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over, that these Caves and hollow Rocks, were oftentimes made use of for Retreat and Shelter j and mentions whole Bands of Thieves and Robbers, who sometimes, for whole Months, took up their abode there, and, from thence made their Excursions and Depredations.
Mountains indeed, in our cold Coun- How the tries, afford no manner of Food or Suste- Demomnance; but, in those warm and fruitful' ilveihl^ Climates, the Case was otherwise. The Baptist, we find, liv'd in the Wilderness, on Locuss and wild Honey; and Jojephus, in his own Life, tells us, that, when he was Young, he went into the Wilderness, to be instructed by one, who lived there upon what grew of itself, wild, and uncultivated: and therefore we have less Reason to wonder, that we find these Demoniacks in such melancholy Places, as were suited to their Complexions, and where they might find both Shelter from their Purluers, and Food to sustain their Lives.
The Gadarens indeed seem not to be a The-G*-' People of much Humanity: The Re- ^aT'ni quest, which they make our Lord, * To Q"^m! depart out of their Coasts, after so signal a Mercy extended to two of their Country-men, gives us but a bad Notion of their Civility and Gratitude; but still it
J Matth. viii. 34.
must be acknowledg'd, that they had! taken some Care of these wretched Creatures. They had often (as the Story tells us) bound them with Fetters and Chains, but the Fetters and Chains (whatever they were) were not of strength enough for Men in their outrageous Condition; and therefore they got loose from their Keepers, and retreated to the Tombs and Mountains j where, when they were pursu'd, they probably hid themselves, and so eluded all the Diligence and Humanity of such, as endeavour'd to retake them. While they were alive however, there were still hopes of laying hold on them again, and perhaps of recovering them to xheir Senses j and this is a sufficient Reason why the Gadarens might not think fit to dispatch them. A D0. In what relates then to the Case of the seiiption Demoniacksy and their Circumstances, ofG.nto.-. there seems to be no Incongruity in the sacred Story : and to clear, in like manner, our Saviour's Character from any Imputation, that may arise from the Destruction of the Swine, it may not be improper to observe, * that Gadara was a City on the other side "Jordan, near the Lake Gennesareth, one of those Cities called Decafolis, and situate in that
Allotment, Allotment, which was made to the Tribe of ManaJ/eh. Pompey indeed join'd it at first to the Province of Syria, but Augustus afterward gave it to Herod, tho' upon his Death, he annex'd it to Syria again j by which means it was inhabited partly by Jews, and partly by Syrians, who were Heathens. Now it is a Thing very well known, that the Heathens us'd Swine, not only for Food, but for Sacrifices likewise; and 'tis not improbable, that the Jews of that Country might be tempted to feed Swine, from the Profit they made, by selling them to their Heathen Neighbours. This was against a Prohibition of their Law, 'tis true, but Laws we know, are not always obferv'd, and perhaps least of all at Gadara, which, being in the Extremity of the Jewish Territories, and under the Jurisdiction of Heathens, left the Jews without any restraint upon them, but that of Conscience, which is too frequently violated for the fake of Gain.
* Dr. Fearce, P. 2. p. z6.
To bring the Matter then into a nar- why oar rower Compais; the Swine, which were Sa/i.ou(ir destroy'd in consequence of the Permiffi- TMgthcfr on, which our Saviour gave the evil DcstmctiSpirits to enter into them, belong'd ei- s"^1*10 ther to the Jews, or to the Gentiles of Gadara: If they belong'd to the Jews, it cannot be denied, but that they were just
ly punish'd, for breaking their own Laws and Constitutions. In i yq/ephus, we find, an Edict of the Emperor Augujlus, requiring the Roman Governours, in every Country where the yews resided, to suffer them to live according to such of their own National Laws, as were in force in Hyrcanus'j time; and from hence one may gather, that all Laws made in Hy re anus's time were look'd upon by the jews, as binding; otherwise, when they sollicited the Emperor for this Edict in their Favour, they would have scarcely fix'd upon this Period for their Standard : And if the Laws in Hyrcanus's time were binding, then was the keeping of Swine a plain Violation of their Constitution, and justly punishable by our Saviour; because it was a receiv'd Maxim among the Jews, that any Person, invested with the Character of a Prophet, or acting by the Spirit of God, might, without the Assistance of a Magistrate, put the Laws in Execution against Offenders. What Phineas did to Zimri, and Elijah to the Priests of Baal, was by them look'd upon as Precedents in this Case; and therefore we, who acknowledge our Jesus to have been more than a Prophet, can never be at a Loss to account for his exercising
I Antiq. Jud. L. i (J. c. 6.
tising an Authority among thcjewsywhidx (according to their own Confession) was allowable^ ven in the lowest of thuOrder.
But if the Heathens of Gadara were the Owners of the Swine, z 'tis very supposable, that they were guilty of some great Sin, which occasion'd the Lois of them; and the Conjecture is not amiss, that it was inflicted in order to cure them of their Idolatrous Worship of Dæmons, and to induce them to embrace the Gospel, by an Argument peculiarly adapted to them. For, when they saw our Saviour's Power over such a Multitude of Devils, exemplified in their possession of the Swine, (had they made a right Application of the Miracle) they cou'd not but perceive the Truth of the Gospel, and the Madness of their own worshipping fitch impure Spirits, as were both cast out of Men at Jeius's Command, and could not enter into the Swine without his Permission.
Nay, even in this Case too, supposing 'Jesus to have been a Prophet, and,' in Consequence hereof, to have acted by Commission from God, he could not be guilty of any Injustice in this Action; because, upon this Supposition, the Act will come to be consider'd, not as P hitf
t Bjj. Smallbreh's Vind. p. je^.