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well if our lives, as christians, corresponded to our higher hopes and the divine goodness
Burying in churches, which, especially in great and populous towns, is unwholesome, and often pernicious, began first upon christians building places for divine worship upon the spot of ground where the martyrs had been buried or slain, in honour of their memories ; when happy were they who could be interred near them ; which honour, in no long time, they carried to such a length, as to worship and pray to these dead christians; and this idolatrous custom is still kept up in the Greek and Roman churches : a warning to all other christians to take heed how they recede from the divine command, of worshiping and praying to God only
But to return to the history. (Ver. 13.) “And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her ; Weep not.
He was moved with pity at the mournful sight, and went up to her and comforted her ; desiring her not to be overmuch grieved.
Great would be her astonishment at the manner of such a stranger's address; his kindness, the dignity and seriousness with
which he spoke. But still greater would be the amazement of all, at what followed.
(Ver. 14.) “And he came and touched the bier, and they that bare him stood still ; and he said, Young man, I say unto thee, arise ! And he that had been dead sat up, and began to speak.”
What a power and authority is this, to command the dead, and they obey! St. Paul says, (Rom. iv. 17.) “It is God who quickeneth,” maketh alive the dead. It can be effected by no less power than that which first
them being And this the great Creator had now communicated to the blessed Jesus ; by which also, at the last great day, he will be impowered to call all the innumerable dead to life, as he now did this young man.
It is said, “ He that had been dead sat up, and began to speak.”
This was undoubted assurance of life being restored.
The narrative concludes :
How striking is our Lord's modesty and humility upon this occasion! No show or ostentation : but he restores the young man in perfect health to his mother, therein intimatVOL. II.
ing the duty he owed to her for the tender love she had shown for him; and would
probably remind them, that it was God whom they were to thank, who had made himself the instrument of his goodness to them. For he never assumed any thing to himself. And we cannot doubt but that he always made some seasonable remark, and gave brief useful admonitions, on such awful occasions, when more likely to sink into the minds of the hearers, though the sacred historians wisely omitted such things as were not necessary, and which their readers would easily suppose for themselves.
The evangelist concludes with telling us, what was the reflection which was made by the
spectators of what had passed, which our Lord had probably suggested to them;
(Ver. 16.) “And there came a fear on all : and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us ; and that God hath visited his people.” i. e. They were filled with awe and reverence of the power of God, and celebrated and praised his goodness, who had condescended to send among them such an extraordinary prophet as this testified Jesus to be. You cannot but observe here, by the way,
that St. Luke himself informs us how we are to understand that language of the scriptures used here, and so frequently found in the prophet Isaiah, of God's coming to men at the first publishing of the gospel by Christ, which some have heedlessly mistaken as if Christ was the great God himself; whereas our evangelist expressly teaches, that God's vi. siting his people at that time did not imply his coming to them himself in person, but his coming to them by Christ, his great prophet and messenger to them.
We must now turn ourselves to make some remarks. And,
I. We find from several passages in the gospel history, that our Lord raised more persons to life after they were dead than the evangelists have recounted.
Matthew and Mark content themselves with relating the history of Jairus's daughter being recalled to life ; Luke oinits this, but relates. this account of the widow of Nain's son. And John mentions only the restoration of Lazarus to life after he had been four days dead.
This shows that they did not study to set off their divine Master, or to make the most:
of his great actions; and that they had no views, but to deliver such a number of well authenticated miracles, as might be sufficient for the confirmation of that excellent doctrine that Jesus taught, and that all men might know that the Father had sent him.
In general, our Lord did not choose the persons whom he miraculously healed, for this would not have had a good appearance, and might have given room for cavil and suspicion of some secret combination, and so have made them less regarded. Therefore he commonly took such objects as were presented to him. But here he went out of his wonted course to do a kind action unasked, moved with pity for a most afflicted woman : yet not unmindful therein of the great errand for which he had his extraordinary powers bestowed, to exhibit to the multitude a proof of these, that they might fear God and believe in him, his messenger, and receive and follow the holy lessons he taught them from him.
For this was his constant aim; that those miraculous beneficent acts, which he wrought in relieving men's deplorable bodily infirmities, should promote the heavenly Father's design of saving mankind, by giving credit to that