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are ceased, we may say, that he bore our sicknesses then, when he bore our sins in his own body upon the tree; for sin is both the cause and the sting of sickness. Many are the diseases and calamities to which we are liable in the body; and there is more, in this one line of the Gospel, to support and comfort us under them, than in all the writings of the philosophers-that Jesus Christ bore our sicknesses and carried our sorrows. He bore them for us in his sufferings, being touched with the feeling of our infirmities; he bears them off from us, and makes them sit light, if it be not our own fault. While we rejoice in the comforts of Christ's salvation, let us remember the pain, labour, and suffering, which he endured, when be took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses and sins, that we may not grudge labour, trouble, or expense in doing good to others."
18 Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side.
18. Unto the other side Jesus was now in Capernaum, a city at the north-west corner of the sea of Tiberias, or sea of Galilee. See Note, Matt. iv. 18. The country to which he purposed to go was the region on the east of the sea of Tiberias.
19 And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. 20 And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
o Luke, ix. 57, 58.
19, 20. A certain scribe came, &c. It is not improbable that this man, who had seen the miracles of Jesus, had formed an expectation that, by following him, he would obtain some considerable worldly advantage. If this were the case, his hopes would be completely disappointed, when our Saviour, in reply, proclaimed his own poverty in regard to worldly things. Our Lord came to his own, but his own received him not. In the world which he created by his almighty power, he wandered about, not having where to lay his head. His kingdom is a spiritual kingdom. Selfseeking and worldly-mindedness, on the part of those who profess to be the disciples of Jesus, are rebuked-much more the impiety of making a traffic of godliness. John i. 2. ¶ Son of man. This means evidently Jesus himself. No title is more frequently given to our Saviour than this. The word Son is used in a great variety of significations. See Note, Matt. i. 1. The name Son of man is given to Jesus only three times in the New Testament (see Acts vii. 56; Rev. i. 13, xiv. 14), except by himself. When our Lord speaks of himself, this is the most common appellation by which he is known. The phrase Son of God, given to Christ, denotes a peculiar connection with God-his place in the Holy Trinity-his eternal Sonship. John x. 36. The name Son of man probably denotes a corresponding peculiar connection with man. Perhaps he used it to signify the interest he felt in man; his peculiar love and friendship for men; and his willingness to devote himself to the best interests of the race. It is sometimes, however, used as synonymous with Messiah. Matt. xvi. 28; John i. 51; Acts vii. 55; John xii. 34.
21 "And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
p Luke ix. 59, 60. 9 See 1 Kings xix. 10.
21. And another of his disciples, &c. The word disciple properly signifies learner; and was given to his followers, because they received him as their Teacher. Note, Matt. v. 1. Note, Matt. y. 1. It does not of necessity mean that a disciple was a pious man, but only one of the multitude, who, for various causes, might attend on our Lord's instructions. See John vi. 66, ix. 28.
22 But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.
22. Let the dead bury their dead. The word dead is used in this passage in two different senses. The word dead is used often to express indifference towards a thing; or rather, to show that that thing has no influence over us. Thus, to be dead to the world; to be dead to the law (Rom. vii. 4); to be dead to sin (Rom. vi. 11); means that the world, law, and sin, have not influence or control over us; that we are free from them, and act as though they were not. A body in the grave is unaffected by the pomp and vanity-by the gaiety and revelry-by the ambition and splendour that may be near the tomb. So, men of the world are dead to religion. They see not its beautyhear not its voice-are not won by its loveliness. This is the class of men to which the Saviour
referred here. Let men, says he, who are uninterested in my work, and who are dead in sin (Eph. ii. 1), take care of the dead. Your duty is now to follow me.
There may have been two reasons for this direction. One was, to test the character and attachment of the man. If he had proper love for Christ, he would be willing to leave his friends, even in the most tender and trying circumstances. This is required. Matt. x. 27; Luke xiv. 26. A second reason might have been, that if he returned, at that time, his friends might ridicule or oppose him, or present plausible arguments in the afflictions of the family, why he should not return to Christ. That to which he was called was, moreover, of more importance than any earthly consideration; and, for that time, Christ chose to require of the man a very extraordinary sacrifice, to show his sincere attachment to him. Or it may have been, that the Saviour saw that the effect of visiting his home at that time might have been to drive away all his serious impressions, and that he would return to him no more. His impressions might not have been deep enough, and his purpose to follow our Saviour may not have been strong enough, to bear the trial to which he would be subjected. The Saviour teaches, that nothing is to be allowed to divert the mind from religion; nothing to be an excuse for not following him. Not even the death of a father, and the sorrows of an afflicted family, are to be suffered to lead a man to defer religion, or to put off the purpose to be a Christian. That is a fixed duty-a duty not to be neglected-whether in sickness or health; at home or abroad; whether surrounded by living and happy kindred; or whether a father, a mother, a child, or a sister lies in our house dead.
It is the enjoined duty of children to obey their parents, and to show them kindness in affliction, and to evince proper care and respect for them when dead. Nor did our Saviour show himself insensible to these duties. He taught here, however, as he always taught, that a regard to friends, and ease, and comfort, should be subordinate to the Gospel, and that we should always be ready to sacrifice these when duty to God requires it.
23 ¶ And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.
23. Into a ship. This was on the sea of Tiberias. The ship in which they sailed was probably a small open boat, with sails, such as were commonly used for fishing on the lake. His disciples. Not merely the apostles, but probably many others. There were many other ships in company with him. Mark iv. 36. This circumstance would render the miracle much more striking and impressive. 24 And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep,
r. Mark iv. 37; Luke viii. 23.
24. A great tempest. A violent storm, or a wind so strong as to endanger their lives. This lake was subject to sudden squalls. The ship was covered with the waves. The billows dashed against the ship (Mark iv. 37), so that it was fast filling and in danger of sinking. He was asleep. On the hinder part of the vessel, on a pillow. Mark iv. 38. It was in the night, and Jesus had retired to rest. He was probably weary, and slept calmly and serenely.
25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.
25. Save us. Save our lives. We perish. We are in danger of perishing. This showed great confidence in the Saviour. It shows, also, where sinners and Christians should always go, who feel that they are in danger of perishing. There is none that can save from the storms of divine wrath but the Son of God.
26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then "he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
s Ps. lxv. 7, lxxxix. 9, cvii. 29.
26. Why are ye fearful. You should have remembered that the Son of God, the Messiah, was with you. You should not have forgotten that he had power to save, and that with him you are safe. So Christians should never fear danger, disease, or death. With Jesus they are safe. No enemy can reach him; and as he is safe, so they shall be also. John xiv. 19. Rebuked the winds. Reproved them; or commanded them to be still. What a power was this! What irresistible proof that he was divine! His word awed the tempest, and allayed the storm! There is
not, any where, a sublimer description of a display of power. Nor could we desire a stronger proof that Christ was truly the Son of God. Great calm. The winds were still; and the sea ceased to dash against the vessel, and to endanger their lives.
27 But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!
27. Men marvelled. Wondered, or were amazed. What manner of man. What personage. How unlike other men. What a vast display of power; and how far exalted above mortals must he he! He spoke to the winds; rebuked their raging, and the sea was suddenly calm. The storm subsided,the ship glided smoothly,-danger fled,—and in amazement they stood in the presence of him who controlled the tempests that God had raised; and they felt that he must be God himself. None but God could calm the heaving billows, and scatter the tempest. No scene could have been more grand than this display of the power of Jesus. The darkness, the dashing waves, the howling winds, the heaving and tossing ship, the fears and cries of the seamen-all by a single word hushed into calm repose, the whole presents an image of power and divinity irresistibly grand and awful. So the tempest rolls and thickens over the head of the awakened sinner. So he trembles over immediate and awful destruction. So while the storm of wrath howls, and hell threatens to engulf him, he comes trembling to the Saviour. He hears, he rebukes the storm, and the sinner is safe. An indescribable peace takes possession of the soul; and he glides on a tranquil sea to the haven of eternal rest. See Isa. lvii. 20, 21; Rom. v. 1; Phil iv. 7.
28 And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.
Mark v. 1; Luke viii. 26.)
28. The same account of the demoniacs substantially is found in Mark v. 1-20, and Luke viii. 26-38. The other side. The other side of the sea of Tiberias. ¶ Country of the Gergesenes. Mark (v. 1), says that he came into the country of the Gaderenes. This difference is only apparent. Gadara was a city not far from the lake Gennesareth; one of the ten cities that were called Decapolis. Note, Matt. iv. 25. Gergesa was a city about twelve miles to the south-east of Gadara. and about twenty miles to the east of the Jordan. Thus there is a complete harmony in the evangelists. He came into the region in which the two cities were situated, and one mentioned one, and the other another. ¶ There met him two. Mark and Luke speak of only one that met him. "There met him out of the tombs a man." Mark v. 2. "There met him out of the tombs a certain man." Luke viii. 27. This difference of statement has given rise to considerable difficulty. It is to be observed, however, that neither Mark nor Luke say that there was no more than one. For particular reasons they might have been led to fix the attention on one of them that was more conspicuous and furious, and difficult to be managed. Witnesses in courts of law often differ in unimportant matters; and, provided the main narrative coincides, their testimony is thought to be more valuable. Luke has given us a hint why he recorded only the cure of one of them. He says, there met him "out of the city," a man, &c.; or, as it should be rendered, "a man of the city," a citizen. Yet the man did not dwell in the city; for he adds in the same verse, "neither abode he in any house but in the tombs." The case was, that he was born and educated in the city; he had probably been a man of wealth and eminence; he was well-known, and the people felt a deep interest in the case. Luke was, therefore, particularly struck with his case; and as his cure fully established the power of Jesus, he recorded it. The other individual that Matthew mentions was probably a stranger, or a person less publicly known as a maniac. Let two persons go into a lunatic asylum, and meet two insane persons, one of whom should be exceedingly fierce and ungovernable, and wellknown as having been a man of worth and standing; let them converse with them, and let the more violent one attract the principal attention, and they would very likely give an account similar to that given by the Evangelists Matthew and Luke; and every one would see the propriety of their respective statements. Possessed with devils. See Note, Matt. iv. 24. Coming out of the tombs. The sepulchres of the Jews were commonly caves, beyond the walls of the cities in which they dwelt, or excavations made in the sides of hills, or sometimes in solid rocks. These caves, or excavations, were sometimes of great extent. They descended to them by flights of steps. These graves were not in the midst of cities (according to the unhealthy usage of modern times), but in groves, and mountains, and solitudes. They afforded, therefore, to insane persons and demoniacs, retreat and shelter. They delighted in these gloomy and melancholy recesses, as being congenial
The annexed cut will
to the wretched state of their minds. Josephus, also, states that these sepulchres were the haunts and lurking-places of those desperate bands of robbers that infested Judea. furnish an illustration of the nature of the sepulchres occurring in the east.
29 And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?
29. What have we to do with thee? This might have been translated with great propriety, What hast thou to do with us? The meaning is, "Why dost thou trouble, or disturb us?" See 2 Sam. xvi. 10; 2 Kings ix. 18; Ezra iv. 3. Son of God. The title, Son of God, is often given to Christ. Men are sometimes called sons, or children of God, to denote their piety and adoption into his family. 1 John iii. 1. But the title given to Christ denotes his superiority to the prophets (Heb. i. 1); to Moses the founder of the Jewish economy (Heb. iii. 6); it denotes his peculiar and near relation to the Father, as evinced by his resurrection (Ps. ii. 7; Acts xiii. 33; Luke i. 35); and is equivalent to a declaration that he is divine, or equal to the Father. John x. 36. ¶ Art thou come hither to torment us, &c. By the time here mentioned is meant the day of judgment. The Bible reveals the doctrine that evil spirits are not now bound as they will be after that day; that they are permitted to tempt and afflict men, but that in the day of judgment they also will be condemned to everlasting punishment with all the wicked. 2 Pet. ii. 4; Jude 6. These spirits seemed to be apprized of that, and alarmed lest the day that they feared had come. They besought him, therefore, not to send them out of that country; not to consign them to hell, but to put off the day of their final punishment.
30 And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding. 31 So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine. 32 And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters.
30-32. "Swine were unclean animals by the Mosaic law, and the very touch of them, when dead, defiled a man; yet the Gadarenes fed them in great numbers, to sell to their Gentile neighbours. The evil spirits, therefore, being reluctant to quit a region, where their influence had been so entire, formed a subtle plan of prejudicing the inhabitants against Jesus, that they might be induced to reject his instructions. Aware of the value which was put upon the swine because of the gain arising from them, they requested permission to possess those animals; and he, probably, to punish the avarice of the Gadarenes, to give a decisive proof of the reality of possessions, and to show the destructive rage and power of evil spirits, as well as the limits assigned to their influence, permitted them. Immediately, therefore, they impelled the swine to such fury, that the whole herd rushed from a precipice into the sea, and was drowned. It is surprising, that any should have thought this permission, either a ground of objection, against our Lord's conduct, or requiring a laboured vindication. Had not his almighty power restrained the evil spirits, they would have destroyed not only the demoniacs, but also the guilty owners and feeders of the swine: so that his mercy was truly wonderful and adorable, in protecting the persons of the Gadarenes, and permitting only the destruction of that property which they kept from avarice, and by living under constant
temptation to violate the law, and almost under a necessity of continually contracting ceremonial uncleanness. But the objection reminds us of one most important fact, viz., that the enemies of Christianity always throw the blame on our holy and beneficent religion, of all the mischief which the devil and wicked men have taken occasion from it to perpetrate; forgetting, that they would have done vastly more mischief, had its restraints been removed. Indeed, if permitting be not clearly distinguished from commanding or causing, it will be impossible to avoid imputing to the just and holy God, the sins of all his rebellious creatures, which is the most detestable blasphemy that can be conceived."-SCOTT,
33 And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils. 34 And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, "they besought him that he would depart out of their
u See Deut. v. 25; 1 Kings xvii. 18; Luke y. 8; Acts xvi. 39.
33, 34." It must be supposed, that the keepers were exceedingly affrighted, as well as astonished, at this strange event; and having reported it in the city of Gadara, the inhabitants in general came to Jesus; not however to receive instruction, implore protection, or crave miraculous assistance. Probably, their guilty consciences made them dread his power, and the loss of the swine, no doubt, highly displeased them; yet, not venturing to attempt violence against so extraordinary a person, they presented one single request to him, namely, that he would depart out of their coasts; which was in fact to say, 'What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God?' This proved them to be under the power of Satan, fully as much as the demonaics had been, but in another and more criminal sense. Where men live like swine, there doth not Christ tarry, but devils."SCOTT.
1. The leprosy was a very grievous disease, and in it we have a very fit representation of sin. It was not merely a surface disease, but rankled and festered in the very vitals, and from day to day consumed the body inwardly. Nor when allowed to go on, did it ever abate in its progress or malignancy, but, from head to foot, rendered the body loathsome and corrupt. Sin has its seat and head-quarters in the soul. There it lives and reigns, rankles, consumes, and destroys, and breaking forth, exhibits the malignity of its nature in the depraved actions of a wicked ungodly life. It renders the soul, polluted with it, an object infinitely more loathsome in the sight of God, than the body of the leper was to his fellow-creatures. The leprosy was often incurable. No skill could arrest its progress, no medicines reach it, no treatment of the physician counteract it, and root it out. This which was sometimes true of the leprosy, is always true of sin. It is a disease utterly beyond the power and skill of man to abate or cure. The sprinkling of Christ's blood is the only remedy, but it is an infallible one. No case is so obstinate but it must yield to this. It is an efficacious remedy for every form and stage of this otherwise incurable malady. It can cleanse, not only from this and the other, but from all sin. God has taken great pains to teach men the efficacy of Christ's blood. "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." Every sinner who is grieved on account of his sins, and anxious to get rid of them, may go to the throne of grace and plead his cause with God. He has the divine promises to take with him, and if he will have it so, they shall, every one of them, be realized to him. The people of God who have had some experience already of the efficacy of the blood of sprinkling, and are thus experimentally acquainted with its infinite value, are very urgent for its daily application to their souls. Let David, mourning over his sins, and longing after closer communion with God, speak for them! his language is theirs, "Purge me with hyssop (and what may that hyssop be but Christ's blood), and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." Sprinkled with that precious blood, we shall be thoroughly washed from our iniquities, but without that sprinkling, our condition is as wretched as it can possibly be, incomparably worse than that of one leprous only in his flesh; for that leprosy can do no more than dissolve the body, and make it a morsel for the grave, whereas sin sinks soul and body lower than the grave. It is a caterer for hell, and torments the sinner there, and shall do so, not for a few years ouly, but, for ever. And what can a sinner do better than imitate the leper in the text. He heard of the miracles which Jesus had already wrought, and took courage. We know Christ's power to forgive our sins, why, therefore, if we wish them destroyed that they may no longer have dominion over us, should we not take courage also? We have stronger grounds of