Imatges de pÓgina

ties which belong to their station in life! However mean their profession or condition, whether they be publicans or soldiers, or belong to a still lower class in society, they are acceptable in the sight of God, and will enjoy his favour and esteem.

Happy also is the community of which they are members; they are the foundation of its security and prosperity. On the other hand, where these duties are neglected; where the rich are insensible to the wants of the poor, or the poor envy the wealth of the rich, and are discontented with their lot; where those who are invested with power, forget the design with which it was bestowed, and employ it to harrass and oppress, not to protect and benefit; where subjects are dissatisfied with the conduct of their rulers, and are ready to resist their authority; where confessions of sin and forms of religion are substituted in the place of public and private virtue and reformation of manners; the country or kingdom in which these vices prevail is not far from ruin. The ties which bind together the seve→ ral parts of society are broken; the foundations of the state are undermined, and the building is ready to fall; by the first gust which arises it will be overturned: neither religious ancestors nor religious privileges can save it from destruction. The Jewish nation has long been an awful monument of this truth; and every other na tion which is reduced to the same circumstances, must expect to experience a like fate.

Luke iii. 15-18. corresponds with Matt. iii. 11-12.

iii. 19, 20.

iv. 1-13.

iv. 14-50.

xiii. 10-12.

{John iii. 24.

Matt. iv. 1-11.

Luke iv. 31-37. v. 1-11.

iv. 54-.

31. And he (i. e. Jesus) came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath-days.

32. And they were astonished at his doctrine; for his word was with power, or, rather, "with authority."

Jesus Christ, being now only beginning his ministry, and little known, confined his instructions to the sabbath-day, when the people were at rest from their common employments, and assembled together in their synagogues, which, like our places of worship, were erected in every part of the country. When his fame

was more spread abroad, and the people crowded to hear him wherever he went, he preached to them every day of the week. The people were struck with his manner of teaching; because his discourses were with power, or, rather, with authority; that is, delivered in an authoritative manner; in the language of a person who had received a commission from God; and not like the Scribes, whom they had been accustomed to hear, and who only pretended to interpret what had been delivered by former prophets*.

33. And in the synagogue there was a man which had a spirit of an unclean dæmon;

As the disorders of madness and epilepsy were ascribed by the Jews to the spirits of dead men, who were supposed to take possession of the living, with a malevolent and wicked purpose, they might receive the epithet of unclean, on account of their being supposed to be of an immoral character, or, perhaps, because they were supposed to cause the persons afflicted with madness to avoid the society of men, and to defile themselves continually with objects esteemed by the Jews unclean; as was the case with the man who lived among the tombs.

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And cried out with a loud voice,

34. Saying, Let us alone! what have we to do with thee, or, as it is better rendered, "Ah! what hast thou to do with us;"

*Matt. vii. 29.

thou Jesus of Nazareth? Art thou come to destroy us, or, "to punish us?" I know thee who thou art, the holy one of God.

This dæmoniac, who was mad, and subject likewise to epileptic fits, had intervals of sanity, as appears from his being allowed to be present in the synagogue. During these intervals he might learn the character and pretensions of Jesus, and might know, in particular, that he cured some who were possessed of dæmons. Being mad, he fancies himself to be the dæmon by which he was supposed to be possessed, and personates his character. As dæmons were considered as the spirits of dead men, who were sometime to be punished, he is afraid that Jesus is come to inflict this punishment immediately, and therefore says, Art thou come to destroy or punish us? In the same manner as the Gadarene dæmoniac said, Art thou come to torment us before the time? It is not always possible to account for the language and actions of madmen: yet this was the idea probably which filled him with apprehension. In calling Jesus the holy one of God, he may refer to Psalm xvi. 10, where David calls the Messiah the holy one; or to Daniel, ix. 24, where he is called the most holy. To suppose that it was the devil who gave Jesus this honourable appellation, and proclaimed his character in a public assembly, would be to suppose that he counteracted his own purposes, and is totally inconsistent with the ideas formed of the artfulness and cunning of that being.

35. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him.

Jesus addresses the dæmon, and tells him to be silent, and to leave the man: this language strongly implies that Jesus entertained the same notions respecting mad persons and epileptics as the rest of his countrymen.

And when the dæmon had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not.

The disorder with which this person was afflicted, as we have already observed, was madness, but accompanied, as appears hence, with epileptic fits, which are often the consequence of long continued insanity*. The agitation of mind produced by seeing Jesus, and by being addressed by him, brought on a paroxysm of this disorder, in which he fell down, as is usual with these persons, and was torn, according to the account of Mark, which is further descriptive of the epilepsy; but he was not hurt for the supposed dæmoniac was cured by the miraculous power of Jesus; which is here expressed by the dæmon coming out of him.

36. And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this, or, rather, "What a thing is this!" expressing their surprize at the miracle performed: for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out!

The prophets mentioned in the Old Testament performed many miracles, by healing discases, and even, in a few instances, raising the dead: but we read of no example of their restoring madmen to their right mind, as Jesus did. This kind of miracle, therefore, excited an extraordinary degree of surprise in the minds of the spectators.


And the fame of him went out into every place of the country round about.

Luke iv. 38-. corresponds with Matt. viii. 14-18.

Luke v. 1-11.

1. And it came to pass that, as the people pressed upon him, to hear the

* See Farmer on Dæmoniacs, p. 90.

word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesareth;

2. And saw two ships, or, rather, "vessels:" for they were not of a size to correspond with our idea of ships; standing by the lake; but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.

This lake of Gennesareth is the same as is called in the other evangelists the sea of Galilee, and the sea of Tiberias; and it was in the towns and villages on the borders of this lake that Jesus chiefly exercised his ministry. The fame of the miracles mentioned in the last chapter being spread abroad, great multitudes, from all quarters, assembled round Jesus, to hear his instructions and to see his wonderful works.. The curiosity of the multitude to hear him was so great, that they thronged each other, and pressed upon Jesus; so that he found it necessary to remove to a situation where he could address them without being thus incommoded. The discourses of Christ are here called by the evangelist the word of God; and with good reason: for Christ spoke in the name of God, asserting that he was sent by God to instruct the people, and that the sentiments which he delivered were communicated to him by the Father. In regard, however, to the nature and causes of diseases, and the ordinary affairs of life, there is no occasion for supposing that he had any extraordinary assistance, or that he knew more than other men. The design of his mission was to teach men religion, and not natural philosophy: his divine powers, therefore, were confined to that object.

3. And he entered into one of the vessels, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little

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