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swallwed them up, trembled at his rebuke; the huge waves sunk down, on every side, in a moment. And there was a great calm; the sea was perfectly still around them, and there was not a breath of wind moved, nor the least sound was heard, except from the oars and sails of the boats, which composed this little fleet.
Aud they, being afraid, wondered, saying one to another, what manner of man is this ? for he commandeth even the wind and water, and they obey him. This reflection, as well as their fear in time of the danger, may seem unaccountable, considering how many, and what miracles the disciples had been witnesses to. But both may be explained, in some measure, by the collowing remark :—that hitherto his miracles were generally upon diseased persons ; and that he had given, as yet, no proofs of his dominion over the elements, the wind and the water, which, it seems, were thought less subject to human power than distempers. Or, if this does not account for the reflection which the disciples made on seeing the present instance of Christ's power, it may be attributed to the fear and confusion they were in, occasioned by the greatness of the jeopardy from which they were but just delivered. Or it may have been the reflection, not of the disciples, but of the men in the other little boats, who, being along with them, were partakers both of the danger and of the deliverance.
This remarkable display of Christ's command over the elements was succeeded by another iniracle, which strikingly displayed the extent of his empire over the powers of darkness. When Jesus and his disciples, with the people who had come in the other little ships, [Mark iv. 36.] and who had partaken in the miraculous deliverance from the storm, two madmen, possessed with devils, came towards them, froin certain tombs that happened to be in that part of the country. The residence of these men is said to have been in the tombs, which were generally caves, digged out of rocks, or in the sides of mountains. Mark and Luke speak of but one demoniac, but Matthew says expressly that there were two of them. The demoniac, of whom Mark and Luke speak, was, probably, much more furious than the other, for he had been often bound with chains and fetters, but had as often broken them with great fury: so that
attempted farther to restrain him. Being, therefore, at liberty, he shunned the society of men, wandering day and night in desert places, among the sepulchres, or caves, in which the dead, according to the custom of the country, were buried, making miserable outeries, roaring, and cutting himself with stones. Wherefore, the madness of this person being more remarkable, and of longer continuance, than that of his companion, his cure made a greater noise, which is the reason that Mark and Luke speak of him only, omitting the other for the sake of brevity. [Mark v. 4.] And no man could bind him, no, not with chains ; because that he had been ofter bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces ; neither could any man tame him.. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones
. Of all these circumstances the disciples may have been informed, either by the man himself
, after his recovery, or by the keepers of the swine, or by the inhabitants of Gadara, who came out to see the effects of the miracle ; for that they Here well known, is evident from Luke's, mentioning them likewise. Jesus observed the disciples terrified at the approach of these furious madmen, dispelled their fears immediately : for, while the men were yet at a distance, he commanded the devils to come out of them. His command had the desired effect : for the men, though furious
, shewed signs of submission, they fell down before him ; and the demons, wha possessed them, expressed great dread of being driven out. (Mark v. 6..8.] But when We saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him. (Luke, fell down before him.) And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, (or, as it might
be translated, What last thou to do with me,) Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, (Luke, I beseech thee) that thou torment me not. (Matthew, Art thou come to torment us before the time?) For he said unto him, Come out of the man thou unclean spirit. He commanded the devil to be gone while the madman was at a distance, in order to remove the perturbation which his approach had occasioned in his disciples. The title of the Most High is given to God by the inspired writers of the Old Testament, to distinguish him from all others who are called gods. Hence it was fitly ascribed to him, on this occasion, by the demons, who expressed great vi dread of being tormented before the time, that is, of being sent to hell before the day of judgment, against which evil spirits are reserved, [Jude verse 6.] that they may be publicly doomed to condign punishment in presence of the whole creation. Our Lord thinking it proper that the misery of those men should be known before he delivered them, asked one of the devils his name. [Mark v. 9.] And he asked him, saying, What is thy name ? and he answered, saying, my name is Legion, for we are niany. (Luke, because many devils were entered into him.) [Luke, viii, 31, 32.] And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the decp, the place where wicked spirits are punished. (Mark, send them away out of the country.) And there :: was there, (Matthew, a good way off from them,) a herd of swine feeding on the niountain, (Mark, nigh unto the mountains,) and they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them. By this the devils proposed to prevent any good effect which the miracles might have had on the Gadarenes, and to render Christ odious to that wicked people. Their design could not be hid from Jesus. Nevertheless, he granted their request, making it subservient to his own gracious purposes. He permitted the devils to enter into the swine, not only because he knew it would render the miracle more public, but because it would prove the reality of the possession, and make men understand, both how great the power of evil spirits is, and how terrible the effects of their malice would be if they were not restrained. For no sooner was the permission granted, than the keepers, who were with the swine, and the disciples, who were at a distance, beheld, to their great astonishment, the whole herd running furiously down the mountain, and leaping from the tops of the rocks into the sea, where they were drowned, to the number of two thousand; while the possessed furious madmen became, all of a sudden, meek and composed, having recovered the entire use of their reason, the first exercise of which, doubtless, would lead them to an high admiration of his goodness who had delivered them from the oppression of the devil. Jesus might permit the devils thus to fall on the herd, as a punishment also to the Gadarenes for keeping swine, which were a snare to the Jews ; and to make trial of their disposition, whether they would be more affected with the loss of their cattle, than with the recovery of the men, and the doctrine of the kingdom. Whatever were the reasons, it is certain, that though he might rightfully have used all men's properties as he pleased, yet this, and the withering of the barren fig-tree, are the only instances wherein man suffered the least damage by any thing our Lord ever did. However, neither the owners of the herd, nor of the fig-tree, could justly complain of their loss, since the good of mankind, not in that period and corner only, but in every succeeding age, through all countries, has been so highly promoted at so trifling an
expence to them.
The destruction of the swinė being speedily reported by their keepers, the Gadarenes were thrown into the utniost consternation. For when they came and saw the men that had been possessed sitting gravely in their right understanding, and decently clothed, they perceived the greatness of Christ's power, and were exceedingly afraid, from the consciousness of having violated the Mosaic law. They therefore besought
him to depart out of their coast, lest he should, as some of the old prophets had done, afflict them with dreadful plagues on account of their sins. As Jesus was entirely free from ostentation, he never forced his company on people, nor wrought miracles of healing without being asked, lest it should have been imagined that he had chosen objects within his power. The madmen, indeed, whose cure is here related, and such like, were excepted for a reason too obvious to be mentioned. In all his actions, our Lord preserved a becoming dignity tempered with great modesty, and, by that means, has left as little room for objection as possible. The request of the Gadarenes, therefore, being a sufficient reason for his withdrawing from such a stupid people, he entered into his vessel, and returned to the country whence he had come ; leaving to them a valuable pledge of his love, and to us a noble pattern, not only of bearing rebukes and discouragements in the prosecution of good designs, but of perseverance in well doing, even when our kindnesses are contemned, or, it may be, requited with injuries. For, notwithstanding the men, from whom the devils had been expelled, entreated him to take them along with them, fearing, perhaps, that their tormentors might return after he was gone, he ordered them to stay behind, as a standing monument both of his power and goodness, very proper to inluce the Gadarenes to believe, when they found the miracle real, and that Jesus could restrain the devils as well when absent as present. And this was the reason, that, in the instance before us, Jesus acted contrary to his usual practice, ordering the men to go and publish the miracle among all their relations and acquaintance. Besides, there were many heathens in Gadara and the neighbourhood, upon whom the publication of his miracles would not have the ill efect it was apt to have on the Jews. Or he might give this order, because he did not intend to return soon into that corner of the country. From whatever motive the command of Christ proceeded, it was punctually obeyed, and produced a general
all that heard the report. But as Christ did not court the favour of men, he again
embarked, and returned to the side of the lake, where he soon found a congregation waiting to receive him ; and, after having spent several days in their instruction, entered the city of Capernaum, which is denominated, by Matthew, his own city ; probably, because Christ had resided for the space of thirty days in it, which was deemed sufficient, by the Jews, to entitle them to be reckoned among the inhabitants of a city.
His arrival at Capernaum was no soorier known, than such a multitude gatliered: that the house could not contain them, nor even the court before the door. The multitude of people who gathered round Peter's house, the ordinary place of our Lord's residence, was exceeding great. Mark, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no not so much as about the door. He preached, however, to as many as could hear him, and, among the rest, to many Pharisees and teachers of the law, who, on the report of his miracles, were come, from all quarters, to see his works, and judge of his pretensions. As he determined to leave them without excuse, he embraced an opportunity, which now offered, to shew his power, on one afflicted with the palsy to such a degree that he could neither walk, nor stand, nor sit, nor move any member of his body, nor utter so much as a word importing the least desire of relief; but seemed a carcase, rather than a man. This miserable object was carried in his bed, or couch, hy four persons, who, when they could not bring him in at the door for the crowd that was gathered to see how Jesus would behave before such learned judges, they bare him up, by another stair, to the roof of the house, (see Mark xiii
. 15.] which, like other roofs of that country, was flat, with a battlement round it, (Deut. xxii. 8. ] and had a kind of trap-door, by which persons within could come out upon it to walk and take the air. Sometimes, also, they performed their devotions here, for the sake of