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wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

Now unto thee, O Fatber, &c.
The Lord bless us, &c.

May 21, 1786.

SERMON

SERMON XVII.

MARK v. 41, 42.

And be took the damsel by the band, and said un

to ber, Talitba cumi ; wbich is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise! And straigbtway the damsel arose and walked; for sbe was of the age of twelve years.

And they were astonished witb a great astonisb

ment.

It has often been remarked, that the historians of our Lord's life show no disposition to set off their great Master by recounting all his mighty works, but merely to recite a sufficient number to satisfy those who perused cheir writings, of his miraculous power, as a proof of his mission from God; and thereby of his being the Messiah, the great prophet and messenger of God, whom they expected, and which he claimed to be. It is a singular example of their modesty

and

and reserve in this respect, and therefore cannot but much recommend their veracity and integrity to us, that they do not appear to have been in the least studious, to collect the cases even of his raising the dead to life, however they would tend above all others to aggrandize his character.

For, though Luke has told us of the widow of Nain's son restored to life as he was carrying to the grave, it is not recorded by any of the other evangelists. And Lazarus's case, though of such great notoriety, is mentioned only by St. John.

All the three former evangelists, however, conspire in relating the instance I have read to you, of the ruler of the synagogue's daughter ; and John, who had perused their accounts, though they were not privy to each others' writing, most probably omitted it for that reason.

I propose to go over the circumstances of the narrative, and to lay before you some of those useful reflections which it cannot fail of suggesting to us.

After our Lord had restored the two unhappy men, in the country of the Gadarenes, that were disordered in their minds, to the use

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their reason; who, by the ignorance and superstition of the times, were supposed to be demoniacs, possessed with demons, our evangelist informs us, (ver. 21.)

“ When Jesus was passed over again by the ship unto the other side, much people gathered unto him : and he was nigh unto the sea.”

As soon as he was landed, many, who had probably waited for him, and had seen him go over the lake, with others out of the neighbouring towns, immediately surrounded him ; to whom he discoursed of the things of God, and the way to obtain his favour and eternal life.

Whilst he was thus engaged, (ver. 22.)'" Behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name: and when he saw him, he fell at his feet, and besought him greatly, saying ; My little daughter liech at the point of death : I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.”

The rulers of their synagogues were the persons who directed and presided over the worship of Almighty God, in reading and ex. pounding the scriptures, and leading their de

votions

j

votions; for which office none but persons of respectable characters would be chosen.

This man approaches our Lord with great respect and reverence, and most earnestly entreats him to exert his power, which he had received from God, in saving the life of a beloved child.

In our evangelist it is said," he fell at Jesus's feet,” bowed prostrate before him,—which was then and still is, in those parts,

the posture of respect paid to superiors.

In the parallel place, in Matthew, a word is used of the same signification with bowing, which is there translated “ he worshiped him.” But it would be better to render the word always, bowed down, did homage, or the like, and not worship, except when applied to Almighty God; because ordinary readers, for want of better knowledge and instruction, will immediately conclude, for instance, from its being related that this ruler of the synagogue worshiped our Lord, that he looked upon him as God; whereas he took him to be nothing more than a prophet extraordinarily favoured by him. He had, undoubtedly, heard of the holy

character

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