« ПредишнаНапред »
arm, foot, &c. “It is reasonable to suppose, that among the many maimed, who were brought on these occasions, there were some whose limbs had been cut off; and I think, hardly any of the miracles of our Lord were more illustrious and amazing than the recovery of such.' Dr. Doddridge.*
(32.) The healing of a lunatic, Matt. xvii. 14—18. “And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed : for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you ? bring him hither to me. And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.” The word lunatic, gelyviacerai, from olnun, the moon, denotes one who was affected with his disorder at the change and full of the moon. This is the case in some kinds of madness and epilepsy. This youth was no doubt epileptic; but it was evidently either produced, or taken advantage of, by a dæmon, or evil spirit;* for though these symptoms accord very much with those of epileptic persons, and some have ventured to assert that it was no real possession, yet the Evangelist expressly affirms, that he had “a dumb spirit,' which tare him, and that our Lord charged him to come out of him, &c.f If this had been only a natural disease, as some have contended, could our Lord with any propriety have thus addressed it? If the dæmoniacal possession had been false, or merely a vulgar error, would our Lord, the Revealer of truth, have thus established falsehood, sanctioned error, or encouraged deception, by teaching men to ascribe effects to the malice and power of evil spirits, which they had no agency in producing ? Impossible! Such conduct is utterly unworthy the sacred character of the Redeemer.
(33.) The healing of two men possessed of a legion of devils. Mark v. 1–16. That these wretched men were not merely mad, as some suppose, but really possessed of evil spirits, appears clearly, from the language employed, as well as from the narrative itself. St. Matthew expressly affirms, that they were possessed with devils,' or demoniacs, darpovisoje vol; St. Mark says, he had an unclean spirit,' i. e. a fallen spirit; and St. Luke asserts that he had devils (or dæmons) a long time,' and was called Legion,' because many devils were entered into him.' With supernatural strength the dæmons burst asunder the chains and fetters with which he was bound ; they address Christ as the Son of the most high God;' they beseech him to suffer them to enter into the swine; and when he had given them leave, they went out and entered into the swine,' &c.* These swine were in all probability Jewish property, and kept and used in express violation of the law of God; and, therefore, their destruction was no more than a proper manifestation of the justice of God. * By this was fully evinced the sovereign power of our Lord, and the reality of diabolical agency; for, says Dr. Doddridge, 'it was self evident that a herd of swine could not be confederates in any fraud : their death, therefore, in this instructive circumstance, was ten thousand times a greater blessing to mankind, than if they had been slain for food, as was intended.'t Had there been no reality in dæmoniacal possessions, as some have supposed, our Lord would scarcely have appealed to a case of this kind in Matt. xii. 43, &c. to point out the real state of the Jewish people, and their approaching desolation. Had this only been a vulgar error, of the nonsense of which the learned scribes and wise Pharisees must have been convinced, the case not being in point, because not true, must have been treated with contempt by the very people for whose conviction it was designed.* Add to which, that in Luke vii. 21._"And in the same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits,” evil spirits, hvevpara movnpa, are clearly distinguished from bodily disorders. *
Comprehensive Bible, Note in loco.
+ Idem, Note on Mark 9. 18. i Idem, Note on Mark 9. 25.
(34.) The healing of a deaf and dumb man, Mark vii. 32—45.“ And they bring unto him one that was deaf and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him. And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; and looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain.” This was clearly a symbolical action; for these remedies evidently could not, by their natural efficacy, avail to produce so wonderful an effect. As the ears of the deaf appear closed, he applies his fingers to intimate that he would open them; and as the tongue of the dumb seems to be tied, or to cleave to the palate, he touches it, to intimate he would give loose and free motion to it. He accommodated himself to the weakness of those who might not indeed doubt his power, but fancy so
some external sign was requisite to healing. It was also thus made manifest, that this salutiferous power came from Himself
, and that He who by one word, eppada, had healed the man, must be Divine.*
(35.) The feeding of four thousand with seven loaves, and a few small fishes, Mark viji. 6—9. “And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people. And they had a few small fishes : and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them. So they did eat, and were filled : and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets. And they that had eaten were about four thousand : and he sent them away." This was another incontestable miracle-four thousand men, besides women and children (Matt. 15. 28,) fed with seven loaves, (or rather cakes,)
and a few small fishes! Here there must have been a manifest creation of substance-for they all ate and were filled.*
(36.) The feeding of five thousand with five loaves and two fishes, John vi. 8–13. “One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, saith unto him, There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves : and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.” It is scarcely possible to imagine a more wonderful proof of the creative power of Christ, than was here displayed. The loaves were of the small kind, common in the country; and the fishes were small, probably the sort called 917, by the Jews; and yet, after the five thousand were fed, twelve times as much, at least, remained, as they at first sat down to !* (37.) The calming of the tempest, Luke viii. 23, 24.
But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm.” As the agitation of the sea was merely the effect of the wind, it was necessary to remove the cause of the commotion before the effect would cease. But who, by simply saying, Peace, Be still, (Mark 8. 39,) could do this but God? One word of our Lord can change the face of nature, and calm the troubled ocean, as well as restore peace to the disconsolate soul.*
(38.) The miraculous cures at the pool of Bethesda, John 2-4. “Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water; whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.” The sanative property of this pool has been supposed by some to have been communicated by the blood of the sacrifices, and others have referred it to the mineral properties of the waters. But, 1. The beasts for sacrifice were not washed here, but in a laver in the temple. 2. No natural property could cure all manner of diseases. 3. The cure only extended to the first who entered. 4. It took place only at one particular time. 5. As the healing was effected by immersion, it must have been instantaneous ;
Comprehensive Bible, Note in loco.
and it was never-failing in its effects. All which, not being observed in medicinal waters, determine the cures to have been miraculous, as expressly stated in the text. *
(39.) The raising of Lazarus from the dead. John xi. 1—44. The raising of Lazarus from the dead, being a work of Christ beyond measure great, the most stupendous of all he had hitherto performed, and beyond all others calculated to evince his divine majesty, was therefore purposely recorded by the Evangelist John ; while it was omitted by the other Evangelists, probably, as Grotius supposes, because they wrote their histories during the life of Lazarus ; and they did not mention him for fear of exciting the malice of the Jews against him; as we find from ch. 12. 10, that they sought to put him to death, that our Lord might not have such a monument of his power and goodness remaining in the land.* _“ And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard
And I knew that thou hearest me always : but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes : and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go." · Bound hand and foot with graveclothes' denotes, ‘Swathed about with rollers,' or bandages, kelpiais, long strips of linen, a few inches in breadth, brought round the otvowv, or sheet of linen in which the corpse was involved, and by which the apwuara, or spices were kept in contact with the flesh. In reply to sceptical objections, it is sufficient to observe, that he who could raise Lazarus from the dead, could, with a much less exertion of power, have so loosened, or removed, the bandages of his feet and legs, as to have rendered it practicable for him to come forth. Tittman well observes, that Lazarus was restored not only to life, but also to health, as appears from the alacrity of his motion; and this would constitute a new miracle.*
(40.) The restoring to sight one born blind.—John ix. 1–34. as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.”“ When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, and said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing."« Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.” That there are cases in which a person born blind may be restored to sight by surgical means, we know; but it is perfectly evident that no such means were used by our Lord. And it is worthy of remark, that, from the foundation of the world, no person born blind had been restored to sight, even by surgical operation, till about the year 1728; when the celebrated Dr. Cheselden, by couching the eyes of a young man, 14 years of age, restored them to perfect vision. This was
the effect of well directed surgery : that performed by Christ was wholly a miracle, effected by the power of God. The simple means employed could have had no effect in this case; and were merely employed as symbols.
8. By the prophecies contained in the Sacred Writings; as those
(1.) SHEM, which signifies name or renown; and his, indeed, was great both in a temporal and spiritual sense. The finest regions of Upper and Middle Asia were allotted to his family; as Armenia, Media, Persia, &c. (Gen. x. 21—31.) But his chief renown consisted in his being destined to be the lineal ancestor of the promised Seed of the woman, to which Noah might allude in his pious ejaculation, Gen. 9. 26.F “ God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant : " these words are ambiguous; for they may mean either that God or that Japheth shall dwell in the tents of Shem. In either sense the prophecy has been literally fulfilled. I
(2.) Japheth, which denotes enlargement, and how wonderfully have his boundaries been enlarged! For not only Europe, but Asia Minor, part of Armenia, Iberia, the whole of the vast regions north of Taurus, and probably America, fell to the share of his posterity. Gen. x. 2–5.9
(3.) Ham, which signifies burnt or black ; and this name was peculiarly significant of the regions allotted to his family. To the Cushites, or `descendants of Cush, were allotted the hot southern regions of Asia, along the shores of the Persian Gulf, Susiana or Chusistan, &c.; to the sons of Canaan, Palestine, and Syria; to the sons of Mizraim, Egypt and Lybia, in Africa. Gen. x. 6—20.1 Upon Canaan, the son of Ham, Noah prophetically denounced the curse recorded in Gen. ix. 25. “ Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.” Agreeably to this, the devoted nations, which God destroyed before Israel, were descended from Canaan : and so were the Phænicians and the Carthaginians, who were at length subjugated with dreadful destruction by the Greeks and Romans. The Africans, who have been bought and sold like beasts, were also his posterity. I
(4.) ISHMAEL, Gen. xvi. 12, where the word rendered “wild' also denotes the wild ass ;' the admirable description of which animal in Job 39. 5—1, affords the very best representation of the wandering, lawless, freebooting life of the Bedouin and other Arabs, the descendants of Ishmael.* Such is their predatory habit, that it became proverbial. (See Je. 3. 2.) Sir J. Chardin, in a MS. note cited by Harmer, (ch. 2. Ob. 10.) states that
the Arabs wait for caravans with the most violent avidity, looking about them on all sides, raising themselves up on their horses, running here and
• Comprehensive Bible, Note in loco.
Idem, Note on Gen. 9. 27. || Idem, Note on Gen. 10. 5.
+ Idem, Note on Gen. 10. 21.
Idem, Note on Gen. 9. 27. T Idem, Note on Gen. 9. 25.