CHAPTER VIII. Sanctified affliction - A ruler applies to Christ — A parent's

anxiety for the life of his child-Jesus accompanies the rulerAn interruption by the way-A woman relieved of twelve years' affliction—Jesus at the house of Jairus-Mourning at funerals—The ruler's daughter raised-Two blind men restored-A dumb man cured-Miracles wrought in one afternoon-Envy of the pharisees-Solemn admonitions for the

young-Perseverance in prayer— What is faith? The rich and the poor equally need the mercy of Christ. When he was on the earth, “the common people heard him gladly;" but, generally, the learned were too wise in their own esteem to listen to his instructions; the nobles were too proud to be taught by one in the form of a servant; and the rich were too much at ease in the world to attend to the self-denying doctrines which he taught. However, in the town of Capernaum, there were three persons of station and authority who came to our Lord : a nobleman of Herod's court, a centurion of the Roman army, and a ruler of the Jewish synagogue. And, in all three cases, it was affliction in the families that brought them to seek his aid. So it is now; many who, in the days of prosperity, keep away from him, are led, in their seasons of distress, humbly to implore his mercy.


Matt. ix. 18, 19, 23-26; MARK V. 22-24, 35-43; LUKE

viii. 41, 42, 49–56. Our Lord was in the house of Levi, or Matthew, at Capernaum, when there came to him a person of distinction, named Jairus. He appears to have been a man of credit and piety, and was selected from the principal residents in the town, to be a ruler of the synagogue. His duties were, to direct the performance of Divine worship, and to govern the affairs of the synagogue. There were commonly several of these officers in every town, but one ranked higher than the rest, and was called the president, or “father” of the synagogue. Such, it is thought, was Jairus.

This ruler had an afficted daughter, now at the point of death: he had heard of the wonders done in the town, and as he despaired of help from any other, he resolved to apply to Jesus. She was his only daughter, perhaps his only child, one on whom all his hopes were placed. He had watched and guarded her childhood with increasing affection; and now, while she was yet in the bloom of youth, at the early of twelve, he saw her fast sinking into the grave. No doubt, all that skill could do, had been done; and now, as his last hope, he hastened to Christ.

We may suppose we see him, with anxious look, inquiring, as he went along, the way to the house of Levi, and reasoning in his mind, “He healed the nobleman's son, who was in the last extremity, and raised up the centurion's servant, who was beyond human cure; to this blind man he gave sight, to that leper he restored health, and I have heard that he relieved a paralytic who had been thirty and eight years diseased. The fame of his deeds of mercy has reached my ear, nor can I find that he ever turned any suppliant away.

I will try what he will do for me: surely, he will hear me also, when I ask him to heal my child !"

He arrived at the house where Jesus was instructing the people, and falling at his feet, he worshipped him. With all the earnestness of a parent pleading for the life of a child,“ he besought him greatly" to come immediately to his house, for his "little daughter,"* was at the point of death. The pharisees were present: it was but lately they were inquiring, "Have any of the rulers believed on him?" and now they behold one at his feet, paying him the highest honours.

He had faith in Christ's healing power, though • She was in her twelfth year. The Talmud defines, that a daughter, till she had completed twelve years, "little," or " a little maid;" but when she became of the full age of twelve years, and one day over, she was considered a young woman."-Lightfoot.

was called

it was not so strong as the Roman centurion's, who believed that he was able to heal at a distance, Matt. viii. 8; while Jairus thought it was necessary for him to come to the house, and that, after the manner of the Jewish prophets, he must lay his hands on the child.

Jesus did not keep the anxious father in suspense, for he was ever willing promptly to attend to the cry of distress. He might, as in former instances, have commanded a blessing without leaving the spot where he sat; but there was another miracle to be wrought by the way;

therefore he arose, and went forth, followed by a large number of the people.

Jairus led the way: affection for his child urged his speed along the road. Oh, the animating hope of again receiving her to his arms in health! Every moment was precious, lest she should die before they arrived; but the tardy and heedless crowd thronged the pathway, and hindered their progress. And now

a more. prolonged delay arose!

Matt, ix. 20—22 ; MARK v. 25—34; LUKE viii. 43—48.

In the crowd was a poor afflicted woman, who had probably been an eye-witness of the Saviour's power, or had conversed with those on whom it had been mercifully exercised; and the thought had arisen in her mind, that, if she applied, she might also obtain a cure.

Her case was very grievous, and of long standing: for twelve years she had been oppressed with the affliction. In her anxiety to have her health restored, “ she had suffered many things of the physicians.” She


had used the means which appeared likely to restore her health, and this was right: for if we say we trust in God, while we refuse those means which are suited to our case, we only tempt him; while to depend on them alone, is to dishonour him. She had freely parted with her property, in hope of finding health; but as year succeeded year, “ instead of getting better, she rather grew worse;" when, at length, she found herself reduced to poverty, unable to earn her living, and her disease pronounced incurable. In this hopeless state, she heard that Jesus was

She formed her resolution in faith, and hrastened to join the multitude as they passed along. The crowd heedlessly thrust her aside, as she struggled to reach our Lord. Another effort, and then another, and at length she was by his side. And now her courage failed her; she dared not tell him of her misery, but shrunk, fearing and trembling, behind him. It is possible she had heard of “ the multitude" who, a short time before, “sought to touch him ; for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all.” Luke vi. 19.

She reached forth her trembling hand, and silently and secretly touched the border, or fringe, of his outer garment—the square mantle, or vesture, thrown over his shoulders. * Like as the subjects of an eastern prince, when presenting their petitions, touch the end of his robe, as an

*“ The Jewish mantle, or upper garment, was considered as consisting of four quarters, called, in the oriental idiom, wings. Every wing contained one quarter, whereat was suspended a tust of threads, or strings, according to the command in Numb. xv. 38; Deut. xxii. 12. What are there called fringes, are those strings; and the four quarters of the vesture are the four corners,” Dr. Campbell.

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