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the spirit of lies * : and thus these confessions to Christ may have been intended only to anticipate and to mar his great purpose and plan, even as we see Mark iii. 22 following hard on Mark iii. 11. Therefore the Lord would not allow this testimony; “ Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him t;” not as Michael the archangel, “The Lord rebuke thee,” (Jude 9,) but in his own name and in his own power.
It might seem as though the evil spirit was not altogether and at once obedient to the word of Christ, that it was not altogether a word of power; since he bade him to hold his peace, and yet in the next verse it is said, that "he cried with a loud coice," as he was leaving the man. (Cf. Acts viii. 7.) But in truth he was obedient to this command of silence ; he did not speak any more, and that was the thing which our Lord meant to forbid : this cry was nothing but an inarticulate cry of rage and pain. Neither is there any contradiction between St. Luke, (iv. 35,) who says that the evil spirit “ hurt him not,” and St. Mark, according to whom, he “tare” him: he did not do him any permanent injury; no doubt what evil he could do him he did. Even St. Luke says 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 an analogous case, only with worse symptoms accompanying the going out of the foul spirit; for what the devil cannot keep as his own,
Thus, with a slight difference in the view, Tertullian (Adv. Marc., 1. 4, c. 7): Increpuit eum Jesus, planè ut invidiosum et in ipsâ confessione petulantem et malè adulantem, quasi hæc esset summa gloria Christi, si ad perditionem dæmonum venisset, et non potius ad hominum salutem.
+ Tertullian (Adv. Marc., l. 4, c. 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.
he will, if he can, destroy ; even as Pharaoh never treated the children of Israel worse than just when they were escaping from his grasp. Something similar is evermore finding place; and Satan vexes with temptations and with buffetings none so much as those who are in the act of being delivered from under his dominion for ever.
13. THE HEALING OF SIMON'S WIFE'S
Matt. viii. 14–17; Mark I. 29–31; Luke iv. 38–39.
This miracle is by St. Mark and St. Luke linked immediately and in a manner that marks an historic connexion, with that which has just come under our notice. The sacred historians go on to speak of our Lord, saying, “And he arose out of the synagogue, and went into Simon's house,"_in St. Mark, the “ the house of Simon and Andrew.” The stronger personality of Peter causes Andrew, the earlier called, and the leader of his brother to Jesus, probably also the elder brother, here as elsewhere to fall into the background. We may infer that he went on this Sabbath day to eat bread there. (Cf. Luke xiv. 1*.) Being arrived, it was told him of Simon's wife's mother, who “ was taken with a great fever, and they besought him for her.” Here, again, we have the use of a remarkable phrase ; Jesus “ rebuked the fecer," as at other times he “rebuked” the winds and the waves; and with such effect that it left her, and not in that state of extreme weakness and exhaustion which fever usually leaves behind, when in the ordinary course of things it has abated+;
* Maldonatus is greatly troubled that Peter should have a house, while it has been said before that he “left all,” and to allow this really to have heen Simon's house appears to him to militate against the perfection of his state. His explanation and that of most of the Romish expositors is, that this house was one which had been Peter's, and which he had made over to his wife's mother, when he determined to follow Christ in the absolute renunciation of all things. It 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 necessity arose.
+ Jerome (Comm. in Mutt., in loc.) observes this: Natura hominum istiusmodi est, ut post febrim magis lassescant corpora, et incipiente sanitate ægrotationis mala sentiant.
it left her not gradually convalescent; but so entire and unwonted was her cure, that “immediately she arose and ministered unto them,"—was able to provide for them what was necessary for their entertainment;—a pattern, as has been often observed, in this to every one that has been restored to spiritual health, that he should use this strength in ministering to Christ and to his people*.
The fame of this miracle and that which immediately preceded it on the same day, spread so rapidly, that " when the eten was come,” or as St. Mark has it, “when the sun did set," they brought to him many more that were variously afflicted. There are two explanations of this little circumstance, which all three Evangelists are careful to record, that it was not till the sun was setting or had actually set, that they brought these sick to Jesus ; either, as Hammond and Olshausen suggest, that they waited till the heat of the middle day, which these sick and suffering were ill able to bear, was past, and brought them in the cool of the evening; or else to say that this day being the Sabbath, (cf. Mark i. 21, 29, 32,) they were unwilling to violate the sacred rest of the day, which they counted they would have done by bringing their sick to be healed; and so, ere they would do this, waited till the Sabbath was ended. It did end, as is well known, at sunset. Thus Chrysostom in one place t, although in another he sees in it more generally a sign of the faith and eagerness of the people, who even when the day was spent, still came streaming to Christ, and laying their sick at his feet.
The quotation which St Matthew makes from Isaiah, after he has recorded the numerous healings which Christ upon that day effected, is not without its difficulties; “that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses *." The difficulty does not lie in the fact that St. Peter (1 Pet. ii. 24,) quotes the same verse rather as setting forth the Messiah as the bearer of the sins than the healer of the sicknesses of his people. As far as the words go, St. Matthew is nearer to the original, which declares he came under our sicknesses and our sorrows, the penal consequences of our sins. And any apparent difference between the two sacred writers of the New Testament vanishes when we keep in mind the intimate connexion which in Scripture ever appears between moral and physical suffering; and not in Scripture only; for many, probably all, languages have a word answering to our "evil,” which bears in its double meaning of sin and of calamity, the deepest witness—for no witness is so deep as the involuntary witness of language to this connexion.
* Gerhard (Harm. Evang., c. 38): Simul verò docemur, quando spiritualitur 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.
| In CRAMER's Catena, v. 1, p. 278.
But the application of the verse is more embarrassing. Those who have best right to be heard on the matter, deny that “ bore” can mean “bore away,” or that “ took” can be accepted in the sense of “removed," and affirm that the words must mean a taking upon himself the sufferings and sorrows from which he delivered his people. But in what sense did our Lord take upon himself the sicknesses which he healed ? Does it not seem rather that he abolished them, and removed them altogether out of the way? It is no doubt a perfectly Scriptural thought, that Christ is the kábapa, the piaculum, who is to draw to himself all the evils of the world, in whom all are to centre, that in him all may be abolished and done away ;—yet he did not become this through the healing of diseases, any more than through any other isolated acts of his life and conversation. He was not more this
* St. Matthew here forsakes the Septuagint, which would not have answered his purpose (ούτος τας αμαρτίας ημων φέρει, και περί ημών οδυ. vā tai,) and gives an independent translation,