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do, entirely to the Divine Bounty: for if all our Sufficiency be of God, then we are nothing of our felves, and confequently can merit nothing at God's hands; for he that can do nothing, can deferve nothing:, his Grace is altogether free and undeferv'd; we have nothing we can call our own, but our Infirmities and Imperfections, which are rather to be bewail'd than boafted of. A due fenfe hereof may qualify us to receive this Divine Grace, but an arrogant Conceit of our own Worth and Self-fufficiency will certainly deprive us of it; for God refifteth the Proud, and giveth Grace only to the Humble.
4. If all our Sufficiency be of God, then let us thankfully own from whence we receive it, and duly employ what we have in his Service. This is the End of all the Gifts and Graces beftow'd upon us, that we fhould use them to the Honour of God that gave them, and the Good of them for whofe fake they were given by fo doing we fhall not only procure a Bleffing upon what we have, but find the Favour of obtaining more. He in the Parable, that employ'd his Talents well, improv'd them to great advantage, and gain'd more; but the wicked and unprofitable Servant, that hid his Talent in a Napkin, and made no use of it, was depriv'd of what he had, and inftead of entring into his Mafter's Joy, was doom'd to endless and unspeakable Mifery.
3. Since this Sufficiency is deriv'd to us by the Gospel. Covenant, we learn the Excellency and Benefit of it above the Legal Difpenfation. The Law exacted Duty, but af forded no Strength to perform it; it requir'd perfect and univerfal Obedience to all its Precepts, and pronounc'd a Curfe upon every one that continu'd not in all things that are written in the Book of the Law, to do them; but gave no power to keep, nor any Pardon for the Breach of them: for which reafon the Letter of the Law is faid to kill, and the Law it felf to be a Miniftration of Death and Condemnation; because it left Men in a hopeless and helpless State, without any Remedy or Relief. Whereas the Gofpel, on the other hand, not only requires Duty, but promifes Grace to affift and enable to the Performance of it; and therefore as the Law is ftil'd The Letter, fo the Gospel is ftil'd The Spirit the one is faid to kill, call'd therefore a dead Letter; the other to give Life, call'd therefore The Miniftration of the Spirit and Righteousness. In fhort, the Gospel relieves us from the Curfe and Sentence of the Law, by the fancti
fying Grace and Affiftances of the Holy Spirit; it requires no more than it gives Strength to perform; it accepts of Sincerity instead of perfect Obedience: and if we happen to fall by a Temptation, it helps us to rife again by Repentance.
And therefore we fhould blefs God for making this New Covenant, and taking us under this eafy and gracious Dif penfation: We are not under the Law (faith St. Paul) but under Grace; for which we have great reafon to thank God, and to make a right Use of it.
Laftly, Since all our Sufficiency is of God, we are taught where to feek it, and how to find it in time of need; and that is, by having recourfe unto God by Prayer, who hath promis'd to give Wisdom to them that ask it, and Grace to them that lack and defire it: To him therefore let our Prayers and Praises be directed, who is able and willing to do more for us than we can ask or think. Amen.
The GOSPEL for the Twelfth Sunday after Trinity.
St. Mark vii. 31, to the end.
Jefus departing from the Coafts of Tyre and Sidon, came unto the Sea of Galilee, through the midst of the Coafts of Decapolis; and they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an Impediment in his Speech, &c.
HE Subject of this Gofpel is a Relation of a Miracle wrought by our Saviour on the Perfon of a certain deaf and dumb Man, who was miraculously heal'd of both his Infirmities: In which we may obferve,
Firft, Something going before it.
Firft, As for what went before; 'tis an account of his Progrefs, or moving from one place to another, to exercife and exert his Divine Power and Goodness for the Welfare of Mankind: So we read here, that he departed from the Coafts of Tyre and Sidon, and came to the Sea of Galilee, paffing through the Coafts of Decapolis; and elfewhere we read of his going to Capernaum, to Cefarea, to the Sea of Tiberias, and to many other places on the fame Errand. This St. Luke expreffes by his going about doing good, Alts 10. 38. where we read of Jefus of Nazareth's being anointed with the Holy Ghost, and with Power, and his going about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the Devil; for God was with him. He did not confine his Kindness to one Place, or fhut up himself by a grave Retirement and Sequeftration from the World; but went from place to place, freely converfing and doing good to the Bodies and Souls of Men. His Charity was univerfal, and extended to all Perfons and Places where he came. This was the chief Bufinefs of his Life, to go up and down doing good; and where he did not find, he fought out Objects of his Kindness and Compaflion, doing for them more than they could wifh, or hope for themfelves. He travel❜d not only thro the Country of Judea, but all the Regions round about, fcattering every where the Influences of his Bounty and Goodness: Inftances hereof are many and great in the Hiftories of the four Evangelifts, who have left upon Record his excellent Sayings and Inftructions for the Welfare of Mens Souls, together with the various Kindneffes fhew'd to their Bodies, and both with a Charity and Goodness not to be parallel'd; as may be feen throughout the whole four Golpels.
This we obferve from Chrift's departing from the Coafts of Tyre and Sidon, and coming to Galilee through the Coafts of Decapolis; which St. Mark relates here as previous to the Miracle there done by him. And this will lead me,
Secondly, To the Miracle it felf, which the following words declare to us: Chrift being there, they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an Impediment in his Speech, This was generally the Courfe and Custom of the People in all Places where he came, to bring to him all difeafed Perfons, and fuch as were poffeffed with evil Spirits: fo St. Matthew tells us, Chap. 4. 24, 25. His Fame went through
out all Syria, and they brought unto him all fick People, that were taken with divers Difeafes and Torments, and thofe that were poffeffed with Devils, and thofe that were lunatick, and thofe that had the Palfy, and he healed them. And there followed him great Multitudes of People from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerufalem, and Judæa, and from beyond Jordan. They brought to him a Paralytick, and many poffefs'd with evil Spirits at Capernaum; they brought Lepers and Lunaticks to him at Cefarea; and in all Parts and Places of his Progrefs were brought to him the Lame, and the Blind, and the Sick of all manner of Maladies to be heal'd by him. Here, in the Text, they brought to him. one that was deaf, and had an Impediment in his Speech; by which is meant not barely a ftammering Speech, but one totally dumb or fpeechlefs; for fo the word here and in other places is us'd to fignify. The Diseases then here to be cur'd were either a natural Deafnefs and Dumbness in one that was fo born, or adventitious in one that was poffefs'd with a deaf and dumb Spirit; both which were incurable by any natural or ordinary Means.
But what was it they befought our Saviour for him? Why, that the next words declare; They befeech him to put his Hand upon him: which they did, from the many Examples they had feen and heard of his curing many diftemper'd Perfons merely by a Touch; fo he cur'd Peter's Wife's Mother of a Fever, only by touching her Hand: he heal'd a Leper in Galilee by a Touch of his Hand; with many others recorded in Holy Scripture. Yea, we read of one that was heal'd by touching the Hem of his Garment; and of others who, by fending Handkerchiefs and Linen-Clothes, and receiving them back again touch'd by him, were heal'd of divers Difeafes, and the evil Spirits went out of them. These things encourag'd the People of Galilee to befeech him to put his Hand upon this deaf and dumb Man: upon which, as the following words declare, He took him afide from the Multitude, and put his Fingers into his Ears, and he Spit and touched his Tongue.
So ready was he to do good upon the leaft Motion, he needed no Importunity, nor was he drawn to it by any earneft or frequent Repetition of the Suit, but readily anfwer'd the Requeft, and chearfully embrac'd the Opportunity of fhewing Kindness; 'twas his Meat and Drink, his Bufinefs and Delight too, to do the Will of God, and to do good Offices unto Men it was his greatest pleasure (as
one hath obferv'd) to spread his healing Wings over all, to difpenfe his benign Influences and Favours every where, and to make every one that came near him fenfible of his good Will to Mankind. Tho he was throng'd after and prefs'd upon by the Miferable and Unfortunate, the Dif eas'd and Poffefs'd in all Places where he came, yet we never find any Perfon fent from his Prefence diffatisfy'd. It was but ask and have; and the bare faying, Lord, have mercy upon me, was enough to get the poor Beggar's Wants, of what kind foever, inftantly fupply'd. So it was here, they did but ask him to put his Hand upon this deaf and dumb Perfon, and he immediately took him afide, to avoid all Vanity and Oftentation, and put his Fingers into his Ears, and touch'd his Tongue. After which, looking up to Heaven, owning the paramount Power of his Father, and imploring his Bleffing, he look'd down, and fighing at the Infirmities of the poor Man, faid unto him, Ephphata, that is, be open'd; the Senfe whereof is, Let all Impediments of hearing and speaking be gone from thee, and let the Power of both come unto thee.
Well, and what was the Iffue of this kind and hearty Word? Why, that the next Verse will tell us; And ftraitway his Ears were open'd, and the String of his Tongue was Loos'd, and he spake plain; ver. 35. that is, immediately upon Chrift's pronouncing the word Ephphata, his Hearing and Speaking came to him, and both in great perfection; his Hearing was quick, and his Speech was plain, and both by a Touch and a Word's speaking,
Nothing, you fee, is hard or difficult to an Almighty Power; 'tis but to speak the Word (faith the Centurion to our Saviour) and thy Servant shall be whole, Matth, 8, 8. Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean, faith the Leper in the Gofpel; upon which our Saviour fpake the word, I will be thou clean, and immediately the Leprofy departed from him; Luke 8, 12, 13. What can be more lightly or eafily done than by a Touch or a Word? and yet this is all by which thefe miraculous Works were done. St. Mark tells us, that in all manner of Diftempers, all that touch'd him were made whole, Mark 6. 56. and many were heal'd by his Word only, without coming to him or feeing of him. He that fpake all things into Being by a word of his Mouth, can as eafily reftore them again by a word's fpeaking: So did he raife Lazarus, after he had lain three days in the Grave, with faying only, Lazarus, come forth, John