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thee to effect ; yet must that be believed, else there is no capacity of so great a mercy. As love, so faith is stronger than death, making those bonds no other than, as Samson did his withes, like threads of tow. How much natural impossibility is there in the return of these bodies from the dust of their earth, into which, through many degrees of corruption, they are at the last mouldered ? Fear not, O my soul, believe only: it inust, it shall be done.
The sum of Jairus's first suit was for the health, not for the resuscitation of his daughter : now that she was dead, he would, if he durst, have been glad to have asked her life. And now, behold, our Saviour bids him expect both her life and her health; “Thy daughter shall be made whole;" alive for her death, whole from her disease.
Thou didst not, O Jairus, thou daredst 'not ask so much as thou receivedst. How glad wouldst thou have been, since this last news, to have had thy daughter alive, though weak and sickly! now thou shalt receive her, not living only, but sound and vigorous. Thou dost not, O Saviour, measure thy gifts by our petitions, but by our wants and thine own mercies.
This work might have been as easily done by an absent command ; the power of Christ was there while himself was away: but he will go personally to the place, that he might be confessed the author of so great a miracle. O Saviour, thou lovest to go to the house of mourning : thy chief pleasure is the comfort of the afflicted. What a confusion there is in worldly sorrow! The mother shrieks, the servants cry out, the people make lamentation, the minstrels howl and strike dolefully, so as the ear might question whether the ditty or the instrument were more beavy. If ever expressions of sorrow sound well, it is when death leads the quire. Soon doth our Saviour charm this noise, and turns these unseasonable mourners, whether formal or serious, out of doors : Dot that he dislikes music, whether to condole or comfort; but that he had life in his eye, and would have them know, that he held these funeral ceremonies to be too early and long before their time. “Give place, for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth.” Had she been dead, she had but slept; now she was not dead, but asleep, because the meant this nap of death should be so short, and her awakening so speedy. Death and sleep are alike to him, who can cast whom he will
into the sleep of death, and awake when and whom he pleaseth, out of that deadly sleep.
Before, the people and domestics of Jairus held Jesus for a prophet ; now they took him for a dreamer. “Not dead, but asleep!” They that came to mourn cannot now forbear to laugh. Have we piped at so many funerals, and seen and lamented so many corpses, and cannot we distinguish betwixt sleep and death? the eyes are set, the breath is gone, the limbs are stiff and cold. Who ever died, if she do but sleep? How easily may our reason or sense befool us in divine matters! Those that are competent judges, in natural things, are ready to laugh God to scorn when he speaks beyond their compass, and are by him justly laughed to scorn for their upbelief. Vain and faithless men! as if that unlimited power of the Almighty could not make good his own word, and turn either sleep into death, or death into sleep, at pleasure. Ere many minutes, they shall be ashamed of their error and incredulity.
There were witnesses enough of her death, there shall not be many of her restoring. Three choice disciples, and the two parents, are only admitted to the view and testimony of this miraculous work. The eyes of those incredulous scotfers, were not worthy of this honour. Our infidelity makes us incapable of the secret favours, and the highest counsels of the Almighty
What did these scorners think and say, when they saw him putting the minstrels and people out of doors ? Doubtless the maid is but asleep; the man fears lest the noise shall awake her; we must speak and tread softly, that we disquiet her not : what will he and his disciples do the while? is it not to be feared, they will startle her out of her rest? Those that are shut out from the participation of God's counsels, think all his words and projects no better than foolishness. But art thou, O Saviour, ever the more discouraged by the derision and censure of these scornful unbelievers ? because fools jeer thee, dost thou forbear thy work? Surely I do not perceive that thou heedest them, save for contempt; or carest more for their words than their silence. It is enough that thine act shall soon honour thee, and convince them. “He took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise; and her spirit came again, and she arose straightway.” How could that touch, that call, be other than effectual ?
He, who made that hand, touched it; and he, who shall once say, “Arise, ye dead,” said now, “Maid, arise.” Death cannot but obey him who is the Lord of life. The soul is ever equally in his hand who is the God of spirits ; it cannot but go and come at his command. When he When he says, “Maid, arise,
" the now dissolved spirit knows his office, his place, and instantly re-assumes that room which, by his appointment, it bad left.
O Saviour, if thou do but bid my soul to arise from the death of sin, it cannot lie still; if thou bid my body to arise from the grave, my soul cannot but glance down from her heaven, and animate it. In vain shall my sin, or my grave, offer to withhold me from thee.
The maid revives ; not now to languish for a time upon her sick-bed, and by some faint degrees to gather an insensible strength; but at once she rises from her death, and from her couch ; at once she puts off her fever with her dissolution; she finds her life and her feet at once; at once she finds her feet and her stomach : “He commanded to give her meat.” Omnipotency doth not use to go the pace of nature. All God's immediate works are, like himself, perfect. He, that raised her supernaturally, could have so fed her. It was never the purpose of his power, to put ordinary means out of office.
CONTEMPLATION IX. The Motion of the two fiery Disciples repelled. The time drew on wherein Jesus must be received up; he must take death in his way; Calvary is in his passage to mount. Olivet: he must be lifted up to the cross, thence to climb into his heaven. Yet this comes not into mention, as if all the thought of death were swallowed up in this victory over death. Neither, O Saviour, is it otherways with us, the weak members of thy mystical body: we must die, we shall be glorified. What if death stand before us? we look beyond him, at that transcendant glory. How should we be dismayed with that pain which is attended with a blessed iinmortality ?
The strongest receipt against death is the happy estate that follows it; next to that, is the fore-expectation of it, and
resolution against it. “He stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem :” Jerusalem, the nest of his enemies, the amphitheatre of his conflicts, the fatal place of his death. Well did he know the plots and ambushes that were there laid for him, and the bloody issue of those designs: yet he will go, and goes resolved for the worst. It is a sure and wise way to send our thoughts before us, to grapple with those evils which we know must be encountered: the enemy is half overcome that is well prepared for. The strongest mischief may be outfaced with a seasonable fore-resolution. There can be no greater disadvantage, than the suddenness of a surprisal. O God, what I have not the power to avoid, let me have the wisdom to expect.
The way froin Galilee to Judea lay through the region of Samaria, if not the city. Christ, now towards the end of his preaching, could not but be attended with a inultitude of followers: it was necessary there should be purveyors and harbingers, to procure lodgings and provisions for so large a troop. Some of his own retinue are addressed to this service; they seek not for palaces and delicates, but for house-room and victuals. It was he whose the earth was, and the fulness thereof; whose the heavens are, and the mansions therein; yet he, who could have commanded angels, sues to Samaritans; he, that filled and comprehended heaven, sends for shelter in a Samaritan cottage. It was thy choice, O Saviour, to take upon thee in the shape, not of a prince, but of a servant. How can we either neglect means, or despise homeliness, when thou, the God of all the world, wouldst stoop to the suit of so poor a provision?
We know well on what terms the Samaritans stood with the Jews ; so much more hostile, as they did more symbolize in matters of religion: no nations were mutually so hateful to each other. A Samaritan's bread was no better than swine's flesh: their very fire and water was not more grudged than infectious : the looking towards Jerusalem was here cause enough of repulse. No entity is so desperate as that which arises from matter of religion. Agreement in some points, when there are differences in the main, doth but advance hatred the more.
It is not more strange to hear the Son of God sue for a lodging, than to hear himn repelled. Upon so churlish a denial, the two angry disciples return to their Master on a fiery errand, “ Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven and consuine them, as Elias did?”
The sons of thunder would be lightning strait; their zeal, whether as kinsmen or disciples, could not brook so harsh a refusal. As they were naturally more hot than their fellows, so now they thought their piety bade them be impatient.
Yet they dare not but begin with leave; “ Master, wilt thout His will must lead theirs; their choler cannot drive their wills before his : all their motion is from him only. True disciples are like those artificial engines, which go no otherways than they are set; or like little children, that speak nothing but what they are taught. O Saviour, if we have wills of our own, we are not thine: do thou set me as thou wouldst have me go; do thou teach me wbat thou wouldst have me say or do.
A mannerly preface leads in a faulty suit : “ Master, wilt thou that we coinmand fire to come down from heaven, and consume them?” faulty, both in presumption, and in desire of private revenge. I do not hear them say, Master, will it please thee, who art the sole Lord of the heavens and the elements, to command fire from beaven upon these men? but, “ Wilt thou that we command?” As if, because they had power given them over diseases and unclean spirits, therefore heaven and earth were in their managing. How casily might they be mistaken! their large commission had the just Jimits. Subjects, that have munificent grants from their princes, can challenge nothing beyond the words of their patent. And if the fetching down fire from heaven were less than the dispossessing of devils, since the devil shall enable the beast to do this much, yet how possible is it to do the greater, and stick at the less, where both depend upon a delegated power! The magicians of Egypt could bring forth frogs and blood; they could not bring lice. Ordinary corruption can do that which they could not.
It is the fashion of our bold nature, upon an inch given to challenge an ell; and where we find ourselves graced with some abilities, to flatter ourselves with the faculty of more,
I grant, faith hath done as great things as ever presumption undertook; but there is great difference in the enterprises of both. The one hath a warrant, either by instinct or express command; the other none at all. Indeed, had these two disciples either meant, or said, Master, if it be thy pleasure to