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Jesus, thou Son of God? Art thou come bither to torment us before the time? And there was a good way off from them an herd of many 30 swine feeding. So the devils besought him, saying: If thou cast us 31 out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine. And he said unto 32 them: Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd
strange that they should know Je- It was contrary to the law of Mosus, if they had not seen him before, ses for the Jews to eat swine's flesh, as he was the centre to which all and to that of Hyrcanus to keep eyes were turned, particularly since them. Yet both laws were broken. he had stilled the tempest. And Some eat the forbidden flesh. And with that boldness which charac- others raised the animals to sell to terizes insanity, they caught up the their Pagan neighbors. popular impression, that Jesus was 31. The devils besought him. the Messiah, or a distinguished That is, the men who thought they prophet, and saluted him with
were possessed by demons bea corresponding title of dignity. sought him that the demons might What they did in this particular be sent out into the swine. The was exactly in character for persons Other Evangelists state that Jesus deranged. It bears the stamp of had inquired of the man his name, insanity on its face.-To torment and that he replied that it was Leus before the time. Wetstein sup- gion, for he believed a multitude of poses they referred to being con- spirits had taken up their abode in fined in chains, or bled, or to under- him. This was a clear trait of a going other medical prescriptions, deranged mind. They add further as they had done previously. See that the spirits, or the man speaking Luke viji. 29. Mark v. 4. They in the name of the spirits, besought dreaded the harsh remedies that Jesus that he would not send them had been applied to them, and into the deep, or the abyss, or comfeared lest they should be repeated. mand them to go out of the counOthers give a different view. The try, but permit them to enter the Jews held an opinion that at the swine. As has been said, this would day of judgment evil spirits would be a very strange request for a spirit be sent to their place of lasting to make, but not at all unsuitable to punishment, 2 Peter ii. 4, Jude 6, a madman, who fancied himself to but that they might be confined or be, or spoke in the name of, unclean made to suffer before that time by spirits, and who, after defiling himsuperior beings. Tobit viii. 3. The self in the eye of the law by dwellinsane, sharing in the popular su- ing in a tomb, could find no habitaperstition, believing that spirits are tion more conformable to his own in them, speak in their name, and ideas of himself than the body of deprecate being tormented before the unclean animal here mentioned. the time allotted for their final pun- 32. Jesus adopts the true method ishment. Mark and Luke represent of rendering their cure permanent, Jesus as already having coinmand- by assenting to their wild proposied the unclean spirit to come out. tions, and giving them as it were
30. An herd of many swine. Mark ocular demonstration that the spirsays, “there were about two thou- its, or, correctly speaking, the insand.” A mixed population of Jews sanity, had left them. And when and Gentiles inhabited this country. they were come out, they went into the
of swine, And, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a 33 steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters. And they that
kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, 34 and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils. And, behold,
herd, &c. Jesus miraculously trans- madmen ? Mat. vij. 28. The ferred the insanity from the men to miracle was more impressive and the swine; which being seized with useful on account of being attended madness rushed down the steep with the loss of property. The promontory, and were drowned in sequel shows that the inhabitants the waters of the lake. A cure has were stirred very deeply by it, when been sometimes effected by natural otherwise they would perhaps have means, by humoring the fantastic remained comparatively indifferent. whims of the deranged, and acting It was unlawful for the owners to as if what they think to be real was keep swine, as the presumption is real. So bere. It was indeed a that they were Jews. The miracle miracle to transfer the madness would serve to remove the popular from the men to the animals; and superstition about possessions by by complying with their request, evil spirits. For they saw that an and by their seeing as were the animal might be possessed as well legion of spirits leaving them, and as a man, and it woulil be incredible entering into the thousands of that the spirit of a departed Jew swine, which were all «lestroyed in would voluntarily enter into one of the sea, Jesus thus secured them the unclean and most detested of against a return of their morbid animals. Again, it may be said, fancies. For they bail, so to say, that the men originated the proposeen their cure with their own eyes. sition, and that Jesus merely asOtherwise, nothing but a prolonged sented to it. miracle could probably have pre 33. This miracle produced a vented their relapsing into their most powerful impression upon all former wretched state.- Perished who saw, and all who beard of it. in the waters. It is objected by And if it served to convince any some to the beneficence of Jesus, that Jesus was the Messiah, and to that a great amount of property lead thein to be his disciples, it and life was destroyed in this case. compensated them ten fold for the True. But circumstances rendered loss of property, and the destrucit right and beneficial. All things tion of the brute animals. The debelong to God, and he and his dele- scription in this verse graphically, gated messengers have a right to though artlessly, depicts the condispose of all as they shall deem sternation and stir produced by the proper. The destruction of the miracle. And it is observable that swine, as we have seen above, sub- the relation was respecting what had served the purpose of rendering befallen those possessed of demons, the cure of ihe insane permanent. not what had happened to the swine. What is any amount of property,
34. The whole city. A large numor brute life, weighed in the scales ber of the people.--They besought with the reason of an inmortal him that he would depart. Perhaps man, or the safety and comfort of they feared further judgments, and the neighborhood, and of travellers felt convicted of their sinfulness. who were endangered by these Or perhaps some were indignant at
the whole city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts.
the loss they had sustained. Or, body with stones, distinctly mark their request that he would depart the insane man. The inability to from them might have been in- be bound or tamed, the unnatural spired by similar motives to that strength which broke the fetters of Peter, after the draught of fishes, that confined his feet, and plucked Luke v. 8; or to that of the cen- . asunder the chains that were on bis turion, that Jesus would not enter hands, remind us of the Report of his house, Mat. viji. 8. The other an Insane Hospital; in none of Evangelists add some further par- which Reports was there ever given ticulars which are interesting. That a more terse, striking, and graphic the man was restored to his right sketch of the conduct of the insane mind, and clothed. That he wish- than is contained in this account. ed to accompany his benefactor, but The periodical attack (Luke viii. was directed to return home and 29, “For oftentimes it had caught publish the miracle, since no ill him”) is a proof of insanity. The effects could follow from its being language of the man, his ready known, as Jesus was going to leave knowledge of Jesus, and his somethat part of the country. That he what impudent address, joined with did as commanded, testifying to the a salutation of great respect, his compussion of the Lord, and how original and strange request, his great things had been done for him. wild notion of being the abode of
It may be proper here to mention thousands of evil spirits, which he the circumstances which indicate generalized under the name of the that those possessed with demons formidable Roman inilitary diviswere simply deranged.
ion, “Legion,” and, on the other 1. If these, and other cases, were hand, the language and mode of the not cases of insanity, it would ap- niracle of Jesus, all uphold the pear that whilst Jesus is described position of its being a case of inas curing almost every other dis- sanity. The state of the man after ease, be is never mentioned as cur his cure, Clothed, and in his ing, a case of insanity, a disorder right mind,” Luke viji. 35,-shows which more than any other would clearly of what he had been cured. call for a divine power to remove it, All these circumstances form a and the cure of which would be complete picture of the wanderpeculiarly striking and convincing. ings and subsequent restoration of And surely insanity was not then unknowi.
“What works of wisdom, power, and love, 2. The conduct of the demoniacs Do Jesus' high commission prove! is precisely that of the insane. The shattered mind his word restores, The dwelling in by-places, in And tunes afresh the mental powers." the tombs, and in the mountains, How shall we escape, if we negMark v. 5, is an indication of in- lect to hear and obey him who sanity. The propensity to wander, comes from God with such clear the wearing of no clothes, Luke credentials of his authority, and of viii. 27, the being out by night whom the Deity has said : “ This is as well as by day, Mark v. 5, and iny beloved Son, in whom I am the crying aloud and cutting the well pleased, hear ye him!”
Miracles of Jesus,-continued. ND he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his 2
own city. And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed. And Jesus, seeing their faith, said unto the sick 3 of the palsy: Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. And,
behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves: This man blas
ing up to the house-top with their 1. Parallel to Mark v. 21. Luke sick friend, they unroll the awning, viii. 40.
and let the bed down with cords Jesus yields to the request of the through the tiling, or, properly, by Gergesenes, and crosses over the the side of the tiling of the roof, lake to the other side, to the town
into the midst of the company of Capernaum, called his own city where Jesus sat and taught." He because he had made it his resi- saw their faith, which had inspired dence. Mat. iv. 13. Mark ji. 1. them to persevere through all obsta2-17. Parallel to Mark ii. 1-22, cles to obtain his aid.Son. An
17—39, who gives a more address of tenderness and condedetailed account than Matthew. scension.-Be of good cheer; thy 2. Sick of the palsy, lying on a sins be forgiven thee.
The man bed. His disease was severe and was laboring under depression, or inveterate, and had reduced him to perhaps remorse.
The compasutter helplessness.
The bed on
sjonate Saviour would encourage which he lay was a kind of mat
and comfort him. The Jews retress, which he could easily take up garded disease as the consequence and carry, himself, when restored of sin, and had among them a say, to strength.-Seeing their faith. ing that no diseased person could How they manifested their faith is be healed, until all his sins were particularly related by Mark and blotted out. The expressions, Be Luke. The friends of the paralytic thou healed, and, Thy sins be forhad brought him on a mattress to given thee, are regarded by many the house where Christ was. But as having been synonymous. To the press of the crowd was so great say one implied no more than to that they could find no direct way say the other. It is true without to bring him to Jesus, and were doubt, that a far greater amount of obliged to uncover the roof where the sickness and trouble in the he was, and let him down on his world is caused by sin, than is suss couch into the court or area of the pected. Christ is the great physi, house where Jesus was teaching, cian in the literal, as well as the This court or area in the middle of figurative sense.—Be is used instead the house was frequently covered of are. only by an awning, or screen, which 3. Certain of the scribes. Luke could be easily rolled up. Houses mentions that there were Pharisees in the east are generally of one and doctors of the law sitting by, story, and built in the form of a who had come from all parts of the
square, with a flat roof run- country:--This man blasphemeth. ning round the interior court. Go- According to Mark and Luke, they
phemeth. And Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said: Wherefore 4 think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier? to say: Thy 5 sins be forgiven thee? or to say: Arise, and walk? But that ye may 6 know that the Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins (then sajth he to the sick of the palsy): Arise, take up thy bed, and go
added, " Who can forgive sins, but language of their looks. Or, with God only? To blaspheme is to more probability, we may suppose speak evil against God. The truer that a gift of knowing what was rendering here of the words would in man was vouchsafed among his be—“ This man speaks impiously.” peculiar powers. The capacity of He claims a power to which he is knowing the thoughts of a few not entitled, and which invades the persons present is a quite different prerogatives of God. It was true thing from the sublime attribute of that none could forgive sins but Omniscience. To argue from one God. Jesus does not profess to to the other is to leap at a concluforgive sins himself; he simply de- sion, wide indeed from the premises. clares the fact that they are for- 5. Whether is easier? Which of given. He could read the heart, the two is easier ? In reality one and decide whether the conditions was as easy as the other. Neither of forgiveness were fulfilled. He was hard to a divine messenger. could comprehend the will of the To see the heart and know that the Father, and declare his purposes individual was worthy of pardon, of pardon to the penitent. The or to work a miracle and raise up prophet Nathan in like manner the palsied frame, was alike the recould say to David : “ The Lord al- sult of a divine commission and so hath put away thy sin; thou power. As if he had said, If I shalt not die.” 2 Sam. xii. 13. Je- can heal the sick, I may without sus gave his Apostles a similar impiety absolve the sinner. power of forgiving sins, or rather 6. But that ye may know, &c. He of declaring them forgiven. Mut. gives ocular demonstration. xvi. 19. xviii. 18. John xx. 23. If He proves his right or authority to prophets and Apostles could declare exercise one prerogative of divinity, men's sips forgiven, certainly it was to declare the forgiveness of sins, no impiety in Jesus, and no as- by actually and visibly exercising sumption by him of Divine attri- another, the restoration of one inbutes, to pronounce a person's sins curably diseased. But the exercise pardoned. As the Son of Man is of either prerogative no more imto be the judge of the world, it was plies his deity, as has been strenuin harmony with his divine endow- ously argued, than the miracles of ments by his father, that he should the Apostles, and their power to possess such a knowledge of the bind and loose on earth, evince state of the heart as to be able to
their deity. The argument theredeclare forgiveness from God to the fore proves nothing, because it contrite.
proves too much.- Power. Au4. Knowing their thoughts. This ihority, not original power, but of course does not imply that Jesus delegated. Take up thy bed. The was omniscient, as some have false- bed of the east was usually a mere ly inferred. He perhaps read the mattress, spread, on the floor, light thoughts of their hearts in the and portable.