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thy way into thine house. And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that thru were ail amazed, and glorified God, saying; We never saw it on this fashion.

WE cannot wonder that such multitudes attended the ministry of our Lord—

Or that his occasional retirements from labour were so often interrupted—

But it is indeed astonishing that so many should continue hostile to so benevolent a person—

And that he should persist in doing good, when his words and actions were so constantly jxrrverted, and made grounds of accusation against him—

Having retired to an house in Capernaum, he was soon encompassed with a crowd—

Amongst theni were many Scribes and Pharisees who came only to cavii1

Our Lord, however, neither intimidated nor incensed, proceeded in his work—

And took 'occasion even from their cavils to display more eminently hjs power and gloryBeing accused of blasphemy, he confirmed his word by his works—

And multiplied his mercies to some as the means of convincing others—

The particular circumstances referred to in the text lead us to consider I. The authority he exercised

Whatever miracles our Lord performed, he wrought them by his own power—

A man was brought to him to be healed of the palsy [So afflicted was the man, that he was deprived of all use of his limbs—

His friends, who bore him on a bed, or couch, could not get access to Jesusb

They would not however relax their endeavours to obtain a eurc—

They went by another way to the top of the house, and broke open the lattice—

« Luke v. 17. b Ver. 3,4.

And then let the man down into the midst of the room where Jesus was«

Nor did Jesus take offence at his intrusion, as though he were an unwelcome guest— He, on the contrary, beheld their solicitude with approbation—

And richly recompensed the faith which had urged them to such benevolent exertions—

We read not indeed of any particular request made by the man or his friends—

But the very, sight of such misery was sufficient to call forth our Lord's compassion—]

Jesus, healed not his disorder, but authoritatively forgave his sin—

[All that the man thought of was, a restoration to bodily health—

But the divine physician in an instant healed his soul

The disorder had probably been sent by God as a punishment for sin—

And Jesus removed his sin as incomparably the greater evil—

Yea, he spoke to the man in the most affectionate and condescending terms—

And gave him a comfortable assurance that his iniquities were forgiven—

How must the helpless dying man rejoice in such tidings.^—

Surely, after this, he would scarcely wish to have his life prolonged—

At least, he would desire it only that he might glorify his Lord and Saviour—]

But this exercise of divine authority excited the indig-. nation of the Pharisees

[It is possible that they might manifest in their countenances the reasonings of their hearts—

But Jesus needed not any external proof of their thoughts—

e Their houses were scarcely ever above one or two stories high. Their roofs were flat, and guarded on every side with a battlement or balustrade, Deut. xxii. 8.; thither the inhabitants used to retire for exercise, 2 Sam. xi. 2.; for conversation, Matt. x. 27.; for meditation and prayer, Acts x. 9. There were two ways of access to the top; one from the inside, by a lattice or trap-door, 2 Kings i. 2. the other by steps on the outside, Mark xiii. 15. Having easily ascended to the top, they forced open (e'|■{ t/'gavr«s, ver. 4.) the lattice which was fastened within, and let down the man through the tiling (Luke v. 19.) with which the roof was paved on all sides of the lattice. Some explain the matter somewhat differently. See Doddridge, sect. 45. note (e.)

He "knew in his spirit" every thing that passed within their minds—

They inwardly condemned him as guilty of " blasphemy"—

Nor was their reasoning defective, if the application of it had been just— Certainly none but God has any authority to forgive sin—

And any mere creature that should assume it, Would be a blasphemer—

But their objection, in this instance, was altogether unfounded—]

Jesus, having claimed the power of forgiving sin, immediately stated II. His vindication of it

Our Lord was ever willing to satisfy those who desired information—

And. by multiplied proofs, to leave determined infidels without excuse—

He now stated a criterion whereby they might judge of the propriety of his claim

[When Jehovah's Deity was degraded, his servant Elijah proposed a mean of determining the controversy between him and Baald

Thus our Lord condescended to submit his pretensions to a trial—

He appealed to all whether the healing of the paralytic would not be an evidence of divine power?—

And whether he, who by his own authority could restore roan to health, were not equally able to forgive his sin?—

This was as just a criterion as could possibly be proposed—

If Jesus were not God, he could never by his own power heal the man—

Nor, if he were a blasphemer, would God work such a stupendous miracle to confirm his blasphemies—

Thus his claims to divine authority were brought to the test—

And every person present was made a competent judge of their truth or falshood—]

According to that criterion, he immediately vindicated his divine authority

[He commanded the man to arise, and take up his couch, and go home—

Instantly he, who before could not help himself, was restored to health— ,

* 1 Kings xviii. 21—24.

And, in the presented of affl, Went forth with his couch upon his shoulders—

Thus were the enemies of Jesui* effectually put to silence— Yet none understood the full extent of the conclusion to be drawn from the miracle—

They still viewed Christ only as a "man" acting by a delegated authority*—

Whereas they should have acknowledged him to have been truly God-~

They all however " glorified God" for the marvellous displays of his power—

And confessed that they had never before seen such stupendous works—]

Infer

1. Jesus is as able, and as willing now to forgive sins, as ever he was

[When he sojourned on earth as a poor man, he had power to forgive sin—

And often exercised that power unsolicited, uncontrolled— He even subjected himself to the charge of blasphemy rather than he would conceal his right—■

Has he then less power or compassion now that he is enthroned in glory?—

Or, now that he is exalted on purpose to exercise that power/ will he neglect to exert it?—

Will he who bestowed mercy unasked, cast out our petitions?—

Let us then present ourselves before him. with all our miseries and wants— Let us try, by all possible means', to get access to him— Let us break through every obstacle that would defeat our endeavours—

And let us approach him with an assurance of his power and willingness to save-^

Sooner shall heaven and earth fail, than he reject one such a believing suppliant*—]

2. We have reason to be thankful for any affliction that brings us to him

[If the paralytic had never been disordered he had never been brought to JesusHad he never come to Jesus his sins had never been forgiven—

Would he not then rejoice to this hour that God had sent him that affliction?— Would he not number that amongst his richest mercies?-—

• Matt. H. 8. 'Acts v. 31. t Matt. xxi. 22.

Thus many of us would never have thought of Jesus if we had not known trouble—

But through temporal afflictions we were brought to the enjoyment of spiritual blessings—

Let those then, who have experienced this, give thanks to Godb

And let those, that are now in trouble, seek chiefly the remission of their sins'—

3. We have all possible encouragement to intercede for ungodly friends

[Many of us, alas! have friends, whose souls are dead in trespasses and sins—

Their faculties are altogether destitute of spiritual motion or sensation—

But we may bring them by faith into the presence of the compassionate Jesus—

He will be pleased, rather than offended, with our officious intrusion—

Nor shall our labours of love be without many good effectsLittle do we think how many thousands have been converted in answer to the intreaties of God's praying people—

And who can tell but that God may fulfil to us that promise?k

Who can tell but that we may see our friends healed of their sins, and triumphing in their blessed Saviour?—

We are sure, at least, that our "prayers shall return into our own bosom"—

Let us then improve our knowledge of the Redeemer's grace—

And exert ourselves, that all around us may participate his saving benefits—]

b Ps. cxix. 71, 75. 'Ps. xxv. 18. k James v. 15.

CCLXXXVII. THE MAN HEALED AT THE POOL OF BETHESDA.

John v. 14. Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made -whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.

MOST men will make good resolutions in a season of affliction—But few carry them into execution when they have obtained deliverance—They, however, to whom

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