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these and kindred points be the subjects of our frequent and earnest inquiry. And oh! may the Holy Spirit direct and help us! May He bring our investigation to a salutary and joyful issue, to the praise and glory of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!
THE DEAF AND DUMB MAN MADE TO HEAR AND SPEAK.
MARK VII. 36, 37.
And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it; and were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.
IN directing our attention to the various details of our Saviour's most interesting history, whatever be the order which we adopt, we shall continually find fresh wonders presented to our view. It is incumbent on us constantly to remember that these wonders are calculated, and were designed, to establish and illustrate the glorious character of Him by whom they were wrought. May God grant that such effects may ever be produced on our minds by the consideration of them, to the praise and glory of His grace, and to our own solid comfort and joy!
We have now to contemplate the display of our Lord's mercy and power, in an instance differing
from all which have hitherto passed before us; namely, in that of "one who was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech." In taking a survey of the short narrative in which this instance is recorded, it will be proper for us to notice
I. THE CASE PRESENTED TO OUR LORD:
II. THE PREPARATIONS MADE FOR THE INTENDED
III. THE CURE ITSELF: and
IV. THE RESULTS WHICH ENSUEd.
I. Let us briefly notice THE CASE PRESENTED TO OUR LORD. He was passing, it appears, through an adjacent Gentile district, into the region of Galilee. In the course of his progress thither, he went through a neighbourhood where he was already known on account of former interpositions of his mercy; the intelligence of which had been widely spread among its inhabitants. It is natural therefore to suppose that the exercise of his compassionate power would be speedily sought, when it was understood that he was passing that way: and such, as we learn from the Evangelist, was actually the case: "And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis. And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him."
1 This may be inferred from Matt. iv. 25. and more especially from Mark v. 20.
The man thus presented to our Lord seems to have been completely deprived of the sense of hearing, and so nearly dumb, that it was, as the original expression imports, with extreme difficulty that he could utter a word. The nature of these organic defects, and their frequent connection with each other, it falls not within our province to discuss. It may be observed, however, in the language of a distinguished theologian, that of all natural imperfections they seem the most deplorable, as they are those which most exclude the unhappy sufferer from society, from all the enjoyments of the present world, and, it is to be feared, from a right apprehension of his interests in the next.'1
Those who applied to our Lord on behalf of the afflicted man, seem not only to have been acquainted with the fact that he had power to afford the relief which they importuned, but also to have been aware of the outward sign or action which frequently accompanied, or immediately preceded, his bestowal of the benefit implored. It is not improbable that they had themselves seen him lay his hand on other patients, whose complete soundness had instantly followed that act. Naturally supposing, therefore, that the like happy effect, that is, the perfect cure of the object of their own concern in the present instance, would be immediately consequent upon the touch of our Lord," they beseech him to put his hand upon him." Doubtless had such been his good
1 Bishop Horsley.
pleasure, he could have granted their desire in the very way which they seem to have expected. Of this we have had abundant proof in several instances which have already engaged our attention. The confidence of these applicants in the power of our Lord is worthy of our special notice, though that power was not manifested precisely in accordance with their expectation. May we, contemplating their example, have faith constantly to rely on the ability of the same Jesus to relieve our necessities in that way which he shall see to be most expedient, and at length to complete all our desire! He knows our infirmities; he is acquainted with all our wants; he has mercy and wisdom co-extensive with his power; surely then it is our interest, no less than our duty, to trust in Him, and to make application to Him. May we, through Divine grace, be enabled to do this
II. Let us next observe THE PREPARATIONS MADE FOR THE INTENDED CURE.
"And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; and looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened."
We stop not to inquire for what cause our Lord took the man aside from the multitude. We know that he did not fear a scrutiny of his mighty works, for many of them, as we have already seen, were done with the greatest publicity. It is not improbable that on this occasion he might wish to avoid the