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And be it that the creatures thus rushed themselves to their own destruction, or were impelled by the foul spirits, does there not here in either case come out the very essence of evil in its truest manifestation, that it is evermore outwitted and defeats itself, being as inevitably scourged in the granting of its requests as in their refusal; that it is stupid, blind, self. contradicting, and suicidal; that it can only destroy, and will rather involve itself in the common ruin than not destroy! Moreover in their blind hatred against the Lord they may have been content to bring this additional harm, whatsoever it was, upon themselves, in the hopes that by this act they would bring upon him the ill-will, as was actually the case, of the inhabitants of that region, and so limit and hinder his blessed work among them. And this no doubt they did, for it was fear of further losses, and alienation from Christ on account of that which through his presence had already befallen them, which was the motive for their urging him to leave their country. But the question offering more real matter for consideration is the entering in of the devils into the swine,—the working of the spiritual life on the bestial, which seems altogether irreceptive of it, and not to possess the organs through which it could operate. I put aside of course here, as both in themselves merely ridiculous, and irreconcilable with the documents as they lie before us, the solutions of Paulus and his compeers, that the demoniac, in the parting paroxysm of his madness, hunted the creatures over the precipices into the lake, or that while the swineherds were drawn by curiosity to watch the encounter between Christ and the demoniac, or had gone to warn him of the danger of meeting the madman, the untended herd fell a fighting, and so tumbled headlong over the crags. Whatever difficulty is here, it certainly is not so to be evaded; and their perplexity at any rate claims to be respectfully treated, who find it hard to reconcile this incident with what else they have been taught to hold fast as most precious concerning the specific difference between man and the whole order of spiritual existences on the one side, and the animal creation on the other. This difficulty, however, proceeds on the assumption that that lower world is wholly shut up in itself, and incapable of receiving impressions from that which is above it; while certainly all deeper investigations would lead to an opposite conclusion, —not to the breaking down the boundaries between the two worlds, but to the showing in what wonderful ways the lower is subject to the impressions of the higher, both for good and for evil.” Nor does this work
* Kieser, certainly a man who would not go out of his way that he might bring his theory into harmony with Scripture facts, distinctly recognizes, (in his Tellurismus, v. ing of the spiritual on the physical life stand isolated in this single pas. sage of Scripture, but we are throughout taught the same lesson. Com pare Gen. iii. 17 with Rom. viii. 18. All three Evangelists record the entreaty of the Gardarenes, so unlike that which the Samaritans (John iv. 40) made to our Lord, “that he would depart out of their coasts,”—an entreaty which surely had not, as Jerome and others suppose, its roots in their humility, was in no respect a parallel to St. Peter's, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man,” (Luke v. 8;) but, as already observed, was provoked by the injury which already from his brief presence among them, had ensued to their worldly possessions, as perhaps by the greater losses which yet they feared This was their trial: it was now to be seen whether the kingdom of heaven was the first thing in their esteem; whether they would hold all else as cheap by comparison: so that in this aspect the destruction of the swine had in regard of them an ethical aim. It was their trial, for the discovering of what temper they were; and under this trial they failed. It was nothing to them that a man, probably a fellow-citizen, was delivered from that terrible bondage, that they saw him “sitting at the feet of Jesus,” receiving instruction from him, (Luke x. 39; Acts xxii. 3.) “clothed and in his right mind.” The breach that was made in their worldly prosperity alone occupied their thoughts: for spiritual blessings that were brought near to them they cared nothing, and “they were afraid,” they knew not what next might follow. They only knew that the presence of God's Holy One was intolerable to them while they re
2, p. 72) with reference to this present miracle, the possibility of the passing over of demoniac conditions upon others, and even upon animals (die Möglickheit eines Uebergangs dāmonischer Züstande auf Andere, und selbst auf Thiere). How remarkable in this respect are well-authenticated cases of clairvoyance, in which the horse is evidently by its terror and extreme agitation and utter refusal to advance, a partaker of the vision of its rider. (See PassavaNT's Unterss. iib d. Hellschen, p. 816.) And indeed in our common life the horse, and the dog no less, are eminently receptive of the spiritual conditions of their appointed lord and master, Man. With what electric swiftness does the courage or fear of the rider pass into the horse; and so to the gladness or depression of its master is almost instantaneously reflected and reproduced in his faithful dog. It is true that we should expect, as we should find, far less of this in the grosser nature of the swine than in those creatures of nobler races. Yet the very fierceness and grossness of these animals may have been exactly that which best fitted them for receiving such impulses from the lower world as those under which they perished. * Augustine (Quaest. Evang, l. 2, qu. 13): Significat multitudinem vetusta suá vità delectatam, honorare quidem sed nolle pati Christianam legem, dum dicunt quod eam implere non possint, admirantes tamen fidelem populum a pristina perdità conversatione sanatum. The name Gergeseni has been often since given to those who will not endure sound doctrine. (ERAsmi Adagia, p. 318.)
mained in their sins, and to them, so remaining, could only bring mischiefs, of which they had had the first experience already. And having no desire to be delivered from their sins, they “besought him to depart from them, for they were taken with great fear.” And their prayer also was heard; he did depart; he took them at their word; he let them alone.* (Cf. Exod. x. 28, 29.)
But the healed man would fain accompany his healer: and as Christ was stepping into the ship to return, entreated that he might be allowed to bear him company. Was it that he feared, as Theophylact supposes, lest in the absence of his deliverer the powers of hell should regain their dominion over him, and only felt safe in immediate nearness to him?— or merely that out of the depth of his gratitude he desired henceforth to be a follower of him to whom he owed this mighty benefit? But whatever was his motive the Lord had other purposes with him : though he was himself leaving them who were as yet unfitted to welcome him, he would not leave himself without a witness among them. This healed man should be a standing monument of his grace and power, that he would have healed them, and was willing to heal them still, of all the diseases of their souls: “Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.”! And the man did so, and not without effect: “He departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him; and all men did marvel.”f
* Augustine (Enarr. in Ps. cxxxvi. 3) has a noble passage on what the world calls prosperity; which when Christ interrupts, then the world counts that he has brought nothing good, and would fain have him depart from it, if it might: Vides enim si theatra et amphitheatra et circi starent incolumes, si nihil caderet de Babylonià, si ubertas esset circumfluentium voluptatum hominibus cantaturis et saltaturis ad turpia cantica, si libido scortantium et meretricantium haberet quietem et securitatem, si non timeret famem in domo suá qui clamat ut pantomimi vestiantur, si haec omnia sine labe, sine perturbatione aliquà fluerent, et esset securitas magna nugarum, felicia essent tempora, et magnam felicitatem rebus humanis Christus adtulisset. Quia veró caeduntur iniquitates, ut exstirpatā cupiditate plantetur caritas Jerusalem, quia miscentur amaritudines vitae temporali, ut aeterna desideretur, quia erudiuntur in flagellis homines, paternam accipientes disciplinam, ne judiciaram inveniant sententiam ; nihil boni adtulit Christus, et labores adtulit Christus.
# Erasmus 'seems to me to be right when he connects &aa, not alone with retroinkev, but also with #2&ngev. Of course, in the second case, adverbially: Et quantopere misertus sit tui. It is true that we should rather expect in such a case to have the Öca repeated, but there are abundant examples to justify the omission.
# Augustine (Quaest. Evang, l.2, c. 13): Ut sic quisque intelligat post remissionem peccatorum redeundum sibi esse in conscientiam bonam, et serviendum Evangelio propter aliorum etiam salutem, ut deinde cum Christo requiescat; ne cum praeproperéjam Yet this command that he should go and declare the wonderful works of God in regard of him, may also have rested on other grounds, may have found its motive in the peculiar idiosyncracy of the man. Only with reference to this state are we able to reconcile the apparently contradictory commands which the Lord gave to those whom he had healed: —some bidden to say nothing, (Matt. viii. 4; Luke viii. 56)—this one to publish abroad the mercy which he had received. Where there was danger of all deeper impressions being lost and scattered through a garrulous repetition of the outward circumstances of the healing, there silence was enjoined, that so there might be an inward brooding over the gracious and mighty dealing of the Lord. But where, on the contrary, there was a temperament over-inclined to melancholy, sunken and shut up in itself, and needing to be drawn out from self, and into healthy communion with its fellow-men, as was evidently the case with such a solitary melancholic person as we have here, there the command was, that he should go and tell to others the great things which God had done for him, and in this telling preserve the healthy condition of his own soul.
vult esse cum Christo, negligat ministerium praedicationis, fraternae redemptioni accom
modatum. He makes in the same place this whole account an historico-prophetic delineation of the exorcising, so to speak, of the heathen world of its foul superstitions and devilish idolatries.
THE RAISING OF JAIR US'S DAUGHTER. MATT. ix. 18, 19, 23–26; MARK v. 22, 24, 35–48; Luke viii. 41,42, 49–56.
The present miracle is connected by St. Mark and St. Luke immediately with our Lord's return from the country on the other side of the lake, which he had left at the urgent entreaty of the inhabitants. In St. Matthew other events, the curing of the paralytic, the calling of Matthew, and some discourses of the Lord with the Pharisees, are inserted between. Yet of these only the latter (ix. 10–17,) the best harmonists find really to have their place here. The two later Evangelists tell us also the name of the father of the child; St. Matthew who has his eye only on the main fact, and passes over every thing that is not absolutely necessary for that, speaks of him more generally as “a certain ruler;” they again telling us what kind of a ruler, namely that he was one of the prefects of the synagogue.* This, we can hardly doubt, was the synagogue of Capernaum, where now Jesus was; (Matt. ix. 1;) he was therefore one who most probably afterwards made a part of that deputation which came to the Lord pleading for the heathen centurion; (Luke vii. 3;) for “the elders of the Jews” there, are identical with the “rulers of the synagogue” here. But he who appears on that later occasion pleading for another, presents himself now before the Lord, touched by a yet nearer calamity; for he comes saying, “My daughter is even now dead, but come and lay