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rify'd God: meaning, that the Awe and Dread with which they were struck at the sight of this Miracle, put them upon Praises and Acknowledgments unto God of his infinite Power and Goodness, giving him all the Glory of these marvellous and miraculous Acts, and rendring all due Thanks for the Good and Benefit they receiv'd by them. This is a Tribute we owe for all the daily and common Favours of Providence, but much more for these extraordinary and astonishing Acts of his Bounty ; saying with the Pfalmist, Unto thy Name be all the Glory; and how excellent is thy Name in all the World!
3dly, The sight of this Miracle done by our Saviour, mov'd all the People with one Voice to say, that a great Prophet was risen up among them, and that God had visited his people. That a great Prophet was to come, they learnt from the Prophecy reveald to Moses, Deut, 18. 18. A Prop phet Mall the Lord thy God raise up like unto thee, and to him they mall hearken : which is quoted by the Apostle, Acts 3. 22. & Chap. 7. 37. That this Prophet should come with a Power of working Miracles, such as raising the Dead, and healing all manner of Diseases, they had learnt froni the other Prophets, and that the time of his coming was then at hand, they concluded from sundry Prophecies to that purpose.
Now when Christ came doing such great and wonderful Works, and shewing himself a Prophet so mighty in Word and Deed, some faid, We have found him of whom Moses in tbe Lam and the Prophets did write, John 1.45. Others said, Of a truth this is that Prophet that mould come into the World, John 6. 14. And these in our Text, that a great Prophet is risen up arong us. This they gather'd partly from the Excellency of his Doctrine, for no Man (say they) ever Spake like him; and partly from the Greatness of his Works, for no Man (say others) ever did the Works that he doth. And being thus mighty in Word and Deed, they well enough concluded from both, that this was that Prophet or proniis'd Messiah, that was to come for the revealing of God's Will, and the Redemption of Mankind : by both which God is here said to have visited his people; that is, he hath fent one in our own Nature to pity our Condition, to relieve our Wants, and to visit us with his Salvation : which made Zachariah fall a blessing of God, for thus visiting and redeeming his People, and raising up a Horn of Salvation for them, out of the House of his Servant David; Luke 1. 68, &c.
The Fame as well as the Benefit of it is gone abroad into the World. And this will lead us to the
Last Thing recorded of this Miracle; and that is, that this Rumour of him went forth throughout all Judea, and all the Regions round about. The Fame of his Miracles, and the Testimony they gave to the Truth of his Messiahship, spread into all parts, infomuch that all Galilee, and the Cities of Judea and Palestine, and all the circumambient Regions round about them, receiv'd the Report of him : which drew many to see and partake of the Benefit of his Miracles, and thereby become Profelytes and Converts to his Doctrine.
Thus we see the Miracle here related in all its Circumstances and Effects, the greatest indeed of all Miracles, which is the raising of a dead Person to Life, the fole Work of a Divine Power and Goodness. It remains only to infer a few practical Lessons from the whole : And,
It, From Christ's Readiness to go from the Centurion's Servant at Jerusalem, to the Widow's Son at Nain, we may learn not to omit any Opportunities of doing good to the Bodies or Souls of Men.We see here how forward and sollicitous our Saviour was about both, making no Scru. ples or Delays in serving of either; but cheerfully embracing all Opportunities of contributing to their bodily Health, and promoting their eternal Welfare. He sooner wanted ()bjects, than Will to thew Kindness; and nothing pleas'd him better, than to find Men to have Faith enough to come to him, and to be heal'd by him. This was the Business, the Recreation, and the whole Employment of our Blessed Lord ; and nothing renders us more like unto him, than a Desire and Delight in doing good in the best way and manner that we are able.
2dly, From our Saviour's compassionating and comforting the disconfolate Widow upon the Death of her dear and only Son, we may learn to commiserate and condole with each other upon the Loss of Friends and Relations, and to bear a part as well in the Sorrows as Joys of one another. We are apt and forward enough to share in the Comforts and Prosperity of others, and to rejoice with them that rejoice ; but are commonly too shy and backward in pitying or partaking in their Troubles and Misfortunes, and to weep with them that weep: The one gratifies the Corruption, but the other tends more to the Perfection of our Nature; and
our Saviour's Example here directs us as much or more to the latter than the former, for we often read that he wept and shed Tears, but never that he laugh’d, or indulg'd himfelf in too much Mirth.
3dly, From the Miracle here wrought in railing the Widow's dead Child to Life again, we may learn farther to confirm our Faith in him, and to take him for the Son of God, and the Saviour of the World, for the mighty Works that were done by him, which nothing lefs than a Divine Power and Goodness were able to effect. Miracles are the Broad Seal of Heaven, which is never fet to any Commifsion but what comes from God; which made Nicodemus, a Ruler of the Jews, fay to our Saviour, I know that thou art a Teacher come from God, for none can do the Works that thou doft, except God were with him ; John 3.1, 2. These Miracles abundantly testify his Mission, that his Doctrine is divine, and contains the Words of eternal Life, and that his Precepts are the best, the wisest, and the safest Rules to lead us to it: And therefore it must be not only our Duty, but our Wisdom and truest Interest to receive the one, and to obey the other.
4thly, From the Fear that fell on the People at the fight of this Miracle, we may learn to fear the Lord and his Goodness, as 'twas promis'd and prophesy'd of the latter Days, Hosea 3.5. Let us fear to offend' so great and so good a God, who is able to do such great things for our Happiness or our Destruction. Such was the Fear of these in this Gospel, a Fear of Astonishment, that set them a wondering at the Greatness of his Power; not a Fear of Desperation, to make themi distrust his Goodness : for we find their fear did not drive them from, but to him ; it led them to the admiring and adoring his infinite Power, and instead of falling away, they fell to glorifying of God. From whence we may learn,
Sthly, To give God the Glory of all his Mercies ; not afcribing any thing to our felves, to our own Power or Merits, but acknowledging our Weakness and Worthleffness, and adoring his Power and Goodness in all the ordinary and extraordinary Acts of his Providence towards us.
6thly, From their unanimous owning this great Prophet to be risen up among them, let us learn to do likewise, and to bless God for thus visiting us with his Salvation,
Lastly, From the Rumour that went of him throughout all the Country and Regions round about, let us learn to
publish his Honour, and to spread the Fame of his Miracles and good works to Mankind.
Upon the whole, let us take heed of an evil Heart of Unbelief, in departing from the Truths of the Gospel reveal'd to us. Remember the Fate of Corazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, who for not believing in Christ, when they heard his Doctrine and faw his Miracles, were fentenc'd to a more heavy and intolerable Doom than Tyre and Sydon, and other barbarous Nations, where the Sound of these things never came and better would it be for us, not to have known the ways of Righteousness, than having known them, to depart from the holy Commandment. In a word therefore, let us all say with him in the Gospel, and fay it heartily, Lord I believe, help my Unbelief.
The EPISTLE for the Seventeenth Sunday after
that ye walk worthy of the Vocation wherewith ye are called, with all Lowliness and Meekness, with Long-suffering, forbearing one another in Love ; endeavouring to keep the Unity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace. There is one Body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called into one Hope of your Calling, &c.
E are taught to pray, in the Collect for this Day, that the Grace of God may always prevent and
follow us, and make us to be continually given to all good Works, thro Jesus Christ our Lord. To this end,
St. Paul, then a Prisoner at Rome for the Cause of Christ, makes mention in the Epistle for this Day, of some of those Graces and good Works, that we are continually to Vol. IV. Part 2.
follow and be given to; beginning in the first Verse with a general Exhortation to these Ephesians, and in them to all Christians, to walk worthy of the Vocation wherewith they were calld. Where by the Vocation wherewith they were calld, is meant the Christian Profesion, by which they were call'd out of their former Heathen State to a State of Christianity ; that is, to become Christians, and to embrace the Christian Faith, revealed to them by the Gospel.
To walk worthy of this Vocation, is to lead holy Lives suitable to the Commands and Obligations it lays upon us. So St. Peter expounds it, That as be which bath call us is holy, so we mould be holy' in all manner of Conversation, because it is written, Be ye boly, for I am holy: 1 Pet. I. 15, 16. From this general Exhortation he proceeds to fome of those particular Graces, which we pray may always prevent and follow us, to wit, that our good Works may be done,
ift, With all Lomliness; that is, with a humble and lowly Opinion of our selves, free from all Pride, Vanity, and Loftiness of Spirit.
2dly, With all Meekness; that is, with all Mildness and Gentleness of Behaviour towards others, free from all Paf fion, Prejudice, or Partiality.
3dly, With Long-suffering; that is, with a patient bearing of leffer Wrongs and Injuries, free from sudden Rage or Thoughts of Revenge.
Athly, With forbearing one another in Love ; that is, bear. ing with the Inarmities, and hiding the Indiscretions of each other, free from all Censuring, Detraction, and Backbiting. These are some of the principal Graces and Vertues, that answer and adorn our Chriftian Profession, and they that live in the practice of them, may be truly faid to walk worthy of the Vocation wherewith they are calld.
But the chiefest Vertue here prescrib'd and insisted on for that purpose, is the living together in Unity and Peace, as becometh good Christians and good Subjects. To this we are directed in the next words, Endeavouring to keep the Vnity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace. The Unity of the Spirit is that to which we are call’d, and by which we are united by the Holy Spirit. : 'Tis often express’d and illustrated in Scripture by the Union that is between the Body and the Soul ; that as all the Members of the natural Body are join'd together and united by one Soul, so all the Members of Christ's mystical Body the Church are united and ani