1. The devil's malice: he will hurt the poor beasts, rather than not hurt at all. 2. His powerful restraint: he cannot hurt a poor pig without a permission: Suffer us to enter. Satan's malice indeed is infinite, but his power is bounded: it is potestas sub potestate, a power under a power; if he could not hurt the swine, much less can he afflict the children of men without leave. Observe, 8. How Satan's request is yielded to by our Saviour: he suffered them to go into the swine, not to gratify their desire in doing mischief; but, first, hereby Christ showed his power over the devils, that they could not act without his permission and leave; next, to show how great the malice and power of the devil is, if not restrained; and lastly, that the miracle of casting out so many devils might appear to be the greater. Learn hence, That sometimes Almighty God, for wise ends and just causes, doth suffer the devil to enjoy his desire, in doing mischief unto the creatures: Jesus said unto them, Go. Observe, 9. What a bad effect this miracle had upon the minds of the Gadarenes; instead of believing and owning Christ's divine power, the loss of their swine enrages them, and makes them desire Christ's departure from them. Learn, That carnal hearts prefer their swine before their Saviour, and would rather lose Christ's presence than their worldly profit: They besought iim to depart from them. Sad is the condition of those from whom Christ departs; more sad the condition of such who say unto Christ, Depart; but most sad the condition of them who beseech and entreat Christ to depart from them: thus did the Gadarenes here, and we do not read that ever Christ returned more to them. Observe, 10. How desirous the possessed man was to continue with Christ after he was come to himself: He prayed that he might be with him. This he might desire, partly to testify his thankfulness to Christ, partly out of fear of being re-possessed again by Satan, or perhaps to have the opportunity ol hearing Christ's doctrine, and seeing his miracles: for such as have once tasted that the Lord is gracious, and experienced the pleasure and profit of Christ's company, are very desirous of the continuance of it, and exceeding loth to part with it. However, our Saviour at this time did not think fit to suffer him, knowing that more glory would redound to God by publishing this miracle to his friends. Christ expects, after eminent deliverances

wrought for us, that we should be the publishers of his praises, and declare to all, tar and near, the great and wonderful things which he has done for us. Observe lastly, How Christ ascribes that power to God, by which he had wrought this miracle of healing: Shea how great things God has done for thee. From whence the Socinians infer, that had he been God most high, and the author of that power by which be wrought thus miracle, he would have ascribed it to himself. Answer, Christ doth this, as not seeking his own glory, but the glory of him that sent him; that is, as executing his prophetic office in his Father's name, and casting out devils by that Spirit which he had received from his Father.

41 And, behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue: and he fell down at Jesus' feet, and besought him that he would come into his house: 42 For he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she lay a dying. (But as be went, the people thronged him.)

Observe here, 1. The person described who came to Christ on behalf of his sick daughter: by his name Jairus; by his office, a ruler of the synagogue; by fan gesture, he fell down a t Jesus's feet: this gesture of his was not only a sign of tender affection in him towards his daughter, but also an evidence of his faith in our blessed Saviour; he believed him either to be God, or an extraordinary man, who bad a miraculous power of healing. Observe, 2. How readily Christ complies with Jairra's request: Jesus went with him. Although his faith was but weak, yet our Saviour doth not reject him, or deny his suit. O bow ready should we be to go to Christ in all our distresses, who is so ready to bear, and so forward to help us, if we seek him in sincerity, though our faith be weak and feeble! Observe, 3. The great humility of our blessed Saviour in suffering himself to be thronged with poor people: much people followed him and thronged him. O humble and lowly Saviour! bow free was thy conversation from pnde and haughtiness! how willing to convene with the meanest of the people for their advantage! Christ did not only suffer them to come near him, but even to throng hiro. Let not then the greatest persons upon earth despise or disdain the poorest of the people; but look upon some with an eye of favour, upon others with an eye of pity, upon none with an eye of contempt.

43 And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, 44 Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched. 45 Aud Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter, and they that were with him, said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? 46 And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me. 47 And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and, falling down before him, she declared uuto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately. 4tf And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole: go in peace.

As our Saviour was on his way to Jairus's house, a diseased woman cometh behind him, toucheth his clothes, and is presently healed. The virtue lay not in her finger, but in her faith; or rather in Christ, which her faith instrumentally drew forth. Observe, 1. The diseased woman, one with a bloody flux; let women here take notice of the miseries which the sin of the first woman brought upon all women; amongst which this is one, that it has made their bodies subject to preternatural issues and fluxes of blood. Observe, 2. The long continuance of this disease, twelve years; it pleases God to lay long and tedious afflictions upon some of his children in this life, and particularly to keep some of them a very long time under bodily weakness, to manifest his power in supporting them, and to magnify his mercy in delivering them. Observe, 3. This poor woman was found in the use of means: she sought to physicians for help, and is not blamed for so doing, although she spent all she had upon them. The use and help of physic is by so means to be neglected by us in times of

sickness, especially in dangerous diseases of the body; to trust to means is to neglect God; and to neglect the means is to contemn God. The health of our body ought to be dear unto us, and all lawful means used both to preserve it, to recover it, and to confirm it. Observe, 4. The actings of this poor woman's faith: her disease was unclean by the ceremonial law, and she is to be separated from society: accordingly she is ashamed to appear before Christ, but comes behind him to touch his clothes; being firmly persuaded that Christ had a power communicated to him miraculously to cure incurable diseases; and how our Saviour encouraged her faith, he saith, Thy faith hath made thee whole. Learn hence, That faith oft-times meets with a better welcome from Christ, than it did or could expect; this poor woman came to Christ trembling, but went away triumphing. Observe, 5. Christ would have this miracle discovered; he therefore says, Who touched me? For I perceive that virtue is gone out of mc. Christ says this, first, in reference to himself, to manifest his divine power, that by the touch of his clothes he could cure such an incurable disease. Secondly, in relation to the woman, that she might have opportunity to give God the praise and glory for the cure. And, thirdly, with respect to Jairus, that his faith might be strengthened in belief of Christ's power to raise his daughter.

49 While he yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue's house, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master. 50 But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole. 51 And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden. 52 And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not: she is not dead, but sleepeth. 53 And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. 54 And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise. 55 And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat. 56 And her parents were astonished ; but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done.

Observe bere, 1. Tbe doleful news brought to Jairus's ear: Thy daughter is dead. The Lord doth sometimes surfer the faith and patience of his children to be greatly exercised and tried. The loss of dear relations, particularly of children, especially of an only child, is one of the greatest sorrows of human lite , a trial which has often shocked an ordinary patience and constancy of mind. Observe, 2. Our Saviour's seasonable word ot advice and comfort: Fear not, only believe. Christ stands ready to comfort believers in the hour of their greatest trials and temptations. Observe, 3. Christ's application ot himself in order to the raising to hie Jairus's dead daughter. And here, 1. He goes into the house only with three of his disciples, and the father and the mother of the maid, which was sufficient to bear witness ot the truth of the miracle. Our Saviour to avoid all show of vain-glory, would not work this miracle publicly before all the people. 2. Our Saviour rebukes them tor the show they made of immoderate grief and sorrow for the dead damsel: they wepl and wailed greatly, with minstrels making a noise, say the other evangelists, according to the custom of the Heathens, who, by a mournful sort of music, did seek to stir up the passion of griel at their luuerals. To mourn immoderately for the dead is an lieathenish custom and practice; 'tis hurtful to the living, 'tis dishonourable to the dead; nor is it an argument of more love, but an evidence of less grace. 3. Christ adds a reason for this rebuke given by him: For the damsel is not dead, but slecpcth; Vobis mortua, mihi dormit; 'She is dead to you, but asleep to me;' not so dead as to be beyond my power to raise her to life. Souls departed are under the conduct of angels to their several regions of bliss or misery. It is very probable that the soul of this damsel was under the guard of angels, near her dead body, waiting the pleasure of God, in order to its disposal, either to restore it again to its body or to translate it to its eternal mansion. Observe farther, The nature of death in general, and of the saints' death in particular; 'tis a sleep. Sleep is a state of rest, sleep is a sudden surprisal; in sleep there is an insensible passage of our time; the person sleep

ing shall certainly awake. O how much is it our wisdom to prepare for the bed of the grave ; and so to live, that when we lie down in it, there may be nothing to disturb our rest ! Observe farther, With what facility and ease our Saviour raises the dead damsel with a word speaking, and St. Mark tells us what the words were; Tahtha cumi, Syriac words, to show the truth of the miracle; not like a conjuror muttering a charm in an unknown tongue. The miracles which Christ wrought were real miracles, and carried their own evidence along with them. Observe lastly, Tbe charge given by our Saviour not to publish this miracle; he charged them to tell no man what was done, that is, divulge Jt not imprudently to such of the scribes and Pharisees as would not be convinced by it, but only cavil at it, and be the more enraged against him for it, and seek his death heli ,re his appointed time was come. Again, Tell it no man unseasonably, and all at once, but gradually and by degrees: lor it was the will of God, that the divine glory of Christ should not be manifested to the world all at once, and on the sudden, but by little and little, during his state of humiliation; for his resurrection was the time appointed by God for the full manifestation of Christ's Godhead, Rom. i. 4. Declared to be the Son of God with power, by the resurrection from the dead.


'T'HEN he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. 2 And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. 3 And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece. 4 And whatsoever house ye enter into, there ahide, and thence depart. 5 And whosoever will not receive yon, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet, for a testimony against them. 6 And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where.

We heard before, chap. vi. 13. of our Saviour's choosing his twelve apostle;, and their several names ; they were first chosen disciples to be with Christ, to learn of him, and be instructed by him, and to be witnesses of what he said and did. Now atter some time thus spent m preparing and fitting them for public service, our Saviour sends them torth to preach the gospel, and gives them a power to confirm their doctrine by miracles. Observe here, 1. The person that sends the apostles forth to preach the gospel: it is Christ himself. Learn thence, That none ought to take upon them the office of preaching, or any other ministunl function of the church, till thereunto called by Christ himself. The apostles were called by Christ, and immediately sent forth by himself. The ministers of the gospel are now called mediately, and receive authority trom Christ by the hand of the governors of the church. Observe, 2. The power given to the apostles by our Saviour to work miracles, for confirming that doctrine which they preaclied: He gave them power over unclean spirits, &c. Now this miraculous power given to the apostles -was necessary, partly to procure reverence to their persons, being poor and unlearned men; but principally to gaiu credit and authority to their doctrine; for the doctrine of faith in the Messiah as now come, and exhihited in the flesh, being a strange and new doctrine to the Jews, the truth and certainty of it was to be extraordinarily ratified by miracles, which are the broad seal ot heaven, to testify that such doctrine comes from God. Observe, 3. The charge here given by Christ to his apostles at the time of their sending forth ; and this is threefold, First, Touching their preparation for the journey: he forhids them to take much care, or to spend much time, in furnishing themselves with victuals, money, or clothes; because they were to finish their journey speedily, and to return again to Christ their Master. This command of our Saviour to his apostles not to encumber themselves, when going forth to preach the gospel, teaches his ministers their duty, to tree themselves as much as possibly they can from worldly incumbrances, which may hinder them in their ministerial services, 2 Tim. ii. 4. No man that -warreth, entanglclh himself -aith the affairs of this life. Secondly, Touching their lodging in their journey: Christ advises them not to change it, during iheir stay in one place; but into -whatsoever house they entered, they should there continue till they departed out of the

place, that so they might avoid all show of lightness and inconstancy, and testify all gravity and stayedness in their behaviour; this being a special mean to gain reverence to their persons, and authority to their doctrine. Thirdly, Christ gives a special charge to his apostles concerning their carriage toward sucli as should ret use to give entertainment to them and their doctrine: they were to denounce the judgments of God against such contemners, by shaking off the dust of their feet for a testimony against them. This action was emblematical, signifying that Almighty God would in like manner shake them off, as the vilest dust ; tor wnerever the word is preached, it is for a testimony, either a testimony for, or against, a people; for if the dust of a minister's feet whilst alive, and the ashes of his grave when dead, do bear witness against the despisers of his gospel, their sermons much more.

7 Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by him: and he was perplexed, because that it was said of some that John was risen from the dead; 8 And of some, That Elias had appeared ; and of others, That one of the old prophets was risen again. 0 And Herod said, John have I beheaded; but who is this, of whom I hear such things? And he desired to see hhn.

The history of the holy Baptist's beheading by Herod, is briefly here hinted at, by St. Luke, but not so largely set forth by him as we find it by St. Matthew, chap. xiv. and St. Mark chap. vi. see the notes there. That which St. Luke takes particular notice of is, that great perplexity of mind which Herod's guilty conscience did occasion ; he had murdered John, and now is afraid his ghost haunted him; Herod was perplexed. Learn hence, That guilt is naturally troublesome and uneasy: it disturbs the peace and serenity of the mind, and fills the soul with storms and thunder. Guilt is always full of fear; every thing affrights the guilty. A bad man is a terror to himself, and needs no farther disquietment than what his own guilty conscience doth occasion him.

10 And the apostles, when they were returned, told him all that they had done. And he took them, and went aside privately into a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida. 11 And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing.

St . Luke here gives a short account of several material passages, as, 1. Concerning the apostles' return to Christ after their mission and sending forth ; they acquaint their Master how they had executed their office, and discharged the trust he had reposed in them. 2. He withdraws privately into a desert place from the multitude, that he might enjoy himself and his disciples, but there the people find him out, and flock after him; and Christ, whose meat it was by day, and sleep by night, to do good, embraces the opportunity, bestowing upon their souls instruction, reproof, and counsel: upon their bodies, health and healing: teaching us by the example to mix spiritual alms with bodily relief. We must be in fee with the body sometimes, that we may come at the soul. Happy is that christian whom God hath made both able and willing to intermix spiritual alms with corporeal, and knows how to feed two at once, soul and body both! This is the duty of all, but especially of spiritual persons. The Lord give us wisdom and grace to manage it to advantage!

12 And when the day began to wear away, then came the twelve, and said unto him, Send the multitude away, that they may go into the towns and country round about, and lodge, and get victuals; for we are here in a desert place. 13 Rut he said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they said, We have no more but five loaves and two fishes ; except we should go and buy meat for all this people. 14 (Tor they were about five thousand men.) And he said to his disciples, Make them sit down by fifties in acompany. 15 And they did so, and made them all sit down. 16 Then he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, lie blessed them, and brake, and gave to the disciples to set before

the multitude. 17 And they did eat, and were all filled: and there was taken up of fragments that remained to them twelve baskets.

This miracle of our Saviour's feeding five thousand with five loaves and two fishes, is recorded by all the evangelists, and in the history of it we have these observable particulars: 1. The seasonable expression of the disciples' pity towards the multitude, who had long fasted, and wanted now the ordinary comforts and supports of life; it well becomes the ministers of Christ to have respect to the bodily wants as well u to the spiritual necessities of their people. Observe, 2. The motion which the disciples make to Christ on behalf of the multitude: Send them away, that they may go into the towns and country, and gel victuals. Here was a strong charity, but a weak faith; a strong charity in desmog the people's relief, but a weak faith in supposing that they could no other way be relieved, but by sending them away . forgetting that Christ, who had healed toe multitude miraculously, could also feed them miraculously whenever he pleased; all things being equally easy to an almighty power. Observe, 3. Our Saviour's strange reply to the disciples' request: They need not depart, give ye them to eat. Need not depart, why } The people must either feed or famish; victuals they must have, and a dry desert will afford none, yet says Christ to his disciples, Give ye them eat. Alas poor disciples! they bad nothing for themselves to eat, how then should they give the multitude to eat > When Christ requires of us what we of ourselves are unable to perform, it is to discover to us our own impotency and weakness, to provoke us to look up to him, and to depend by faith on his almighty power. Observe, 4. What a poor and slender provision the Lord of the whole earth has for himself and his family : five barley loaves, and ias fishes: teaching us, that these bodies of ours must be fed, but not pampered. Our belly must not be our master, much lea our god. The end of food is to sustain nature; we must not stifle her with a gluttonous variety. And as the quality of the victuals was plain, so the quantity ot it was small ; five loaves, and two fishes -- well might the disciples say, What are they among so many? The eye of sense ana reason sees an utter impossihility of those effects which faith can easily apprehend.

« ElőzőTovább »