John 4:46
So once again He came to Cana in Galilee, where He had turned the water into wine. And there was a royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum.
Sermons
A Lesson for Tittle FaithC. S. Robinson, D. D.John 4:46-54
Benefits of a Pious ParentageJ. Trapp.John 4:46-54
Characteristics of FaithC. H. Spurgeon.John 4:46-54
Domestic AfflictionBp. Ryle.John 4:46-54
Domestic Affliction a Messenger of GodG. Hermann.John 4:46-54
Except Ye See Signs and Wonders, Ye Will not BelieveR. Winterbotham, M. A.John 4:46-54
Family ReligionP. Skelton.John 4:46-54
From Faith to FaithFamily ChurchmanJohn 4:46-54
Himself Believed and His Whole HouseLisco.John 4:46-54
Jesus the Saviour of the ChildrenNew CyclopaediaJohn 4:46-54
Physicians in the EastH. C. Trumbull, D. D.John 4:46-54
PrayerJames Hamilton, D. D.John 4:46-54
Prayers of a FatherN. E. Puritan.John 4:46-54
Restoration of Nobleman's Dying SonM. Gibbs.John 4:46-54
Signs and WondersC. Kingsley, M. A.John 4:46-54
Signs and WondersAbp. Trench.John 4:46-54
Taking God At His WordJ. Vaughan, M. A.John 4:46-54
The Christian Calls His Saviour to His SickBachmann.John 4:46-54
The Courtier's SonJ. Laidlaw, D. D.John 4:46-54
The Faith of a NoblemanT. Whitelaw, D. D.John 4:46-54
The Fame of ChristH. W. Watkins, D. D.John 4:46-54
The Growth of FaithJ.R. Thomson John 4:46-54
The Human Tendency to Make a Difficulty of BelievingNew Cyclopaedia of AnecdoteJohn 4:46-54
The Nobleman of CapernaumJ. Harding.John 4:46-54
The Nobleman of CapernaumJ. A. Seiss, D. D.John 4:46-54
The Nobleman's FaithC. H. Spurgeon.John 4:46-54
The Nobleman's FaithP. B. Power, M. A.John 4:46-54
The Nobleman's SonSunday School TimesJohn 4:46-54
The Nobleman's SonSermons by the Monday ClubJohn 4:46-54
The Obedience of FaithSermons by the Monday ClubJohn 4:46-54
The Same HourR. Besser, D. D.John 4:46-54
The Second Miracle At CanaDean Vaughan.John 4:46-54
The Second Miracle in CanaA. Maclaren, D. D.John 4:46-54
The Testing of Faith Which the Nobleman StandsJ. P. Lange, D. D.John 4:46-54
The Universal Passion for MiraclesHeubner.John 4:46-54
The Uses O TroubleJohn 4:46-54
True FaithH. C. Trumbull, D. D., J. Ford, M. A.John 4:46-54
We Should Count Our MerciesJ. Trapp.John 4:46-54
In this, as in so many of our Lord's miracles, the external circumstances and incidents, interesting though they are, are less so than the spiritual lessons they teach, the spiritual processes they unfold. What manner of Saviour Christ is; how he deals with the souls of men for their good; what blessings he brings to those whom be prepares to receive them; - these great lessons are brought before us in this narrative, so simple and so natural in itself, yet so deep in its significance.

I. HOW FAITH IS CHRIST ARISES IN THE SOUL.

1. Look at this nobleman's circumstances: his son was sick and at the point of death. Sickness and death are evils, but not unmixed evils. They may, when they come into men's homes, be the means of saving them from selfishness and the pursuit of pleasure, and from indifference to spiritual and eternal realities. This man felt his need of a Helper, but none appeared, and he was brought to a sense of his helplessness and utter distress. In all this was a preparation for faith in a Divine Physician.

2. Look now at the timely appearance upon the scene of the very Friend whom the nobleman needed. Jesus, at this very crisis, had returned from Judaea to Galilee, and had taken up his abode for a time at Cana, within easy reach of Capernaum, the afflicted nobleman's home. The effect was like the preaching of the gospel to a person overwhelmed with the sorrows of life or stricken with a sense of sin.

3. Look at the effect of these tidings in these circumstances. Fatherly affection and anxiety render the nobleman alert and alive to any prospect of help. The rumour of Christ's mighty works suggests to him the possibility that the power of the Prophet may be used for the healing of his son. Thus relative solicitude becomes a means of grace.

II. THE FIRST STEP TO WHICH FAITH PROMPTS.

1. Remark the approach and the appeal. The nobleman goes to the Prophet, and begs him to come down and heal his son. There was faith here; for perhaps to no one else in the land could this entreaty have been addressed. Though the applicant did not fully understand what Jesus could do, he yet had confidence both in his power and willingness, so far as he could understand them.

2. Observe, too, the repetition and urgency displayed in the renewed entreaty used. by the nobleman, even after a somewhat discouraging reception on the part of Jesus. This spirit of persistency and importunity, disagreeable to many, seems always to have been welcomed by Jesus, who saw in it an earnestness allied to faith.

III. THE REBUKE OF WEAK FAITH.

1. The feebleness of the nobleman's faith seems. to have been detected in his request that the great Physician should go down to Capernaum to visit the patient. The faith of the centurion was no doubt far stronger than that of the courtier; yet we cannot wonder that it should not have occurred to this applicant that Jesus should "speak the word only."

2. But this feebleness of faith was made still more apparent by the censure implied in Christ's reply, "Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will in no wise believe." Our Lord, and his Apostle Paul afterwards, were evidently and most painfully affected by the demand of the Jews for signs and wonders. Instead of believing On Christ, and then looking for miracles as the natural exercise of his Divine power, these prodigy-loving Hebrews asked for marvels and portents, as the things of chief concern, withholding faith until these should he granted them.

IV. THE REWARD OF SINCERE FAITH. It is clear, from this and other passages, that Jesus distinguished between no faith and little faith, He saw that the applicant's faith was growing, for this was evinced by the repetition of the urgent entreaty. The rebuke of Jesus rather stimulated than repressed what measure of confidence the nobleman possessed. The brevity of the reply was the brevity of authority and command, "Go thy way; thy son liveth."

V. FAITH IS FURTHER STRENGTHENED BY PERSONAL CONTACT WITH JESUS. There was a virtue in the Lord's presence, language, and tones - a virtue which was felt by this applicant. He believed the word, and acted in accordance with his belief; and immediately went his way. There are some who have enough faith to bring them to Christ with their petitions, but not enough to rest in Christ's words in which their application is answered. There is, however, every reason why the suppliant should unhesitatingly confide in the assurance of the Saviour, which his very anxiety and eagerness may possibly lead to his doubting.

VI. EXPERIENCE MAKES FAITH PERFECT. The nobleman appears not to have hasted on his return. "He that believeth shall not make haste." He hurried to Christ with his request. It was well that he should not hurry from Christ, now that the boon was granted. Yet, when he met his servants, there may have been some eagerness to know how it was with the boy. And when he learned that the hour of Christ's utterance was the hour of his son's cure, there remained no cloud to shade the brightness of his faith. He believed now, not simply, as at first, the report of Christ; not even, as afterwards, the word of Christ, but Christ himself. This was the faith of a full surrender and devotion. Henceforth the Lord was all to him. His life became a brighter, purer, nobler, stronger thing, because Christ was his, and he was Christ's. The memory of his Lord's mercy could never fade from his mind. What the Lord Jesus does for us and for ours should and must strengthen our confidence in him for all purposes, for all the circumstances, duties, and trials of life.

VII. FAITH SPREADS FROM ONE MEMBER OF THE FAMILY TO THE REST. The whole household believed; for all had the same evidence, and all partook of the same joy. The presence of the restored and healthy boy would be a perpetual reminder of the obligation under which Jesus laid the whole family. A believing household is a microcosm of the household of faith.

PRACTICAL LESSONS.

1. Christ's discernment of human character.

2. His compassion for human suffering and sorrow.

3. His appreciation of human faith. - T.







There was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum.
Who shall persuade us that we have not here a true story?

I. Notice SOME OF ITS LESS OBVIOUS POINTS.

1. Mark the word "for" in ver. 44. He went into His own country because there was no honour for Him there.

2. Mark the setting of the text. A father pleads for the life of his son. Who would not have thought that the kind Saviour would instantly say, "I will?" Yet He treats the application as a great error. "Except ye see." He disregards the man and treats him as the mouthpiece of a mistaken multitude, whose prevalent fallacy was to make miracles the condition of belief. No ordinary man would have thought of that answer.

3. This apparent rebuff, however, was only a trial of his constancy. "Like the rest of your nation you set aside Divine holiness, wisdom, and love and fasten on power, You forget how many works of power there are which are not God's, and not until you have marked the adjuncts — holiness, wisdom, love — can you pronounce them Divine." The nobleman responded, "Come down, ere my child die," as though he had said, "I am not thirsting for evidences." It is the voice of nature, and the God of nature hears it. The trial is ended and the victory is won.

II. NOTICE THE WONDERFUL INTERTWINING OF NATURE AND GRACE IN THE GOSPEL. The Gospel adapts itself to all that is best and beautiful in man's heart.

1. It has been found in some hour of mortal peril that persons of no religion will invoke the mercy of that Being who, up to that moment, they had denied. Scepties, no doubt, can account for this in the survival of old prejudices. Christians naturally account for it by supposing that a belief in God is a primary principle in man's nature.

2. As in individuals so in families.(1) Fathers who have made shipwreck of faith for themselves want Christ for their children. The immoral man would fence his child from. vice; the sceptic refuses to rear his child on negatives and chooses, therefore, a Christian school.(2) And if the father sees his child stretched on a couch of pain from which he may never rise, is there not a voice in his heart crying, "Sir, come down, ere my child die." I know the case is not rare in which the doubting or disbelieving father hag desired, has sought, for his son the spiritual healing, has called in some man of God whose repute was highest for communication with the invisible, has encouraged his visits, has even knelt in the corner while he prayed, and has joined with strong cries and tears in the "Rock of ages, cleft for me," sung or said in the chamber where the staying pray with the going; and has gone off from the experience and trial strong in the Son of God, to say at last, "Let me die the death of the righteous; let my last end be like His." Christ is marching to complete the sum of happiness and to round the circle of being.

(Dean Vaughan.)

Notice —

I. THE PROMPTITUDE WITH WHICH HE APPLIED TO CHRIST AS SOON AS HE HEARD WHERE HE WAS. Would that we all were as anxious for the welfare of our own and other's souls as this man was for the health of his son's body. Your souls may be in like danger — at the point of death. Lose not another day.

II. THE ADVANTAGE WE HAVE IN KNOWING THAT WHEN WE DESIRE TO SEEK THE GREAT PHYSICIAN HE IS EVER AT HAND. The nobleman had to travel from Capernaum.

III. THE MANNER IN WHICH THE NOBLEMAN EVINCED HIS BELIEF IN CHRIST'S POWER, AND YET THE IMPERFECT IDEA HE HAD OF THAT POWER. He felt that Christ could heal, but only on the spot. So we are tempted to prescribe to God the place and manner of His blessing, but God is the only judge of what is wise and best. Christ's rebuke had its due effect and in sending him away He required him to manifest the faith for the feebleness of which he had been rebuked.

IV. THE MANNER IN WHICH JESUS SHOWS MERCY TO SUCH AS CALL UPON HIM.

1. Pity in distress.

2. Firmness in demanding the proof of confidence which it becomes us to show. Christ would not decline because of weak faith, but He would not go to Capernaum.

V. WHAT IS THE DISPOSITION HE REQUIRES US TO SHOW TOWARDS HIM? Simple and implicit reliance on His word and belief in His power. "Go thy way And the man believed and went," without a token.

1. This disposition is the grace of the Holy Spirit imparted to the heart.

2. This disposition honours Christ.

VI. THE REWARD WHICH FAITH SHALL RECEIVE.. "Thy son liveth." A cure.

1. Instantaneous.

2. Complete.

(J. Harding.)

I. EVEN THE NOBLE HAVE THEIR TROUBLE.

1. No earthly dignity lifts above the reach of trouble. In the eye of God and in the operations of His laws all are alike. We need, therefore, never to expect to reach an estate free from trial.

2. But troubles are not always calamities. To the true hearted they are instruments of good. Nobility must suffer that it may become more noble. The fruitful branch must be purged that it may become more fruitful.

II. EVEN THE BELIEVING NEED UNDECEIVING.

1. The nobleman was a believer.

2. There was strength and substance in his faith. It was not mere sentiment. Knowledge, however accurate, opinion, however orthodox, is not faith. But this man's faith had an active quality; it moved him to Jesus and to make every effort to obtain His help. True faith can never be idle (James 2:20).

3. But even with this living faith the nobleman laboured under misconceptions and infirmities. He located the Saviour's power too much in the outward. It was bent on signs and wonders. And just here believers have their greatest troubles. They go honestly and humbly to Christ, but unless they see signs they doubt whether all is right. Some change must be felt ere they can fully rest. But the requirement is to undoubtingly embrace Christ and leave Him to make all other things right in His own time and way (Romans 8:24, 25).

4. Here is the true consolation of faith; not that the sick child is healed, but that we have a competent Saviour, and in the meantime patience is the proper exercise of faith.

III. WHEN MAN DESPAIRS THE LORD REPAIRS.

1. The manner in which he was received distressed the nobleman. He looked for Christ to accompany him, and when no signs of compliance appeared his heart sunk within him.

2. And yet this last flicker of perishing expectation was the signal of the greatest triumph. It was not according to Christ's method that His healing should come "with observation." His restorative energy is in His word, which is independent of distance or signs. Even His "Go thy way" is a benediction. While we are being wrung with disappointment grace is invisibly entering our house.

IV. AS WE BELIEVE SO WE RECEIVE. A mere word had gone out. He went his way clinging to that word, and as he believed it was done unto him. He came believing Christ to be a wonder worker and he found Him one. He trusted in what the Saviour had said, and he came back to find the Saviour's word potent. What then if society, the Church, ourselves, our whole house are sick; if our movements are Christwards, His seeming repulse is but a preparation for a sublimer triumph. No honest attempt at faith is ever a mistake.

(J. A. Seiss, D. D.)

The distance of Capernaum from Cana was from twenty to twenty-five miles. The report of Christ's return to Galilee had spread, then, over this wide area.

(H. W. Watkins, D. D.)

Sunday School Times.
I. JESUS BEHOLDING THE WOES OF MEN.

1. Jesus and His countrymen (ver. 45) (Matthew 13:54; Matthew 21:11; Mark 6:1; Luke 4:44; John 4:3; John 7:41).

2. Jesus and the sorrowing (ver. 47) (Isaiah 53:3; Mark 5:39; Luke 7:13; Luke 8:52; Luke 23:28; John 14:1).

3. Jesus and the sick (ver. 47) (Matthew 4:24; Matthew 8:17; Matthew 10:1; Matthew 14:14; Mark 6:56; John 11:3).

II. BESTOWING THE HELP OF GOD.

1. Importunate pleading (ver. 49) (Psalm 130:1; Matthew 14:30; Matthew 15:22; Luke 11:8; Luke 22:44; Hebrews 5:7).

2. Generous responding (ver. 50) (Matthew 8:2, 3, 13; Matthew 9:29; Luke 7:50; Luke 18:42; John 14:13).

3. Confident believing (ver 50) (Psalm 27:13; Psalm 106:12; John 4:53; Acts 16:34; Numbers 15:13; 1 Peter 1:8).

III. RELIEVING THE WOES OF MEN.

1. Good news (ver. 51) (Genesis 45:26; Numbers 21:8; 2 Kings 20:5; Luke 2:10; Luke 10:17; John 14:3).

2. Convincing coincidence (ver. 53) (Exodus 14:27; Joshua 3:15, 16; Daniel 5:5; Matthew 8:13; Matthew 9:22; Matthew 15:28).

3. Believing household (ver. 53) (Acts 10:2; Acts 16:15, 34; Acts 18:8; Philippians 4:22; Hebrews 11:7).

(Sunday School Times.)

Sermons by the Monday Club.
A spiritual miracle is greater than a physical one. This was of both kinds — the healing of the boy's body, the conversion of the father's soul. The nobleman is a representative man.

I. HE IS DRIVEN TO CHRIST BY AN OUTSIDE NEED. He takes his case to Christ as a last resort. In his selfish thought, the Saviour of souls is overshadowed by the Healer of bodies. But such is the love of Christ, that those seeking a lesser good are sent away with a spiritual gift.

II. HIS FAITH RUNS PARALLEL WITH HIS MOTIVE. It began as a belief that Christ could work a physical miracle by contact; it was consummated in a faith which trusted Christ for both physical and spiritual blessing at a distance. The father's faith secured the health of his child; the personal faith of the man secured his own salvation.

III. THE DIVINE METHODS FOR CULTIVATING FAITH IN MEN.

1. Directness and conscious superiority characterize Christ's meeting with the nobleman. Christ rebukes his carnal mindedness and his low thought that Christ's mission was merely to play the doctor — a rebuke which caused him to look up into the Master's face and feel the subtle power of His spiritual presence.

2. Having thus made a spiritual roadway into his heart, Christ grants his request.

3. The answer carries a test of humility and faith with it. Christ not going with him touched his pride; but it strengthened his faith by exercising it.

IV. THE OBEDIENCE OF FAITH AND ITS REWARD. This faith is shown by his leisurely procedure. The twenty miles' walk could not have been accomplished that night. The reward was bestowed not only on the sick child, but on the whole household. Learn —

1. A lesson of hope.

2. That all the roads of human experience lead to Christ — our needs, sorrows, joys.

3. Once in Christ's presence, all is well.

(Sermons by the Monday Club.)

1. Trouble led this courtly personage to Jesus. Had he lived without trial, he might have been forgetful of his God and Saviour; but sorrow came as an angel in disguise.

2. The particular trial was the sickness of his child. No doubt ha had tried all remedies, and now he turns to Jesus in desperate hope. How often does it happen that children are employed to do what angels cannot!

I. THE SPARK OF FAITH.

1. The faith of the nobleman rested at first entirely on the report of others. Evangelical faith often begins with the testimony of others that Christ receiveth sinners.

2. This faith only concerned the healing of the sick child. The father did not know that he wanted healing for his own heart, nor of Christ's spiritual power. Can you believe that Christ can help you in your present trial? Then use the faith you have; if not of heavenly things, then earthly.

3. He limited the power of Jesus to His local presence. Limitation of the Holy One of Israel in children of God is sinful; but weakness of faith in seekers will be excused. Better to have a weak faith than none at all.

4. This faith, although it was but a spark, influenced the nobleman. It led him to take a considerable journey to Christ. This is the more remarkable that he was a man of position, and did not send his servants. If you have faith enough to drive you personally to Christ, it is of an acceptable order.

5. This man's faith taught him to pray in the right style. Notice his argument — the misery of his case. Not that the boy was of noble birth, or lovely. When you pray aright, you will urge those facts which reveal your danger and distress. This is the key which opens the door of mercy.

II. THE FIRE OF FAITH struggling to maintain itself.

1. It was true, as far as it went. He stood before the Saviour, resolved not to go away. He does not get the answer at first, but he stays. So it was a real persuasion of the power of Jesus to heal.

2. It was hindered by a desire for signs and wonders, and was therefore gently chided. So some of you want to be converted in the extraordinary way recorded in some religious biographies, and expect, like Naaman, Christ to do some great thing. Do net lay down a programme and demand that the free Spirit should pay attention to it. Let Him save you as He wills.

3. It could endure a rebuff. He answered our Lord with still greater importunity.

4. How passionately this man pleaded, "Lord, do not question me just now about faith; heal my child, or he will be dead." If his faith failed in breadth, it excelled in force.

III. THE FLAME OF FAITH.

1. He believed the word of Jesus over the head of his former prejudices. He had thought that Christ could only heal by personal contact; now he believes that Jesus can heal with a word. Will you believe Jesus on His bare word?

2. He at once obeyed Christ. If he had not believed, he would have remained looking for favourable signs. When told to believe in Christ, do not say, "We will continue in prayer, read the Bible, attend the means of grace." Believe and go your way.

3. Still, it fell somewhat short of what it might have been. He expected a gradual restoration. How little we know of Christ or believe in Him.

4. He travelled with the leisure of confidence. Anxious minds, even when they believe, are in a hurry to see; but the nobleman's servants met him the next day. "He that believeth shall not make haste."

IV. THE CONFLAGRATION OF FAITH.

1. His faith was confirmed by the answer to his prayers.

2. After inquiry, his faith was confirmed by each detail.

3. Strengthened by faith and experience, he believes in Jesus in the fullest sense.

4. What follows is natural; his family also believe.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. WITH REGARD TO THIS FAITH, we must observe —

1. That it was real, or he would never have sought Christ. This realness was not inconsistent with ignorance of Christ's nature and spiritual power.

2. Though real, imperfect and weak. He knew nothing of Jesus as the Healer of the soul. There was shortcoming in both the quantity and quality of his faith. In this he presents a strong contrast to the centurian.

3. Apply the case to ourselves. What is our faith? Is it only a name, a theory, a confession, we have been taught to utter? If we have acknowledged Him as Saviour in one specific point, that is real faith as far as it goes; but it must go farther. "He will not break the bruised reed."

II. HIS TREATMENT BY CHRIST.

1. His unbelief was rebuked, and that of others standing around.

2. No doubt many regarded this as ill-timed. But Christ saw that spiritual admonition was the thing that was most needed.

3. We need not be surprised if the first answer to our petitions is some revelation of secret sin.

4. But delay is not denial. In bestowing one blessing he does not refuse another.

5. There is often as much love in Christ's method of bestowal as in His gift. The petition is granted in the spirit, if not in the letter. Jesus did not go down, but sent His blessing down.

III. THE ULTIMATE RESULT OF THE INTERVIEW.

1. The request was granted

(1)sooner than was expected, and

(2)more fully. Christ's way is the shortest and best, after all, although we think differently.

2. His faith was increased. He who could not brook a moment's delay, goes away satisfied with a simple word, leisurely proceeds home, and becomes a full believer.

3. He and his family were converted.

(P. B. Power, M. A.)

I. THE PARTICULARS OF THE MIRACLE. Note —

1. The rapid reversals of feeling which all efforts in doing good demand. His former visit to Cana was to a festival; He came now to a scene of anxiety and affliction.. Human experience is very fitful and uncertain. Now the circumstances are joyous, now gloomy; and he who wants to do good must be prepared for both.

2. Pain and trouble are common to all ranks. Capernaum's great dignitary is harrowed by anxiety; his money, influence, friends, cannot save his boy, "Grief is a black camel that kneels at every man's door,"

3. The value of Christianity. Sceptics say Christianity is a religion for the sorrowful only. We reply, There is surely room for one such religion in a world like this.

4. In His first reply Christ —

(1)Rebuked a faith which rested on external evidences.

(2)Showed that he cared very little for miracles as proofs of His Divine commission.

5. The nobleman's response teaches us directness in prayer. How much time is wasted in the formalities of devotion.

6. Such petitions as this the Lord always hears and answers. The last word of God's Son affords ground for implicit trust. The nobleman knew that nothing more was needed.

7. How much men owe to the unseen Providences of God.

II. THE PARABLE OF FAITH.

1. There was intelligence. The nobleman —

(1)Reasoned.

(2)Inquired.

(3)Agreed.

2. Next came assent. Sometimes this element of saving faith is called submission, sometimes surrender.

3. There came trust. Without a word he rested on the promise. He believed —

(1)In Christ's evidences.

(2)In Christ's willingness.

(3)In Christ Himself.

(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

I. ITS IMPERFECT CHARACTER.

1. Not settled on the best foundation. Excited by a report of Christ's miracles which Christ recognized as right (John 5:36; John 10:37-38; John 14:11), but not faith's highest form.

2. Not free from ignorance and superstition, Christ's presence was regarded as essential.

II. ITS GRACIOUS EDUCATION.

1. Its radical defect was pointed out (ver. 48). The modern counterpart is the belief that is born of excitement and rests on feeling.

2. Its inward sincerity was tried (ver. 48). In a similar way Christ dealt with the Syro-Phoenician woman.

3. Its formal request was denied. Had Christ gone it might have confirmed the belief that His presence was indispensable, and that His power was of no avail beyond death. So He sometimes denies His peoples' entreaties, because they know not what they ask, or because the answer would be injurious.

4. Its essential petition was granted (ver. 50). Not in the way expected, but in one larger and better (Ephesians 3:29).

III. ITS COMPLETE DEVELOPMENT. The nobleman believed —

1. Without a miracle. At first he only had Christ's word; then his servants' testimony; lastly, the assurance of sight.

2. Without delay — "Go thy way." Prompt obedience one of the most reliable marks of faith — Noah (Genesis 6:9, 22; Hebrews 11:7), Abraham (Genesis 12:1; Hebrews 11:8), Peter (Luke 5:5); Paul (Acts 26:19).

3. Without after regrets. None will have occasion to repent who enter on a life of faith. Nor did he act as many do after having been delivered from affliction.

4. Without being left to stand alone. Faith became contagious.Learn —

1. The ability and willingness of Christ to save diseased and dying souls.

2. The eagerness Christian parents should display in bringing the cases of their children to Christ.

3. The nature of faith which is taking Christ at His word.

4. The value and efficacy of prayer.

5. The increasing evidence faith obtains the longer it continues.

6. The beauty and advantage of household religion.

(T. Whitelaw, D. D.)

I. THE PROGRESS OF FAITH. Faith, at first slender and tentative, becomes firm and influential. The process is worthy of notice. At first it rested on external testimony, but was backed by such anxiety to attain the object that the man came so far to seek it. Then its tenacity is proved and strengthened by a seeming rebuff. Another and great step is taken when Christ's word for the cure is accepted instead of His personal coming down. Next, it is crowned and perfected by the incontestable proof of the miracle. What most of us need in our Christianity is not more evidence — the lamp can be choked with oil, if the oil is not used — it is to follow with entire cordiality the light that has shone so fully on us already.

II. CHRIST'S EVIDENTIAL METHOD. How He connects sign and spirit, miracle and faith. He deprecates the purely external connection — the believing only what is seen. Such demands for seen evidence ends usually in downright unbelief. His method is to lead His disciples to such inward, spiritual acquaintance with and confidence in Himself that they trust His word, and so by and by behold His work. When His trusting ones believe, then in due time they also see (John 11:40). Jesus accepts the loving earnestness and tenacity of a faith otherwise slender. He will lead this man into His kingdom by the heart-strings, for He avails Himself of every access to the souls of men. This courtier would have Jesus go down and heal his son. Jesus healed his son and did not go down. Thus He suited His method to the ease — was the helper of the father's faith as well as the healer of his son's malady.

(J. Laidlaw, D. D.)

I. THE MIRACLE.

1. The petitioner. A person of distinction; perhaps Chuza, Herod's steward. Now in affliction. Seeks Jesus, the Divine Physician.

2. The application. Shows affection for child, and respect to our Lord; also great earnestness, A sense of need inspires utterance.

3. The reply. The first part of it evidently conveyed rebuke. Jesus said unto him, "Except ye" — not only you individually, but all who resemble you — "Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe." You are one of those who will not admit who and what I am, unless you see Me work a miracle.

II. ITS EFFECTS.

1. See them, in the first place, on the nobleman: He "believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way," convinced that his application had not been made in vain, and that his son would live.

2. The narrative relates the effect of the miracle, not only on the nobleman himself, but also on his household, "his whole house believed." Their hearts were gained to the Lord Christ as well as his.Application:

1. What are we doing for our children? Many are the anxieties and pains which parents endure on account of their children. Can it be said of us, as of King Asa, that in our affliction we seek not to the Lord but to the physicians. Alas I we are prone to look to second causes, and to neglect the first Great Cause of life and health and everything!

2. What are we doing in our affliction? It should make us serious. It should lead us to Christ. It should subdue prejudice. It should show us the value of Christ's power and grace.

3. How have we requited the Lord's mercies? We have influence. Have we exerted it to bring others to believe in Christ, and to worship and serve Him?

(M. Gibbs.)

The evangelist evidently intends us to connect together the two miracles in Cana. His object may, possibly, mainly be chronological, and to mark the epochs in our Lord's ministry. But we cannot fail to see how remarkably these two miracles are contrasted. The one takes place at a wedding, a homely scene of rural festivity and gladness. But life has deeper things in it than gladness, and a Saviour who preferred the house of feasting to the house of mourning would be no Saviour for us. The second miracle, then, turns to the darker side of human experience. It was fitting that the first miracle should deal with gladness, for that is God's purpose for His creatures, and that the second should deal with sicknesses and sorrows, which are additions to that purpose made needful by sin. Again, the first miracle was wrought without intercession, as the outcome of Christ's own determination that His hour for working it was come. The second miracle was drawn from Him by the imperfect faith and the agonising pleading of the father. But the great peculiarity of this second miracle in Cana is that it is moulded throughout so as to develop and perfect a weak faith. Notice how there are three words in the narrative, each of which indicates a stage in the history. "Except ye see signs and wonders ye will not believe."... "The man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way."... "Himself believed and his whole house." We have here, then, Christ manifested as the Discerner, the Rebuker, the Answerer, and therefore the strengthener of a very insufficient and ignorant faith.

I. First, we have here, our Lord LAMENTING OVER AN IGNORANT AND SENSUOUS FAITH. At first sight His words in response to the hurried eager appeal of the father, seem to be strangely unfeeling, far away from the matter in hand. "Except ye see signs and wonders ye will not believe." "What has that to do with me and my dying boy, and my impatient agony of petition?" "It has everything to do with you." It is the revelation, first of all, of Christ's singular calmness and majestic leisure, which befitted Him who needed not to hurry because He was conscious of absolute power. It is also an indication of what He thought of most importance in His dealing with man. It was worthy of His care to heal the boy; it was far more needful that He should train and lead the father to faith. The one can wait much better than the other. And there is in the words, too, something like a sigh of profound sorrow. Christ is not so much rebuking as lamenting. Why? Because to their own impoverishing, the nobleman and his fellows were blind to all the beauty of His character. The graciousness of His nature was nothing to them. They had no eyes for His tenderness, and no ears for His wisdom; but if some vulgar sign had been wrought before them, then they would have run after Him with their worthless faith. And that struck a painful chord in Christ's heart when He thought of how all the lavishing of His love, all the grace and truth which shone radiant and lambent in His life, fell upon blind eyes, incapable of beholding His beauty; and of how the manifest revelation of a Godlike character had no power to do what would be done by a mere outward wonder. Are there not plenty of us to whom sense is the only certitude? We think that the only knowledge is the knowledge that comes to us from that which we can see and touch and handle, and the inferences that we draw from these; and to whom all that world of thought and beauty, all that Divine manifestation of tenderness and grace is but mist and cloudland, Intellectually, though in a somewhat modified sense, this generation has to take the rebuke: "Except ye see, ye will not believe." And practically, do not the great mass of men regard the material world as all-important, and work done, or progress achieved there as alone deserving the name of "work" or "progress," while all the glories of a loving Christ are dim and unreal to their sense-bound eyes? And on the other side, is it not sadly true about those of us who have the purest and the loftiest faith that we feel often as if it was very hard, almost impossible, to keep firm our grasp of One who never is manifested to our sense? Do we not often feel, "Oh I that I could for once, for once only, hear a voice that would speak to my outward ear, or see some movement of a Divine hand." The loftiest faith still leans towards, and has an hankering after, some external and visible manifestation, and we nee I to subject ourselves to the illuminating rebuke of the Master, Who says: "Except ye see signs and wonders ye will not believe."

II. And so we have here, as the next stage of the narrative, our Lord TESTING, AND THUS STRENGTHENING, A GROWING FAITH. The nobleman's answer to our Lord's strange words sounds, at first sight, as if these had passed over him, producing no effect at all. "Sir, come down ere my child die." Almost as if he had said: "Do not talk to me about these things at present. Come and heal my boy. That is what I want; and we will talk about the rest some other time." But it is not exactly that. Clearly enough, at all events, he did not read in Christ's words a reluctance to yield to his request, still less a refusal of it. Clearly, he did not misunderstand the sad rebuke which they conveyed, else he would not have ventured to reiterate his petition. He does not pretend to anything more than he has, he does not seek to disclaim the condemnation that Christ brings against him, nor to assume that he has a loftier degree, or a purer kind, of faith than he possesses. He holds fast by so much of Christ's character as he can apprehend; and that is the beginning of all progress. What he knows he knows. He has sore need; that is something. He has come to the Master; that is more. Ah! any true man who has ever truly gone to Christ with a sense even of some outward and temporal need, and has ever really prayed at all, has often to pass through this experience, that the first result of his agonising cry shall be only the revelation to him of the unworthiness and imperfection of his own faith, and that there shall seem to be strange delay in the coming of the blessing so longed for. And the true attitude for a man to take when there is unveiled before him, in his consciousness, in answer to his cry for help the startling revelation of his own unworthiness and imperfection, the true answer to such dealing is simply reiterate your cry. And then the Master bends to his petition and because he sees that the second prayer has in it less of sensuousness than the first; and that some little germ of a higher faith is beginning to open, He yields, and yet He does not yield. "Sir, come down ere my child die." Jesus saith unto him, "Go thy way, thy son liveth." Why did He not go with the man? Why, in the act of granting, does He refuse? For the man's sake. The whole force and beauty of the story comes out yet more vividly if we take the contrast between it and the other narrative, which presents some points of similarity with it — that of the healing of the centurion's servant at Capernaum. There the centurion prays that Christ would but speak, and Christ says, "I will come." There the centurion does not feel that His presence is necessary, but that His word is enough. Here the man says, "Come!" because it has never entered his mind that Christ can do anything unless He stands like a doctor by the boy's bed. And he says, too, "Come, ere my child die." Because it has never entered his mind that Christ can do anything if his boy once has passed the dark threshold. And because his faith is thus feeble, Christ refuses its request, because He knows that so to refuse is to strengthen. Asked but to "speak" by a strong faith, He rewards it by more than it prays, and offers to "come." Asked to "come" by a weak faith, He rewards it by less, which yet is more than it had requested; and refuses to come, that He may heal at a distance; and thus manifests still more wondrously His power and His grace. "Go thy way; thy son liveth." What a test! Suppose the man had not gone his way; would his son have lived? No! The son's life and the father's reception from Christ of what he asked, were all suspended upon that one moment. Will he trust Him, or will he not? Will he linger or will he depart? He departs, and in the act of trusting he gets the blessing, and his boy is saved. And look how the narrative hints to us of the perfect confidence of the father now. Cane was only a few miles from Capernaum. The road from the little city upon the hill down to where the waters of the lake flashed in the sunshine by the quays of Capernaum, was a matter of only a few hours; but it was the next day, and well on into the next day, before he met the servants that came to him with the news of his boy's recovery. So sure was he that his petition was answered that he did not hurry to return home, but leisurely and quietly went on the next day to his child. Think of the difference between the breathless rush up to Cana, and the quiet return from it. "He that believeth shall not make haste."

III. And so, lastly, we have here the absent Christ CROWNING AND REWARDING THE FAITH WHICH HAD BEEN TESTED. We have the picture of the man's return. The servants meet him. Their message, which they deliver before he has time to speak, is singularly a verbal repetition of the promise of the Master, "Thy son liveth." His faith, though it be strong, has not yet reached to the whole height of the blessing, for he inquires "at what hour he began to amend," expecting some slow and gradual recovery; and he is told "that at the seventh hour," the hour when the master spoke, "the fever left him." And all at once and completely was he cured. So, more than his faith had expected is given to him; and Christ, when He lays His hand upon a man, does His work thoroughly, though not always at once. Why was the miracle wrought in that strange fashion? Why did our Lord fling out His power as from a distance rather than go and stand at the boy's bedside? We have already seen the reason in the peculiar condition of the man's mind; but now notice what it was that he had learned by such a method of healing, not only the fact of Christ's healing power, but also the fact that the bare utterance of His will, whether He were present or absent, had power. And so a loftier conception of Christ would begin to dawn on him. A partial faith brings experience which confirms and enlarges faith; and they who dimly apprehend Him, and yet humbly love Him, and imperfectly trust Him, will receive into their bosoms such large gifts of His love and gracious Spirit that their faith will be strengthened, and they will grow into the full stature of peaceful confidence. The way to increase faith is to exercise faith. And the true parent of perfect faith is the experience of the blessings that come from the crudest, rudest, narrowest, blindest, feeblest faith that a man can exercise.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

I. HOW HE IS TESTED.

1. In his humility by a stem word which might wound the pride of a nobleman.

2. In his faith by being required to trust a word.

II. HOW HE STANDS THE TEST.

1. In his persistent prayer be the test of the humility of his faith.

2. In his confident departure at the word of Jesus he proves the power of His faith.

(J. P. Lange, D. D.)

I. THE RICH HAVE AFFLICTIONS AS WELL AS THE POOR There is no more mischievous error than to suppose that the rich have no cares. The dwellers in palaces often sleep more uneasily than dwellers in cottages. Gold may shut out debt and rags, but not disease and death. Let the servant of God beware of desiring riches. They are certain cares and uncertain comforts.

II. SICKNESS AND DEATH COME TO THE YOUNG AS WELL AS TO THE OLD. In spite of the testimony of grave stones we are apt to speak and act as if young people never died when young. The first grave was that of a young man. He is wise that will never confidently reckon on a long life. The only true wisdom is to be always prepared to meet God. So living it matters little whether we die young or old.

III. WHAT BENEFITS AFFLICTION CAN CONFER ON THE SOUL. Anxiety about a son led this nobleman to Christ, and eventually his whole house. By affliction God often teaches lessons that can be learned in no other way. By it He often draws souls away from sin who would otherwise have perished (Psalm 119:71). Let us beware of murmuring (Hebrews 12:11).

IV. CHRIST'S WORD IS AS GOOD AS CHRIST'S PRESENCE. This fact gives enormous value to the promises.

(Bp. Ryle.)

No one is spared this. Not even the nobility.

I. HEAR (ver. 47). Up to this time the courtier had not heard; very likely did not care to hear. But now his child lies at death's door he hears that Jesus was come. Thy domestic affliction calls out to thee that thou hast a Saviour who has come for thee.

II. Go (ver. 47). The noble had gone no doubt to this and to that one, but there was no help. Now he goes to One who can help. Go thou in a right way at once to Jesus, who always says "Come."

III. BESEECH (ver. 47). The man of rank becomes unwontedly humble. Nothing offends him, not even the seemingly negative answer of ver. 48.

IV. BELIEVE (vers. 50-54). He believes (ver. 50) and finds everything fulfilled (vers. 51-53), and his whole household believe (ver. 54). Believe Him, thou and thy family, and ye shall be blessed.

(G. Hermann.)

He went to Him and besought Him
I. IT HUMBLES PRIDE — "He (the nobleman) went."

II. IT GIVES FAITH. "He went."

III. IT TEACHES PRAYER — "Besought."

IV. IT STIMULATES FAITH — "That he would heal," etc.

No one is more sought after in the East than the hakeem or physician. Let it be known that one of a travelling party of Europeans is a doctor, and all the sick persons in the neighbourhood make their way to his tent for free treatment. A European doctor in the East may have to complain of lack of fees, but he certainly will not have to complain of lack of patients. The invalids, or those who have persuaded themselves that they are invalids, will troop to his tent in the early morning, and squat there until evening, or until they are treated; and well persons will pretend that they are sick for the purpose of getting possession of the magicial powders which they value so highly. The European doctor who knows what is before him generally supplies himself, ere he starts for the East, with a plentiful supply of bread-pills, ingeniously coloured with tincture of iodine or similar chemicals, so that he may be able to keep his real remedies for real diseases. The lack of adequate medical facilities in the East is noted by every traveller; and it would hardly be possible to overestimate the amount of suffering caused by this lack. That is the reason why the Frankish hakeem can go safely where no other Frank dare go; and it may be said reverently that it is also one of the reasons why our Lord took upon Himself the character of a hakeem or healer. Those whom no other appeal would bring flocked to Him because they believed Him to be a powerful hakeem. It is also one of the reasons for the success of medical missions. The men and women who would curse the ordinary missionary as "a dog and the son of a female dog," will come humbly to the medical mission for healing, and will listen to the message which they would not listen to under any other circumstances.

(H. C. Trumbull, D. D.)

Except ye see signs and wonders ye will not believe
I. OUR LORD DID NOT PUT FORWARD THE MERE POWER OF HIS MIRACLES AS THE CHIEF SIGN OF HIS DIVINE SONSHIP. He declared His Almighty power chiefly by showing mercy and pity. He used His miraculous power —

1. Sparingly, almost entirely in curing the diseases of poor people.

2. Secretly, for it was almost entirely in remote places. For even Jerusalem was remote compared with the great cities of the Roman Empire. Had He intended to convert the world by miracles He would have gone to Rome, the centre of the world. But as He wished for the obedience not of men's lips but of their hearts, that they might love Him and be loyal to Him for His goodness; and not fear and tremble because of His power.

II. BECAUSE CHRIST WAS LORD OF HEAVEN AND EARTH HE INTERFERED AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE WITH THE LAWS OF NATURE. He did not offer, as the magicians did, to change the courses of the elements, to bring down tempests and thunderbolts. Why should He? All the physical forces were fulfilling His will already, and He had no need to disturb them. Rather He loved to tell men to look at them, and see how they went well because His Father cared for them.

III. BUT MEN WOULD NOT BELIEVE. They craved after signs and wonders. They saw God's hand, not in the common sights of this beautiful world, but only in strange portents, absurd and lying miracles, and so built up a literature of unreason which remains till this day a doleful monument of human folly and superstition.

1. This is true of some now. They regard whatever is strange and inexplicable as coming immediately from God; but whatever they are accustomed to as coming in the course of nature. If a man drops down dead he died "by the visitation of God"; as if any created thing could die or live either save by the will and presence of God. If an earthquake were to swallow up half London it would be a Divine visitation, yet they will not see the true visitation in every drop of rain.

2. Contrast this with the sentiments of the men who wrote Psalm 139., 19., 104. Let us all pray for the spirit which inspired these men.

IV. WHEN ALL THINGS GO ON IN A COMMONPLACE WAY WITH US, HOW APT WE ARE TO FORGET GOD; but when sorrow comes how changed we are all of a sudden! How we cry to God and feel the need of prayer! If He will do this thing for us we will believe. And if He treated us in adversity as we have treated Him in prosperity, what could we say? But He will not, because He is pitiful. So we can have hope.

(C. Kingsley, M. A.)

I. Desire for special EXTRAORDINARY FORTUNE to befall us, while we do not exert ourselves to obtain that which satisfies.

II. Waiting for EXTRAORDINARY HELP in exigency, when we will not earnestly use the right means.

III. Yearning for EXTRAORDINARY FRUITS OF OUR LABOUR, when we will not sow, hoping in faith.

IV. Desire of EXTRAORDINARY VIOLENT ASSISTANCE when we wish to get rid of faults, while we ourselves do not lift a hand.

V. Expectation of HONOUR, etc., while yet we have done or sacrificed nothing for the glory of God.

(Heubner.)

I. FAITH IN THREE OF ITS STAGES.

1. When faith begins in a soul it is but as a grain of mustard seed. God's people are babes at first. The first stage of faith is a seeking faith. This faith —(1) Excites activity. There is no. more idleness in religion. The means of grace are used and the Bible read, etc.(2) Although weak in some things it gives great power in prayer. How earnest was the nobleman. "Come down," etc. In this stage a man has not power to say, "My sins are forgiven; " to that, Christ can forgive. A thousand difficulties will be surmounted.(3) It gives importunity in prayer. It will not give over at an apparent rebuff.(4) This faith can do much, but it makes mistakes. It knows too little. It knows not that Christ can work a miracle without coming down, and expects that Christ will work in its way.

2. In the second stage faith takes Christ at His word, and the believer realizes the happiness of believing. He is saved.(1) It dares to believe without sensible evidence.(2) It brings quietness and peace of mind. The nobleman was satisfied and was in no violent hurry to return.

3. Faith blossoms in assurance and usefulness.(1) Doubts are dispelled.(2) His household believes. When the Father believes He ought not to rest satisfied until his children are saved.

II. Diseases to which faith is subject.

1. With regard to seeking faith. We are very likely when we are seeking to begin to suspend prayerfulness.

2. Those who are trusting implicitly are in danger of wanting to see signs and wonders. Do not place reliance on anything you have dreamed, or seen, or heard, but on Christ. So many Christians want the signs of a revival in noisy demonstrations and not in God's way.

3. The disease which lies in the way of our attaining full assurance is want of observation. The nobleman made careful inquiries. He that looks for providences will never lack a providence to look at.

III. THREE QUESTIONS ABOUT FAITH.

1. Thou sayest "I have faith." Be it so. Many a man says he has gold, but has it not. Does thy faith make thee pray?

2. Does that faith make thee obedient?

3. Has it led thee to bless thy household?

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Let us dismiss the idea that these words had any special reference to the courtier, and let us regard them as an exclamation wrung from Jesus by a deep feeling in His own mind, in which He apostrophized the whole multitude of His countrymen. The courtier's urgent request was not the cause, but the occasion, of the exclamation —

I. No doubt OUR LORD MEANT TO COMPLAIN OF SOMETHING WHICH SADDENED AND VEXED HIM; and that something was the necessity of doing miracles in order to attract the children of men, and to keep them when attracted. If we ask why He disliked the necessity of doing signs and wonders, the answer is twofold.

1. Because the character which He gained by such means was in great measure hateful to Him. He was looked upon by very many as a very successful magician or conjurer. Was it not odious to have everybody talking about Him, running after Him, asking Him to do a miracle to gratify their curiosity, saying that He did miracles by the power of Satan?

2. Signs and wonders are in themselves useless, if not objectionable. All interferences with the course of nature are undesirable in themselves. God has made the outward order of things to suit the general character and needs given. The sorrows of life are just as needful for us as its joys; its poverty is as whole- some as its wealth; death is quite as good a friend as life. Nothing could be more disastrous than that the common balance of joy and grief, of life and death, should be seriously disarranged. Christ did not come to do "miracles"; He did not come to thwart and undo the work of suffering, disease, and death; He came to bless and sanctify their work; not to change the ordinary conditions of human life, but to help us to live better, holier, happier, under those conditions. It was a mistake then, but not His mistake. It was the mistake of the people. They would come to Him, and beg Him to do this or that outward thing for them, and pray Him so earnestly, so humbly, so trustfully, that He could not help Himself — having the power, He had not the heart to refuse.

II. I can only see one valid objection to this position, viz., THAT GOD WOULD NOT HAVE GIVEN HIS SERVANT THESE GIFTS HAD THEY BEEN SO LITTLE GOOD IN THEMSELVES. But God has ever, in the whole process of revelation, accommodated Himself to the moral and spiritual condition of His people at the time being. That Christ should do signs and wonders in the age and in the land in which He appeared was inevitable because it was necessary to place Him in strict harmony with His spiritual surroundings. Miracles have practically ceased long ago, not because the Lord's arm is shortened, but because the faith and piety of Christians have outgrown the craving for miracles, while a larger knowledge has led men to doubt their usefulness. Did not our Lord possess that larger knowledge? Did He not desire to find that higher faith and piety?

(R. Winterbotham, M. A.)

These words (τέρας σημε1FC0;ιον δύναμις ἔνδοξον παράδοξον θαυμάσιον) have this in common, that they are all used to characterize the supernatural works wrought by Christ in the days of His flesh: thus σημε1FC0;ιον (John 2:11; Acts 2:19), τέρας (Acts 2:22; John 4:48), δύναμις (Mark 6:2; Acts 2:22), ἔνδοξον (Luke 13:17), παράδοξον (Luke 5:26), θυαμάσιον (Mark 21:15); while the first three, which are far the most usual, are in like manner employed of the same supernatural works wrought in the power of Christ by His apostles (2 Corinthians 12:12). They will be found, on examination, not so much to represent different kinds of miracles, as miracles contemplated under different aspects and from different points of view. Τέρας and σημε1FC0;ιον are often linked together in the New Testament (John 4:48; Acts 2:22; Acts 4:30; 2 Corinthians 12:12), and times out of number in the Septuagint. The same miracle is upon one side a τέρας, on another a σημε1FC0;ιον, and the words must often refer, not to different classes of miracles, but to different qualities in the same miracles. long ago called attention to the fact that the name τέρατα is never in the New Testament applied to these works of wonder except in association with some other name. They are often called σημε1FC0;ια, often δυναμε1FC0;ις, often τέρατα καὶ σημε1FC0;ια, more than once τέρατα σημε1FC0;ια καί δυναμε1FC0;ις, but never τέρατα alone. The observation was well worth making; for the fact which we are thus bidden to note is indeed eminently characteristic of the miracles of the New Testament, viz., that a title by which more than any Other these might seem to hold on to the prodigies and portents of the heathen world, and to have something akin to them, should thus never be permitted to appear except in company of some other necessarily suggesting higher thoughts about them. But miracles are also σημέια, which name brings out their ethical end with the greatest, as τερας with the least distinctness. It is declared in the very word that the prime object and end of the miracle is to lead to something out of and beyond itself: that, so to speak, it is a kind of finger-post of God; valuable not so much for what it is as for what it indicates of the grace and power of the doer, or of the connection with a higher world in which he stands (Mark 16:20; Acts 14:3; Hebrews 2:4; Exodus 7:9, 10; 1 Kings 3:3). It is to be regretted that σημὲιον is not always rendered "sign" in our version; that in St. John it too often gives place to the vaguer "miracle"; and sometimes not without serious loss; thus see John 3:2; John 7:31; John 10:41; and above all, John 6:26.

(Abp. Trench.)

New Cyclopaedia of Anecdote.
Charles Wesley had been for years groping in spiritual darkness,

"Without one cheering beam of hope,

Or spark of glimmering day."On a bright morning in May, 1738, he awoke, wearied and sick at heart, but in high expectation of the coming blessing. He lay on his bed "full of tossings to and fro," crying out, "O Jesus, Thou hast said, 'I will come unto you'; Thou hast said, 'I will send the Comforter unto you'; Thou hast said, 'My Father and I will come unto you, and make Our abode with you.' Thou art God who cannot lie. I wholly rely upon Thy promise. Accomplish it in Thy time and manner." A poor woman, Mrs. Turner, heard his groaning, and, constrained by an impulse never felt before, put her head into his room and gently said, "In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, arise and believe, and thou shalt be healed of all thine infirmities." He listened, and then exclaimed, "Oh that Christ would but thus speak to me!" He inquired who it was that had whispered in his ear these life-giving words. A great struggle agitated his whole man, and in another moment he exclaimed, "I believe! I believe!" He then found redemption in the blood of the Lamb, experiencing the forgiveness of sins, and could look up and

"Behold, without a cloud between,

The Godhead reconciled."The hymn he wrote to commemorate the anniversary of his spiritual birth shows the mighty change that had taken place, and is best expressed in his own language —Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing!

(New Cyclopaedia of Anecdote.)

Sir, come down ere my child die
I.HE CALLS HIM.

II.IN DUE TIME.

III.IN THE RIGHT SPIRIT.

IV.WITH THE MOST BLESSED RESULT.

(Bachmann.)

I. ITS OBJECT. Christ as —

1. Human — sympathizing.

2. Divine — helpful.

II. ITS MODE OF ADDRESS.

1. Respectful. "Sir." All true prayer should begin with adoration. The urgency of our case sometimes leads us to forget this.

2. Entreating as inspired by consciousness of real need.

3. Importunate as evidencing earnestness.

III. Its subject matter. "My child." The first object of a parent's desire is his child's —

1. Life.

2. Support.

3. Salvation.

IV. ITS MOTIVE.

1. Unselfish. It seeks the good of others.

2. And yet selfish, for the father's happiness was wrapped up in his child. So the well-being of others will re-act upon us. To give is unselfish, but it re-acts on self because it is more blessed than to receive.

V. ITS NECESSITY. See this in family trials. Directness in prayer: — A Scotchman's wife besought him to pray that the life of their dying baby might be spared. True to his old instincts, the good man kneeled down devoutly, and went out on the well-worn track, as he was wont to do in the prayer-meetings at the kirk. Through and through the routine petitions he wandered along helplessly, until he reached at last the honoured quotation: "Lord, remember Thine ancient people, and turn again the captivity of Zion!" A mother's heart could hold its patience no longer. "Eh, man!" the woman broke forth impetuously; "you are aye drawn out for the Jews, but it's our bairn that's a-deein'." Then, clasping her hands, she cried: "Oh! help us, Lord, and give our darling back to us if it be Thy holy will; but if he is to be taken away from us, make us know Thou wilt have him to Thyself!" That wife knew what it was to pray a real prayer; and to the throne of grace she went, asking directly what she wanted.most.

(James Hamilton, D. D.)

Philip James Spener had a son of eminent talents, but perverse and extremely vicious. All means of love and persuasion were without success. The father could only pray, which he continued to do, that the Lord might yet be pleased to save his son at any time and in any way. The son fell sick; and while lying on his bed in great distress of. mind, nearly past the power of speech or motion, he suddenly started up, clasped his hands, and exclaimed: "My father's prayers, like mountains, surround me!" Soon after his anxiety ceased a sweet peace spread over his face, his malady came to a crisis, and the son was saved in body and soul. He became another man. Spener lived to see his son a respectable man, in public office, and happily married. Such was the change of his life after his conversion.

(N. E. Puritan.)

New Cyclopaedia.
General H— used to take his little son into his arms and talk with him about Jesus. The little boy never grew tired of that "sweet story." It was always new to him. One day, while sitting in his father's lap, his papa said to him, "Would my little son like to go to heaven?" "Yes, papa," he answered. "But," said the father, "how can you go to heaven? Your little heart is full of sin. How can you expect to go where God is?" "But all are sinners, papa," the little fellow answered. "That is true," replied the father; "and yet God has said that only the pure in heart shall see Him. How, then, can my little boy expect to go there?" The dear little fellow's face grew very sad. His heart seemed full, and, bursting into tears, he laid his head on his father's bosom and sobbed out, "Papa, Jesus can save me."

(New Cyclopaedia.)

The man believed the word that Jesus spake
Family Churchman.
I. Faith PROMPTED HIM TO COME TO CHRIST. He felt his need and knew Jesus could help. A lesser form of faith — elementary.

II. Faith PROMPTED HIS PRAYER TO CHRIST.

III. Faith IMPLICITLY ACCEPTED THE WORD OF CHRIST.

IV. Faith was CONSUMMATED BY THE FULFILMENT OF THE WORD OF CHRIST.

(Family Churchman.)

This appears to be the easiest of rules. But practically none is harder; certainly none is so little kept.

I. Between man and man THE SOCIAL LAW OF FAITH IS SO STRICT THAT IF YOU DO NOT BELIEVE WHAT A MAN SAYS YOU ARE HELD TO COMMIT THE GREATEST WRONG YOU CAN INFLICT UPON HIM. And God has the same sense of jealousy for His own truthfulness, and the same indignant feeling of wrong and outrage when His Word is questioned. Unbelief is giving God the lie. It is no light thing to treat any word of God as an unreality; it is an insult thrown in His face.

II. WHO DOES TAKE GOD AT HIS WORD? The timid man? the unhappy man? the loiterer? the man who has no peace? the man who doubts his interest? the man who puts away the promises? Can any one of these escape the condemnation?

III. ARE WE TAKING GOD AT HIS WORD?

1. God says, "All have sinned." Do you realize yourself a helpless sinner?

2. Jesus said, "It is finished." "Have you accepted your salvation as a finished thing, or are you thinking "I must do something to secure my salvation?"

3. He says, "He that cometh unto Me," etc. Do you say, "I fear He will not receive me."

4. He says "the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin." But you say, "No, not quite all."

5. He says to penitents. "You are forgiven now;" but you read it, "I shall be forgiven by and by."

6. He says, "Take no thought — I will provide." But you are anxious. Is all this taking God at His word?

IV. THE MEANS OF CULTIVATING THE BLESSED ART.

1. You must go back to the simplicities of childhood. If its confidence has not been abused a little child takes everybody at his word, and never suspects anybody.

2. You must take honouring views of what God's Word is. The Spirit of God Himself is in that Word.

3. You must acquaint yourself with the Speaker. How shall we trust the Word if we do not trust the Speaker?

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

Sermons by the Monday Club.
It is an incident of the life of Napoleon that one day, while reviewing his troops in Paris, he let fall the bridle reins upon his horse's neck, when the spirited animal at once dashed down the line. Before Napoleon could recover his seat and check the horse, a common soldier sprang from the ranks, caught the reins, stopped the excited horse, and placed the bridle in the hands of the emperor, who took it and said, "Much obliged to you, captain." The soldier immediately answered, "Of what regiment, sire?" Napoleon, delighted with his quick perception and ready faith, replied, "Of my guards," and rode away. The soldier laid down his musket, saying, "He may take it who will," and started at once for the officers' tent, where he was duly installed as captain of the guard. With an obedience and a faith equally prompt the Jewish nobleman went his way.

(Sermons by the Monday Club.)

"Thy son liveth." So the son was restored by his father's faith. It is a benefit to be born of good parents. Personal goodness is profitable to posterity.

(J. Trapp.)

A father was once amusing his children with an electric machine, and after one or two had received the shock they drew back from the apparatus with evident dread. The father presently held out the jar uncharged, and consequently harmless, and said, "If you touch it now, you will feel nothing. Will you try?" The children drew back with their hands behind them. "Don't you believe me?" asked he. "Yes, sir," and the hands were held out to prove their faith, but were quickly withdrawn before they reached the dangerous knob. One alone, a timid little girl, had that kind of confidence which really led her to trust her father. The rest believed, but had not heartfelt faith. Even the little believer's faith was not unwavering. You could see on her face, when the little knuckle approached the harmless brass ball, a slight expression of anxiety, showing she had some doubts and fears after all; and there was an evident feeling of relief when, from actual trial, she experienced the case to be as her father represented it. The fever left him. — In Palestine, as in all other Oriental countries, fevers are very prevalent; but the fatality varies greatly according to the locality. The commonest form is a low kind of intermittent fever, malarial in character, and accompanied by a dangerous flux. This leads to a great nervous weakness and exhaustion; and the fever has a tendency to hang on for an indefinite period of time. Among the Arabs of the Sinaitic peninsula this intermittent fever is very prevalent, but a fatal termination is comparatively rare. It is specially interesting, in connection with this lesson, in which the nobleman's son lies sick at Capernaum, to remember that the site of Capernaum is famous to this day for the number and the malignancy of its fevers. The country lies low, and the land round about is marshy; so that during the hot season the conditions are favourable for producing fevers of the worst sort. There was a natural reason, therefore, why the nobleman's son should lie sick at Capernaum.

(H. C. Trumbull, D. D.)Here is a clear and beautiful illustration of the apostle's words, that "God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20). The nobleman expected an amendment, or beginning to amend. Christ bestowed at once perfect health: "The fever left him." Numberless are the instances of God's overflowing grace in this respect, as we have before noted (Ill. Mark 8:23; Mark 10:13, 16; Luke 1:67; Luke 18:14; Luke 19:4; Luke 23:43).

(J. Ford, M. A.)

The house of the Christian when God visits it with trouble. The trouble —

I. UNITES THE MEMBERS IN TENDERER LOVE.

II. DIRECTS THEIR HEARTS MORE TRUSTFULLY TO THE LORD.

III. AWAKENS THEM TO IMPORTUNATE PRAYER AND INTERCESSION.

IV. PRODUCES AT LAST A JOYFUL AND THANKFUL FAITH.

(Lisco.)

In a family where religion is known and God devoutly worshipped there is a conscientious tie on every one to discharge the duties that belong to his station; a tie strengthened by eternal rewards and punishments, and laid on the very soul. The parent and master consider themselves as accountable for the principles and, in a great measure, for the salvation of their children and their servants. The children and servants consider that they are to honour their parents as the representatives of God, and not to render only an eye-service, but so to obey and serve as those who in even the most secret thought and action lie open to the eyes of God. This produces a mutual discharge of duty on both sides; and that gives peace, order, and happiness to the whole family (Psalm 101; Psalm 118:15).

(P. Skelton.)

We also sometimes meet with voices on our way which come to us as an echo of our faith. I have heard of a Colonel yon M who on account of treason to his king and country was sentenced to a long imprisonment, and who, in his solitary cell at Galatz, in Silesia, began at last to seek the living God whose image had been for so long almost obliterated within him. He was allowed to have no book except his Bible, and though at first in reading it his only feeling was inward rage and gnashing of teeth, yet by degrees he felt the soothing of God's tender hand on his desolate and comfortless heart. During a sleepless night he suddenly feels for the first time since his childhood as if he could pray. He opens the Bible, and reads these words: "Call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me" (Psalm 50:15). Wherefore he calls upon God: "Lord, reveal Thyself to me, and deliver me from the misery of my unbelief." And it was granted to him to believe the word which God was speaking to him; the tender and unspeakably indulgent Lord who despises not the faintest movement of faith, had seen and rewarded the coming to Him of this miserable man. He rises from his knees comforted, convinced in his conscience that a contact had taken place between his soul and the living God, and that, further, he should get to be able to glorify God. In that same night, the king of this colonel lay on his bed tormented with pain. He prayed God for an hour of quiet sleep; he slept, and when he awoke again refreshed, he said to his wife: "God has looked upon me very graciously, and I would fain be thankful to Him for it. Who is the man in my dominions who has the most deeply injured me? — this day I will forgive that man." He considered a moment, and then he exclaimed, "Colonel M— Let him be pardoned!" When the news of his release reached the prisoner, and the doubly-pardoned man inquired the hour in which God had softened the king's heart, it was found that the same God still lives as of old, and that He still performs through His outstretched right arm what we read in.

The second miracle
God keeps count of what He doth for us, and will call for a reckoning. Should not we keep a register? write up the noble acts of the Lord? make a catalogue of them, such an one as was that in Judges 10:11, 12. According to this term, and many the like in sacred Scripture, we should polish and garnish, embroider and embellish, the great works of God, or else we undervalue them, which He will not bear with.

(J. Trapp.).

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