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go away into everlasting punishment; but the righ

teous," they who had performed them, “into life “ eternal.” The brethren of Christ are before

youMake your choice.



MATTHEW, ix, 2.

And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the

palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith, said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.


The active and elementary parts of nature, wheresoever they exist, will manifest themselves by their effects; fire will warm, light will shine, aromatics will send forth sweet odours. Jesus in like manner, on all occasions, discovers himself to be what his name implies, the SAVIOUR; leaving behind him, in every place, the warmth of fervent charity, the light of evangelical doctrine, and the fragrance of a good report concerning something done for the benefit of man, and the glory of God. He goeth about, not to gratify or to profit himself, but to diffuse his beneficence. He either teaches, or comforts, or raises from the dead; or heals, or feeds, or delivers, or departs into solitude to pray. And all for us. For us he preaches, that we may learn the truth; for us he heals, and performs other miracles, that we may believe him; for us no less he retires, for us he prays, for us he gives thanks to his Father. Thus he changes his situation often, his disposition never; in this, as well as other things, “ leaving us an example, that

we should follow his steps,” and not suffer any outward difference of circumstances to make us forget our Christian profession.

The Gergesenes, as we find by the conclusion of the preceding chapter, preferring the preservation of their swine to the salvation of their souls, and, therefore, “desiring him to depart out of their coasts; he “ entered into a ship, and passed over, and came “ into his own city, Capernaum,” i. e. the city not where he was born, but where he lived; a trafficking, luxurious, proud city; and for that reason, as mercy looks out for the miserable, and a physician for them that are sick, chosen by him; who, though the only man that ever was without sin, disdained not to dwell and converse with sinners, seeing he came to call such to repentance.

Here it was that he performed the miracle mentioned in the text, which it is the design of the following discourse first to illustrate, and then to apply.

It being, "noised about,” as St. Mark in his account informs us, “that Jesus was returned to Capernaum, and was in a certain house in the town,

straightway many were gathered together, inso“ much that there was no room to receive them, no

not so much as about the door; and he," who always rejoiced much more to teach than any could do to learn of him, "preached the word” of life and

salvation "to them." The sermon was with authority and power, and the audience very attentive.

But behold (for so St. Matthew introduces this miracle, and well worthy our beholding it will appear to be), an object on a sudden presented itself, which quickly engaged the notice of the speaker, no less than that of the hearers. A bed, with a poor wretch confined to it by the palsy, was seen descending from the roof, till it came down into the room and rested, where all that want rest must find it, at the feet of Jesus. Some good neighbours and friends of this unhappy man, it seems, who by the nature of his disease was rendered incapable of helping himself, were so kind as to carry him between four of them where they knew he might have relief. For it is plain by the pains they took, that they had no doubt but Christ could and would heal him, if they could only contrive to place such a spectacle before his eyes. But here was the difficulty; for upon bringing their burden to the house, they found such a crowd of people, even about the door, that there was no room for a single person more to get in, much less for four with so ponderous and cumbrous a load. Men were not to be torn by any means from the lips of sò eloquent a preacher, but were listening at the very doors and windows, to catch, if it were possible, somewhat of his doctrine. Such was, and such ever ought to be, the vehement and unfeigned desire of hearing Christ's word whenever it is preached.

What therefore is to be done? Shall they give it over, and return without having accomplished that for which they came? A lukewarm charity would


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have done so, contenting itself with the effort it had made, and concluding it impossible to do any thing

But these men were not to be discouraged. They thought therefore of an expedient, and immediately put it in practice; the relation of which we cannot so well understand, without considering that the houses in the Eastern countries were built very low, and with a flat roof, in which there was a kind of trap-door, as the inhabitants often used to go up from within, and spend some time upon the “house

top,” where we find “ David walking,” and “St. “ Peter praying." The friends of the sick man therefore having contrived to raise the bed to the roof, (as it was not unusual to have a passage likewise by stairs on the outside of the house), they broke open the afore-mentioned door that was therein (fastened probably on the inside), and let down the bed, suspended by ropes, into the midst of the assembly, before Jesus.

Behold, then, this sad spectacle—not so properly a man as a corpse. Of motion the disease deprived him; and without the power of motion what is life?' what avails it to have limbs, if they cannot be used? Nor does this distemper affect the extreme and exterior parts of the body only, but the tongue is tied, and the head disordered. The understanding is benumbed; the memory becomes like a leaky vessel, and loses all that was committed to it; the judgement is naught, and the vigour of the mind perished. Many diseases are noisome, many painful, but still the use of the limbs is not taken away; and in most the soul is still at liberty to perforın her operations.

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