Jesus commands a calm.

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A. D. 27.

CCI. 3.

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A. D. 27.

CCI. 3.

26 And he saith unto them, Why side into the country of the Gerge- A.M. 4031.
senes, there met him two possessed An. Olymp.
with devils, coming out of the tombs,
exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by
that way.


An Olymp. are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.

27 But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!


29 And behold they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before

28 And when he was come to the other the time? T

Ps. 65. 7. & 89. 9. & 107. 29.

Mark 5. 1, &c. Luke 8. 26, &c.

proper then is this short prayer for us, and how familiar should it be to us! Taken in the extensive christian sense it is exceedingly expressive; it comprehends all the power of our Lord's might, all the merit of his atonement, and all the depth of our misery and danger. See Quesnel.

Verse 26. Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?] Faith sever bold-incredulity always timid. When faith fails in temptation, there is the utmost danger of shipwreck. Lord, encrease our faith! is a necessary prayer for all who desire to be saved.

Then he arose and rebuked the winds, &c.] As the agitation of the sea was only the effect of the wind, it was necessary to remove the cause of the disturbance, that the effect might cease. Joshua did not say to the earth, earth, stand thou still, because the earth is not the cause of its own motion: but an, stand thou still, on vrv shemesh dom, Sun be silent, or restrain thy influence, which is a proper cause of the revolutions of all the planets. When the solar influence was by the miraculous power of God suspended, the standing still of the earth was a necessary consequence. Both Christ and Joshua spoke with the strictest philosophical precision. See the notes on Josh. x. 12-14.

There was a great calm.] One word of Christ can change the face of nature, one word of his can restore calm and peace to the most troubled and disconsolate soul. Prayer and faith, if sincere, shall be heard though they may be weak. 1. That our imperfections may not hinder us from praying to God. 2. That we may be persuaded it is not our merits which make our prayers effectual. 3. That we may offer them up with great humility: and 4. That we may be fully united to Christ, without which union, there is no salvation.

What manner of man is this] IПoтamos 5 OUтos, How great is this person! Here was God fully manifest, but it was in the flesh,-there, were the hidings of his power.

Verse 28. The country of the Gergesencs] This word is variously written in the MSS. and Versions; Gergasenes, Gerasenes, || Gadarenes, Gergesions, and Gersedonians. The three first are supported by the greater authorities. They might have all been names of the same place or district; but if we depend on what Origen says, the people mentioned here could not have been the inhabitants of Gerasa, which, says he, is a city of Arabia, OUTE bahasσav, OUTE MIμvny manosov exorta, which has neither sea,nor lake nigh to it. "Gadara was, according to Josephus, the metropolis of Perea, or the region beyond Jordan: both the city and villages belonging to it, Jay in the country of the Gergasenes; whence Christ going into the country of the Gadarenes, Mark v. 1. is said to go into the region of the Gergusenes, Mat. viii. 28." WHITBY.

Two possessed with devils] Persons possessed by evil dæmons. Mark and Luke mention only one dæmoniac, probably the fiercer of the two.

Coming out of the tombs] It is pretty evident that cupolas were generally builded over the graves among the Jews, and that these dæmoniacs had their dwellings under such: the evil spirits which were in them, delighting more in these abodes of desolation and ruin, as being more congenial to their fierce and diabolic nature, and therefore would drive the possessed into them.

Verse 29. What have we to do with thee] The literal translation of ; is, What is it to us and to thee? which perhaps might be understood to imply their disclaiming any design to interfere with the work of Christ, and that he should not therefore meddle with them; for it appears they exceedcalm.ingly dreaded his power.

There was at first a great agitation, then a great Thus God ever proportions the comfort to the affliction. Verse 27. The men marvelled] Every part of the creation (man excepted) hears and obeys the Creator's voice. Sinners have an ear for the world, the devil and the flesh: till this car is shut, God's voice is not discerned: for when it is shut to its enemies, it is open to its friends.

What have we to do with thee, is a Jewish phrase, which often occurs in the Old Testament, signifying an abrupt refusal of some request, or a wish not to be troubled with the company or importunity of others. Jehu said to the messenger who was sent by Joram to meet him; What hast thou to do with peace? David said, What have I to do with you, ye

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2 Sam. xvi. 10. See the note on

sons of Zeruiah? Compare Judg. xi. 12.
2 Kings ix. 18. Ezra iv. 3. John ii. 4.
Mark i. 24.
Jesus, thou Son of God] Griesbach omits the word Jesus,
on the authority of several MSS. of the greatest antiquity and
respectability; besides some Versions, and several of the Fa-
thers. I heartily concur with these MSS., &c. for this simple
reason, among others, that the word Jesus, i. e. Saviour, was
of too ominous an import to the Satanic interest, to be used
freely in such a case, by any of his disciples or subalterns.

Art thou come hither to torment us before the time?] From this it appears that a greater degree of punishment awaited these dæmons than they at that time endured; and that they knew there was a time determined by the divine judge, when they should be sent into greater torments.

Verse 30. A herd of many swine] These were in all probability Jewish property, and kept and used in express violation of the law of God; and therefore their destruction, in the next verse, was no more than a proper manifestation of the justice of God.

Verse 31. Suffer us to go away] Exitgefov nμy aweλday; this is the common reading, but awuhov nuas, send us away, appears more genuine. This latter reading, Griesbach has adopted on the authority of three ancient MSS. the Coptic, Sahidic, Ethiopic, Syriac, all the Arabic, Saxon, most of the Itala and the Vulgate. Send us away seems to express more fully the absolute power Jesus Christ had over them,-per- || mission alone was not sufficient; the very power by which they were to go away, must come from Christ himself! How vain was the boast of Satan, ch. iv. 9. when we find he could not possess the body of one of the vilest animals that God has made, without immediate authority from the Most High! Since a dæmon cannot enter even into a swine without being sent by God himself; how little is the power or malice of any of them to be dreaded by those who have God for their portion and protector!

αγέλην των χοιρων the herd of swine, Griesbach reads τους χοίρους the swine, on the authority of many MSS. and Versions.

The whole herd of swine] Twv xolewy, of swine, is omitted by many MSS. and versions. See Griesbach, and see on Luke viii. 26, &c.

Ran violently down a steep place, &c.] The prayer of these da mons is heard and answered! Strange! but let it be noted, that God only hears dæmons and certain sinners when their prayer is the echo of his own justice. Here is an emblem of the final impenitence and ruin into which the swinish sinners, the habitually impure, more commonly fall than other sinners. Christ permits the dæmons to do that in the swine, which he did not permit them to do in the possessed, on purpose to shew us what rage they would exercise on us if left to their liberty and malice. Many are the divine favours which we do not consider, or know only in general. "But the owners of the swine lost their property." Yes, and learn from this, of how small value temporal riches are in the estimation of God. He suffers them to be lost, sometimes to disengage us from thein through mercy; sometimes out of justice to punish us for having acquired or preserved them either by covetousness or injustice.

Verse 33. And they that kept them fled] Terrified at what had happened to the swine.

Verse 34. The whole city came out] Probably with the intention to destroy Jesus for having destroyed their swine; but having seen him, they were awed by his presence, and only besought him to depart from their borders. Many rather chuse to lose Jesus Christ than those temporal goods by which they gratify their passions, at the expence of their souls. They love even their swine better than their salvation.

Certain doctors in both sciences, divinity and physic, gravely tell us, that these dæmoniacs were only common madmen, and that the disease was supposed, by the superstitious Jews, to be occasioned by dæmons. But with due deference to great characters, may not a plain man be permitted to ask by what Verse 32. They went into the herd of swine] Instead of || figure of speech can it be said that "two diseases besought,

A paralytic person healed,


and his sins forgiven.

went out-filled a herd of swine-rushed down a precipice, || respects, hardly to exist. For he who denies Divine inspira&c." What silly trifling is this! Some people's creeds tion, will scarcely acknowledge diabolic influence. See the will neither permit God nor the devil to work; and in several note on ver. 16. and on Luke vii. 21.


Christ heals a paralytic person at Capernaum, 1-8. Calls Matthew, 10. Eats with publicans and sinners, at which the Pharisees are offended, and he vindicates his conduct, 11, 12. The disciples of John come to him and enquire about fasting, 14-17. A ruler requests him to heal his daughter, 18, 19. On his road to the ruler's house, he heals a diseased woman, 20-22. Arriving at the ruler's house, he restores the young woman to life, 2326. Heals two blind men, 27-31. Casts out a dumb dæmon, 32-34. Preaches and works miracles in all the cities and villages, 35. Is greatly affected at the desolate and dark state of the Jewish people, 36. his disciples to pray to God to send them proper instructors, 37, 38.

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Ch. 4. 13. Mark 2. 3. Luke 5. 18. ch. 8. 10.

Ps. 139. 2. ch. 12. 25. Mark 12. 15. Luke 5. 22. & 6. 8. & 9. 47. & 11. 17.


Verse 1. He came into his own city.] Viz. Capernaum, where he seems to have had his common residence at the house of Peter. See chap. iv. 13. and viii. 13. This verse properly belongs to the preceding chapter. Verse 2. Sick of the palsy] See chap. iv. 24. Lying on a bed] reclined on at meals. Seeing their faith] The faith of the paralytic person, and the faith of those who brought him; see on Mark ii. 4. Be of good cheer] Dagσs TEXVOV, Son, take courage! Probably he began to despond, and Christ spoke thus to support his faith.

Kλing, a couch or sopha, such as they

Thy sins be forgiven thee.] Moral evil has been the cause of all the natural evil in the world. Christ goes to the source of the malady, which is sin; and to that as the procuring cause we should refer in all our afflictions. 'Tis probable that this paralytic person had, in the earnest desires of his heart, entreated the cure of his soul, leaving his body to the care of others, as the first miracle of healing is wrought on his soul. In a state of helplessness, when we seek above all things to please God, by giving him our hearts; he often mspires others with the care of our temporal necessities. It may be necessary to be observed, that it was a maxim among the Jews, that no diseased person could be healed, till all his sins were blotted out. See Nedarim, fol. 41. Hence

our Lord first forgives the sins, and then heals the body of the paralytic person. This appears to have been founded on Psal. ciii. 3. Who forgiveth all thine iniquities, and healeth all thy diseases. Here pardon precedes health. See also Psal. xli. 3, 4. It may be observed also, that most people are more in carnest about their souls when in sickness than in health; and therefore are more earnest in prayer for salvation.

Verse 3. This man blasphemeth.] Bouw comes either from βλάπτειν την φημη» to hurt or blast the reputation or credit of another: or from Baλλay Tais Onuais to smite with reports. Whenever it is used in reference to GoD, it simply signifies, to speak impiously of his nature, or attributes, or works. Injurious speaking is its proper translation when referred to


The Scribes were the literati of that time; and their learning, because not used in dependance on God, rendered them proud, envious and obstinate. Unsanctified knowledge has still the same effect: that light serves only to blind and lead men out of the way, which is not joined with uprightness of heart. The most sacred truths often become an occasion of delusion, where men are under the government of their evil passions.

Verse 4. Jesus knowing (dwv seeing) their thoughts] In telling them what the thoughts of their hearts were, (for they had expressed nothing publicly) he gave them the fullest proof of his power to forgive sins; because God only can forgive

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sins; and God only can search and know the heart. Jesus pronounced the man's sins forgiven-and gave the Scribes the fullest proof of his power to do so, by telling them what, in the secret of their souls, they thought on the subject.

God sounds the secrets of all hearts-no sin escapes his notice; how senseless then is a sinner to think he sins securely when unseen by men. Let us take heed to our hearts, as well as to our conduct, for God searches out, and condemns all that does not spring from, and leads not to himself.

Verse 5. For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?] Both are equally easy and equally difficult; for both require unlimited power to produce them. And every thing is equally easy to that power which is unlimited. A universe can be as easily produced by a single act of the Divine Will, as the smallest elementary part of matter.

The common punctuation of the above passage almost destroys the sense: the comma should be placed after easier, and to say, made the first part of the question.

Verse 6. But that ye may know, &c.] External miracles are the proofs of internal ones. Three miracles are wrought in this case. (I mean, by miracle, something produced or known that no power is capable of but that which is omnipotent; and no knowledge adequate to, but that which is omniscient.) The miracles are these: 1st. The remission of the poor man's sins. 2d. The discernment of the secret thoughts of the Scribes. 3d. The restoring of the paralytic, in an instant, to perfect soundness. Thus, one miracle becomes the proof and establishment of another. Never was a clearer proof of omnipotent energy and mercy, brought under the senses of man. Here is an absolutely perfect miracle wrought: and here are absolute incontestible proofs that the miracle was wrought: and the conclusion is the fullest demonstration of the divinity of the ever-blessed


Arise, take up thy bed] Being enabled to obey this command, was the public proof that the man was made whole. Such a circumstance should not pass without improvement. A man gives proof of his conversion from sin to God, who


imitates this paralytic person. He who does not rise, and stand upright, but either continues grovelling on the earth, or falls back as soon as he is got up, is not yet cured of his spiritual palsy. When we see a penitent enabled to rejoice in hope of God's glory, and to walk in the way of his commandments; he affords us all the proof which we can reasonably require, that his conversion is real: the proof sufficient to satisfy himself, is the witness of the Holy Spirit in his own heart; but this is a matter of which those who are without, cannot judge: they must form their opinion from his conduct, and judge of the tree by its fruits.

Verse 8. When the multitudes saw it, they marvelled] Instead of slavμasan wondered, the Codex Vatic. and Cod. Beza, with several other MSS. and Versions have pobninoav feared. In the Gothic, and one copy of the Itala, both readings are conjoined thus: And the multitudes seeing it, wondered and feared, and glorified God. Wondered at the miracle: feared to offend against such power and goodness, and glorified God for the works of mercy which he had wrought.

That which to the doctors of the law, the worldly-wise and prudent, is a matter of scandal, is to the humble, an occasion of glorifying the Most High. Divine things make a deeper impression on the hearts of the simple multitude than on those of the doctors, which, puffed up with a sense of their own wisdom, refuse to receive the truth, as it is in Jesus. The conversion of one rebellious soul is a greater miracle, and more to be admired, than all that can be wrought on inanimate creatures. He who sees a sinner converted from the error of his way, sees a miracle wrought by eternal power and goodness. May such miracles be multiplied!

Verse 9. Named Matthew] Generally supposed to be the same who wrote this history of our blessed Lord.

The receipt of custom] The custom-house, Toy-the place where the taxes levied by the Romans, of the Jews, were collected.

Follow me] That is, become my disciple.

And he arose, and followed him.] How blessed it is to be obedient to the first call of Christ-how much happiness and glory are lost by delays, though conversion at last may have taken place.

Jesus reproves the Pharisees

A.M. 4061. A.D. 27.

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A. D. 27. An. Olymp. CCL. 3.

10 ¶ And it came to pass, as Jesus || them, They that be whole need AM. 4054. An Olymp. sat at meat in the house, behold, many not a physician, but they that are publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples:

CCI. 3.

11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?

12 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto


13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

14 Then came to him the disciples of

Mark 2. 15, &c. Luke 5. 29, &c. ch. 11. 19. Luke 5. 30. & 15. 2.Gal. 2. 15.

d Hos. 6. 6. Mic. 6. 6, 7, 8. ch. 12. 7. 1 Tim. 1. 15.

Verse 10. Sat at meat in the house] Viz. of Matthew, who, it appears from Luke v. 29. made a great feast on the occasion, thus testifying his gratitude for the honour done him; and that his friends and acquaintances might profit by the teaching of his new master, he invites them to the entertainment that was honoured by the presence of Christ. His companions, it appears, were not of the most creditable kind. They were tax-gatherers (see chap. v. 46.) and sinners, auzętwhos, a word which I believe in general signifies heathens, throughout the gospels, and in several other parts of the New Testament. See, among others, chap. xi. 19. xxvi. 45. Mark ii. 15—17. xiv. 41. Luke v. 30—32. vi. 32-34. vii. 34, 37, 39. xv. 1, 2, 7, 10. xix. 7. xxiv. 7. John ix. 16, 24, 25, 31. Rom. v. 8. Gal. ii. 15. Heb. vii. 26. 1 Pet. iv, 18. in most, if not all of which places, it evidently refers to the character or state of a Gentile, or Heathen. See also the notes on these passages.

Verse 11. When the Pharisees saw it] He who, like a Pharisee, never felt himself indebted to infinite mercy for his own salvation, is rarely solicitous about the salvation of others. The grace of Christ alone inspires the soul with true benevolence. The self-righteous Pharisees considered it equal to legal defilement, to sit in company with tax-gatherers and heathens. It is certain that those who fear God should not associate, through choice, with the workers of iniquity; and should only be found with them when transacting their secular business, requires it, or when they have the prospect of doing good to their souls.

Verse 12. They that be whole need not a physician] A common proverb, which none could either misunderstand or misapply. Of it, the reader may make the following use: 1. Jesus Christ represents himself here as the sovereign Physician of souls. 2. That all stand in need of his healing power. 3. That men must acknowledge their spiritual maladies, and the need they have of his mercy, in order to be healed by him. 4. That it is the most inveterate and dangerous disease the soul can be afflicted with, to imagine itself whole, when the sting of death, which is sin, has pierced it through, in every part.

Verse 13. I will have mercy, and not sacrifice] Quoted from 1 Sam. xv. 22. These are remarkable words.—We may understand them as implying, 1st. That God prefers an act of mercy shewn to the necessitous, to any act of religious worship to which the person might be called at that time.--Both are good; but the former is the greater good, and should be done in preference to the other. 2dly. That the whole sacrificial system was intended only to point out the infinite mercy of God to fallen man, in his redemption by the blood of the new covenant. And 3dly. That we should not rest in the sacrifices, but look for the mercy and salvation prefigured by them. This saying was nervously translated by our ancestors, Ic pylle mildheortnesse næs onrægdnesse, I will mildheartedness, and not sacrifice.

Go ye and learn]tse velimmed, a form of speech in frequent use among the Rabbins, when they referred to any fact or example in the Sacred Writings. Nothing tends more to humble pretenders to devotion, than to shew them that they understand neither Scripture nor religion, when, relying on external performances, they neglect love to God and man, which is the very soul and substance of true religion. True holiness has ever consisted in faith working by love.

I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners] Most of the common editions add, sμtavolav, unto repentance; but this is omitted in the Codex Vatic. and Beza, sixteen others, both the Syriac, both the Persic, Ethiop. Armen. Gothic, Anglo-Saxon, all the Itala except three, the Vulgate, Clemens Roman. Origen, Basil, Jerom, Augustin, Ambrose and Barnabas. The omission is approved by Mill and Bengel.-Griesbach leaves it out of the text.

Verse 14. Thy disciples fast not?] Probably meaning that they did not fast so frequently as the others did, or for the same purposes, which is very likely, for the Pharisees had many superstitious fasts. They fasted in order to have lucky dreams-to obtain the interpretation of a dream, or to avert the evil import of a dream. They also fasted often, in order to obtain the things they wished for. The tract, Taanith, is full of these fasts, and of the wonders performed thus by the Jewish doctors,

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