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And rest assured, that he is both able and willing to save us to the uttermost"—]

Address

1. To the disobedient

[God has been pleased to bestow on man the gift of

reason—

And to leave him a free agent in all which he does—
Alas! how vilely do the generality abuse this transcendent

mercy!—

They are more regardless of the divine command than even

winds and waves—

And is this the end for which God has so distinguished us?— Is the privilege of volition granted us to encourage our

revolt?—

Is it not rather, that our obedience to God may be a rational service?—

Let the disobedient stand amazed at their impiety—

Let them wonder that the divine forbearance is so long

exercised towards them—

Surely they have abundant need to offer that petition0
O that they may be more impressed with their danger than

ever the disciples were!—]

2. To those who truly endeavour to serve the Lord Christ

[All seasons are not alike in the spiritual, any more than in the natural world—

The greatest difficulties may encompass you, when you have the clearest evidence that you are in the way of duty—

But know that your Lord is an all-sufficient, ever-present help—

Do not then shun the path of duty because of any trial that may beset you—

In the midst of all, possess your souls in faith and patience—

And let the triumphant words of former saints be your songp—

Thus shall you have richer discoveries of your Saviour's care and love—

And from personal experience attest the truth of that poetical description>*—]

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CCXCIII. THE GADARENE D.EMONIAC,

Mark v. 16—18. And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine. And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts. And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil, prayed him that he might be with him.

MANY of our Lord's miracles have been cavilled at by infidels—

This has afforded much scope lor their profane objections—

Our modern Sadducees supposed the man to have been only cured of an epilepsy—

But their is abundant proof in the parable that he was really possessed—

And that the swine were driven into the sea, not bytwo diseased men, but by the devils themselves*—

The healing of the chemoniac, the destruction of the swine, and the different conduct of the daemoniac and Gadarenes on that occasion, are all adverted to in the text—

They may be illustrated by, and will reflect light upon, the following observations I. Satan is a malicious and powerful enemy to man

Satan had formerly more power than now over the bodies of men—

And dreadful was the tyranny he exercised over this poor Gadarene—

[There were two demoniacs; but one is noticed as the more remarkableb

Satan drove him from the converse and society of men—

Satan enabled him to break the chains and fetters with which he was bound—

Satan made him a source of terror to others, and of misery to himself—*]

His power over the souls of men is still exerted as much as ever

[His agency is not the less real because it is invisible—

"No two men could drive twenty, much less two thousand, swine into the sea. b Matt. viii. 28.

We may discern it, as we do the wind, by its outward effects—

The scripture represents him as leading men captive at his will«

He keeps them from all converse with God and his people— He causes them to break through all the restraints of reason and conscience—

He stimulates them to a conduct injurious to themselves and others— He is the god of this world, and the promoter of all iniquityd—]

But, however powerful he is, there is One superior to him

II. Jesus is ever able and ready to control him

The man, who had fiercely assaulted others, approached Jesus with reverence—

And Jesus immediately displayed his power over the unclean spirit

[There were many evil spirits in this unhappy mane

But as they acted under one leader, they are spoken of as one—

The spirit was constrained to acknowledge the august character of Jesusf

And to deprecate the wrath he had so much reason to expect*—

Nor could he retain possession of his vassal any longer—

He could not even enter into the swine without our Lord's permission—

Satan asked permission, in order that he might destroy the swine, and thus incense the Gadarenes against our Lord—

Jesus suffered him to do it, in order that the Gadarenes might see how great a deliverance had been wrought for the poor dsemoniac—

Instantly the swine, possessed by the devils, rushed into the sea and perishedh

But the man delivered from them was restored to his right mind1

Thus was the divine authority of Jesus undeniably manifest to all—]

u 2 Tim a. 26. * 2 Cor. iv. 4. Eph. ii. 2.

• Ver. 9. 'Vev. 7.

8 Ver. 7. He was afraid lest Jesus should command him to go into the deep, that is, the abyss of hell, where his puinshment will at the last day be greatly increased. Compare Luke viii. 31. and Matt. viii. 29. b Ver. 13. -Ver. 15.

The same power will he still exercise over Satan on our behalf

[He is that stronger person who alone can overcome the strong mank

However enslaved we have been, he is able to deliver us—■

He that once triumphed over principalities on the cross, will now vanquish them in usi

His word has been effectual for the deliverance of thousands■n

If he suffer "Satan to buffet" us, "his grace shall be sufficient for us""—

If to "sift us as wheat," he will keep us that "our faith fail not""

He has given us armour by which the weakest may withstand himi"—

And has promised in due time to bruise him under our feetfJ—]

This benevolent act could not fail, one would suppose, of conciliating the esteem of all

III. Though all are greatly indebted to Jtsus for restraining Satan, there is a wide difference in the dispositions of different men towards him

The ungrateful Gadarenes solicited his departure from them

[The Jews who owned the swine were justly punished for keeping them—

Yet were well recompensed for the loss of them by the dismission of the evil spirits—

And should have rejoiced, that so mighty a deliverer was come among them—

Yea, they should have availed themselves of his presence to gain instruction—

But they preferred their temporal to their spiritual interests—

And with one voice intreated him to depart from them—J

Thus do many act at this time when Jesus comes to them in his gospel

[While they acknowledge him to be "the Son of God," they exclaim, " What have we to do with thee?"—

They cannot endure to have their lusts mortified and slain— They dread his presence as an occasion of " torment" to themr

k Luke xi. 21, 22. » Col. ii. 15. m Acts xxvi. 18.

■ 2 Cor. xii. 7, 9. "Luke xxii. 31, 32. P Eph. vi. 11—13.

* Rom. xvi. 20. * They are avevse to hear his word let: it

[should make them melancholy.

Were it not for the restraints imposed by Jesus, Satan would destroy them utterly as he did the swine— .

Yet they love their chains, and hate their deliverer—

They deprecate freedom from sin, as though it were the sorest bondage—

Their language resembles that of the Gadarenes in the text8

Not that they speak thus from ignorance or humility, like Peterc

The motives, which actuate them, are declared by our Lord himself"—]

But the daemottiachad far different thoughts of his benefactor

[He begged to become a stated attendant and follower of Jesus—

When, for wise reasons, his petition was refused, he acquiesced cheerfully in his Lord's willHe willingly denied himself, that he might benefit his friends, and glorify his Lord—

He gladly proclaimed to all around him what great things Jesus had done for him—

In discharging his duty he feared neither men nor devils— But lived a conspicuous monument of the power and grace of Christ—]

'Every one that has experienced a like deliverance, will

resemble him

[A sense of benefits received will animate their souls— They will "devote themselves as living sacrifices" to their

God and Saviour— V.

To enjoy and glorify him will be their highest ambition— Yet will they deny themselves many spiritual privileges to

promote the welfare of others, or to fulfil their relative duties— Sure of divine protection, they will shrink at no danger— They will study only to walk worthy of their Redeemer— They will rejoice, like David, to commend him to others"— And to extend the knowledge of him to all around them—]

Application

[Let us inquire whether we have been indeed rescued from this "roaring lion?"—

We must not judge by extorted confessions, or occasional prayers—

Satan acknowledged Christ, and deprecated his wrath

But though " he believed and trembled," he was a devil still—

i'

'Compare Job xxi. 14. with the text. l Luke v. 8.

■ John iii. 19, 20. * Ps. lxvi. 16.

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