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now so great that to avoid being trod down by those who came to touch him in order to be healed, Jesus was obliged to go aboard one of his disciples boats, out of which, as on other occasions of a like nature, he no doubt taught them the doctrines of salvation. For it was his constant custom to join preaching with the work. ing of miracles, the latter giving efficacy to the former. Mark ii. 9. And he spake to his disciples that a small ship should wait on him, because of the multitude, lest they should throng him. 10. For he had healed many, in somuch that they pressed upon him to touch him, as many as had plagues. !l. And unclean spirits when they saw him fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God. 12. And he straitly charged them that they should not make him known. See on Mat. viii. 4. $ 27.
As the Jews never doubted but Messiah would by dint of sword bear down all that opposed him, it must have been very mortifying to the disciples, now that they saw their master flee before such an handiul of enemies, and conceal himself in a remote corner of the country. But the evangelist Matthew, to the account which he gives of this transaction, subjoins the reason of it. lle obscrves, that in this Jesus acted agreeably to the ancient prophecies concerning Messiah; and particularly to Isaiah xiii. ). where it is foretold that Messiah would be no warrior; that he would not make men his subjects by force of arms, but by the power of persuasion; that he would shew gentleness even towards his enemies; and that these mild measures should be attended with perfect success at length. By his preaching, and by the preaching of his apostles, the doctrines of true religion would at last prevail, and the Gentiles, by receiving them, would become his subjects. Mat. xii. 15. But when Jesus knew it, he withdreau himself from thence, and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all. 16. And charged thein that they should not make him known. 17. That it night be fulfilled which was spoken, by Esaias the prophet, (xlii. 1.) saying, 18. Behold any servant whom I have chosen, my beloved in whom my soul is well pleased: 1 will put my spirit upon him, and he shall * shew judginent to
* Ver. 12. Shew judgment to the Gentiles.] The word judgment 201655) in the evangelist, answers to you in the prophet, which the LXX. Prov. viii. 20. have tran, laied by (annocim) truth, a name often given to the gospel by the apostles, both in their sermons and writings. Or because in the Old Testament we find the laws of God called tris juiz menis, xeiras here may signify in particular, the great laws of religion, the eternal vulcs of righteousness, which our Lord preached in person to the nations inhabring Palestine, and which his apostles afterwards published in bis name to the Gentiles. Or the word gitis, in this and the following verse, may signito buroness, fitly called judginent, because it is the most genuine effect of reasoning or judgment. This sense the word xgrois or judgment has evidestly, Psal. xxxvii. ó. “ He will bring forth thy righteousness as the light,
the Gentiles. 19. He shall not strive nor cry, neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets ; though Messiah might easily bear down his enemies by force of arms, he shall not strive with martial violence, nor cry the alarm of war in the field of battle, neither shall his voice be heard in the streets, as of an enraged general sacking a conquered town. Agreeably to this prophecy, though Jesus, by the assistance of the wondering crowds that attended him wherever he weni, in constant readiness to support him, could have crushed all his adversaries at once, he never made use, either of them, or of his miraculous power for such purposes, but discharged the duties of his mission with all meekness, gathering in his subjects, and overcoming his enemies, not with the force of arnis but of truth. And when his enemies attacked him, instead of making resistance, he silently withdrew, being utterly averse to popular commotions. At the same time, in his retreats he always gave the necessary encouragement to those who had any real goodness of heart, however small it might be, agreeably to what was prophesied of Messiah in the proverbial expressions, 20. A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench. Or the bruised reed and smoke ing flay may signify the weakness of Christ's enemies, whom he could have destroyed as easily as men break a bruised reed, or extinguish a fire that is beginning to kindle, consequently the clause is of the same import with the former. “He shall not strive,” &c.-till he send forth judgment into victory. The prophet's words are, " till he bring forth judgment to truth:” but his meaning is the same with the evangelisi's; to bring forth judgment to truth, being, according to the Hebrew idiom, to make judgment truly to prevail; or, as the evangelist has expressed it, to make it victorious. By no military force, but merely by his own preaching, and by the preaching of his apostles, accompanied with the demonstration of the Spirit, he shall give religion such a powerful efficacy, that in process of time it shall prevail every where, to the utter destruction of idolatry, error, and wickedness : for this latter branch of prophecy relates evidently to after-ages. 21. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust. The original prophecy runs thus : « And the isles shall wait for his law." But the meaning
and thy judgment (noliness) as the noon day.” But whatever sense ve put upon the word judgment, there is in the prophecy an evident contrast between the publication of religion made by Moses the Jewish law-riser, and that which Messiah was to make. Moses published the doctrine of salvation only to the single nation of the Jews, whereas Messiah was to prolish it to the Gentiles, or rather to all nations, whether Jews or Gentiles. Accordingly, Jesus by retiring at this time from his enemies, and preaching in Galilee, fuifilled the first branch of I aiah's prophecy, He shall sbrev judgment to the Gentilts; for his audience consisted of Gentiles as well as of Jews, the former ile king to him from the neglibouring conntry of Syria.
of both passages is the same. For the evangelist uses the name of God here with that latitude of signification which it has in the Hebrew language, where it denotes the Deity himself, his perfections, his worship, his laws, and, in one word, every thing relating to religion. Thus, Actsix. 15. the Lord says of Saul newly converted, “He is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles." Farther, in the language of the Old Testament, the isles commonly denote the idolatrous nations to the west of Judea, inhabiting the islands of Greece and Italy. The proa phet's meaning therefore is, that the heathen nations, charmed with the humanity and gentleness of Messiah's disposition, the equity of his government, and the beauty and rectitude of his : laws, shall trust in him, or obtain for themselves protection and safety by becoming his subjects. ♡ XLVIII. The Pharisees in Capernaum ascribe Christ's mira
cles a second time to Beelzebub. (See $ 35, 36, 86.) He confutes that calumny. They ask the sign from heaven the first time. (Sees 68. 86.) The sign of the prophet Jonas promised the first time. (8 68.) Our Lord's mother and brethren visit him. (See $ 53. 57.) Mat. xii. 22,50. Mark ii. 22,-35. .
Having dismissed the immense crowd that had gathered round him on his arrival in Galilee from the passover, he left the lake, and went home to Capernaum, accompanied by certain scribes who had come down with him from Jerusalem to watch him. Or, if these men did not accompany him from the metropolis, they followed him quickly to Capernaum. For Mark assures us they were there when Jesus performed the miracle upon the blind and dumb demoniac, which is now to be related. This afflicted person was brought by his friends to Jesus, immediately on his return home. Perhaps they had been waiting for his ara rival some time, Jesus did not disappoint their expectations. With great benignity he cured the man in an instant. So extraordinary a miracle (see on Matt. xv. 30. $ 67.) in which the noblest sense, and likewise the most useful faculty of the human body were restored together, astonished the multitude beyond ineasure, and therefore highly extolling the author of the miracle, they called him the Son of David, that is, the Messiah. Mat. xii. 22. Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind
both spake and saw. 23. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the Son of David? --- But the Pharisees who had come down from Jerusalem, impudently and maliciously affirmed, in the several companies of the spectators who were talking of the miracle, that he had performed it purely by the assistance of the devil. 24. But when the Pharisees (Mark, the Scribes which came down from Jerusalem) heard it, they said, This fellow doth
not cast out devils, but * by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. See the foundation on which they pretended to build this calumny explained in the note on Luke xi. 15. § 86. It oftentimes happens, that through ignorance or weakness, men form wrong judgments of chings, a misfortune which because it necessarily spring's from the imperfection of human nature, does not deserve the very harshest censure. But when wrong judgments proceed from evil dispositions, then indeed do they become highly culpable. Wherefore, to shew that the judgment which the Pharisees passed at this time upon our Lord's miracles was of the latter kind, the evangelist Matthew puts his readers in mind, that Jesus was perfectly acquainted with the most secret thoughts of these men, and accommodated his answer and rebuke to the temper of their mind. Matt. xi. 25. And Jesus knew their thoughts: He knew that the wickedness of their hearts, and not the weakness of their understandings, had led them to form the opinion they had yttered, if it was their real opinion; or rather to afhrm it contrary to their conviction, which was the reason that at the conclusion of his defence, he reprimanded them in the sharpest manner, Accordingly, addressing himself both to them and the people, he demonstrated the absurdity of their calumny, by an argument drawn from the common affairs of life: And said unto them, (Mark, And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan?) Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, (Mark, that kingdom canrest stand ;) and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand. 26. And if Satan cast out Satan, (Mark, if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided) he is divided against himself, how shall then his kingdom stand? (Mark, he cannot stand, but hath an end. If evil spirits assist me in working miracles for the confirmation of my doctrine, they do what they can to promote the spiritual worship and ardent love of the true God, and as effectually as possible excite men to the practice of universal justice, benevolence, temperance, and self-government; all these virtues being powerfully recommended by my doctrine. But VOL. II.
* Ver. 24. By Beelzebub 1 Beelzebub was the great idol of the Eckronites, 2 Kings i. 2. From his name, which properly signifies the lord or master of Aies, it would appear that the Eckronites considered him as have ing the command of the various insects wherewith in those warm climates they were infested, and which oft-times gathered into such swarms as proved both a noisome and deadly plague, The Greeks likewise had a god whicse title was purroyo, Muscar!ım venator, The destroyer of flies. But he was in no gieat reputation among them, their country not being subject to this sort of calamity. The Eckronites being near neighbours to the Jews, the great veneration which they had for this idol, made him the object both of the horror and detestation of the devout worshippers of the true God. Accordingly to express in what detestation they held him, they appropriated his name to the most hateful being in the universe, calling the devil, or the prince of the evil angels, Beelzebub.
thus to make the evil spirits fight against themselves, is evidently to make them ruin their own interest; unless it can be thought, that the strength and welfare of a society is advanced by jarring discord, and destructive civil wars. Your judgment therefore of my conduct, is palpably malicious and absurd.-27. And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, * by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. This is the second argument made use of by Jesus for confuting the calumny of the Pharisees; as if he had said: For the same reason that you attribute my miracles to the devil, you may attribute all the miracles that ever were wrought in the world, to the devil, and particularly the miracles of your own prophets, which nevertheless you acknowledge to be divine. Dr Chandler's ingenious paraphrase of this verse deserves a place here: “ Ye do not impute the miracles of your prophets to Beelzebub, but on the evidence of these miracles, ye received them as the messengers of God. Nevertheless, ye reject me who work greater and more numerous miraces than they, and impute them to the power of evil spirits. Is this conduct of a piece? Wherefore these prophets shall be your judges, they shall condemn you.” On Miracles, p. 120. See on Luke xi. 19, 20.986. for a different exposition of this passage. 28. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you : since therefore it is plain, that I cast out devils by the divine assistance, the time is certainly come which God has set, for taking the power out of the hands of the devil, in order that he may himself rule both in the bodies and souls of men. The Messiah's kingdom is come, and you ought with joy to enter into it. 29. Or else how can one + enter into a
* Ver. 29. By wbom do your children cast them out ?] That many of the Jews did at this time attempt to cast out devils, is plain from Mark ix. 38. Acts xix. 13. Jos, Antiq. viii. 2. Calvin thinks that God conferred a power of this kind on some particular persons among the Jews anciently, that by thus proving his presence among them, he might retain the nation in the faith of his covenant ; and that the people having experienced God's power in those instances, came foolishly to institute for themselves the office of an exorcist. Agrecably to this it may be observed, that our Lord's argument does not require that the demons were actually expelled by these exorcists. It is sufficient that the jew's thought they were expelled, and did not find fault with those pretended miracles, as they did with. Christ's real ones.
+ Ver. 29. Fnter into a strong man's house ] The house of the strong man into which Christ entered, was the world, fitly called Beeizebub's bouse or palace, because there he is served by luxury, lust, covetousness, pride, arger, and the other evil passions of men. The goods or vessels belonging to this strong man which Christ spoiled, are the wicked, called Beelzebub's Dessels metaphorically, as Paul is called by Christ “ his chosen vessel,” Acts ix, 13. Or, if we chuse to pursue the allegory more closely, by the vessels or furniture of Beelzebub's house, we may understand the lusts and passions of mens hearts, the instruments by which he keeps possession of them.