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allowed the man to accompany him in his journeys would have looked like ostentation, and might have been esteemed vain-glorious; besides, the power of Jesus was more conspicuous in the man's safety at a distance. And it was fit, likewise, that this person should now increase in faith, and live without fear, trusting in God every where, and at all times.
His request not being granted," he went his way, and published throughout the whole city, how great things Jesus had done unto him.” He was an honest and grateful man; and in the place where he dwelt, and every where, and to all men, as he bad opportunity, he declared the great work which Jesus had done for him.
Perhaps some may bere inquire; How shall we reconcile the direction given by Christ upon this occasion with what we find elsewhere? Sometimes he commanded silence, and charged men not to speak of the miracles he had wrought. Here be directs this njan to tell others what “God bad done for him." To which I answer: Our Lord never desired, that any miracles wrought by bim should be denied or disowned by any; nor did he intend that men, on whom they were performed, should conceal them from their friends and relatives, or their own family ; though he did forbid a general and open publication of some of his mighty works. And wbat he says to this man is no more than this : “ Return to thy own house; or, go home to thy friends; and tell them, bow great things the Lord bas done for thee, and has had compassion on thee.".
II. Having gone over this history, I would now add some remarks and observations.
1. We hence perceive that St. Mark's gospel is not an abridgment of St. Matthew's, as some bave thought. St. Mark entirely omits divers things recorded by St. Matthew, and he has some histories quite wanting in that other evangelist. This history, wbich we have now considered, affords a good argument against that opinion : St. Matthew speaks of two in this country of the Gergesenes possessed with devils, St. Mark mentions one only. If he had seen St. Matthew's gospel, he would not have so written this history, without assigning some reason for the difference, or inserting a hint for reconciling it. St. Mark says, " the number of the swine was about two thousand,” which is not mentioned by either of the other evangelists. St. Mark is, besides, in several parts of his relation of this miracle, more full and copious than St. Matthew, who has nothing of the discourse which our Lord held with the man called
Legion; and also entirely omits the man's request, when cured, to be with Jesus, and our Lord's refusal, and the publication which the man afterwards made every where, of the great cure which had been wrought upon him.
In a word, the first three evangelists are all distinct and independent witnesses of our Lord's life and miracles ; they did not write by concert : nor had any one of them, when he wrote, seen either of the other two gospels. The case however is somewbat different with regard to St. Johu : be perused the other three gospels before he wrote, and he has both confirmed their history, and made additions of his owo.
2. The distemper, with which these men were afflicted, was lunacy or distraction : I say, the distemper of this man, or these two men, (whatever influence evil spirits might have,) was lunacy or distraction. This is evident from particulars mentioned by all the evangelists. St. Matthew says, that the two men which met Jesus upon his coming on shore, were “exceeding tierce, so that no man might pass that way.” The particulars related by the other evangelists, concerning one of these men, are indications of the same thing: bis baving been bound and fettered, and bis breaking bis bands, living in the tombs, without clothing, cutting himself with Alints; as also the whinisical answer which he made, when our Lord asked what was bis name. And the cure is represented by his recovering his reason and understanding, and a composed temper and behaviour : for it is observed,
that when the people came out of the city, they saw him “sitting, and clothed, and in bis right mind.”
3. This is the only miracle of this kind which is particularly recorded in the gospels. There might be many others; but I do not recollect any other particularly related by the evangelists. There are divers instances of persons who had evil spirits, and were lunatic; but their distemper was not the same with that of these men. The young man brought to the disciples, when our Lord was in the mount, was lunatic and sore vexed; but his distemper was the epilepsy, or falling sickness : “Oft-times," it is said, Matt. xvii. 15, " he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water;" and other symptoms of that distemper are to be found in the history of his case.
Of Mary Magdalene it is said, that “out of her went seven devils," Mark xvi. 9; and I am not unwilling to allow her case to bave been much the same with that of the two men at the tombs: though it is not quite certain. But her cure, or the miracle wrought upon her, is no where particularly related : all that is said of her case is no more than
this, Luke viji, 1, 2; “ And the twelve were with bim, and certain women which had been bealed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, Joanna, and many others."
4. The miracle, wbich we have now considered, was the effect of our Lord's benevolence. It does not appear, that he had any invitation to come into the country of the Gadarenes ; but he went thither of his own accord, with a view of healing the two men at the tombs : knowing their sad case from some occasional informations that bad been given him, or by the perfect comprehensive knowledge which he had of things remote, as well as near at hand.
The context which was read before assures us, that compassion and benevolence, without any particular invitation, brought our Lord hither: his words therefore are extremely proper, when he says to the man: Go home to thy friends, and tell them, how great things the Lord has done for thee, and has had compassion on thee.”. Unasked, unsought by friends or any one else, he crossed the sea, and came on shore, conversed with these unhappy persons, relieved them in their deplorable and disconsolate condition, and then went back again to the other side.
How conspicuous is the benevolence, how great and ainiable is the benignity, of the Lord Jesus ! He is entitled to the esteem and love of all. He came to seek and to save those who were lost. And by mighty works of goodness on the bodies of men, or for rectifying and putting in order the human frame, as constituted of soul and body, be demonstrated the truth of his prophetical character and mission, and invited men to einbrace and obey that doctrine which directs them in the way to the possession of eternal life.
“That word ye know," says St. Peter at the bouse of Cornelius, “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power : who went about doing good,” Acts x. 37. They who were aflicted, as these men were, could not be easily brought to Jesus : and it is likely, that few had faith enough to ask such a cure of him, especially at a distance. Our Lord therefore, as when Lazarus was dead, now also of his own good-will left the place where he was, took shipping, and went over the sea of Galilee, for the sake of these men in the country of the Gadarenes, whose case was extremely deplorable, and above all human relief.
5. I would observe, that this miracle was very public, at least well known. Our Lord went to this place attended
by his disciples; as he came out of the ship the two men met bim. Some of the mariners therefore belonging to that ship, in all probability, were present at the miracle, for the appearance of such miserable objects could not but excite their curiosity. It is probable that divers others were spectators of this great cure. St. Mark proceeding to this ipatter says, ch. iv, 35, 36, “ And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him, as he was, in the ship. And there were also with him several other little ships." All these, it is likely, followed Jesus, and caine on shore with him on the other side. Moreover, as before observed, our Lord performed this miracle deliberately: he discoursed with one of the men, who, by the answer be made, as well as by bis outward form, manifested the great disorder of his mind. And this part of that country must have been extremely desolate and unpeopled, if some passing by, and others, did not in this space of time join our Lord's company. There is therefore reason to conclude, that a good number of persons were gathered together from the ships, and from elsewbere, and were spectators of this great work. So much is intimated in those words of St. Mark : “ And they that saw it told them, how it had befallen him that was possessed with the devils."
Then indeed it was very public: for upon the cure, and the loss of the swine, they who fed them went into the neighbouring city : and the people came out to Jesus, and bebeld the man calm and composed. And as St. Mark says in the words just cited, they who saw it, then related to them particularly how the thing had been done. And as the case of one of these men was well known, be having been often bound ineffectually, and a long time afflicted with this disorder, and having been often terrible to such as passed that way: many, who afterwards saw him enjoying a composed inind, and the right exercise of reason, must have been fully apprised of his miraculous cure, if they were attentive.
As our Lord performed this miracle with deliberation, so I think he stayed in the same place some time afterwards : by which means many bad an opportunity of seeing him with the man at his feet. We do not know exactly how long our Saviour was here: but we may form a conjecture. It was even, when he took shipping: in the passage there was a storm. It is very likely, he did not arrive at the other side until morning : and probably he stayed there the greatest part of that day before he embarked again,
6. We learn by this bistory to trust in Divine Providence, and not to live in fear of evil spirits, and their influence, or any accident whatever. They are under strict confinement; or, if they are permitted at all to visit our region and orb, they are under constraint and control. They shall not be allowed to inflict on us any evil, nor shall any accident whatever befall us, but wbat shall be overruled and sanctitied for our benefit, if we choose the thing that is good, and cast our care upon
God. 7. We learn the reasonableness of gratitude for benefits bestowed upon us, especially if we receive any signal deliverance from great and uncommon afflictions. Our blessed Lord did not choose that this person should attend him : however, he “ bid bim go home, and tell his friends there, how great things God had done for bim, and bad compassion on him.” Though our Lord was meek and humble, and was far from seeking honour from men; he could not but be pleased with a thankful mind, sensible of benefits. Once, as he was travelling, and preaching the doctrine of the kingdom of heaven, * be met ten lepers, and they lifted up. their voices, and said : Jesus, master, have mercy upon us,' Luke xvii
. 13. He had mercy upon them, and bade them go and show themselves to the priest.“ As they went they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks; and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the vive ? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way, thy faith hath made thee whole."
8. Finally, from this history we may learn to bear meekly rebukes and discouragements in the prosecution of good designs. Jesus came into this country with a good intention; he here wrought a miracle, a work of the greatest kindness, restoring a man, who had been long under the sorest of afflictions, whose cure was beyond all human skill, to the full use of reason and understanding. Nor was the neighbourhood altogether unconcerned in this benefit: the man, who before was disagreeable and terrible, was composed, and might be useful among them. But because this happy event was attended with temporal loss to some of them, they entreat the compassionate author of that great benefit, in whom was so much wisdom, and so much goodness, and so much power,
“ to depart out of their coasts.” And he acquiesced, not choosing to obtrude himself upon them, as