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in religion. We can mark the change; we can see the need of prayer, and examination, and searching the scriptures, and the use of the ordinances of religion, but we cannot tell in what way the religious principle is strengthened. See John iii. 8.
28 For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.
For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself.' That is, it is done without the power of man. It is done while man is engaged in other things. God gives it its power. It has no power of its own. So religion in the heart is not by the power of man.
It grows he cannot tell how ; and of course he cannot, without Divine aid, control it. It is by the power of God. At the same time, as without industry man would have no harvest, so without active effort he would have no religion. Both are connected with effort; both increase when the proper means are used ; and both depend on God for increase. First the blade.' The green, tender shoot, or grass, that first starts out of the earth, before the stalk is formed. the ear. The original means the stalk or spire of wheat or barley, as well as the ear. 'The full corn. The ripe whcat. The grain swollen to its proper size. By this is denoted, undoubtedly, that grace or religion in the heart is of gradual growth. It is at first tender, feeble, perhaps almost imperceptible, like the first shootings of the grain in the earth. Perhaps also, like grain, it often lies long in the earth before there are signs of life. Like the tender grain, also, it needs care, kindness, and culture. A light frost, a cold storm, or a burning sun, alike injure it. So tender piety, in the heart, needs care, kindness, culture ; instruction, prayer, and friendly counsel from parents, teachers, ministers, and experienced christians, that it may grow, and bring forth the full fruits of holiness. Like the grain also, in due time, it will grow strong; it will produce its appropriate fruit—a full and rich harvest to the praise of God.
29 But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.
'Immediately he putteth in the sickle.' This is the way with the husbandman. As soon as the grain is ripe, it is cut down. So it is often with the christian. As soon as he is prepared for heaven, he is taken there. But we are not to press this part of the parable, as if it meant that all are removed as soon as they are fit for heaven.
30 | And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it ?
This shows the great solicitude which Jesus had to adapt his
instructions to the capacity of his disciples. He sought out the most plain and striking illustrations; an example which should be followed by all the ministers of the gospel and teachers.
31 It is like a grain of mustard-seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: 32 But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.
See notes on Matt. xiii. 31, 32.
33 And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it.
Spake the word.' The word of God. The doctrines of his gospel. As they were able to hear it.'. As they could comprehend it. They were like children; and he led them by degrees to a full understanding of the plan of salvation.
34 But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.
“Without a parable spake he not unto them. That is, the things pertaining to his kingdom. On other subjects he spake without parables. On these, such was their prejudice, so many notions had they contrary to the nature of his kingdom, and so liable would plain instructions have been to give offence, that he employed this method to insinuate truth gradually into their minds, and to prepare them fully to understand the nature of his kingdom. They were alone.' 'His disciples. "He expounded.' Explained. Showed them more at length the spiritual meaning of the parables.
35 And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. 36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.
See Matt. viii. 18—27. 'Even as he was in the ship.' They took him without making any preparation for the voyage; without providing any food or raiment. He was sitting in a ship, or boat, instructing the people. In the same boat, probably ili fitted to encounter a storm on the lake, they sailed. This would render their danger more imminent, and the miracle more striking. There were with him other little ships.' Small vessels or boats belonging probably to the people, who seeing him sail, resolved to follow him,
37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. 38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow : and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish ?
39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful ? how is it that ye have no faith ? 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him:
Peace, be still. None but the God of the storms and the billows could awe, by a word, the troubled elements, and send peace and stillness among the winds and waves, He must, there fore, be Divine.
CHAPTER V. 1 AND they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. 2 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains :
See this account of the demoniacs fully explained on Matt. viii. 28-34.
4 Because that he had been often 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.
• He had been often bound with fetters and chains. Efforts had been made to confine him, but his strength, increased by his malady, had prevented it.
5 And always, night and day, he was in the moun. tains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.
• Cutting himself with stones.' These are all marks of a madman: a man bereft of reason, an outcast, strong and dangerous. The inspired penman says that this madness was caused by an unclean spirit, or by his being under the influence of a devil. Tnat this account is not irrational, see note on Matt. iv. 24.
6 But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him,
Worshipped him.' Bowed down before him; rendered him homage. This was an acknowledgment of Christ's power, and his control over fallen spirits.
7 And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the Most High God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not. 8 (For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.) 9 And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion : for we are many.
The word ‘legion' is a Latin word, applied to a division in the Roman army. The number was about five thousand. We are not to suppose that there were precisely this number engaged in tormenting this man, but that the number was great: so great that it might properly be called a legion.
10 And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country. 11 Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. 12 And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them 13 And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand ;) and were choked in the sea.
14 And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done. 15 And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.
There could be no doubt of the reality of this miracle. The man had been well known. He had long dwelt among the tombs, an object of terror and alarm. To see him become all at once peaceful, and calm, and rational, proved that it was the power of God only which had done it. They were afraid.' They were awed, as in the presence of God; they were struck with astonishment at what Jesus had done.
16 And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine. 17 And they began to pray him
to depart out of their coasts. 18 And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. 19 How beit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee,
Jesus suffered him not.' He desired to restore him to his family. Jesus was unwilling to delay the joy of his friends, and prolong their anxiety, by suffering him to remain away from them.
20. And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: And all men did marvel.
'In Decapolis. See note Matt. iv. 25. . 'How great things,' &c. This was the natural expression of right feeling at being cured of such a calamity. So the desire of sinners, freed from sin, is to honour Jesus; to ascribe all to his power; and to invite the world to participate in the same salvation, and to join them in doing honour to the Son of God. Compare Ps. Ixvi. 16.
2i And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side, much people gathered unto him. and he was nigh unto the sea. 22 And behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet.
See the account of the raising of Jairus' daughter, and the healing of the woman with an issue of blood, fully explained in notes on Matt. ix. 18—26.
23 And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death : I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed ; and she shall live. • Lieth at the point of death.' Is dying; in the last agonies.
24 And Jesus went with him: and much people followed him, and thronged him. 25 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve
26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,
‘Had suffered many things.' Had resorted to many things painful, by the direction of the physicians, in order to be healed.
27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.