« ZurückWeiter »
was occasioned by a fright. When our blessed Lord said, go," as in St. Matthew; or "he gave them leave," or " he suffered them," as in the other Evangelists; I think, that one or both the demoniacs went hastily toward the swine; and by some noise, or action, a few of them were affrighted; which fright was immediately communicated to the rest, whereupon the whole herd went off with great violence and the way being steep and leading to the lake, they all perished in the water. This is easy to be apprehended.
There are very few who have not been witnesses to something like this in the horse; who takes fright at very slight things, one knows not what sometimes: though at other times from manifest causes. Whenever it happens, he runs away with great violence, to his own perdition and the great hazard and oftentimes to the great detriment of others: and, if there are several together, the whole set, or team, becomes ungovernable. This is certain, and well known to almost every body.
I have also observed in our fields near London, where have been many horses grazing, if one is frightened, all the rest are alarmed. The same is seen in our fields, where are large herds of horned cattle. If one is disturbed by the barking of a dog, or the sport of idle boys, or any other odd occurrence; all the rest, to the utmost bounds of the enclosure, are alarmed and put in motion. The same is likewise well known of flocks of sheep, and flocks of geese, and sparrows. If one of the flock take fright, all the rest hasten away in the same direction. I believe this to be true of all animals that are gregarious: as were these swine; a large herd, feeding by each other. If one or two of them took fright, and tended toward the lake; all the rest, without exception, would go off the same way with the utmost precipitation.
By all the three evangelists we are assured, that after the loss of the swine, and the cure of the demoniacs, the Gadarenes besought our Lord" that he would depart out of their coasts." This I have twice, in the Supplement to vol. I. Disc. I. ascribed to the carnal temper of these people; that being apprehensive of suffering in their worldly inter
On Monday (May 7.) as J-H-, Esq. was coming to town from his house at Carshalton in Surrey, in his post-chaise, the horses took fright, just by Newington church, and ran with such violence against a waggon, passing through the turnpike, that one of the horses was killed on the spot, and the other so much bruised, that he died in an hour afterwards, and the chaise was almost torn to pieces. But happily the gentleman received no hurt, and the driver was but slightly bruised.-The General Evening Post, Thursday, May
ests, instead of entreating Jesus to stay with them, a while at least, they joined together with much unanimity in beseeching him to depart out of their coasts.
Nor do I now say, that a sensual temper of mind had no influence on them, for producing that request. Nevertheless, perhaps, that alone was not the whole cause. I therefore would add as follows.
It is observable from divers instances in the Old Testament, that special and extraordinary manifestations of the Divine Presence were generally awful and affecting to the men to whom they were made, though the message was gracious. I refer not only to Ex. xx. 19, but also to ch. xxiv. 30, and Judges vi. 22, and xiii. 22. See likewise Ex. xxxiii. 20.
There are likewise instances in the New Testament. How comfortable the tidings! Luke ii. 8-15. Yet it is said of the shepherds, ver. 9, " And they were sore afraid." And Luke v. 8-10," When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken. And so were also James and John, the sons of Zebedee. And Jesus said unto Simon: Fear not, henceforth thou shalt catch men." Upon another occasion, Mark iv. 41, “ And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another: What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him!" Compare Luke viii. 25. And on the mount. Matt. xvii. 6, 7, "And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid." Compare Mark ix. 6, and Luke ix. 34.
Let us now observe what is said of the Gadarenes, Mark v. 15, " And they (meaning the people of the neighbouring town and country) come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting and clothed, and in his right mind; and they were afraid." the like purpose exactly in Luke viii. 35. And at ver. 37, it is said: "Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear."
If Peter desired our Lord" to depart from him, because he was a sinful man:" if he, and the rest, were at other times so astonished that they knew not what to say nor what to think of themselves; though all the great works which they had seen performed by him were healing and beneficial; well might the people of this country be struck with awe at the sight of the man called Legion," sitting,
and clothed, and in his right mind." For it was a work of Divine Power and a token of the Divine Presence. And, very probably, they thought themselves unqualified for the residence of so great and holy a person among them.
At their request our Lord departed, and took ship, and returned to the place whence he had come; well knowing that many there were in earnest expectation of him.
But though our Lord himself staid no longer with the Gadarenes, he left there the man whom he had cured. "He prayed, that he might be with him. However Jesus suffered him not. But saith unto him; Go home to thy friends, and tell them, how great things the Lord hath done for thee. And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis, how great things Jesus had done for him. And all men did marvel." And it is not an unreasonable, nor an improbable supposition, that some of that country did afterwards come over into Galilee or Judea to see Jesus, that they might receive benefit from his great wisdom, or great power.
PAGE 106. Diss. xxviii. Who those Greeks were, who desired to see Jesus? And whether they were admitted?' John xii. 20, 21.
Dr. Ward well observes, at p. 107, The greater part of Syria was in our Saviour's time called Greece by the Jews. Hence, when he was in the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and a woman besought him to cast the evil spirit out of her daughter, she is called " a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation," Mark vii. 26. And these Greeks who were de'sirous to see Jesus, were, probably, of the same nation, and known to Philip, who is here said to have been of 'Bethsaida of Galilee.'
The same observation is in Grotius" upon this text. And I had occasion some while ago, in considering another text, to say: 'It was common with all authors about that time, 'to call the people, who inhabited the cities of Asia and Syria, Greeks.
a Videntur autem hi Gentiles fuisse Syrophonices. Nam alibi notavimus, Marci vii. 26, Envida vocari, quæ aliis est Syrophonista. Et his ob vicinitatem facilior notitia cum Galilæis Bethsaïdensibus, quod illi forte in partes Tyri et Sidonis excurrebant. Grot. ad Joh. xii. 20.
b See Vol. v. ch. xi. num. vii. note ".
Our author says, p. 107, They seem to have been pro'selytes, as they are reckoned among those who came up to Jerusalem to worship at the feasts.'
Which expression is ambiguous. For as many learned men of our time say there were two sorts of proselytes, some called proselytes of the gate, others proselytes of righteousness; Dr. W. may mean the former, as do Whitby and Hammond. I know nothing of that sort of half-proselytes. I think there were not any such men in any part of the world in the times of our Saviour and his apostles.
That these men were not proselytes, or men circumcised after the manner of the Jews, appears to me very probable. For all proselytes were entitled to the same religious privileges with native Jews, or the descendants of Abraham and Jacob. Such therefore, as it seems, might have had free access to Christ at the temple. The modesty of these persons may make us think of the Centurion, who, when he entreated our Lord to heal his sick servant, that was dear to him, and our Lord was going toward his house with some elders of the Jews, who also joined in the same request; "he sent friends unto him, saying," not only," that he was not worthy that Jesus should enter under his roof:" but likewise, that neither thought he himself worthy to come unto him," Luke vii. 1-8. Moreover Philip himself seems to have hesitated about the propriety of the request of these persons. For he also consulted Andrew, before he made the proposal to our Lord. So is the history. "And there were certain Greeks among them, who came up to worship at the feast. The same came to Philip, who was of Bethsaida in Galilee, and desired him, saying; Sir, we would see Jesus. Philip cometh, and telleth Andrew. And again, Andrew and Philip told Jesus."
Their request to see Jesus, I imagine, implied a desire to have access to his person, and to have some conversation with him. Which request, I think, was granted. Supposing these men to have been uncircumcised Gentiles, it was a favour and a condescension, according to the Jewish maxims. But the woman, who was of the same country, and is also called a Greek, came near to our Lord, and spoke to him several times, and he to her, and at length very comfortably, and healed her daughter. Matt. xv. 21-28; Mark vii. If our Lord yielded so far to the importunity of that woman, why might he not also grant the request of these Greeks, though Gentiles? It is manifest, that she was no better. For our Lord said to her: "Let the children first Ib. ch. xviii. num. ii.
be filled. It is not meet to take the children's bread, and cast it unto the dogs."
The sequel of the history confirms this supposition. In the hearing of these persons, or soon after they were gone, our Lord made use of these expressions. Ver. 23, "And Jesus answered them, saying: The hour is come, that the Son of man shall be glorified," that is, by the faith of the Gentiles, though many of the Jewish people rejected him. And afterwards, as ver. 32, " And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." The coming of these persons therefore was very acceptable to our Lord. And he thereupon pleaseth himself with the prospect of the speedy and extensive progress of his doctrine. So after the profession made by the forementioned centurion, of faith in our Lord's power to heal his servant at a distance, "He said to them that followed: I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven," and what there follows. Matt. viii. 10-12.
That the Greeks here spoken of were Gentiles, was the opinion of the ancient writers of the church, as a Epiphanius, Chrysostom, Theophylact, Theodore of Mopsuestia, b Jerom, and others; who never were perplexed with the notion of two sorts of proselytes, which has gained so much credit among learned christians of late times.
And we are likewise assured by Josephus, that Gentiles, or such as were aliens, were wont to come to Jerusalem, to worship there at the time of the Jewish festivals. Though uncircumcised men might not eat the passover, nor offer sacrifices at the temple, they might pray there. And when our Lord cleansed the temple, and drove the buyers and sellers, with their merchandize, from the outer court, he reminded them that it was "written, that God's house should be called an house of prayer for all people," Isa. lvi. 7; Matt. xxi. 13; Mark xi. 17; Luke xix. 46.
d Hær. 30. num. xxvii. tom. VIII. f In loc. Ad Rufin. T. II. p. 8δε τοις αλλοφύλοις, όσοι, κατα θρησκειαν πάρησαν. De B. J. 1, 6. cap. ix. 3.
e In Joh. hom. 66. [al. 65.] n. 3. p. 390.