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The foregoing history may be improved

1. In a way of reproof

[There is not one of us who does not stand indebted to God for an infinite multitude of mercies—But in what manner have we requited him?—Perhaps "in the time of trouble we have visited him, and poured out a prayer when his chastening was upon us"g—But no sooner has his rod been removed, than, like metal from the furnace, we have returned to our former hardness—We have resembled the hypocritical Jews, and forgotten all the vows which we made in troubleh —Ah! what a contrast between us and this pious matron!— Let us be ashamed, and humble ourselves before God—Let us remember how awfully Hezekiah was punished for his ingratitude'—Let us instantly awake from our lethargy to the discharge of our duty—And " glorify Christ with our bodies and our spirits which are his"—]

2. In a way of consolation

[Whether we go up to God's house, or be confined on a bed of sickness, we may have access unto Jesus—He is with us at all times and in every place—And we may go to him with our petitions either for ourselves or others—What a rich source of consolation is this!—And have we no disorders, bodily or spiritual, which need his aid?—If our body be healthy, is not our soul languishing?—Or if we ourselves be lively, have we no friend or relative that is in a sickly condition?—Let us then apply to this almighty physician, and we shall find him as condescending and as gracious as ever—He calls himself by this endearing name, " The Lord that healeth thee"k—He will "send his word and heal us;" yea, he will strengthen us for the most active and difficult services—Let all of us then surround his throne, and cry with united voices, "Arise for our help, and redeem us for thy mercy's sake"i—]

e Isai. xxvi. 16. b Ps. lxxxviii. 34—37. • 2 Chron. xxxii. 25. * Exbd. xv. 26. i Ps. xliv. 26.


Mark i. 45. But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter.

THERE is certainly a great similarity between many of our Lord's miracles—

But there are in every one of them some circumstances that distinguish them from others—

And these open to us ,a wide field for appropriate and useful observations—

There are different accounts of lepers healed by the power of Jesus—

The text informs us of one whose manner of applying for relief, and of discovering his gratitude towards his benefactor, were very peculiar—

To elucidate the words before us we may enquire

I. What was " the matter which he so published and

blazed abroad?" A man came to our Lord to be cured of the leprosy [The leprosy was a disorder which none but God could cure8

The man who was infected with it believed our Lord's ability to heal him—

But he knew not the marvellous extent of his compassion— Hence he doubted his willingness to bestow so great a blessing— He submitted himself however to the will of thi3 divine physician—

And with deepest humility implored his sovereign helpb—J

Our Lord with infinite condescension granted his request

[He was not extreme to mark the weakness of the leper's faith—

But, "moved with compassion," gave him the desired relief—

As a prophet of God he could touch the leper without contracting any defilement—

He declared that the disease should vanish at his command—

And instantly, by a touch, imparted soundness to the disordered body—]

He however accompanied the mercy with a solemn charge . .

II. What was the injunction given him respecting it
Our Lord directed him to go to the |.ritst, and present

immediately the accustomed offerings to God

"2 Kings v. 7.

*> He came kneeling to him, Tailing on bis face, and beseeching him. Compare Mutt. viii. 2. Luke v. 12.

[The priests were appointed judges in all leprous cases—

They were authorized to pronounce a man clean or unclean, according to certain marks laid down in the law of Mosesc

When a man was acknowledged to be clean he was to present his offerings to Godd

This therefore our Lord enjoined the leprous man to do—

In doing it he would exact from the priest himself "a testimony" to the truth of the miracle that had been wrought—

And would give abundant evidence that the person who wrought it was not an enemy to the Mosaic law—

Yea, he would shew that the worker of this miracle was the Messiah himself—]

He charged him also not to divulge the matter to any one till he should have performed this service

[The injunction given by our Lord was as solemn and strict as possible"*—

Jesus desired to avoid all appearance of ostentation—

He wished also not to give umbrage to the state by increasing the number of his followers—.

Moreover he was solicitous to guard against the malice of the priests—

He well knew that they, from their enmity to him, might be induced to deny the cure—

And thus they would cast a reflection upon him, and deprive the man of the liberty to which he was now entitled—

Hence with such solemnity and authority did he enjoin the leper silence—]

This charge however the leper did not sufficiently regard III. What were the consequences of its being disobeyed

The man could not refrain from "publishing the matter" to all around him

[He felt in his body a consciousness of perfect health—

His aoul was inflamed with gratitude to his merciful benefactor— He never thought what reasons there might be for the prohibition—

The more he might suppose it to proceed from modesty the more would he be anxious to spread his fame—

To offer his appointed gift he went instantly with great gladness—

But he knew not how to check the ardour of his love and gratitude—

c Lev. xiii. I—46. d Lev. xiv. 2—32.

« 'E,M,ff/^«ir«,M,£v«{ ttira, gravitcr interminatus ei, ver. 43.

We mean not however to justify his disobedience—

The word of God utterly condemns every deviation from the divine willf

But the leper's disobedience most assuredly sprang from a good principle—

Nor can we doubt but that the indulgent Saviour would readily pardon it—]

Though evil consequences ensued, yet were they overruled for good

[Our Lord's fame spread with great rapidity through all the country—

Hence he was much incommoded by the multitudes who flocked around him—

Nor " could he any more openly enter into the city by reason of them"—

He was forced to seek for solitude and retirement "in desert places"—

But the multitudes who came were desirous "to hear" his word*—

And occasion was afforded by them for the working of many other miracles—

Thus great benefit accrued to the bodies, we trust also, to the souls, of many—]


1. To those who feel themselves infected with the leprosy of sin

[The corruption of our hearts is often set forth under this

figure— Indeed so fatally has it spread, that we may well apply to

ourselves that loathsome descriptioni*—

In reference to this very disorder we may well exclaim

with the prophet'—

Let not any then, who feel the infection, hope to heal


The disorder bids defiance to every hand but God's— Come then to Jesus, the almighty, the only physician— Come to him, like the leper, with the deepest humility, and


Nor doubt his willingness any more than his power to heal


Wherefore came he from heaven but to seek and save the

lost?— /

Wherefore was the fountain of his blood opened, but for sin,

and for uncleanness?k

r Deut. xxvii. 26. % Luke v. IS. » Isai. i. 5, 6.

'■ Isai. vi. 5. k z„fch. xiii. l;

Let the declaration he has made be most implicitly be* lievedi

However polluted we be he will condescend to touch us— And by his sovereign power will remove the guilt and pollution of our sins—]

2. To those who hope that they have been healed of their leprosy

[There is no injunction upon you to conceal this matter from the world—

You are rather commanded to mate it known to all around you—

Not that spiritual blessings should be a subject of ostentatious boasting— .

But it never can be wrong to comply with that exhortation of the Psalmist>"—

Or to perform that very duty, for the promoting of which the mercy was vouchsafed"—

Let every one then adopt the language of the blessed virgin0

But let there be also a conscientious regard to the commands of Jesut—

Whether we see the reasons of them or not, we must punctually observe them—

Even if silence be our duty, we should, however reluctantly obeyP— •

Thus will Christ eventually be magnified in our conduct—

And sinners will be most effectually encouraged to flock unto him—J

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Mark ii. 8—12. And immediately, when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins (he saith unto the sick of the palsy, J I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go Vol. III. LI

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