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ness of them. Psal
. lxv. 7; xciii. 3, 4. The noise is threatening and terrifying ; let us hear no more of it.—This is a word of command to us; when our wicked hearts are like the troubled sea, which cannot rest (Isa. lvii. 20); when our passions are up, and are unruly; let us think we hear the law of Christ saying, Be silent, be dumb. Think not confusedly, speak not unadvisedly; but be still. It is a word of comfort to us, that, be the storm of trouble ever su loud, ever so strong, Jesus Christ can lay it with a word's speaking. When without are fightings and within are fears, and the spirits are in a tumult, Christ can create the fruit of the lips, peace. If he say, Peace, be still, there is a great calm presently. It is spoken of as God's prerogative to command the seas. Jer. xxxi. 35. By this, therefore, Christ proves himself to be God. He that made the seas, can make them quiet.
The reproof Christ gave them for their fears, is here carried farther than in Matthew. There it is, Why are ye fearful? Here, Why are ye so fearful ? Though there may be cause for some fear, yet not for fear to such a degree as this. There it is, 0 ye of little faith. Here it is, How is it that ye have no faith? Not that the disciples were without faith. No, they believed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; but at this time their fears prevailed so that they seemed to have no faith at all. It was out of the way, when they had occasion for it, and so it was as if they had not had it. How is it, that in this matter ye have no faith, that ye think I would not come in with seasonable and effectual relief? Those may suspect their faith, who can entertain such a thought as that Christ careth not though his people perish, and Christ justly takes it ill.
The impression this miracle made upon the disciples, is here differently expressed. In Matthew, it is said, The men marvelled ; here it is said, They feared greatly. Now their fear was rectified by their faith. When they feared the winds and the seas, it was for want of the reverence they ought to have had for Christ. But now that they saw a demonstration of his power over them, they feared them less, and him more. They feared lest they had offended Christ by their unbelieving fears ; and therefore studied now to give him honour. They had feared the power and wrath of the Creator in the storm, and that fear had torment and amazement in it; but now they feared the power and grace of the Redeemer in the calm ; they feared the Lord and his goodness, and it had pleasure and satisfaction in it, and by it they gave glory to Christ, as Jonah's mariners, who, when the sea ceased from her raging, feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the Lord, Jonah i. 16. This sacrifice they offered to the honour of Christ; they said, What manner of man is this? Surely more than a man, for even the winds and the seas obey him,
1 Christ delivering the possessed of the legion of devils, 13 they enter into the swine. 25 He
healeth the woman of the bloody issue, 35 and raiseth from death Jairus' daughter.
ND 'they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. 2 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. 3 Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains : 4 Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. 5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. 6 But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worsluipped him, 7 And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I abjure thee by God, that thou torment me not. 8 For he said unto him, Come out of the man thou unclean spirit. 9 And he asked him, What is thy name? And lie answered, saying, My name is Legion : for we are many 10 And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country.
* Matt. viii. 28; Luke viii. 26.
11 Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. 12 And all the devils besought him, say. ing, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. 13 And forth with Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand ;) and were choked in the sea.
14 And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done. 15 And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and liad the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind : and they were afraid. 16 And they that saw it told them how it befel to him, that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine. 17 And "they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts. 18 And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. 19 Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. 20 And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.
Matt. viii. 34; Acts xvi. 39.
c Luke viii. 38.
We have here an instance of Christ's dispossessing the strong man armed, and disposing of him as he pleased, to make it appear that he was stronger than he. This he did when he was come to the other side, whither he went through a storm ; his business there was to rescue this poop creature out of the hands of Satan, and when he had done that, he returned. Thus he came from heaven to earth, and returned, in a storm, to redeem a remnant of mankind out of the hands of the devil, though but a little remnant, and did not think his pains ill bestowed.
In Matthew, they were said to be two possessed with devils ; here it is said to be a man possessed with an unclean spirit. If there were two, there was one, and Mark doth not say that there was but one ; so that this difference cannot give us any just offence ; it is probable that one of them was much more remarkable than the other, and said what was said. Now observe here,
The miserable condition that this poor creature was in ; he was under the power of an unclean spirit, the devil got possession of him, and the effect of it was not, as in many, a silent melanchols, but a raging frenzy ; his condition seems to have been worse than any of the possessed, that were Christ's patients.
He had his dwelling among the tombs, among the graves of dead people. Their tombs were out of the cities, in desolate places (Job iii. 14); which gave the devil
great advantage—for woe to him that is alone. Perbaps the devil drove him to the tombs, to make people fancy that the souls of the dead were turned into demons, and did what mischief was done, so as to excuse themselves from it. The touch of a grave was polluting. Numb. xix. 16. The unclean spirit drives people into that company that is defiling, and so keeps possession of them. Christ, by rescuing souls out of Satan's power, saves the living from among the dead.
He was very strong and ungovernable, -no man could bind him, as it is requisite, both for their own good and for the safety of others, that those who are distracted should be. Not only cords would not hold him, but chains and fetters of iron would not, vers. 3, 4. case of such as need to be thus bound, and of all the miserable people in this world, they are most to be pitied; but his case was worst of all, in whom the devil was so strong that he could not be bound. This sets forth the sad condition of those souls in which the devil has dominion—those children of disobedience, in whom that unclean spirit works. Some notoriously wilful sinners are like this madman. All are herein like the horse and the mule, that they need to be held in with bit and bridle; but some are like the wild ass, that will not be so held. The commands and curses of the law are as chains and fetters, to restrain sinners from their wicked courses ; but they break those bands in sunder—and it is an evidence of the power of the devil in them. He was a terror and torment to himself, and to all about him, ver. 5. The devil is a cruel mas
; ter to those that are led captive by him—a perfect tyrant. This wretched creature was night and
Very deplorable is the
day in the mountains and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones ; either bemoaning his own deplorable case, or in a rage and indignation against Heaven. Men in frenzies often wound and destroy themselves. What is a man, when reason is dethroned, and Satan enthroned? The worshippers of Baal in their fury cut themselves, like this madman in his. The voice of God is, Do thyself no harm ; the voice of Satan is, Do thyself all the harm thou canst; yet God's Word is despised, and Satan's regarded.
His application to Christ (ver. 6); When he saw Jesus afar off, coming ashore, he ran and worshipped him. He usually ran upon others with rage, but he ran to Christ with reverence. That was done by an invisible hand of Christ, which could not be done with chains and fetters; his fury was all on a sudden curbed. Even the devil, in this poor creature, was forced to tremble before Christ, and bow to him: or, rather, the poor man came, and worshipped Christ, in a sense of the need he had of his help, the power of Satan in and over him being, for this instant, suspended.
The word of command Christ gave to the unclean spirit, to quit his possession (ver. 8); Come out of him thou unclean spirit. He made the man desirous to be relieved, when he enabled him to run and worship him, and then put forth his power for his relief. If Christ work in us heartily to pray for a deliverance from Satan, he will work for us that deliverance. Here is an instance of power and authority with which Christ commanded the unclean spirits, and they obeyed him, Chap. i. 27. He said, Come out of the man. The design of Christ's gospel is to expel unclean spirits out of the souls of people ; Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit, that the Holy Spirit may enter, may take possession of the heart, and have dominion in it.
The dread which the devil had of Christ. The man ran and worshipped Christ; but it was the devil in the man, that cried with a loud voice (making use of the poor man's tongue), What have I to do with thee? ver. 7. Just as that other unclean spirit, chap. i. 24. He calls God the most high God, above all other gods. 2. He owns Jesus to be the Son of God. It is no strange thing to hear the best words drop from the worst mouths. There is such a way of saying this as none can attain to but by the Holy Ghost (1 Cor. xii. 3); yet it may be said, after a sort, by the unclean spirit. There is no judging of men by their loose sayings; but by their fruits ye shall know thei. Piety from the teeth outward is an easy thing. The most fair-spoken hypocrite cannot say better than to call Jesus the Son of God, and yet that the devil did.--He disowns any design against Christ: What have I to do with thee? I have no need of thee, I pretend to none; I desire to have nothing to do with thee; I cannot stand before thee, and would not fall. -He deprecates his wrath : I adjure thee, that is, I earnestly beseech thee, by all that is sacred, I beg of thee for God's sake, by whose permission I have got possession of this man, that, though thou drive me out hence, yet that thou torment me not, that thou do not restrain me from doing mischief somewhere else ; though I know I am sentenced, yet let me not be sent to the chains of darkness, or hindered from going to and fro, to devour.
The account Christ took from this unclean spirit of his name. This we had not in Matthew. Christ asked him, What is thy name?
Not but that Christ could call all the fallen stars, as well as the morning stars, by their names ; but he demands this, that the standers by might be affected with the vast numbers and power of those malignant infernal spirits, as they had reason to be, when the answer was, My name is Legion, for we are many; a legion of soldiers among the Rom ans consisted, some say, of six thousand men, others of twelve thousand and five hundred; but the number of a legion with them, like of a regiment with us, was not always the same. Now this intimates that the devils, the infernal powers, are, 1. Military powers ; a legion is a number of soldiers in arms. The devils war against God and his glory, Christ and his gospel
, men and their holiness and happiness. They are such as we are to resist and wrestle against, Eph. vi. 12. 2. That they are numerous, he owns, or rather he boasts—We are many; as if he hoped to be too many
for Christ himself to deal with. What multitudes of apostate spirits were there, and all enemies to God and man; when here were a legion posted to keep garrison in one poor wretched creature against Christ! Many are there that rise up against us. 3. That they are unanimous; they are many devils, and yet but one legion engaged in the same wicked cause; and therefore that cavil of the Pharisees, which supposed Satan to cast out Satan, and to be divided against himself, was altogether groundless. It was not one of this legion that betrayed the rest, for they all said, as one man, What have I to do with thee? 4. That they are very powerful; who can stand before a legion? We are not a match for our spiritual enemies, in our own strength ; but in the Lord, and in the power of his might, we shall be able to stand against them, though there are legions of them. 5. That there is order among them, as there is in a legion; there are principalities, and powers, and rulers of the darkness of this world, which makes those enemies the more formidable. The request of this legion, that. Christ would suffer them to go into a herd of swine that was
feeding nig?"...the mountains (ver. 11), those mountains which the demoniacs haunted (ver. 5.) Their request was, 1. That he would not send them away out of the country (ver. 10); not only that he would not commit them, or confine them, to their infernal prison, and so torment them before the time; but that he would not banish them that country, as justly he might, because in this poor man they had been such a terror to it, and done so much mischief. They seem to have had a particular affection for that country; or, rather, a particular spite to it; and to have liberty to walk to and fro through the rest of the earth, will not serve (Job i. 7), unless the range of these mountains be allowed them for their pasture (Joh xxxix. 8.) But why would they abide in that country? Grotius saith, Because in that country there were many apostate Jews, who had thrown themselves out of the covenant of God, and had thereby given Satan power over them. And some suggest that, having by experience got the knowledge of the dispositions and manners of the people of that country, they could the more effectually do them mischief by their temptations. 2. That he would suffer them to enter into the swine, by destroying which they hoped to do more mischief to the souls of all the people in the country, than they could by entering into the body of any particular person, which therefore they did not ask leave to do, for they knew Christ would not grant it. Christ gave
them permission to enter into the swine, and the immediate destruction of the herd followed ; lle gave them leave (ver. 13), he did not forbid or restrain them, he let them do as they had a mind. Thus he would let the Gadarenes see what powerful spiteful enemies devils are, that they might thereby be induced to make him their Friend, who alone was able to control and conquer them, and had made it appear that he was so. Immediately the unclean spirits entered into the herd of swine, which, by the law, were unclean creatures. Those that, like the swine, delight in the mire of sensual lusts, are fit habitations for Satin, and are, like Babylon, the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird (Rev. xviii. 2), as pure souls are habitations of the Holy Spirit
. The consequence of the devils entering into the swine, was, that they all run mad presently, and ran headlong into the adjoining sea, where they were all drowned, to the number of two thousand. The man they possessed did only cut himself, for God had said, He is in your hands, only save his life. But thereby it appeared, that, if he had not been so restrained, the poor man would have drowned himself. See how much we are indebted to the providence of God, and the ministration of good angels, for our preservation from malignant spirits. The report of all this dispersed through the country immediately. They that fed the swine, hastened to the owners, to give an account of their charge (ver. 14.) This drew the people together, to see what was done; and, 1. When they saw how wonderfully the poor man was cured, they hence conceived a veneration for Christ (ver. 15.) They saw him that was possessed with the devil, and knew him well enough, and were now surprised to see him sitting clothed and in his right mind; when Satan was cast out he came to himself. Those who are grave and sober, and live by rule'with consideration, thereby make it appear that by the power of Christ the devil's power is broken in their souls. The sight of this made them afraid ; it astonished them, and forced them to own the power of Christ, and that he is worthy to be feared. But, 2. When they found that their swine were lost, they thence conceived a dislike of Christ, and wished to have rather his room than his company; they prayed him to depart out of their coasts, for they think not any good he can do them sufficient to make them amends for their loss. Now the devils had what they would have; for by no handle do these evil spirits more effectually manage sinful souls than by that of the love of the world. They were afraid of some farther punishment, if Christ should tarry among them, whereas, if they would but part with their sins, he had life and happiness for them ; but being loth to quit either their sins or their swine, they choose rather to abandon their Saviour. Thus they do, who, rather than let go a base lust, will throw away their interest in Christ, and their expectations from him. They should rather have argued, If he has such a power as this over devils and all creatures, it is good having him our Friend ; if the devils have leave to tarry in our country (ver. 10), let us entreat him to tarry in it too, who alone can control them. But instead of this, they wished him farther off. Such strange misconstructions do carnal hearts make of the just judgments of God; instead of being by them driven to him as they ought, they set him at so much the greater distance; though he hath said, Provoke me not, and I will do thee no hurt (Jer. xxv. 6.)
Observe the conduct of the poor man after his deliverance. He desired that he might go along with Christ (ver. 18), perhaps for fear lest the evil spirit should again seize him; or rather, that he might receive instruction from him, being unwilling to stay among those heathenish people that desired him to depart. Those that are freed from the evil spirit, cannot but covet acquaintance and fellowship with Christ. Christ would not sufför him to go with him, lest it should savour of ostentation, and to let him know that he could both protect and instruct hini at a distance. And besides, he had other work for him to do; he must go home to his friends, and tell them what great things the Lord had done for him, the Lord Jesus had done ; that Christ might be honoured,
and his neighbours and friends might be edified, and invited to believe in Christ. He must take particular notice rather of Christ's pity than of his power, for it is that which especially he glories in; he must tell them what compassion the Lord had had on him in his misery.—The man, in a transport of joy, proclaimed, all the country over, what great things Jesus had done for him (ver. 20.) This is a debt we owe both to Christ and to our brethren, that he may be glorified and they edified. And see what was the effect of it: All men did marvel, but few went any farther. Many that cannot but wonder at the works of Christ, yet do not, ils they ought, wonder after him. 21 And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side, much
people gathered unto him: and he was nigh unto the sea. 22 And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet, 23 And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death : I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live. 24 And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him. 25 And a certain woman, 'which had an issue of blood twelve years,
26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, 27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. 28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. 29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. 30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that & virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? 31 And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? 32 And he looked round about to see her that bad done this thing. 33 But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. 34 And he said unto her, Daughter, "thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.
d Matt, ix. 1; Luke viii. 40.
& Luke vi, 19, viii. 46.
e Matt. ix. 18; Luke viii. 41. f Lev. xv. 23; Matt, ix. 20.
h Jatt. ix. 22 ; Chap. X. 32 ; Acts, xiv. 9.
The Gadarenes having desired Christ to leave their country, he did not stay to trouble them long, but presently went by water, as he came, back to the other side (ver. 21), and there much people gathered to him. If there be some that reject Christ, yet there are others that receive him, and bid him welcome. A despised gospel will cross the water, and go where it will have better entertainment. Now, among the many that applied themselves to him, there was one that came openly to beg a cure for a sick child ; and it is no less a person than one of the rulers of the
synagogue, one that presided in the synagogue-worship, or, as some think, one of the judges of the consistory court, which was in every city, consisting of twenty-three. He was not named in Matthew, he is here, Jairus. He addressed himself to Christ, though a ruler, with great humility and reverence: When he saw him he fell at his feet, giving honour to him as one really greater than he appeared to be; and with great importunity, he besought him greatly, as one in earnest, as one that not only valued the mercy he came for, but that knew he could obtain it no where else. The case is this :--He has a little daughter, about twelve years old, the darling of the family, and she lies a dying ; but he believes that if Christ will but come, and lay his hands upon her, she will return even from the gates of the grave. He said, at first, when he came, She lies a dying (so Mark); but afterward, upon fresh information sent him, he saith she is even now dead (so Matthew); but he still prosecutes his suit; see Luke viii. 42–49. Christ readily agreed, and went with him (ver
. 24.) Meanwhile there came another to steal a cure (if we may so say) for herself; and she got the relief she came for. This cure was wrought by the way, as he was going to raise the ruler's daughter, and was followed by a crowd. See how Christ improved his time, and lost none of the precious moments of it. Many of his discourses, and some of his miracles, are dated by the way