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Aunt. At Capernaum. No sooner had the people knowledge of his arrival, than they flocked to him with their sick; and they besought him that they might but touch the hem of his garment.
Maria. And were they healed by that?
Aunt. It being done in faith, as many as touched were healed. Shortly after the third passover which is supposed to have taken place during our Lord's public ministry, he went to the north-west parts of Galilee, and thence into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, in Phænicia, where he entered into a house, intending for a time to be retired; but he was found out by a woman, who was a gentile of Phænicia.
Lucy. Why does St. Matthew call her a woman of Canaan?
Aunt. Because Phænicia was the ancient seat of the Canaanites, properly so called. This woman came to Jesus, craving his pity, calling him, Lord, and Son of David, praying him to have mercy on her daughter, who was grievously tormented with a devil. Our Lord appeared to take no notice of her: she continued, however, offering up her petition : at length the disciples desired him to grant her request, because she cried after them. Our Lord answered, That he was not sent, but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Maria. If I had been the woman, 1 should have had no hope left.
Aunt. She was not discouraged, but cast herself at the feet of Jesus and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread and cast it to
dogs. The woman, being convinced of her own unworthiness, and that of her nation, replied, Truth, Lord; yet the dogs eåt of the crumbs which fall from their master's table. Jesus, highly approving her confident though humble dependence upon his power and grace, applauded her for her faith, and granted her request. On her return home, she found her daughter perfectly cured.
Lucy. This verifies what our Lord says, That we ought always to pray and not to faint, for they that seek shall find, and to them that knock it shall be opened.
Aunt. Your remark is very just, my dear. Faith will always prevail: if ever we ask of the Lord, as if he were unable or unwilling to grant our request, this pagan woman may put us to shame.
Jesus, departing thence, came to the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis, a tract of country, so called from ten considerable cities which it contained. Here our Lord cured a man that was deaf, who had also an impediment in his speech. And the people were astonished, saying, He hath done all things well; he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak. And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others; and they cast them down at the feet of Jesus, and he healed them. The people had now continued to follow our Lord for three days, without taking any refreshment; upon which he had compassion on them, and again exerted bis miraculous power for the supply of their wants. They were in number at this time about four thousand men, be
sides women and children: and the disciples had nothing to set before them, but seven loaves and a few little fishes; yet was this small provision multiplied to that degree, that they did all eat, and were filled. And they took up of the broken meat that was left, seven baskets full.
Some time after this, Jesus went with his disciples into the towns of Cæsarea Philippi. As they were journeying, he asked them, what the generality of men said of him. They gave for answer, that their opinions were various, some saying, he was John the Baptist, some Elias, and others, that one of the old prophets was risen again. Our Lord then demanded an explicit declaration of their own opinion concerning him; upon which, Peter, who was the most forward to speak, for himself and for his brethren, said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. Upon this noble confession, Jesus pronounced him blessed: but charged them to tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ, till after his resurrection. Perceiving they had a true notion of his office and divinity, notwithstanding the opinions that prevailed concerning him, he began to prepare their minds for his sufferings, telling them he must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests, even unto death, but, after three days, he should rise again. Peter, unable to endure the thought of his Master's sufferings, said, Far be it from thee, Lord : this shall not be unto thee. But our Lord sharply rebuked him, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan, for thou art an offence'unto me.
George. How it must grieve Peter, to be called Satan!
Aunt. The word Satan signifies an adversary, and it shews, in a'very striking manner, how much our Lord's heart was set upon the salvation of sinners, that he should esteem his most noted favourites and followers as adversaries to him, if they attempted to dissuade him from those sufferings, which were essentially requisite to the accomplishment of our redemption. The language of Peter, who spake in the name of the apostles, on this as well as on other occasions, evidently proves that their minds were too much set upon a temporal kingdom, which they expected our Lord to establish. To remove these notions, Jesus informed them, that if they would be his disciples, they must take up the cross, and follow him ; warning them, that if, to save their lives, they renounced him, they would lose eternal life; and, that it would profit a man nothing, if he should gain the whole world, and lose his own soul; but that, if any one gave up his life for his sake, he should find everlasting life; and when the Son should come in the glory of his Father, with his angels, he would reward every man according to his works.
Lucy. Then I am sure we ought to watch over all our actions.
Aunt. I hope, my dear, the sentiment you have just expressed will be deeply impressed on your wind; then it will influence your future conduct in life, and you will not run after the multitude of thoughtless vain persons, who never seriously think of the account they are to render of their time: they live as if God took no knowledge of them ; God is not in all their thoughts; but how will they feel at the hour of death? and how will they appear at the day of judgment? There is no other book in the world that informs us how to escape the terrors of that day but the Bible: happy are those persons who study it and profit by it.
I have passed over many of our Lord's discourses and miracles. What I relate to you in these conversations, is only like giving you a view of a fine prospect at a distance, which makes you long to ap- · proach it; in proportion as you advance, fresh beauties appear, and every step unfolds something new. So, my dear children, it is with the Bible. I would advise you to ask your mamma to point out to you the instructions contained in the parables, particularly that of the Rich Fool, the Good Samaritan, the Prodigal Son, the Pharisee and Publican, the Marriage Supper, and the Talents. - Entering on these subjects would too much interfere with our history, in which we will proceed at our next meeting.
Aunt. OUR Lord, having given his disciples some hints of his humiliation, thought proper to favour them with a specimen of his future glorification: for which purpose, he took Peter, James, and