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Miracles:

The Widow's Son Raised.

Luke vii. 12 to 18

Now when He came near to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and much people of the city was with her, etc.

Q. WHAT do you here understand by this dead man who was carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow?

A. According to the letter of the history, by the dead man here recorded is to he understood the dead body of a man, and by his being the only son of his mother, who was a widow, is further to be understood what is literally expressed in those words. But by this dead man, according to the spiritual sense involved in this and in all other miracles worked by Jesus Christ, is to be understood a dead principle in the church, which principle is here called the only son of his mother, who was a widow, and therefore denotes the principle of faith or truth, this being the first-born of the church, which church is here called mother, as giving birth, through divine operation, to all heavenly principles ; and widow, as being deprived of the principles of truth, and yet in the desire of conjunction with it.

Q. How do you prove that the terms mother and widow have relation to the church.?

A. That the term mother has relation to the church, is evident from the following passages in the sacred Scriptures, as in Isaiah, "Where is the bill (or book) of your mother's divorcement, whom I have put away?" Isa. l. i; and in Jeremiah, "Your mother shall be sore confounded she that bare you shall be ashamed," Jer. 1. 12 and in Ezekiel, "You are your mother's daughter, that loatheth her husband and her children? Ezek. 16:45; and in Luke, " My mother and my children are these which hear the word of God and do it" Luke. 8:21: and that the term widow has also relation to the church, which is in the affection of good, but in the defect of truth, is evident from the following passages, as in the Psalms, " A Father of the father less, and a Judge of the widows" Ps. 68:5; and in Isaiah, " Judge the fatherless, plead for the widow, Is. 1:17; and in Luke, " I till you of a truth, many widows were in Israel, in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout the land; but to none of them was Ettas sent save to Sarepta a city of Zidon, to a woman that was a widow" Luke 4:25, 26, not to mention many other passages, where widow is mentioned with the fatherless and the sojourner, because by widow are meant those who are principled in good, yet without truth; and by the fatherless, those who are principled in truth without good; and by the sojourner, those who want instruction both in good and truth.

Q. But it is written that when the lord saw her, He had compassion on her, and said to her, Weep not how do you understand these words?

A. According to the sense of the letter, these words relate to the blessed Jesus and to the distressed mother, whose history is here recorded; but according to their spiritual sense, they relate to the blessed Jesus and to the church, of which this distressed mother was a representative figure, and to the resurrection of the principle of truth in that church, from death to life. According, therefore, to this latter sense of the words, by the lord seeing her is denoted divine inspection into the state of that church, thus a communication of divine wisdom; and by His having compassion on her, is denoted divine mercy, and a communication of that mercy; and by His saying to her, Weep not, is further denoted the application of divine wisdom and mercy, for the removal of what caused trouble, namely. the removal of dead intelligence by the resurrection of living knowledge and truth in its place.

Q. And how do you understand the words which follow, where it is written, that He came and touched the bier, and they that bare him stood still; and He said, Young man, I say to you, Arise?

A. By Jesus coming, is to be understood divine presence with love; and by His touching the bier, is to be understood further the communication of the divine truth with those external and natural persuasions, which contained in them lifeless or dead truths; and by those who bare him standing still, is denoted a check given to the influence and operation of those natural and external persuasions; and by Jesus saying, Young man, I say to you, Arise, is lastly denoted the divine word and will of the almighty, that the intelligence of truth should be restored in the church, by rescuing it from its connexion with unclean and earthly loves, and elevating it to conjunction with pure and heavenly loves.

Q. But it is added, that he that was dead sat up, and began to speak; and He delivered him to his mother --- how do you understand these words?

A. These words declare the effect of the divine omnipotent words of Jesus Christ, both in their literal and spiritual meaning; in their literal meaning, by announcing the resurrection of a dead man to life; and in their spiritual meaning by announcing the resurrection of the intelligence of truth in the church out of the evils in which it was dead, to a participation of the life of love and charity. According, therefore, to this latter sense, by the dead man sitting up, is to be understood the resurrection of the above Intelligence in the will or love, to which principle the term sitting has continual reference, whenever it occurs in the sacred scriptures; and by his beginning to speak, is further to be understood its resurrection in the under standing, to which principle the term speaking has reference, whenever it also occurs in the holy records. It is added, And He (Jesus ) delivered him to his mother, to teach the edifying lesson, that the intelligence of truth is a heavenly gift from the almighty to His church, especially when it is raised out of the death of unclean and earthly loves, and elevated to life by conjunction with pure and heavenly loves.

Q. And what instruction do you derive from the concluding words of this miracle, where it is said, And there came a fear on all, and they glorified god, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us, and that God has visited His people?

A. By the fear here spoken of is meant a holy awe and adoration, resulting from beholding the effect of the divine omnipotence; and it is called a great fear, to denote the effect produced in the will or love ; and by glorifying god, is further to be understood the effect produced in the understanding or thought, leading to the devout acknowledgment that the resurrection from the dead, as above recorded, both in its natural and spiritual sense, was the result solely of the divine power and operation of the most high. It is therefore added, that a great prophet is risen up among us, and that god has visited His people. because by a great prophet is meant Jesus Christ as to His humanity, or as to the truth which He taught; and by god is to be understood His divinity, thus the divine origin of that truth.

Q. What then is the general instruction which you derive from this miracle?

A. From its literal sense and meaning, I learn again to adore the omnipotence of my god and saviour, manifested in the resurrection of a dead man to life; and not only His omnipotence, but His divine mercy and compassion, displayed in His tenderness towards a suffering mother and widow. But from the spiritual sense of the history, I am taught a lesson still more edifying and instructive, being led by it to the sight and acknowledgment of the same divine power exercised in the resurrection of truth in the church, from a state of death, whilst it is immersed in unclean loves, to a state of life, in its elevation to an eternal conjunction with its divine origin in the spirit of love and charity. I am resolved, therefore, to profit by both the above views of the operation of the divine omnipotence, and to believe that death, in every sense of the word, is under the absolute control of divine agency. I am resolved also mare especially to regard that agency as exercised in the interiors of my own mind, and particularly to supplicate its powerful aid, whenever I perceive in myself the intelligence of truth attaching itself to any defiled affection, and thus in danger of dying to its true and proper life, the life of heavenly love and charity. Thus may I humbly hope, that in all such spiritual death, the blessed Jesus will come and touch the bier, and say, as He said of old, Young man, I say to you, Arise; and thus, too, may I further hope that His blessed word will be accomplished, and that the intelligence of truth will be raised out of every principle of death and defilement, to an eternal conjunction with Him, His life and purity. amen.


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