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and the wine runneth out; and the bottles perish; but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.
The bottles which the Jews and other ancient nations made use of, were not of glass, as ours are, but of leather, or of skins sewed together. Thus the Gibconites speak of their bottles, as old, and rent, and bound up. (Josh. ix. 13.) New wine would, by fermentation, burst these skins, if they were old, and dry, and crazy. The moral of this parable is the same with that of the former. Things of incongruous natures are not put together in common life; neither should hard duties be required from young converts, lest it should give them disgust.
18. While he spake these things unto them, behold there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, "fell down before him," saying, My daughter is even now dead, rather," was just now dying;" for she was not dead when he left her; but come, and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live," she shall recover."
Luke tells us that this person's name was Jairus, and says that he was ruler of the synagogue, probably at Capernaum, where Jesus now was. In every considerable town in Judæa, there was at this time a synagogue, where the Jews assembled every sabbath day, to hear the law of Moses read, and to join in public prayer. Over these places certain persons presided, who were called rulers of the synagogue. This was the office of Jairus. To shew his respect for Christ, as a great prophet, and his earnestness in requesting the favour which he was about to ask, he fell down at his feet, as the Shunamite did at the feet of Elisha: he had left his only daughter, a girl of twelve years of age, at the point of death; and he intreats Christ to
come and lay his hands upon her; being assured that, if he did so, she would recover, even in these desperate circumstances. The Jews knew that it was usual with God to bestow gifts upon others, in consequence of the prayers of their prophets; a symbol of which favour was given in the laying on of their hands: so, Moses is commanded to lay his hands upon Joshua, that he might by that means receive an increase of the Divine Spirit: so, Naaman the Syrian joins calling upon God with laying on of hands, 2 Kings, v. 11. This practice of laying on hands seems to have been founded upon an allusion to the manner in which the Divine Being was supposed to exert his power upon these occasions, by stretching forth his hand. Thus the apostles, (Acts iv. 33.) entreat God to encourage them to speak with boldness, by stretching forth his hand to heal.---As the divine power was invoked, when any person was healed, the laying on of hands usually accompanied these prayers.
19. And Jesus arose, and followed him; and so did his disciples.
20. And behold a woman which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem, "the border," of his garment.
21. For she said within herself, If may but touch his garment, I shall be whole, "I shall be healed."
This woman seems to have been partly right and partly mistaken, in the sentiments which she had formed of Christ; right, in so far as she thought that Christ was full of the divine virtue; and that as, when the perfume was poured out upon the head of the high priest, it ran down to the hem of his garment, so, a wonderful virtue was diffused over Christ, and flowed
from him in every part: but wrong, in conceiving that this emanation was rather natural, than at the will and disposal of Christ. Hence she entertained some hope, that she might obtain a cure from him by stealth.
22. But Jesus turned him about, and, when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort, "be not afraid:" thy faith hath made thee whole; and the woman was made whole from that hour.
The woman hoped to have obtained her cure without being observed, but, finding that she was discovered, she came trembling, and falling down at the feet of Jesus, told him all the truth. Christ, instead of reproving her, tells her to dismiss her fears; and, while he commends her faith, endeavours to correct an error into which she had fallen: for he intimates, by what he says, that it was not her touch, but her persuasion of the divine power residing in him, that was effectual to her cure.
During this interruption, messengers came from the house of Jairus to inform him that his daughter was dead, and to desire that he would not give Jesus any further trouble about her; but Christ tells him not to be disheartened by that event, and goes on with him to his house. These particulars are mentioned in the gospel of Mark, although they are omitted here.
23. And, when Jesus came into the ruler's house, and saw the minstrels, rather, "pipers," and the people making a noise,
The pipers were persons hired to play mournful tunes, while others made lamentations with their voices, according to the custom of the Jews and other nations at that time, when preparing for the funeral of a person deceased.
24. He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth.
That is, not irrecoverably dead, as you imagine, but so only for a short time; so that her death may be rather considered as a sleep, out of which a person may be awakened. So Jesus said of Lazarus, who was dead; He sleepeth.
And they laughed him to scorn.
Knowing that she was certainly dead, and imagining that he spoke of a natural sleep, they treated his words with contempt.
25. But, when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand; and the maid arose.
The persons whom Christ took with him into the room where the girl lay, were her parents and three of his disciples. The reasons of his excluding others. seem to have been, that there might be no disturbance in the house, by the intrusion of a great number of persons, so that those whom he took with him might have no deception of any kind; that they might be sedate and composed, and attend only to the work which he was about to perform before them; that they might have a near, distinct and full view of it; and that they might afterwards report it to others upon the fullest assurance and conviction. Five witnesses were sufficient to any action; and, being, together with our Lord, six in number, might be as many as could have, in the room where she lay, a clear sight, without interrupting each other. Five close witnesses, at full ease, are better than forty in a crowd and confusion. This action then of our Lord, in clearing the house of hired musicians and other people, is not in the least an exception to the miracle.
26. And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land.
1. From the conduct of Jesus, in exempting his disciples from fasting, we may learn not to be too rigorous in the duties which we exact from young converts, who are just entering upon the paths of religion. A great change must not be expected to be wrought at once: it is the work of time, and generally produced by slow degrees. Those who are eager to hasten it often stop it entirely, and defeat the purpose which they aimed to accomplish. The same maxim ought to be observed as well in regard to the young as the old; to impose hard services upon children and young persons, to which their tender age is not equal; to compel them to attend religious exercises of great length, during which it is impossible for them to keep up their attention; to be perpetually inculcating upon them principles of religion, without proper intervals of rest and refreshment, is like putting a patch of new cloth upon an old garment, or new wine into old bottles. It may produce in their minds an early dislike to religion, which may at length grow into an utter aversion; whereas, by beginning with exercises and instructions of moderate length, and prolonging them as our children are able to bear it, we may train them up for performing the most difficult services with ease and pleasure. This is an error into which good men have fallen in their great zeal for religion, and by which they have done it, in some instances, no small disservice; but I will venture to say, that it is not an error into which we are in much danger of falling at the present day. We seem to be far gone into the opposite extreme instead of overburthening the minds of their children with religious instruction, there are many who