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Let us follow their example; and, receiving these great precepts of religion as coming from one having authority, let us esteem it our highest interest to submit to that authority, and conscientiously to obey it.
SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES; FOR IN THEM YE
HAVE ETERNAL LIFE.
In the eighth chapter, which I now begin, we have an account of our Saviour's first miracle. By thus shewing he had the power of working miracles, he shewed also that he had authority to make laws. The miracles which he wrought were indeed a double proof of his authority : they first proved it, by shewing that he acted under the
of God; and, secondly, they proved it, by completing those prophecies which ascribed fuch miracles to the Messiah.-But, if our Saviour's miracles had been intended only to prove his authority, his power over nature, as when he stilled a storm by speaking a word, had been sufficient : but they had the farther
End-of benefiting mankind, and of giving them a proof of his kind intention to heal their spiritual disorders, by his goodness in curing their bodily infirmities; according to that of Ifaiah, where the Messiah is represented as bearing our ficknesses ; meaning both those of the foul and
The miracle which our Saviour first performed was on a person amicted with the leprofy, who, expressing his faith in Jesus's power, begged his almighty allistance. Jesus healed him by a word; but ordered him, by no means to neglect what the law required: Go, Shew thyself, said he, to the priest ; and offer the gift which Moses commanded for a testimony unto them: that is, he was to offer his gift at the temple, as a proof of his being perfectly cured, to all who wished for that testimony.
One thing more is remarkable in this miracle : Jesus forbids the leper to make any open publication of the cure. The reason of this probably was, that Jesus might wish to avoid drawing crowds of people about him, which an open fhew of his miraculous power might have invited. They were ready to rise into insurrections when they were inflamed by any thing of this kind ;
and Jesus cautiously avoided giving them any hardle. It was prophesied of him, that quietness should attend all his actions; and the com. pletion of this prophecy would still more cone vince all well-disposed persons of his truth. Perhaps, too, our blessed Lord, by ordering his miraculous actions to be concealed, might chuse to shew his disciples with what modesty, quietness, and secrecy, all their good actions should be attended. He had given the precept
before: he now gave the example.
After performing this cure, we are told, he went to Capernaum, where a centurion, or officer in the Roman army, came to him, defiring him to heal a favourite servant. On Jesus's offering to go with him, the centurion begged him to speak a word only at that distance, which would be sufficient to heal his servant :-“ For if I,' said he, “ who am only an inferior officer in an army, can at a distance give orders to my foldiers, and be punctually obeyed, how much more may I suppose that you, on speaking a word, may
heal my fervant, though at so great a diftance.”—This faith of the centurion appeared in so strong a light to Jesus, that he declared he had found in this heathen a greater instance of it, than he had found among the Jews themselves. He then dismissed him, with an afsurance that he should find his fervant recovered ; telling the people, at the same time, that many should come from the East, and from the West, and should sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven : but the children of the kingdom should be cast out into outer darkness ; there should be weeping and gnashing of teeth : the meaning of which is, that the Gentiles should have the gospel offered to them, and numbers should accept it; while many of the Jews should draw upon themselves that punishment, which their hardened infidelity deserved.
This account of the centurion is followed by a relation of other miracles which Jesus wrought at this time, particularly on Peter's mother-inlaw, whom he cured of a fever.
The town of Capernaum, where Jesus now was, lay upon a large lake, which is called in fcripture, sometimes the sea of Tiberias, and fometimes the lake of Geneseret. Jesus, there. fore, perceiving that the multitude was now come about him in such inconvenient numbers, that he either could not instruct them properly, or feared some tumult from them, ordered his