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things similar in the two cures; for instance, both the lepers say to Christ, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. But it was so natural to address their desires unto the Son of God in this form, by which, also, they expressed their belief in his power, that it is rather matter of wonder we do not find it more frequently made use of. We have a parallel example, Mat. ix. 27, Luke xviii. 38, whose different blind men, at different times, desiring cures, make use of the same form of address, Son of David, have mercy on us. Farther, there is the same command given to the lepers, to go shew themselves to the priest. But this command must have been repeated, not twice, but twenty times, on the supposition that Jesus cleansed lepers so often. Accordingly, we find him repeating it to the lepers whom he cleansed at one time, in Samaria, [Luke xvi. 14.] As for the circumstance of bidding the cured person tell no man what had happened, it occurs almost in every miracle performed by Christ during the two first years of his ministry.
But however convincing these arguments might appear to the learned commentator, they have not been able to obtain our consent to his opinion; for we still think it probable that it was the same miracle, which might be performed within the precincts of Capernaum, and might be the cause, though a little remote, of our Lord's leaving that city, and retiring into the desert.
3. Dr. Campbell vindicates his translation of the last verse by the following note. Both the sense and the connexion shew that the them here means the people. It could not be the priests, for it was only one priest (to wit, the priest then entrusted with that business,) to whom he was commanded to go. Besides, the oblation could not serve as an evidence to the priest. On the contrary, it was necessary that he should have ocular evidence, by an accurate inspection in private, before the man was admitted into the temple, and allowed to make the oblation: but his obtaining this permission, and the sole an ceremony consequent upon it, was the public testimony of the priest, the only legal judge to the people that the man's uncleanness was removed. This was a matter of the utmost consequence to the man, and of some consequence to them. Till such testimony was given, he lived in a most uncomfortable seclusion from society. No man durst, under pain of being also secluded, admit him into his house, eat with him, or so much as touch him. The antecedent, therefore, to the pronoun them, though not expressed, is easily supplied by the sense. To me it is equally clear, that the only thing meant to be attested by the oblation was the cure. The suppositions of some commentators on this subject are quite extravagant. Nothing can be more evident than that the person now cleansed was not permitted to give any testimony to the priest, or to any other, concerning the manner of his cure, or the person by whom it had been performed. See thou tell nobody. The prohibition is expressed, by the evangelist Mark, in still stronger terms. Prohibitions of this kind were often transgressed by those who received them; but that is not a good reason for represeating our Lord as giving contradictory orders.
When the leper was dismissed, Jesus proceeded to Capernaum, and, as he was entering the town, a Roman centurion, in Herod's pay, met and told him of the grievous distress that a young person, belonging to him, was in, by reason of a palsy which he laboured under. [Mat. viii. 5.] And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, and saying, Lord, my servant, (or, as others render it, my son,) lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. Jesus kindly replied, that he would come and heal him. The centurion answered, that he did not mean he should take the trouble of going to his house, being a Gentile, but only that he would be so good as to command this young man's cure, though at a disauce; for he knew his power was equal to that effect, diseases and devils, of all kinds,
being as much subject to his command as his soldiers were to him. If I, says he, who am but an inferior officer, can make the soldiers under my command, and the servants in my house go whither I please, and do what I please, merely by speaking to them; much more canst thou make diseases go or come at thy word, seeing they are all absolutely subject to thee. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled. Our Lord's marvelling on this occasion, by no means, implics that he was ignorant either of the centurion's faith, or of the grounds on which it was built. He knew all fully before the man spake one word; but he was struck with admiration at the noble notion which this heathen Roman captain had conceived of his power; the passion of admiration being excited by the greatness and beauty of any object, as well as by its novelty and unexpectedness. Jesus expressed his admiration of the centurion's faith, in the praises which he bestowed on it, with a view to make it the more conspicuous; for he declared publicly, that he had not met with any one, among the Jews, who possessed such just and elevated conceptions of the power by which he acted, notwithstanding they enjoyed the benefit of a divine revelation, directing them to believe on him. Some of the heathens, indeed, formed very grand ideas of the divine power; but the excellency and peculiarity of the centurion's faith consisted in his applying this sublime idea to Jesus, who, by outward appearance, was only a man. His faith seems to have taken its rise from the miraculous cure that was performed some time before this, on a nobleman's son in Capernaum; for, as the centurion dwelt there, he might know that, at the time of the cure, Jesus was not in Capernaum, but in Cana, at the distance of a day's journey from the sick person, when he performed it. From this exalted pitch of faith, found in a heathen, Jesus took occasion to declare the merciful purpose which God entertained towards all the Gentiles, namely, that he would accept their faith as readily as the faith of the Jews, and set them down with the founders of the Jewish nation, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in heaven; while the children of the kingdom, i. e. such of the professed people of God as came short of the faith of the patriarchs, should be shut out for ever. And I say unto you, that many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. This passage, Dr. Gill remarks, shews, that the faithof Old and New Testament saints, Jews, and Gentiles, is the same; their blessings the same, and so their eternal happiness; they have the same God and Father; the same Mediator and Redeemer; are actuated and influenced by the same Spirit; partake of the same grace; and shall share the same glory. The allusion is to sitting, or, rather, lying along, which was the posture of the antients at meals, and is here expressed, at a table, at a meal, or feast: and, under the metaphor of a feast, or plentiful table, to set down to, are represented the blessings of the gospel, and the joys of heaven, which are not restrained to any particular nation or set of people; not to the Jews, to the exclusion of the Gentiles. Our Lord, here, goes directly contrary to the notions and practices of the Jews, who thought it a crime to sit down at table, and eat with the Gentiles; [see Acts xi. 3.] and yet Gentiles shall sit at table, and eat with the principal men, the heads of their nation, in the kingdom of heaven, and they themselves, at the same time, be shut out. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. The allusion in the text, as the last quoted learned writer remarks, is to the customs of the antients, in their feasts and entertainments, which were commonly made in the evening; when the ball, or dining-room, in which they sat down, was very much illuminated with lamps and torches, but without, in the streets, was entire darkness ; and where nothing was heard but the cries of the poor, for something to be given thems and of the persons that were turned out as unworthy guests; and the gnashing of
their teeth, either with cold in winter nights, or with indignation at their being kept out. This miracle is commonly supposed to be the same which is recorded in the seventh of Luke, but Dr. Macknight has given pretty good reasons for a contrary opinion.
On the sabbath following Jesus taught in the synagogue of Capernaum, where he performed a miracle of healing on one of the congregation, who, being possessed by an evil spirit, was afflicted with a falling sickness. It is remarkable, that, in all cures of this distemper which our Lord performed, matters were so ordered, that the person to be cured was seized with it at the time of the cure, and raised from the stupor the fit to perfect health in an instant. Thus, the reality and greatness, both of the distemper and the cure, were fully proved, to the conviction of every spectator. [Mark i. 27, 28.] And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned (Luke, spake) among themselves, saying, what thing is this? what new "doctrine is this? (Luke, what word is this? i. e. how powerful is this man's word or command!) for with authority (Luke, with authority and power,) commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him. (Luke, they come out.) And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee. (Luke, the fame of him went out into every place of the country round about.
From the synagogue Jesus went home to Peter's house, and cured his wife's mother, who was ill of a fever. [Luke iv. 38.] And he arose out of the synagogue. [Mark i. 29..31.] And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. (Luke, Simon's house.) But Simon's wife's mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her. And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up, (Luke, he stood over her, and rebuked the fever,) and immediately the fever left her. Her cure was effected in an instant; and not slowly, like the cures produced in the course of nature, or by medicine. For the length and violence of her distemper had brought her into a weak and languid state; her full strength returned all at once, insomuch, that, rising up immediately, she prepared a supper for them, and served them while at meat, shewing that she was restored to perfect health.
The news of this miracle being spread through the town, those who had sick relations or friends resolved to apply to Jesus for a cure. Only, because it was the sabbath, they did not come immediately to him. They waited till the holy rest was ended, which, according to the Jewish form of the day, was at sun-setting, and then they brought the sick, in great numbers, to him, fully persuaded that he would heal them. The persons who attended the sick, or who brought them to be cured, together with the towns-people, whose curiosity and admiration was excited by the reports which were immediately spread abroad of the two miracles that day performed, made such a crowd at the door of Peter's house, that it looked as if all the city had been gathered together. However, what drew Christ's attention was the diseased and the possessed. The sight of so many of the human kind in distress moved him; he took pity on them, and cured them all. [Luke iv. 40, 41.] And he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them. And devils, also, came out of many, crying out and saying, Thou art Christ, the Son of God. And he, rebuking them, suffered them not to speak, for they knew that he was Christ. [Mat. viii. 16.] And he cast out the Spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick. By assuming the human nature, with its infirmities and diseases, as well as by his sufferings, he made atonement for sin, and freed men from the punishment of it, both temporal and eternal. In this, he now gave the clearest proof in his miracles, healing, with sovereign authority, all diseases, originally inflicted on men as the temporal punishment of sin. Hence, the curing
of these diseases is called by Christ himself, the forgiving of sin. [Mat. ix. 2.] Christ's miracles augmenting his fame exceedingly, the crowds that were drawn together in Capernaum began to be troublesome. He, therefore, rising early in the morning, retired to a solitary place, for the purposes of prayer and meditation; but the inhabitants of Capernaum, unwilling to lose the presence of so great a prophet, followed him thither and begged that their town might always enjoy the favour of his presence. He informed them, however, that this was impossible, as it was necessary to the fulfilment of his mission that he should preach in other parts of the country; and; conformably to this declaration, he visited the next towns, taught in their synagogues, and delivered such as had been oppressed by infernal spirits.
After Jesus returned home, his four disciples betook themselves, as usually, to their ordinary occupations; for, in the following passage of the history, we find them washing their nets, after having fished with them in the lake. But, though they thus minded their worldly affairs, they did not neglect attending on the public instructions which their master gave, from time to time, in their city.
It seems, the sermons which Jesus preached in the last tour had made a great impression on the people; for they either accompanied him to Capernaum, or went thither soon after his return, in expectation of hearing hin This disposition he would not discourage, and therefore he went out to the lake and taught them, standing upon the shore. But the crowd growing continually greater, they pressed upon him to such a degree, that he could not continue his discourse. He, therefore, went into Simon's boat, and preached the word to them as they stood round upon the shore. The subject of his discourse at this time is not mentioned by the evangelist: he introduces the transaction only because it was followed by an extraordinary miracle, which he was going to relate. For Jesus, having finished his sermon, and dismissed. the people, desired Simon, who was the owner of the boat, and his own disciple, to launch forth, and let down his net for a draught, intending, by the multitude of fishes which he would make him catch, to shew him the success of his future preaching, even in cases when little success was to be expected. And now the net was no sooner let down, than such a shoal of fishes ran into it, that it was in danger of breaking. When they inclosed this great multitude of fishes, they were, it seems, not far from the shore; for they beckoned to their companions, who belonged to the other boat, to come and assist them. So great a draught of fishes had never been seen in the lake before. Wherefore, it could not miss being acknowledged plainly miraculous by all the fishermen present; especially, as they had toiled in that very place, to no purpose, the whole preceding night, a season much more favourable than the day-time for catching fish in such clear waters. Peter, in particular, was so struck with the thing, that he could not forbear expressing his astonishment in the most lively manner, both by words and gestures. [Luke v. 8] When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, wao was in the boat with them, saying, Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken. Peter's words, on this occasion, may be variously interpreted. For we may suppose that, conscious of his iniquity, he was afraid to be in Christ's company, lest some infirmity or offence might have exposed him to more than ordinary chastisements [compare Judges vi. 22 xiii 22.1: or, it being an opinion of the Jews that the visits of prophets were attended with chastisements from heaven, [1 Kings xvii. 18.] he might be struck with a panic when he observed this proof of Christ's power. Or he may have said to his Master, Depart, because he was not able to shew him the respect he deserved, and was not worthy to be in his company In this latter sense Peter's words were full of reverence and humility, being not unlike
the centurion's speech, so highly applauded by Jesus himself, "I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof." Though Peter was the only person who spake on this occasion, the rest were not unaffected. It seems, they all thought this a more notable miracle than the cures which he had performed on the sick. And so was also James and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not, from henceforth thou shalt catch men. The fishes were brought together, on this occasion, by the power of Christ, to shew Peter and his companions that from thenceforth they were to be employed in a more noble business; they were to catch men, that is, by the power of their doctrine were to draw them out of the gulph of ignorance, wickedness, and misery, in which they were immersed. Doubtless, before this, the disciples entertained an high idea of their master, as they believed him to be Messiah. But the miracle of the fishes was such a striking demonstration of his power, that they became absolutely devoted to his will; and, in the greatness of their admiration, followed him, neglecting their booty. This seems to have been the evangelist's meaning in the eleventh verse, where he tells us that, (And) when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed
A little time after that this event had taken place, the sea of Tiberias became the scene of another of our Lord's miracles. Finding himself incommoded by the great multitudes which followed him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side of the lake. Upon this, a scribe, who happened to be present, offered to follow him. But Jesus, knowing that he had nothing in view but the pleasures and profits of the supposed kingdom, would not accept of his service, telling him that he was quite mistaken if he purposed to better his worldly circumstances by attending him; for, though the foxes had holes, and the birds found their places in which to shelter, the Son of Man was not possessed of so much as a habitation where he might lay his head. The willingness of the scribe to follow Jesus, though from a wrong motive, reproved the backwardness of a particular disciple, who, being commanded to attend, requested permission first to go and bury his father. But Jesus said unto him, Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead. This reply appears the more proper, if we may suppose, with some commentators, that the father of this disciple was living, and that he wished to wait till after his death before he obeyed the command of Christ. We may then admit Dr. Macknight's paraphrase as just, let such as are dead in sin, who have neither hope nor desire of immortality, and who are not devoted to my service, as you profess to be, perform that office to your father when he dies; for if you have a mind to be my disciple, you must not neglect my work by waiting for his death, which may not happen so soon as you are imagining.
When all things were made ready, Jesus went on board the vessel in the evening, which was attended by a number of other little boats full of people. As they sailed, Jesus fell asleep in the storm, being fatigued with the work of the day. In the mean while the weather suddenly changed, and a storm came on, which threatened to sink them to the bottom. The tempest increased the horrors of the night; the sky loured, and the wind roared; the sea and the clouds were driven with the fury of the storm. Now they were tossed up on the tops of the billows, then hurled down to the bottom of the deep, buried among the waves. The disciples exerted their utmost skill in managing their vessel, but to no purpose; the waves, breaking in, filled her, so that she began to sink. Their souls melted because of trouble: they gave themselves up for lost, and were on the very brink of perishing, when they ran to Jesus, shrieking out, Master, Master, we perish! Their cries awoke him. He arose, and rebuked the wind and sea, the wind instantly became silent; the sea, which had well nigh