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publishing the bible without note ortive miracles of our blessed Saviour, comment, then they do not act consist- and suggest the proper application. ently in retaining the summaries, or He had sent forth bis apostles with contents prefixed to the several chap- power over all manner of diseases ; 10 ters. These are frequently expositions heal the sick, cast out devils, and to of the text in the sense in which the do other miracles in his name. They translators understood it. That they went according to his direction, and are of great utility in directing the un- generally their success, to their great learned how to interpret the scriptures, astonishment, surpassed their expectawill be admitted, I trust, by all the tions. orthodox dissenters. The only per. ; But during this ministry, it seems that sons who object to them, are the self- in one extraordinary instance they did styled unitarians ; and I see not how not succeed. It was the case of a their objection can be evaded by the young man, an only son, who was several bible societies. If it be their most grievously tormented with com. object to strip the bible of all helps to- plicated maladies; he was vexed with wards the interpretation of it, they an evil spirit which rendered bim deaf ought at once to reduce it to the naked and dumb and distracted. text. But if, as I have stated, it was and frenzy he would gnash with his the original object of the British and teeth, and tear his own flesh; and to ibe foreign bible society, and consequently great hazard of his life, he often fell of all the societies formed from that into the fire, and into the water, as be prototype, only to avoid what would happened to be near the one or the have been a subject of jealousy among other, when the fit came upon him. their heterogeneous members, then the The disorders with wbich this marginal readings and references ought wretched man was afflicted, were, in to be restored. The unitarians are the opinion of some, such as are natutoo inconsiderable a body to have any ral to the human frame. This perhaps influence in a question of this nature. is possible. But it seems rather from It would be surrendering too much to the narrative, as given by the evan. gratify their perversity. There is, gelists, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, that however, but one alternative. Either ibis great evil was inflicted upon him the naked text should be printed, or by the immediate agency of an evil THE AUTHORIZED VERSION, AS IT CAME spirit. Infidelity may sneer at this :. FROM THE HANDS OF OUR TRANSLATORS, but reason and philosophy have no SHOULD BE PRÉSERVED UNMUTILATED. good argument to the contrary; and
F. the Christian is at liberty to sup.
pose, and he has good reason for sup:
posing, that invisible agents are someSERMON.-No. XVI.
times, by command or permission,
made the instruments of inflicting evils THE DUMB AND DEAF SPIRIT CAST out. upon men. And this, not improbably,
was oftener the case, whilst our Saviour MARK 1X. 28, 29. And when he was was on the earth, and during the first
come into the house, his disciples asked preaching of his gospel, to teach us him privately, Why could not we cast that "we fight not against flesh and him out ? and he said un!o them, This blood" only; and to evince the Sa. kind can come forth by nothing but viour's power to conquer sin, and to by prayer and fasting.
cleanse and save the soul.
The malady of this sufferer, what These words direct our attention to ever was its cause, was certainly most one of the wonderful, and very instruc- distressing, and one which no human
skill could heal: and,what at first causes way the father of the child cried dut some surprise, and is indeed the most and said with tears, Lord, I believe ; instructive circumstance of the whole help thou mine unbelief.”
“ And narrative, even the apostles, though Jesus rebuked the devil, and he de. for that purpose endued with super- parted out of him : and the child was natural power, could not, or certainly cured from that very hour:" " and he did not, give relief. “I brought hiin delivered him unto his father.” (saith the afflicted parent) to thy dis At a convenient time, and apart ciples, and they could not cure him.” from the multitude the disciples came Happily he did not yield to despon• to Jesus, and inquired the cause of dence, nor relinquish his hope of find their failure. St. Matthew is most full ing relief; encouraged, no doubt, by in this part of the narrative; "then the apostles themselves, be presented' came the disciples to Jesus apart and his son before this greatest of all phy. said, Why could not we cast him out ? sicians, and devoutly, upon his knees, and Jesus said unto them, Because of besought bim, saying, “ Lord have your unbelief: for verily I say unto mercy upon my son."
ye have faith as a grain of musJesus first reproved the people for tard-seed, ye shall say unto this mountheir hardness, and unbelief: “O faith- tain (pointing probably to the one from less and perverse generation ! how long which they had just descended) reshall I be with you ? how long shall I move hence to yonder place and it suffer you ?" It is bigbly probable that shall remove; and nothing shall be immany of the Jews present were then possible unto you. How beit ibis kind exulting at this failure of the apostles, goeth not out, but by prayer and fastand urging it as an evidence that Jesus ing." was not the Christ; though he was We are told of Peter, that he once daily working miracles in the sight of requested, and had permission to walk all; for the disposition of corrupted to his divine Master, on the water. He nature is to be more influenced by one believed, and to reward his faith, arguinent against religion, than by a he was borne upon the waves, as on thousand" infallible proofs which sup- solid ground. But when he saw the port it.” Jesus probably intended at winds boisterous, and the waves threat. the same time to remind his disciples ening to overwhelm him, he was of the fault which caused their failure. afraid : he was alarmed with doubt and And now, to the confusion of his ad- apprehensions. To punish his want versaries, and the glory of his own of confidence in the Saviour, " he be. character, he commanded the young gan to sink.” Similar we may supo man to be brought unto him. And pose was the cause of this present tbal all present might see and know failure. When the disciples saw hout the nature and violence of his disorder, grievously the young man was tormentJesus suffered the paroxysm then to ed : how helpless and hopeless seemn. come upon him. “ And he fell on the ed his case, the magnitude of the work ground, and wallowed, foaming. And no doubt disheartened tbem: they dishe asked his father, How long is it ago, trusted their power to effect so great a since tbis camne unto him? And he said, miracle. And though perhaps they Of a child. And oft-times it hath cast attempted it, they were too diffident, him into the fire, and into the water to and did not as they ought, confide in destroy him : but if thou canst do any God and the promise of Christ. To thing, have compassion on us, and punish them, and for the instruction of help us. Jesus saith unto him, If thou all, he withheld his power, and they canst believe, all things are possible were unsuccessful. And accordingly to bim that believeth. And straight be tells them, “because of your un
belief-bad you faith as a grain of of wisdom. What' renders men dull mustard-seed.” “lf in a small degree, of hearing the word of God, but those you truly believe in me, and confide lusts and pride and other passions in my aid, nothing, however great or which war against the soul ? How often difficult, which duty requires you to did our Saviour accuse the obstinate, attempt, shall be impossible for you to impenitent sinner of deafness, and accomplish."
show the importance and the blessedBut they had been still further defi- ness of having ears to hear. This cient; they were not only “of little youth was also dumb, as spiritually are faith ;” but (which is the very natural all who are dead in trespasses and consequence) had neglected the proper sins. “ Ears have they, but they bear means : Jesus" said unto them. This not, neither speak they through their kind can come forth by nothing but by throat." They use not that speech prayer and fasting." In order to work for which chiefly the voice and tongue 80 great a miracle, they should bave were given-the praise of God and made some preparation; they should declaration of his mercies. They have sanctified themselves by fasting, speak not the words of wisdom, nor of and abstinence from all sensual, worldly those things which most concern our things : and by humble fervent pray- present peace and eternal good. What ers to almighty God, for his grace and but this sinful malady silences the assistance. They probably feared voice of praise to the Author of our saldisgrace in case of not succeeding; vation ? What else closes the lips of or thought too much of the honour of prayer and supplication? Who is dumbs doing such a work. Their thoughts if not he who never speaks, nor is able, should have been more abstracted from with understanding, to speak, of the temporal things. They assayed too true character of the Redeemer ? Such much in their own strength, and felt we all are by nature, whilst unrenew. too little their dependence upon God: ed; "no man can say that Jesus is the they should have thought more of his Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” honour, and less of their own.
This youth was lunatick; not bis Such was the miracle wrought on body only, but his reason was disorthis occasion, by our blessed Lord, dered. And are they in their right and such the faults of his disciples, mind, who are the servants of sin ; through which they failed of effecting who are hurried by disorderly passionis, it. It remains to consider how the into hurtful lusts and evil deeds ? Are whole should be applied to ourselves. they of a sound understanding, who And first, though happily the power run into various kinds of excess;
wbo of evil spirits, over the bodies of men, so live as to destroy their health, im may now be much, and perhaps wholly, pair their happiness, and injure their restrained, we have too much, reason character ? who ruin their fortunes in to fear and believe that they had never this world, and frustrate their hopes of more power to tempt to sin, to as- future blessedness ? They have no just sault and hurt the soul than at the pres. claim to the right use of reason, whose ent time. What, when spiritually ap- light within them is darkness; who plied, can more accurately symbolize have eyes and see not; who through the effects of sin, and the fallen state folly mock at sin ; who set at naught the of human nature, than the violent dis- counsels of divine wisdom, and despise orders with which this youth was af- the riches of God's mercy in Jesus flicted ? Was he deaf? and what bet- Christ. Does he live as a rational ter is the effect of sin upon the soul ? being, who is swayed by brutal pasIt hardens the heart, it shuts the ears sions ? Such men, as the scriptures say, to the doctrines of truth, and the voice are without understanding. They may
boast of reason, which is no unfrequent out God in this world, or hope in hea. mark of insanity, but, "prosessing them- ven, the spiritual health decays; evil selves to be wise, they become fools.” men“ wax worse and worse, deceiving
The father declares also of his son's and being deceived;" the heart is thalady, that it endangered bis life; hardened by transgression-the con“oft-times it cast him into the fire, and science seared as with a hot iron ; into the water to destroy him." Simi- the soul is abandoned to works of Jar, and infinitely inore alarming, are darkness; the sense of virtue is lost, the perils to the soul, and to the spiri- and the image of God effaced from tual life of those who live in sin. Its the mind. "E wages is death ;" it is the broadway The cure of this man, was still to hopeless perdition. By pursuing the more wonderful and more instructive world, and its vain pleasures, “men,” than his complaints. This was efas an apostle says, "fall into temptation fected by bringing him to Christ. To and a snare; and into many "foolish this great, infallible Physician, must all and hurtful lusts, which drown men in repair, who would obtain spiritual destruction and perdition." Through health, and“ be made whole.” ungoverned propensities, “ Satan gets whom else shall we go,” or can we an advantage of us,' as St. Paul de- go, but to bim who " has the words clares; burries men into destructive of eternal life ?” Hearken to him, and pursuits ; plunges them into the wa- your soul shall live; “ look unto him, ters of trouble, till they sink in the and be ye saved, all the ends of the mire, where, as says the Psalmist, no earth : for he is God, and there is none ground is, and the waters come over else" able to deliver from the bontheir soul. Fire, in the figurative lan- dage of corruption : " there is no Saguage of revealed truth, is put for pains viour besides him.” He is. “ the way, and torments: and what but sin is the and the truth, and the life ;” and no cause of the pains we suffer in this other name is given under heavens world? And not into these only does whereby we must or can be saved. sin cast those who yield themselves
But the most interesting and pecuits servants: but “into everlasting liar circumstance in this narrative, and fire, prepared (at first, not for men, but that to which our text calls our parfor the devil and his angels."
ticular attention, is the failure of the Our Lord questioned the parent, apostles to effect a cure. They were " How long is it since this came unto sent and commissioned by Christ himhim ? and he said, Of a child :" and self; the attempt was made in his the same we may truly say, in the name : why did it fail ? This will lead spiritual application. Such is the us to the important inquiry, what was fault and corruption of the nature of lacking in that case, and what of course every-man" who is “the offspring of is necessary in ours.
The principle Adam;" we are conceived and “bom required we have in a word; it is in sin," and from childhood, “ have no faith. Why could not the disciples health in us."
cast him out? Because of their unbelief: It was another symptom of this dis- because they had not faith as a grain order, and the last mentioned, that he of mustard-seed. And what did our piped away ; his strength failed, and Saviour' require of the father that his nature decayed. And the same is true child might be healed ? Faith: “ if of the corresponding disorders of the thou canst believe, all things are possimind. While the disease is suffered ble to him that believeth.' to remain; whilst men live in sin, Behold here how necessary and how and their natures are unren
enewed, with efficacious is faith in those who minister.
Had the disciples possessed it, they To such his ears and arms are ever might have wrought the cure. And open: “ Bring him unto me." without it, they still, who preach the True piety and faith in Jesus Christ gospel, can reasonably hope but for will be blessed, not in his ministers Jittle success. Except they themselves only; but in all who according to their believe what they teach to others; ex« several stations, impart and communi. cept they have a well-founded confi- cate the knowledge of his word and dence in their heavenly Master; are will to others. Parents, especially, and deeply sensible that the doctrines which masters of families, may do much good! they proclaim are the power of God by teaching and admonishing their chil. unto salvation to all who in heart and dren and servants, and bringing them life receive them, they are likely to up in the faith and fear of God. Jabour to little profit. They may in It is scarcely necessary to observe deed be instruinents of doing some that they who would receive spiritual good; in ordinary cases they may blessings are chiefly required to bework cures; those whom the Lord by lieve. This is remarkable in almost other means has awakened, or without every miracle of healing wrougbt by means has disposed to righteousness, our blessed Saviour. This was his usual teachers deficient in faith and zeal, may language: * As thou hast believed, so instruct in the essential doctrines and be it done unto thee;" “ Go thy way, most obvious and well-known duties of thy faith bath made thee whole : Christianity. But their labours will “ All things are possible to him that be. not be greatly blessed. Atrocious and lieveth.” His apostles have more parhardened sinners will not be converted ticularly extended and applied it to the by their ministrations. Great obstacles salvation of the soul; by faith we are in the way of men's salvation will rarely justified; by this, as an invincible shield, be removed by the efforts of clergymen we quench all the fiery darts of the not themselves truly taught of God; wicked. It is the victory that overor who are influenced in their ministry cometh the world; this indeed is the by love of the world, or the fear of sum of all our doctrine : “ Believe on men. The reason may be well con the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt ceived; they are cold and indifferent; be saved." they are deficient in their first prepara But how comforting to the Christian, tion for usefulness. They neglect their and how interesting to all, must be the studies, of the holy scriptures espe. inference that our faith is received, in cially; their thoughts and affections some degree certainly, and blessed to are too much on their own interest or the benefit of others! And this not only, glory, or on other worldly things. as we have considered in the case of They do not, with cordial sincerity, de. those who preach the gospel and minisvote themselves to this sacred work; ter in sacred things; the parent's failla nor do they, with sufficient earnestness prevails, we here see, to the healing of and perseverance pray to God for his child, who was lunatick, and could his blessing upon their labours; all not himself believe. We have other like their exertions are languid and remiss. instances in the gospel history, which Flocks, whose unhappy lot it is to be ought much to engage our gratitude and under such spiritual guides, are likely awaken our diligence in making a right to be scattered, and even lost, unless, use of them. How ought Christiansgene. like the wise parent in this Gospel, rally to pray and labour for the spiritual they apply more immediately to the benefit and the eternal salvation of chief physician, Jesus Christ, unless others : what encouragement is here to they search the scriptures, examine the parents especially to give up their chil. gospel, and
pray to God for themselves. dren to God in faith; to bring them to