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it for granted, had heard of the miraculous cures which our Saviour had performed, and had so much faith in him as to believe that he was able to cure them, implored with loud supplication his mercy.
" And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests." Upon this part of St. Luke's narrative, two questions may be asked :“ Did our Lord, then, not touch or approach these infected sufferers ?" _and—: What was the meaning of his ordering them to shew themselves to the priests ?” The answer to the first of these questions is, that he did not touch them, and that probably he went no nearer to them than the spot where he heard their distant intreaty.
This we can account for, partly, from his respect to the Jewish law, and partly, from his divine power of healing the diseased however remote from bim. His respect for the law was so exemplary that he always conformed to it, in the rational and true method of conformity. True it is, that his enemies sometimes reproached him for violating the sabbath, but he always justified himself even from that charge, by shewing that he, indeed, sanctified the sabbath, not only by observing its holy rest in the true sense of the word, but by performing also works of mercy and beneficence on that sacred day. As the ten lepers, then, kept theniselves aloof from him, because, in their state of uncleanness, it was not lawful for them to mix with the public, he seems to have kept at a distance from them for that very reason, or partly so :-though we know that
in the case of another leper in an earlier part of the Gospel history, our Saviour “put forth his hand, and touched”* the patient. His principal reason, however, for not approaching those lepers to whom the text relates, was, unquestionably, to shew the efficacy of his divine power,-to convince even the most incredulous of his attendants or hearers that he could heal diseases, without coming into contact with the parties afflicted. Several instances, indeed, of this had occurred in the previous exercises of his ministry ; and this was only a new proof and corroboration of his possessing that faculty.
Then, as to the other question, “What was the meaning of his ordering them to shew themselves to the priests ?”—the answer is, that it implied his fulfilling the request which the ten lepers made to him. For the Jewish priests could not cure diseases :--but it was part of their office, and particularly in cases of leprosy-of which a very full account is given in the 13th and 14th chapters of Leviticus,—to examine the state of the person diseased, and to pronounce whether that person was clean or unclean. Our Saviour's answer to the lepers amounted to this—and so they understood it—“Go, shew yourselves to the priests, and you will have the comfort of finding, in consequence of my miraculous removal of your complaint before you arrive thither, that they will pronounce you to be perfectly healed, and therefore free, in the legal sense, from all impurity.” Here again was an
* Matt. viii. 3.
example of his deference to the law,-and it was giving the priests themselves an opportunity of recog. nizing his supernatural power, and of considering his claims as the Messiah that was to come. His conduct was similar to that which is recorded by St. Matthew, St. Mark, and St. Luke, in the case of the other leper whom I have already mentioned as being healed by him in an earlier part of his ministry :-for the charge which he gave to him, after removing his malady was, “Go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them ;* a testimony not only that the cure of a disease which by human power is incurable, has actually been effected, but also that the person who has performed it, has a respect even for the ceremonial law. To return now to St. Luke's narrative.
66 It came to pass that” as the ten lepers were going away as Jesus had commanded, they were cleansed :—and while the others were proceeding on their way,
without, perhaps, a thought of returning to thank Him who had wrought for them so extraordinary a work of mercy, one only of them, “ when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God. And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks.” The man who exhibited this religious sensibility and gratitude " was,” it is added, “a Samaritan,”-one who was therefore, publicly regarded as an alien from the commonwealth of
* Matt. viii. 4.
Mark i. 44.
Luke y. 14.
Israel ; for “the Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans ;"_he was also one, who, for the same reason, belonged not to those “lost sheep” to whom our blessed Lord, in the exercise of his earthly ministry, declared himself to be sent,—though he withheld not his beneficent compassion from persons who were not Jews, provided they bad, as was the case with this leper, a sincere and ardent faith in him. He then treated them with peculiar kindness,-commended their faith,--and made an open or an implied comparison between them and the less-deserving Jews. His remark upon the centurion was, “ Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel :"_and the text is an instance of the same kind; for, upon the leper's coming to him, worshipping, and giving him thanks, he said, “Were there not ten cleansed ?- but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.” From his styling the Samaritan a “stranger," as the Jews themselves would term him, we may reasonably conclude that the nine, who did not return to express their gratitude, were Jews.
This is the history of the circumstances connected with the text: Let us now consider some of the practical uses that it points out to us.
Though our Saviour no longer resides on earth to perform miracles personally, and though the power of working miracles, which in the first ages of Christianity was granted to the Apostles and others, has long
utter and irretrievable ruin ; and that the danger itself has not been perceived, till it actually arrived, and when there were no means of escaping. If, therefore, those who are not yet contaminated with the world's evil ways, would seriously consider the consequences that are likely to arise from their actions - if, before they run headlong into sin, or carelessly “ follow a multitude to do evil,” they would “sit down and count the cost” to their own souls of such hazardous rashness, they would escape many of the troubles which others have fallen into, and which they have bitterly deplored when it has been too late.
The Christian religion is so far from discouraging or discountenancing friendships in the worthy and Jaudable sense of the word, that it regulates their purposes and their activity, gives strength to their virtuous operation, and heightens their glory and merit. It teaches us to join in affections with persons who are amiable in themselves, and worthy of a pure and disinterested regard ;-to unite in heart and soul with men who are actuated by honest principles and generous sentiments, and who are intent upon no pursuits but such as are justifiable and praiseworthy. To be a friend to good men, is to be a friend to those to whom our blessed Lord declares himself a friend. To be a friend to such on earth, is to engage in a friendship that will be approved by the Author of all goodness, and rewarded hereafter in heaven :-for, as it coincides with