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live in the face of the church, and thee? Why doth he give thee time, make use of his ordinances, and yet and health, and strength, but to be as excusably barren of all the serve him? Why hast thou meat, fruits of holiness, as if they grew and drink, and clothes, but for his upon a common heath: it is strange service ? Hast thou anything which they should not perceive their own thou hast not received ? And if folly, and know that God reckons thou didst receive them, it is reasonotherwise, and according to the able thou shouldst bethink thee, ground he hath set them in, and from whom, and to what end and manuring he bestows on them, looks use, thou didst receive them ? Didst for some suitable fruit. Oh, what thou never cry to him for help in joy and glory were it to our God, to thy distress? and didst thou not have unobserved, obscure Christians then understand that it was thy part abounding in sweet spiritual fruits, to turn and serve him if he would loaded with fruit, and hanging down deliver thee? He hath done his the head, stooping the lower, still part, and spared thee yet longer, and the more humble for it, referring all tried thee another and another year ; to himself, living to him, doing all and yet dost thou not turn? You for him. Now, for this are requisite, know the parable of the unfruitful first, much prayer, for though he fig tree, Luke xiii. 6–9. When the speaks here as an ordinary master, Lord had said, Cut it down, why yet it is his secret influence does all, cumbereth it the ground ? he was “From me is thy fruit found," and entreated to try it one year longer, prayer draws down that : secondly, and then, if it proved not fruitful, much faith in Christ, living to him to cut it down. Christ himself there and drawing sap from him; such as makes the application twice over, do all in his strength, and are much “ Except ye repent, ye shall all likein application and attraction, shall wise perish,” ver. 3—5. How many be found the most abundant in all years hath God looked for the fruits choice of sweet fruits.—LEIGHTON. of love and holiness from thee, and
Lord, let it alone this year also, &c. hath found none! and yet he hath -It is the voice of every mercy thou spared thee. How many a time by dost possess. If thou couldst but thy wilful ignorance, and carelesshear and understand them, they all ness, and disobedience hast thou cry out unto thee, Turn. Why doth provoked justice to say, Cut him down, the earth bear thee, but to seek why cumbereth he the ground? and and serve the Lord ? Why doth it yet mercy hath prevailed, and paafford thee its fruit, but to serve tience hath forborne the killing blow him? Why doth the air afford thee to this day. If thou hadst the unbreath but to serve him? Why do derstanding of a man within thee, all the creatures serve thee with their thou wouldst know that all this labours and their lives, but that thou calleth thee to turn. Rom.ü. 3-6. mightest serve the Lord of them and 1-BAXTER.
11 | And, behold, there was HYMN.
a woman which had a spirit of The Lord of earth and sky,
infirmity eighteen years, and
in no wise lift up herself.
12 And when Jesus saw her,
he called her to him, and said Barren and wither'd trees
We cumber'd long the ground; unto her, Woman, thou art No fruit of holiness
loosed from thine infirmity. On our dead souls was found :
13 And he laid his hands on Yet doth he us in mercy spare Another and another year.
her : and immediately she was Wheu justice rais'd the sword made straight, and glorified To cut the fig-tree down,
14 And the ruler of the
synagogue answered with indig
nation, because that Jesus had *Jesus, thy speaking blood Prom God obtain'd the grace,
healed on the sabbath day, and Who, therefore, bath bestow'd said unto the people, There
On us a longer space :
are six days in which men And lo! we see another year.
ought to work : in them thereThen dig about our root,
fore come and be healed, and Break up our fallow ground;
d not on the sabbath day.
15 The Lord then answered So shall we all thy blessings share him, and said, Thou hypocrite, And fruit unto perfection bear.
• doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his
ass from the stall, and lead him Ø cc.
away to watering ?
16 And ought not this CHAP. XIII. 10-21.
woman, being a daughter of Christ healeth the crooked woman ; and Abraham, whom Satan hath sheweth the powerful working of the word bound, lo, these eighteen years, in the hearts of his chosen, by the parable be loosed from this bond on of the grain of mustard seed, and of
the sabbath day leaven.
17 And when he had said 10 And he was teaching in these things, all his adversaries one of the synagogues on the were ashamed: and all the sabbath.
people rejoiced for all the
glorious things that were done Eighteen years ; a long time to be by him.
under the constant and peculiar in: 18 Then said he, Unto fluence of the devil. What was the
The woman what is the kingdom of God effect of it? like? and whereunto shall I
bowed together that she could in no
case stand straight, or look toward resemble it?
heaven. 19 Itis like a grain of mustard Jesus saw her, 8.--Consider the seed, which a man took, and woman's cure. Jesus saw her. Not cast into his garden ; and it withstanding her infirmity was great, grew, and waxed a great tree; painful, and shameful, she took care
While and the fowls of the air lodged to attend the synagogue. in the branches of it.
she hoped for help from God, she saw
it was her duty to wait in the ap20 And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom Jesus saw her distress, and the desire
pointed way, in order to receive it. of God:
she had both to worship her Maker 21 It is like leaven, which a and to get her health restored,-and woman took and hid in three his eye affected his heart. He called "measures of meal, till the whole her to him. Her heart and her diswas leavened.
tress spoke loudly, though her lips
were silent; and as she was then call10.-Mark iii. 2. ch. vi. 7; and xiv, 3-escle Maison that she might receive help. 6 Mark xvl. 18. Acts ix. 17.-c Ex. xx. 9.-- Mat. xil. ing for help, Jesus calls her to himself
laid his hands on her. The hand of READER.—And behold, there was his holiness terrifies, and the hand of
woman which had a spirit of in his power expels, the demon. Ordifirmity eighteen years, 8c.-Consider nances, however excellent, will be of this woman's infirmity.-What was its no avail to a sinner, unless he appreorigin? Sin. Had this never en- hend Christ in them. Immediately tered into the world, there had not she was was made straight. This been either pain, distortion, or death.
cure was—a speedy one, it was done Who was the agent in it ? Satan ; in an instant ;-a perfect one, she was ver. 16. God has often permitted made completely whole ;--a public demons to act on and in the bodies of one, there were many to attest and men and women. What was the render it credible ;—a stable and pernature of this infirmity ? She was manent one, she was loosed, for ever bowed together, bent down to the loosed, from her infirmity. Her soul earth, a situation equally painful and partook of the good done to her body, humiliating; the violence of which she glorified God. As she knew beshe could not support, and the shameof fore that it was Satan who had bound which she could not conceal. What her, she knew that it was only God was the duration of this infirmity ? | who could loose her; and now, feeling
xix. xiii. iv. See Mat. xiii. 33.
that she is loosed, she gives God that stituted for the benefit of man ?-His honour which is due unto his name. adversaries were ashamed. The mask
And the ruler of the synagogue an- of their hypocrisy, the only covering swered with indignation, &c.—Consi- they had, is taken away; and now der the conduct of the ruler of the they are exposed to the just censure of synagogue on this occasion. He an- that multitude whom they deceived, swered with indignation. It would and from whom they expected conseem as if the demon who had left the tinual applause. The indignation and woman's body had got into his heart. uncharitable censure of this chief of It is not an unfrequent case to find a the synagogue not only turned to person filled with rage and madness, his own confusion, but were made inwhile beholding the effects of Christ's struments of the edification of the power upon others.
Perhaps, like multitude. They rejoiced at all the this ruler, he pretends zeal and con- glorious things which Jesus did. Thus, cern for the honour of religion. "These O Lord, the wrath of man shall praise preachings, prayer meetings, convic- thee, and the remainder thereof thou tions, conversions, &c., are not carried shall restrain !-A. CLARKE. on in his way, and therefore they
These considerations are applicable cannot be of God.” Let such take to the spiritual malady of our falcare lest, while denying the operation len nature, and to our spiritual cure of God's hand, they be given up to by the great physician of the soul. demonic influence. He endeavours It is like a grain of mustard seed, 8c. to prevent others from receiving the - This parable is an image of the prokind help of the blessed Jesus. Men gress of the gospel in the world; of of this character who have extensive the growth of grace in the soul; of influence do immense harm: tbey the increase of the church of often binder others from hearing that Christ, established on the lowliness word which is able to save their souls. of God manifest in the flesh. The But for this also they must stand be- Saviour's abasement is impressed on fore the judgment seat of Christ. all the transactions of his life, and on Reader, hast thou ever acted in this the hearts and lives of his followers. way?Jesus retorts his condemna- Let us cherish and cultivate this divine tion with peculiar force; ver. 15, 16. humility.
for God's glory, when it is only the work truth, abased in this world to be exings of thy malicious, unfeeling, and alted in the world to come. This is uncharitable heart. Wouldst thou not the joy of the saints, and their eternal even take thine ass to water on the rest; and they possess here below its Sabbath day? And wouldst thou first fruits in their heart. The lowlier deprive a daughter of Abraham (one in this world, the higher in heaven. of thy own nation and religion) of the Self abasement is our duty; it is with mercy and goodness of God upon the God to give us increase and elevation. Sabbath? Was not the Sabbath in- / What are often the first impressions
of grace, the first motions of faith in
HYMN. the soul, but a little spark kindling the flame of love ; a grain of mustard seed
Holy Spirit, from on high
Bend on us a pitying eye; filling the heart with its strength and
Animate the drooping heart, efficacy? Let us neglect nothing,
Bid the power of sin depart. despise nothing; the fruit must an
Light up every dark recess swer to the seed."-QUESNEL.
Of our hearts' ungodliness ; It is like leaven, which a woman took,
Shew usevery devious way
Where our steps have gone astray. 80.-Whatsoever we do, every exercise of mind, soul, or body, is offensive unto
l'each us with repentant grief
Humbly to implore relief; God unless leavened by faith and
Then the Saviour's blood reveal, charity. The union of God and man
All our deep disease to heal. in Jesus Christ; the word of evangeli
Other groundwork should we lay cal truth sent forth into the world ; Sweep those empty hopes away;
Make us feel that Christ alone the spirit of God renewing the sinner's
Can for human guilt atone. heart ;-may be compared to the effects of leaven; they are mysterious
May we daily grow in grace
And pursue the heavenly race, means, discovered by the wisdom of
Train'd in wisdom, led by love, God, for making man spiritual, raising Till we reach our rest above. him to the love of heavenly things,
BATHURST. and creating him anew in the image of God. May this divine leaven renew our hearts, and be within them
CCI. a holy principle, changing their earth ward tendency, and attracting
CHAP. XIII. 22-35. them unalterably to heavenly things. Grace penetrates the soul, elevates
Christ exhorteth to enter in at the strait and transforms it; changing the gate ; and reproveth Herod and Jerusalem. whole man into a new creature, the
22 ' And he went through the darkness of the mind into the light cities and villages, teaching, and of heaven, the concupiscence of the heart into holy affections, and the journeying toward Jerusalem.
23 Then said one unto him, corruption of the senses into a wise and sanctified restraint. Owhen Lord,' are there few that be shall we be thus, in all our faculties, saved : And he said unto filled with the light of God's glory, them, and with the power of his divinity! When shall the promised kingdom strait "gate : for'unany, I say
24 | Strive to enter in at the come, and the reign of God be complete in us !-QUESNEL.
unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able,
25 "When once the master of the house is risen up, and