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pain and grief, even to those who with all their hearts serve God. It is well to know this. It is well to understand that these bad thoughts come not from ourselves, but from Satan, and therefore are not our sin, but his. They are those "fiery darts of the wicked ” (Eph. vi. 16.) against which, St. Paul tells us we should lift up “the shield of faith,” * which is able to quench them, that is, to put them out altogether. Such wicked thoughts darting into a mind that hates them, are not sin : they are from the devil himself, and Christ has conquered him; he shall “ do us no hurt.” It is only when we make wicked thoughts welcome, and keep them in our minds, till they become our own thoughts, that they are sin. Then indeed, like a fiery dart, which is not quenched, but on the contrary, is laid among fuel, one wicked thought in this way received and cherished will set fire to the whole soul, and cause a wicked life.
Prayer. O God, my Saviour, stand thou by me, that the Evil One may have no power to hurt me. Give me grace to put on the whole armour of God, that in the time of temptation I may be able to resist the tempter. Guard me from evil thoughts, help me to throw them from me, that they may not become my sin through my yielding to them. Make me afraid of the beginnings of wickedness, and keep me ever mindful, that to give way in the least to the temptations of sin is to invite the devil to take possession of my heart.
Holy God, thou knowest how often I have done this. It is by thy goodness and mercy only that I am still able to struggle against the power of the Evil One ; leave, oh leave me not alone, but still support and comfort me, for the sake of thy dear Son, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.
* By " the shield of faith” is clearly meant our belief in God's power to help and save us.-On this subject, see note in Olshausen on the Gospels, Vol. I.,
MATT. VIII. 14-17.
MARK 1. 29–34.
LUKE IV. 38.
In, or near the city of Capernaum, dwelt two of the disciples whom the Lord Jesus had called from their fisher's boat to be with him wherever He went. Simon, to whom He had given the name of Peter, or the Rock, and Andrew his brother. They lived together, and with them lived the mother of Simon Peter's wife. At this time she was taken ill of a fever, and it is written, that one day when the service of the synagogue was over, Jesus entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. But Simon's wife's mother lay sick of a great fever, and anon they tell him of her, and besought him for her. And He came and stood over her, and rebuked the fever, and immediately the fever left her, and He took her by the hand and lifted her up, and she arose and ministered unto them.
In these two verses is put together all that the three Evangelists, St. Matthew, St. Mark and St. Luke, have written of this kind act of power, done by our Lord in the house of his two apostles, Peter and Andrew. He found the family in deep distress ; He brought back in a moment gladness and peace. He rebuked the fever, and as the servant obeys the commands of his master, so did the fever obey His voice, and immediately it was gone; the sick woman was able to rise up from her bed, and to attend as usual to the wants and comforts of the family. How many, when they read this, will be apt to say within themselves, 'Oh that the Lord Jesus were still here to rebuke all fevers, to send away all sickness.' He is still here. He still performs the miracles He did then, only we see him not. Each time that a sick person recovers, and is raised from his bed to the usual duties of his life, it is because the Lord of all power and might has rebuked his sickness, and taken him by the hand, and lifted him up. If this were not so, if it were not the Lord's doing, then either sick men would always die, or the doctors would always be able to make them well. But it is only as the Lord wills it to be, and the means we use must obey his commands.
All the miracles that Jesus wrought while He was on earth, He is working now, and every day. The only difference is this, that while He was on earth, He, to show to man's eyes, that He was God, did in a moment, and by a word, what He is more slowly doing in every part of the world.* The sick do not always recover. Great fevers often destroy life, and though the Lord Jesus raised up Peter's wife's mother, and healed many sick in the city of Capernaum, there were thousands of sick people in the other parts of the land of Israel, and of the entire world ; and, some of them lived, and some of them died, even as they do now, but their life and their death was by his command, and each one who was raised from the bed of sickness was raised as much by the hand of the Lord Jesus as was the mother-in-law of Peter, “when He stood over her, and took her by the hand, and lifted her up."
MARK I. 32, 33. “ And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils. And all the city was gathered together at the door.”
None but those who have lived in hot countries can know the relief of the sun-set--the delights of the cool evening hour. While the day lasts, even the beasts and the birds hide themselves in the shade, and all men, if they can, remain at home with doors and windows closed to keep out the scorching heat. The sun sets, and all is changed, each house is thrown open ; the air is filled with happy voices-men, women, and children come forth to enjoy the blessed coolness that follows the burning day. But Jesus did not come forth—He could not, for “ At even when the sun did set,” the door of the house in which He was, was beset by the sick and the miserable. They crowded there, insomuch that it is said, " all the city was gathered together at the door.''
* See Vol. I. the water turned into wine, p. 110.
Their need was greater than the need of the fresh evening breeze which Jesus must have felt like other men.* The sick and suffering were ill able to bear the heat of the middle-day, and those who brought them had waited till it was past; besides, it was the Sabbath, and they may have thought it was not right to disturb the holy quiet of the day by such an unseemly crowd; but now the Sabbath was ended, for the sun was set,t and "all the city was gathered together at the door.” LUKE iv. 40, 41.
" And he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them. And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And he rebuking them suffered them not to speak : for they knew that he was Christ.”
He laid his hands on the sick and healed them, but He cast out the evil spirits with his word, (Matt. viii. 16.) by his command, and the devils were forced to obey. They were forced to leave the bodies of those unhappy men, in which they had taken up their dwelling-place, and in their terror they cried out that they knew him to be the Son of God. O holy Jesus, how great is thy love and thy might, by which thou hast restrained this terrible power of Satan! St. Matthew, when he ends the history of this fatiguing day, writes
MATTHEW viii. 17. “ That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses."
* See Vol. I., p. 137. of The Jews reckoned their days from sunset to sunset.
Kindly and patiently through every day of his ministry He bore the heavy burthen. He had left his bright home in the heavens, and He had come to scenes of misery. The glad voices of the adoring angels were changed for the jarring sounds of pain and strife. The complaining of the sick, the bursts of fury of those who were possessed with devils, bad taken the place of the joyful hymns of spirits in glory, but the Saviour turned not away. “In all their affliction He was afflicted,” and most truly was He “ acquainted with grief.” (Isaiah liii. 3.) And thus that day was ended. And it is written that
Mark i. 35. “In the (next) morning, rising up a great while before day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place (in the desert) and there prayed.” We may
not dare to follow him even in thought. We may not pry into that solemn secret communion of God the Father with God the Son, but we, who “ love him because He first loved us,” may rejoice, in thought, to behold him afar off, alone in the dreary stillness of that hour, his Divine nature cheered and refreshed by his converse with God; his human body strengthened by the cool early breeze. Men, with their sins and their miseries, lay sleeping in the towns and villages along the shores of the sea of Galilee, but Cbrist was alone in that desert place, praying. And it was a glorious temple, for most beautiful are the rocks and shores of Galilee. When the rising sun drew the mists from the vallies, up the mountain sides, and the rippling waves of the sea began to sparkle in his beams, still the Saviour was there, alone, and still He prayed. But with the day returned the labours of the work He had come to do-to destroy the power of Satan, to give back this fair