« ForrigeFortsett »
been restored to sight, stands before them. They have the testimony of his parents, as well as others, to the fact of his previous blindness, even from birth. But they shut their eyes against the conclusion; and fly to that resort, so common when reason fails, violence of words and conduct. And is there no voluntary blindness in us? When the book of God is within the reach of every one, while thousands are yet ignorant of what it requires, are they not voluntarily blind? Are we not chargeable with wilful blindness when painful but improving thoughts are in any manner elicited, and we turn impatiently away to some more pleasing subject; when we shake off the conviction that we are doing wrong, and continue in our conduct? Are we not voluntarily blind while a single foible remains undetected, of whose existence we should have been conscious, had we searched with sufficient care? May God open our eyes to our own defects, to the importance of amendment, to the glory and loveliness of his own perfect character!
IMPLORING DIVINE LIGHT.
Oh Thou whose power o'er moving worlds presides,
Tis thine alone to calm the pious breast,
LUKE IV. 14. AND Jesus returned in the power of the spirit into Galilee : and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all. And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up : and, as his custom was on the Sabbath day, he went into the synagogue, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias; and when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor ; he hath sent me to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind; to set at liberty them that are bruised; to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. And all
bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph's son? And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself : whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country. And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country. But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land ; but unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian. And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath; and they rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill, whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. But he, passing through the midst of them, went his way; and he came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the Sabbath days.
How striking, how dignified, is the short address of Jesus, as he commences his preaching in his own city! But the inhabitants, though they admired at first, the gracious words of the Saviour, could not bear the high tone in which he spoke of his commission, and justified himself for not performing wonders among them. Pride prevented them from listening to his instructions,-mortified pride, in not having been themselves selected, as the witnesses of his previous miracles. How often does a similar pride deprive us of hap
piness, when it stands ready for our acceptance! The thought that another is preferred to ourselves, that we, though favoured, are not sufficiently distinguished above others, such feelings make us unkind to our friends, ungrateful to our benefactors, and lead us to murmur against the providence of God.
The men of Nazareth, too, despised the Saviour for his poverty, and want of extraordinary advantages of education ; for they knew not, that he had been taught from above, and that upon him had been poured forth the Spirit without mea
God often uses instruments, seemingly the most humble, to declare his will; and it is sometimes from the lowliest lips that we hear the divinest lessons of virtue, the wisest rules of happiness.
The race that long in darkness pined,
Have seen a glorious light;
In death's surrounding night.
To hail thy rise, thou better Sun!
The gathering nations come,
The harvest treasures home.
To us a child of hope is born,
To us a son is given ;
Him, all the hosts of heaven.
His name shall be the Prince of Peace,
Whose rule shall stretch abroad,
The great and mighty Lord.
His power, increasing, still shall spread;
His reign no end shall know ;
And peace abound below.
CALL OF PETER, AND OTHERS.
Matt. iy. 18. AND Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mciiuing their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship, and their father, and followed him. And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the Gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness, and all manner of disease among the people. And his fame went throughout all Syria ; and they brought unto him all sick people, that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy ; and he healed them. And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judea, and from beyond Jordan.