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We mean not however to justify his disobedience

The word of God utterly condemns every deviation from the divine will

But the leper's disobedience most assuredly sprang from a good principle

Nor can we doubt but that the indulgent Saviour would readily pardon it]

Though evil consequences ensued, yet were they overruled for good

(Our Lord's fame spread with great rapidity through all the country

Hence he was much incommoded by the multitudes who flocked around him

Nor" could he any more openly enter into the city by reason of them”

He was forced to seek for solitude and retirement “in de. sert places”

But the multitudes who came were desirous " to hear” his word._

And occasion was afforded by them for the working of many other miracles

Thus great benefit accrued to the bodies, we trust also, to the souls, of many-] ADDRESS

1. To those who feel themselves infected with the le

prosy of sin

[The corruption of our hearts is often set forth under this figure

Indeed so fatally has it spread, that we may well apply to ourselves that loathsome description

In reference to this very disorder we may well exclaim with the prophetim

Let not any then, who feel the infection, hope to heal themselves

The disorder bids defiance to every hand but God's Come then to Jesus, the almighty, the only physician

Come to him, like the leper, with the deepest humility, and reverence

Nor doubt his willingness any more than his power to heal you

Wherefore came he from heaven but to seek and save the lost?

Wherefore was the fountain of his blood opened, but for sin, and for uncleanness?".

f Deut. xxvii. 26. i Isai. vi. 5.

1 Isai. i. 5, 6.

& Luke v. 15.
k Zech. xiii. I.

Let the declaration he has made be most implicitly believed!

However polluted we be he will condescend to touch us

And by his sovereign power will remove the guilt and pollution of our sins]

2. To those who hope that they have been healed of their leprosy

[There is no injunction upon you to conceal this matter from the world

You are rather commanded to make it known to all around you

Not that spiritual blessings should be a subject of ostentatious boasting

But it never can be wrong to comply with that exhortation of the Psalmist

Or to perform that very duty, for the promoting of which the mercy was vouchsafedn_

Let every one then adopt the language of the blessed virgino

But let there be also a conscientious regard to the commands of Jesus

Whether we see the reasons of them or not, we must punctually observe them

Even if silence be our duty, we should, however reluctantly obey

Thus will Christ eventually be magnified in our conduct

And sinners will be most effectually encouraged to flock unto him..]

I John vi. 37.
e Luke ii. 46-48.

m Ps. cv. 1–3.

ni Pet. ii. 9. P Matt. vii. 6. Ps. xxxix. 2..

CCLXXXVI. THE PARALYTIC HEALED.

xxi

Mark ii. 8-12. And immediately, when Jesus perceived in his

spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins (he saith unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and VOL. III.

11

thy way into thine house. And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.

WE cannot wonder that such multitudes attended the ministry of our Lord

Or that his occasional retirements from labour were so often interrupted

But it is indeed astonishing that so many should contivue hostile to so benevolent a person. And that he should persist in doing good, when his words and actions were so constantly perverted, and made grounds of accusation against him

Having retired to an house in Capernaum, he was soon encompassed with a crowd

Amongst them were many Scribes and Pharisees who came only to cavila

Our Lord, however, neither intimidated nor incensed, proceeded in his work

And took occasion even from their cavils to display more eminently his power and glory

Being accused of blasphemy, he confirmed his word by his works

And multiplied his mercies to some as the means of convincing others

The particular circumstances referred to in the text lead us to consider I. The authority he exercised

Whatever miracles our Lord performed, he wrought them by his own power

A man was brought to him to be healed of the palsy

[So afflicted was the man, that he was deprived of all use of his limbs

His friends, who bore him on a bed, or couch, could not get access to Jesusb

They would not however relax their endeavours to obtain a

cure

and

They went by another way to the top of the house, broke open the lattice

s Luke v. 17.

6 Ver. 3, 4.

And then let the man down into the midst of the room where Jesus was

Nor did Jesus take offence at his intrusion, as though he were an unwelcome guest

He, on the contrary, beheld their solicitude with approbation

And richly recompensed the faith which had urged them to such benevolent exertions

We read not indeed of any particular request made by the man or his friends

But the very sight of such misery was sufficient to call forth our Lord's compassion]

Jesus, healed not his disorder, but authoritatively forgave his sin

--(All that the man thought of was, a restoration to bodily health

But the divine physician in an instant healed his soul

The disorder had probably been sent by God as a punishment for sin

And Jesus removed his sin as incomparably the greater evil.

Yea, he spoke to the man in the most affectionate and condescending terms

And gave him a comfortable assurance that his iniquities were forgiven

How must the helpless dying man rejoice in such tidings!

Surely, after this, he would scarcely wish to have his life prolonged

At least, he would desire it only that he might glorify his Lord and Saviour

But this exercise of divine authority excited the indig. nation of the Pharistes

[It is possible that they might manifest in their countenances the reasonings of their hearts

But Jesus needed not any external proof of their thoughts

e Their houses were scarcely ever above one or two stories high. Their roofs were flat, and guarded on every side with a battlement or balustrade, Deut. xxii. 8., thither the inhabitants used to retire for exercise, 2 Sam. xi. 2.; for conversation, Matt. X. 27.; for reditation and prayer, Acts x. 9. There were two ways of access to the top; one from the inside, by a lattice or trap-door, 2 Kings i. .2. the other by steps on the outside, Mark, xiii. 15. Having easily ascended to the top, they forced open (igogúcartes,' ver. 4.) the lattice which was fastened within, and let down the man through the tiling (Luke v. 19.) with which the roof was paved on all sides of the lattice. Some explain the matter somewhat differently. See Dodelridge, sect. 45. note (e.)

He “ knew in his spirit" every thing that passed within their minds

They inwardly condemned him as guilty of “ blasphemy”

Nor was their reasoning defective, if the application of it had been just

Certainly none but God has any authority to forgive sin

And any mere creature that should assume it, would be a blasphemer

But their objection, in this instance, was altogether unfounded-]

Jesus, having claimed the power of forgiving sin, immediately stated II. His vindication of it

Our Lord was ever willing to satisfy those who desired information

And, by multiplied proofs, to leave determined infidels without excuse

He now stated a criterion whereby they might judge of the propriety of his claim

(When Jehovah's Deity was degraded, his servant Elijah proposed a mean of determining the controversy between him and Baald_

Thus our Lord condescended to submit his pretensions to a trial

He appealed to all whether the healing of the paralytic would not be an evidence of divine power?

And whether he, who by his own authority could restore man to health, were not equally able to forgive his sin?

This was as just a criterion as could possibly be proposed

If Jesus were not God, he could never by his own power heal the man

Nor, if he were a blasphemer, would God work such a stupendous miracle to confirm his blasphemies

Thus his claims to divine authority were brought to the test

And every person present was made a competent judge of their truth or falshood-]

According to that criterion, he immediately vindicated his divine authority

[He commanded the man to arise, and take up his couch, Instantly he, who before could not help himself, was restored to health

and go

go home

di Kings xviii. 21_24.

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