« السابقةمتابعة »
And it shall come to pass, that every soul who will not hear that Prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people." Let us not attempt to excuse our unbelief and disobedience, by saying that we have not seen him in glory, nor heard the voice of God bear witness to him, as on the mount of old. What then occurred has been transmitted to us in authentic records; and all the three witnesses continued faithful to the testimony, notwithstanding persecution. God speaks to us in his word; and this voice let us hear. He speaks to us by his ministers; their words are his words, when taken from the Scriptures, for Jesus says to his ministers, "He that heareth you, heareth me." Let us all, then, as we regard our duty, safety, and happiness, hear him, hearken diligently unto him. May the Lord enable us to incline our ear and come unto him, and to hear, that our souls may live!
LUKE IX. 37-45.
"And it came to pass, that on the next day, when they were come down from the hill, much people met him. 38. And, behold, a man of the company cried out, saying, Master, I beseech thee, look upon my son; for he is mine only child. 39. And, lo, a spirit taketh him, and he suddenly crieth out; and it teareth him that he foameth again; and, bruising him, hardly departeth from him. 40. And I besought thy disciples to cast him out; and they could not. And Jesus, answering, said, O faithless and perverse generation! how long shall I be with you, and suffer you? Bring thy son hither. 42. And as he was yet a coming, the devil threw him down, and tare him. And Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the child, and delivered him again to his father. 43. And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God. But, while they wondered every one at all things which Jesus did, he said unto his disciples, 44. Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men. 45. But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not and they feared to ask him of that saying."
THE case of dispossession, with which this passage opens, is also related by Matthew and Mark; and of all the accounts, that of Mark is by far the longest, and most particulara proof that his Gospel is not an abridgment of Matthew's, but an original and independent work.
"And it came to pass," says Luke, "that on the next day," the day immediately following the night which they had spent on the mount of transfiguration, "when they," namely, Jesus, and Peter, James, and John, “ were come down from the hill, much people met them." Mark, in his 9th chapter, from the 14th verse, introduces the account thus: " And when he," Christ, "came to his disciples," that is, to those apostles who had not been with him on the mount," he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning with them. And straightway, all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and, running to him, saluted him." Their great amaze
ment could not have arisen from the mere circumstance of his coming down from the mountain, nor from any thing which could have presented itself to their notice
in his usual appearance, with which, indeed, most of them must have been already familiar: in short, though the reason of this astonishment is not expressly stated, there seems to be no way of satisfactorily accounting for it, but on the very probable supposition that, though our Lord had laid aside the divine splendour of the transfiguration, and assumed his usual form, in the main, yet, a certain uncommon appearance of majesty and glory still remained visible in his countenance, as was the case with Moses, of whom we are told that his face shone for some time
after he came down from mount Sinai. The questioning, or disputation, which the scribes were holding, we may believe, maliciously and triumphantly, seems to have been about the case which had baffled the disciples, and which one very deeply interested came forward to explain.
Luke says, in verse 38th, "And, behold, a man of the company," even the sorrowful father of the afflicted young man, "cried out," loudly and eagerly, "Master," Teacher, "I beseech thee, look upon my son" with an eye of compassion-have pity on him, and restore him; "for he is mine only child," which greatly aggravates the affliction. Matthew says that the man came "kneeling down to Jesus, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son." In describ ing the situation of his son, the man says, according to Luke, "And, lo, a spirit taketh him, and he suddenly crieth out; and it teareth him that he foameth again; and, bruising him, hardly departeth from him." But, that we may have the full description of his dreadful case, let us take in what is said in Matt. xvii, 15: “He is lunatic, and sore vexed; for oft times he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water;" and in Mark ix. 17: "Master, I have brought unto thee my son, who hath a dumb spirit; and wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him; and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away." All these woful circumstances met in this dreadful case ;-epilepsy, causing him to fall down wherever he might be, and excessively agitating his frame, and wasting his bodily strength, deafness or dumbness, or the loss of the faculties of hearing and speech; lunacy, or mental derangement; and finally, what we might have noticed first, demoniacal possession, which was, in itself, a shocking evil, and which caused or aggravated all the other evils, and operated through them.
Verse 40: "And I besought thy disciples to cast him out, and they could not." We read in the 1st verse of this
chapter, that when our Lord sent forth the twelve, “he gave them power and authority over all devils." On this occasion, however, they failed, and that, too, before many who were ready to take every advantage against them. Christ, no doubt, permitted this failure, in order to keep them humble, and sensible of their dependence on him; in order to afford an opportunity of a very signal display of his own power; and in order to punish the unbelief and perverseness which prevailed. He himself, in his reply to the man, opens up, and rebukes, the cause of the failure. "And Jesus, answering, said, O faithless and perverse generation!"—in this, he seems to rebuke the sins of all who were concerned, particularly, the want, or the weakness, of faith, and other infirmities, in the man and the nine disciples, and the total unbelief and perverseness of the scribes. "How long shall I be with you, and suffer you?" or bear with you, before you come to a right spirit? Though justly displeased, Jesus would not withhold relief when it was so greatly needed, and so earnestly implored. He said to the father of the afflicted youth, "Bring thy son hither." Then it is said, "As he was yet a coming, the devil threw him down, and tare him." According to Mark, "he fell down on the ground, and wallowed," or rolled from side to side, "foaming" at the mouth. And this he would, no doubt, continue to do, till his strength being exhausted, he lay motionless, and as if he would expire.
Let us here turn to the following additional, and very interesting, circumstances mentioned by Mark.* Jesus asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child," or from his childhood. The long standing of the disease rendered it more heavy, and the cure more difficult, humanly speaking, and more illustrious. "And oft times," continues the father, "it hath cast him into the fire, and into the water to destroy him: but if," in so bad a case, "thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us and help us." There was here much unbelief, meeting, however, with some faith. The way of speaking was natural, pathetic, and, without professing to do so, yet indirectly involving Christ's honour in the result of the case. Without resenting the insinuation here implied, and without any formal assertion of his own power, our Lord assured him that, if his son should not be cured, it would be owing to want of faith in him (the father), and
* Mark ix. 21.
not to any want of power in Christ. "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth." The father, then feeling a great struggle in his mind between belief and unbelief, and deeply concerned lest, through a defect in him, his son should fail of being healed, in agony, and with tears, cried out, "Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief." He did really believe that Jesus was able to work almost any cure; but, when he considered the aggravated nature of this case, he could not exclude all doubting as to the result; and he addressed a prayer of some faith to the divine Saviour for more faith. —a prayer which was favourably answered, as the event proved.
The curiosity of the multitude was, by this time, greatly awakened to see what Jesus would do; and they came running together, and crowding around. On this, "Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit," "saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him." This formal, authoritative, and loud command, would call the attention of the multitude, and lead them to connect the cure with our Lord's power and grace The way in which our Lord here spoke was also, most clearly, a confirmation of the commonly received opirion that this was really a diabolical possession, and not merely disease: had the people been in error as to this, the Faithful and True Witness would never have expressed himself in a manner which necessarily tended to confirm them in the error; he never would have allowed them to believe that Satanic agency was employed where it was not, but would have taken care to have undeceived them. The unclean spirit felt the power of the divine command: “And the spirit cried, and rent" the youth "sore, and came out of him and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead :"-they saw him in such a swoon, that they thought he would never revive again. "But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up, and he arose." Matthew says that "the child," or lad, was cured from that very hour;" he was immediately and thoroughly restored, so that neither the possession nor the diseases returned on him any more. Luke says that Jesus "healed the child, and delivered him again to his father," who would receive him with inexpressible astonishment and joy. Luke also mentions, what might well have been supposed, that “all” who were present, were amazed at the mighty power of God," which this miracle displayed: there is too much