« PreviousContinue »
• the impropriety of calling devils what in the evangelists is called dæmons; but does not, I • think, so fairly, as one would desire, arque in support of their being possessions.
• The man,' he says, p. 75, · is here described, as wholly unconversable, so fierce that no one • dared come near him. This must have been at times only. For it is said, Mark v. 4, that he
had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by • him, and the fetters broken in pieces.” So that it is going farther than the text allows, to 'say of him, that none dared to come near him, during all the time, since he was first seized : • as he evidently, I think, means. For he adds immediately: he had lived a long time in that « condition.
• When it is added by St. Mark, ver. 4, “neither could any man tame him," it seems to me, • that there had been many trials of cure undertaken, and various methods used for that purpose,
though without success, especially if he was a man of any note in that city. For en tonew, • " out of the city,” in St. Luke, must, I think, refer to the place of his habitation, while he was • sane, rather than when thus disordered, and from which he came, when he met Jesus. And the word, Sepatu, here used, and in St. James iii. 7, of “ taming wild beasts," and the “ tongues of men," seems not improperly to express the cure of madness, and perhaps more properly than * the dispossession of dæmons. It might deserve our inquiry, whether it is never so used by the • ancients, in treating of maniacal cases.
• It appears farther probable to me, that this man had his madness by fits, or at certain • seasons, with intervals of sanity between them: and that when his fits were observed to be * coming on, he was bound by his friends (with whom he might possibly have lived in those • intervals) to prevent his doing harm to himself
, or others, and have him more under command. • Does not St. Luke say, or mean this? viii
. 29. “ For oftentimes, zonos zpovols, it had caught • him, and he was kept oudcocopievos, bound with chains and fetters. And he brake the bands, • and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.” St. Mark says, he had been “ often bound," • Fodránıç. St. Matthew, viii. 28, ascribes to him this exceeding fierceness only, when coming • out of the tombs to them.
· Hence I would farther observe, that we are under no necessity of allowing what we find • asserted, that he had lived a long time in this condition; and therefore was neither capable, 'nor had any opportunity of knowing any thing concerning Christ or his character. For though • he had been ever so long a time disordered, if there had been any intervals (and the longer • had been the time, it is likely there had been the more :) might he not in some one or other
of those intervals, have acquired some knowledge of the character, and even of the person of • Christ? And hence, in his fits, especially, when Christ appeared in his sight, discourse and • behave to him as he did: only allowing for what his disorder made him mingle therewith.
• What is farther said, p. 76, concerning the inhabitants of the neighbouring town, that they • do not seem to have known more of Christ than this man, is with me alike void of probability. · For Christ had been teaching the doctrine of the kingdom, and working miracles, a considerable ' time, and had taken up his residence at Capernaum: in which, and in the neighbourhood * thereof, he lived a good while. Is it credible that all this could have been, and St. Matthew, • iv. 24, (as is by our late friend observed, p. 78.) had said before, “ that his fame went tlıroughout all Syria ?” And yet the people of this town, not above perhaps seven or eight
a “ Especially if he was a man of note in that city."] That from his family. They knew where he was, though he bid appears to me a curious thought, and a valuable hint; which escaped from them; and upon the first intelligence concernmay lead us to consider, whether there are not in this history ing what had happened, they recollected the distress he must some things which may induce us to suppose, that the dæ- be in, for want of clothing: they therefore immediately sent moniac, to whom St. Mark and St. Luke confine their nar- him apparel. And that they were his own garments, which ration, was a man of some substance. And I think there are he had been used to wear when composed, or at least such in several such things. In St. Mark, v. 19, our Lord says: which he could make a decent appearance, may be collected « Go home to tliy friends." "Υπαγε εις τον οικον σε προς τες from his request to be with Jesus, and accompany him. This ces. Literally, ‘ go to thy house to thy own people,' mean- circumstance may be one reason why St. Mark and St. Luke ing family, or friends. In Luke viii. 39, “ return to thy own give an account of this one dæmoniac only, though there house." '777059ECE ELS TOY OIXOV 08.
Care had been taken of were two, as St. Matthew says. Finally, his being a person him, and there had been, as is manifest, divers attempts made of good condition in the city where he dwelt, might render , to cure his disorder, or to relieve and restrain him under it. him better qualified 10 speak of this great work. Any man, And when the multitude from the city, and from the country however mean, deserved to be attended to, when he spoke round about came to Jesus, they saw the man sitting, and of a miracle wrought upon himself, of which divers others clothed. Clothing therefore had been brought to him, and were witnesses : but a man of substance, and a reputable probably from his own house, in the adjacent city, and inhabitant of the place might do it to better adyantage.
• miles distant, and to which a boat might pass in a night's time from Capernaum, had never • heard and knew nothing of him? What.. spread over all Syria, and never reached a place
within a few miles of him? I allow it is a general expression, and must admit of limitation. • But I can see no other ground for excepting this place, than the serving an hypothesis.
• Nor does the instance adduced, p. 79, from Mark i. 21, &c, prove any thing, as I think, to the purpose for which it is brought. For though that was something earlier in the ministry of • Christ than this, and he might be then less known; yet he had been long enough known there · for that person to have heard of him. For Mark i. 15, he had begun to preach the gospel of
the kingdom of God, saying, “ The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand : • repent ye, and believe the gospel :” and walking by the sea of Galilee, he had called first • Simon and Andrew, and afterwards James and John his brother, ver. 16-20, and I suppose, • had wrought some miracles. It is not impossible, but the person who was cured in the syna.
gogue of Capernaum, being left at his liberty, and allowed to enter there, might have heard of • what Christ had done in his way thither: and heard, or heard of, what he had preached after • he came thither. And in St. Luke iv. 31–37, it should seem, that this person was curel, not
upon Christ's first coming to Capernaum. Which enlargeth the time, that this man had to come to the knowledge of him.
• There is no necessity therefore to suppose, that these persons could have no knowledge of • Christ, and that it must not be they, but the devils only in them, who knew him.
• The arguing, p. 82, from the mention made of “ casting out devils,” after raising the dead, • the commission given by Christ to his disciples, Matt. x. 8, when he sent them forth, is, I • think, of no force: for there may be no necessity of supposing the expression to rise higher • than the other, from its being placed after it ; as appears from other texts. Luke ix. 1, 2. • " Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils,,
and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.” • And Matt. x. 1. “ And when he had called unto him the twelve disciples, he gave them power . against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness, and all manner of • disease.” See also Matt. iv. 24. It may likewise be observed, that if the expression of
casting out devils” be supposed to refer to real possessions; it is not an expression of greater * power, than that of raising the dead. Nor does the fact carry in it a greater degree of evi. •dence and conviction:. because there is not equal evidence to be had that a person is really * possessed, as there is of a person's being really dead. And therefore it may be as well placed after raising the dead, if it be interpreted of persons mad, as if it be understood of persons possessed.
May not the term owoppovevra,. Mark v. 15. Luke viii. 35. “ in his right mind,” by which this person is represented after his cure, as it is used both by sacred and profane writers in op• position to madness, afford some countenance to this interpretation ??
So far my good friend.
One of my arguments against real possessions was taken · from the manner in which the • persons, said to have “ unclean spirits,” speak of our Lord Jesus Christ.
• For such persons did often bear an honourable testimony to our Lord. So Mark i. 24. • Luke iv. 41. But it is incredible, that Satan, or any other evil spirits, under his influence and direction, should freely and cheerfully bear witness to our Lord, as the Christ.
• Indeed, this appears to me a very forcible argument. I have been sometimes apt to think, • that this consideration has been overlooked by learned and pious men, who have so readily • admitted real possessions.'
So I said. But Dr. Ward is not at all moved by that consideration. He even thinks the testimony of dæmons to our Lord, to have been of some value, and of use, especially for encourage ing the disciples.
Diss. p. 81. • And as to the case of these dæmoniacs among the Gergesenes, there seems to • have been the greatest propriety at that time, not only for his permitting the devils to confess • him to be the Son of God, but likewise to worship him. For it does not appear, that any other 'persons were then present, but Christ himself, and his disciples, except the dæmoniacs. And • this was not long before he sent forth his disciples both to preach, and also “ to heal the sick,
a See Vol. i. p. 254.
'— to raise the dead, and cast out devils,” Matt. x. 7, 8. Therefore what could be more
proper, or give them higher encouragement to hope for success in their work, than to see the • devils thus subject to their master, and paying homage to him?'
But first, it is not at all likely that our Lord should accept the testimony of dæmons in private, if he did not receive it in public. How he checked and disallowed the confessions of persons under these disorders, may be seen Mark i. 23-26, and Luke iv. 33–35. Dr. W. supposeth that there was great propriety in permitting such confessions, when few were present. But I am not able to discern that propriety.
Secondly, there were others then present with our Lord, beside the disciples, and the demoniacs. for St. Matthew says, viï. 28. “ And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce.” St. Mark v. 1, 2. “ And they came over unto the other side of the seaAnd when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit.” Luke viii. 27. “ And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes."
The place of the present abode of these dæmoniacs was on the sea coast. When they saw our Saviour and the disciples come on shore, they immediately came toward them. Nor can there be any doubt made, that the sailors also, in whose ship our Saviour and his disciples had arrived, came ashore with them, or presently after. The appearance of such objects could not but excite their curiosity. Moreover, in the voyage from the other side there had happened a great storm, which our Lord composed by his word. And the men of the ship, as well as the disciples, “marvelled greatly,” or were exceedingly surprised, “ saying: What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!” Matt. viii. 27. Nor were these men now first acquainted with our Lord. Before this they had heard him preach, and might have seen some other miracles done by him. Besides, as we are assured by St. Mark, upon our Lord's saying in the evening, “ Let us pass over to the other side,” he not only set out himself in the ship, where he had been preaching: but “ there were also several other little ships,” filled, it is likely, with men who had attended on his discourses in the day-time. These knew he was going to « the other side of the lake: and would be there as soon as he, or before. In short, our Lord was now, as it were, in the height of his ministry. And we know from the evangelists, that before this time, he was followed with uncommon zeal by multitudes wherever he went, even into desert places. As is shown Mark i. 45, and Luke iv. 42, 43. So that before this man, or these men, worshipped our Lord, or acknowledged him to be the Son of God, many people must have been gathered together.
P. 75. For proving that this unhappy person was not barely distracted, our author says: • Besides, it is plain that he could not be apprised of his coming at that time, for the ship sailed • over from the other side in the night. And so soon as Christ came ashore, and the man saw • hiin at a distance, he ran to him, and worshipped him.'
But there is not sufficient precision in that proposition. Two things are joined together, which ought to be separated. When our Lord, and his disciples, (let me now add) and other people, landed, he came toward them. And from the respect shown to our Lord by the disciples, and by all the company, he discerned him to be the principal person ; but he did not worship our Lord, nor confess him to be the Christ, until after some discourse, as appears from the history.
Matt. viii. 28, 29, already cited. “ And when he was come to the other side, into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce And, behold, they cried out, saying: What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God?"
But let us compare the other evangelists. Mark v. 2. “ And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit-- Ver. 6–8. But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him. And cried with a loud voice, and said: What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? I adjure thee, that thou torment me not. For he had said unto him: Come out of him, thon unclean spirit.
And Luke viii. 27–29. “ And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man which had devils long time When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God Most High. I beseech thee, torment me not. For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man.”
According to all the Evangelists therefore, this dæmoniac, or these two dæmoniacs, acknowledged Jesus to be the Son of God. But from St. Mark and St. Luke it appears, that this was not done until after our Lord had some discourse with him. From this discourse, and from the general intelligence which he had before received concerning Jesus, in the intervals of his disorder, he was enabled and disposed to speak of him as he did.
St. Mark alone expressly says, that the man of whom he speaks "worshipped" Christ. But the same thing is said by St. Luke in another phrase, “he fell down before him.” And it is implied in what is attested by all the Evangelists, that he acknowledged Jesus to be the Son of God. So in the history of the man born blind, whom our Lord had healed. John ix. 35–38. “ Jesus heard that they had cast him out. And when he had found him, he said, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered, and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.” So likewise, after our Lord's ascension. Matt. xxviii. 17. “ And when they saw him they worshipped him.'
I have no intention to add any new arguments concerning the case of the dæmoniacs, mentioned in the New Testament. Í rely upon those which were formerly alledged. And let every one judge as he sees best. But I would take this opportunity to propose some observations upon the history of the cure of the two unhappy men in the country of the Gadarenes, which have not been yet mentioned.
In accounting for the loss of the swine several things are said at p. 260, vol. I. The distraction, under which the man called Legion had laboured, was very grievous. He was a hideous form, and his action was very violent. When he had conceived the thought of gratifying the - evil spirits, by which he imagined himself to be possessed, with the destruction of the swine, he would without much difficulty drive them off the precipice. If some few of them were put in motion, the whole herd would follow.
I would now say more distinctly, that the loss of the swine was occasioned by a fright. When our blessed Lord said, “ go, as in St. Matthew: or “ he gave them leave,” or “ he suffered them,” as in the other Evangelists : I think, that one or both the demoniacs went hastily towards the swine; and by some noise, or action, a few of them were affrighted; which fright was immediately communicated to the rest, whereupon the wbole herd went off with great violence : and the way being steep and leading to the lake, they all perished in the water. This is easy to be apprehended.
There are very few who have not been witnesses to something like this in the horse'; who takes fright at very slight things, one knows not what sometimes : though at other times from manifest causes. Whenever it happens, he runs away with great violence, to his own perdition and the great hazard and oftentimes great detriment of others : and, if there are several together, the whole set, or team, becomes ungovernable. This is certain, and well known to almost every body.
I have also observed in our fields near London, where have been many horses grazing, if one is frightened, all the rest are alarmed. The same is seen in our fields, where are large herds of horned cattle. If one is disturbed by the barking of a dog, or the sport of idle boys, or any other odd occurrence; all the rest, to the utmost bounds of the enclosure, are alarmed and put in motion. The same is likewise well known of flocks of sheep, and focks of
sparrows. If one of the flock take fright, all the rest hasten away in the saine direction. I believe this to be true of all animals that are gregarious ; as were these swine, a large herd, feeding by each other. If one or two of them took fright, and tended toward the lake; all the rest, without exception, would go off the same way with the utmost precipitation.
By all the three Evangelists we are assured, that after the loss of the swine, and the cure of the
a.On Monday (May 7.) as J- H-, Esq. was coming to the other so much bruised, that he died in an hour affer: . town from his house at Carshalton in Surrey, in his post- wards, and the chaise was almost torn to pieces. But hap. chaise, the horses took tright, just by Newington church, and pily the gentleman received no hurt, and the driver was but ran with such violence against a waggon, passing through the slightly bruised.' – The General Evening Post, Thursday turnpike, that one of the horses was killed on the spot, and May 10, 1759.
dæmoniacs, the Gadarenes besought our Lord “that he would depart out of their coasts. This I have twice, that is, at p. 240, and p. 243, vol. I. ascribed to the carnal temper of these people: that being apprehensive of suffering in their worldly interests, instead of entreating Jesus to stay with them, a while at least, they joined together with much unanimity in beseeching him to depart out of their coasts.
Nor do I now say, that a sensual temper of mind had no influence on them, for producing that request. Nevertheless, perhaps, that alone was not the whole cause. I therefore would add as follows.
It is observable from divers instances in the Old Testament, that special and extraordinary manifestations of the Divine Presence were generally awful and affecting to the men to whom they were made, though the message was gracious. I refer not only to Ex. xx. 19. but also to ch. xxxiv. 30. and Judges vi. 22. and xiii. 22. See likewise Ex. xxxiii. 20.
There are likewise instances in the New Testament. How comfortable the tidings ! Luke ii. 8—15. Yet it is said of the shepherds, ver. 9. “And they were sore afraid.” And Luke v. 8—10. “When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken. And so were also James and John, the sons of Zebedee.And Jesus said unto Simon : Fear not, henceforth thou shalt catch men." Upon another occasion, Mark iv. 41. “ And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another: What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him!” Compare Luke viii. 25. And on the mount. Matt. xvii. 6, 7. “ And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.” Compare Mark ix. 6. and Luke ix. 34.
Let us now observe what is said of the Gadarenes. Mark v. 15. “ And they (meaning the people of the neighbouring town and country) come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.” To the like purpose exactly in Luke viii. 35. And at ver. 37. it is said : “ Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from them ; for they were taken with great fear.”
If Peter desired our Lord “to depart from him, because he was a sinful man:" if he, and the rest, were at other times so astonished that they knew not what to say, nor what to think of themselves : though all the great works which they had seen performed by him were healing and beneficial: well might the people of this country be struck with awe at the sight of the man called legion, “sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind.” For it was a work of Divine Power and a token of the Divine Presence. And, very probably, they thought themselves unqualified for the residence of so great and holy a person among them.
At their request our Lord departed, and took ship, and returned to the place whence he had come: well knowing that many there were in earnest expectation of him.
But though our Lord himself staid no longer with the Gadarenes, he left there the man whom he had cured. “ He prayed, that he might be with him. However Jesus suffered him not. But saith unto him: Go home to thy friends, and tell them, how great things the Lord hath done for thee. And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis, how great things Jesus had done for him. And all men did marvel.” And it is not an unreasonable, nor an improbable supposition, that some of that country did afterwards come over into Galilee or Judea to see Jesus, that they might receive benefit from his great wisdom, or great power.
CH A P II.
AGE 106. Diss. xxviii. · Who those Greeks were, who desired to see Jesus? And whether they were admitted ?' John xii. 20, 21.
Dr. Ward well observes at p. 107. • The greater part of Syria was in our Saviour's time called Grecce by the Jews. Hence, when he was in the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and a