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that they were called to follow a Master who had power over the creatures of the deep, and over the most raging diseases.
1. In the conduct of Peter, we are taught to “show piety at home:" this is often delightfully seen in caring for an aged or afflicted mother. Let it not be forgotten that it is the Scripture that says, “ Despise not thy mother when she is old,” Prov. xxiii. 22.
2. A lesson of gratitude to God is also taught from the conduct of Peter's wife's mother. If it be wicked to forget the kindness of an earthly parent, it is much more so to be ungrateful for the blessings which come from our Father in heaven. And yet how few render to the Lord according to the benefits they have received ! Many promise, if restored to health, that they will spend the rest of their lives in the ways of piety: they soon, however, forget the goodness of God toward them.
MANY JIEALED ON THE SABBATH EVENING. Matt. viii. 16, 17; iv. 23–25; MARK I. 32-34; LUKE iv. 40–42.
When the sun was setting on the sabbath day, and the cool breeze of evening was favourable to the carrying of the afflicted, there were brought to Jesus, on their beds and couches, all in the neighbourhood that were sick, and others that were tormented by devils. As the Jewish sabbath ended at the setting of the sun, the people felt no scruple in carrying the afflicted, and laying them at the feet of Jesus, after that hour. If we had seen the sight, we might have turned away from the sickly objects as they lay on the ground: but not so the gracious Redeemer; he turned an eye of mercy on them, and though they may have been very many, and their cases very desperate, as the Lord of life and health he healed them all. The news soon spread; and what a sight to behold in the twilight of a sabbath evening! Here, perhaps, was a party carrying a bed-ridden neighbour to be healed; and there a fond mother hurrying along with a sick infant in her arms; now came the aged blind, led by a little grandchild's hand; while others of the afficted, who had no friendly aid, slowly made their way to share the Saviour's mercy. On one spot, we may imagine, stood a cluster of spectators praising the mighty deeds; and on another were the recovered, casting themselves at their Deliverer's feet, overcome with gratitude and joy. Oh! what rejoicing was heard that night through all the place! In one house, it may be, was a father restored to his delighted family; in another, a sick daughter raised up, to the great joy of her parents; and in a third dwelling, the son of a poor widow, sitting by her side, while the tears fowed down her cheeks at seeing her dear boy well again. Each one had to tell of an unheard of cure, and every mouth was full of the praises of Him who had done all things well. Never before did a sabbath close so happily on the city of Capernaum.
Night now set in, and slowly and reluctantly the people withdrew to their houses, leaving the Saviour alone with his disciples. Late as it was before he retired to rest, yet he arose the next morning “a great while before day!" The repose of Christ must have been brief indeed. He broke in upon the hours of rest for prayer. morning, rising up a great while before day, he
" In the
went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed;" and thus taught, that though we may be busy in doing good, we must not neglect private devotion.
We cannot imitate our Lord in the wonderful works he did, yet we may in his practice of early rising for secret prayer. It was not for himself he prayed; he had no sins of his own to confess: he pleaded for those who should believe on his name.
After Jesus had left the cold mountain, where he had spent some hours in communion with his Father, he did not return to Capernaum; but went about all Galilee,“ teaching the people, and healing all diseases, and those that were sick.' Another cluster of miracles, which are recorded with the simplest brevity, doubtless made glad the hearts of many, and showed forth the Saviour's grace and power.
CHAPTER IV The leprosy-A leper cleansed – The leprosy of the soul-How
removed-Many healed at Capernaum-Paralytic healedRoofs of eastern houses—Christ opposed in his works of mercy-Eastern beds—Jesus is Divine.
A LEPER CLEANSED.
Matt. viii. 2–4; MARK I. 40—45; LUKE v. 12.–15. After the miracles at Capernaum, Jesus “ went throughout Galilee,” teaching the people, and healing those that were sick. Galilee was a country about sixty miles long, and thirty broad; and, according to Josephus, contained two hundred and fifty cities, with a large population : it may, therefore, be understood, that it was into many, or the principal of these cities, that Christ went at this time. The chief city was Tiberias, where Herod, the “ tetrarch of Galilee," probably resided, Luke iii. 1. It has been thought that this city was not visited by our Lord, as Herod, who beheaded John the Baptist, also sought his life, Matt. xiv. 3—11; Luke xiii. 31.
Our Lord, upon one occasion, came down from the mountain, where he had been preaching, followed by a train of people. As they drew nigh to one of the cities, a poor leper humbly implored his aid; and, to enforce the truths he had just made known, he resolved to show before the multitude his power over this dreadful disease.
A leper ! how little do we understand of the dreadful misery of such an unhappy creature ! As this disease is now almost unknown in our country, in its severe form, it is passed over, in reading the Scriptures, as one of the common afflictions of life; though at one time it was common even in Europe; and hospitals, called lazar-houses, (after the leper Lazarus,) were erected in most countries. At first, small red spots suddenly appeared on the face, which gradually increased in number and size, till the whole body became like one sore. after a time, had a covering of small scales, of an ashy colour, which gave a deadly white appearance to the whole body: hence it was called leprosy, derived from a Greek word meaning “white. There were lepers
white as snow,” Exod. iv. 6; Numb. xii. 10; 2 Kings v. 27. The blood became corrupt; the hair fell off ; the eyes were red and bloodshot; the joints were weakened ; the flesh tell away: and so little strength was