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A FATHER'S PLEA TO JESUS

A FATHER'S PLEA TO JESUS

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Published by glennpease

BY R. HEBER



ST. JOHN, iv. 49.
Sir, come down ere my child die.

BY R. HEBER



ST. JOHN, iv. 49.
Sir, come down ere my child die.

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Published by: glennpease on Jan 29, 2013
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A FATHER'S PLEA TO JESUSBY R. HEBER
ST. JOHN, iv. 49.Sir, come down ere my child die.THESE are the words of the nobleman recorded in the Gospel of to-day, whose historywill be found, if attentively considered, tocontain instruction or comfort for every situation in life ; and, by one and the same argument, namely, our total dependance on God,may teach humility to the happy, and hopeto the miserable.The first of these two lessons is by muchthe hardest. There is such a power in thehuman mind, of flinging off the load of burdensome and unpleasant thoughts, that seldomwill the happy listen to even the voice of worldly prudence. When we feel ourselvesin the present possession of so rare a thing asenjoyment, we shrink with disgust from thediscovery of how weak our foundations are ; andresent the intrusion of those, who would rouseus from this pleasing dream, and would call318 SERMON LIV.us back from our fancied security to the caresand fears of real life.But this is not the worst ; it is indeed agreat sin, when, in our prosperity we say weshall " never be moved ;" but it is a far greater,when we forget to add, " Thou, Lord, of thygoodness hast made my hill so strong." 1But the sense of depen dance is, to a worldlymind, connected always with the idea of danger ;and such a mind, while eager to grasp atbenefits, is anxious always to drive the benefactor from his memory. And strange as itmay seem, more particularly when our Benefactor is the Almighty, the greater are Hisfavours, and the stronger claims He possesseson our gratitude, the more negligent we oftenbecome ; and the greater our forgetfulness of the Fountain of all the blessings, which weenjoy. From the time of Solomon to thepresent hour, this is the peculiar snare of thosewho are rich in this world ; and it is the principal reason why the conversion of a rich man
 
was declared impossible, without the particularassistance of the Holy Ghost.The poor, whose dependance on God isdisplayed in every event of life, who are maintained in hourly difficulties and dangers, byHis visible help and hand, the poor are notso liable to forget the Lord. It is the rich,1 Psalm xxx. 6. Common Prayer Book Version.TWENTY-FIRST SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY. 319who receive as a matter of custom the nourishment and comforts of life ; who know not want,except as they hear of it from others ; it istheir more peculiar and besetting sin to becareless of benefits, the value of which theyscarcely feel ; and to be forgetful of that God,with whose judgements they are so little acquainted.Such was perhaps the life, such were, atleast, the probable temptations of the noblemanof Capernaum. His rank was high ; he hadpower and riches ; and the good things of thisworld were poured into his lap without measure.Who can wonder, then, if he, [like those angels,who, with Satan at their head, grew proud of the dignities with which God had adornedthem,J if he were lifted up against his Maker,and forgot that all this greatness and wealthwere the evidence of his own weakness, andof his Heavenly Father's mercy. Do youenvy this great and luxurious man ? or do youforget, that there are some visitations from whichneither riches nor power can save ? In themidst of his prosperity, his son falls sick.Alas, where is now his happiness ! In deathand disease, all human kind are on a level ; andall alike are ground to the dust by the heavyhand of affliction. When those, whom we love,are about to be taken from our eyes ; whenthey are in anguish and sorrow ; when we320 SERMON LIV.watch their sleepless nights ; and sit silent bytheir uneasy bed ; when the house is darkened,and our feet tread softly; and enquiries aretroublesome ; and the comforts of friends, aburden j when we mark their failing strength,and the fever of their parched hands ; when
 
those eyes, which before met ours, sparklingwith happiness and affection, are turned on usin the agony of pain, or in the gaze of insensibility ; it is then we feel how poor we reallyare ; and how dependant are all of us alike,on the hand of Him, by whom we are pierced.How would this unhappy father reproach himself for his former trust in riches ; how gladlywould he now give all his wealth to purchaseone hour's repose for his child ; how wouldhe recollect all his own offences ; and sink intodespair at the thoughts, that for his sins his sonwas stricken. And as hope grew fainter, howdeeply would he mourn the unfitness of hischild to die ; how would he lament thatindulgence which had increased his faults ; andthat he had seldom instructed him to rememberhis Creator in the days of his youth, before thee.vil days came, and the years in which he hadno pleasure ! lEvery aid and comfort, which wealth couldprocure, would, no doubt, be lavished in profusion ; but where God will not heal, we have1 Eccles. xii. 1.TWENTY-FIRST SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY. 321recourse to physicians in vain. One only hoperemained to him ; he had heard the fame of theprophet, who had arisen in Galilee ; and of somany mighty works, some, beyond all question,had fallen under his own observation. Yet wemay reasonably doubt, whether this citizen of Capernaum, that proud Capernaum which, inthe opinion of its inhabitants, was raised upto heaven, and which, as Christ threatened,God had determined to bring down to hell 1 ,had, before, really believed that Jesus was theMessiah. With the rest of his haughty townsmen, he had, perhaps, attributed to magic thewonderful works which he had seen ; and hadlaughed to scorn the ignorant fishermen andeasy credulous women who attended the wanderings of so young a teacher, so poor a sovereign, as our Lord.But now that all other hope had failed him,this last resource occurs ; and we behold thisproud and powerful man humbly following Hissteps whose miracles he had so long disbelieved ;bearing with patience a rebuke from one sopoor as Jesus ; and obtaining mercy, at last, byhis urgent and repeated entreaty. Our Lord,we find, reproaches him for not believing, unless

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