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power, the behaviour of the scribes in this, 'as in every instance, discovered the most criminal infidelity. Wherefore, the treated them no worse than they deserved, in calling them a faithless and perverse generation, that was altogether intolerable, because they had resisted demonstrations of his power, sufficient to have convinced the most abandoned. Mark ix. 19. He answered him and saith, he answered the man by saying to the scribes, O fathless (Matt. Luke, and perverse) generation, How long shall I be with you? ere you be convinced How long shall. I suffer you must I always bear with your infidelity ? a reproof much more applicable to the scribes than to the disciples, whose wrong notions proceeded from weakness of capacity, rather than from perverse. ness of disposition. At the same time, that he might anew demonstrate the greatness of his power before them all, and put the folly of the scribes in particular to shame, he ordered the youth to be brought to him: Bring him unto me. Luke says he spake to the father of the youth, Bring thy son hither. After having rebuked the scribes for their obstinacy, he turned and spake to the father of the youth, ordering him to bring him, But no sooner was he brought within sight of his deliverer, than the evil spirit, being as it were enraged, attacked him fiercely, Mark ix. 20. And they brought him unto him; and when he saw him, (Luke, as he was yet coming) straightway the spirit (Luke, threw him down and) tare him, (to tagaker, convulsed him) and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. Doubtless Jesus could easily have prevented this attack. But he wisely permitted it, that the minds of the spectators might be impressed with a more lively notion of the young man's distress. It was for the same reason also, that he asked his father how long he had been in that deplorable condition. Mark ix. 21. And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. 22. And oft-times it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters to destroy him. (See Matt. ver. 15.) But if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. The afflicted father, greatly discouraged by the inability of our Lord's disciples, and dispirited by the sight of his son's misery, and by the remembrance of its long continuance, was afraid this possession might surpass the power even of Jesus himself, as the scribes affirmed, and so could not help expressing his doubts and fears. Wherefore, to make him sensible of his mistake, Mark ix. 23. Jesus said unto him, in allusion to the expressions of diffidence which he had uttered, * If thou canst believe, all things are possi
* Ver. 23. If thou canst be'ieve. As Christ's miracles were the proofs * of his mursion, it may seem strange that on this and several other occasions (sve on Matt. ix. 28. § 38.) before he would work the desired miracles, he required the subjects of them to belicve on him. Perhaps these were the
ble to him that believeth. The father hearing this, cried out with tears that he believed, and besought Jesus to supply, by his goodness and pity, whatever deficiency he might find in his faith. Mark, ix. 24. And straightway the father of the child cried ont, · and said with tears, Lord, I believe, help thou, mine unbelief.
But the vehemence with which he spake, occasioned by the greatness of his grief, bringing the crowd about them, Jesus, to prevent farther disturbance, immediately ordered the unclean spirit to depart from the youth, and never trouble him more. . Mark,
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Jeasons : 1. His enemies frequently desired to see signs or miracles, feigning a disposition to believe, Mart. xvi. 1. But the persons they brought to be cured, and the signs they demanded, being generally such as they hoped would prove superior to his power, their true intention was that failing in the attempt he should expose himself. For Jesus therefore lo have wrought miracles in such circumstances, would have served scarce any purpose, unless it was to gratify the unreasonable curiosity of his enemies, or rather their malignant disposition; a conduct whièh instead of convincing, must have enraged them, and prompted them to contrive some more speedy method of destroying him. We know Lazarus's resurrection had this effect, which is an incontestible demonstration, that the olje stinacy of Christ's enemies was not to be overcome by any evidencés, hour clear or strong soever. And therefore he wisely avoided performing yiracles before this sort of persons, who could not be profited by them; as for instance in his own country, where be did not many mighty works because of their unbelief, Matt. xiii, 58. For the same reason, when any one came to bim begging miraculous cures, whether for himself or for others, it was very proper to ask if the cure was sought to gratify a vai curiosity, and with secret hopes that Jesus would fail in the attempt ; or from a real persuasion that he was able to perforin it. Our Lord, it is true, was intimately acquainted with the thoughts and intentious of all men, and so had no peed to put this question for his own information. But he did it to signify, that he would not work miracles merely to grarify the evil dispositions of onreasonable men. 2. It should be considereul, that while the secular power did not interpose its authority to support the credit of our Lord's miracles, the more universally the faith of them prevailed in the country · where, and at the time when they were wrought, the greater must their
evidence be to us in after times. Because such a general persuasion demonstrates, that our Lord's miracles were publicly performed, that many persons were present at them, that the eye-witnesses entertained no doubt of them, and that they related them to others, who giving credit to their testimony, believed them to be real. In this view of the matter, it concerns us not a little to know the opinion which our Lord's countrymen entertained of him and of his works. We may therefore justly suppose, that one of the reasons of his asking those who came to him if they believe ed he was able to perform the cures they solicited, might be to make us who live in after-times sensible how far the reports of his miracles were spread, how firmly they were believed, how great the number of those were who believed them, and how highly he himself was reverenced on account of them. This observation shews the wisdom and propriety of the expressions which our Lord often made use of in conferring his miraculous cures. Matt. viii. 13. As thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee, Mat. ix. 22. Tby faith hath made thee whole. Luke viii. 5o. Believe only, and she shall be made wbole, Luke xviii. 42. Thy faith bath saved thee. For the cures following, leave us no room to suspect, that the declarations which they give of their faith in his miracles were feigned or doubtful.
25. When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, (Matt. the devil) saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, who didst not obey my disciples, I charge thee : it is I'who now give the command, Come out of him, and enter no more into him. Scarcely was the word said, when the devil came out of the youth, making a hideous howling, and convulsing him to such a degree, that he lay senseless, and without motion, as one dead, till Jesus took him by the hand, instantly brought him to life, and then delivered him to his father perfectly recovered. Mark ix. 26. And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him; and he was as one dead, in so much that many said, He is dead. 27. But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up, and he arose. Matt. xvii. 18. And the child was cured from that very hour, ano ang więces izeruns, from that time forth. Luke ix. 42. And he delivered him again to his father, in perfect health.
It is remarkable, that on this occasion the nine disciples remained quite silent before the multitude. They were ashamed, per. haps, and vexed, lest through some fault of their own they had lost the power of miracles formerly conferred on them. But when they came with Jesus to their lodging, they asked the reason why they could not cast out that particular denion. Mark ix. 28. And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out ? Mati. xvii. 20. And Jesus said unto them, * Because of your unbelief. Knowing that you doubted whether I was able to make you cast out this devil, I ordered it so, that he would not go out at your command, for a reproof of the weakness of your faith. It seems the disciples had attempted to cast him out. In the mean time, to encourage them, Jesus described the efficacy of the faith of miracles. For verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, * Remove hence to yonder place, and it shall remove, and nothing shall be impossible unto you: If ye have but the least degree of the faith of miracles, ye may say to the vast mountain from whence ye just now came down, Move thyself and go to some other place, and it shall obey you. Ye shall by that faith be able to accomplish the most difficult things, in all cases where the glory of God, and the good of his church are concerned. (Matt. xvii. 21. Howbeit this kind (of demon) goeth not cut but by + prayer and fasting : that is, an eminent degree of the faith he had been describing.
* Ver. 20. Because of your unbelief ] It seems the persons on whom the power of miracles was bestowed, were obliged to have faith likewise, in order to the exercise of that power. But it was a different kind of faith from that which was necessary in the subjects of the miracles. For it consisted, First, in a just and high notion of the divine power, by which the miracle was to be effected. Secondly, in a firm persuasion that the mira. cle was to be wrought at that particular time. Now this persuasion was to spring from a twofold source. 1. A consciousness of the power which Christ had conferred on them when he ordained them his apostles. 2. It was to arise from a sensible impression made upon their minds by the spirit, signifying to them that a miracle was to performed at that time. Accordingly the apostles, and such of the first Christians as were afterwards honoured with the power of miracles, never artenpeed in exercise it without feeling an impression of this kind, as is pain tror Paul's leaving Trophimnus ai Miletum sick. Blherefore as the nine had in all provability essared to cure the youth above mentioned, before the impression came, or had made the attempt with a degree of timidity, it was no wonder that they were unsuccessful.
Mark ix. 30. And they departed thence. They left the country of Cæsarea Philippi, and passed through Galilee. Luke ix. 43. And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God. All the disciples were amazed when they considered the greatness of the power which Jesus shewed in his last miracle. It would seem, that their wonder was accompanied with proportionably high expectations of happiness, in that temporal kingdom, which they wete now convinced he could easily erect. Jesus knowing this, thought fit, when they came into Galilee, the country where he had the greatest following, to moderate his disciples ambition, by predicting his own sufferings. But while they wondered every one at all things which Jesus did, (Matt. while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them he said unto his disciples, 44. Let these things sink down into your ears ; for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men. Mark says, verse 30. When he went away and passed through Galilee, he would not that any man should know it. He departed privately without informing the multitude where he was going, and when he came into Galilee, he did not appear in public. 31. For he taught his disci
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'Ver. 20. Remove hence.] To remove mountnins is a proverbial expression, which signifies the doing of things seemingly impossible, as may be gathered from Zech. iv. %. In this description of the efficacy of faith, there is a beautiful contrast between the smallness of the grain of mustard seed to which their faith is compared, and the hugeness of the mountain that was to be removed thereby.
† Ver. 21. Prayer and fasting:] Prayer and fasting could have no relation to the ejection of demons, but in so far as they had a tendency to increase the faith of miracles in him who had that power formerly conferred upon him. For example, prayer, by impressing a man's mind with a more inti. mate sense that all things whatsoever depend upon the infinite and incomprehensible power of God, raises his idea of that power to a greater sublimity than can be done in the way of ordinary speculation. And as for fasting, by weakening the animal life, it subdues such passions as are nourished by a continual repletion of body. Hence fasting has a tendency to free the mind from the domination of passion, which never fails to occa. sion a great inward perturbation, and at times is found to make even the best men inattentive, at least to the more silent impressions of God's Spia rit. Fasting therefore produces an inward quietness and calur.ess very favourable to the growth of faithe
ples and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered, sequedadores (Matt. SHALL be betrayed, rugadidor fue) and they shall kill him, and after that he is killed, he shall rise (Matt. he shall be raised again) the third day. Our Lord now found it necessary for the reason just now mentioned, to moderate the high admiration which his disciples were apt to entertain of him, on account of this, and the other extraordinary things that had lately happened. Wherefore he not only concealed himself for a while, by forbearing to preach and work miracles as he returned through Galilee, but he predicted a third time his own sufferings and death. Luke ix. 45. But they understood not this saying : they could not comprehend how he who was to abide on earth for ever, and was come to deliver others from the universal destroyer, could himself fall under his stroke. And it was hid from them, namely by their own prejudices and misconceptions concerning Messiah, that they perceived it not. For seeing he spake of rising again the third day, they were not able to divine any reason for his dying at all, being ignorant as yet of the nature and ends of his death. And they feared to ask him of that saying. Matt. xviii. 23. And they were exceeding sorry : taking no comfort from the mention that was made of his resurrection, the prediction made them very sorry, and raised such fears in their minds, that they durst not ask him to explain it; especially as they remembered that he had often inculcated it, and had reprimanded Peter for being unwilling to hear it. $ LXXIV. The didrachmas are paid in Capernaum. "The disci
ples are reproved for contending about the chief posts in the kingdom. See $ 106, 130. Of the evil and punishment of offences. See Ø 97. The parable of the lost sheep, delivered the first time. See 9 94. The forgiveness of injuries is enjoined. The parable of the servant-debtors. Matth. xvii. 24,-26. xviii. 1,35. Mark ix. 33,--50. Luke ix. 46,-50.
AFTER these things, Jesus came to Capernaum, the place of his ordinary residence. But he was no sooner arrived, than the receivers of the *tax called didrachma, a sum equal to half a shekel, or fifteen pence of our money, came to Peter, and asked him, whether his master would pay that tribute. Mark is. 39.
And ** Tax called didrachma.) Most commentators think this was the half shekel raised for the service and reparation of the temple, from all the Jew. ish males above twenty years old, and which Vespasian afterwards obliged them to pay to the Capitol at Rome. But Beza is of opinion, that it was the poll tax levied by the Romans, after Judea was reduced into the form of a province, (see on Matt. xxii, 17. 117.) and which Agrippa Major in the reign of Claudius remitted to the Jews. If it was this tribute which the collectors demanded of Peter, the import of their question was this; Is-your Master of the sect of Judas of Galilee, whose opinion is, that taxes should be paid to no foreign porrer?