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was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit;' or, as St. Luke describes it, with the spirit of an unclean devil ;' but not therefore excluded from the public worship of God any more than another in like condition, recorded at Luke xiii. 16; and this spirit felt at once the nearness of One who was stronger than all that kingdom whereunto he belonged; of One whose mission it was to destroy the works of the devil. And with the instinct and consciousness of this danger which so nearly threatened his usurped dominion, he cried out,--not the man bimself, but the evil spirit,-saying, Let us alone :' what have we to do with Thee, Thou Jesus of Nazareth ?? art Thou come to destroy us ?' (cf. Matt. viii. 29; 2 Pet. ii. 4; Jude 6). “I know Thee who Thou art, the Holy One of God. Earth has not recognized her king, disguised as He is like one of her own children; but heaven has borne witness to Him (Luke ii. 11; iii. 22; Matt. iii. 17), and now hell must bear its witness too; “the devils believe and tremble. The unholy, which is resolved to be unboly still, understands well that its death knell has sounded, when the Holy One of God' (compare Ps. xvi. 10, where this title first appears), has come to make war against it.
But what, it may be asked, could bave been the motive to this testimony, thus borne ? It is strange that the evil spirit should, without compulsion, proclaim to the world the presence in the midst of it of the Holy One of God, of Him who should thus bring all the unholy, on which he battened and by which he lived, to an end. Might we not rather expect that he should have denied, or sought to obscure, the glory of his person? It cannot be replied that this was an unwilling confession to the truth, forcibly extorted by Christ's
"Ea, not the imperative from law, but an interjection of terror, wrung out by the popepà érooxri kpiorus (Heb. x. 27),—unless indeed the interjection was originally this imperative. Our own lo (= look) has exactly such a history.
2 Našapnros here, and Mark xiv. 67; xvi. 6. The word appears in the New Testament in two other forms, Nagapaios (Matt. ii. 23 ; xxvi. 71; John xviii. 7), and Nağwpaños (Mark x. 47, and often).
superior power, seeing that it displeased Him in whose favour it professed to be borne, and this so much that He at once stopped the mouth of the utterer.' It remains then either, with Theophylact and Grotius, to understand this as the cry of abject and servile fear, that with fawning and flatteries would fain avert frora itself the doom which with Christ's presence in the world must evidently be near ;-to compare, as Jerome does, this exclamation to that of the fugitive slave, dreaming of nothing but stripes and torments when he encounters unawares his well-known lord, and now seeking by any means to deprecate his anger; 2-or else to regard this testimony as intended only to injure the estimation of Him in whose behalf it was rendered. There was hope that the truth itself might be brought into suspicion and discredit, thus receiving attestation from the spirit of lies: and these confessions of Jesus as the Christ may have been meant to traverse and mar his work, even as we see Mark iii. 22 following hard on Mark iii. 11. The fact that Christ would not allow this testimony, that He rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him,'^ goes some way to make this the preferable explanation. Observe it is not here as elsewhere The Lord rebuke thee' (Jude 9;
oluú@nri, cf. Matt. xxii. 12 ; and for the word used in its literal sense, 1 Cor. ix. 9.
2 Grotius: Vult Jesum blanditiis demulcere, cui se certando imparem erat expertus. Jerome (Comm. in Matt. ix.): Velut si servi fugitivi post multum temporis dominum suum videant; nihil aliud nisi de verberibus deprecantur.
Thus, with a slight difference, Tertullian (Adv. Marc. iv. 7): Increpuit eum Jesus, plane ut invidiosum et in ipsâ confessione petulantem et male adulantem, quasi hæc esset summa gloria Christi, si ad perditionem dæmonum venisset, et non potius ad hominum salutem.
* Tertullian (Adv. Marc. iv. 8): Illius erat, præconium immundi spiritûs respuere, cui Sancti abundabant. Calvin: Duplex potest esse ratio, cur loqui non sineret : una generalis, quod nondum maturum plenæ revelationis tempus advenerat ; altera specialis, quod illos repudiabat præcones ac testes suæ divinitatis, qui laude suâ nihil aliud quam maculam, et sinistram opinionem aspergere illi poterant. Atque hæc posterior indubia est, quia testatum oportuit esse hostile dissidium, quod habebat æternæ salutis et vitæ auctor cum mortis principe ejusque ministris.
cf. Acts xvi. 18), but He rebukes in his own name and by his own authority.
But can that word of his be affirmed to have been in this case the word of power, against which all reluctance was idle, that we might justly expect? Cbrist has bidden the evil spirit to hold his peace, and yet in the next verse we learn that only after he had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him' (cf. Acts viii. 7). But in truth he was obedient to this command of silence; he did not speak any more, and that was what our Lord forbade: this loud cry was nothing but an inarticulate utterance of rage and pain. Neither is there any contradiction between St. Luke, who says that the evil spirit ' hurt him not,' and St. Mark, who describes him as having torn him.' He did not do him any permanent injury; what harm he could work, this no doubt he did. St. Luke himself reports that he cast him on the ground; with which the phrase of the earlier Evangelist, that he threw him into strong convulsions, in fact consents. We have at Mark ix. 26 (cf. Luke ix. 42) an analogous case, although there a paroxysm more violent still accompanies the going out of the foul spirit; for what the devil cannot keep as his own, he will, if he can, destroy ; even as Pharaoh never treated the children of Israel so ill as then when they were just escaping from his grasp. Something similar is evermore finding place; and Satan tempts, plagues, and buffets none so fiercely as those who are in the act of being delivered from his tyranny for ever.
St. Mark never misses an opportunity of recording the wonderful impression which Christ's miracles made on the witnesses of them, the astonishment, the amazement, with which these were filled (v. 20; vi. 51; vii. 37; x. 26). He lays nowhere greater emphasis on this than here: ' And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority commandeth He even the unclean spirits, and they do obey Him.'
13. THE HEALING OF SIMON'S WIFE'S MOTHER.
Matt. viii. 14-17; MARK I. 29-31; LUKE iv. 38-40.
NHIS miracle is by St. Mark and St. Luke linked imme
diately, and in a manner that marks historic connexion, with that which has just come under our notice. Thus St. Mark:' And forthwith when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew.' In St. Luke it is only Simon's house;' his stronger personality causing Andrew, though probably with the natural prerogatives of an elder brother, and certainly with spiritual, as the earlier called and the bringer of his brother to Jesus, here as elsewhere to fall into the background. It was probably to eat bread that the Lord on this Sabbath day entered into that house. And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, He saw his wife's mother laid and sick of a fever,'' a great fever,' as St. Luke informs us, as he also mentions the intercession of some on her behalf; “they besought Him for her.' We owe to him also the remarkable phrase, ' He rebuked the fever,' even as on another occasion that · He
1 Maldonatus is greatly troubled that Peter, who before this had “left all,' should be supposed to have a house, militating, as this would do, against the perfection of his state. His explanation and that of most Roman Catholic expositors is, that this house had been Peter's, but had been made over by him to his wife's mother, when he determined to follow Christ in the absolute renunciation of all things. The explanation is needless; the renunciation was entire in will (see Matt. xix. 27), and ready in act to be carried out into all its details, as the necessity arose.
rebuked the winds and the sea'(Luke viii. 24). St. Matthew alone records that He touched her hand' (cf. Dan. X. 16; Rev. i. 17; Luke vii. 14; viii. 54). From that life-giving touch of his health and strength flowed into her wasted frame; the fever left her,' and left her not in that state of extreme weakness and exhaustion which fever usually leaves behind, when in the ordinary course of things it has abated;' not slowly convalescent; but so entire and unusual was her cure, that immediately she arose, and ministered unto them' (cf. John iv. 52),--providing for her sons' guests what was necessary for their entertainment ;-a pattern, it has been often observed, to all restored to spiritual health, that they should use this strength in ministering to Christ and to his people.
The fame of this miracle, following close upon another wrought on the same day, spread so rapidly, that when the even was come,' or, as St. Mark has it, when the sun did set,'they brought unto Him many that were possessed with devils ; and He cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick.' There are two explanations of this little circumstance, by all three Evangelists carefully recorded, that not till the sun was setting or had actually set they brought their sick to Jesus. Hammond and Olshausen suggest, that they waited till the heat of the middle day, which these were ill able to bear, was past, and brought them in the cool of the evening. Others assume that this day being a Sabbath (cf. Mark i. 21, 20, 32), they were unwilling to violate its sacred rest; which in their own esteem they would have done, bringing out their sick before the close of
1 Jerome (Comm. in Matt. in loc.) observes this: Natura hominum istiusmodi est, ut post febrim magis lassescant corpora, et incipiente sanitate ægrotationis mala sentiant. Verum sanitas quæ confertur a Domino totum simul reddit, nec sufficit esse sanatam, sed ut imituous fortitudinis indicetur, additum est, Et surrexit et ministrabat eis.
2 Gerhard (Harm. Evang. 38): Simul vero docemur, quando spiritualiter sanati sumus, ut membra nostra præbeamus arma justitiæ Dei [Deo ?] et ipsi serviamus in justitiâ et sanctitate coram ipso, inservientes proximo, et membris Christi sicut hæc muliercula Christo et discipulis ministrat.