Page images

place of Matthew, who had been many years afflicted with a painful infirmity which resisted all remedies, and had reduced her to poverty and want; yet could she not presume to ask for that assistance which Jesus so readily afforded to those that were diseased and miserable.

But such faith, nevertheless, had she in his power from God, of which she might have seen some instances, and heard of more, that she contrived, as he was passing along in the crowd, to get so near him as to touch his clothes, and made no doubt but that she should thereby be entirely cured.

Nor was she mistaken, or her faith and humility disappointed and unrewarded.

Not that the cure was wrought by her touch of his garments, or any virtue derived from them; of which superstition and vain credulity in subsequent times afforded such abundant instances among his followers.

But our Lord, by that extraordinary wisdom he had from God, knew her heart, and with what design she approached him; and at the very instant a divine power was exerted to heal her.


Although he was ever far above seeking the praise or regards of others for his miraculous works; yet, as the great design of them was to lead men thereby to acknowledge and submit to his authority as a divine teacher, he, at the moment, stopped suddenly, and turning himself about, by some natural questions, which would mightily engage the attention of the throng of people about him, he drew forth this trembling joyful person to relate the story of her cure; by which her own pious dispo sitions, and the extraordinary power of God which accompanied bur Lord, were mani fested to all.

This interruption, as he was going to the ruler's house, would take up some time. Let us go on with the thread of the history...

[ocr errors]

Ver. 35. "While Jesus yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue's house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further?"

These persons, as soon as the event had taken place, holding it to be an impossible case to raise the dead to life, out of respect to Christ would not have him go any further on such a needless érrand.

What the tender parent must feel on hearing

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

the news of the actual death of his child is not easy to describe. But how amiable does our Saviour's character appear, in the kind consolation which he immediately ministers to him!

Ver. 36. "As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe:" q. d. Despair not, though your daughter be indeed dead; only trust in the power and goodness of God, which it pleases him to manifest by me his prophet and messenger, and of which I have already given such extraordinary proofs to the world.

The history then thus concludes: (ver. 37, &c.) "And he suffered no man to follow him, save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James.

"And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly. And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn.

"But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and mother of the damsel,


and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying. And he took her by the hand, and saith unto her, Talitha cumi! which is, being interpreted, Damsel,


say unto thee, arise. And straightway the damsel arose and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment. And he charged them straitly that no man should know it, and commanded that something should be given her to eat."

We are now to proceed to some further remarks. And,


Our Lord found in the ruler's house a rabble of mourners and minstrels (Matth. ix.), i. e. players on the flute; who were assembled on occasion of the death of his daughter. For it was the Jews' custom, in which they had but too much copied after the heathen nations around them, at these sad times to hire these kind of people, to soothe and calm their minds and pacify their grief, by their mournful songs and praises of the deceased.

Josephus, the famous Jewish historian, who lived near our Saviour's time, tells us, that when a false report of his being killed in the


wars was spread about in Jerusalem, they be wailed him thirty days in that city; and the minstrels played on the flute, and sang funeral ditties to his honour. And travellers inform us that the custom is still kept up in the East.

Serious and thoughtful minds must always have rather chosen to be freed from such noise and intrusion at these seasons.

And however heathen men, who had but faint hopes beyond the grave, and thought that death severed them for ever from those they loved, might receive satisfaction, and forget their sorrows, by these means, the Christian will seek his consolation in the sure promises of God by Christ, of being raised to an immortal life, where nothing will be wanting to complete his happiness; and not in the outward trappings and formalities of woe, or vain encomiums 'of the dead, 'or extravagant expense upon them, who cannot be benefited by it, and which might be laid out to much better account on the living.


Our Lord turned these noisy people out of the house because, generally they were of light unserious minds, and, being accustomed


« PreviousContinue »