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And he laid his hands on her : and immediately she

was made straight, and glorified God.

It can scarcely have escaped the notice of any who are conversant with the narratives of the Evangelists, that not a few of the miracles which our Saviour performed were wrought in the synagogue, and on the sabbath-day. We are not, however, hence to infer that he was influenced by any ostentatious motive. Such a supposition would be altogether inconsistent with his character as presented to us in his recorded history, as well as in the predictions which went before concerning him. Undoubtedly he sought not the praise of men. It is rather to be supposed therefore, that his object in performing many of his wonderful works in such a place and at such a time, was, that persons who would not follow or resort to him on other occasions, and especially persons of eminence and distinction, might have an opportunity of beholding those miraculous exhibitions of his power which established his claims, and attested the truth of his Divine mission.

We lately considered a remarkable display of our Lord's

power, presented in the restoration of the impotent man at the pool of Bethesda. A somewhat similar case comes now before us, in the recovery of an afflicted woman who had been for a long series of years bowed down with infirmity. In directing our attention to this case, with earnest prayer for the Divine guidance and blessing, let us notice



The Evangelist having mentioned concerning our Lord, that “ he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath,” immediately adds, And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight."

The subject of this cure is described as a woman which had a spirit of infirmity.” Hers does not appear to have been a case of what has been commonly termed demoniacal possession-to the consideration of which our attention may on some future occasion be directed; but it is evident from the sequel that

Satan, the chief of wicked spirits, was in some way or other concerned in the affliction which she endured. In what manner his power was exercised it were vain and unprofitable to inquire. We learn from the history of Job, and from other parts of Scripture, that this infernal agent was sometimes permitted to occasion pain of body as well as distress of mind; but as no definite information is afforded us on this intricate subject, it would be altogether presumptuous to endeavour to unfold what God has seen it proper to conceal. The infirmity under which this afflicted woman was suffering had been of long continuance, having remained upon her for a period of eighteen years. Her case therefore must have been notorious, and her deplorable condition well known to those among whom she dwelt. It was also of a peculiarly painful nature; she “ was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.” It is pleasing, however, to remark, that even in such circumstances she made her way to the sanctuary of God, -we would hope, in the true spirit of devotion. Vor did she resort to that holy place in vain : there she found One who was both able and willing to invigorate her body and to save her soul : One who is ever ready to meet with his blessing those who worship in his

house of prayer.

Our Saviour, on this occasion, as well as in the instances to which our attention was directed in the two immediately foregoing discourses, seems to have varied from his ordinary method of proceeding. He does not appear to have waited for any application

for relief on the part of the distressed sufferer ; or to have demanded any token or acknowledgment of her reliance on his power and mercy.

mercy. On the contrary, observing her calamitous situation,--for his eyes were ever directed to the wretched, --he was moved with compassion ; and encouraging her to approach him, he immediately afforded a fresh proof of the power of his authoritative word, and of the efficacy of his momentary touch. He “ said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. And he laid his hands on her : and immediately she was made straight.” Our Lord's interposition, it appears, was peremptory and effectual :—the woman's restoration was instantaneous and complete. Hence, we learn that whatever might be the nature and the extent of that power which Satan had been permitted to exert in this affecting case, it was far inferior to that which Jesus possessed; who without effort or delay removed its painful effects, and liberated its subject from the bondage in which she had been held during a large portion of her life. Here then we have another evidence of the truth of our Saviour's claims to the character which he professed, as well as an illustration of the Apostle's testimony, “ For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” May we then, beloved brethren, -remembering that his power and mercy are still the same,-look to him in humble faith and prayer for complete deliverance from sin, which is emphatically the work of that wicked Adversary of souls. We have every reason to trust that we shall do so in

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vain. We have the encouragement of his own gracious invitation, “ Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth : for I am God, and there is none else.” We have also the animating assurance of an inspired Apostle concerning him, that “ He gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

Having thus briefly, but sufficiently, adverted to the cure which is here recorded, let us proceed to notice


These consequences we may thus summarily enumerate. They are the grateful conduct of the woman-the indignant behaviour of the ruler of the synagogue-the spirited rebuke of our Lord-the confusion of his opponents—and the general gladness of the multitude.

1. We are first apprized of the grateful conduct of the woman : “ immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.” She was, no doubt, convinced that a Divine power had been put forth in the instantaneous cure which she had received of her painful and inveterate malady. Impressed with this conviction, and thankful, we may trust, for the benefit which had been so unexpectedly and without solicitation conferred,-she ascribed her recovery to Him to whom alone the glory of it was due; and we may hope that she honoured Him by becoming a faithful disciple and devoted follower of Jesus Christ. And

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