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SERMON I.

FAITH, THE GIFT OF GOD.

MARK ix, 24.

AND STRAIGHTWAY THE FATHER OF THE CHILD CRIED OUT, AND

SAID WITH TEARS: LORD, I BELIEVE: HELP THOU MINE UN

BELIEF.

The narrative, from which this passage is taken, is one of those many accounts, contained in the gospel, of miraculous cures performed by our Lord upon persons possessed with devils. The incident in question occurred upon the return of Jesus from the mountain, where his transfiguration had taken place. It was on that occasion, that “when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the Scribes questioning with them. And he asked the Scribes, what question ye with them? And one of the multitude answered, and said; Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; and wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him; and he

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foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. He answereth him, and saith, O! faithless generation, how long shall I be with you ? how long shall I suffer you? Bring him unto me. And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. And he asked his father, How long is it

ago since this came unto him? And he said of a child. And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him : but if thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and help us. Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” Such is the account given by St. Mark of this transaction : which, as a mere story, might well interest us, from the unaffected plainness, and natural sincerity, with which the simple narrative is related : but which justly puts forth far weightier claims to our attention, referring, as it does, to Him, who is the Author of our salvation; and containing instruction, certainly not unimportant, and by which, through the blessing of God, we ourselves may

well profit.

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