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Having thus addressed the multitude, the, some disease, we reply, it is evidently false; blessed Jesus turned himself to the centu- the evangelist having taken care to be very rion, and said, “Go thy way, and as thou particular on this head. “ They brought hast believed, 80 be it done unto thee.” | unto him all sick people that were taken Though the idea thou hast conceived of my with divers diseases, and those which were power is just, though remarkably great, as possessed with devils, and those which were. å reward for thy faith, I grant the petition lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and thou hast asked of me. And the evangelist he healed them. Matt. iv. 24. " He gave adds, “his servant was healed in the self to the apostles power against unclean spisame hour.” Matt. viii. 13.
rits, to cast them out, and to heal all man
ner of sickness, and all manner of disease.” On the succeeding sabbath, our Saviour Matt. x. 1. And accordingly, “he healed went into the Jewish synagogue at Caper many that were sick of divers diseases, and naum, and taught the people, delivering cast ont many devils.” Mark i. 34. It is. his instructions in so graceful and elegant a therefore evident, that those said to be posmanner, that they were all astonished ; and sessed with unclean spirits were different to increase their admiration, one of the con- | from those that had diseases. Let us there.. gregation, possessed of an unclean spirit, fore pass to the second objection, and seecried out in a terrible manner, “Let us whether we cannot give a satisfactory reaalone, what have we to do with thee, thou son why demons were, at this time, more Jesus of Nazareth; art thou coine to destroy numerous in Judea than any other coun. us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy | try. One of God." Mark i. 24.
That there were evil spirits of this kind But the blessed Jesus, who wanted the is abundantly evident from the holy scriptestimony of no such confessors, command- tures, the sacred penman having taken care ed him to keep silence, and immediately to acquaint us with their origin and fall, come out of the man ; which command the their names and numbers, their governevil spirit instantly obeyed, to the great ment and orders, their malicious designs surprise and astonishment of all the specta- 1 and employments, with several other partors.
ticulars. So that no one can doubt of the
existence of demons, who believes these The enemies of the gospel have always ! holy oracles to be the word of God. And endeavoured to depreciate our Saviour's it is con
it is equally evident, both from prophane miracles, pretending that no more is meant
and sacred history, that before our Saviour's: by a person possessed of the devil, than
advent, great numbers of men were possesthat he was afflicted with some loathsome
sed of those evil spirits. disease ; and that because epulchres were considered as polluted places; and there The truth is, these spirits of darkness had fore, whenever any melancholy person fre- at this time taken possession of so large a quented them, they were said to be pos- share of the world, that they began to rival sessed with unclean spirits. They add, the Almighty in his worship; and therefore, that it will be difficult to assign a reason one end of the incarnation of the Son of why demons were at this time, more nu God, was, “ that he might destroy the merous in Judea than any other country. works of the devil.” And hence we may
easily see the reason why Oninipotence sufTo the first of these objections, namely, fered these apostate spirits to appear so fre. that the demoniacs were, in reality, nothing quently in Judea at the time of our Savin more than persons afflicted with some loath- our's ministry, namely, that the Son of God
might, in a more signal manner, triumph analogous to the figurative expressions in over all the powers of darkness, and con- scripture, which not only represent all in. vince mankind that he was truly the Savi animate creatures as servants to the Al. our of the world..
mighty, but diseases, famine, pestilence, and
the like, as executioners waiting on him to But to return. The fame of this miracle
inflict punishment on rebellious sinners, was soon spread over the neighbouring
“Before bim went the pestilence, and burncountry. He had before healed the sick,
ing diseases went forth at his feet." and donė many other wonderful things : but to command with authority, the unclean The fame of the miracles was soon spread spirits to quit their residence, and to see 1 through the city; and as soon as the sabthese enemies to mankind readily obey bis bath was over, which ended at the setting voice, filled them with astonishment, and of the sun, the whole city was gathered toabundantly convinced them, that he was gether about Peter's house, and with them filled with the Spirit of God.
great numbers of sick persons, and those
possessed with devils. The sight of so It has been asked, why the devil, who,
many human objects in distress excited the it is plain from the text, knew our Saviour
pity of this beavenly Physician ; so that he to be the Son of God, should put it into the
immediately healed them all. And thus heart of Judas to betray bim, since this was
was the prophecy of Isaiah fulfilled. " Hima' the proper method of accomplishing the re- |
self took our infirmities, and bare our sickdemption of mankind ? but the answer to
nesses." this is obvious and easy. The devil, doubtless, knew Jesus to be the Messiah ; but he But the vast concourse of people that now was ignorant of the mystery of man's re- gathered round him in Capernaum began to demption. And, therefore, though he was be troublesome, and he retired into a desart, not ignorant of his divinity, yet he might be whither the multitude soon followed him, so far infatuated as to think, that by destroy and intreated him never to depart from them. ing his body, he should defeat the great de. But as this request was inconsistent with the sign of Omnipotence. For however exten- | design of his mission, he, for the first time, sive we may suppose his intellectual facul. | refused their request, “and preached in the ties to be, yet the wonderful work of man's synagogues of Galilee.” Luke iv. 44. : redemption, by the death of Christ, was a mystery that no infinite understanding could comprehend, till God himself was pleased
CHAP. VIII. to reveal it.
Jesus confirms his Mission by producing Having performed this astonishing miracle
a miraculous Draught of Fishes.' Cur, in the synagogue, our Lord retired to Peter's
ing the Leprosy a second Time. Ap, house, where he found his wife's mother
peasing the boisterous Waves. Cast: sick of a fever; but on his taking her by ing Devils out of divers Persons griev, the hand, she was immediately restored to
ously possessed. her former health, and a rose from the bed, and " ministered unto him.”
UR blessed Lord, having spread his
doctrine throughout Galilee, returned The evangelist St. Luke, in his account to Capernaum, followed by such throngs of of this miraculous cure, tells us, that he people, that he found it necessary to step o rebuked the fever.” Luke iv. 39. to in. | into Peter's ship; froin whence he taught timate bis authority over all diseases, being the multitude who stood on the shore,
listening with gaeat attention to bis doc- | divine. And, accordingly, this demonstratrine.
tion of his power rendered these disciples,
for the future, absolutely devoted to his will; Having concluded his sermion, he turned and, in the greatness of their admiration they himself to Simon Peter, desiring him to abandon every thing, and followed the Savilaunch out farther from the shore, and let | our of the world. down his net. On which the disciple told him of the unsuccessful pains they had The disciples being thus attached to their taken during the whole night; but added, divine Master, followed him through the that he would, in obedience to his command, cities of Galilee, where according to his make one trial more. Nor had he any usual custom, be preached the gospel of the cause to repent; for the net was no sooner kingdom of God, and confirmed the docin the lake, than they found it so full of trines he delivered with astonishing mira. large fishes, that it was in danger of break cles.
In one of these cities through which be This success, after such ill fortune, asto | passed, he found a man full of leprosy, nished Peter, who falling down at the feet who seeing Jesus, fell on his face and beof Jesus, cried out, “ Depart from me, for sought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, I am a sinful man, O Lord.” He was con thou canst make me clean.” Luke v. 12. scious of the many sins he had been guilty of, and therefore afraid of being in the com 1 It was the custom in Judea for the priests pany of so divine a person, lest some infir- | to banish from society those persons who mity, or offence, might have exposed bim were afflicted with the contagious species to more than ordinary chastisement.
of leprosy. The disease of this person,
therefore, was of a less pestilent kind, as . But the benevolent Redeemer of mankind he was suffered to be permitted to join the encouraged his fears, and told him that conversation of men. His case, lowever, from henceforth the employments for him excited the pity of the compassionate Jesus, and his companions should be far more no- who immediately cleansed him, ordered him ble : they should catch men ; that is, they | to repair to Jerusalem, and after shewing should turn them from their crooked paths of i bimself to the priest, offer the gifts cominiquity, to the straight road leading to the manded by Moses ; giving him the same heavenly mansions.
admonition he liad done to others, namely,
not to tell any man. what had been done This miracle was considered by the dis- 1 for him. But the blessing he had received ciples as a plainer manifestation of his being was so great and unexpected, that instead the Son of God, than they had seen him of concealing, be published everywhere
perform on the sick in the city and neigli the great things Jesus had done for him ; ,bourhood of Capernaum. It was a received which brought such crowds, to the Son of
opinion among the Jews that all good men, God, that he was obliged to retire from hy prayers, and laying their bands on the Capernaum into the wilderness, to refresta sick, were able to cure certain diseases, his body with rest, and his spirit with prayer and even to cast out devils : but that the l and meditation. creatures inhabiting the elements of air or water, were subject only to the commands The generality of commentators suppose of Omnipotence himself : consequently, the that the leper, aud the other mentioned in power shewn by our blessed Saviour on the foregoing chapter, are one and the same this occasion, uodeniably proved him to be 1 person, but this is a mistake ; the former
was cured in the fields, the latter in the was obliged to retire into a solitary part of city. After cleansing the first, Jesus weut the neighbouring wilderness. Nor could to Capernaum, and healed the Centurion's he long enjoy the repose of the tranquil, son : but after curing the latter, he retired lity he sought, even in this thirsty waste ; in the wilderness, to shiun the prosligious | the people soon discovered the place of his crowds, which 8000 gathered round him, retreat, and flocked to him from every from the leper's publishing every where the quarter. miracles Jesus had wrought for him.' .
Our blessed Lord, finding all his endeaIf the curious should wish to enquire, vours to conceal bimseit in the desart would s. why our blessed Saviour so often command be in vain, ordered his disciples to accomed the people to conceal his miracles ? Wel pany him to the other side of the lake : answer them: bis modesty and humility upon which a certain Scribe, who happened would not suffer that his works should have to be present, declared he would follow the least appearance of ostentation ; nor the him; but Jesus who well knew that his deJews to have the least pretence for accusing sire was only to gain the profits and advanhim of seeking his own glory. Nor was it tages of an earthly kingdom, which he proper, at this time, to irritate the Scribes supposed the Messiah would establishi, told and Pharisees. He well kuew, that in a him if he intended nothing more by followcertain determinate .space of time they ing him, than to improve his worldly would bring about what had been deter fortune, he would find bimself wretchedly mined concerning him in the council of mistaken. 6. The foxes have holes, (said Omnipotence. In the mean time," he was the blessed Jesus to this teacher of Israel) to work the works of him that sent him, and the birds of the air have nests ; but the while it was day.” John ix. 4. And to Son of man hath not where to lay, his head." propagate his gospel as much as possible 1 Matt. viii. 20. ii both among the Jews and Gentiles ; which could not have been so conveniently per 1. The disciples having prepared the ship, formed, is the greatness of his miracles had took on board their master, and departed once provoked the malice and envy of his for the other side of the lake, attended by enemies, to exert their utmost power against | many boats full of people, who were desi- . him. He likewise knew the mad; caprici. rous of hearing his heavenly discourses, and ous humour of the multitude, and had rea being spectators of his a stonishing works. son to apprehend," that they might come But Jesus, being fatigued with the labous and take him away by force, and make him of the day, sat hinself down at the stern of king, ” John vi. 15. If all his niiracles had the ship, and fell asleep. . . . been blazed abroad, before he had sufficiently instructed thein in the spiritual -na
The weather, which had till now been ture of his kingdom, and that his throne
calm and serene, suddenly changed. A was not to be established in the earthly, but terrible storm came on, and the rising waves in the heavenly Jerusalem.
dashed inpetuously against the ship, threa
tening every moment to bury them all in From these instances we see that the the bowels of the deep. The darkness of blessed Jesus did not, without sufficient the night increased the horrors of the temreason, desire his miracles to be conceal pest. Now they were carried on the top ed. The fame of this single miracle being of the mountainous wave, and seemed to pread through the neighbouring countries, touch the skies'; then plunged to the botbrought such multitudes of people to Caper- tom of the deep, while the foaming billows naum, that as we have already observed, be 1 roared horridly above them. In vain the
disciples exerted their utmost strength; the But it should be remembered, that the storm continued to increase, and baffled all terror of the storm had deprived them of all the efforts of human strength. The waves presence of mind; so that they did not rebroke over the ship, the water rushed in, collect the divine power of their Master duand she began to sink. All hopes of escap-' ! ring the fury of the tempest: and the tran• ing were vanished ; despair seized every sition from a terrible storm to the most perindividual; and they were on the brink of fect calm, was so quick and astonishing that perishing, when they ran to Jesus, crying they uttered this reflection before the confuout, “ Master, Master, we perish !” Their sion in their minds was over. vehement cries roused him from his sleep. He raised his band, so often einployed in Soon after the storm was allayed, they .. acts of mercy and benevolence, and, with arrived in the country of Gadara: and on a stern and awful voice, rebuked the bois their landing two men possessed with devils terous element. The raging sea instantly came to the tombs to meet Jesus. 'One obeyed bis command. The ærial torrent of them who was more furious than the stopped short in its impetuous course, and other, had been often 'bound with chains became silent as the grave, while the moun and fetters, but to no purpose, being always, · tainous waves sunk at once into their beds, broken with great fury; so that no man
and the surface of the deep became as attempted farther to restrain him. Being · smooth as polished marble.
therefore at liberty, he shunned the society
of men, wandering day and night in desart The disciples had before seen their great places, among the sepulchres or caverns Master perforın many miracles : and there where the dead were deposited, crying and fore had abundant reason to rely wholly on making the most dismal complaints, and his power and goodness. They should have cutting himself with stones. considered that he who could by his word restore the sick, and bring the inhabitants The disciples were terrified at the apof the sea to their nets, could with the same proach of these furious mortals; but Jesus ease have supported them on the surface of soon dissipated their fears, commanding, the deep, had the ship sunk beneath them, wbile the men were at a distance, the devils and carried then safe to the place whither to come out of them. The heavenly maudate they were going. But they seemed to have was no sooner given than they fell on their forgotten the power of their Master ; and faces; crying out, “ What have I to do with when human assistance failed, to have aban thee, Jesus, thou Son of the Most High .doned all hopes of life. The blessed Jesus, God ?" Mark v. 7. “ Art thou come bither therefore, very justly rebuked them, “ Why 'to torment us before the time?" -Niatt. viii. are ye fearful? How is it that ye have no 29. “ I adjure thee, by God, that thou faith?” Wby should ye doubt of my power torment me not." Mark v. 7. The aposto protect you ? The voyage was undertaken state spirits well knew the power of the Son at my command; and therefore you should of God, and trembled lest he should immehave been confident that I would not suffer diately cast them into the torments prepared you to perish in it.
for them; and not suffer them to continue
roving through the earth till the day of judgIt is indeed strange, that the disciples ment, when they should be condemned to should have been so remarkably terrified eternal punishment in the sight of the whole during the storm, and after it to make this creation. singular reflection, “ What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Jesus being willing that the torments * bim.” Matt. viii. 27. 3
suffered by thiese miserable men should be