Luke 5:18
Just then, some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They tried to bring him inside to set him before Jesus,
Sermons
The Healing of the Leper and the ParalyticR.M. Edgar Luke 5:12-26
Superabounding KindnessW. Clarkson Luke 5:18-25
A Mother's Belief that God Would Justify Her Faith for Her Son's ConversionLuke 5:18-26
Carried by FourC. H. Spurgeon.Luke 5:18-26
Christ Can See Through MenH. W. Beecher.Luke 5:18-26
Faith HonouredLuke 5:18-26
Faith's RewardW. Burkitt.Luke 5:18-26
Forgiveness and HealingG. F. Pentecost.Luke 5:18-26
God Interprets PrayersQuesnel.Luke 5:18-26
God's WondersLuke 5:18-26
Jesus' Method of Doing Good Newman Smyth, D. D.Luke 5:18-26
Omniscience of ChristG. T. Coster.Luke 5:18-26
Reflections on the Healing of the ParalyticJames Foote, M. d.Luke 5:18-26
Rejoicing Through ForgivenessMiss Leigh's work in Paris.Luke 5:18-26
Revivals of ReligionJ. M'Lean.Luke 5:18-26
Sixty-Five Years' Sins All ForgivenLuke 5:18-26
Spiritual Uses of AfflictionD. Davies, M. A.Luke 5:18-26
Strange ThingsC. H. Spurgeon.Luke 5:18-26
Strange ThingsC. H. Spurgeon.Luke 5:18-26
The Gospel of ForgivenessEmilius Bayley, B. D.Luke 5:18-26
The Healing of the PalsiedLeonard W. Bacon.Luke 5:18-26
The Healing of the ParalyticJ. Parker, D. D.Luke 5:18-26
The Purpose of Christ's Miracles of HealingLeonard W. Bacon.Luke 5:18-26
The Simplicity of Christ's Method of HealingC. H. Spurgeon.Luke 5:18-26
The StoryS. Cox, D. D.Luke 5:18-26
The Vicarious Nature of FaithA. B. Bruce, D. D.Luke 5:18-26
Two Kinds of WonderC. H. Spurgeon.Luke 5:18-26
Who Can Forgive Sins?R. D. Hitchcock, D. D.Luke 5:18-26
Zeal Will Always Find a Way to Accomplish its PurposeMilner.Luke 5:18-26
We learn from these words -

I. CHRIST'S CONSCIOUSNESS OF HIS OWN GREATNESS. He assumes the right to forgive men their sins (ver. 20), and, when this right is challenged by those present, he asserts it (ver. 24). And he does not dispute that this is a Divine prerogative. When it is claimed that only God can forgive sins (ver. 21), his reply is one that confirms rather than questions that doctrine. To a very large extent our Lord's Divinity was in abeyance. Fie was voluntarily accepting limitations which caused him to be numbered among the human and the finite. But his authority and power were in him, potentially; they were under a commanding restraint. Here and there, now and again, as on this occasion, it seemed fitting that they should be put forth. And it magnifies "the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ," that all the while that he was stooping to such lowliness, such poverty, such endurance, he was conscious of the fact that Divine right and Divine power were within him, to be exercised when he would. The Son of man had power on earth to forgive sins.

II. HIS AUTHENTICATION OF IT. His greatness was often questioned, sometimes denied; and often our Master allowed men to think of him as the Teacher or the Prophet whom they were to judge by his life or by his doctrine. But sometimes he vindicated his claims in a way that completely silenced, if it did not convince, his critics. He authenticated himself by some deed of mighty power. He did so now. Not that the exercise of healing power was one whit more Divine an act than the forgiveness of sin; not that an act of pity for bodily incapacity was greater or worthier than one of mercy and succour to the soul. That could not be. But that the working of the miracle was a more obvious and signal indication of the Divine than an act of forgiveness. And by this gracious and mighty work our Lord proved himself to be the One who had a right to say, "Thy sins be forgiven thee." We may say that the gospel of Jesus Christ is now authenticated by its power. We are sure that the message of grace and mercy which we preach does come from God because (among other reasons for our assurance) we witness the mighty power of Christian truth. We find it doing what nothing else ever tried to do - enlightening multitudes of dark minds, redeeming and restoring foul hearts, transforming evil lives, lifting men up from the dust and the mire of sin and shame and bidding them walk in the ways of righteousness.

III. OUR APPROACH TO THE SAVIOUR. It was the approach of this man to the Lord that led to Christ's words of mercy and then to his deed of power. The man could not and would not keep away from his presence; he was resolved to make his appeal to the great Healer, cost what it might to reach his ear. This is the approach that is successful - seeking the Lord with the whole heart, with a fixed intent to seek until he is found. Not a languid interest in Christ, not a pursuit of righteousness which may be turned aside by the first curiosity or indulgence that offers itself; but a holy earnestness which will not be denied, which, if one entrance is blocked, will find another, which knocks till the door is opened, - this is the search that succeeds. Not, indeed, that Christ is hard to find or reluctant to bestow; but that, for our sake, he does often cause us to continue in our seeking that our blessedness may be the fuller and our faith the firmer and our new life the deeper for our patience and our persistency.

IV. THE SUPERABUNDANCE WHICH IS IN CHRIST. This poor paralytic sought much of the Lord, but he found a great deal more than he sought; seeking healing for his body, he found that, and with that mercy for his soul. Christ has more to give us than we count upon receiving. Many a man has gone to him asking only for present relief from a burden of conscious guilt, and he has found that salvation by faith in Jesus Christ means vastly more than that. He finds that the forgiveness of sin is the initial step of a bright and blessed future, that it is the earnest of a noble inheritance, In Christ our Lord are "unsearchable riches;" and they who have received the most have only begun to find what a world of excellency and blessedness they have gained by hearkening to his voice and hastening to his side and entering his holy service. - C.







A man which was taken with a palsy.
I. THERE ARE CASES WHICH WILL NEED THE AID OF A LITTLE BAND OF WORKERS BEFORE THEY WILL BE FULLY SAVED. Yonder is a householder as yet unsaved: his wife has prayed for him long; her prayers are yet unanswered. Good wife, God has blessed thee with a son, who with thee rejoices in the fear of God. Hast thou not two Christian daughters also? O ye four, take each a corner of this sick man's couch, and bring your husband, bring your father, to the Saviour. A husband and a wife are here, both happily brought to Christ; you are praying for your children; never cease from that supplication: pray on. Perhaps one of your beloved family is unusually stubborn. Extra help is needed. Well, to you the Sabbath-school teacher will make a third; he will take one corner of the bed; and happy shall I be if I may join the blessed quaternion, and make the fourth. Perhaps, when home discipline, the school's teaching, and the minister's preaching shall go together, the Lord will look down in love and save your child.

II. We now pass on to the second observation, that SOME CASES THUS TAKEN UP WILL NEED MUCH THOUGHT BEFORE THE DESIGN IS ACCOMPLISHED. They must get the sick man in somehow. To let him down through the roof was a device most strange and striking, but it only gives point to the remark which we have now to make here. If by any means we may save some, is our policy. Skin for skin, yea, all that we have is nothing comparable to a man's soul. When four true hearts are set upon the spiritual good of a sinner, their holy hunger will break through stone walls or house roofs.

III. Now we must pass on to an important truth. We may safely gather from the narrative THAT THE ROOT OF SPIRITUAL PARALYSIS GENERALLY LIES IN UNPARDONED SIN. Jesus intended to heal the paralysed man, but He did so by first of all saying, "Thy sins are forgiven thee." The bottom of this paralysis is sin upon the conscience, working death in them. They are sensible of their guilt, but powerless to believe that the crimson fountain can remove it; they are alive only to sorrow, despondency, and agony. Sin paralyses them with despair. I grant you that into this despair there enters largely the element of unbelief, which is sinful; but I hope there is also in it a measure of sincere repentance, which bears in it the hope of something better. Our poor, awakened paralytics sometimes hope that they may be forgiven, but they cannot believe it; they cannot rejoice; they cannot cast themselves on Jesus; they are utterly without strength. Now, the bottom of it, I say again, lies in unpardoned sin, and I earnestly entreat you who love the Saviour to be earnest in seeking the pardon of these paralysed persons.

IV. Let us proceed to notice that JESUS CAN REMOVE BOTH THE SIN AND THE PARALYSIS IN A SINGLE MOMENT. It was the business of the four bearers to bring the man to Christ; but there their power ended. It is our part to bring the guilty sinner to the Saviour; there our power ends. Thank God, when we end, Christ begins, and works right gloriously.

V. WHEREVER OUR LORD WORKS THE DOUBLE MIRACLE, IT WILL BE APPARENT. The man's healing was proved by his obedience. Openly to all onlookers an active obedience became indisputable proof of the poor creature's restoration. Notice, our Lord bade him rise — he rose; he had no power to do so except that power which comes with Divine commands. He did his Lord's bidding, and he did it accurately, in detail, at once, and most cheerfully. Oh! how cheerfully; none can tell but those in like case restored. So, the true sign of pardoned sin, and of paralysis removed from the heart, is obedience.

VI. ALL THIS TENDS TO GLORIFY GOD. Those four men had been the indirect means of bringing much honour to God and much glory to Jesus, and they, I doubt not, glorified God in their very hearts on the housetop. Happy men to have been of so much service to their bedridden friend I When a man is saved his whole manhood glorifies God; he becomes instinct with a new-born life which glows in every part of him, spirit, soul, and body. But who next glorified God? The text does not say so, but we feel sure that his family did, for he went to his own house. Well, but it did not end there. A wife and family utter but a part of the glad chorus of praise, though a very melodious part. There are other adoring hearts who unite in glorifying the healing Lord. The disciples, who were around the Saviour, they glorified God too. And there was glory brought to God, even by the common people who stood around. We must, one and all, do the same.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

The first thing which He did was not the thing which He was expected by men to do. His first word seemed remote from the thing needing then and there to be done. The friends of that palsied man expected the famed Miracle-Worker to heal him; and instead, Jesus said only, "Man, thy sins are forgiven thee." That was not the first nor the last time that ecclesiastical logic has drawn a correct circle of reasoning by which the living truth has been shut out. Jesus stood for the moment looking upon the disappointed faces of His friends, and meeting the cruel eyes of His enemies. He knew that His word of Divine forgiveness, which seemed remote from the very present need of that palsied man, and which to the Pharisees was idle as a breath of air, was nevertheless the force of forces for the healing of the world. He knew how to begin His work among men, before any form of suffering, with a word which should bring down to the soul of man's need the power of the heart of God. The multitude looked on and saw the momentary failure, as it seemed, of the Christ of God. "But Jesus, perceiving their reasonings," &c. "Whether is easier?" &c. Which is the greater force, the love of God forgiving sin, or the miracle of healing? Jesus began with the greatest work. The miracle, as it seemed to the people, was not the greater work which Jesus knew He was sent to accomplish. The physical miracle followed easily upon the diviner power of God's love which Jesus was conscious of possessing and exercising over the might of evil, when He said, "Man, thy sins are forgiven thee." The people, when they saw the lesser work done, not comprehending the power of God then and there present upon the earth, and working first the greater work of the forgiveness of sin, were amazed and filled with fear, and said, "We have seen strange things to-day." And this opinion of the people must be our opinion of these miracles if we do not know Jesus any better than those doctors of the law at Capernaum had learned Christ. But as in that case soon appeared, Jesus Christ was right in the way He chose to begin His work, and the people were all wrong. He did the harder thing first, and the easier thing next. And the method of the Church, following Christ's, is profoundly right. It is practically true, The gospel of Divine forgiveness we must put first; our benevolcnces second. Sin is first to be mastered; then suffering is more easily healed.

( Newman Smyth, D. D.)

In this miracle many truths are presented to us; e.g.,

1. A strong faith will overcome difficulties.

2. The readiness of Christ to welcome the needy, and to reward faith.

3. The enmity and opposition of the human heart.

4. The superiority of spiritual to temporal blessings.

5. Testimony given to the Divinity of Christ by His

(1)forgiving sin;

(2)searching the heart;

(3)healing the body. But the central truth of the passage appears to be, the gospel of forgiveness preached to the poor.

I. THE NEED IT MEETS. The figure presented to us: a paralysed man — helpless, incurable — a mere wreck. Three things combined in him.

1. Disease.

2. Poverty.

3. Poverty of spirit. He had a sense of sin — connected his misery with his sin — was softened, penitent.

II. THE HOPE IT AWAKENS. Indefinite — but the hope of good. Had heard of Jesus. Drawn by the Father. The attraction exercised by Christ. All obstacles overcome. Jesus must be reached.

III. THE BLESSING IT BESTOWS.

1. Forgiveness. A word lightly used; little valued by many. But ask the friend, the child, the sinner who feels himself wrongdoer, and longs for reconciliation.

2. Manner of bestowment.

(1)Immediate.

(2)Free.

(3)Complete.

(4)Authoritative.

(5)Effectual.

IV. THE OPPOSITION IT EXCITES. The spirit of opposition to grace always the same; the form differs. Here it was provoked by Christ's assumption; commonly by man's presumption.

V. THE VINDICATION IT RECEIVES. Christ proves His power to forgive, confutes His adversaries, saves the man. The gospel may appeal to results. CONCLUSION: Application to

(1)The careless.

(2)The anxious.

(3)The healed.

(Emilius Bayley, B. D.)

1. This passage suggests some serious consideration relating to the great numbers who sometimes assemble when the gospel is to be preached. Some hear with profit; but how many seem to hear in vain.

2. Be exhorted to imitate the benevolence of the four men who brought the paralytic to Christ. All who are themselves in health, strength, and comfort, ought to be ready to perform the various offices of humanity to those who are in sickness, or any trouble.

3. There are some things here for the consideration of the sick. The best use of sickness is for religious improvement.

4. It is delightful to think that the Son of Man has still power to forgive sin.

(James Foote, M. d.)

In our prayers, Christ often hearkens more to our wants than our desires. He goes to the very root of the evil, which is sin; and we ought to imitate Him in our afflictions. They who, out of a spirit of charity, pray for others, receive frequently more than they ask. God interprets their prayers; because He understands better what charity asks in them, than they do themselves.

(Quesnel.)

The hand of faith never knocked in vain at the door of heaven. Mercy is as surely ours as if we had it, if we have but faith and patience to wait for it.

(W. Burkitt.)

Here is an instance of the secondary services which men may render to each other. The men who carried the sufferer could not cure him. Still they could help him by kind and sympathetic attention. We should not shrink from the lower duties simply because we cannot discharge those which are higher. The method of approaching Christ adopted by them, and Christ's approval of it, show that the one thing to be particular about is to get to Christ, rather than to be fastidious as to the mere manner by which the object is accomplished. The great thing that Jesus Christ valued in men was faith. His answer to the faith of man was always in proportion to the fulness and courage of that faith. In this case He gave the very highest answer at once, with an apparent abruptness that startled the scribes and the Pharisees as if He had committed high blasphemy. Look at the harmony between the action of the men and the speech of Jesus. He did not receive them coldly, and test their sincerity by much questioning and seeming reluctance. On the contrary, no sooner did He see a special exhibition of faith in His power, than He instantly spoke the highest word which God Himself can address to the heart of man. Singularly enough, in this instance Jesus Christ passed from the high spiritual act of forgiveness to the high spiritual act of penetrating the hidden thoughts of those who were secretly accusing Him of blasphemy. The twenty-second verse shows the absolute fearlessness of Jesus, in that He did not wait for an audible expression of unbelief or aversion. He who could thus read the heart showed another phase of that great power by which He released man from the captivity of his guilt. The power is one; only in its application is it varied. In His further remarks upon this cage Jesus Christ shows that He can begin His work either from the highest spiritual or the highest physical point. It is curious to observe how sensitive were the scribes and Pharisees in the matter of the forgiveness of sins by any but God Himself, and yet how dull they were to draw the right inference from the fact that Jesus perceived their thoughts. The man who can read the thoughts of the heart has a presumptive claim to be considered able to do more than lies within the sphere of ordinary men. We find, however, that they passed from this instance of spiritual insight without a remark. This is a danger to which we are all exposed — the danger, namely, of seeing blasphemy where we ought to see Divinity, and of neglecting to construct the right argument upon such evidences of Christ's power as are patent to our own observation. The effect produced upon the minds of the spectators (ver. 26) was apparently satisfactory, yet not really and permanently so, or there could have been no recurrence of hostility. We see from this how possible it is to be amazed, even to glorify God and to be filled with fear, and yet to fall back from this high feeling into positive distrust and enmity. Feeling must be consolidated by understanding, or it will prove itself a poor defence in the day of repeated trial. Christianity is an argument as well as an emotion; and to separate them is to divide our strength and to miss the great purpose of Christian instruction.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

1. Is an admirable commentary on the psalmist's words, "Thy gentleness hath made me great." As we follow the steps of the narrative, we feel how, by His gentleness, by the wise gradations of His approach to the paralytic's true need, Christ is gradually raising him into his best moods.

2. Reminds us that in His grace Christ rewards the very moods of faith and hope which He Himself has produced. He says, "Be of good courage"; and, at the word, courage springs up in our fearful hearts. He says, "Thy sins are forgiven"; and we are able to believe that He, who can forgive sins, can do for us whatever we may need. And then, having inspired faith and courage, He rewards them as though they were our virtues rather than His gifts: He bids us "arise and walk," to prove our victory over sin, to show that we have found new life in Him. So that the reward He bestows is — new and happier service.

3. Teaches that Christ often crosses our wish to supply our want. No doubt the supreme desire of the Galilean paralytic was deliverance from the palsy. But that is not the first thing Christ grants him. There must be faith before there can be healing; the man's sins must be forgiven before he can be made whole from his disease. But then, when our sins are really forgiven us, forgiveness implies a free restoration to health.

(S. Cox, D. D.)

We have here a distinct recognition of the value of intercessory prayer, or, if I may so express myself, of vicarious faith. God, we learn therefore, hears prayers of believing men offered up not for themselves but for others.

1. This doctrine is Scriptural. Abraham, Moses, &c.

2. This doctrine is reasonable. It can give a good account of itself before the bar of philosophy. It is a wise, God-worthy policy to encourage men to pray, live, and even die for one another, in the assurance that they pray not, live not, die not in vain.

3. The duty arising out of the foregoing doctrine is plain. It is without ceasing to desire and to pray for the well-being, spiritual and temporal, of all men, specially of those whose case Providence brings closest home to us.

(A. B. Bruce, D. D.)

I.A CASE OF DIRE DISEASE.

II.PRACTICAL SYMPATHY EVOKED.

III.UNEXPECTED HINDRANCES.

IV.THE INGENUITY OF FAITH.

V.A GRACIOUS ORDER OF BLESSING.

VI.PLAUSIBLE OBJECTIONS CONFUTED.

VII.HUMAN RESTORATIONS BY JESUS MADE COMPLETE.

VIII.HUMAN SUFFERING RESULTING IN BRINGING GLORY TO GOD.

(D. Davies, M. A.)

I. Whether God can forgive sins or not, it is certain that NO OTHER BEING CAN. We have no right to forgive one another. We cannot forgive one another. Forgiveness, real and complete, can neither go nor come, can neither be given nor accepted, between man and man. As I have said before, God would have to die first. Eternity would have to end first. This is what conscience says to-day, will say to-morrow, and will say for ever. I am almost ashamed to be insisting upon any. thing so elementary and axiomatic. But I dare not be ashamed of it. There is Something in the air which predisposes us to think lightly of sin. And I must warn you against it; and warn myself against it. Questions of conscience are only in part subjective and social. They are between us and the Unseen; between us and the Eternal; between us and the All-Just; between us and the All-Terrible. I do not see nor touch Him yet. But when this tired breast stops heaving, and this tired pulse stops beating, quick as thought, quicker than lightning, I shall be with Him, face to face. Only one question shall I then care to have answered: Can He forgive? I do not, dare not, can not forgive myself; can He forgive me?

II. Let us ask, and answer this question now: Can God forgive? In the dainty, superficial thinking of our time, which comes of so much self-indulgence, softening the mental and moral fibre, Divine forgiveness is easy. It is assumed that suffering must cease some time. A bold assumption, in the face of a creation which has always sighed and groaned. If God is not impeached or disturbed by suffering to-day, why need He be to-morrow, or next day, or the next? Much is said also of our insignificance, and that, too, by men who, in other relations, make great account of the dignity of human nature. God, it is said, can suffer no loss at our hands. We cannot rob Him of any treasure. Somebody once asked Daniel Webster what was the most important thought that ever occupied his mind. The propriety of the question hardly equalled the solidity of the answer. "The most important thought that ever occupied my mind," said he, "was that of my individual responsibility to God." Psychology admits no possibility of forgiveness. On purely rational grounds, it is inconceivable. Plato could see nothing ahead but either penalty, or penance. Some speakers and writers of our time, affecting philosophy, are eloquent about work and wages, being and condition, character and destiny. Very well, gentlemen: but do you know what you are saying? You hate our iron-clad orthodoxy. But our creed, as you must yourselves admit, has some mercy in it; while your creed has no mercy in it at all. To be consistent, you should get rid of your idea of a personal God, as perhaps you have already. As you put things, this universe might just as well be governed by some impersonal Force. The laws are all alike, whether physical or moral. Atonement suggests and warrants the declaration that "God is Love." Somehow, on the basis of this atonement, and in pursuance of its purpose, God forgives. What is forgiveness? Not mere remission of penalty. Moral penalty never can be remitted without moral change. To forgive an offence that I know will be repeated is to be accessory to that offence, before and after. Divine forgiveness can go no farther than human forgiveness, and achieve no more. It must observe the same ethical laws. It must have the same high ethical tone. "Go, and sin no more," is always the condition of forgiveness.

(R. D. Hitchcock, D. D.)

It seems to have been a common practice with their (the Waldensian) teachers, the more readily to gain access for their doctrines among persons in the higher ranks of life, to carry with them a box of trinkets, or articles of dress, something like the hawkers or pedlars of our day; and Reinerius thus describes the manner in which they were wont to introduce themselves: "Sir, will you be pleased to buy any rings or seals or trinkets? Madam, will you look at any handkerchiefs or pieces of needlework for veils; I can afford them cheap." If, after a purchase, the company ask, "Have you anything more?" the salesman would reply, "Oh, yes; I have commodities far more valuable than these, and I will make you a present of them, if you will protect me from the ecclesiastics." Security being promised, he went on: "The inestimable jewel I spoke of is the Word of God, by which He communicates His mind to men, and which inflames their heart with love to Him."

(Milner.)

A touching story of a mother's faith is that of a dying Scotch mother, who in praying for and speaking of a wandering son, whom she had not heard from for years, said: "O God, Thou knowest I consecrated Jamie to Thee when he was an infant in my arms. Thou knowest I have prayed for him with the prayer of faith — a mother's faith, every day ever since he was born. He is Thy child; Thou must go after him and find him, and bring him into the kingdom, for Thou hast promised, and Thou art faithful to fulfil Thy promises. Thou canst not lose my Jamie from the fold. I know that Thou wilt save Jamie for me, and I shall meet him in the land where none ever wander away from the green pastures and the still waters."

"There is no use in keeping the church open any longer; you may as well give me the key," said a missionary in Madras, as in the course of a journey he passed through a village where once so many of the natives had professed Christianity that a little church had been built for them. But the converts had fallen away, returned to their idols, and there only remained faithful the one poor woman to whom now the missionary was speaking. "There is Christian worship in the village three miles off," he added, noticing her sorrowful look; "any one who wishes can go there." "Oh, sir," she pleaded, most earnestly, " do not take away the key! I at least will still go daily to the church and sweep it clean and will keep the lamp in order, and go on praying that God's light may one day visit us again." So the missionary left her the key, and presently the time came when he preached in that very church crowded with repentant sinners; the harvest of the God-given faith of that one poor Indian woman.

We now visit an old man of seventy-five, who had been a coachman and cabdriver in Paris. We have known him for ten years. His home is humble, but it was very interesting to look in from time to time on old Grimmer and his wife, both of them diligently cutting into strips a sort of coarse lace to try and earn something for their own support. He was a great sufferer through gout for the last two years, and when the thought came forcibly home to him that he could not live much longer, the sins of his past life weighed heavily upon his mind. 'You have no idea,' he would say, 'of the sins I have committed during my long life, and if I only knew they were forgiven I should not be afraid to die.' The feeling quite overpowered him. We visited him, and read God's Word with him, and after some months the light shone in upon him, and all was changed. But let him tell his own simple story; 'I know now my sins are all forgiven, for the sake of my Saviour, who died for me. Yes, though I am such a great sinner, God has forgiven me all. I used to be so frightened when I awoke at night, and seemed to see dreadful spirits round me; but now, when I am awake, I pray to God, and I seem to know He is in the room with me. One night I am sure I saw Jesus standing before me when I was praying.' His faith was bright to the last, and he passed quietly away to ' the home above.'"

(Miss Leigh's work in Paris.)

This was the language of Mrs. B —, who has been visited by the missionary for many years. She always received my visits, and was willing to hear the Scriptures read, but was totally blind to their spiritual application, and always said she was too bad to be forgiven; but this was as a cloak to cover her indulgence in sin. About nine months ago she manifested a deep concern about her spiritual condition. She said, "It's no use talking to me, the day of grace is gone, I am afraid there is no hope for me." I repeatedly visited her, read and prayed with her. She attended all the meetings, and would cry out, "Lord, save me, if thou canst look upon a poor sinner like me! "At night she was terrified with dreams." My old man," she said," declared I was gone mad. I said, 'It's my sins, my sins!' I didn't know what to do nor where to go. It was at the Mission-room last June that I heard distinctly a voice that said, 'Thy sins which were many are all forgiven thee.' I felt such a change; I'm an old woman, but I could dance for joy; it is wonderful the Lord Jesus forgave me. Sixty-five years' sins all forgiven!"

Nature, in all her realms, lies open to His eye. No pearl of the deep, no metallic splendour of the mine, but shines to Him. No flower of a day, no tree of a century, no forest of a millennium, but has in petal, foliage, and gathering girth a history He intimately knows. No fish, glancing through the seas, no beast, wild or subdued, no bird, savage or harmless, but has a biography whose every incident is clear in the flame of His all. searching eyes, and, pointing to man, He says: "The very hairs of your head are all numbered." And is He so minutely acquainted with man's decorating and living crown? He has as intimate acquaintance with the thoughts of man's mind and the feelings and aspirations of his soul. Every creature, small and great, every event of every life, every sin, sorrow, fear, and hope, lives simultaneously, completely, unerringly, in the light of His countenance.

(G. T. Coster.)

He needed not that one should tell Him what was in men; He knew it. He, looking upon men, looked upon them as if they were glass, and as if their soul's machinery was perfectly visible within them. As we, looking upon a clock, see its whole mechanism, so Christ, looking upon men, seemed to see the interior men more than the exterior.

(H. W. Beecher.)

I looked the other day into old Culpepper's Herbal. It contains a marvellous collection of wonderful remedies. Had this old herbalist's prescriptions been universally followed, there would not long have been any left to prescribe for; the astrological herbalist would soon have extirpated both sickness and mankind. Many of his receipts contain from twelve to twenty different drugs, each one needing to be prepared in a peculiar manner; I think I once counted forty different ingredients in one single draught. Very different are these receipts, with their elaboration of preparation, from the Biblical prescriptions which effectually healed the sick — such as these. "Take a lump of figs and lay it for a plaster upon the boil": or that other one: "Go and wash in Jordan seven times"; or that other; "Take up thy bed and walk." One cannot but admire the simplicity of truth, while falsehood conceals her deformities with a thousand trickeries.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

It is not so easy a matter as it might seem, to explain the multitude of the miracles that are narrated or referred to in these Gospels which give us all that we know of the life of Jesus the Messiah. The accounts of them make up a large part of the four Gospels. Why is it that the three brief years of Christ's miracles should have been so largely consumed in these hundreds, thousands of acts of healing men's bodily ailments and infirmities, and even inconveniences? What was the purpose, and what was the result, of all these mighty works?

1. If the one object of Christ's miracles was directly to reduce the sum of human misery, then they were a failure; for their result was inappreciably small and insignificant. What a mere drop of solace in an ocean of agony 1 What an atom of comfort beside the huge, mountainous mass of human woe.

2. Such an object as that of arbitrarily interrupting the general course of human suffering by miraculous interference, not only was not accomplished by the power of Christ, but it ought not to have been accomplished it would not have been a blessing. The notion that there was too much pain and suffering in the world — more than was right, more than was best, more than was needed by mankind for their own good — the notion that God our Father had dealt hardly by His children, and that the Son of God, with a superior love, came down to mitigate the hardship which the Father's too great severity had imposed — is quite too much like some other of the obsolete notions of a mediaeval theology, and quite too much unlike the Word of God. For it is not true. God tolerates no pain in the world that can be spared. It was not in revenge or cruelty, but in that justice which is another name for love, that He pronounced on the apostate race the curse of toil and suffering and death. His curse was the best blessing that mankind, sinful, apostate, were capable of receiving.

3. The real answer is declared in the text. When God interferes to break the dreadful chain of moral causes that binds penalty to sin, He gives sign and token of the same, by breaking also the chain of physical cause and effect that holds the creation groaning under bondage to bodily pain and weakness. When He sends His only-begotten into the world, He adopts this way to signalize Him to the wretched, the poor, the hungry, the sick, the palsied, the sinful and unhappy of every land and language and century, as God's authorized Commissioner.

4. Christ's works, moreover, set before us the way of salvation — the way in which He gives it, the way in which we are to receive it. The miracles are parables — not the less parables for being also facts. And this miracle, in particular, shows the order in which the devil's works are destroyed by the Holy One of God — not first pain and sorrow, and then sin; but first sin, and then the pain, sorrow, death that sin has wrought.

(Leonard W. Bacon.)

I. THIS MIRACLE IS A PARABLE.

1. Of Divine power and love.

2. Of human faith.

II. CONSIDER THE PARALYTIC'S PRAYER. It was a wonderful prayer — so brief, so comprehensive, so affecting, so complete; stating the whole case, setting it forth in every particular, detailing every symptom of the malady, urging every argument of sympathy, calling for exactly the comfort and help that were required; — such was the prayer offered by the sick of the palsy, as his couch with its half-dead burden dropped on the ground at the feet of the Christ. What then did he say? Not one word! The silence which this strange intruder brought with him into the school of Christ was broken only by the voice of the Son of Man Himself — "Son, be of good cheer; thy sins are forgiven thee." He had told his story well. There was a dead and leaden limb hanging to a half-lifeless trunk. There was a hand shaking with the helpless tremor of the nerves that could do little more than tremble. There were the lips drooling and mowing, and the tongue lolling with a look like idiocy within the gate of speech, and the eyes, last refuge of the blockaded intellect, looking with longings that cannot be uttered toward Him who is the Life. And now do you ask. What did he may? Rather, What did he leave unsaid? It was an unspoken prayer, but not a prayer unuttered or unexpressed. I find, in the very nature of this sick man's malady, some instructive indications as to what is the prayer of faith, and what is faith that gives prevailing power to prayer. It is not without significance that so large aproportion of our Lord's miracles of healing were wrought on the blind and the palsied — the sufferers from those two forms of human infirmity which most discipline one to a sense of his own helplessness and need, and most educate him in the habit of confiding in the strength and wisdom and faithfulness of another. And as I meditate of blindness and palsy, I better understand the darkness and impotency of sis, and what is that faith by which we should commit ourselves to the infinite wisdom, love, and power of God.

III. CONSIDER THE ANSWER WHICH THE PALSIED MAN RECEIVED TO HIS PRAYER. If it seemed at first, to any, that he had uttered no prayer at all, such will surely think at first that he received no answer at all. Very commonly this is true, in the Gospels, of the Lord's response to those who come to Him. "Jesus answered and said," we read; but the answer has no obvious relevency to what was asked (John 3:1-3). He answers, not the words, but what lay in the heart, behind the words. In such wise He answers the prayer of the palsied — a prayer that says, plainer than any words can say it, "Lord, that I might be healed." It seems no answer at all — "Son, be of good cheer; thy sins are forgiven thee." There seems to be some untold story here. There is more than palsy — there is sin; if not an anxious face, at least a troubled conscience. And there is a keen diagnosis on the part of the Great Healer, going deeper than the surface symptoms, reaching to the inmost roots of the trouble. And His answer is given accordingly. Observe in it —

1. That the paralytic received the substance, though not the form, of what he had asked, to his entire satisfaction. For a similar case, see 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. Did the features of the paralytic, think you, betray to the gazing and murmuring scribes some sign of disappointment or discontent, when those majestic words were spoken down to him — "Thy sins be forgiven thee"? Is it ever those who cry mightily to God, who are found complaining that He is slack concerning His promises? And if not, then who are you that are finding fault — making bold to come between the saint and his Saviour, to complain that the covenant is not fully performed? If Christ is satisfied, and the suppliant soul is satisfied, who are we that we should interfere to measure the prayer against the answer, and remonstrate with the Lord that His ways are unequal. Nay, I take you all to witness —

2. That this petitioner received more than the equivalent of what he had asked, by as much as it is a greater thing to suffer and be happy and joyful in the midst of suffering, than it is not to suffer at all. Many a sick man has implored the Lord for health and strength, and won a blessing greater than he asked, in learning "how sublime a thing it is to suffer and be strong." Many a bankrupt man, that had struggled, with anxious calculations and many an earnest petition, for deliverance from accumulating troubles, and seemed to find no answer from God, has been rewarded at last with the heavenly gift of grace to step majestically down from wealth to poverty, and has found a joy in low estate beyond what wealth could ever give.

3. But now observe, finally, that when he had received the equivalent of his prayer, to his full content; and when he had received "exceeding abundantly above what he had asked"; at last, this palsied man was given the identical thing which he had asked. Not for his sake — no, he did not ask it now. He was of good cheer — his sins were forgiven him. So far as appears, he was full of exceeding peace and content, craving nothing more, but wholly satisfied, the rest of his appointed time, to lie a helpless infant in the everlasting arms. No, it was not for his sake, but "that ye may know that the Son of Man hath power," &c. For now the palsy had accomplished its work and could be spared. It had brought the sufferer, and laid him low and helpless at the feet of Jesus to receive the forgiveness of his sins, and what more could it do for him? The time was come, at last, when it might be dismissed, but not till now. And Christ is not so unkind as to give healing so long as suffering is still needed. He is not less merciful than the Father, as He is not more merciful. Would you dare to ask that your grief, your pain, your burden should be taken away before its work was done? Could you bring your mind to wish that all these past hours, and days, and weeks, and weary months of suffering should have been in vain; and that God should call back these stern but kindly servants of His, while yet their mission was incomplete, and bid them Let him alone I sorrow is wasted on him I he is joined to his idols; let him alone? But now, the sick of the palsy is forgiven and at peace. The sickness has well fulfilled its painful but beneficent ministry, and He who is Lord over all the powers of life and death, that saith to this one, Come, and he cometh, and to another,! Go, and he goeth, may call away this sad-faced angel, and send him back to where, before the throne, they "stand and wait" for some new bidding upon messages of love.

(Leonard W. Bacon.)

I. MARK THE STRANGE THINGS OF THAT PARTICULAR DAY.

1. Power present to heal the doctors (ver. 17).

2. Faith reaching down to the Lord from above (ver. 19).

3. Jesus pardoning sin with a word (ver. 20).

4. Jesus practising thought-reading (ver. 22).

5. Jesus making a man carry the bed which had carried him (ver. 25).

II. MARK THE STRANGE THINGS OF CHRIST'S DAY.

1. The Maker of men born among men.

2. The Lord of all serving all.

3. The Just One sacrificed for sin.

4. The Crucified rising from the dead.

5. Death slain by the dying of the Lord.

III. MARK THE STRANGE THINGS SEEN BY BELIEVERS IN THEIR DAY WITHIN THEMSELVES AND OTHERS.

1. A self-condemned sinner justified by faith.

2. A natural heart renewed by grace.

3. f soul preserved in spiritual life amid killing evils, like the bush that burned with fire and was not consumed.

4. Evil made to work for good by providential wisdom.

5. Strength made perfect in weakness.

6. The Holy Ghost dwelling in a believer.

7. Heaven enjoyed on earth.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. THIS INFLUENCE SUCCEEDED TO PRAYER. It is said our Redeemer had withdrawn into the wilderness to pray; He had just come from the wilderness, where He had been engaged in earnest prayer with the Father, no doubt for the salvation of a lost world; for this was the errand upon which He came to our earth, this was the work which He took upon Him, and with reference to this work were all His engagements. We are sure His prayers, when presented to His Father, had a special and direct reference invariably to the salvation of a lost world. After thus praying He came forth, and it was then this extraordinary influence was present. In all ages, God hath made the execution of His gracious purposes to depend upon the exercise of the forth-putting of earnest prayer. Throughout the Old Testament dispensation, we find all those who were raised up by Him to bring about the spiritual or temporal deliverance of His people, were instructed to do so in the spirit of prayer. When the holy prophet Daniel was made aware that the set time to favour Zion was come, even after knowing this he did not restrain prayer, but gave himself to this duty as one which must be performed in order to the accomplishment of God's gracious purposes.

II. THIS GRACIOUS INFLUENCE WAS IN CONNECTION WITH THE TEACHING OF JESUS. Jesus had not only been praying, and was now in the spirit of prayer, but He was teaching, and the Lord hath made the salvation of the world to depend upon the faithful teaching of the doctrines of Christ: " Go ye," said our Redeemer, "into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."

III. We observe THE CONVERSION OF THIS MAN WAS BROUGHT ABOUT BY EXTRAORDINARY MEANS. NOW the present state of the Christian Church, and this professedly Christian land, calls to extraordinary efforts. We have been trying for a length of time to get people by the door, and if the house has not always been crowded, as it has not in some instances (the more the pity), yet, in innumerable instances it has been crowded with devils, who kept out poor sinners, who prevented them from coming in: and there we have been too ready to leave them, because we were afraid of stepping out of the ordinary course — that we should do anything out of the usual way, lest the whole town should be in a stir, and that any of the people of God should think we were disposed to signalize ourselves. Now we wish you to be impressed with this; and beware, because you have happened to see a conversion affected by extraordinary means, of supposing that this is the only way, and that this way always succeeds, and no other will. It is an extraordinary way suited to extraordinary circumstances; and, I believe, extraordinary circumstances are more general than people are disposed to admit. But what will take place then? Why, if you act thus, there will be a great deal of excitement, and people will talk against it; they will say, oh, take care of excitement (for the excitement has been very great amongst us in several instances) — take care you do not excite the people. We ask them to specify any good reason why we should not try to excite the people, and then we will desist. Are they too susceptible? Is not the world affected with excitement in other quarters? There is plenty of excitement in the theatre, plenty of excitement in the ball-room, and no one attempts to fasten upon them the charge of enthusiasm. These men are most rational, the very lights of the world, fitted to expound everything that appears a mystery I It is only in the house of God, where the most stirring subjects are brought before us, that it is thought better to be as still as possible; that is, it is thought a perfect breach of decorum for there to be the slightest indication of sympathy in the statements made. We are in perfect bondage; we dare not utter our feelings lest some that stand by should say that we are enthusiasts. But then, if the Lord thus appear, if the Lord make bare His arm, they will say, oh, it is all sympathy it spreads from one to another. We admit that, to a considerable extent, sympathy is the means that God employs. But, further, if you thus get the Influence of God down upon the people, the power of Christ communicated to their hearts, and have the matter settled by the testimony of the Spirit, they will object to the suddenness of the conversion. God's way of salvation is very simple, and the person who has been brought to exercise a believing act will learn more in a few hours than he could by years of study previous to its exercise.

(J. M'Lean.)

I. THE SICK MAN AND HIS FRIENDS.

1. The sick man.

2. The sick man's friends. Several interesting particulars are suggested by their action in this matter.(1) They had faith in Jesus. It is only men of faith who can truly do good to others. If we do not believe in our hearts and souls that Jesus Christ can forgive and heal sinners, we shall certainly never bring any such to him.(2) Theirs was a practical faith. Faith is not merely a sentiment which believes something to be, but a vitalized affection which starts all our faculties into action and sets us to work to accomplish something.(3) Their faith was resourceful. There were difficulties in their path.

(G. F. Pentecost.)

The world is a-weary, and longs for something novel. The greatest stranger in the world is Jesus; and alas l He is the least seen, and the least spoken of by the most of men. If men would come and watch Him, they would see strange things. His person, His life, His death, are full of strange things. What He is doing now has as much as ever the element of strangeness and wonder about it. Life never grows stale to a companion of Jesus. Do you find it becoming so, and are you a believer? Seek the conversion of your family, and your neighbourhood. Seek to know more of Jesus at work among men. This will cause you to see stranger and stranger things, till you see the strangest of all with Christ in glory.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Wonder at the work of God is natural, justifiable, commendable. He is a God of wonders. It is right to say of the Lord's doing, "It is marvellous in our eyes." We are to talk of all His wondrous works; but this must be in the spirit of devout admiration, not in the spirit of suspicion and doubt. A holy, grateful wonder should be indulged to the full; but a cold, sceptical wonder should be resisted as a suggestion from Satan. Faith accounts all things possible with God; it is unbelief that in. credulously marvels at the work of His hand.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Guthrie, of Fenwick, a Scotch minister, once visited a dying woman, whom he found very anxious about her state, but very ignorant. His explanation of the gospel was joyfully received, and she died soon afterwards. On his return home, Guthrie said, "I have seen a strange thing to-day — a woman whom I found in a state of nature, I saw in a state Of grace, and left in a state of glory."

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