« AnteriorContinuar »
•on the mountain: and they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them. And he suffered them.
Then went the devils oat of the man, "and; entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choaked»
When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the ""city, and in the country.
Then they went out to see what was done: and came 'to Jesus, and found the- man out of whom the devil* •were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind : and they were afraid.
They also which saw it, told them' by what means he that was possessed of the devils was healed.
Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round aWout, besought him to depart from them: for they were taken with great fear: and he went up into the ship, and returned back again.
Now the man out of whom the devils had departed, besought him that he might be with him: bur Jesus sent him away, saying,
Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published through the whole city, how great things Jesus had done unto him.
And it came to pass, that when Jesus was rqturnedt the people gladly received him f for they were all waiting for him.
ANNOTATIONS And REFLECTIONS.
What astonishing events are here related! Who can doubt the presence of the great Creator in Christ, when the/ read that, "he' rilSde the 'StOrm a calm, so
that that the waves of the sea were still?" None but those who "go down to the sea in ships, and occupy their business in great waters," can form a proper conception of the tremendous scene, when "the Lord commandeth, and raiseth the stormy winds which lift up the waves thereof. When they mount up, as it were, to the clouds, and go down to the depths of the earth, that the souls of men are melted, because of trouble, they seem to draw near to the gates of death; no effort of strength or reason can prevail, the Lord alone can deliver them from their distress." But the word of omnipotence is sufficient to restrain the fury of the rnost violent tempest.
Our Saviour knew that it was the will of The Father to give him this occasion of shewing Divine power, and trying the faith of his disciples; he, there, fore, with a mind quiet and serene, perfectly satisfied that no evil would happen to Him or his followers, those this opportunity for taking that refreshment which his human nature required. But no sooner did his disciples call upon Him to save them, than he awaked, and his Divine power was exerted for their relief: "Sea, be thou still, said our blessed Lord, and there was a great calm!" At his rebuke the waters fled ; at His voice they hasted away! He justly reproved his disciples for the weakness' of their faith. They should have implored his aid with holy confidence in. stead of fear, since they had sufficient proof of His almighty power, and had seen many instances of His benevolence and kindness; and having so closely attached themselves to him, they had particular reason to expect these attributes to be exerted in their favour. For the "sea, which had been so violently agitated, to become suddenly calm, was so miraculous a circumstance, that
it it must have excited the admiration of every beholder, and struck their minds with irresistible conviction of the immediate presence of the Deity, unless they 'wilfully hardened themselves against belief.
The miracle which our Saviour wrought on the demoniacs, was equally astonishing. The poor wretches were tormented in a most deplorable manner, miserable in themselves, and a terror to all who came near theni. Driven from society, they wandered among the tembs of the dead, occasionally issuing forth from their gloomy retreat, impelled, by the devils who possessed them, to commit outrages on all they met. One of them in particular was, we find, so totally devoid of reason, that he declined the necessary comforts of clothing and habitation, wounding his own flesh in a cruel manner, and so exceedingly fierce and uncontroulable, that no fetters could confine, no human being overcome him. This was certainly more than a common disease; for persons in the very worst state of frenzy may be managed so as to prevent their doing mischief either to themselves or others; and more than human strength is required to break asunder chains and fetters. Such effects may reasonably be imputed to diabolical possession; and a divine power was necessary to subdue them.
It is conjectured that our Lord crossed the lake of Tiberius, for the very purpose of relieving those two persons, which was a great instance of his benevolence; and it is likely, that the devils had driven the possessed into this unfrequented place to avoid meeting him: but being surprised at his approach, and overawed with his presence, they addressed him as we read, compelled (as we may suppose) by the superior power of God to acknowledge his beloved Son.
From the demoniac's answer to our Lord's question
con. concerning. his name, we may conclude, that Infernal spirits are numerous; and from their request not to be sent into the deep, we may infer, that they expect, at the final judgment, to be consigned to a place of greater torment. The desire of these to enter into the swine, proves that the delight of devils is to do mischief to mankind, either in their bodies or goods.
Though 6wine were; according to the Jewish law, prohibited as food to the Jews^ yet there were great numbers of .them kept by the people in those parts, to , sell to the Roman soldiers and other gentiles, who were there very numerous: our Loud might permit the de. vils to enter the swine, partly to punish the Jews for carrying on this unlawful commerce; but more particularly to prove the reality of the agency and malice of evil spirits, and his power to controul their ill effects.
No sooner was the man delivered from these demons, than his reason returned, every turbulent emotion subsided, and peace was restored to his mind. How must his friends have rejoiced to behold the happy alteration, and with what awful reverence must they hare regarded our Lord!
Those who kept the swine were struck with consternation, not knowing what might happen to themselves, and hastened to relate the wonderful story to their employers. These, reflecting on their loss, seem to ha\e considered our Lord, either as one who practised magical arts for the destruction of their property, or as a prophet sent to inflict judgments for their offences ; but, instead of humbling themselves, and confessing their sin.., they besought him to depart out of their coasts, and thus deprived themselves of the greatest honour and advantage they could possibly enjoy: but the person who had experienced the miraculous deliverance, ardently*
Vol. V. I desired
desired to be aflmitted among the number of our Lokd'« constant attendants. This request was not granted, be. ,cause, as Christ did not stay to preach or perform any more miracles in that coast, it was proper that the man should remain to attest his cure, as a likely mean to convert his countrymen, and incite them to seek the Lord, whom they had rejected. It is remarkable that our Saviour commanded him to shew what things God had dtne for hint, and that he published auto Jesus had done. His own mouth, when under the influence of the infernal spirits, had declared Jesus to be the Son of God; the cure performed on him had convinced him, that our Lord was possessed of divine power; and he clearly discerned and fully acknowledged the Deity manifested in the flesh.
In the present state of the world, we do not hear of je sons being possessed with devils: every disease that attacks the human body may be deduced from natural causes, even madness itself; and though some prove fa. tal, each kind will, in many cases, admit of relief from medicine. That neither the nature or malicious dis. positions of devils are altered, we may reasonably con. chide; we must therefore impute their not tormenting mankind as formerly, to our Lord's power and goodness. When He was on earth, He visibly ejected them; now He is in heaven, He secretly restrains them; and we may tafely rely on his merciful protection, if we obey the precepts of the Gospel; for then no evil being will have power to hurt us, as we shall be the children of God.
JESUS CURETH THE BLIND AND DUMB DEMONIAC; DISCOURSES OF BLASPHEMY AGAINST THE HOLT GHOST.
From Mattliew, "Chap. xii.—Lake, xi. Then was brought unto him one possessed with a