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devil, blind and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw.
And all the people were amazed, and said, Is this not the son of David ?
But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fel. low doth not cast out devils but by Beelzebub the prince of devils,
And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unio them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to de. sdlation : and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.
And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then shall his kingdom stand?
And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do 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 God is come unto you.
Or else, how can one enter into a strong 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 me : and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth abroad.
Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blacphemy. shall be forgiven unto men : but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.
And whosoever spraketh a word against the Son Man, it shall be forgiven him ; but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, 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 the tree is known by his fruit. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak
good things ? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
A good man, out of the good treasure of the heart, bringeth forth good things : and an evil man, out of the ēvil treasur”,'bringeth forth evil things.
But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give an account thereof in the day of judgment.
For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
Then certain of the Scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.
But he answered and said to them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign, and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas.
. For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and behold, a greater than Jonas is here.
The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold a greater than Solomon is here.
When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walkoth through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none, Then he saith, I will return unto my house from
whence I came out ; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.
Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there : and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.
And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lift up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked.
But he said, Yea, rather blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.
Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.
But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother and who are my brethren?
And he stretched forth his hand towards his disciples, and said, Behold my mother, and my brethren.
For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
The cure our SAVIOUR wrought in restoring the de. moniac to the use of his reason, speech, and sight, by casting out the evil spirits, bore such evidenț marks of divine power, that the multitude would willingly have acknowledged Him to be the MessiAH ; but the Phari. sees, actuated by pride and envy, suggested, that He was in confederacy with the chief of the devils. Though Jesus did not hear them say this, he was well ac. quainted with their secret thoughts; and, to convince
them that He was, He answered as if they had openly accused Him, and refuted their calumny by irresistible arguments ; first, observing, that supposing Him to be in confederacy with Satan, it would be highly impolitic in Him to counteract the devil's design of establishing his power over mankind. Our Lord then retorted upon the Pharisees the reproach they cast upon him; from which we may judge that some of them pretended to cast out evil spirits, and that soine of the Jews believed they *did so; but our Saviour knew, that in this particular they were impostors : and it was only for the sake of the argument that he seemed to allow that they were able to perforın miracles. This was not a proper season for him to expose their deceit; our Lord only meant to prove, that casting out devils must be effected by the power of God, since Satan would certainly not lend his assistance for such a purpose; and if the Pharisees pre. tended to do it by divine commission, they must allow that our LORD acted by the same authority,
He that is not with me, is against me, was a maxim générally received among them; what, therefore, must they think of Jesus, who, so far from acting in conjunc. tion with the devil, openly and professedly opposed him?
Having shewn how unreasonable and malicious their calumny was, our Lord proceeded to declare the sinful. ness of it; assuring them, that, in attributiffy these miracles which were evidently wrought by the Spirit of God, to the power of the devil, they were guilty of a crime of the most unpardonable kind: as it was an open affront to the divine Majesty, and would not be forgiven
either in the present age of the Law, or the future age + of the MESSIAH *. Whoever for want of light or in
* This is what the Jews meant by the present world, and the world to come.
formation should deny Jesus to be the CHRIST, might be pardoned; because it was only a personal reflection on him in his human nature: but those who blasphemed the Holy Ghost, excluded themselves from divine grace, and could not expect that assistance from it which is necessary to effect repentance, without which there is no salvation. Our Lord, therefore, warned the Pharisees not to pretend to righteousness, when they were so superlatively wicked ; for, as their minds must be thoroughly corrupted before they could utter such a horrid blasphemy, their actions would of course be vici.ous, and their words malicious and impious. He then assured them, that for all idle words, which proceeded from a wicked heart, they must give account at the day of judgment, and would be condemned accordingly.
We may understand, then, that the unpardonable sin was blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, which consisted in saying, that Jesus cast out devils by Beelzebub; and the reason why it was unpardonable seems to be, that it implied, irreconcileable obstinacy, perverseness, and má.' lice ; and no one could be guilty of it, till he was so wicked as to have entirely forfeited the grace of God: in which case it was not probable that he should repent; but, on the contrary, that he would, like Pharoah, harden himsek in sin.
No Christian can well commit the offence of blas.. phemy against the Holy Ghost, as it was peculiar to the time of our Saviour's ministry; but they may sin against the Holy Ghost, by scoffing at the Scriptures, and ridiculing the miracles which were wrought in confirmation of Christianity ; and if they do not repent, they will certainly be condemned by the righteous judge, for those idle words which they foolishly and