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sure thy gifts by our petitions, but by our | The eyes of those incredulous scoffers were wants and thine own mercies.
not worthy of this honour. Our infidelity This work might have been as easily makes us incapable of the secret favours and done by an absent command; the power of the highest counsels of the Almighty. Christ was there, while himself was away: What did these scorners think and say, but he will go personally to the place, that when they saw him putting the minstrels he might be confessed the author of so great and people out of doors ? Doubtless the a miracle. O Saviour, thou lovest to go to maid is but asleep; the man fears lest the the house of mourning; thy chief pleasure noise shall awake her: we must speak and is the comfort of the afflicted. What a con tread softly, that we disquiet her not. What fusion there is in worldly sorrow! The will he and his disciples do the while? Is it mother shrieks, the servants cry out, the not to be feared, they will startle her out people make lamentation, the minstrels howl of her rest? Those that are shut out from and strike dolefully, so as the ear mighi the participation of God's counsels, think question whether the ditty or the instru. all his words and projects no better than ment were more heavy. If ever expressions foolishness. But art thou, O Saviour, ever of sorrow sound well, it is when death leads the more discouraged by the derision and the choir. Soon doth our Saviour charm censure of these scornful unbelievers ? be. this noise, and turns these unseasonable cause fools jeer thee, dost thou forbear thy mourners, whether formal or serious, out of work! Surely I do not perceive that thou doors : not that he dislikes music, whether | heedest them, save for contempt; or carest to condole or comfort; but that he had life more for their words than their silence. It in his eye, and would have them know, is enough that thine act shall soon honour that he held these funeral ceremonies to thee, and convince them: “ He took her be too early, and long before their time : by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, “ Give place, for the maid is not dead, but arise; and her spirit came again, and she sleepeth.” Had she been dead, she had but arose straight way." I slept; now she was not dead, but asleep, How could that touch, that call, be other because he meant this nap of death should than effectual ? He, who made that hand, be so short, and her awakening so speedy. touched it ; and he, who shall once say, Death and sleep are alike to him, who can “ Arise, ye dead,” said now, “Maid, arise.” cast whom he will into the sleep of death, Death cannot but obey him who is the and awake when and whom he pleaseth Lord of life. The soul is ever equally in out of that deadly sleep.
his hand who is the God of spirits; it can. Before, the people and domestics of Jairus not but go and come at his command. held Jesus for a prophet; now they took When he says, “ Maid, arise," the now hiin for a dreamer. “Not dead, but asleep!” | dissolved spirit knows his office, his place, They that came to mourn cannot now for and instantly re-assumes that room which, bear to laugh. Have we piped at so many by his appointment, it had left. funerals, and seen and lamented so many To Saviour, if thou do but bid my soul corpses, and cannot we distinguish betwixt to arise from the death of sin, it cannot lie sleep and death? The eyes are set, the still : if thou bid my body to arise from the breath is gone, the limbs are stiff and cold? grave, my soul cannot but glance down from Who ever died, if she do but sleep? How her heaven, and animate it. In vain shall easily may our reason or sense befool us in my sin, or my grave, offer to withhold me divine matters! Those that are competent judges in natural things, are ready to laugh The maid revives ; not now to languish God to scorn when he speaks beyond their for a time upon her sickbed, and by some compass, and are by him justly laughed to faint degrees to gather an insensible strength; scorn for their unbelief. Vain and faithless but at once she rises from her death, and men! as if that unlimited power of the Al. from her couch; at once she puts off her mighty could not make good his own word, fever with her dissolution : she finds her and turn either sleep into death, or death life and her feet at once; at once she finds into sleep, at pleasure. Ere many minutes, her feet and her stomach: “He commanded they shall be ashamed of their error and to give her meat.” Omnipotency doth not incredulity.
use to go the pace of nature. All God's There were witnesses enough of her immediate works are, like himself, perfect. death; there shall not be many of her re- He that raised her supernaturally, could storing. Three choice disciples, and the have so fed her. It was never the purpose two paren 3, are only admitted to the view of his power to put ordinary means out of and testimony of this miraculous work. / office.
| We know well on what terms the Sama CONTEMPLATION IX. - THE MOTION OF THE ritans stood with the Jews; so much more TWO FIERY DISCIPLES REPELLED. hostile, as they did more symbolize in mate
ters of religion: no nations were mutually The time drew on wherein Jesus must be so hateful to each other. A Samaritan's received up; he must take death in his way; bread was no better than swine's flesh: Calvary is in his passage to mount Olivet: their very fire and water was not more he must be lifted up to the cross, thence grudged than infectious: the looking toto climb into his heaven. Yet this comes wards Jerusalem was here cause enough not into mention, as if all the thought of of repulse. No enmity is so desperate as death were swallowed up in this victory over that which arises from matter of religion. death. Neither, O Saviour, is it otherwise Agreement in some points, when there are with us, the weak members of thy mystical differences in the main, doth but advance body: we must die, we shall be glorified. hatred the more. What if death stand before us ? we look be- It is not more strange to hear the Son of yond him, at that transcendent glory. How God sue for a lodging, than to hear him reshould we be dismayed with that pain which pelled. Upon so churlish a denial, the two is attended with a blessed immortality ? angry disciples return to their Master on a
The strongest receipt against death is the fiery errand: “Lord, wilt thou that we ci-mhappy estate that follows it: next to that, mand fire to come down from heaven and is the fore-expectation of it, and resolution consume them, as Elias did ?" against it : “ He stedfastly set his face to The sons of thunder would be lightning go to Jerusalem." Jerusalem, the nest of strait: their zeal, whether as kinsmen or his enemies, the amphitheatre of his con- disciples, could not brook so harsh a refusal. flicts, the fatal place of his death. Well did As they were naturally more hot than their he know the plots and ambushes that were fellows, so now they thought their piets there laid for him, and the bloody issue of bade them be impatient. those designs : yet he will go, and goes re- Yet they dare not but begin with leave: solved for the worst. It is a sure and wise“ Master, wilt thou ?" His will must lead way to send our thoughts before us, to theirs; their choler cannot drive their wills grapple with those evils which we know | before his : all their motion is from him must be encountered; the enemy is half only. True disciples are like those artificial overcome that is well prepared for. The engines, which go no otherwise than thes strongest mischief may be outfaced with a are set; or like little children, that speak seasonable fore-resolution. There can be nothing but what they are taught. O Sa. no greater disadvantage, than the sudden. viour, if we have wills of our own, we are ness of a surprisal. O God, what I have not thine: do thou set me as thou wouldst not the power to avoid, let me have the have me go; do thou teach me what thou wisdorn to expect.
wouldst have me say or do. The way from Galilee to Judea lay through A mannerly preface leads in a faulty suit: the region of Samaria, if not the city. Christ, “ Master, wilt thou that we command fire now towards the end of his preaching, could to come down from heaven, and consume not but be attended with a multitude of fol- them?” faulty, both in presumption, and in lowers: it was necessary there should be desire of private revenge. I do not bear purveyors and harbingers, to procure lodg-them say, Master, will it please tliee, who ings and provisions for so large a troop. art the sole Lord of the heavens and the Some of his own retinue are addressed to elements, to command fire from heaven this service; they seek not for palaces and upon these men? but, “ Wilt thou that we delicates, but for house-room and victuals. command?” As if, because they had power It was he whose the earth was, and the given them over diseases and unclean spirits, fulness thereof; whose the heavens are, and therefore heaven and earth were in their the mansions therein : yet he, who could managing. How easily might they be mis. have commanded angels, sues to Samari. taken! Their large commission had the just tans; he, that filled and comprehended limits. Subjects, that have munificent grants heaven, sends for shelter in a Samaritan from their princes, can challenge nothing cottage. It was thy choice, O Saviour, to beyond the words of their patent; and if take upon thee the shape, not of a prince, the fetching down fire from heaven were but of a servant. How can we either ne- less than the dispossessing of devils, since glect means, or despise homeliness, when the devil shall enable the beast to do thus thou, the God of all the world, wouldst much, yet how possible is it to do the stoop to the suit of so poor a provision? I greater, and stick at the less, where both
depend upon a delegated power! The ma. I quarrel or dislike of his person, but of his gicians of Egypt could bring forth frogs and nation only: the men had been welcome blood; they could not bring lice. Ordinary had not their country distasted. All the corruption can do that which they could not. charge that I hear our Saviour give to his
It is the fashion of our bold nature, up disciples, in case of their rejection, is, “ If on an inch given to challenge an ell; and, I they receive you not, shake off the dust of where we find ourselves graced with some your feet;" yet this was amongst their own, abilities, to flatter ourselves with the faculty and when they went on that sacred errand of more.
of publishing the gospel of peace. These I granit, faith hath done as great things were strangers from the commonwealth of as ever presumption undertook; but there Israel: this measure was not to preachers, is great difference in the enterprises of both. but to travellers, only a mere inhospitality The one hath a warrant, either by instinct to misliked guests; yet no less revenge will or express command; the other none at serve them than fire from heaven. all. Indeed, had these two disciples either I dare say for you, ye holy sons of Zemeant, or said, Master, if it be thy pleasure bedee, it was not your spleen, but your to command us to call down fire from zeal, that was guilty of so bloody a sugges. heaven, we know thy word shall enable us tion. Your indignation could not but be to do what thou requirest; if the words stirred to see the great Prophet and Saviour be ours, the power shall be thine; this had of the world so unkindly repelled : yet all been but holy, modest, faithful : but if they this will not excuse you from a rash cruelty, supposed there needed nothing save a leave from an inordinate rage. only, and that, might they be but let loose, Even the best heart may easily be mis. they could go alone, they presumed, they carried with a well-meant zeal: no affection offended.
is either more necessary or better accepted. Yet had they thus overshot themselves Love to any object cannot be severed from in some pious and charitable motion, the hatred of the contrary: whence it is, that fault had been the less. Now the act had in all creatures, which have the concupiscible it both cruelty and private revenge. Their part, have also the irascible adjoined unto zeal was not worthy of more praise, than it. Anger and displeasure is not so much their fury of censure. That fire should fall an enemy, as a guardian and champion of down from heaven upon men, is a fearful love: whoever, therefore, is rightly affected thing to think of, and that which hath not to his Saviour, cannot but find much regret been often done. It was done in the case at his wrongs. O gracious and divine zeal, of Sodom, when these five unclean cities the kindly warmth and vital temper of burned with the unnatural fire of hellish piety, whither hast thou withdrawn thyself lust: it was done two several times at the from the cold hearts of men? or is this acsuit of Elijah; it was done, in a height ofcording to the just constitution of the old trial, to that great pattern of patience. I find and decrepit age of the world into which it no more, and tremble at these I find. | we are fallen? How many are there that
But besides the dreadfulness of the judg. think there is no wisdom but in a dull in. ment itself, who can but quake at the differency, and choose rather to freeze than thought of the suddenness of this destruc- burn! How quick and apprehensive are tion, which sweeps away both body and men in cases of their own indignities! how soul, in a state of unpreparation, of unre. insensible of their Saviour's! pentance; so as this fire should but begin a But there is nothing so ill as the corrupworse, this heavenly flame should but kindle tion of the best. Rectified zeal is not more that of hell ?
commendable and useful, than inordinate Thus unconceivably heavy was the re- and misguided is hateful and dangerous. venge but what was the offence? We Fire is a necessary and beneficial element, have learned not to think any indignity but if it be once misplaced, and have caught light, that is offered to the Son of God; but upon the beams of our houses, or stacks of we know these spiritual affronts are capable our corn, nothing can be more direful. of degrees. Had these Samaritans reviled! Thus sometimes zeal turns to murder : Christ and his train, had they violently They that kill you shall think they do assaulted him, had they followed him with God service;" sometimes frenzy, soinetimes stones in their hands, and blasphemies in rude indiscretion. Wholesome and blessed their mouths, it had been a just provocation is that zeal that is well grounded, and well of so horrible a vengeance: now the wrong governed; grounded upon the word of truth, was only negative; “ They received him not upon unstable fancies; governed by aot;" and that, not out of any particular | wisdom and charity; wisdom to avoid rasla.
. (Boor IV. ness and exess; charity, to avoid just any precedent but thine, whose name ve offence.
challenge? Thou camest to thine own, thise No motion can want a pretence: Elias own received thee not. Didst thou call for did so, why rot we? He was a holy pro fire from heaven upon them? didst thou not phet: the occasion, the place, abludes not rather send down water from thy compa much : there wrong was offered to a ser sionate eyes, and weep for them by whom vant, here to his Master; there to a man, thou must bleed? Better had it been for us here to a God and man. If Elias then did never to have had any spirit, than any but it, why not we? There is nothing more thine. We can be no other than wicked, if perilous than to draw all the actions of holy our mercies be cruelty. men into examples, for, as the best men | But is it the name of Elias, o ye des have their weaknesses, so they are not pri. | lots, which ye pretend for a colour of you vileged from letting fall unjustifiable actions. | impotent desire ? Ye do not consider the Besides that, they may have liave had, per difference betwixt his spirit and yours: bis haps, peculiar warrants signed from heaven, was extraordinary and heroical, besides the whether by instinct or special command, | instinct or secret command of God for this which we shall expect in vain. There must act of his ; far otherwise is it with you, be much caution used in our imitation of who, by a carnal distemper, are moved to the best patterns, whether in respect of per this furious suggestion. Those that would sons or things; else we sliall make ourselves imitate God's saints in singular actions, must, apes, and our acts sinful absurdities. see they go upon the same grounds. Witb.
It is a rare thing for our Saviour to find out the same spirit, and the same warrant, fault with the errors of zeal, even where it is either a mockery or a sin to make thea have appeared sensible weaknesses. If our copies. Elias is no fit pattern for dis Moses, in a sacred rage and indignation, ciples, but their Master: “ The Son of man broke the tables written with God's own came not to destroy men's lives, but to save hand, I find him not checked. Here our them." meek Saviour turns back and frowns upon | Then are our actions and intentions war. his furious suitors, and takes them up rantable and praiseworthy, when they ar roundly:. “Ye know not of what spirit ye cord with his. O Saviour, when we look are." "The faults of uncharitableness can- into those sacred acts and monuments i not be swallowed up in zeal. If there were thine, we find many a life which thou preany colour to hide the blemishes of this mis servedst from perishing: some that bad disposition, it should be this crimson dye. | perished by thee recalled; never any by thee But he that needs not our lie, will let us destroyed; only one poor fig-tree, as the know he needs not our injury, and hates to real emblem of thy severity to the unfruit. have a good cause supported by the viola. | ful, was blasted and withered by thy curse. tion of our charity. We have no reason to But to man, how wert thou ever favourdisclaim our passions; even the Son of God able and indulgent! So repelled as thoa chides sometimes, yea, where he loves. It wert, so reviled, so persecuted, laid for, offends not that our affections are moved, sold, betrayed, apprehended, arraigned, conbut that they are inordinate.
demned, crucified, yet what one man dids It was a sharp word, “Ye know not of thou strike dead for these heinons indigni. what spirit ye are:” another man would not ties? Yea, when one of thine enemies lost perhaps have felt it ; a disciple doch. Ten- but an ear in that ill quarrel, thou gaves der hearts are galled with that which the that ear to him who came to take life from carnal mind slighteth. The spirit of Elias | thee. I find some whom thou didst scourse was that which they meant to assume and and correct, as the sacrilegious money. imitate; they shall now know their mark changers ; none whom thou killedst. No was mistaken. How would they have hated that thou either lovest not, or requirest to think, that any other but God's spirit had not the duly severe execution of justice. stirred them up to this passionate motion! | Whose sword is it that princes bear bot now they shall know it was wrouglıt by that thine? Offenders must smart and bleed. ill spirit whom they professed to hate. This is a just sequel, but not the intention
It is far from the good spirit of God to of thy coming; thy will, not thy drift. stir up any man to private revenge, or Good princes make wholesomne lays for thirst of blood. Not an eagle, but a dove, the well-ordering of their people: there is was the shape wherein he chose to appear: no authority without due coercion. The neither wouldst thou, O God, be in the violation of these good laws is followed whirlwind, or in the fire, but in the soft | with death, whose end was preservation, voice. O Saviour, what do we seek for life, order;" and this not so much for te
venge of an offence past, as for prevention O Saviour, give us grace to seek thee, of future mischief.
and patience to wait for thee, and then we How can we then enough love and praise know thou wilt find us, and we remedy. thy mercy, Othou Preserver of men ! How Where do these lepers attend for Chuist should we imitate thy saving and beneficent but in a village ? and that not in the street disposition towards mankind ! as knowing, of it, but in the entrance, in the passage to the more we can help to save, the nearer it: the cities, the towns, were not for them: we come to thee that camest to save all ; | the law of God had shut them out from and the more destructive we are, the more all frequence, from all conversation : care we resemble him who is Abaddon, a mur- of safety, and fear of infection, was motive derer from the beginning.
enough to make their neighbours observant of this piece of the law. It is not the body
only that is herein respected by the God of CONTEMPLATION X, — THE TEN LEPERS. spirits : those that are spiritually contagious
must be still and ever avoided; they must The Samaritans were tainted, not with be separated from us, we must be separated schism, but heresy, yea, paganism; our Sa from them; they from us by just censures, viour yet baulks them not, but makes use or, if that be neglected, we from them by of the way as it lies, and bestows upon a voluntary declination of their familiar them the courtesy of some miracles. Some conversation. Besides the benefit of our kind of commerce is lawful, even with those safety, wickedness would soon be ashamed without: terms of entireness, and leagues of itself, if it were not for the encourage. of inward amity, are here unfit, unwarrant ment of companions. Solitariness is the able, dangerous; but civil respects, and wise fittest antidote for spiritual infection. It uses of them for our convenience or neces. were happy for the wicked man, if he could sity, need not, must not, be forborne. be separated from himself.
Ten lepers are here met. Those that are These lepers that came to seek Christ, excluded from all other society, seek the yet finding him, stand afar off: whether company of each other; fellowship is that for reverence, or for security, God had en. we all naturally affect, though even in le- acted this distance. It was their charge, if prosy; even lepers will flock to their fels they were occasioned to pass through the lows; where shall we find one spiritual leper | streets, to cry out, “I am unclean." It was alone? Drunkards, profane persons, here- no less than their duty to proclaim their tics, will be sure to consort with their | own infectiousness : there was not danger matches: why should not God's saints de only, but sin, in their approach. light in a holy communion ? why is it not How happy were it, if in those wherein our chief joy to assemble in good?
there is more peril, there were more remoteJews and Samaritans could not abide one ness, less silence! O God, we are all lepers another; yet here in leprosy they accord. to thee, overspread with the loathsome Here was one Samaritan leper with the Jew-scurf of our own corruptions: it becomes us ish: community of passion hath made them well, in the conscience of our shame and friends, whom even religion disjoined: what | vileness, to stand afar off. We cannot be virtue there is in misery, that can unite even too awful of thee, too much ashamed of the most estranged hearts!
ourselves. I seek not mystery in the number. These Yet these men, though they be far off in ten are met together, and all meet Christ, the distance of place, yet they are near in pot casually, but upon due deliberation : respect of the acceptance of their prayer: they purposely waited for this opportunity; “ The Lord is near unto all that call upon no marvel if they thought no attendance him in truth.” O Saviour, while we are far Jong, to be delivered from so loathsome and off from thee, thou art near unto us. Never miserable a disease. Great Naaman could dost thou come so close to us, as when be glad to come from Syria to Judea, in hope in a holy bashfulness we stand farthest off. of leaving that hateful guest behind him: Justly dost thou expect we should be at we are all sensible enough of our bodily once bold and bashful. How boldly should infirmities. Othat we could be equally we come to the throne of grace, in respect weary of the sicknesses and deformalities of the grace of that throne! how fearfully, of our better part : surely our spiritual ma in respect of the awfulness of the majesty ladies are no less than mortal, if they be not of that throne, and that unworthiness which healed: neither can they heal alone; these we bring with us into that dreadful premen had died lepers, if they had not met sence! with Christ.
| He that stands near may whisper, but