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in propagating the Gospel, tho they had their Commission from Heaven for so doing: and therefore we mould not faint or be dismay'd at these things, whenfoever we see or hear of them.
3. We are taught from hence, that Patience and Perseverance in times of Trouble and persecution is wholly the Gift of God, and consequently to him alone we are to address for it ; for all the Strength by which we stand, is not ours, but his, and is to be sought from him. For this cause we find St. Paul praying here for himself and others; and if any Man lack Wisdom, or Grace to persevere, let him ask it of God, who is willing to give liberally to all Men, and upbraideth not.
4. We learn hence, that all our Addresses to this purpofe must be made with all Humility and Reverence both of Body and Mind : for St. Paul here bow'd his Knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ in praying for it, yea, the Example of our Saviour, who kneeld down and pray'd, the Command of the Apostle requiring every Knee to bow to him, and the Practice of Christians in ali Ages, shews this to be the proper Posture of Devotion. We find no In. stance in Sacred History of any holy Man that ever fate at his Prayers : and this may teach us to avoid that irreverent and indevout Practice, which by our unhappy Divisions hath lately crept in among us; and to observe the Pfalmift's Call, to come and worship, and fall down and kneel before the Lord our Maker.
5. We are directed here in the Matter, as well as the Manner of our Prayers, and taught for what as well as how to ask; and that is, for spiritual Strength to arm us against the Power of Temptation, and for Grace to help in time of need. This the Apostle' thought necessary to do in the behalf of these Ephesians 3 and let us make this the Platform of our Devotion both for our selves and others.
Lastly, From the Doxology in the Close, let us learn to all our Prayers to add Praises and Thanksgivings unto God; adoring his Power, extolling his Goodness, admiring his Wildam, submitting to his Will, and giving him the Glo. ry of all: so shall we engage the Divine Providence to take care of us, and keep us blameless to the Coming of the Lord Jesus. Amen.
The GOSPEL for the Sixteenth Sunday after
St. Luke vii. 11-17. And it came to pass the day after, that Jesus went
into a City callid Nain, and many of his Disciples went with him, and much People : and when he came nigh unto the City, behold there was a dead Man carry'd out, &c.
HIS Gospel for the Day gives us a Relation of a
certain Miracle wrought by our Saviour upon a
dead Man, whom he rais’d to Life again, in the view of many Witnesses. Where the Evangelist, in relating of it, takes notice,
First, Of the Circunstance of Time when it was done, in these words, It came to pass the day after; that is, the day after his healing the Centurion's Servant, which was done the day before, as the foregoing part of the Chapter declares : where we read of a Centurion or Officer of the Roman Band, that had a Servant whom he dearly loy'd who being very sick and ready to die, when he heard of Jesas, came himself, as St, Matthew relates it, or as St. Luke here, sent some of the Elders of the Jews, befeeching him to come and heal his Servant : which is in effect all one, for what a Man does by another, is reckon'd as done by himself. These besought him instantly, saying, he was worthy for whom he should do this, for the good Offices he had done for their Church and Nation. Jesus going to him, was met by the way with this Message ; Lord, trouble not thy self, for I am not worthy that thou Mouldit enter under my Roof, but say the word only, and thy Servant hall be beald: believing him to have the same power over Diseases, that he had over his Soldiers, which was only to
give the Word of Command, and it would be presently done. Christ perceiving his Faith, marvelld and commended it, saying, He had not found so great Faith, no not in Ifrael. Whereupon they that were sent, returning to the House, found the Servant whole that had been fick. And then follow these words, And it came to pass the day after, that Jesus went into a City callid Nain. Which leads us,
Secondly, From the Circumstance of Time to that of Place, where this Miracle of raising the dead Man was perform'd: it was in the City of Nain, a City in Galilee famous for little else than the Presence of our Saviour, and this Miracle there wrought by him ; and 'twas enough to make any Place remarkable in those days, where Christ or his Apostles did any of their wonderful Works. When Christ went to this City, 'tis said that many of his Disciples went with him, and much People. His Disciples attended him of course, and the Fame of his great Works drew many more after him, who were all Spectators and Eye-witnesses of his Miracles: for they were not done in a corner, where Men may be easily impos'd upon, but in the face of the Sun, and in the sight of great Multitudes. Accordingly this was done here before much People, to fatisfy them in the Truth of the Fact, and to confirm their Faith in him. From the Place and Perfons present, pass we,
Thirdly, To the Occasion or Motive of Christ's working this Miracle ; and that was, his seeing some carrying a dead Man to his Grave, the Mother and others following the Corps with Weeping and fad Lanientation. This is held forth in the next words; Nom when he came nigh to the Gate of the City, behold there was a dead Man carry'd out, the only Son of his Mother, and he was a Widow; and much People of the City was with her. This dead Man was carry'd out of the City, according to the Custom of those days, which was to carry and bury dead Corps out of the City, to preserve the Inhabitants from the noisom Air and Scent of dead Carcases.
The dead Person that was carry'd out, was the only Son of his Mother; which you know is a matter of great Grief and Sorrow, especially to the tender Bowels of a Mother. The Loss of a Child, even where there are more left, is commonly attended with Tears and great Lamentation :
Nature it self suggests this to Parents, to be Ten Gibly touch'd and affected with the Death of a Child, having thereby lost a Limb or Part of themselves ; but the Loss of an only Child is far more grievous and afflicting, being in effect the Loss of all.
Moreover, to enhance the Sorrow, 'tis added, And me was a Widow. It seems she had lost her Husband before, and that was follow'd here with the Loss of her only Son; which was enough to overwhelm her with Grief, and to drown her in Tears of Sorrow.
Again, 'tis said, And much People of the City was with her; partly to comfort her in her great Affliction, which is an Office of great Charity, to relieve the Spirits of the Afflicted under their deep Mourning and Sadness, and to bear off some of the Burden, by lamenting and mourning with them; and partly likewise to attend the Funeral, and to accompany the deceas'd Party to the Grave, his Bed of Rest; which is an Act of Piety and great Civility, generally practis'd in all civiliz'd Places and Countries; which is done partly out of respect to the Dead, and partly as a Warning and Example to the Living, to let them know that they must all shortly follow him to the same place. But to proceed,
When our Lord sam her in so much Sorrow and Sadness, bemoaning her defolate and disconsolate Condition, bedewing her face with Tears, and filling the Air with Sighs and Outcries for the loss of her dear and only Child; 'tis said, he had compassion on her. His Bowels yearn'd towards her, which shew'd it felf in pitying her fad and mournful State, and speaking kindly and comfortably to her. Where his Carriage towards her teaches us to have compassion one of another in like cases, to sympathize in each others Af flictions, and to administer Comfort and Cordials suitable to all Mens Distresses. This we find our Saviour did on all occafions: He wept over Jerusalem, when he saw them obftinately refusing all the offers of their Peace and Welfare. He wept at the beholding the extreme Grief and Tears of Mary and Martha, for the Death of their Brother Lazarus. And here he shew'd great Pity and Conipassion at the distressed Condition of this afflicted Widow, Št. Paul wills us to weep with them that meep, as well as to rejoice with them that rejoice, and to bear a fhare, as in the Joys, fo in the Sorrows of one another. Rom. 12.
But our Saviour's Compaffion did not vent it felf in Tears only, but discover'd it self in kind Words, and kinder Actions: He said unto her, weep not; that is, cease lamenting the Loss of thy Son, and be of good cheer: He that hath taken him from thee, is able to restore him, or give thee another. Therefore wipe away thy Tears, and
ke comfort; immoderate Grief may hurt thy self, but cannot recal thy Son : if thou put thy Faith and Trust in God, he will either repair thy Loss in the same kind, or recompense it with greater Gain. From such comfortable Speeches, he proceeded to more cheering and reviving Aco tions: which will lead us,
Fourthly, To the Miracle it self, and the Manner of his performing it; which, as the next words declare, was on this wife : As they were carrying this dead Man out of the City to the place of his Burial, our Saviour being then nigh to the Gate of the City, came to them, and touch'd the Bier; the Bearers the mean time standing still
. And while his Hand was on the Bier, he utter'd these words, saying, Toung Man, I say unto thee, Arise. Upon which, he that was dead immediately sate up, and began to speak; and he deliver'd him to his mother. Where we may observe,
Ift, The Manner or Means used in effetting this Miracle. It was by a Touch of the Bier, and a Word of his Mouth; Means no way proportion’d to such an End, if they were not feconded by a Divine Power, that is able to do all things. 'Tis all one to Omnipotence, to work by any or no means; all things, whether living or dead, upon or un der the Earth, readily obey his Call, and come forth at his Word of Command: if he say the Word, the Effect must and will come to pass, for nothing can hinder the Influence of his Power, or resist his Will.
2dly, We may observe here the Certainty of this Miracle. That the dead Man came to Life again, was evident by the vital Actions perform'd by him, for he sate up, and began to speak; things out of the power of a dead Carcase: and all this in the light of a great Multitude, who were then doing the last Office of carrying and waiting on him to his Grave.
3dly, We may observe the Kindness of our Saviour to the mournful Mother, in these words; And be deliver'd him to his Mother. With what Joy the receiv'd him at hiş hands, is a matter better to be imagin’d than exprefs'd :