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skill to save the life of his child, but the physicians had given up all hope. Oh! how the fond parent's heart must have sunk within him, when he was told that his darling boy must die! One only hope to him remained : he had heard of Jesus, or he might have seen him lately pass over that part of the country, and he thought if he could but obtain his aid the child might yet be saved.
It was well that this courtier did not scorn Jesus, like most of his countrymen. Great and rich as he was, and though he must have been grieved to leave the sick-bed of his child, he came himself to Christ. He did not send his servants ; a father's love prompted him to become himself the humble suppliant. With haste he drew nigh, and earnestly besought our Lord that he would
come down, and heal his son." Here was faith ; he thought that Christ could relieve the almost hopeless case: yet there was some unbelief lingering in his heart. He had perhaps come at a venture—as a last resource. Our Lord perceived that unbelieving thoughts were lingering in his heart; and, with a gentle reproof, said, “ Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.” Or this rebuke may have been addressed to the Jews that stood around. The Samaritans had just believed on his word, though he had wrought no miracle in their midst, John iv. 42; but of the Jews he once said, “ A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign,” Matt. xvi. 4: they were eager to have their curiosity gratified, while they cherished their unbelief.
And was this the only answer that was to be given to the anxious father? only a reproach! was. there no hope of assistance? He again urged his request; for thoughts of his dying child made him importunate: “Come down ere my child die."* He thought that Jesus must come down to the house, to see his son, and touch him, or pray over him, like Elijah, 1 Kings xvii. 17-23, before the child could be healed; and he was fearful, if he should delay, that it would be too late.
Our Lord now showed him that he could heal his son as well at a distance as near at hand, and directed him to go home, for that his child would recover, and was now out of danger.
His faith triumphed: he did not stand to debate at the strange command to return alone to his home, nor did he ask, “ What if, on my return, I find my
beloved child a corpse !” Although it was the first instance in which Jesus had healed at a distance, he believed Christ's word; and instead of hurrying home that night, he appears, from the answer which his servants afterwards made, to have been only on the way to his house on the following day, when they met him with the welcome tidings. How different were the feelings that filled his heart as he trod his way homewards, to those he felt as he went up to Cana!
While the nobleman was away from his house, we may imagine the deep distress of those who attended on the dying boy, and their surprise at his sudden and unaccountable recovery. has thus described the scene.
“The expression ‘Come down,' applied to Capernaum, is singularly illustrated by the features of the country : for, in fact, the whole route from Cana, according to the position of the place now so called, is a continued descent towards Capernaum." -Dr. E. Clarke's Travels.
On life's last edge, relentless fever's prey,
The servants, while on their way to Cana, to communicate the joyful news of the child's recovery, were met by the nobleman. The father anxiously inquired when he began to amend: they replied, that the fever left him at the seventh hour, about one o'clock in the afternoon of the preceding day. Overjoyed at these glad tidings, he knew it was the same hour that Jesus had said unto him, " Thy son liveth.”
A benevolent mind finds delight in removing sorrow from the human heart, and in doing good to the body; but that pleasure is increased, should the removal of temporal distress be sanctified, and awaken a concern for the salvation of the soul. Such was the happy result in the house of the nobleman: “Himself believed, and his whole house." If our Lord had gone with the father, he would not have had such a proof of the Divine power; he might have thought that Christ's ability was limited by distance; but now he saw that neither disease nor distance could oppose his will. And when he related to his family the gracious way in which the Saviour listened to his request, and when they saw before their eyes
the answer that was given, they were filled with gratitude and love. They received his doctrines, owned his authority, and became his disciples; and to this nobleman was granted the honour of being the first person of rank who received the faith.
1. This narrative teaches us, that the children of the rich are alike liable with the children of the poor, to affliction. In the mansions of the great are many youthful sufferers; and though they may lie on downy couches, and be surrounded with all the luxuries of life, yet in these they cannot find relief; and, at death, they are borne from the stately dwellings of their noble parents to the solitude and corruption of the grave. How important is it, then, that the youthful rich, and the youthful poor, should alike seek to Christ for his grace; so that, should they die in early life, they may ascend to render nobler service in heaven!
2. We also see, that affliction in a family is often overruled for good. It brought the nobleman to Christ: so it has thousands of all ranks. There has been sanctified affliction in a palace.
3. If, in the mercy of God, the young are raised from beds of affliction, let them devote their spared lives to the glory of Christ. Of those who are restored to health, how few render again according to the benefits done unto them! 2 Chron. xxxii. 25.
Prophecy fulfilled-Christ preaches on the sea shore-Fishing
in the night-Miraculous draught of fishes_Success of the apostles-Encouragement to labour-Demoniacs—A Demoniac restored—Satan's malice and power-Christ's visit to Simon and Andrew-Simon's wife's mother healed— Piety at home--Gratitude for mercies-Miracles on the sabbath evening—The Saviour's devotions.
Our Lord left Cana, and went to reside at Capernaum, “which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim,” according to the word of the prophet, Isa. ix. 1, 2. This town is described, by Josephus, as standing in a