Obrazy na stronie

lagy of the singular number for the plural, found John xviii. 20. where curarywan is used for ouverywymis, found likewise in Thucydides, and other goal: writers, may stand for evexetVRIS Tais quizzes, in those days; and consequently Mark will agree here exactly with Luke, who in relating the self-same facts, dissolves the connection which Mark is supposed to have established between them, chap. viii. 22. Now it came to pass on a certain duy (nice Tun

Augus) that be event into a ship with bis disciples. Or without having recourse to the Hebrew idiom, or to the enallagy of number mencioned, the phrase may, be explained lay the sense of the word niex in the bese Greek writers. I suppose the authority of Sophocles and Aristotle will not be doubced by judges of the purity of the Greek tongue. But the former of these uses che espression, Taai Hotto denote ancient time, prisca ulas, and the latter, Rhet. lib. 2. c. 11. giving the rezson why young people think the past time short, and live by hope more than experience, says, en yag TOUTH nuspre seuns hauts reiv xòev diortes, they are ship posed to remember notbing in their earliest age. To these I may add an exampe from a sacred writer, Luke xix. 42. If thou badst known, even thou, (x20p sy ti apeiga or tuura) at least in this thy day, the i bings which belong to thy peace; but now they are bid from thine eyes. Wherefore, Tanair nuszx, FCWTo Allegz, and τη ημερα ταυτη, being phrases of the same kind with εκεινη τη ημερα, the word in this latter may have the signification which it bears in the other examples. Consequently, sv ezen Th epeique in Mark, being the same with sireUW TW xalça, a transition used, Matth. xii. 1. (compare chap. xiii. 1.) will be equivalent io Luke's plebee Tay gusgw. But what puts this matter beyond all doubt is, that we have the very phrase itself used in this general sense, both in the Hebrew and the Greek. In the Hebrew, Exod. xix. 1. In the tbird montb, ruber tbe children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egygt, she same day came they into the wil derness of Sindi. 2. For they were departed from Repbidim, and were come to the de sert of Sinai Here the phrase, the same day has a general signification, the computation being made not by reckoning from the preciee day in which the Israelites left Egypt. By God's special command, the month Abib, on the fifteenth day of which they came out, was to be tbe beginning of months to them, Exod. xii. 2. that is, the first month of the year in computation. Wheli, therefore, it is said in tbe ibird montó when the children of Israel were come out of Egypt, the meaning is, in the third month of the year, and of consequence, the same day must signify about that time; perhaps the beginning of the third month is meant. The form of expressioni, however, is such as will comprehend any part of the third monch whatever.'The Greek example we have i San. iii. 1, 2. And the word of the Lord was pree ciuus in those days, (ev täis nei pazos exisvaLAS ) there was no open vision. And il cacao to pass at that time (LXX. kat KLEVETO EV en nueça exelen ) when Eli was laid down in bis place, &c. See also Nehemiah xiii. 1. compared with chap. xii. 47. According to this general sense of the phrase, che evangelist's meaning is, that is one of tbose days after our Lord had caught the people, he desired his disciples to go with him to the other side of the lake, and that they carried him away just as he sat in the vessel. It seems he had been preaching from the vessel to the mulricude on the shore, as his custom was on other occasions. See Mark iii. 9. Like v. 3.

Ic is needless to object that this voyage was made several months before the parable of the sower was delivered. For when Mark says it happened about that cime, he does not use the phrase xy EXEven on eingese with so much latitude as Matthew does, who thereby connects the Baptist's first public appearance with Christ's birch, which happened full thirty years before, chap. ii. 1. Nor door he use the word niespot with greater latitude than the prophet Jeremiah, when he tells us, chap. xxxi. 32. that God made the Sinaitic covenant with the Israelites in tbe doy ( nueqx) that he took them by the hand bring them out of Egypt. For the law was given fifty days after their departiere Lion the house


of bondage. To conclude, the Latins likewise affixed the signification of time in general to the word day (dies) even in the singular number, as is evident from the following exanıple, Qua potest quisque in ea conterat arte diem. Upon the whole, the proofs produced being so full, and the connection which Matthew has established betwixt our Lord's parabolical sermon and his journey to Nazareth so strong, chap. xiii. 53. we may with assurance believe thar here he has preserved the true order of time in his narration, and need not scruple to acknowledge that Mark and Luke, who differ from him in this instance, have r«laced two or three particulars out of their proper place, since by the manner in which they introduce these particulars, they insinuate that they have cold them without regard to time. Wherefore, narwithstanding this anachronism, the veracity of the evangelists as historians remaios inviolable, because they have acknowledged it, and the scheme of harmony now offered is unshaken, and that in the chief instance, where there is any difficulty or suspicion of failure. Ac the same time, though so good an account of the matter could not have been given, yet as it is the only instance subject to doubt, this circumscance might have weighed with candid judges, to make them hope that the diffaculty, some time or other, would meet with a proper solution,

[ocr errors]

♡ XXXII. Jesus cures the demoniacs of Gadara. Matt. viii.

28,-34. ix. I. Mark v. 1,-21. Luke yiii. 26,-40.

The storm being hushed they came to land, Matthew says * in the country of Gergasa. Mark and Luke, in the country of Gadara. But the evangelists do not differ here, if, as is probable, the one gives us the general name of the country, the other the, denomination of a particular spot only. Luke viji. 26. And they arrived t at (Mark, they came over to the other side of the sea.


* In the country of Gergasa.] Lightfoot seems to think this was the country of the Girgashites, mentioned Josh. iii. 10. among the seven nations in Canaan that were devoted to destruction, and reconciles the evangelists by supposing that Gergasa comprehended the country of Gadara. But to call Gergasa che country of the Girgashites is improper, because there were none of the ancient inhabitants of Canaan subsisting nationally in our Lord's time. Besides, the Girgashites, being one of the seven Canaanitish nations, must have dwelt on the western side of Jordan, whereas Gadara was eastward from that river,

+ Luke, ver. 26. At the country of the Gadarenes.] Josephus, Bell. v. 3. says Gadara was the metropolis of Perea, The same author, Hist. Vitæ suæ, observes that it was sixty furlongs from Tiberias. Gadara therefore is rightly placed opposite to Tiberias at the south end of the sea. Farther, Joseph. Bell, iii. 2. speaking of the country of Gadara, says it bounded Galilee to the east. So says the evangelist Luke also, viii. 26. And they arrived at the country of Gadara, wbieb is over against Galileo, αντιπεραν της Γαλιλαίας. Gadara therefore must have been situated on the east side of the lake, about eight miles from Tiberias, in such a manner, that part of its terricory was contiguous to the lower Galilee, but separated from it by the Jordar; and part of it was opposite thereto, with the lake between. The city was one of those called Decapolis, Pliny v. 18. and, according to Josephus was sicuated in Celosyria, in the possessions of the tribe of Manasseh. When Pompey subdued Judea he rebuilt Gadara, and joined it to the province of Syria, Antiq. xiv. 8. Auguscus afterwards gave it to Herod, Antiq. xv. 11. But upon Herod's death he annexed it again to Syria, Ant. xvii. 13. By this means, the own came to be inhabited partly by Syrians. Hence it is reckoned among the Grecian towns, ibid. Gadara being thus inhabited by a mixture of people, it is no wouder that there were swine in its territory. For though the Jews did not eat the flesh of chis animal, they might breed them for their heathen neighVol. I.


3 R

into the country of the Gadarenes, (see Matthew, ver. 28.) which is over against Galilee. When Jesus and his disciples, with the people who had come in the other little ships, Mark iv. 36. and who had partaken in the miraculous deliverance from the storm, were landed, two madmen possessed with devils came towards them, from certain tombs that happened to be in that part of the country. Mark and Luke speak only of one demoniac. Luke 27. And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city (Mark 2. immediately there met him out of the tombs) a çertain man which had devils long time, and ware ng clothes, + neither abode in any house, but in the tombs. (Mark, a man witk an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs.) But Matthew says expressly, there were two of them. 28. [ And when he was come to the other side, into the country of the Gergeşenes, there met him two possessed with devils coming out of the tombs. The demoniac of whom Mark and Luke speak, was a great deal more furious than the other, for he had been often bound with chains and fetters, but had as often broken them with great fury; so that no man attempted farther to restrain him. Being therefore at liberty, he shunned the society of men, wandering day and night in desert places, among the sepulchres or caves in which the dead, according to the custom of the country, were buried, making miserable outcries, roaring, and cutting Irimself with stones. Wherefore the madness of this person being more remarkable, and of longer continuance than that of his com


[ocr errors]

bours. Or the herd might be the property of the latter. There was another Gadara in Palestina Prima, not far from Azotuş. But that city is evidently out of the question.

• Mark, ver. 2. Out of tbe tombs.] Luke's account, as it stands in the transia. tion, seems to clash with Mark's in this particular. For he says, 27. There were bim out of the city a certain man, &c. But there is no real inconsistency between the evangelists; for Luke's words are, aung Ex Tonews, which properly signify • man of the city, one who had formerly been an inhabitant, though now he dwek among the combs. See the phrase, John i. 45. Accordingly, Luke himself telas uus that he did not abide in any bouse, but in the tombs, Ver.-27.

+ Luke, ver. 27. Neitber abode in ony bouse, but in the tombs.] The sepulchres af the Jews were generally caves digged out of rocks, or in the sides of moun:ains. So Josephus informs us; who adds, that the robbers who infested the country, commonly lurked in such places. Thither the melancholy disposition of the mad. men mentioned by the evangelists naturally led them. And as they often sheltered their naked bodies in them during the night season, or in bad weather, they might properly enough be said to have had no other habitation.

Mate. viii. 28. And when be was come to the other side, into the country of the Gergesenes, there met bim two possessed with devils, &c.] In several instances, the sacred historians mention bui one person, though more were concerned in the matter related. See $ 106. Augustin thinks one of the demoniacs was more remarkable than the other, perhaps for his birth, or parts, or interest in the country, and that his cure made more noise, and for that reason was mentioned by Mark and Luke, while they omitted the cure of the other. De consensu Everg. tib, . No. 36.

panion, his cure made a greater noise, which is the reason that Mark and Luke speak of him only, omitting the other for the sake of brevity. Mark v. 4. And no man could bind him, no nat quith 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. 5. And olways, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. Of all these circumstances the disciples may have been informed, either by the man himself after his recovery, or by the keepers of the swine, or by the inhabitants of Gadara who came out to see the effects of the mis racle; for that they were well known is evident from Luke's mentioning them likewise, see ver. 29. Jesus, observing the disciples torrified at the approach of these furious madmen, dispelled their fears immediately. For while the men were yet at a disa tance, he commanded the devils to come out of them. His command had the desired effect. For the men, though furious, shew. ed signs of submission, they fell down before him; and the demons who possessed them expressed great dread of being driven out. Mark v. 6. But when he saw Jesus afar of, he ran and worshipped him, (Luke, fell down before him). 7. And cried with a loud voice and said, What have I to do with thee, (or, as it might be translated, What hast thou to do with me) Jesus, thau son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God (Luke, I beseech tkee) that thou torment me not. (Matth. Art thou come hither to tor ment us before the time?) 8. For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. He commanded the devil to be gone while the madman was at a distance, in order to remove the perturbation which his approach had occasioned in his disciples. The title of the Most High is given to God by the inspired writers of the Old Testament, to distinguish him from all others who are called gods. Hence it was fitly ascribed to him on this occasion by the demons, who expressed great dread of being tormented before the time, that is, of being sent to hell before the day of judgment, against which evil spirits are reserved (Jude, ver. 6.) that they may be publicly doomed to condign punishment, in presence of the whole creation. Our Lord thinking it proper the misery of those men should be known before he delivered them, asked one of the devils his name. Mark v. 9. And he asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he answered, saying; My name is legion, for que are many. (Luke, because many devils were entered into him.) Luke viii. 31. And they besought him that he would not command them to go out

into the deep, 3 R 2



* Luke, ver. 31. Into the deep] Eus meuscor. The word EVST in this passage sigrifies the place where wicked spirits are punished; as it does likewise,


the place where wicked spirits are punished. (Mark, send them away out of the country.) 32. And there was there (Matth. a good way off from them) a herd of many swine feeding on the mountain, (Mark, nigh unto the mountains) and they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them. By this the devils proposed to prevent any good effect which the miracle might have had on the Gadarenes, and to render Christ odious to that wicked people. Their design could not be hid from Jesus. Nevertheless he granted their request, making it subservient to his own gracious purposes. He permitted the devils to enter into the swine, not only because he knew it would render the miracle more public, but because it would prove the reality of the possession, and make men understand both how great the power of evil spirits is, and how terrible the effects of their malice would be, if they were not restrained. For no sooner was the permission granted, than the keepers who were with the swine, and the disciples who were at a distance, beheld, to their great astonishment, the whole herd running furiously down the mountain, and leaping from the tops of the rocks into the sea, where they were drowned to the number of two thousand; wbile the possessed furious madmen became all of a sudden meek and composed, having recovered the entire use of their reason, the first exercise of which doubtless would lead them to an high admiration of his goodness who had delivered them from the oppression


Rev. IX. 3. where it is translated the bottomless pit. Properly it denotes a place without a bottom, or so deep that it cannot be fathomed. The Greeks described their Tartarus in this manner; and the Jews when they wrote Greek, did not scruple to adopt their expressions, because they were universally understood. Besides, the Hebrew language did not furnish proper words for these ideas, which was the reason that the first Christians also, when they had occasion to speak of the state of evil spirits, made use of terms purely Greek, such as adens, ruetaqwaas, &c. See 2 Pet. ii. 4. Mark says the devils begged that Jesus would not send them out of the country. To explain this circumstance, some pretend that particular genii preside over particular regions, founding their opinion on Dan, X. 13, 20. And because the prophet speaks there of angels coc'tending with one another, and of Michael's assisting one of the parties, ver. 13. they think the war was waged between good and bad genii. For as kingdoms and provinces are supposed to be committed to the care of benign tutelar powers, so the evil genii have their provinces assigned to them by Their chieftain, in which they are to do all the mischief they can to mankind. Pursuant to this hy. pothesis, its abertors fancy that the band of evil spirits which cormented these miserable men, were stationed in this part of the country to oppose Christ, and so begged that they might not be expelled, thinking they could do more inischief here than elsewhere. But whatever be in this, certain it is, that by making such a request, the devils acknowledged that it was not in the power even of a legion of them, to do any miechief to so contempible a creature as a swine, without Christ's permission, far less could they destroy the man in whom they lodged. The whole of this history teaches us to rely on the providence of God, avd not to live in fear of evil spirice. They are under the strictest restraint, and cannot burt us without the divine permiseion.

« PoprzedniaDalej »