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THE HEALING EFFICACY OF CHRIST'S DOCTRINE.
MARK v. 31.
Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, who touched me?
The occasion of these words was the following circumstance. One of the rulers of the synagogue,
of the name of Jairus, came to Jesus, and falling down at his feet, besought him most earnestly, saying, " my little daughter lies at the point of death. I pray thee come and lay thy hands upon
her, that she
be healed, and she shall live." The compassionate Saviour was moved at a petition which flowed so directly from a parent's heart, and which indicated such strong faith in his power to heal. He immediately went with the afflicted father. No sooner was it known that he was going to heal the sick child, than a great crowd of people followed and pressed hard upon him. They were, no doubt, extremely anxious to be eye witnesses of the miracle. In this vast concourse there was a man who had been afflicted for twelve years with a distressing disorder, “and had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse. This afflicted woman had lost all hopes of recovery by the assistance of human aid; indeed she was poor and pennyless. Her little estate had already passed over into the hands of her physicians, who in room of doing her any good, had caused her many painful sufferings. Destitute, alone and friendless, a thought came into her mind, and it immediately formed itself into a resolution accompanied with a perfect confidence, that if she could by any possible means, press through the crowd of per
ple so as to but touch the clothes of Jesus she should be made whole.
It is scarcely possible to imagine a circumstance more calculated to excite exertion than this. She was, no doubt, a very feeble person, a great multitude of people were crowding, and pressing to keep close to Jesus that they might not miss of seeing the miracle. The difficulty of getting through the crowd was, no doubt very great; but salvation was so near and so desirable, that it invigorated her feeble system to such a degree that her efforts were availing. It is not unlikely that we may form a pretty correct idea of the manner of this woman's exertions on this occasion. She would naturally direct her eyes toward Jesus and get a glimpse of him as often as possible; when it so happened that she could, by the greatest exertion get before one of the crowd, she never let the opportunity slip; one step gained was cautiously kept; she was careful that no one should crowd her back; she look, ed well to her feet that they should not slide; spake not a word to any one lest she might miss an opportunity to advance; the nearer she gets to the prize the stronger and more active she grows, till she eagerly reaches forth her hand and touches the garment of the Saviour. She now realizes her faith, her confidence has not deceived her, she is made whole.
Though this woman did not once think that the Saviour was apprehensive of her approach, we have good reason to believe that he who knew the very thoughts of men's hearts, who saw Nathaniel under the fig-tree, knew her case, her faith and the efforts she had made to come to him, Immediately after this woman touched his garment, he turned himself about in the press and, as if surprised that any one should touch him, said, who touched my clothes? The disciples, being ignorant of the particular case, and surprised that their master should ask who touched him, when he had, for some time, been pressed with the crowd of people all around him, said to him, “thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou who touched me?" Jesus made them no reply, but cast his eyes
round to see her, who had done this thing, when the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, come and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. And he said unto her, “ daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole ; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.'
Our subject, as it now lies before us, seems to sug. gest the following particulars for consideration.
I. What appertains to the subject of the power of Jesus to heal the natural disorders of the human body.
II. The consideration of this power as indicating the moral excellency of the doctrine of Jesus, and its efficacy in removing the moral and spiritual maladies of mankind.
III. The similarity between the disorders of the body and those of the mind.
IV. As there were no natural complaints that were too malignant to be cured by the miraculous power of Jesus, it seems to justify the inference that there are no cases of moral or spiritual disorder, which are beyond the reach of the divine efficacy of his grace.
V. The natural inducements which led the infirm to Jesus, may be used to represent those of a moral nature which lead the rational mind to the doctrine of Christ.
VI. A noticeable difference in the motives of people who crowd the places of public worship where the healing doctrine of Jesus is preached, is signified by the crowding multitude who pressed continually on Jesus, and the special cause of the woman's approach. And
VII. The resolution and perseverance of this woman may be used in a way to encourage sinners to come to Christ.
But that the hearer may not be troubled to retain these particulars, the whole subject, we say, is to be seen by examining it in a natural and moral sense.
The miraculous power of Jesus was so manifested, that even his bitterest enemies did not pretend to deny that miracles were wrought by him; they however, attributed that power to an evil demon, or Beelzebub.
The miracles of Jesus were done in such a public manner, and in such vast numbers, that not only his keenest eyed enemies who surely would have been able to have detected any imposition on the public, were fully convinced. But the thousands who were healed of all manner of diseases, remaining among the people of different parts of the country, were living testimonies by which these miracles were established, and the fame of the divine physician sent abroad through every region.
Respecting these miraculous cures, it is of importance to notice, that no partiality was ever known to have any influence in the bestowment of such favors; nor have we any account, that any worthiness in the subject was ever inquired for, or that any known unworthiness excluded any from these mercies. In these particulars the miraculous cures wrought by Jesus, bear the indubitable marks of the true divinity. Had Jesus made
any distinctions, and had he healed some and refused to heal others in the same condition, the use of his miraculous power would have exhibited infallible marks of the wisdom of this world, which has for ages subverted the gospel of Christ, by teaching for doctrine the vain tradition, that some only of the human race were elected from all eternity unto everlasting life, while the residue were by as early a decree, reprobat ed frm the divine favor forever. But the blessed Je sus neither preached nor practiced such a sentiment. Again, had the Saviour been careful to confer his miraculous favors according to character, had he minutely investigated the conduct of the infirm and sick and confined his favors to the virtuous, he would then have given, by way of example, some support to the doctrine of men, in which they have confined the favor and mercy of God to the virtuous. But Jesus said, "I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
We have every reason necessary for believing, that the gracious design of our heavenly Father, in giving such power to Jesus, extended beyond the temporal benefits received by those who were healed of their in
firmities. It is generally argued by christians, that the miracles of Jesus were designed as evidences of his Messiahship or divine mission; and this we may safely believe, and yet believe that the design extends still further. What benefit, we may ask, is there in believing that Jesus was the Messiah? The answer is, that we may receive him as a divine teacher, and believe in his doctrine. But the inquiry does not end here. What benefit is there in believing his doctrine?- The answer is, a belief in his doctrine is a remedy for the moral evil of our nature; or in other words, the doctrine of Jesus is a cure for all the disorders of sin, and our belief in this doctrine is a mean of its healing effects in the mind. If the doctrine of Jesus Christ were not possessed of this power, it seems impossible to understand the great necessity of its being propagated in our world.
The notion that this doctrine consists of a long string of abstract articles of faith, which have been written into human creeds, the belief of which is proposed in the gospel as a condition of our being made eternally happy in a future state, is so perfectly destitute of reason, and so foreign from the nature of events which take place in the system of causes and effects, that it is by no means entitled to any share of our confidence.
The belief of the truth itself is of no other advantage than its effects in delivering from sin; and changing the mind into the divine image. The miraculous cures wrought by the Saviour consisted in removing the natural disorders of the human body, so that the leper was cleansed, the deaf made to hear, the blind to see, the lame to walk, and the dead to live. And in "all these cases the divine efficacy of his doctrine was most plainly indicated. For it is the knowledge of the divine and glorious truths which compose his doctrine that cleanses from sin and moral defilement. God does not forgive the wicked as a compensation for believing in certain tenets, but forgiveness of sin means no more nor less than is expressed in the following words of scripture; “In that day there shall be a foun