« PreviousContinue »
of the devil. Jesus might permit the devils thus to fall on the herd, as a punishment also to the Gadarenes for keeping swine, which were a snare to the Jews, and to make trial of their disposition, whether they would be more affected with the loss of their cattle, than with the recovery of the men, and the doctrine of the kingdom. Whatever were the reasons, it is certain that though he might rightfully have used all mens properties as he pleased, yet this, and the withering of the barren fig-tree, are the only instances wherein man suffered the least damage by any thing our Lord ever did. However, neither the owners of the herd nor of the fig-tree could justly complain of their loss, since the good of mankind, not in that period and corner only, but in every succeeding age through all countries, has been so highly promoted at such a trifling expence to them. Mark' v. 13. And forthwith Jesus gave them leave; and the unclean spirits went out (Luke, of the man) and entered into the swine. And the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand) and were choaked in the sea. The miracle issuing thus in the destruction of the swine, was immediately reported in the town and country by the affrighted keepers, who, as they fled, had fallen in, it seems, with Jesus and his company, and learned from them the cause of what had happened. Matth. viii. 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 desils, (Luke, went and told it in the city, and in the country). The destruction therefore of the swine being thus noised abroad, had the effect which the devils proposed. It threw the Gadarenes into the utmost consternation. For when they came and saw the men that had been possessed, sitting gravely in their right wits, and decently clothed, * the disciples having charitably supplied them with such upper garments as they could spare, they perceived how great Christ's power was, and were exceedingly afraid, having trespassed in the matter of the swine, which was an unclean food. Or if the herd belonged to the Syrian inhabitants of the town, they might know the law; and consequently taking the destruction of their cattle as a rebuke, they could not but dread farther punishment from this prophet of the Jews, who was come to vindicate the neglected institutions of Moses. Wherefore this instance of his power terrifying them, they with one accord foolishly besought him in the most earnest manner to
• The disciples having charitably supplied them with such upper garments, &c.? If it is thought that the disciples had nothing of this kind to spare, we may suppose that some of the people who came in the little boats, mentioned Mark iv 36. intending to travel farther into the country, had brought spare clothes with them, according to the ciscom of travellers; and that they now be towed them to cover che nakedness of these madmen.
depart out of their country. It seems they were altogether ignorant of his goodness, notwithstanding he had given them a striking proof of it in the recovery of the demoniacs. Matt. viä. 34. And behold the whole city came out to meet Jesus. This expression implies, that he proposed going forward to the town. Probably he designed to have spent some days with them in preaching and working miracles. Luke viii. 35. Then they went out to see what was done, and came to Jesus, and found the man out of whom the devils were departed, (Mark, him that was possessed with the devils, and had the legion) sitting at the feet of Jesus, in the posture of a scholar, attentive to every word he uttered, claked, and in his right mind, and they were afraid. 36. They also which saw it,—the evangelist probably means the persons who had come in the little boats, or others who had joined our Lord's company after he landed, told them by what means he tkat was possessed of the devils was healed. (Mark, and otre concern. ing the swine.) 37. Then the whole multitude of the country of Guarenes round about, besought him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear. As Jesus was entirely free from ostentation, he never forced his company on people, nor wrought miracles of healing without being asked, lest it should have been imagined that he had chosen objects within his power. The madmen, indeed, whose curé is here related, and such like, were excepted, for a reason too obvious to be mentioned. In ali his actions our Lord preserved a becoming dignity, tempered with great modesty, and by that means has left as little room for objection as possible. The request of the Gadarenes therefore being a sufficient reason for his withdrawing from such a stupid people, he entered into his vessel, and returned to the country whence he had come, leaving to them a valuable pledge of his love, and to lis a noble pattern, not only of bearing rebukes and discouragemerts in the prosecution of good designs, but of perseverance in well-doing, even when our kindnesses are contemned, or, it may be, requited with injuries. For, notwithstanding the men from whom the devils had been expelled, intreated him to take thema along with him, fearing perhaps that their tormentors might return after he was gone, he ordered them to stay behind as a standing monument both of his power and goodness, very proper to induce the Gadarenes to believe, when they found the miracle real, and that Jesus could restrain the devils as well when absent as present.
And this was the reason that in the instance before us Jesus acted contrary to his usual practice, ordering the men to go and publish the miracle among all their relations and acquaintauce. Besides, there were many heathens in Gadara and the neighbourhood, upon whom the publication of his miracles would not have the i!l effere it was apt to have on the Jewi Or be
might give this order, because he did not intend to return soon into that corner of the country. Luke, And he went up into the ship, and returned back again. He went up with an intention to return; for, according to Luke's own account, the were cured begged leave to accompany him, not certainly after he was returned back, but before he set sail. 38. Now (Mark, And avhen he was come into the ship) the man out of whom the devils were departed, besought him that he might be with him. Mark v. 19. Howbeit, Jesus suffered him not ; but saith to him, Go haine to thy friends, and tell them hory greal things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee : Do honour to God, by going home to thy friends, and relating unto them the great miracle which God has wrought upon thee. By this Jesus willed the man to express a full assurance of the cure and of its continuance, notwithstanding the author of it was at a disstance. 20. And he departed, and began to publish (Luke, throughout the whole city) in Decapolis, how great things Jesus had done for him ; -and all men did marvel. The inhabitants of Gadara and Decapolis to whom the miracle was told, the people who had come in the little boats, and even the disciples themselves, wondered at what was done. The stupidity and ingratitude of the Gadarenes having thus forced Jesus to leave their country, he sailed back to Capernaum from whence he came.. Matth. ix. 1. And he entered into a ship, and passed over. At landing he met with a better reception than among the Gadarenes, for the multitude gathered round him to hear him preach, many having waited there in expectation of his return. To these, therefore, he preached the doctrines of salvation; for Mark represents him as tarrying with the people some time, before he went into Capernaum. Mark v. 21. And when Jesus was passed cver again by ship unto the other side, much people gathered unto him, (Luke, the people gladly received him, for they were all waiting for him) and he was nigk unto the sea. By taking notice that he was nigh unto the sea, Mark means to say, that Jesus preached to the multitude on the shore immediately upon his landing.
♡ XXXIII. On his return to Capernaum, Jesus cures a paralytic,
who was let down through the roof of the house, Matth. ix. 1,
8. Mark ii. 1,-12. Luke v. 17,426. Before the history of the cure of the paralytic is examined, An.
tiq. Disc. i. Chap. 5. ought to be carefully read.
A WHILE after Jesus and his disciples landed, they went to Capernaum, called by Matthew his own city. Matth. ix, 1. And (Jesus) came into his own city. Mark ii. 1. And again he enter. ed int. Capernaum after some days. But their arrival was no sooner known, than such a multitude gathered, that the house could not contain them, nor even the court before the door. 2. And it was noised that he was in the house; the rumour immediately spread that he was come home; and straightway many were gathered together: Many of the people of the town came; the people of the country, who waited for his return, having gathered round him at his landing, and accompanied him into the town. Or we may suppose, that when he returned from Gadara, he did not land at Capernaum, but at the place where he took ship to go to Gadara, and where he had left the multitude, Matth. viii. 18. and that on his return having tarried a while with those who waited for him, and preached to them, he dismissed them, and went privately to Capernaum. Here the multitude of towns-people who gathered round Peter's house, the ordinary place of our Lord's residence, was exceeding great. Mark, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, ne not so much as about the door. He preached, however, to as many as could hear him, and among the rest to many Pharisees and teachers of the law, who, on the report of his miracles, were come from all quarters to see his works and judge of his pretensions, and he preached the word unto them. Luke v. 17. And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them. He not only preached such awakening sermons as might have converted them to righteousness, but he was ready to perform such astonishing miracles, as ought to have removed all their scruples with respect to his mission. Accordingly he embraced an opportunity which now offered, of shewing his power on a man afflicted with the palsy to such a degree, that he could neither walk, nor stand, nor sit, nor move any member of his body, nor utter so much as a word importing the least desire of relief, but seemed a carcass rather than a man. This miserable object was carried in his bed or couch by four persons, who, when they could not bring him in at the door, for the crowd that was gathered to see how Jesus would behave before such learned judges, they bare him up by another stair to the roof of the house, (see Mark xiii. 15.) which, like other roofs in that country, was flat, with a battlement round it, (Deut. xxii. 8.) and had a kind of trap-door, by which persons within could come out upon it, to walk and take the air. See Antiq. Disc. iv. Sometimes also they performed their devotions here for the sake of privacy, Acts x. 9. 2 Kings xxiii. 12. This door when shut, lying even with the roof, made a part of it, and was commonly well fastened to secure the house against thieves. The bearers therefore of the paralytic, were obliged to break it open before they cuuld get entrance, an action which Mark ftly expresses by the words, Απεσέγασαν την τεγαν οτε ην, και εξορυξαντες χαλωσι τον κραδατον. They took off the tiles where with not only the roof but the door was covered, and forcing the door open, let down the paralytic through the tiling, (duce ripapewo) on his bed or carpet, which they held by the corners, or by ropes fastened to the corners of it, and so placed him before Jesus, who, if this was * one of the higher kind of houses, might be sitting in the second floor at a window, preaching both to the people who were within, and to those who stood without in the court. Luke v. 18. And behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy, (Mark, which was borne of four). And they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him. 19. And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in, because of the multitude, they went upon the house top, and let him down through the tiling with his couch, (Mark 4. They uncovered the roof where he was: And when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay) into the midst before Jesus. When Jesus saw the faith of the bearers of the paralytic, he had compassion on the afflicted person, and, previously to his cure, declared publicly, that his sins were forgiven. 20. And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, (Matth. Son, be of good cheer) thy sins are forgiven thee. But the Pharisees hearing this, were exceedingly provoked. And though they did not openly find fault, they said in their own minds, or perhaps whispered to one another, Why doth this fellow thus blaspheme? Mark ii. 6. But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, (Luke, the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying) 7. Why doth this man thus speak + blasphemies? Who can forVOL. I.
give • One of the higher kind of houses.] Most of the Jewish houses indeed consisted of a ground floor only. Yet some few were raised higher, seldom however above one story, as is plain from what our Lord said to the disciples, Matth. x. 27. Wbat ye bear in the ear, preach ye upon the house tops. For had they been higher. what was spoken upon their tops, could not have been heard dise tinctly by a congregation standing upon the ground.
+ Ver. 7. Blospbemies.] This word in profane writings signifies slander, ca. lumny, or any kind of opprobrious language. But in scripture, it denotes oppro