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Published by glennpease

1. When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him.

1. When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him.

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Published by: glennpease on Jan 22, 2013
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REFLECTIONS ON MATTHEW 8By PASQUIER QUESNEL.1. When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudesfollowed him.A preacher or pastor ought never to decline from the per-fection of his state ; and yet he must often stoop, by way of condescension, to the weak and feeble; he must go to them,if they cannot come to him ; and he must descend to theirwants, their troubles, and their infirmities. It is the means106 MATTHEW.to gain them to God, to engage them to follow him, and todraw them after him by the sweet savour of the word.2. And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord,if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.This leper is an emblem of the corruption of man by sin,and of his restitution by repentance. A sinner truly penitent,seeks God with a respectful faith, approaches him in the spiritof adoration, humbles himself under his almighty hand, andacknowledges the greatness of his fall, and the vileness of sin,by an extreme humiliation of heart. His prayer is humble,plain, and full of confidence in God, who can do all things,and of dependence upon his will, which owes him nothing.It is peculiar to God alone, that he need only will what heintends to perform. His power is his will; it is because hewills it, that thereby he effects all, both in nature and in grace.These two truths are the fountain of Christian humility, thefoundation of continual prayer, and the pledge of the mercyof God, to those whose hearts he has been pleased to instructand penetrate with them.3. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will ; bethou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.This action of Jesus Christ is a representation of that in-
visible hand, which makes itself felt by the most insensiblehearts ; of that internal word, which makes itself heard by themost deaf; and of that supreme will, which makes itself obeyedby the most rebellious. There are two sorts of grace: theone, which does not work a conversion, but which preparesthe heart for it, by working faith, desires, trust, prayer ; andwhich causes the leper to say, "Lord, if thou wilt, thou canstmake me clean!" — the other, which does really work the con-version itself, by surmounting all the resistance of the sinner,and inspiring him with a good, strong, full, and perfect will,which entirely heals concupiscence, the very thing in whicha bad will does consist. Say to me this word of salvation,"Be thou clean," sovereign Physician, who dependest noton time for the cure of the maladies of my heart ! We oughtto be so far from despising the greatest sinners, that it is ourduty to apply to them, but still as Christ did, not permittingCHAPTER VIII. 107ourselves to be infected by them. Let us admire the efficacyof prayer ; and let us put more trust and confidence in it forthe future.4. And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way,shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, fora testimony unto them.Observe here the conduct of a good director (of the con-science:) (1.) Not to suffer the good which God is pleased todo by his ministry to be divulged, but to shun the reputationof good works. (2.) To be unconcerned for his own interest,and zealous for that of God. (3.) To prevent all occasion of scandal and jealousy. Priests ought not to treat sinners ascured of the leprosy of sin, until they are assured of it bysufficient proofs ; as the priests of the law could not acceptthe offering of a leper, nor allow him to partake of the sacri-fice, until they had received convincing tokens of his cleanness.SECT. II. — THE CENTURION.5. ^[ And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came untohim a centurion, beseeching him, 6. And saying, Lord, my servant liethat home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.God very often grants more than is desired. The elo-quence of prayer consists in representing our wants to Godin a plain manner. The centurion is the pattern of a trueChristian master's charity toward his servants, who retainsthose who are the most incapable of doing him any more ser-vice, and is to them instead of a father. The inability to dogood without the grace of Christ, is the palsy of the soul.Whence comes it to pass, that men are not near so much con-cerned at this spiritual palsy, as at that of the body, and thatthey complain of it so little? Is it not because their faith issmall, and the business of salvation so little at their heart ?
7. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.The word and promise of Christ is the great consolation of a sinner. There is no person in the world but what has needthat Jesus Christ should come and heal him, either of hismortal wounds, or of his weakness and infirmities. From thetime that he has made us sensible of eur diseases, and given108 MATTHEW.us the grace to lay them before him in prayer, let us confi-dently believe, that he says to us, "I will come and heal you;"and let us faithfully and humbly say to him, without ceasing,"Come, Lord Jesus."8. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thoushouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servantshall be healed.See here the pattern of a lively faith, and a profoundhumility, which ought always to accompany the prayer of asinner. Jesus Christ, by his will alone, can heal the palsyof ours. The first degree of humility is to acknowledge thenecessity of grace, and our own inability. The second, toconfess the freeness of this grace, and our own unworthiness.Nothing more retards our cure than our presumption.9. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and Isay to this man, Go, and he goeth ; and to another, Come, and he cometh ;and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.This is to make a true Christian use of authority, by it toraise our minds to the contemplation of that of God. Let uslook upon ours as a small emanation of his; and let us ac-knowledge, that it is nothing in comparison of his almighti-ness. Carnal men are apt to idolize either the authority of others, out of flattery or interest, or their own through prideor conceit; but a Christian takes occasion from hence tohumble himself, to adhere to God, and to hope for every thingfrom him.10. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed,Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.We sometimes see laymen and military persons, on whomGod seems to have bestowed fewer favours than on others,have notwithstanding greater faith than they. Humility is,at the same time, both the mother and the daughter of faith.Jesus admires the works of his Father, to whom he refers all,and chiefly the operation of his grace in the soul, to induce

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