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really alive, and in full health, Jesus “ commanded that something should be given her to eat.” In the surprise and joy of receiving back their child to life, the parents might have forgotten that sickness and death had reduced her frame, and that she now needed food to support and nourish life: besides, he designed they should understand, that having restored her by miracle, she was now to be sustained by the use of means.
“The parents and all present were astonished with a great astonishment;" they had hoped he would raise their sick child, but to restore their dead child was more than had entered into their minds : " but he charged them strictly that they should tell no man what was done.” Yet such numbers had gathered about the house, from whom the miracle could not be concealed, that the fame of it was spread throughout all the country. It has been conjectured, that the reason for enjoining secresy on this occasion was, to prevent the dead being brought to him to be restored to life. Sufficient miracles were wrought to prove him to be the Son of God, but it was not intended needlessly to alter the course of nature.
If our Lord had sought his own ease, he had just bestowed on the family of Jairus, would have insured him a home, and all the comforts which grateful hearts could offer. What could parents have with held from Him who had raised a darling child from death? With what delight would the “ little maid,” have waited upon her kind Deliverer! But his “ meat was to do the will of Him that sent him, and to finish his work,” John iv. 34. He had made the
whole family happy, and now he must go forth to make others happy too.
TWO BLIND MEN RESTORED.
MATT, ix. 27–31.
As he passed from the ruler's house, two blind men, who had heard that he was there, and who waited for his coming out, cried, “ Thou Son of David, have mercy on us !” as though they had said, “0, pity our darkness and misery: see how helpless and useless we are. We know thou canst restore to us our precious sight, and we have heard thou hast just raised a child to life; wilt thou not have compassion on us, O thou Son of David ?”
In calling Jesus by the name of “Son of David,” they showed their faith. The Jews were all agreed that the Messiah should be of the house of David, according to the ancient prophecy, Isa. ix. 6, 7 ; xvi. 5. The angel Gabriel, in announcing the birth of a son to Mary, referred to this prediction, Luke i. 32; and there was, at this time, a general expectation of his appearance. These two poor blind men openly declared that he had appeared, that he who did such wonderful miracles was the long-expected Messiah ; and in this character they humbly claimed his aid. They were, perhaps, the more bold in asking that their eyes should be opened, because to give eye-sight to the blind was one of the peculiar marks of the true Messiah.
Jesus, as a trial of their faith, appeared not to regard their prayer; and they followed him to the house where he was going: as they went along, they repeated their mournful cry, * Thou Son of David, have mercy on us!”
They groped their way into the house, and Jesus, seeing their perseverance, asked them, “ Believe ye, that I am able to do this ?” They earnestly declared their faith in his ability: then, touching their eyes, he said, “ According to your faith be it unto you,” and in an instant they saw all things around them in their beauty and brightness. They were then charged to tell no man of it, probably lest the Jews should seek to make Jesus a temporal ruler. The joy and zeal of the two men, however, led them to disobey the command that was given to them, for they departed and made known through all the country the Saviour's fame.
The gift of sight to these blind men was widely different to the cures sometimes obtained by surgical skill.
When a man has his sight restored by human means, it is commonly a tedious and painful operation; and for a long time the sight is very tender, so that objects cannot be seen clearly. Here the blessing was conferred without pain, and in a moment the two men were able steadily to gaze on the objects that were around, in the full light of day. Well might the suddenness and completeness of their cure fill their mouths with praise, and the people with astonishment.
A DUMB MAN RESTORED.
MATT ix. 32-34.
No sooner had these men departed, than another afflicted object waited the healing power of the great Physician. Behold, they brought to him a dumb man ;” and to this was added the still more distressing affliction, of being possessed with?
demon: under the cover of the natural disorder, Satan held his dominion. They presented the poor mute before the compassionate Saviour : we do not read that anything was said ; his case needed not the eloquence of words. The eye
of mercy rested on him, and immediately the wicked spirit was cast out, when the man was restored to the use of his speech.
The people exclaimed, with wonder, “ It was never so seen in Israel !” Of all the mighty deeds we have heard of old time, surely they are surpassed by the miracles which we have seen done to-day! « The admiration of the people,” says Dr. Lightfoot, “ is extremely natural; for none of their prophets, not even Moses, had ever equalled Christ in the variety and greatness of their miracles, and the facility with which they were wrought. Here are four miracles, chiefly of the highest kind, performed in the course of one afternoon—the infirm woman, the raising of the daughter of Jairus, the cure of two blind men, and the ejecting of the evil spirit from the dumb.”
The pharisees shared not in the joy that was diffused through so many hearts, but in their malice they repeated their wicked charge, “ He casteth out the devils through the prince of the devils.” Surely, this was the height of blasphemy, the language of Satan, who is the father of lies ! Matt. xii. 32; John viii. 44. As they could not deny that miracles had been wrought; they asserted that they were done by magic, or diabolical assistance. But their hostility confirms the truth of the Gospel miracles; for “had the Jews been universally or generally converted by them,” says Dr. Graves, “the sceptic in our days miglit
argue, with some appearance of probability, that the facts had been invented to gratify the national propensity, and had been credited without examination or proof. On the contrary, we are now certain that the Gospel miracles were wrought in the presence of enemies, and thus subjected to the severest scrutiny; and that they carried with them conviction to multitudes, notwithstanding the fiercest opposition which national prejudice, bigotry, and vice could excite, and the strictest search which could be made by the most vigilant hostility."
Such were the different effects on those who saw the miracles : what is the improvement which youthful readers should make of them?
1. The early death of the Jewish maiden admonishes them, that none are too young to die. When a beloved child is now laid on a dying bed, there is no Saviour on earth to whom sorrowing parents can apply, with the earnest prayer, “ Come down, and raise my son; restore my daughter to health again.” Once dead, the state is fixed for ever. Happy will it be for all those who have loved and obeyed Christ in the days of their health ! for, when they die, instead of their bodies being raised to life again for a few short years, amidst the sorrows of this world, their souls shall be raised to live with him for ever in the kingdom of heaven.
2. We are encouraged to persevere in prayer. It is true we cannot go to Christ, like Jairus, and plead with him face to face, as a man pleads with his friend; nor can we touch the hem of his garment, like the diseased woman; nor can follow him from place to place, like the blind