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SERMON XIII.

CHRIST RAISING THE WIDOW'S SON.

ON EASTER DAY.

LUKE VII. 13.

When the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said

unto her, Weep not.

The text is taken from St. Luke's narrative of a miracle performed by our Saviour; one of those benevolent exertions of his Almighty power,

which so frequently occur in the history of his life and actions. As he is approaching the city of Nain, his attention is arrested by a concourse of people coming through the gate; and he perceives they are drawn together to witness the mournful and affecting spectacle of a widowed mother, following her only son

to the grave.

We

may readily conceive the interest and commiseration this spectacle was calculated to excite. How forlorn, how heart-broken must this unhappy widow have felt. Her husband already dead; then to lose her only son: him,

l whose progress she had long watched with hope and pride; to whose welfare the daily wish, the daily thought, the daily prayer had been directed : him, from whom she now. looked for the reward of years of anxiety and toil; for comfort, perhaps for support, as her failing steps were verging down the path of life; to see him prematurely swept away in the vigour and prime of manhood; to follow him to the grave, and to be left alone, widowed, probably childless, desolate, unprotected! How full of misery and woe the scene before her! How cheerless her prospects ! Nothing in view, but to wear out her few remaining years in wretchedness and infirmity, and then to bring down her gray hairs in sorrow to the grave!

Can we, then, but suppose that her grief was unbounded, her lamentations touching ? Can we but imagine, that the sympathy of the bystanders was powerfully excited at this melancholy sight. Can we, above all, believe, that it failed to engage his notice ; who “ hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows. No; he beheld this afflicted mourner, and approached her with the soothing accents of benevolence and consolation. « He had

compassion on her, and said to her, Weep not.”: Yet why should she not weep?. Had not his spirit fled? Was not her son, her beloved, her only son, a lifeless corpse ? Had not her days been protracted to feel the keenest pang of mortal woe; the separation of kindred hearts, the laceration of maternal affection ? Had she not, in closing the eyes of her beloved son, closed also her best prospects of happiness in this world? To her, at that moment, hope itself was almost extinguished. Why, then, should she not weep ? To say to such a person, “Weep not,” was but slender consolation. But Christ finished not here.

He approached the bier, and touched it; the bearers of it stood still: and, amidst the awful pause of breathless expectation, with which the spectators watched the result of this extraordinary scene, Jesus spake again.

The voice was heard, to which all nature bows obedient; at whose accents even the dead must awake; “ Young man, I say unto thee, arise.” Instantly the vital spark reanimated the corpse.

66 He that was dead sat up, and began to speak. "And Jesus delivered him to his mother.”

Well might Jesus, who was endued with such power; well, indeed, might he say,

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“ Weep not;" no sorrows could be so deep, no situation so hopeless, but he had power to say, “ Weep not."

But is it only to the widow of Nain, that Christ has addressed these gracious words of consolation ? Is it to her only, that he has said, “ Weep not ?" No, not to her only; to every Christian, to every true disciple he still addresses the language of consolation, and bids them, “ weep not;" for “ the dead shall be raised;" 6 Christ is risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slepto.”

The resurrection of our blessed Saviour, sets before the sincere believer, the very same grounds of consolation that Jesus himself offered to the weeping and widowed mother. This is the pledge and the assurance of our resurrection. Faith in this glorious event, in every scene, in every season of life will sugġest the very language of the Redeemer. “ Weep not!” He, whose all controlling voice raised the young man from the sleep of death, he shall call upon us to "arise.”. His voice shall again be heard. 66 The sea" shall give “up the dead which” are " in it, and death and hell shall” deliver

up

66 the dead which are in them."

• 1 Cor. xv. 20.

p Rev. xx. 13.

66

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To the Christian, then, who hath hope of a resurrection, to him, I

say,

in

every season, and in every situation of life, Jesus still saith,

Weep not."

“ Man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward”.” The curse pronounced upon our common parent proclaimed the sorrows he had entailed on his posterity. Thus ran the fatal sentence, “ Cursed be the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth unto thee?." How fully

' this sentence has been carried into effect, some parts of every man's life will furnish him with ample proof. Few, or none have enjoyed unmingled happiness. Sorrow and suffering, vexation and disappointment, meet us at every point of our pilgrimage, through this life of trial; and most blessed are they, who have known the value and the uses of adversity; have had in view constantly the important truth, that “ the sufferings of this present time, are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us®.'

But as sorrow and suffering are to be the portion of all mortals, where shall he find consolation and support who has no hope of

9 Job v. 7.

r .

Gen. üi, 17, 18. • Rom. viii. 18.

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