public ordinances, especially since those of the gospel are in many respects so much nobler than any which the Mosaic institution would admit!
In the synagogues the scriptures were constantly read: and it is matter of pleasing reflection that, in all ages of the Christian church, the reading them hath usually been made a part of the service in most of its solemn assemblies. Let it still be so with us for this reason, among others, that so glorious a testimony to the genuineness of scripture may not be impaired in our hands, but transmitted to those that shall arise after us.
And surely the Old Testament, as well as the New, deserves our attentive perusal; in which, if we are not strangely negligent, or strangely prejudiced, we must often meet with remarkable prophecies of Christ shining with a pleasing lustre, like lights in a dark place. (2 Pet, i. 19.) How amiable a view
of him is given in that which he now opened! seriously attend to it. It is a moving representation that is here made of the deplorable state in which the gospel finds us! The helpless prisoners of Divine justice, the wretched captives of Satan, stripped and wounded, the eyes of our understanding blinded, and the powers of our souls enfeebled; and, as it were, bruised with those chains which prejudice and vice have fastended upon them! But in these miserable circumstances Jesus appears to open the doors of our prison, to strike off our fetters, and even to restore our sight. He comes to enrich our impoverished souls, and to preach a far better jubilee than Moses could proclaim; the free forgiveness of all our sins and the recovery of an inheritance of eternal glory. Surely it should be to us a most acceptable time. Blessed are the people that know this joyful sound; they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance! Psalm lxxxix. 15.
In some sense this instructive and comfortable scripture is this day fulfilled in our ears likewise. Let us also bear our testimony to the gracious words of this welcome messenger whom God hath anointed for such happy purposes!
One would have imagined that while the eyes of his auditors were fixed upon him, their souls should have drank in his doctrine as the thirsty earth sucks up the rain, and that every heart should have been open to embrace him. But, O blessed Jesus, while thou art preaching these glad tidings of great joy, what a return dost thou find! Thou art ungratefully rejected, thou art impiously assaulted; and had their rage and malice been able to prevail, the joyful sound would have died into empty air as soon as it began, and this thy first sermon at Nazareth had been thy last.
Thus disdainfully art thou still rejected by multitudes who still hear the same message echoing from thy word. And is there not a malignity in the hearts of sinners which might lead those of our own days to the outrageous wickedness of these Nazarenes, were their opportunities the same, rather than they would bow their stubborn hearts to the obedience of faith? But while they are crucifying thee afresh by their sins, and putting thee to open shame, may we honour thee as the Son of God, the Saviour of men; and labour by the ardour of our love and the steadiness of our obedience, in some measure to balance the ingratitude of those who, while they are opposing thee, are destroying themselves!
MATTHEW IV. 12-26. MARK I. 14-20.
Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he came into Galilee; and leaving Nazareth, he came down to, and dwelt in Capernaum, a city of Galilee, which is upon the sea-coast in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: The people which sat in darkness, saw great light, and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death, light is sprung up.-From that time Jesus began to preach the gospel of the kingdom of God, and to say, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: Repent ye, and believe the gospel.
And Jesus walking by the sea of Galilee saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. And straightway they forsook their nets and followed him. And when he had gone a little further thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets: And straightway he called them; and they immediately left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him.
Such was the zeal and courage of our blessed Redeemer, that he no sooner had been persecuted and assaulted at Nazareth, but he went and preached in the synagogue at Capernaum. Thus may all the opposition that we meet with in the course of our duty animate, rather than overbear, our resolution in performing it!
How happy was the land of Zabulon and Nephthalim in the