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THE LORD HEALING THE MAN AMONG
IN THE COUNTRY OF THE GADARENES.
"And they came over unto, the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.
"And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him, out of the tombs, a man with an unclean spirit,
"Who had his dwelling among the tombs, and no man could bind him, no, not with chains :
"Because 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: neither could any man tame him.
"And always night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones." (Mark v. 1—5.)
NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS.
OUR most glorious Lord Jesus Christ had been discoursing with his usual condescension in parables in the audience of a great multitude; and having now finished his sermon, he came as the evangelist here relates, over to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. Matthew, in his relation of this history, calls it, "the country of the Gergesenes." (Matt. viii. 28.) But Luke in his ac
count of it, useth the same name as Mark. (Luke viii. 26.) It is plain however, that one and the same place is intended by all; because the other side of the sea was Galilee; from whence Christ and his disciples had embarked. It could therefore be no other. Gadara and Gergesa, were evidently one and the same city; though perhaps, as is not unfrequently the case, even to the present hour, two places originally distinct, yet from being near each other, and at length by increase of buildings meeting each other, became incorporated in one. Hence they retained the original name of each; and some called it the country of the Gergasenes, and some the country of the Gadarenes. The most ancient however was that of the Gergasenes; being the same as in the days of Abraham was called the Girgashites: (Gen. xv. 21.) and so on to the days of Moses and Joshua. (Deut. vii. 1. Joshua iii. 10.)
As soon as the Lord Jesus had landed, an opportunity was afforded for the display of his Almighty power! The Scripture saith, that "immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit." Here at once opens to our view a renewed testimony both of the person and GODHEAD of Christ; and of the gracious purpose for which he came down from heaven. In order therefore to enter into the scriptural and spiritual apprehension of this interesting subject; I pray the reader not to overlook that this country of the Gergashites, or if you will, the Gadarenes, or Gergasenes, was not only an heathenish country, but one of those very countries whom the Lord promised his people to drive out the inhabitants before them. See (Deut. vii. 22, 23.) But even here, as in the instance at Jericho, the cursed city, the Lord had a Rahab of his family to gather from it in the early ages of the church; as he had a Zaccheus, in the latter days of the gospel; and this
man also, whose history is before us, for the gathering of whom it is evident the Lord passed over from Galilee to Gadara. Oh! what a world of mysteries is the church of God surrounded with in all generations! Very blessedly as well as beautifully was it said by the Lord himself, in relation to this gracegathering method of our most glorious Lord: "For thus saith the Lord God; Behold I, even I will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country.” (Ezek. xxxiv. 11, 12, 13.)
And what can be a higher proof of the gracious purpose for which the Son of God came down from heaven, than by this sovereign act he wrought, (as the sequel of this history sheweth,) in rescuing one of his, from the dominion of sin and Satan, and conquering the unclean spirit, in the very citadel of this poor man's heart, where the great enemy of souls was reigning with such despotic sway! This was among the vast designs in the work of redemption. The Lord of life and glory not only undertook to bring back all his chosen ones whom the Father had given to him, and restore perfect order among all the works of God; but he engaged to root out of his kingdom all things that offend. For this purpose, saith the Holy Ghost by John," the Son of God was manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil." Yea saith the Holy Ghost, by another of his servants, Paul: "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers
of flesh and blood, he also himself partook of the same; that through death, he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil; and deliver them who through the fear of death were all their life-time subject to bondage." (Heb. ii. 14, 15.) And blessedly God the Father bore testimony to the Almighty victories of his Son, ages before his incarnation, by his servant the prophet Isaiah: "Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered? But thus saith the Lord, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children. And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh, and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the Lord am thy Saviour, and thy Redeemer; the Mighty One of Jacob." (Isa. xlix. 24, 25, 26.)
But we must not stop here: as we prosecute the interesting history of this poor man under demoniac influence, and the Lord's perfect cure of him, we behold the highest illustrations of the eternal power and GODHEAD of our most glorious Christ; and no less the infinite love and grace of his heart towards his redeemed, and the assured triumph thereby shewn of his final victory over all the enemies of our salvation.
Let us first behold the very affecting circumstances of this poor man as he was in himself, when the Lord Jesus met him. It is said that " he had an unclean spirit; his dwelling was among the tombs; and night and day he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones." So much was he under the influence of the great enemy of souls, that" neither fetters nor chains could bind him." And so terrible was he to all the country
around, that "no man might pass by that way." Matthew, in his relation of this history, speaks of two; and no doubt his account is correct, that there were two poor creatures labouring under the same dreadful malady; but Matthew doth not relate any thing of the miracle the Lord Jesus wrought on this occasion. Mark and Luke are both particular in the cure of one; what became of the other is not said. And as the Holy Ghost is silent concerning him, it becomes us to do the same.
It is a sad page in this man's history, if it were only in reference to the body, to behold to what a state our whole nature is rendered liable from the effects of sin! For let it be remembered, and indeed humiliating as the thought is, it should never cease to be remembered, that as our whole nature in the Adamfall transgression is alike the subject of inherint sin; so are we all equally subject to the like effects of sin. Every disease and sorrow is equally the inheritance of all. And indeed in the one final termination of all, namely, death; every son and daughter of Adam manifest their equal birth-right; "Sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." (Rom. v. 12.) Contemplate it in this point of view, and what a subject is opened to the mind of every awakened and regenerated child of God; the recollection of all the head-aches, and heart-aches, going on every day, and all the day in human life. Indeed the whole world is but one great hospital. And if the writer of this in the moment of writing, or the reader of this in the moment of reading, are both exempt, it is not merit, but mercy; not nature, but grace, which makes the difference from the multitude, racking under the various maladies all around. And whose heart can but melt in the consciousness of such things, when freed by Divine favour, from all bodily and mental evil!