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Lord made use of that epithet; not that He so despiseen them ; on the contrary, he willingly allowed the wo. man's humble plea, supported her faith by divine grace, whilst he appeared to deny her, and at length granted her request. There is no doubt but at her return, when she found her daughter recovered, she related the won. derful transaction, which might be a means of bringing many others to CHRIST.
Our Lord made no long stay in those coasts, but went again among the Jews. Soon after his arrival a poor object was brought to him, who was totally unfit for conversation, and consequently cut off from the benefit and pleasure of society; neither was he capable of hearing the word of God, nor of offering up the praises of his lips. In this deplorable condition. his friends resolved to bring him to our SAVIOUR, who, perceiving their faith, and knowing also the real dispo. sition of the man himself, graciously resolved to give him the relief he stood in need of. Our LORD generally peformed his cures publicly; but for some reason, with which we are not acquainted, he took this man aside from the multitude. On this occasion our' Lord made use of signs instead of words, as they were more in. telligible to a man who was both deaf and dumb. By using his spittle our Lord intimated, that he was him. self able to cure him; and by looking up to heaven he taught, that he should do it by a power from above; then reflecting on the various calamities of the human species, our benevolent Saviour breathed a sigh of tender pity from his heart; and, that there might be one sufferer the less, he hastened to complete the cure, by speaking the word of God, “Be thou opened." This miracle so exactly agreed with Isaiah's prophecy concerning the MESSIAH, that many of those who wore in
formed of this cure, applied the prophecy to Christ. Our Lord did not himself make an ostentatious display of his divine power; on the contrary, he performed the miracle privately, and enjoined his followers not to pablish it; thus instructing them to do good without the desire of applause.
Though the particulars are not related, we may learn from the general account, that our Lord performed many astonishing miracles ; even such as were maimed had those parts of their bodies restored which had been cut off, or otherwise destroyed. Thus did God vouch. safe to visit his people, and, through the Messiah, heal their infirmities and forgive their sins.
SECTION LIX. THE MIRACLE OF FEEDING FOUR THOUSAND ; d'Is.
COURSE CONCERNING THE SIGN FROM HEAVEN.
From Matthew, Chap. xv, xvi.--Mark, viii. Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.
And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude ?
And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have yer and they said, Seven, and a few little fishes.
And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude,
And they did eat, and were filled : and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full,
And they that did eat were four thousand. men, be. sides women and chidren. And he sent away the mul. titude, and took ship, and came into the coasts of Magdala.
The Pharisees, also with the Sadducees came, and tempting, desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven.
He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather, for the sky is red:
And in the morning, It will be foul weather to-day: for the sky is red and lowering. Oye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky, but can ye not discern the signs of the times ?
And he sighed deeply in the spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign?
A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign, and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas.
And he left them, and entering into the ship again, departed to the other side.
And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread.
Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the Sadducees. And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread.
Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, o ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves be. cause ye have brought no bread ?
Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?
Neither Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? a
How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the Sadducees?
Then understood they how that he bade them not be. ware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees, and of the Sadducees.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS. The multitude in general appear to have been properly affected with our SAVIOUR’s miracles, and so de. sirous of his instructions, that they remained in the fields without rest, even after the food they had brought with them was exhausted. Our Lord knew that it would be more conducive to their salvation, if their faith and patience were exercised, and their minds supplied with spiritual food, before their bodies were refreshed by his miraculous power ; he therefore suffered them to attend him for three days, till they stood in need of food; but whilst he thus tried them for the benefit of their souls, he regarded them with kindness and compassion, particularly noticing the time they spent in their attendance upon him, and the difficulties they submitted to; por would he expose them to the fatigues of a journey till they had been fed by his bounty.
When our Lord was going to perform this miracle, he called his disciples to him to instruct them concerning the sentiments they ought to entertain ; and likewise to prove, whether they kept in mind what he had said and done on a former similar occasion : had this been the case they would have applied to our Lord in favour of the multitude, instead of complaining of want of bread. They had at this time seven loaves, and the
concourse of people was inferior in number to that which had been fed with five; but still by far too many to be satisfied with so small a stock of provisions in a natural way: therefore divine power was equally dis. played in both cases.
Our Lord had great reason to be offended at his disciples' distrust of himn; but he knew the weakness of human nature, and allowed for its infir. mities : however, he resolved to recal their faith and reliance on him, and also to exercise their benevolence, by requiring them to divide all the food they had amongst the people; this they appear to have done readily and cheerfully, as soon as he had made his will known : leaving an example to others not to be too anxiously solicitous for the morrow, but to feed the hun. gry, and depend upon divine Providence for themselves, whenever charity requires it. Not that Christians are enjoined to give all they have to others, without any regard to their own necessities; we must take a prudent and moderate care of ourselves, because we have no reason to expect miracles to be wrought in our bé. half: yet we should always consider the wants of others; and, in cases of particular distress, deny ourselves a meal, rather than suffer the hungry, who have no other means of obtaining refreshment, to perish for the want of it.
It is observable, that our Saviour, instead of pray. ing to his Father to enable him to multiply the bread, gave thanks for a power already in his possession : he never even for an instant forgot that this
power belong to his human nature, and his gratitude to God for the honourable distinction he had given him was ever awake. He was also thankful for the goodness of God in thus visiting mankind, and giving them,