[ocr errors]

As my remarks are to be made in the order of the dissertations, 1 begin with this. Upon which I have received some observations in a letter from my much esteemed friend, Mr. Thomas Mole, which I shall here transcribe.

• 1 have read the Dissertations of Dr. Ward ; among which • I find one upon the case of the demoniac, who resided ainong

the tombs on the coast of Gadara, • This affair of the possessions is an embarrassment, wbich * one would be glad fairly to get rid of. The interpretation • which represents them as mad, or otherwise grievously • diseased, seems to be the only method effectually, to re• move it. A great deal has been written to show the pro

bability of this explanation, and principally by yourself. • Our late friend seems to have been very tenacious of the • other sense, and treats them as real possessions. He just • observes the impropriety of calling devils what in the • evangelists is called demons; but does not, I think, so • fairly as one would desire, argue in support of their being possessions. • The man,' he says, p. 75, is here described, as wholly unconversable, so fierce that no one dared come near him. • This must have been at times only. For it is said, Mark • v. 4, 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.' So that it is going farther than • the text allows, to say of him, that none dared to come near hin, during all the time, since he was first seized ;

as he evidently, I think, means. For be adds immediately; • he had lived a long time in that condition.

• When it is added by St. Mark, ver. 4, “ neither could any man tame bim," it seems to me, that there had been

many trials of cure undertaken, and various methods used • for that purpose, though without success, especially if be was a man of any note in that city. For ex nolews,

• Especially if he was a man of note in that city.") That appears to me a curious thought, and a valuable hint; which may lead us to consider, whether there are not in this history some things which may induce us to suppose, that the demoniac, to whom St. Mark and St. Luke confine their narration, was a man of some substance. And I think there are several such things. In St. Mark v. 19, our Lord says: “Go home to thy friends.” 'Ynaye siç TOV OLKOV OB TPOS THÇO8c. Literally, go to thy house to thy own people,' meaning family, or friends. In Luke viii

. 39, “ return to thy own house." Υποτρεφε εις τον οικον σε. Care had been taken of him, and there had been, as is manifest, divers attempts made to cure his disorder, or to relieve and restrain him under it. And when the multitude from the city, and from the country round about came to Jesus, they saw the man sitting, and clothed. Clothing therefore had been brought to him, and probably from his own house, in the adjacent city, and from his family. They knew where he was, though

[ocr errors]


66 out


! of the city,” in St. Luke, must, I think, refer to the place • of his habitation, wbile he was sane, rather than when thus • disordered, and from which he came, when he met Jesus.

And the word, dapaçw, bere used, and in St. James jii. 7, .. of " taming wild beasts," and the “ tongues of men," seems • not improperly to express the cure of madness, and perhaps

more properly than the dispossession of demons. It might • deserve our inquiry, whether it is never so used by the 'ancients, in treating of inaniacal cases.

It appears farther probable to me, that this man had his ' madness by fits, or at certain seasons, with intervals of • sanity between them; and that when bis fits were observed * to be coming on, he was bound by his friends, (with whom • be might possibly have lived in those intervals, to prevent • his doing harm to bimself, or others, and bave bim more • under command. Does not St. Luke say, or mean this? • viii. 29, “ For oftentimes, mollis Xpovois, it bad caught • him, and he was kept pulaooouevos, bound with chains and • fetters. And he brake the bands, and was driven of the • devil into the wilderness." St. Mark says, he had been • often bound,” nollákis. St. Matthew, viii. 28, ascribes to • him this exceeding fierceness only, when coming out of • the tombs to them.

• Hence I would farther observe, that we are under no necessity of allowing what we find asserted, that he had • lived a long time in this condition; and therefore was

neither capable, nor had any opportunity of knowing any • thing concerning Christ or his character. For though he • had been ever so long a time disordered, if there had been

any intervals, (and the longer had been the time, it is likely • there had been the more :) might he not in some one or • other of those intervals, have acquired some knowledge of • the character, and even of the person of Christ ? And

bence, in his fits, especially, when Christ appeared in bis he had escaped from them; and upon the first intelligence concerning what had happened, they recollected the distress he must be in, for want of clothing: they therefore immediately sent him apparel. And that they were his own garments, which he had been used to wear when composed, or at least such in which he could make a decent appearance, may be collected from his request to be with Jesus, and accompany him. This circumstance may be one reason why St. Mark and St. Luke give an account of this one demoniac only, though there were two, as St. Matthew says. Finally, his being a person of good condition, in the city where he dwelt, might render him better qualified to speak of this great work. Any man, however mean, deserved to be attended to, when he spoke of a miracle wrought upon himself, of which divers others were witnesses : but a man of substance, and a reputable inhabitant of the place, might do it to better advantage.





• sight, discourse and behave to him as he did; only allowing for what his disorder made him mingle therewith. • What is farther said, p. 76, concerning the inhabitants of the neighbouring town, that they do not seem to have • known more of Cbrist than this man, is with me alike void

of probability. For Christ had been teaching the doctrine • of the kingdom, and working miracles, a considerable time, • and had taken up his residence at Capernaum; in which,

and in the neighbourhood thereof, he lived a good wbile. • It is credible that all this could have been, and St. Mat

thew, iv. 24, (as is by our late friend observed, p. 78,) had • said before, “ that his fame went throughout all Syria ?” • And yet the people of this town, not above perhaps seven

or eight miles distant, and to which a boat inight pass in . a night's time from Capernaum, had never heard and knew • nothing of him? What! spread over all Syria, and never • reached a place within a few miles of bim? 1 allow it is a * general expression, and must admit of limitation. But I

can see no other ground for excepting this place, than the serving an hypothesis.

• Nor does the instance adduced, p. 79, from Mark i. 21, . &c. prove any thing, as I think, to the purpose for which • it is brought. For though that was something earlier in * the niinistry of Christ than this, and he might be then less known; yet he had been long enough known there for * that person to have heard of him. For Mark i. 16, he • had begun to preach the gospel of the kingdom of God,

saying, " The time is fultilled, and the kingdom of God is • at hand; repent ye, and believe the gospel :” and walking • by the sea of Galilee, he had called first Simon and An• drew, and afterwards James and John bis brother, ver. 16– • 20, and, I suppose, had wrought some miracles. It is not • impossible, but the person who was cured in the synagogue of Capernaum, being left at bis liberty, and allow

ed to enter there, might have heard of what Christ had • done in bis way thither; and heard, or heard of, what he • had preached after he came thither. And in St. Luke iv. • 31–37, it should seem, that this person was cured, not upon • Christ's first coming to Capernaum. Which enlargeth • the time, that this man had to come to the knowledge of • him.

• There is no necessity therefore to suppose, that these persons could have no knowledge of Christ, and that it • must not be they, but the devils only in them, who knew • him.


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


• The arguing, p. 82, from the mention made of " casting out devils,” after raising the dead, in the commission given by Christ to bis disciples, Matt. x. 8, when he sent them forth, is, I think, of no force; for there inay

be no necessity of supposing the expression to rise higher than the other, from its being placed after it; as appears from other texts. Luke ix. 1, 2, " Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to beal the sick.” And Matt. x. 1, " And wben he had called unto him the twelve disci. ples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast • ibem out, and to heal all manner of sickness, and all man• ner of disease. See also Matt. iv. 24. It may likewise be • observed, that if the expression of " casting out devils," • be supposed to refer to real possessions; it is not an expres*sion of greater power, than that of raising the dead. "Nor • does the fact carry in it a greater degree of evidence and • conviction; because there is not equal evidence to be had • that a person is really possessed, as there is of a person's • being really dead. And therefore it may be as well placed after the raising the dead, if it be interpreted of persons mad, as if it be understood of persons possessed.

May not the term owopoverra, Mark“ v. 16; Luke viii. • 35, in his right mind,” by which this person is repre• sented after bis cure, as it is used both by sacred and pro• fane writers in opposition to madness, afford some coun• tenance to this interpretation ?'

So far my good friend. One of my arguments against real possessions was taken, * from the manner in which the persons, said to have “ unclean spirits,” speak of our Lord Jesus Christ.

• For such persons did often bear an honourable testimony . to our Lord. So Mark i. 24; Luke iv. 41. But it is in

credible, that Satan, or any other evil spirits, under his • influence and direction, should freely and cheerfully bear • witness to our Lord, as the Christ.

Indeed, this appears to me a very forcible argument. I have been sometimes apt to think, that this consideration • has been overlooked by learned and pious men, who have • so readily admitted real possessions.'

So I said. But Dr. Ward is not at all moved by that consideration. He even thinks the testimony of demons to our Lord, to have been of some value, and of use, especially for encouraging the disciples.

• See Vol. i. Supplement. Disc. III. 8.


Diss. p. 81, And as to the case of these demoniacs among the Gergesenes, there seems to have been the greatest pro. priety at that time, not only for his permitting the devils • to confess him to be the Son of God, but likewise to wor

ship him. For it does not appear, that any other person's • were then present, but Christ himself, and his disciples,

except the demoniacs. And this was not long before be • sent forth his disciples both to preach, and also “ to heal • the sick,— to raise the dead, and cast out devils,” Matt. . x. 7, 8. Therefore what could be more proper, or give • them higher encouragement to hope for success in their

work, than to see the devils thus subject to their master, • and paying homage to him ?'

But first, it is not at all likely that our Lord should accept the testimony of demons in private, if he did not receive it in public. How be checked and disallowed the confessions of persons under these disorders, may be seen, Mark i. 23–26'; and Luke iv. 33, 35. Dr. W. 'supposeth that there was great propriety in permitting such confessions, wben few were present. But I am not able to discern that propriety.

Secondly, there were others then present with our Lord, beside the disciples, and the demoniacs. For St. Matthew says, viii, 28,

“And when he was come to the other side, into the country of the Gergesenes, tbere met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce." St. Mark v. 1, 2, “ And they came over unto the other side of the sea - And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit.” Luke vii, 27, “ And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes."

The place of the present abode of these demoniacs was on the sea-coast. When they saw our Saviour and the disciples come on shore, they immediately came toward them. Nor can there be any doubt made, that the sailors also, in whose ship our Saviour and his disciples had arrived, came ashore with them, or presently after. The appearance of sucb objects could not but excite their curiosity. Moreover, in the voyage from the other side there had happened a great storm, which our Lord composed by his word. And the men of the ship, as well as the disciples, “ marvelled greatly,” or were exceedingly surprised, " saying: What inanner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey bim !” Matt. viji. 27. Nor were these men now first acquainted with our Lord. Before this they had heard

« ElőzőTovább »