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Christ retires to Nain, a City of Galilee, where he raises a Widow's only Son from the Dead: He receives Messengers from John the Baptist, and gives his Testimony concerning him: After which he dines with Simon the Leper, where he is anointed by Mary, whose affection he acknowledges and rewards.
WHILE the apostles were proceeding through the several cities of Judea, executing the commission of their Divine Master, our great Redeemer was carrying on the work of his mission in Galilee; and when they had returned to our Lord, they accompanied him and his disciples to Nain, a city near mount Tabor, where he was followed by a great multitude of people. On their approaching the gate of the city, a scene of the most affecting affliction and distress presented it. self to their view; Behold there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. What an affecting scene was this, and how was the affliction and distress of the mournful parent heightened by every circumstance which could make it the more bitter? A young man cut down, probably in his prime, and followed to the grave by his weeping parent. With slow and solemn steps, scarce able to bear up under the load of her woes, the mourning matron follows the dead to interment, attended by her affected friends and neighbours, who had strove in vain to comfort her for the loss of her only son; for the young man was the only son of his mother, on whom perhaps she depended for support; and to render her affliction to the last degree heavy and insupK. she was a widow. With tender pity our great edeemer beheld this daughter of affliction, and immediately exerted his divine power for relief. There was no need of any intercessor to prevail with the blessed Jesus to attend to such a case as this; his own compassion was sufficient to excite him to relieve her.
The evangelist informs us, that when the Lord sate her, he had compassion on her, and gently approaching, he bid her forbear to weep. But so great was her loss, that it had opened all the sluices of sorrow, and it was in vain to bid her refrain from tears. Her husband was no more, and now she had lost her only son, the surviving image of his departed father, and the last hope of her afflicted soul. What comfort in the ordinary course of nature could be administered to this mournful widow She had lost her husband; she had lost her son. What distress could be more overwhelming? What case could be more deplorable? And how natural is it to suppose that she should refuse to be comforted ; and to determine to go down to the grave with mourning. Our Lord well knew the weight of her affliction and the heavy pressure of her present grief, and therefore used no arguments to comfort her; but approaching the corpse, he touched the bier. The funeral procession immediately stood still, and the whole train in silent expectation awaited the event: when that powerful voice, which one day the dead shall hear, and they that hear shall live, soon uttered these remarkable words, young man, I say to thee arise: no sooner had our great Redeemer spoke, but the joyful event followed: he that was dead sat up, and began to speak, and he restored him to his mother. With what emotions of joy must we suppose this mournful mother would receive her only son thus unexpectedly rescued from the cold arms of death ! What a flood of tenderness would burst upon the soul, and with what gratitude and joy would she behold his great deliverer, who did not make any shew of this stupenduous miracle amongst the multitude of his followers, and the attendants on the funeral, but immediately delivered the revived young man to his late afflicted, but now wondering and rejoicing mother, as a testimony that this great work was wrought in compassion to her distress. The surrounding multitudes beheld this wonderful event with a mixture of astonishment, pleasure, holy awe, and fear; and they glorified God saying, that a great prophet is arisen amongst us, and that God hath visited his people.
If we take a review of this miracle, we may observe that it is liable to no objection, and abundantly proves the exertion of divine power. It is to be observed that it was wrought in the open field amongst a vast number of spectators. A great number of the inhabitants of the city attended the funeral; they all bewailed the disconsolate state of the afflicted widew, and had the opportunity of being satisfied that the youth was really dead. The powerful word which called the dead man to life was delivered in an audible voice before all the company; and this was done at the gate of the city, a place of general resort; every one had the opportunity of satisfying themselves that the young man was really restored to life. There was no possibility of deception, nor room for objections of any kind; and this miracle, joined with the rest wrought by the same divine person, abundantly proves that he was the Son of God, and the Saviour of sinIn CTS,
The fame of the wonderful works which JESUS constantly performed, was rapidly proclaimed through the various cities of Judea, and by the disciples of John the Baptist carried to their master. This prophet, as we before related, was cast into prison by Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee. The cause of his imprisonment was the offence which that prince had taken at his boldly and freely blaming his conduct respecting his incestuous connection with the princess Herodias. John had now been confined above a year in prison, and as he was fully convinced that CHRIST was really the Messiah, and no doubt having imbibed the national expectation of the Jews, that the Messiah would set up a temporal kingdom, he perceived that things did not answer his expectation: for doubtless, he apprehended, that before this time CHR1st would have manifested himself, and made some advances towards his taking the reins of government. He therefore sent two of his disciples to our great Redeemer, with this question, Art thou he that should come, or look we for another P. We are not to suppose by this enquiry, that John entertained any hesitation or doubt, whether CHR1st was the true Messiah, or not; for it is to be observed, that throughout the whole course of his ministry, he had borne a regular and ample testimony to the truth of his divine mission: he had been convinced by a particular revelation from heaven, and by the descent of the Holy Ghost, in a visible form at CHR1st's baptism, that he was that divine person who was to come to be the Saviour of Israel; and accordingly he made it his constant care to dispose the Jews in general, and his own disciples in particular, to receive and reverence him as the Messiah, bearing witness concerning him that he was superior to himself, and holding him up to view as the Lamb of God who takelh away the sin of the world. It cannot therefore be supposed as before observed, that the Baptist entertained any scruples in his mind concerning our Lord's divinity; but his design seems to be to lead his disciples into an acquaintance with our great Redeemer, that by beholding his miracles, and hearing his divine conversation, their minds might be prepared to receive him; for it is not improbable to suppose, that the prophet John might have some expectations of his own approaching death.
Nor was the conviction of his disciples, perhaps, the only view which the prophet had in sending this message to our great Redeemer; it is to be supposed that, like the rest of his countrymen, he expected the Messiah to set up a temporal kingdom. Nor is this supposition derogatory to the dignity of a great prophet, since we are informed, that though John was a prophet, and more than a prophet, the least in the kingdom of Heaven is greater than he, the meanest preacher of the everlasting gospel is greater than the Baptist, because he had the opportunity of being informed of the spiritual nature of CHRIST's kingdom. As then, it is to be supposed, that great forerunner of our Redeemer ardently desired, and impatiently expected the appearance of his kingdom; and as the blessed JESUS had assumed no earthly honour or dignity, but every thing in the Jewish church and state continued the same; the Baptist might send this message gently to remind him of what was expected from him as the Redeemer of Israel.
The disciples of John brought this message from their master to the exalted Saviour of the world, while he was attending to the various distresses of the multitude which surrounded him, curing many of their infirinities, plagues, and evil spirits, and restoring sight to the blind. These miracles the disciples of John beheld, and having delivered their message, our Lord did not think proper to return them a direct answer, but referred them to the wonderful works they had now been observing, and ordered them to carry an account of these things to their master, as an answer to his inquiry: go your way, said he, and tell John what things you have heard and seen, how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the gospel preached unto them.
But that the multitude, from the proposal of this question, might not form an unfavourable opinion of John the Baptist, our blessed Saviour at this time thought proper to place his character in the most favourable point of light. He commended him as a person of the most invincible courage, resolution and fortitude, who stood firm in the midst of trouble and affliction, and was not like a reed shaken with the wind; and praised him for his austere and mortified course of life, not wearing soft raiment, like those in King's palaces, but maintained a manly hardiness, and abhorred all luxury, elieminacy, and dissipation. Our great Redeemer then gave a full and clear testimony to