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upon the motion of his own compaspure sion, he went up and touched the bier; — he commanded the spirit to return to its deserted mansion, and restored to the widow the support and comfort of her age.

The object now before him might have moved a heart less sensible than his. A miserable mother, in the highest agony of grief, perhaps a widow, for no husband appeared to take a part in the business, —— implores his compassion for her daughter, visited with the most dreadful malady to which the frail frame of sinful man was ever liable possession. In this reasoning age, we are little agreed about the cause of the disorder to which this name belongs. If we may be guided by the letter of holy writ, it was a tyranny of hellish fiends over the imagination and the sensory of the patient. For my own part, I find no great difficulty of believing that this was really the case. I hold those philosophizing believers but weak in faith, and not strong in reason, who measure the probabilities of past events by the experience of the present age, in opposition to the evidence of the

historians of the times. I am inclined to think that the power of the infernal spirits over the bodies as well as the minds of men suffered a capital abridgment, an earnest of the final putting down of Satan to be trampled under foot of men, when the Son of God had achieved his great undertaking: That before that event, men were subject to a sensible tyranny of the hellish crew, from which they have been ever since emancipated. As much as this seems to be implied in that remarkable saying of our Lord, when the seventy returned to him expressing their joy that they had found the devils subject to themselves through his name. He said unto them" I beheld "I Satan as lightning fall from heaven." Our Lord saw him fall from the heaven of his power: What wonder then that the effects should no longer be perceived of a power which he hath lost? Upon these general principles, without any particular inquiry into the subject, I am contented to rest, and exhort you all to rest, in the belief which in the primitive church was universal, that possession really was what the name imports. Be that as it may, whatever the

disorder was, its effects are undisputed, a complication of epilepsy and madness, sometimes accompanied with a paralytic affection of one or more of the organs of the senses; the madness, in the worst cases, of the frantic and mischievous kind.

Such was the malady in which our Lord's assistance was implored. The compassion of the case was heightened by the tender age of the miserable patient. St. Mark calls her the " young daughter" of the unhappy suppliant; an expression which indicates that she had just attained that engaging season when a winning sprightliness takes place of the insipid state of puling infancy, and the innocence of childhood is not yet corrupted by the ill example nor its good-humour ruffled by the ill usage of the world. It might have been expected, that the slightest representation of this dismal case would have worked upon the feelings of our compassionate Lord, and that the merciful sentence would immediately have issued from his lips which should have compelled the trembling fiend to release his captive: But, strange to tell! he made as

if he were unmoved by the dismal story; and regardless of the wretched mother's cries, "he answered her not a word.”

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It is certain that the most benevolent of men are not equally inclined at all seasons to give attention to a stranger's concerns, or to be touched with the recital of a stranger's distress. A suppliant to our charity, whose case deserves attention, sometimes meets with a cool or with a rough reception, because he applies in an unlucky moment. Since our Lord was made like unto his brethren, may something analogous to this fretfulness, which more or less is incident to the very best of men, be supposed in him, to account for the singularity of his conduct in this instance? Were his spirits exhausted by the fatigue of a long journey made afoot? was his mind ruffled by his late contentions with the captious Pharisees? was he wearied out by the frequency of petitions for his miraculous assistance? was he disgusted with the degeneracy of mankind in general, and with the hardened incredulity of his own nation? was his benevolence, in short, for the moment laid

asleep, by a fit of temporary peevishness? God forbid that any here should harbour the injurious, the impious suspicion ; a suspicion which even the Socinians (not to charge them wrongfully) have not yet avowed, however easily it might be reconciled with their opinions. The Redeemer, though in all things like unto his brethren, was without sin : The fretfulness which is apt to be excited by external circumstances, whatever excuses particular occasions may afford, is always in some degree sinful. Benignity was the fixed and inbred habit of his holy mind; a principle not to be overcome in him, as in the most perfect of the sons of Adam, by the cross incidents of life. We must seek the motives of his present conduct in some other source — not in any accidental sourness of the mo



This was the first instance in which his aid had been invoked by a person neither by birth an Israelite nor by profession a worshipper of the God of Israel. The miracle which he was presently to work for the relief and at the request of this heathen

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