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of souls. Those who were already righteous, could such have been found, stood in no need either of an instructor or mediator; neither would those, who thought themselves so, accept either instruction or mediation: but that the Pharisees might not suppose righteousness to consist in the ceremonials of religion, and a strict obser. vation of the written traditions of their forefathers, our LORD quoted a part of the prophecy of Hosea, to prove that GoD prefers a merciful disposition of mind even to the sacrifices which he himself appoints.
The disciples of John also took great offence at our LORD, for not following the example of their master in respect to abstinence, not understanding the different characters of the MESSIAH and his harbinger. The severity of the Baptist's appearance, of his manner of life, and address, were wisely intended to remind the Jews of their ancient prophets, particularly of Elijah*. He came to prepare men for the reception of the MESSIAH, to awaken in their minds a strong sense of guilt, to shew the necessity of salvation, and persuade them to mortify their corrupt affections, that they might be proper candidates for the kingdom of heaven. But our SAVIOUR on all occasions displayed a most benign and affectionate disposition, inviting sinners to repentance in the gentlest manner, and encouraging them to rejoice in his presence, by giving them assurances of salvation, on condition of forsaking their sins, and believing his doctrine. If, therefore, the guests at a marriage-feast would think it unreasonable to be required to fast and mourn during the festival, surely it must be more so for those who were companions to him, who came to bring life and immortality to light, to appear like mourners. The ancients keep their wine in skins and leathern
Bishop Newcome's Observations.
bags, which are here called bottles. By the comparison of new cloth and new wine, our SAVIOUR intimated, that it would be improper to enjoin severe austerities to those who were lately converted, lest it should discou-rage them, and occasion their falling off, and becoming more irreligious than before. Many of John's disciples are supposed to have been trained from their youth in strict discipline amongst the Pharisees, Essenes and Nazarites; but our SAVIOUR'S chiefly consisted of men. who followed the usual occupations of life: these are generally so intent on worldly gain,, as to find but little leisure for religious exercises.
In what an amiable light does our LORD a appear, thus humbling himself for the conversion of sinners! very worst offenders may take encouragement from hence to hope for salvation through him, and the best of men, may learn to invite others to Christianity by gentleness and kindness. Let us then,, instead of driving those who have been wicked to desperation, by shewing hatred. and aversion, endeavour to imitate the great Physician of Souls; first convincing them that sin is a fatal disease of the mind, and then pointing out the remedy, the bal. sam of everlasting life contained in the GOSPEL VANot that it is necessary, or even proper, for Christians to associate indiscriminately with confirmed sinners, especially with infidels and scoffers, because they hereby en, danger the corruption of their own principles. Such in corrigible sinners they should carefully avoid, lest, de ceived by their plausible arguments, they may be led to entertain doubts concerning the truths of revealed religion; or, influenced by their ridicule, become ashamed of their profession, and deny their SAVIOUR.
JESUS CURETH A WOMAN, RESTORES TO LIFE JAIRUS'S DAUGHTER, AND CURES TWO BLIND MEN.
From Matthew, Chap. ix.— Luke v.
WHILE JESUS spake these things unto them, 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 daugh ter lieth at the point of death; I pray thee 'come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed, and she shall live.
And JESUS went with him, and much people followed him, and thronged him.
And a certain woman who had been afflicted for twelve years, and had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing better, but rather grew worse,
When she had heard of JESUS, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.
And straightway she felt in her body that she was healed. And JESUS immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, who touched my clothes?
And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the mul titude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touch ed me?
And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.
And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.
While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue's house, certain which said, Thy daughter is dead, why troublest thou the master any further?
As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.
And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter and James, and John the brother of James.
And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly.
And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.
And they laughed him to scorn: but when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth where the damsel was lying.
And he took the damsel by the hand, and said untọ her, Talitha cumi, which is, being interpreted, Damsel, (I say unto thee) arise.
And straightway the damsel arose and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years; and they were astonished with a great astonishment.
And he charged them straightly, that no man should know it and commanded that something should be given her to eat.
And when JESUS departed thence, two blind men fol. lowed him, crying, and saying, Thou son of David, have mercy on us.
And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, believe ye, that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, LORD.
Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith, be it unto you..
And their eyes were opened: and JESUS straightly charged them, saying, See that no man know it. But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country..
As they went out, behold they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil.
And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitude marvelled, saying, it was never so seen in Israel.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
Jairus, though a ruler of the synagogue, entertained the utmost veneration for our SAVIOUR, and even kneeled to him. His circumstances in life enabled him to procure the most able physicians for his daughter, and without doubt their utmost skill had been exerted for her preservation, but in vain. The disease was too powerful for their art; the agonies of death came on; and the unhappy father had reason to conclude, that before he reached our LORD she had expired; yet so great was his confidence in the Divine power of CHRIST, that he firmly believed he could restore her to life again, and our SAVIOUR immediately left his company to attend him.
The faith of the poor woman who touched our LORD. exceeded even that of Jairus, and it found an instant reward.