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CHAPTER II.

PROPHECIES OF JESUS RELATING TO HIS
DEATH.

AFTER his baptism Jesus began his ministry, and called to him his chosen disciples, whom, also, he named Apostles. "And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in the synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people." Thus the unlearned men whom he had selected for his witnesses, and to be assistant in the great work he had undertaken, became gradually instructed in the nature of his kingdom, and of the pure system of morality that he was about to bestow upon mankind; and his miracles, wrought in their presence, gave them undoubted evidence that the person who had performed them was

commissioned by God, "for no man could do such miracles as he did, unless God were with him." Some of the surprising miracles that he wrought in the beginning of his ministry, were the stilling of the tempest, the curing the man sick of the palsy, and the raising from the dead the daughter of Jairus, the ruler of a synagogue.

Previous to the first of these miracles, "he entered into a ship, and his disciples followed him. And behold there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves; but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord save us, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men wondered, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?”* No one can wonder at this observation, for every man can judge what his feelings would have been at a deliverance from the imminent danger of death what conception he would have entertained of the unbounded power that had rescued

*Matt. viii. 23-27.

him, and what ardent gratitude would have filled his heart towards his deliverer!

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The next miracle was the curing the man sick of the palsy, in which was shown the power of their Lord, not only by the miraculous act of raising up the helpless sufferer by a command to Arise, and walk," but also by the before unheard of annunciation, "Thy sins be forgiven thee." What doubt could exist-what answer could be given to the question? Who can forgive sins but God only? The disciples, therefore, must have been impressed, beyond all doubt, with the divine power of their Master. If this impression could have been increased, the raising of the daughter of the Ruler from the dead was calculated to augment it, for no conviction is, I presume, more universal, than that no human power is able to restore the dead to life.

No sooner had our Lord thus instructed his disciples, and shown them his divine power, than he employed them in the work of his ministry." And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal

all manner of sickness, and all manner of disease."

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After having informed them in what manner they were to execute their office, and what punishments would await those who rejected them, our Saviour judged it necessary to warn them against the obstacles they would meet with in executing their commission, and the sufferings they would undergo from the rulers of the world. "Behold I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, but harmless as doves. But beware of men; for they shall deliver you up to the councils, and they shall scourge you in their synagogues, and ye shall be brought before governors and kings, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles."* Then came the healing balsam, that will attend every sincere and zealous servant of God, in all his difficulties and distresses. "But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak, for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak; for it is not ye that speak, but the spirit of your Father that speaketh in you."

*Matt. x. 16-18.

Not that we must expect to be inspired, as the Apostles were, with "a mouth and wisdom. which all their adversaries could not gainsay, nor resist;"* but of this every faithful Christian may be assured, that, in encountering difficulties in the discharge of his duty, he will not be left alone; but if he prays for help, God will hear him, will direct and support him in every difficulty; and, in every temptation, will ❝also make a way to escape, that he may be able to bear it."+

This foretelling to his disciples the difficulties they would encounter, and the persecutions they would suffer, connected with our Saviour's numerous predictions respecting himself, may be considered as the commencement of his prophecies.

In the 12th chapter of St. Matthew, he begins to prophecy of himself, in an incidental manner, and in a way which, at that time, could not have been comprehended, either by his disciples or by the Pharisees, to whom he was addressing himself. He had been repelling the malicious charge of the Pharisees, that he was casting

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