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24 the son of David ? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said: This

fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub, the prince of the 25 devils. And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them: Every

kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every 26 city or house divided against itself shall not stand. And if Satan

cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his king

astonished beyond measure at the a stubbornpess that would yield to cure of the demoniacs.—Is not this no evidence whatever, since it perthe son of David? According to verted the highest proofs of divine some commentators the negative authority by the malicious insinuaparticle should be omitted, and the tion that he himself was mad, or question would read, Is this the son possessed with Beelzebub. of David? This phrase is usually 25. Knew their thoughts, &c. He considered equivalent to, Is this the had a spiritual insight into the Messiah? For it was expected that hearts of men. -Said unto them. the Messiah would descend from Jesus uses reasoning, and not inthe house of David. See note on vective, even with his most maMat. ix. 27. "“ This inference was lignant enemies; an example wordrawn by the common people, and thy of all imitation. He first argues not by the proud and haughty against them from the absurdity of Pharisees. It is not uncomninon their charge; laying down the that the plain common sense of the general rule, that every communicandid but unlearned sees the true ty, large or small, subsists by its beauty and meaning of the Bible, union, and then, verse 26, applying while min filled with pride, and the rule to the case in hand; from science, falsely so called, are blind- premises that they would admit, ed.

he draws a conclusion subversive 24. Fellow. This expression of of their accusation.-House, i. e. contempt is not contained in the Family. original, but was inserted by the 26. Satan. The original signitranslators, as is indicated by the fies an adversary, but afterwards Italic letters.-Beelzebub. The mar- had the more general meanings of gin reads Beelzebul. See note on tempter and accuser. Satan is a Mat. x. 25.Devils should be ren- general, Beelzebub a specific term. dered demons. The people were. The former is often used as the evidently deeply impressed with principle, or perhaps the personifithe miraculous power of Christ. cation of all evil. Jesus addresses The Pharisees feared the loss of to them an argumentum ad homitheir influence, and they resorted nem, or takes them upon their own to this unjustifiable method to des- ground. If your calumny is true, troy the confidence of the people the evil one is fighting against himin Jesus, catching at the words of self, and overthrowing his own the relations of Jesus, that “ he was kingdom; he must then have less beside himself,” or mad, Mark iii. than human wisdom. As Jesus 21. They could not deny the exer- laid claim to be a divine teacher, cise of a superhuman power, but, to we have a natural curiosity to asfrustrate its influence, they attribu- certain how his teaching and his ted it to an evil being. This argued claim corresponded, and we always

dom stand? And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do 27
your children cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges.
But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of 28
God is come unto you. Or else, how can one enter into a strong 29
man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man?
and then he will spoil his house. He that is not with me is against 30

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discover in his conversations the they show your inconsistency. The traces of the most eminent wisdom, opinion you form therefore eonautographs of the divine spirit

. cerning them will determine what We meet with constant intrinsic decision you are to make respectproofs of the truth of the history ing me. and divinity of our Master.

28. The Spirit of God. Luke, xi. 27. Your children cast them out ? 20, has, "the finger of God.” The Sons, disciples, or followers; those idea is the same. Jesus worked who had been instructed under the miracles by the divine power or care of the doctors of the law. Je- coöperation. Having foiled the acsus reasons, in the second place, cusation of his enemies, he draws against their charge, from the case the irresistible conclusion, that, as of their own exorcists. It must be he performed works of divine enerborne in mind that our Saviour gy, he gave conclusive evidence of does not assert that they actually a divine mission.The kingdom of did cast out demons. But he ar- God is come unto you. Since he gues with them on their own prem- bore proofs of divine authority, ises. He and the exorcists were he was to be received as the foundon the same footing; and if it was er of a new religion. alleged that the one cast out de- 29. He continues his argument. mons through the power of de- He had shown above that he acted mons, the same must be admitted independently of Beelzebub and of the other also. If I use magical Satan. He now proves that he arts, do not your disciples likewise ? must necessarily be superior to But if your disciples cast them out them, else he could not have exby a divine power, inay I not be pelled demons. He brings an illusauthorized in the same manner ? tration from common life. The We learn that there were exorcists robber cannot plunder a house or among the Jews from Luke ix. 49, castle until he has first overcome Acts xix. 13, also from the Jewish or bound its owner. So, unless Jehistorian, Josephus, and the early sus were more powerful than SaChristian Fathers. They pretend- tan, he could not subvert bis kinged to exorcise demons in the name dom.-Spoil his goodshis house. of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Despoil, or plunder his plate, treasJacob. Solomon was alleged to ures, or furniture of his house. have been the author of this art. 30. He that is not with me is The Egyptians and the beathen against me. A proverbial expresborrowed from the Jews the forms sion, which Jesus employs still farof adjuration used in their magical ther to refute their charge. He practices.-Therefore they shall be had shown, by expelling the deyour judges. They will convict mons, that he was not with, or on you of slander and calumny; for the side of Beelzebub, but against

31 me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad. Where

fore I say unto you, all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be for

given unto men; but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not 32 be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the

Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whosoever speaketh against

him. In Mark ix. 40, Luke ix. 50, What this sin was is evident from the converse of this proverb is the tenor of the antecedent passage ; used: “He that is not against us is but that we may not be mistaken on our part.” Both are applicable as to the nature of this offence, it and true, according to different is distinctly declared in Mark iii. circumstances. The proverb in 30, that it was, “ because they said, Mark and Luke has been tus para- He hath an unclean spirit." Their pbrased : “He that does not make sin consisted in blaspheming or deuse of my name to injure me must famiug that Holy Spirit or power be friendly to me.”He that gather- of God, which cooperated with eth not with me, &c. This is another him and enabled him to perform proverbial phrase, borrowed froin his wonderful works. They were rural life. He who assists not the instigated to this crime by their shepherd in collecting his flock, or envy of his power and popularity, the busbandman in gathering his 'and the fear of losing their own ; harvest, would, if he labored at all, as is casually suggested in one inhinder him in his object. The ap- stance, where they said, “If we let plication is the same with that of him alone, all men will believe on the preceding expression. Let it be him.” Jolin xi. 48. Their object, borne in mind that Jesus, through- in charging him with an alliance out this whole passage, is reasoning with the prince of demons, was to with tbe Pharisees on their own underinine the confidence of the grounds, and not on his.

people in him and destroy his in31. Wherefore. This word has Auence. reference to the foregoing reason- 32. Speaketh a word against the ing, equivalent to so then, in view Son of Man. Our Lord in this of your calumny and the refutation verse reiterates what he had said it has receivel.-I say unto you. in the last, with the addition of a In verses 25, 26, Jesus had shown comparison, to place the heinousthe inconsistency of their charge; ness of their offence in bolder relief. in verse 27, how it would operate He says, Whosoever speaks against agajost themselves; in verse 29, his me personally may be forgiven. superiority to Satan ; and in verse Thus the Jews had objected to his 30, bis hostility to him. He now humble birth, had called him a goes on to describe the criminality glutton and a wine-bibber, a friend of their accusation, and its awful of publicans and sinners, a Galiconsequences to themselves.-Blas- Jean, a Nazarene, and a Samaritan, phemy. Calumpy, reviling, or, as it as terms of contempt. They had is expressed in the next verse, speak- brought many grave but groundless ing against.-Shall be, i. e. may or accusations against his conduct and can be. All kinds of sin may be his character. But all these, he says, forgiven unto men, except the sin are pardonable sios, compared with which he now specifies.-- Blas- the one of which they are now phemy against the Holy Ghost. guilty.-Whosoever speaketh against

the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world,

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the Holy Ghost, &c. We have seen we know that Jesus still labored in the previous verse what consti- and taught amongst the impenitent tuted this daring transgression, viz. Jews, and that he prayed for their attributing Jesus' beneficent deeds forgiveness upon the cross. It to an evil agency. This was more would appear therofore that the than to speak against Jesus himself. reason, why this sin was so difficult It was impiety against God. It was to be forgiven, was not any inshutting the eyes and hardening the disposition on the part of God to heart against the mightiest proofs forgive, but the reluctance of the and brightest manifestations of offender to repent.

If repented God's Spirit and power. It was of, this, like every other transrejecting the last evidence, as it gression, would be pardoned. But would seem, by which God could he who would not believe, when give testimony that he had com such evidence was presented, as missioned his Son to declare his the works wrought by the divine will.— It shall not be forgiven him. Spirit, was clearly in such a stubTwo modes of interpreting this born, perverse, and determined passage have been defended. One state of opposition; he was so reliteral, that the sin in question is solved to suppress the honest constrictly unpardonable, whether in victions of his own heart, and to the present or the future state. wear a front of hypocrisy and defiThe other, grounded upon the fact ance, that there was little hope that our Saviour spoke a free and or probability that he would repent, popular language, and used the and cherish a better mind, and litidioms of bis nation, supposes that tle therefore that he would be forhe declared the extreme enormity given. He could not be pardoned, of the sin, and the consequent diffi- because he would not ask for merculty of its being forgiven. Thus cy, would not acknowledge his God is represented as saying, “I sin, but persist in it, would not fulwill have mercy and not sacrifice," fil the conditions of forgiveness, a Hebrew idiom to express his viz. repentance and reformation. preference of niercy to sacrifice. Such a fell spirit could not hope for Our Saviour says, “ It is easier for a pity, because it spurned it; and as camel to go through the eye of a long as it continued hardened, it needle, than for a rich man to en must, from the very nature of man, ter into the kingdom of heaven," and the laws of God, continue undeclaring the extreme difficulty, forgiven. The fear of comınitting but not the absolute impossibility of the unpardonable sin has always that event. So the text in hand is haunted many tender consciences, designed to give a deep impression and mingled in the terrible fancies of the malignity of assigning the of insanity. The particular sin, very works of God to the power of however, of which Christ here Satan, and how hardly so heinous speaks could not now occur. But a perversity could be forgiven. still a similar perverse and wilful The latter mode seems the most state of mind, and a determination rational, for we are informed of no to reject the claims of religion, or crime or transgression, unless it be of the purest form of religion, this, which does not come within against the clearest evidence and the reach of divine mercy. And the strongest convictions of the

33 neither in the world to come. Either make the tree good, and his

fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt; for 34 the tree is known by his fruit. O generation of vipers, bow can ye,

being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart


mind, a stubborn intention to re- is bad and the fruit consequently press the relentings of the heart, bad, or else admit that the tree is might now expose one to the dooin good and the fruit also. Be consishere pronounced. Not, surely, be- tent with yourselves; for there is as cause God would not be ready to much connection between deeds pardon his child, though his sins be and the motives which prompt as scarlet, but because his child them, as between the nature of the would not fulfil those conditions of tree and the nature of its fruit. If penitence and amendment without it is a good work to cast out dewhich there can be no forgiveness. mons, acknowledge me to be good; -Neither in this world, neither in or if you contend that I am evil, the world to come.

World often then to cast out demons must be means, in the New Testament, age evil likewise. The other way of or dispensation. Wakefield accord- explanation is, that the words are ingly paraphrases the sentence thus: connected with the succeeding ver

_“Though the Christian religion is ses, and signify that the Pharisees a dispensation of mercy, this sin ought not to be guilty of the inconshall no more be forgiven by the sistency of evil conduct and pious laws of the Gospel than it is by the pretensions. Better be openly base, law of Moses," under which the than hypocritically good. There punishment was death. Lev. xxiv. is, however, no particular objection 16. Others suppose that it means to supposing that he referred both literally neither in time nor in eter- to himself and to the Pharisees, nity. The best word to express it since the rule of judgment he prois, perhaps, never, Mark iii. 29, for poses would be as effectual to conthis is used in Hebrew idioms with vict them of wickedness, as it a general and indefinite sense. At would to vindicate himself from least we well know that the sin their charges. Mat. vii. 16–20. would never be pardoned as long 34. O generation of vipers. Brood as the sinner continued impenitent, of vipers, see note on Mat. iii. 7, though it were forever in the most also xxiii. 33. This most venomliteral sense ; for the Bible assures ous reptile is used as an emblem of us that there is an eterpal connec- malice and wickedness. How can tion between sin and misery, one of ye, being evil, &c. A question rethe greatest elements of the latter quiring a strong negative answer. of which must be, the state of not They could not being evil at heart, being forgiven by God.

speak otherwise than evil of Christ 33. Either make the tree good, &c. and his works.- Out of the abunTwo methods of interpreting this dance, &c. Out of the overflowing verse are proposed, according as it of the heart; a proverbial expresis connected with the foregoing or sion, implying that as a man speak, with the succeeding passage.

If eth so is he, as a general rule, with the preceding, the sense is, without denying that there may be -Reconcile me and my works; hypocritical words, either make it appear that the tree 35. A repetition and enlargement

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