ON THE LESSONS THAT ARE TO BE LEARNT ROM OTHER MIRACLES OF OUR LORD
Consider first, that the miracles of our Lord were generally wrought in favour of such as applied to him with a lively faith and profound humility, or by the means of earnest prayer; to teach us the great efficacy of faith, of humility, and of fervent prayer, and to encourage us to seek the cure of our souls with the like dispositions. Thus the woman that had laboured for twelve years under the issue of blood, humbly coming behind our Lord, in the crowd, and touching the hem of his garment, was instantly healed in reward of her faith, as our Lord himself assured her, Luke viii 48. Thus the centurion, by his faith and humility, obtained of our Lord the immediate cure of his servant by those words: ‘Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst enter under my roof: speak only the word, and my servant shall be healed,’ Matt. viii 8. Thus the woman of Canaan, by her pious importunity, accompanied with the like faith and humility, obtained the cure of her daughter, Matt. xv. 28. And so in many other cases. Whilst at other times those that have only presented themselves before our Saviour, without presuming either to touch him or his garments, or even so much as to speak to him – by the silent eloquence of their humility have obtained their cure, as in the case of the man that had the dropsy, Luke xiv. O let us learn this kind of eloquence!
Consider 2ndly, the particular lessons we may learn from the miraculous cure of the paralytic, (Matt. ix. and Luke v.) Our Lord was teaching in a house, surrounded by a great crowd of people, so that there was no coming in through the door, when behold, men brought in a bed a man that had the palsy, desiring to present him before him, but not finding by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went up upon the roof of the house, which was flat, and uncovering it let him down through the tiles, with his bed, by ropes, into the midst before Jesus. See here what pains were taken by these men to come to the heavenly physician, from whom they expected the cure of their friend. Who would have thought of men going up to the roof of another person’s house, and uncovering it, and letting down a sick man in a bed, over the heads of a crowd? Nothing but a strong faith on the one hand, and an earnest desire of a cure on the other, could ever have suggested such an extraordinary proceeding, which loudly condemns the indolence or indifference of so many Christians nowadays, who lying ill of palsy, which disables them in all their limbs, and threatens them with the approaches of an everlasting death, suffer themselves to be kept off from Christ by every trifling obstacle or apprehension of difficulty. O Christians, where is your faith? Where is your concern for eternity? Why will you not be much more solicitous about the health and welfare of your immortal souls than about those worldly toys, or those carcasses of yours, that must quickly be the food of worms?
Consider 3rdly, how our Lord upon this occasion was pleased to begin the cure of the sick man by first healing his soul from sin: ‘Son’, said he, ‘thy sins are forgiven thee;’ to give us to understand that our corporal maladies are oftentimes sent in punishment of our sins, and that the first thing we have to do when visited with sickness is to apply for the remission of our sins by repentance and confession; and then we may expect that the scourge may be removed when the cause is removed. The Scribes and Pharisees took occasion from those words of our Saviour to charge him with blasphemy in their minds; but he, that knew their secret thoughts, publicly confuted them by working so great and evident a miracle, in proof of his power of forgiving sins, as to restore upon the spot both health and strength to the man sick of the palsy, with only these words: ‘Arise, take up thy bed, and go into thy house;’ upon which the paralytic ‘immediately rising up before him, took up the bed on which he lay, and went away to his own house, glorifying God.’ See here, my soul, that thou hast a physician in the person of thy redeemer, who is both able and willing to heal all thy infirmities; but see also that he expects of all such as apply to him for their cure that they should lie no longer in their beds, by continuing on in the habits or immediate occasions of their sins, but that they should arise without delay, and take up their beds, by bearing with courage the labour and conflicts of a penitential life, and should make the best of their way, by the exercises of solid virtue, to their true home, glorifying all the way they go, both by their words and by their lives, their great deliverer.
Conclude to spare no means to come to Christ, in order to be healed by him of all thy spiritual diseases; but remember to carry along with thee a lively faith and a profound humility: these will not fail of introducing thee to him, and obtaining of him all thou desirest.