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spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and be was cleansed. And he straitly charged him, and forth with sent him away ; and saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter.
It has been often remarked, that our Lord's miracles are characterised, by evidencing not only divine power, but divine mercy; and that while Moses and other mere servants of God dealt out alike miraculous kindness and miraculous severity; in the case of the Son of God, the divine interposition was all in unison with the promise of the heavenly host,“ peace on earth, and good will towards men,” as well as “glory to God in the highest.”
In the miracles here enumerated by St. Mark, this feature is very obvious. The first objects of Christ's power, are objects of his mercy—the demoniacs, the diseased, and especially the deplorable and loathsome case of the lepers.
But this is not the only character which the
miracles of Christ exhibit when compared with others. Their didactic use—their application as hints and instructive signs-has been noticed ; and besides this very remarkable point about them, they were often acts which seemed to encroach as it were on God's peculiar and reserved province. By them were sometimes accomplished things which the habitual notions of the Jews associated with the immediate agency of God himself. Of this kind was the cure of the leprosy. It was a disorder which we find was looked on as a sign of divine displeasure, and accordingly its removal was connected with a religious ceremony, which denoted that God himself had removed, as he had inflicted it. It was under this impression that when Naaman was sent to the king of Israel to be cured of this disorder, the king of Israel exclaimed, " An I God to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy'p" When therefore our Lord undertook of himself to heal this disease, he not only proved that God worked with him, but indicated that he was assuming a privilege which God had hitherto
' 2 Kings v. 7.
reserved. He indicated his divine nature. So too when he cast out devils, and shewed thereby his power over the author of all evil.
Another circumstance about these miracles is their conformity to certain prophecies which foretold the Messiah's career. Such is this of Isaiah. “ Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sings.” On this conformity there will be several convenient opportunities of saying more.
With respect to the miracles recorded here, one observation can hardly escape you. In the case of the first demoniac whom Christ cured; in the case of the many out of whom he afterwards cast out devils; in the case of the leper cleansed; in all these cases, he enjoined secresy, or, least, forbad the publication of the miracles. He charged the persons healed “ to say nothing to any man,” and he“ suffered not the devils to. speak because they knew him.”
This be it remembered was the beginning of his ministry; and his revelations of himself were
• Isaiab xxxv. 5, 6.
gradual, and the evidences also, by which the truth of those revelations was supported. The expediency of all this has been already pointed out; and the care with which he pursued the system will be obvious as we go on. He dispensed both truth and evidence, as men could bear the one, and required the other.
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CONNECTION OF CHRIST'S LESSONS.
It has been already remarked, that, throughout the review of our Lord's ministry, it would be necessary to bear in mind the gradual and connected line of instruction which he adopted; to observe, how he proceeded from hints and obscure intimations to such declarations of himself and of his Gospel as were more and more explicit. This was done, by means of a continual variation of the forms in which the same lesson was conveyed; and also, by means of different combinations of the same truths. Thus, what was at one time taught in a parable, in another was taught by an allusion to present scenes and passing events; as when he told Simon and Andrew that he would make them fishers of men ; or again by some third form of instruction; every succeeding lesson being more explicit than the preceding. With the same object in view, what