Verse 50. "Thy faith hath saved thee" - Thy faith hath been the instrument of receiving the salvation which is promised to those who repent. Go in peace. Though peace of conscience be the inseparable consequence of the pardon of sin, yet here it seems to be used as a valediction or farewell: as if he had said, May goodness and mercy continue to follow thee! In this sense it is certainly used Judg. xviii. 6; 1 Sam. i. 17; xx. 42; xxix. 7; 2 Samuel xv. 9; James ii. 16.
THE affecting account of raising the widow's son to life, chap. vii. 11-17, is capable of farther improvement. The following may be considered to be sober, pious uses of this transaction.
In this resurrection of the widow's son, four things are highly worthy of notice:-1. The meeting. 2. What Christ did to raise the dead man. 3. What the man did when raised to life: and 4. The effect produced on the minds of the people.
I. THE MEETING 1. It was uncommon: it was a meeting of life and death, of consolation and distress. On the one part JESUS, accompanied by his disciples, and an innumerable crowd of people, advance towards the gate of the city of Nain: on the other part, a funeral solemnity proceeds out of the gate,-a person of distinction, as we may imagine from the number of the people who accompanied the corpse, is carried out to be buried. Wherever Jesus goes, he meets death or misery; and wherever he comes, he dispenses life and salvation.
2. It was instructive. A young man was carried to the grave- an only son-cut off in the flower of his age from the pleasures, honours, profits, and expectations of life; a multitude of relatives, friends, and neighbours, in tears, affliction, and distress, accompanied the corpse. Behold the present life in its true point of light! How deceitful is the world! To hide its vanity and wretchedness, funeral pomp takes the place of the decorations of life and health; and pride, which carries the person through life, cleaves to the putrid carcass in the ridiculous adornments of palls, scarfs, cloaks, and feathers! Sin has a complete triumph, when pride is one of the principal bearers to the tomb.
And shall not the living lay these things to heart? Remember, ye that are young, the young die oftener than the old; and it is because so many of the former die, that there are so few of the latter to die.
3. It was an affecting meeting. The mother of this young man followed the corpse of her son; her distress was extreme. She had already lost her husband, and in losing her only son she loses all that could be reckoned dear to her in the world. She lost her support, her glory, and the name of her family from among the tribes of her people. Jesus sees her in this state of affliction, and was moved with compassion towards her. This God of goodness cannot see the wretched without commiserating their state, and providing for their salvation.
4. It was a happy meeting. Jesus approaches this distressed widow, and says, Weep not. But who, with propriety, can give such advice in a case like this? Only that God who can dry up the fountain of grief, and remove the cause of distress. Weep for thy sin, weep for thy relatives, weep after Christ, and God will infallibly comfort thee.
II. WHAT CHRIST DID TO RAISE THIS DEAD MAN 1. He came up, ver. 14. When the blessed God is about to save a soul from spiritual death, he comes up to the heart by the light of his Spirit, by the preaching of his word, and by a thousand other methods, which all prove that his name is mercy, and his nature love.
2. He touched the bier. God often stretches out his hand against the matter or occasion of sin, renders that public that was before hidden, lays afflictions upon the body; by some evil disease effaces that beauty, or impairs that strength, which were the occasions of sin; disconcerts the schemes and blasts the property of the worldly man. These were carrying him down to the chambers of death, and the merciful God is thus delivering him out of the hands of his murderers.
3. He commanded-Young man! I say unto thee, Arise. Sinners! You have been dead in trespasses and sins too long: now hear the voice of the Son of God. Young people! to you in particular is this commandment addressed.
Delay not a moment: it will be more easy for you to return to God now than at any future time. And perhaps the present call may never be repeated. The sooner you hear the voice of God, the sooner you shall be happy.
III . WHAT THE MAN DID WHEN RAISED TO LIFE 1. He sat up, ver. 15. When the quickening voice of God reaches the heart of a sinner, his first business is to lift up his head to contemplate the awful state in which he is found, and the horrible pit over which he hangs, and look about for a deliverer from the hell that is moved from beneath to meet him at his coming.
2. He began to speak. Prayer to God, for the salvation he needs, is indispensably requisite to every awakened sinner. Let him speak in prayer and praise; prayer for present salvation, and praise, because he is still out of hell. Let him also declare the power and goodness of God which have thus rescued him from the bitter pains of an eternal death.
3. He walked. He (Christ) presented him to his mother. Those who were carrying the corpse having heard the voice of the young man, immediately laid down the bier, and the young man stepping directly on the ground, Jesus took him by the hand and conducted him to his mother. What a change from the deepest affliction to the highest ecstacy of joy must have now taken place in this widow's heart! Happy moment!-when the quickening power of Christ restores a prodigal son to a disconsolate parent, and a member to Christ's mystical body, the Church militant! IV. THE EFFECT PRODUCED ON THE MINDS OF THE PEOPLE 1. Fear seized them, ver. 16. A religious reverence penetrated their hearts, while witnessing the effects of the sovereign power of Christ. Thus should we contemplate the wonders of God's grace in the conviction and conversion of sinners.
2. They glorified God. They plainly saw that he had now visited his people: the miracle proclaimed his presence, and that a great prophet was risen among them, and they expect to be speedily instructed in all righteousness. The conversion of a sinner to God should be matter of public joy to all that fear his name; and should be considered as a full proof that the God of our fathers is still among their children. See ver. 16.
3. They published abroad the account. The work of the grace of God should be made known to all: the Gospel should be preached in every place; and the miracle-working power of Christ every where recommended to notice. If those who are raised from the death of sin were more zealous in discoursing of, walking in, and recommending the Gospel of the grace of God, the kingdom of Christ would soon have a more extensive spread; and the souls thus employed would be incessantly watered from on high.