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thing speaks for itself. What is this mire and clay upon the eyes, but the power this world has over us in shutting out the truth? Who are the people unto whom the glorious light of the gospel of Christ cannot shine, but they whose minds the God of this world hath blinded? So long as this world retains its influence, the gospel is hidden from the eyes of men ; they are in a lost condition; and nothing can clear them of this defilement, but the water of the divine Spirit sent from above to wash it away. This seems to be the moral sense of the miracle: and a miracle thus understood becomes a sermon, than which none in the world can be more edifying. Our Saviour himself preached in the same way to his disciples, to instruct them in the nature of his mission, and of their own salvation. In short the gospel is sealed up, and a man may as well read a modern system of morality, unless he sees that Jesus Christ is the physician of human nature, and that a miserable and sickly world is in daily want of his healing power.
The same spiritual turn is given to the miraculous distribution of bread in the wilderness. Christ informed the people, that if they followed him only to eat of this bread, for the feeding of their bodies, they mistook the nature of the miracle. l'e seek me because ye did eat of the loaves and were filled. Labour not for the meat that perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you. The meat he then gave was only a figure of that which he gives in a higher sense to all that believe on him, and which is meat indeed; no other in comparison of this being worthy of the name. By bread our Saviour sometimes means the doctrine of the gospel, which nourishes the mind; and sometimes his own body spiritually taken in the eucharist: but whether we here understand the bread of the Lord's supper, or the preaching of the word; both are distributed to the hungry multitude of mankind in the midst of this desert: and a sort of food this is, which, like the manna laid up in the tabernacle (called the hidden manna *) never perisheth, but nourisheth the soul to life eternal.
miracle. because, + Revelation ij, 17.
From the curing of the blind and the feeding of the hungry, let us proceed to the raising of the dead. It appears to us as a most wonderful thing, that a dead man should hear the voice of Jesus Christ and return to life : but it is more wonderful that the grace of God and the calling of his gospel should revive a man dead in sin ;
because, to speak after the manner of men, it seems harder to revive a dead soul than to raise a dead body. And now observe the order of things. The first trangressions brought with it a present death to the spirit of man, and a future death to his body. The power of the gospel brings a present life to the spirit, and a future life to the body; and as the renovation of the spirit is the greater in effect, and most necessary to be understood, the restoration of a dead body, which is more striking to the senses, is exhibited as a visible sign of it. The scripture therefore in many places speaks of the conversion of the soul to a life of righteousness as a rising from the dead; as in Eph. v. 14, where the apostle paraphrases these words of the
prophet Isaiah, arise, shine, for thy light is come, and gives their full meaning to them; awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light*. Here the dead
* This is delivered as the sense of the prophet, because it is ushered in as a quotation, wherefore he saith or it (that is, the scripture) saith. The language of the prophet is an allusion to the rising of mankind from sleep when the sun rises upon them in the morning; but as the prophet doth not speak according to the letter, the light is the true light of the world, and the sleep is the sleep of death, either natural or spiritual: and so the apostle hath on'y transla:ed the words of the prophet from the letter into the spirit, and given them their true meaning.
are of the same sort with those spoken of by Christ in the gospel, let the dead bury their dead; of whom the former are the dead in spirit, and the latter the dead in nature. The word death has the like sense in the sentence which was pronounced on man in paradise, in the day thou eatest thou shalt die: and there are numberless
passages of the Old Testament, in which the words life and death do not signify the natural, but the spiritual life and death. I know not how to understand, but by admitting both a natural and a spiritual resurrection, those other words of Christ, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; for certainly, the resurrection which now is must be that figurative resurrection spoken of by the prophet and apostle ; and the margin of our bibles accordingly refers us to such passages as speak of a quickening unto grace. I cannot but understand the raising of Lazarus from the putrid state of death, as a sign that the same power should revive men who had been long dead in trespasses and sins, and seemed to be past grace; as was the case with the whole heathen world.
In the raising of the widow's son at the city of Nain, we have a lesson of this kind worthy of our consideration. « A dead man was car
ried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and much people of the city was with her." This was a funeral of some pomp, and so we may suppose the young man was a considerable person. Thus, alas, do we see many sons of the church, in the prime of life, in their best days, who seem to know no more that Jesus Christ is near to them, than if they were stretched out upon a bier. 'Such examples are too often found in low life; but they are much more common among young men of station and fortune ; too many of whom are totally insensible to the things of God; lifeless and stupid at prayer ; and as indifferent to the word of God from a reader or a preacher of it, as if they did not hear one word that is spoken, and had no concern with that other world, to which, young as they are, time is in the mean while carrying them out; though they may seem to move slowly on, as is the custom in a funeral. Nothing less than that same power which raises the dead can awaken such to hear that voice which is daily calling unto them in the words of the gospel, Young man, I say unto thee arise : hear now the voice of him that hath pity upon thee, and calls thee to rise and be saved ; because thou wilt soon be forced to hear that other