« VorigeDoorgaan »
continually: and they experience the fulfilment of his promise,
“ Peace I leave with you." "they are filled with all joy and peace in believing.” They cannot mourn; the bridegroom is with them.
But other days come to the church, when he suffers the enemy to disturb its prosperity; or to individuals, when the remaining corruptions of the heart cloud the evidences of their faith. Fear prevails over hope; the Bridegroom is taken away; the light of that countenance in which they were used to rejoice is withdrawn :—then shall they fast in those days; and long for the season when there shall be no more sorrow, or fear, or temptation.
This, however, we must bear in mind. The Bridegroom was taken away, and left his disciples sorrowing. But it was only his visible presence which they lost; he was still with them by the power of his Spirit: “to the end of the world” he will be with his church, so that Satan to the end of the world shall not prevail against it: he will be with his faithful people who compose
that church, to “stablish, and to strengthen, and to settle them."
A second reason follows, why the disciples of Christ fasted not.
16. No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse.
It was not necessary that his disciples should fast, because the disciples of John and the Pharisees fasted. He was not putting a new cloth to an
old garment: he was making all things new. His discipline must be a system of itself, not pieced upon the old; and the Jewish dispensation was now old, about to be folded up and changed. It might be expedient for his disciples to fast hereafter, but it was not necessarily so because other teachers had prescribed it.
“ The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus makes free from the law of sin and death.” And it would be hurtful rather than profitable to require outward mortification as essential to those who were to depend upon Him “ for grace to help in time of need.” That which is put in to fill up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse.
There is still a third reason, derived from the character of his disciples.
17. Neither do men put new wine into old bottles : else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish : but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.
His disciples were as unfit to bear austerities, as old bottles (old leathern bottles, such as were used in Judea) to bear the fermentation of new wine. There must be a suitableness between the person, and that which is applied to him or expected of him. Not to consider this ; not to take into account whether the discipline is fitted to the person,
4 The more usual interpretation refers both the 16th and 17th verses to the same object, the unfitness of the disciples to receive an austere discipline. It is difficult to extort this sense from the text of verse 16.
or the person to the discipline, would risk the loss of all: the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish. Wait the proper time, wait for the gradual preparation of the heart,-put new wine into new bottles,—and both are preserved.
Here we must admire, not only the wisdom, but the tenderness of Him, who “taught as one that had authority, and not as the scribes." He “
gathers the lambs in his bosom, and gently leads them that are with young He “has many things to say unto his disciples: but they cannot bear them now.
It is an example of the care with which, in all ages, he prepares his people for the trials which they are to undergo, before those trials come. And so the promise is fulfilled; “ God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”?
s Isa. xl. 11.
6 John xvi. 19.
7 1 Cor. x. 13.
A SICK WOMAN HEALED, AND A CHILD
RESTORED TO LIFE.
Matt. ix. 18—26.
18. While he spake these things unto them, behold there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live.
This might be the reflection of many a Christian parent. My child is even now dead. “ In Adam all died,” and my child is of the race of Adam. All hearts are dead towards God, dead to their own highest interests, dead tó eternity; unless Christ lays his hand upon them, that they may live: unless his Spirit draws the soul to God. “ In him is life :" and “he quickeneth whom he will.”
whom he will.” And as this ruler came and worshipped Jesus, and entreated him to restore his daughter, for he had but to speak the word, and it should be done; so is every parent at liberty to approach him in the same spirit, every sincere Christian does so approach him, when he brings his child to baptism; Come and lay thy hand upon my child, that he may live. The mercy which granted one prayer, will not refuse the other.
19. And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples.
20. And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment :
21. For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.
22. But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her he said, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.
Faith is here exhibited in its true light: we see what it is, by seeing what it does. Jesus is passing along the way: many surround and throng him: some, from admiration of his discourses ; some, from a curiosity to see his miracles; and some, probably, following the crowd. Among these, there may have been true faith in Him as the Son of God, the Saviour of the world. But it was no sure proof of this, that they followed him: any more than at the present day it is proof of real faith, to be called by his name, to be a member of his church, to attend where his people meet together, and prayers are offered through his mediation. These are great privileges, and cannot be too highly valued; as it was a great privilege to see the things which these people saw, and to hear the things which they heard. But many heard and saw them to no real purpose; and many still have like privileges, yet are no more united to the Lord in true and lively faith, than the multitudes who often surrounded Jesus in his ministry, whilst their hearts remained unmoved.
But among the people who at this time followed Jesus, and thronged him, a woman might have been seen who pressed towards him with singular earnest