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LUKE vii. 15, 16.
And be that had been dead sat up, and began to speak: and Jesus delivered him to his mother. And there came a fear on all; and they glorified God, saying, "That a great prophet is risen among us: and that God bath visited his people."
I PROPOSE to call your thoughts to the consideration of the awful event here described, and to such useful reflections as it shall suggest to us.
The sacred historian introduces it by telling us; (ver. 11.) " And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people."
This Nain, that is here named, is a town of Galilee, a little south of Mount Tabor, whither our Lord had journeyed from Capernaum,
soon after having healed the Centurion's ser
A great crowd of people followed him : many of them his disciples, as the historian calls them, such as believed him to be the Christ, their promised great prophet, the chosen messenger of God; and a promiscuous company of others mixed with them, led by worldly expectations from him, or mere curiosity; which is not to be wondered at, considering the unusual appearance he made: some of whom, whatever were their views, could not miss of reaping something good from him, and being as it were surprised into it; for this heavenly Teacher, knowing his time to be short, was always saying or doing what tended to edify all that were near him, and about him. And he gave himself no rest, but travelled on foot from place to place, to give opportunity to as many as might be to see his miraculous works,-the evidence of his authority from God, and to hear his excellent instructions. As he drew near the town a very affecting scene presented itself.
(Ver. 12.) "Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold one that was dead was carried out, the only son of his mother, and
she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her."
It was her only child, which made the loss the greater; and being a widow, solitary and desolate, she was deprived at once of all her worldly comfort and support. We may ga ther also, that she was a person much respected, from the great numbers of her townsfolk and neighbours that were along with her, lamenting her sorrowful and forlorn condition.
When our Lord met them, they were carrying the corpse out of the city to be buried, as was customary with the Jews. Among the Romans also, it was forbidden by the law of the Twelve Tables to bury within their towns: and they usually interred their dead by the road side in the public highways, where they erected tombs for them with their inscriptions; useful monitors to the traveller passing on his way, and which might well be adopted by christians, to tell him that such was the end of all human greatness; and that it was only by virtuous and good actions that mortals could hope to live after death. For the general melancholy turn of all the epitaphs of the ancient heathens was, that at death they took a solemn farewell of each other for ever. It would be well
well if our lives, as christians, corresponded to our higher hopes and the divine goodness
Burying in churches, which, especially in great and populous towns, is unwholesome, and often pernicious, began first upon christians building places for divine worship upon the spot of ground where the martyrs had been buried or slain, in honour of their memories; when happy were they who could be interred near them; which honour, in no long time, they carried to such a length, as to worship and pray to these dead christians; and this idolatrous custom is still kept up in the Greek and Roman churches: a warning to all other christians to take heed how they recede from the divine command, of worshiping and praying to God only.
But to return to the history. (Ver. 13.) "And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her; Weep not.'
He was moved with pity at the mournful sight, and went up to her and comforted her; desiring her not to be overmuch grieved.
Great would be her astonishment at the manner of such a stranger's address; his kindness, the dignity and seriousness with