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READINGS

ON

OUR LORD'S MIRACLES.

INTRODUCTION.

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ALL the dealings of God with man are full of wonder. David said, O Lord my God, great

the wondrous works which Thou hast done;" and the redeemed in Heaven, who stand upon the sea of glass, sing, 'Great and marvellous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty.” But the most wonderful thing which has taken place since the creation of the world is, that the Almighty God came down to dwell upon it; that He was made Man, and lived a Man among men for thirty-three years. This is what St. Paul calls the mystery of godliness: 'Great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifest (or shewn forth) in the flesh.' It is too marvellous for us to understand ; but we bow down our heads and receive the blessed truth, because God has revealed it to us.

The Prophet Isaiah calls our Lord Jesus • Wonderful; 3 and His life

earth was woni Psalm xl. 6. 2 Rev. xv. 3.

* Isaiah, ix. 6.

derful indeed. Not that it looked so at the time in the eyes of men, for His lowliness veiled it. But He could not entirely be hidden. During His Ministry—that is, during the last three years of His earthly life, glimpses of glory broke out from time to time. He did great works, such as man alone could never have done. He worked miracles.

The Bible calls these marvellous deeds by several different names. Sometimes wonders, because they startled men, and astonished them 80 much ;sometimes signs, because they were tokens and pledges of God's presence; sometimes mighty works, because of God's great power and might put forth in them; sometimes miracles-a word which means nearly the same as wonders.?

What were the Jews to learn from the Gospel miracles ? Plainly this, that Jesus of Nazareth was a Messenger from Heaven. Four hundred years had passed away since Malachi, the last prophet, had spoken to them in the Name of the Lord. During that long period, no fresh message had come to them from God. How were they to know that the meek and lowly Jesus was bringing them one? By the wonderful works which He wrought. He appealed to these works Himself. He said, "The works that I do in My Father's Name, they bear witness of Me.' 3; Nicodemus learnt this, and came to our Lord Jesus Christ, saying, “Rabbi, we know that Thou art a Teacher come from God : for no man can do these miracles that Thou doest, except God be with Him. 4 And on the Day of Pentecost, St. Peter boldly declared Him to be a Man approved of God by miracles and wonders and signs.” St. Mark, ii. 12. ? Acts, ii. 22; Heb. ii. 4; St. Matt. xi. 20.

3 St. John, x. 25. · St. John, iii. 2. Acts, ii. 22.

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Not that miracles have any power to change the heart of man. On the contrary, we see that they only enraged the enemies of Christ. He raised Lazarus from the dead in the sight of a number of the Jews, and from that day forth the Chief Priests and Pharisees took counsel to put Him to death. But those who were waiting for the salvation of Israel saw in the miracles worked by Jesus of Nazareth a proof that the hand of God was with Him. They received Him as a prophet of God; they listened to His teaching, and so they were led on to find that He was indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.

What do we Christians learn from the Gospel miracles? We have no need of them as proofs that Jesus Christ came forth from od. We were taught this long ago; we know and are persuaded that He is the long-expected Hope of Israel, the promised Child of the Virgin, the Son of God, our

Saviour, our Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. But we learn from them the character of our Lord, and also His way of dealing with sinful men.

How different are His miracles from the miracles of the Law ! Moses stretched forth his hand, and terrible plagues came upon the Egyptians; Elijah spake, and fire came down from heaven to consume his enemies; but the mighty works which our Saviour wrought were works of pity and compassion. They shew the love and tenderness of His heart; they represent also to us, as in a picture, how He now supplies the wants of those who call

Him. In the days of His flesh, He healed the sick; now, 'He healeth those that are broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds. Then, He gave hearing to the deaf and speech to the dumb; now, He gives us power to hear His voice, and

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opens our lips that our mouth may shew forth His praise. Then, He gave sight to the blind; now, He opens the eyes of the spiritually blind, to see the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the Face of Jesus Christ. Then, He went about healing all that were oppressed with the devil; now, He delivers out of the snare of the devil them that were led captive at his will.

• He comes the prisoners to set free,

In Satan's bondage held;
The gates of brass before Him burst,

The iron fetters yield.'

Then, He raised the dead; now, He raises us from the death of sin to the life of righteousness.

Christians may learn very much about their Lord from His miracles ; and so they love to study them, and learn how gracious He is, and of great mercy unto all that call upon Him.

1.- THE WATER TURNED INTO WINE.

When the Lord Jesus was thirty years of age, He left His Mother's house in Nazareth, where He had spent His early years. He was baptized by St. John the Baptist, He fasted in the wilderness, He was tempted of the devil, and then He came forth in the power of the Spirit into Galilee. St. John Baptist bore witness that He was the Lamb of God; St. Andrew and St. Peter, St. Philip and Nathanael, became His disciples; and then, on the third day after the calling of Nathanael, He began His Ministry by

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