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seem to think it wrong to give them any instruction at all; and who leave them to adopt such principles as chance may throw in their way. An error this, far more dangerous than the former, and from which nothing seems likely to awaken us but persecution.
2. The miracle of raising Jairus's daughter from the dead affords us much useful instruction. Jesus seems to have been guided by motives of humanity and compassion, rather than by a desire of fame, in performing it. Some might wish that he had exercised his extraordinary power in restoring to life some eminent character; a learned teacher of the law; a useful magistrate; or a wise and active member of the Jewish Sanhedrim, who might spread the fame of his miracles in the higher orders of society: but he chooses to raise from the dead a young girl, who had not yet attained the age when persons become conspicuous. She had one thing, however, to recommend her to our Saviour's notice, which had more influence with him than outward rank or distinction----she was an only child, and therefore peculiarly dear to her parents. See the modesty and humility with which this wonderful work is performed by Jesus! Here is no ostentatious parade of his extraordinary powers; here is no summons to the surrounding spectators, to attend to and admire what he was about to do, which is the usual practice of impostors. The multitude are carefully excluded, and no more are admitted to be present than might be sufficient witnesses of the fact. Without further preface, he takes the young woman by the hand, and bids her arise. He offers no comment upon this wonderful event afterwards, but leaves every one to make his own reflections.
S. From this resurrection, let us carry our thoughts to that grand event of which this was but a type and a shadow. Those who have lain thousands of years in the tomb, will as readily obey the voice of Christ, in rising to life, as she who had been dead only a few hours. Were Jairus and his wife delighted, to receive again a daughter whom they had lamented as lost?---
Did they welcome her return to life with the most lively joy, and embrace her with the tenderest affection? How much more fondly will those parents and children embrace, who meet each other after the general resurrection of the dead; when they will be able to congratulate one another, not upon the return of a delightful intercourse which is soon to be interrupted again; not upon the recovery of a life which must be speedily resigned; but upon attaining an immortal existence, and an everlasting union! Let parents who mourn the loss of children, taken from them in the morning of their days; let all Christians who have lost valuable friends at any period of life, comfort themselves with these prospects.
Matthew ix. 27. to the end.
And, when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou son of David, have mercy on us.
This is the first time that we find Christ called by this name; it signified the same thing as Messiah: for all the Jews agreed that he was to be the son of David. Thus Jesus says to the Pharisees, Matt. xxii. 42. "what think ye of Christ, whose son is he? They say unto him, the son of David;" and, John vii. 42. many of the people observed, "hath not the Scripture said that Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem where David was?"
Jesus had performed so many and such great miracles, that some began to believe not only that he was a prophet, but the Messiah. The Christ was expected to do many miracles: John vii. 31. "and many of the people believed on him, and said, when Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man
hath done?" and, after the cure of a dæmoniac, we are told, Matt. xii. 23. "all the people were amazed and said, Is this the son of David?"
What these two blind men asked of Christ, was that he would have mercy upon them; which was a very proper request to address to him, while he was present with them, and possessed of miraculous power; but this example lays no foundation for praying to Christ to have mercy upon us, now that he is removed from our sight, and has ceased to exercise these extraordin ary powers.
28. And, when he was come into the house, the blind men came unto him; and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord.
29. Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith, be it unto you.
This question, "believe ye that I am able to do this?" seems to imply, that, unless they believed that the power of God residing in Christ was able to heal them, he would not confer upon them the benefit which they asked: but perhaps it was proposed to them, in order that, by an open declaration of their faith in him, they might produce some effect upon those who heard it, and incline them to believe in him likewise.
30. And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it.
That is, Let no man know that I have healed you a miraculous manner: for every one must know that they had been once blind, and now saw.
Jesus seems to have commanded secrecy here, because his time of suffering was not yet come: in other places, the same thing is enjoined upon the persons healed, lest the rulers amongst the Jews should conspire, and put him to death before he had given sufficient proofs of his divine mission, and had sufficiently instructed his disciples in his doctrine.
31. But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country.
These two men seem to have been actuated by a principle which, we see, governs human nature every day. Where any thing is communicated with an injunction of secrecy, it only increases men's eagerness to divulge it; or where any thing to which they are previously inclined is prohibited, they become the more impatient, in consequence of the restraint, and more anxious to gratify their inclinations.
32. As they went out, behold they brought to him a dumb man, possessed with a dæmon.
The Jews, adopting the notions of their heathen neighbours, imagined that the spirits of wicked men, after their death, entered the bodies of the living, and produced certain kinds of bodily disorders, such as madness and epilepsy: persons afflicted with these disorders they supposed to be possessed by a dæmon, or the spirit of a dead man, and not the devil, or any of the fallen angels; as has been commonly supposed. In the present case the dæmoniac, or madman, was dumb; and his dumbness probably arose not from any natural defect in the organs of speech, but from the turn of his disorder, which was that species of madness called melancholy; of which taciturnity, or dumbness, is a very common effect. This symptom the ancients, who considered melancholy as the effect of possession, expressed by saying that the patient had a dumb spirit;
hereby distinguishing this dumbness from that which is owing to natural causes, or to a defect in the organs of speech.
33. And when the dæmon was cast out, the dumb spake.
When the madness imputed to the dæmon was cured, the man began to speak. The language in which the evangelists speak of these dæmoniacs was the popular language of the age, and therefore they say that the dæmon was cast out; although the man was not in reality possessed by any such being. Their using such words gives no sanction to the doctrine of real possessions.
And the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel.
The astonishment of the multitudes arose not merely from the cure of the dæmoniac, (for we have already read of several instances of the like cure performed before) but from the greatness and the number of the miracles which had been wrought; for, in the same afternoon, Jesus raised from the dead Jairus's daughter; healed the woman that had the issue of blood; restored sight to two blind men, and cured a dæmoniac. So many miracles, of such a surprising nature, in so short a time, were never known to be performed before; not even by Moses.
34. But the Pharisees said, He casteth out dæmons through the prince of the dæmons.
This prince of the dæmons is, in other places, called Beelzebub. Those who believe the reality of possessions, suppose this to be the devil; but there seems to be no foundation for that notion: for the name by which the devil is called in the apocryphal writings of the Jews is Asmodæus*; and never Beelzebub. The history of the Old Testament will help us to understand, who
Tobit iii. 8.