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men. Nor need we so act; for he is now in heaven, and men in all countries may now have access to him, at all times, and in all circumstances. We can, however, imitate them by the sincerity and fervour of our prayers, by humbling ourselves at his feet, and by trusting in his power and goodness.
3. In Jairus, and others, who went to Christ, we see what faith is, and how it acts. They applied to him under a sense of their want; they knew that no human power could help them, and they came to him believing that he was able and willing to relieve them. In this way sinners should approach the Saviour, As surely as the virtue that went from him delivered the woman from her disease, so the sinner shall find that his blood cleanseth from all sin ; and as certainly as his Divine
power raised the ruler's daughter from the dead, so shall he raise up those “dead in trespasse and sins,” to live a new life of faith and obedience, and call us forth from the grave at the day of the resurrection.
CHAPTER IX. The love of Christ-Ingratitude and unbelief of the Jews-Jesus
rejected by the Nazarenes—Retires into a desert-Feeds five thousand — A beautiful sight - Confidence in providenceGratitude for mercies-Benevolence and frugality.–The Bread of life-The disciples at sea-Sudden storms—Christ walks on the waters—Many miracles—Secret prayer— Tempting GodHealing of the daughter of the woman of Canaan—Maternal
love-Perseverance, humility, and faith. In tracing our gracious Lord's progress as he went about doing good, we observe the ancient prophecy fulfilled: “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief,” Isa. liii. 3. Deeds of mercy were regarded with
indifference or scorn, and almost every new expression of his love was an occasion for renewed insult. A spirit so pure and tender as his, could not but deeply feel such indignities. If his love had been only human, it would have been quenched by the continued ingratitude and unkindness with which he was every where treated; but it was the love of Him who foresaw what he must pass through, and who, when he actually did endure it, repented not that he had come to save a sinful and unthankful race. His conduct most touchingly illustrates his own benevolent precept:
" Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate
for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you," Matt. v. 44.
It was not so much the unkindness of the people, as their unbelief, that deprived them of the blessings he was willing to bestow. In no case was this more evident than among the inhabitants of Nazareth, where he had been brought up.* It might have been supposed that this place would receive peculiar favours at his hand; yet it was otherwise. The Nazarenes knew his humble
“ The situation of Nazareth is very retired, and it is said that, on account of this seclusion, the worthless characters of Galilee resorted thither, till, at length, the town became a proverb for wickedness. In this town, among such a race of men, did the blessed Jesus live thirty years, in calm submission to his Father's will, obeying in obscurity for us.”'- Narrative of a Mission of Inquiry, sent out by the Church of Scotland in 1839.
“Of all the towns of Judea and Galilee, Nazareth was peculiarly despised, as the habitation of the dregs of the people, and as having never produced an illustrious personage.
This accounts for Nathanael saying to Philip, “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth ?' Pilate undoubtedly had it in view, when, by way of mockery, he wrote a title, and put it on the cross, • Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.'"-Claude.
family, and his former lowly state, and because he appeared in circumstances no better than their own, they held him in contempt. On his first preaching in the town they tried to kill him, Luke iv. 29; and on his returning to the city after raising the ruler's daughter, " they were offended in him”-rejected him, and the doctrines he taught. They would not come to him for help, so that “ he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, because of their unbelief.” He then left the town; left the people in all their prejudices and sins, and, as far as it is known, never returned to it again. In every age since then, pride and unbelief have kept men from coming to Christ, to receive the blessings of his grace.
III-used and rejected as he was by the Nazarenes, it was not possible that his own sufferings should lead him to forget that he had come to seek and to save the lost. He went a tour through many cities and villages, and as he passed, he taught the people, and “healed every sickness and disease. The evangelists do not record what places were visited during this journey, which is supposed to have occupied several months.
How interesting would be the narrative of all Jesus said and did, during this time! and yet all we know is contained in one verse, of about four lines.
FIVE THOUSAND FED BY MIRACLE.
JOHN vi. 5-14.
The disciples were sent into different parts 10 preach the gospel: on their return, they “ told him all things they had done, and what they had
taught.” After these labours of the Divine Master and his servants, they withdrew into a desert place for rest; for the intrusion of the people had become so great, “ that they had no leisure so much as to eat,” nor for devotion. They privately crossed the lake, and proceeded to a large tract of uncultivated land, near the city of Bethsaida.* The people soon heard of his departure, hastened round the shore, and got to the place where he was to land, before the boat arrived. Beholding the labour and anxiety of the multitude, he had compassion on them. He saw they were ignorant, yet were willing to be taught; and though he was tired, and they had broken on his retirement, he received them with his usual forbearance and kindness. Soon the sick began to arrive, and were laid around him, while with prayerful words and looks they besought his gracious aid. He glanced an eye pity on them, and healed them all. Then sitting down on the side of a mountain, he instructed the people in his heavenly doctrine.
This is considered to have occurred about the end of the month of March; and as the season is more advanced in that land than in our country, all the verdure and beauty of an eastern spring were around them. One evangelist notices that “there was much grass in the place,” John vi.
• The situation of this town is uncertain. Dr. Clarke mentions a tradition of the scene of the miracle. " As we rode from the village of Hatti towards the sea of Tiberias, the guides pointed to a sloping spot from the height on our right, whence we had descended, as the place where the miracle was performed of our Saviour feeding the multitude : it is therefore called “The Multiplication of Bread ;' as the mount above, where the sermon was preached to his disciples, is called 'The Mouutain of Beati. tudes.''