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say, (John v. 36,) "The works which the Father hath given me to do, the same bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me."
But pleased and ready as our Lord always was to relieve the sufferings of men by his extraordinary power, when fit subjects of it presented themselves, we are persuaded that the design of it was not to promote men's present benefit, or for the comfort and relief of those who lived at that time, or for our admiration who came after them; but with a far nobler end and purpose, without attending to which, we shall receive little advantage from listening to the pleasing accounts that are given us of it.
It was to serve the gracious designs of our heavenly Father for his creatures of the human race, that he broke through the settled and ordinary course of his providence and government, and at the word of his beloved Soa and servant Jesus, the dumb spake, the deaf heard, the lame walked, and the dead were raised up to life,-to give credit to the doctrine delivered by this his last and best messenger to men; which is of such sovereign efficacy to cure their evil passions and prejudices, to free them from vicious habits and the domi
nion of worldly things, and to qualify them for the future endless felicity intended and prepared for them.
It will be our wisdom, then, as it is our proper business and duty, to attend to this heavenly doctrine of an eternal life,30 promulged and confirmed, and to walk in the way that leads to it, however strait and narrow we may sometimes find it.
What became of this young person afterwards, who was thus snatched from the power of death, we are not told.
If her life was lengthened out for a good number of years, as probably it was, we may not doubt but that, in a way suitable to her station and circumstances, she bore witness to the truth of Christ's divine commission and power, of which she was herself so signal a proof.
She may, for aught we know, have been eminently useful.
The memory of many great and good deeds has been lost, more than have been preserved, especially of persons in private stations, whom history rarely takes notice of.
We have no account of the actions and preaching of many even of our Lord's apostles.
But in the book of God, the life, actions, and character, of every one, whatever their rank and condition here, are equally recorded; and piety, and virtue, and true goodness, however obscure or unknown among men, will be brought to light and rewarded.
"I saw the dead," says the angel in the high prophetic style, "small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the book, according to their works." (Rev. xx. 12.)
If our names be registered in this book, it is of little concern to us whether they are noticed in the records of men, which, together with their authors, must pérish.w
Lastly: In this ruler of the synagogue we may obeserve the leadings of the good spirit and providence of God, which we are all under, in different degrees.
Despair of his child's life brought him to sue
to Christ for the help and relief he wanted, to whose divine character he might otherwise have remained as indifferent as many others of his countrymen; not through any bad disposition or principle, for he seems to have been exempt from these, but through indolence and thoughtless inattention, which is the great bar to all improvement.
But this excited him, and brought him to a feeling sense of his want of the mercy and goodness of God, of which Jesus was the extraordinary instrument at that time; and having experienced the great favour he sought from God through him, in restoring the life of his daughter, we cannot doubt but the man would continue attached to his kind benefactor, though he did not openly profess himself his disciple, which our Lord hardly required from any during his own lifetime.
In the course of our Maker's ordinary providence, which we are now under, sickness, adversity, fear of losing the dearest friend or child, in whom our happiness is bound up, brings us to sobriety of mind, to just thoughts of ourselves, and our necessary dependence upon him.
Nor is his hand shortened now, or his ear turned away from hearing the supplications of
his creatures in their distress, if, in his wisdom, he see it good for them to grant them what they ask.
But, alas! although naturally it cannot but be earnestly desired, that youth may not be nipt by the cold hand of death like flowers before they are blown and shed their seed, but may flourish and have their lives prolonged;
Yet such is the example of the generality of parents, and their ungodly neglect of their offspring; and such the early corruption of the youth of both sexes in all ranks, but the highest and lowest most of all, that, too often, when we see a young person, before any bad tempers or bad habits have taken place, cut off in the spring of life, we can scarce refrain from saying that, in their particular situation, they are taken away by a merciful Providence from the evil to come; removed out of the midst of dangerous snares and temptations, where so many fall, and are seldom recovered afterwards to virtue and goodness.
All, however, are not such, though this is the outward state of things that too often meets the eye, especially in crowded cities, where wickedness, countenanced by numbers, shows itself without shame, and virtue hides its head.