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25于是有许多人从加利利、低加波利、耶路撒冷、犹太和约旦河东来跟从耶稣。
25And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan.
25 Verse 25. This verse is immediately connected with the fifth

chapter, and should not be separated from it.



Great multitudes] This, even according to the Jews, was one

proof of the days of the Messiah: for they acknowledged that in

his time there should be a great famine of the word of God; and

thus they understood Amos, .

Behold, the days come-that I will send a famine in the land, not a

famine of bread-but of hearing the words of the Lord. And as the

Messiah was to dispense this word, the bread of life, hence they

believed that vast multitudes from all parts should be gathered

together to him. See Schoettgenius on this place.



Decapolis] A small country, situated between Syria and Galilee

of the nations. It was called Decapolis, δεκαπολις, from δεκα,

ten, and πολις, a city, because it contained only ten cities;

the metropolis, and most ancient of which, was Damascus.



From beyond Jordan.] Or, from the side of Jordan. Probably

this was the country which was occupied anciently by the two

tribes of Reuben and Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh; for the

country of Decapolis lay on both sides of the river Jordan. See

.



THE account of our Lord's temptation, as given by the

evangelist, is acknowledged on all hands to be extremely

difficult. Two modes of interpretation have been generally

resorted to, in order to make the whole plain and intelligible:

viz. the literal and allegorical. In all cases, where it can

possibly apply, I prefer the first: the latter should never be

used, unless obviously indicated in the text itself; or so

imperiously necessary that no other mode of interpretation can

possibly apply. In the preceding observations, I have taken up

the subject in a literal point of view; and it is hoped that most

of the difficulties in the relation have been removed, or

obviated, by this plan. An ingenious correspondent has favoured

me with some observations on the subject, which have much more

than the merit of novelty to recommend them. I shall give an

abstract of some of the most striking; and leave the whole to the

reader's farther consideration.



The thoughts in this communication proceed on this ground:

"These temptations were addressed to Christ as a public person,

and respected his conduct in the execution of his ministry; and

are reported to his Church as a forcible and practical

instruction, concerning the proper method of promoting the kingdom

of God upon earth. They are warnings against those Satanic

illusions, by which the servants of Christ are liable to be

hindered in their great work, and even stopped in the

prosecution of it.



"As our Lord had, at his baptism, been declared to be the SON of

God, i.e. the promised Messiah, this was probably well known to

Satan, who did not mean to insinuate any thing to the contrary,

when he endeavoured to engage him to put forth an act of that

power which he possessed as the Messiah. The mysterious union of

the Divine with the human nature, in our Lord's state of

humiliation, Satan might think possible to be broken; and

therefore endeavoured, in the first temptation, Command these

stones to be made bread, to induce our Lord to put forth a

separate, independent act of power; which our Lord repelled, by

showing his intimate union with the Divine will, which he was come

to fulfil-Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word

that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Thus showing, as he did

on another occasion, that it was his meat and drink to do the will

of his Father.



"2. The ground of the temptation was then changed; and the

fulfilment of the Divine will, in the completion of a prophetic

promise, was made the ostensible object of the next attack. Cast

thyself down-for it is WRITTEN, He will give his angels charge

concerning thee, and in their hands shall they bear thee up, &c.

This our Lord repelled with-Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy

God-as Satan had designed to induce him to seek this public

miraculous confirmation of God's peculiar care over him, as the

promised Messiah, of his being which, according to the hypothesis

above, Satan had no doubt. Moses, being appointed to a great and

important work, needed miraculous signs to strengthen his faith;

but the sacred humanity of our blessed Lord needed them not; nor

did his wisdom judge that such a sign from heaven was essential to

the instruction of the people.



"3. The last temptation was the most subtle and the most

powerful-All these will I give unto thee, if thou wilt fall down

and worship me. To inherit all nations, had been repeatedly

declared to be the birthright of the Messiah. His right to

universal empire could not be controverted; nor could Satan

presume to make the investiture. What, then, was his purpose?

Satan had hitherto opposed, and that with considerable success,

the kingdom of God upon earth; and what he appears to propose

here, were terms of peace, and an honourable retreat. The worship

which he exacted was an act of homage, in return for his cession

of that ascendancy which, through the sin of man, he had obtained

in the world. Having long established his rule among men, it was

not at first to be expected that he would resign it without a

combat: but the purpose of this last temptation appears to be an

offer to decline any farther contest; and, yet more, if his terms

were accepted, apparently to engage his influence to promote the

kingdom of the Messiah. And as the condition of this proposed

alliance, he required, not Divine worship, but such an act of

homage as implied amity and obligation; and if this construction

be allowed, he may be supposed to have enforced the necessity of

the measure, by every suggestion of the consequences of a refusal.

The sufferings which would inevitably result from a provoked

opposition, which would render the victory, though certain to

Christ himself, dearly bought; added to which, the conflict he

was prepared to carry on through succeeding ages, in which all his

subtlety and powers should be employed to hinder the progress of

Christ's cause in the earth, and that with a considerable degree

of anticipated success. Here the devil seems to propose to make

over to Christ the power and influence he possessed in this world,

on condition that he would enter into terms of peace with him; and

the inducement offered was, that thereby our Lord should escape

those sufferings, both in his own person, and in that of his

adherents, which a provoked contest would ensure. And we may

suppose that a similar temptation lies hid in the desires excited

even in some of the servants of Christ, who may feel themselves

often induced to employ worldly influence and power for the

promotion of his kingdom, even though, in so doing, an apparent

communion of Christ and Belial is the result: for it will be found

that neither worldly riches, nor power, can be employed in the

service of Christ, till, like the spoils taken in war,

, they have passed through the fire and water, as,

without a Divine purification, they are not fit to be employed in

the service of God and his Church.



"Hence we may conclude, that the first temptation had for its

professed object, 1st, our Lord's personal relief and comfort,

through the inducement of performing a separate and independent

act of power.-The second temptation professed to have in view his

public acknowledgment by the people, as the MESSIAH: for, should

they see him work such a miracle as throwing himself down from the

pinnacle of the temple without receiving any hurt, they would be

led instantly to acknowledge his Divine mission; and the evil of

this temptation may be explained, as seeking to secure the success

of his mission by other means than those which, as the Messiah, he

had received from the Father. Compare .

The third temptation was a subtle attempt to induce Christ to

acknowledge Satan as an ally, in the establishment of his

kingdom." E. M. B.



The above is the substance of the ingenious theory of my

correspondent, which may be considered as a third mode of

interpretation, partaking equally of the allegoric and literal. I

still, however, think, that the nearer we keep to the letter in

all such difficult cases, the more tenable is our ground,

especially where the subject itself does not obviously require the

allegorical mode of interpretation. Among many things worthy of

remark in the preceding theory the following deserves most

attention: That Satan is ever ready to tempt the governors and

ministers of the Christian Church to suppose that worldly means,

human policy, secular interest and influence, are all essentially

necessary for the support and extension of that kingdom which is

not of this world! Such persons can never long preserve hallowed

hands: they bring the world into the Church; endeavour to sanctify

the bad means they use, by the good end they aim at; and often, in

the prosecution of their object, by means which are not of God's

devising, are driven into straits and difficulties, and to

extricate themselves, tell lies for God's sake. This human policy

is from beneath-God will neither sanction nor bless it. It has

been the bane of true religion in all ages of the world; and, in

every country where the cause of Christianity has been

established, such schemers and plotters in the Church of God are

as dangerous to its interests as a plague is to the health of

society. The governors and ministers of the Christian Church

should keep themselves pure, and ever do God's work in his own

way. If the slothful servant should be cast out of the vineyard,

he that corrupts the good seed of the Divine field, or sows tares

among the wheat, should be considered as an enemy to

righteousness, and be expelled from the sacred pale as one who

closes in with the temptation-"All these things (the kingdoms of

the world, and the glory of them) will I give unto THEE, if thou

wilt fall down and worship ME." However necessary the Church may

be to the state, and the state to the Church, as some people

argue, yet the latter is never in so much danger as when the

former smiles upon it.