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Capernaum, then the capital of Galilee,
dy to die.” This miracle excited the
" there came fear on all, and they glori“ fied God, saying, That a great prophet " is risen up among us; and, That God “ hath visited his people.”..
Such is a summary of this beautiful and interesting passage ; the import of which may, I think, be comprehended under the four following particulars :
1. The circumstances of the miracle. :.:2. The power and compassion of our Lord.
3. The character and qualification of its witnesses. And,
4. The effects it produced upon the people.
A short illustration of each of these is, in humble dependence upon divine aid, proposed in the following discourse.
I begin with remarking, first, in regard to the circumstances of the case, that in this as in
other instance, where our Lord displayed his supernatural power, there could be no artifice or collusion. He was known to the inhabitants of Nain only by report ; for this was the first time he had appeared in that place. His disciples did not go before him to pave the
way for his reception; or if they had gone,
those who attended the funeral were Jews, and of course would never have connived at any fraud to aggrandise the name of Christ. From this it is plain, that the meeting the procession was owing to no preconcerted measures between Jesus and his friends. It was solely a circumstance thrown in the way, by the arrangements of Providence, in order to evince the
of Christ, and to promote his cause and interests in the world. We are therefore certain, that the young man was actually in the state of death ; and in the fact of his being restored to life, we are thus constrained to admit the reality of the miracle, and to admire that divine power by which such an astonishing effect was produced.
The Evangelist informs us, that when Jesus had nearly reached the gate, he met the funeral coming forth from the city ; it being a custom strictly observed by the Jews and other nations of antiquity, to deposite their dead at a distance from their dwellings and all places of public resort, We are further told, that
it was attended by “much people.” This may in some measure be accounted for, from a law esteemed binding among the Jews, (founded, as they alleged, on a precept of Moses their legislator, although, in fact, it was nothing more than a tradition of their elders, that all persons who happened to meet a funeral procession, should return and join in the lamentation. But there are other circumstances that would probably increase the number of the mourners on the present occasion. It was the corpse of a young man just about to enter on the business of life which was to be laid in the grave, and amongst the crowd was one whose presence could not fail to draw from the inhabitants of Nain every expression of sympathizing tenderness : This was the disconsolate mother of the departed youth. “ He was her only son, and she
was a widow.”-Words few and simple, but expressive of a thousand tender sentiments, and calculated to touch the heart more forcibly than the most laboured description. They exhibit, with great elegance, and, at the same time, with much simplicity, that anguish which
we may naturally suppose would arise in the mind of an affectionate parent for the loss of an only son, whose presence once enlivened and doubled every joy, but now can enliven and double them no more. By the additional expression, " she was a widow," the picture of distress is heightened, and we are led almost insensibly to become sharers in her sorrow. Think of her situation, ye who have experienced a similar trial, for you only can form any adequate conception of the anguish she endured. What must she have felt, when employed in performing the last tribute of respect and affection due to her departed son ? The emblems of grief for her husband, perhaps, had not yet been thrown aside; and the present scené would doubtless awaken the recollection of the former partner of her life. The wounds which had been inflicted on her heart, when death closed his eyes, would now bleed afresh; and the remembrance of joys that were past would serve only to aggravate her sorrow.
This is not all ; she is not only bereaved of the society of a beloved son, but of