Page images
PDF
EPUB

But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up, and he arose, and was cured from that very hour, and he delivered him to his father.

And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out ?

And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief; for verily I say unto you, if ye have a faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place, and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

Howbeit this kind goeth not out, but by prayer, and fasting.

And they departed thence and passed through Galilee ; and he would not that any man should know it.

case,

ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS. Whether our Saviour, like Moses, when he descended from the mount, retained any part of that lustre which had so lately adorned his person, is uncertain; but we may conjecture that this was the by the extraordi. nary respect paid to him on his appearance ; he might dart forth a ray of glory, to serve as corroborating evidence whence the Apostles should produce their testimony concerning his transfiguration.

Whilst our Lord retired with Peter, James, and John, the rest of the Apostles waited for him in the valley, accompanied by a great multitude of people, among whom were, as usual, some of the Scribes and Pharisees, who seem to have watched him narrowly. Our Lord found his disciples engaged in. a dispute with his malicious enemies, who had taken advantage of their Master's absence, to distress and perplex them. When he inquired into the cause of their contention, the Scribes, confounded by his sudden appearance, made

- no reply; and bis disciples, comforted with his presence

remained silent, leaving the man who had occasioned it to explain the matter.

Nothing could be more distressing to a tender father, than to bchold his only child labouring under such a dreadful malady ; but it appears that this man had not a proper idea of the divine porver of Christ, neither had the Apostles such implicit faith in their Lord's name as they ought to have had. His reproof seems to have been addressed to all parties, but particularly to the Scribes and Pharisees.' It certainly must have licen a great trial to our Lord, to nieet with such continual opposition, and he must naturally long for the completion of his ministry.

When the man brought his son to Jesus, the lad was immediately seized with astonishing agony, as if the evil spirit that possessed him was sesolved to shew his defiance of CHRIST, by increasing his torments. The father, doubting in his mind whether our Lord could relieve his son, entreated him to try his utmost skill; but he was not yet in a disposition to receive mercy from God, faith in the power of Christ was necessary; our LORD, therefore, kindly told him, that the cure of his son depended greatly on himself: convinced by our SAVIOUR's discourse both of his power and his compassion, the man made an immediate profession of his faith, and earnestly implored divine grace; praying at once for pardon and strength, which were, through our blessed Lord's mediation, accorded to him, and he now con. fidently expected the cure of his son ; which, that the mind of this amicted father inight be restored to tranquillity, our Lord instantly performed. The evil spirit was compelled to leave the body over which it had so jong exercised cruel dominion, and was forbidden ever

to

) to return. Exasperated at the triumph of our SAVIOUR, he resolved to destroy, if possible, the life of the youth, by the last effort of his malignant rage; but our LORD kindly defeated his intention, and with his own hand presented to the now happy father, the object of his .tenderest affection, perfectly free from every ill effect of the violent agitations he had so lately endured.

Our Lord's reply to his disciples' enquiry, why they could not cast out the devil, intimated that a continual and increasing faith was requisite in those who had rcg ceived commission from Him to do miracles in his name; and that, whenever their faith was firm and strong, they might expect the greatest miracles to attend their mi. nistry in confirmation of the truth of the Gospel; but that, on the contrary, whenever they suffered their faith to waver, the miracle they desired would be withheld, because they did not themselves believe it would be wrought, though Christ had assured them that they might certainly expect the most astonishing effects fronu the use of his name on proper occasions. Our Lord's words, « This kind goeth not.qut but by prayer and fasting," implied, that the Apostles were not to expect such great miracles as casting out devils to be performed, even in his name, unless they had recourse to fasting and prayer, as means of purity and holiness.

In these times, happily, we have no instances of possession, and consequently no opportunities of practising the preparation which is necessary to expel devils. Our bodies are now secure from the tormenting attacks of evil spirits; but human nature is subject to many diseases : whenever these afflict us, or our friends, the first means to be used should be earnest prayer to God; and as miracles have ceased, we may certainly have recourse to such reire. dies as providence has pointed out to mankind for the

N 5

Cura

cure of different maladies'; but it will be in vain to rely wholly on these, since the Supreme Being alone has the power of life and death, sickness and health, which he dispenses to us through his beloved Son. The only possession we are at present in danger of, is that of infi. delity, vice, and immorality, which can never hurt the mind, whilst faith in Christ has its due influence ; but should we, through inattention, suffer these to gain ad. mittance, fasting and prayer will be the only means to recover divine grace.

SECTION. LXIV,

OUR LORD PAYS TRIBUTE TO THE TEMPLE.

From Matthew, Chap. xvii. And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of Man shall be betrayed into the hands of men.

And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again : and they were exceeding sorry.

And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute-money, came to Peter, and said, Doth Dot your Master

pay

tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute ? of their own children, or of strangers ?

Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free,

Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh sp; and when thou last opened his mouth,

thou

[ocr errors]

thou shalt find a piece of money ; that take, and give unto them for me and thee.

ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS. It is probable that our Saviour withdrew from the place where he had performed the extraordinary miracle mentioned in the last section, to avoid the malice of the Scribes and Pharisees, as he knew that they were con triving mischief against him; besides, he seemed desirous of having some private conversation with all the Apostles together, that he might prepare them, as he had already prepared Peter; James, and John, for his sufferings. Those who were not present at his transfiguration, were, like their brethren, at a loss to com. prehend what he meant by rising again; but their fears of giving him offence, by appearing to doubt his assertion, kept them from asking any questions on the subject.

It was customary for every man in the Jewish nation to pay an annual tribute to the Temple of two drachmas, amounting to fifteen pence, towards defraying the expences of public worship, which was called a ransom of the soul*. As both Jesus and Peter belonged to Capernaum, they were required to pay it there. Before Peter could mention to his LORD, that it had been de manded, and ask his directions concerning it, he replied to his thoughts, by a question which intimated, that as the Son of God no man had a right to demand tribute of him, for the sons even of earthly kings were exempted from the taxes which were levied on subjects: but as our LORD meant no to claim his title publicly at that time, and had no intention of disturbing the peace of the

* Exodus, xxxi. 12, &c.

N 6

state

« PreviousContinue »