1 And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city.
1 CHAPTER IX.
NOTES ON CHAP. IX.
Verse 1. He came into his own city] Viz. Capernaum, where he
seems to have had his common residence at the house of Peter. See
, and . This verse properly belongs to the
2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.
2 Verse 2. Sick of the palsy] See .
Lying on a bed] κλινης, a couch or sofa, such as they
reclined on at meals.
Seeing their faith] The faith of the paralytic person, and the
faith of those who brought him; .
Be of good cheer] θαρσειτεκνον, Son, take courage! Probably
he began to despond, and Christ spoke thus to support his faith.
Thy sins be forgiven thee.] Moral evil has been the cause of
all the natural evil in the world. Christ goes to the source of
the malady, which is sin; and to that as the procuring cause we
should refer in all our afflictions. It is probable that this
paralytic person had, in the earnest desires of his heart,
entreated the cure of his soul, leaving his body to the care of
others, as the first miracle of healing is wrought on his soul.
In a state of helplessness, when we seek above all things to
please God, by giving him our hearts, he often inspires others
with the care of our temporal necessities. It may be necessary to
be observed, that it was a maxim among the Jews that no diseased
person could be healed till all his sins were blotted out. See
Nedarim, fol. 41. Hence our Lord first forgives the sins, and
then heals the body of the paralytic person. This appears to have
been founded on .
Who forgiveth all thine iniquities, and healeth all thy diseases.
Here pardon precedes health. See also . It may be
observed, also, that most people are more in earnest about their
souls when in sickness than in health, and therefore are more
earnest in prayer for salvation.
3And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth.
3 Verse 3. This man blasphemeth.] βλασφημεω comes either from
βλαπτειντηνφημην, to hurt or blast the reputation or credit
of another, or from βαλλεινταιςφημαις, to smite with reports.
Whenever it is used in reference to GOD, it simply signifies, to
speak impiously of his nature, or attributes, or works. Injurious
speaking is its proper translation when referred to man.
The scribes were the literati of that time; and their learning,
because not used in dependence on God, rendered them proud,
envious, and obstinate. Unsanctified knowledge has still the same
effect: that light serves only to blind and lead men out of the
way which is not joined with uprightness of heart. The most
sacred truths often become an occasion of delusion, where men are
under the government of their evil passions.
4And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?
4 Verse 4. Jesus knowing (ιδων seeing) their thoughts] In
telling them what the thoughts of their hearts were, (for they had
expressed nothing publicly,) he gave them the fullest proof of his
power to forgive sins; because God only can forgive sins, and God
only can search and know the heart. Jesus pronounced the man's
sins forgiven; and gave the scribes the fullest proof of his power
to do so, by telling them what, in the secret of their souls, they
thought on the subject.
God sounds the secrets of all hearts-no sin escapes his notice;
how senseless then is the sinner to think he sins securely when
unseen by men! Let us take heed to our hearts, as well as to our
conduct, for God searches out and condemns all that does not
spring from, and leads not to himself.
5For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?
5 Verse 5. For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven
thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?] Both are equally easy, and
equally difficult; for both require unlimited power to produce
them. And every thing is equally easy to that power which is
unlimited. A universe can be as easily produced by a single act
of the Divine will as the smallest elementary part of matter.
The common punctuation of the above passage almost destroys the
sense: the comma should be placed after easier, and to say, made
the first part of the question.
6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.
6 Verse 6. But that ye may know, &c.] External miracles are the
proofs of internal ones. Three miracles are wrought in this case.
(I mean, by miracle, something produced or known that no power is
capable of but that which is omnipotent, and no knowledge adequate
to but that which is omniscient.) The miracles are these: 1st.
The remission of the poor man's sins. 2d. The discernment of the
secret thoughts of the scribes. 3d. The restoring of the
paralytic, in an instant, to perfect soundness. Thus one miracle
becomes the proof and establishment of another. Never was a
clearer proof of omnipotent energy and mercy brought under the
senses of man. Here is an absolutely perfect miracle wrought; and
here are absolute incontestable proofs that the miracle was
wrought; and the conclusion is the fullest demonstration of the
Divinity of the ever-blessed Jesus.
Arise, take up thy bed] Being enabled to obey this command was
the public proof that the man was made whole. Such a circumstance
should not pass without improvement. A man gives proof of his
conversion from sin to God who imitates this paralytic person. He
who does not rise and stand upright, but either continues
grovelling on the earth, or falls back as soon as he is got up,
is not yet cured of his spiritual palsy. When we see a penitent
enabled to rejoice in hope of God's glory, and to walk in the way
of his commandments, he affords us all the proof which we can
reasonably require, that his conversion is real: the proof
sufficient to satisfy himself is the witness of the Holy Spirit in
his own heart; but this is a matter of which those who are without
cannot judge: they must form their opinion from his conduct, and
judge of the tree by its fruits.
7And he arose, and departed to his house.
8 But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.
8 Verse 8. When the multitudes saw it, they marvelled] Instead
of εθαυμασαν, wondered, the Codex Vatic. and Cod. Bezae, with
several other MSS. and versions, have εφοβηθησαν, feared. In the
Gothic, and one copy of the Itala, both readings are conjoined,
thus: And the multitudes seeing it, wondered and feared, and
glorified God. Wondered at the miracle; feared to offend against
such power and goodness; and glorified God for the works of
mercy which he had wrought.
That which to the doctors of the law, the worldly-wise and
prudent, is a matter of scandal, is to the humble an occasion of
glorifying the Most High. Divine things make a deeper impression
on the hearts of the simple multitude than on those of the
doctors, who, puffed up with a sense of their own wisdom, refuse
to receive the truth as it is in Jesus. The conversion of one
rebellious soul is a greater miracle, and more to be admired than
all that can be wrought on inanimate creatures. He who sees a
sinner converted from the error of his way sees a miracle wrought
by eternal power and goodness. May such miracles be multiplied!
9 ¶ And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.
9 Verse 9. Named Matthew] Generally supposed to be the same who
wrote this history of our blessed Lord. Mathai signifies a gift
in Syriac; probably so named by his parents as implying a gift
The receipt of custom] The custom-house, τελωνιον-the place
where the taxes levied by the Romans of the Jews, were collected.
Follow me.] That is, become my disciple.
And he arose, and followed him.] How blessed it is to be
obedient to the first call of Christ-how much happiness and glory
are lost by delays, though conversion at last may have taken
10 ¶ And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.
10 Verse 10. Sat at meat in the house] Viz. of Matthew, who it
appears, from , made a great feast on the occasion, thus
testifying his gratitude for the honour done him; and that his
friends and acquaintances might profit by the teaching of his new
master, he invites them to the entertainment that was honoured by
the presence of Christ. His companions, it appears, were not of
the most creditable kind. They were tax-gatherers
and sinners, αμαρτωλοι, a word which I believe in general
signifies heathens, throughout the Gospels, and in several other
parts of the New Testament. See, among others, ;
; ; ;
; ; ; in most, if not all of which
places, it evidently refers to the character or state of a
Gentile, or Heathen. See also the notes on these passages.
11And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?
11 Verse 11. When the Pharisees saw it] He who, like a Pharisee,
never felt himself indebted to infinite mercy for his own
salvation, is rarely solicitous about the salvation of others.
The grace of Christ alone inspires the soul with true benevolence.
The self-righteous Pharisees considered it equal to legal
defilement to sit in company with tax-gatherers and heathens. It
is certain that those who fear God should not associate, through
choice, with the workers of iniquity, and should only be found
with them when transacting their secular business requires it, or
when they have the prospect of doing good to their souls.
12 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.
12 Verse 12. They that be whole need not a physician] A common
proverb, which none could either misunderstand or misapply. Of it
the reader may make the following use:-
1. Jesus Christ represents himself here as the sovereign
Physician of souls. 2. That all stand in need of his healing
power. 3. That men must acknowledge their spiritual maladies, and
the need they have of his mercy, in order to be healed by him.
4. That it is the most inveterate and dangerous disease the soul
can be afflicted with to imagine itself whole, when the sting of
death, which is sin, has pierced it through in every part,
infusing its poison every where.
13But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
13 Verse 13. I will have mercy, and not sacrifice] Quoted from
. These are remarkable words. We may understand them
as implying, 1st. That God prefers an act of mercy, shown to the
necessitous, to any act of religious worship to which the person
might be called at that time. Both are good; but the former is
the greater good, and should be done in preference to the other.
2dly. That the whole sacrificial system was intended only to point
out the infinite mercy of God to fallen man, in his redemption by
the blood of the new covenant. And 3dly. That we should not rest
in the sacrifices, but look for the mercy and salvation prefigured
by them. This saying was nervously translated by our ancestors,
[---------Anglo-Saxon----------], I will mild-heartedness, and not
Go ye and learn] tse velimmed, a form of speech in
frequent use among the rabbins, when they referred to any fact or
example in the Sacred Writings. Nothing tends more to humble
pretenders to devotion than to show them that they understand
neither Scripture nor religion, when, relying on external
performances, they neglect love to God and man, which is the very
soul and substance of true religion. True holiness has ever
consisted in faith working by love.
I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners] Most of the
common editions add, ειςμετανοιαν, unto repentance; but this is
omitted in the Codex Vatic. and Bezae, sixteen others, both the
Syriac, both the Persic, Ethiop. Armen. Gothic, Anglo-Saxon, all
the Itala except three, the Vulgate, Clemens Roman, Origen, Basil,
Jerome, Augustin, Ambrose, and Barnabas. The omission is approved
by Mill and Bengel. Griesbach leaves it out of the text.
14 ¶ Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?
14 Verse 14. Thy disciples fast not?] Probably meaning that they
did not fast so frequently as the others did, or for the same
purposes, which is very likely, for the Pharisees had many
superstitious fasts. They fasted in order to have lucky dreams,
to obtain the interpretation of a dream, or to avert the evil
import of a dream. They also fasted often, in order to obtain the
things they wished for. The tract, Taanith is full of these
fasts, and of the wonders performed thus by the Jewish doctors.
15And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.
15 Verse 15. Can the children of the bride-chamber] νυμφωνος.
Or, νυμφιου, bridegroom, as the Cod. Bezae and several versions
have it. These persons were the companions of the bridegroom, who
accompanied him to the house of his father-in-law when he went to
bring the bride to his own home. The marriage-feast among the
Jews lasted seven days; but the new married woman was considered
to be a bride for thirty days. Marriage feasts were times of
extraordinary festivity, and even of riot, among several people of
When the bridegroom shall be taken from them, &c.] There was
one annual fast observed in the primitive Church, called by our
ancestors [Anglo-Saxon] the spring fast, and, by us, LENT; by the
Greeks τεσσερακοστη, and by the Latins, Quadrigessima. This fast
is pretended to be kept by many, in the present day, in
commemoration of our Lord's forty days' fast in the wilderness;
but it does not appear that, in the purest ages of the primitive
Church, genuine Christians ever pretended that their
quadrigessimal fast was kept for the above purpose. Their fast
was kept merely to commemorate the time during which Jesus Christ
lay under the power of death, which was about FORTY HOURS; and it
was in this sense they understood the words of this text: the days
will come, &c. With them, the bridegroom meant Christ: the time
in which he was taken away, his crucifixion, death, and the time
he lay in the grave. Suppose him dying about twelve o'clock on
what is called Friday, and that he rose about four on the morning
of his own day, (St. John says, Early, while it was yet dark,
the interim makes forty hours, which was the true primitive Lent,
or quadrigessimal fast. It is true that many in the primitive
Church were not agreed on this subject, as Socrates, in his Church
History, book v. chap. 22, says, "Some thought they should fast
one day; others two; others more." Different Churches also were
divided concerning the length of the time, some keeping it three,
others five, and others seven weeks; and the historian himself is
puzzled to know why they all agreed in calling these fasts,
differing so much in their duration, by the name of Quadrigessima,
or forty days' fast: the plain obvious reason appears to me to
have been simply this: They put DAYS in the place of HOURS; and
this absurdity continues in some Christian Churches to the present
day. For more on fasting, .
16 No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse.
16 Verse 16. No man putteth a piece of new cloth] ουδειςδε
επιβαλλειεπιβλημαρακουςαγναφουεπιιματιωπαλαιω. No man
putteth a patch of unscoured cloth upon an old garment. This is
the most literal translation I can give of this verse, to convey
its meaning to those who cannot consult the original. ρακος
αγναφον is that cloth which has not been scoured, or which has
not passed under the hand of the fuller, who is called γναφευς in
Greek: and επιβλημα signifies a piece put on, or what we commonly
term a patch.
It-taketh from the garment] Instead of closing up the rent, it
makes a larger, by tearing away with it the whole breadth of the
cloth over which it was laid; αιρειγαρτοπληρωμααυτου-it taketh
its fulness or whole breadth from the garment; this I am persuaded
is the meaning of the original, well expressed by the Latin, or
Itala of the C. BEZAE, Tollit enim plenitudo ejus de vestimento.
"It takes away its fulness from the garment."
17Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.
17 Verse 17. New wine into old bottles] It is still the custom,
in the eastern countries, to make their bottles of goat skins: if
these happened to be old, and new wine were put into them, the
violence of the fermentation must necessarily burst them; and
therefore newly made bottles were employed for the purpose of
putting that wine in which had not yet gone through its state of
fermentation. The institutes of Christ, and those of the
Pharisees, could never be brought to accord: an attempt to combine
the two systems would be as absurd as it would be destructive.
The old covenant made way for the new, which was its completion
and its end; but with that old covenant the new cannot be
Christian prudence requires that the weak, and newly converted,
should be managed with care and tenderness. To impose such duties
and mortifications as are not absolutely necessary to salvation,
before God has properly prepared the heart by his grace for them,
is a conduct as absurd and ruinous as putting a piece of raw,
unscoured cloth on an old garment; it is, in a word, requiring the
person to do the work of a man, while as yet he is but a little
child. Preachers of the Gospel, and especially those who are
instruments in God's hand of many conversions, have need of much
heavenly wisdom, that they may know to watch over, guide, and
advise those who are brought to a sense of their sin and danger.
How many auspicious beginnings have been ruined by men's
proceeding too hastily, endeavouring to make their own designs
take place, and to have the honour of that success themselves
which is due only to God.
18 ¶ While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live.
18 Verse 18. A certain ruler] There were two officers in the
synagogue, chazan ha-ceneseth, the bishop or overseer of
the congregation; and rosh ha-ceneseth, the head or
ruler of the congregation. The chazan takes the book of the Law,
and gives it to the rosh, or ruler; and he appoints who shall read
the different sections, &c. Jairus, who is the person intended
here, was, in this latter sense, the ruler or governor of one of
the synagogues, probably at Capernaum. See ; .
My daughter is even now dead] Or, my daughter was just now
dying; αρτιετελευτησεν, or, is by this time dead: i.e. as Mr.
Wakefield properly observes, She was so ill when I left home that
she must be dead by this time. This turn of the expression
reconciles the account given here with that in Mark and Luke.
Michaelis conjectures that, in the Hebrew original, the words must
have stood thus, atah matah, which, without the points,
may signify either, She is dead, or She is dying.
To be successful in our applications to God by prayer, four
things are requisite; and this ruler teaches us what they are.
First, A man should place himself in the presence of God-he came
Secondly, He should humble himself sincerely before God-he fell
down before him-at his feet. .
Thirdly, He should lay open his wants with a holy earnestness-he
besought him greatly. .
Fourthly, he should have unbounded confidence in the power and
goodness of Christ that his request shall be granted-put thy hand
upon her, and she shall live. He who comes in this way to God,
for salvation, is sure to be heard. Imposition of hands was a
rite anciently used by the servants of God, through which heavenly
influences were conveyed to the bodies and souls of men. This
rite is still used in certain Churches; but, as there is no Holy
Ghost communicated by it, some suppose it may be as well omitted.
But why is this? Is it not because there is an unfaithfulness in
the person who lays on hands, or an unfitness in him on whom they
are laid? Let the rite be restored to its primitive simplicity,
and God will own it as he formerly did. But, however this may be,
where is the man or number of men who have authority to abrogate a
rite of God's own appointment? In the appointment of men to the
sacred ministry it should never be omitted: even in these
degenerate days, it may still serve as a sign of the necessity of
the gifts and graces of that Holy Spirit without which no man can
fulfil the work of the ministry, or be the instrument of saving
the souls of them that hear him. When the inventions of men are
put in the place of the ordinances of God, the true Church of
Christ is in great danger.
19And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples.
19 Verse 19. Jesus arose, and followed him] Our blessed Lord
could have acted as well at a distance as present; but he goes to
the place, to teach his ministers not to spare either their steps
or their pains when the salvation of a soul is in question. Let
them not think it sufficient to pray for the sick in their
closets; but let them go to their bed-sides, that they may
instruct and comfort them. He can have little unction in private,
who does not also give himself up to public duties.
20 ¶ And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment:
20 Verse 20. A woman which was diseased with an issue of blood]
γυνηαιμορρουσα. Mulier sanguinis profluvio laborans.
Significatur hoc loco, fluxus muliebris, in SANIS, menstruus; in
HAC perpetuus. It would be easy to explain the nature and
properties of the disease here mentioned; but, when it is said
that prudence forbids it, the intimation itself may be thought
sufficiently explanatory of the disorder in question. There are
some remarkable circumstances relative to this case mentioned by
St. Mark, , &c., which shall be properly noticed in the
notes on that place.
The hem of his garment] The tsitsith, or fringes,
which the Jews were commanded to wear on their garments.
See , and the note there.
21For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.
21 Verse 21. She said within herself, If I may but touch his
garment] Her disorder was of that delicate nature that modesty
forbade her to make any public acknowledgment of it; and therefore
she endeavoured to transact the whole business in private.
Besides, the touch of such a person was by the law reputed
unclean. By faith in Christ Jesus, little things are often
rendered efficacious to our salvation. What more simple than a
morsel of bread, and a few drops of wine, in the Lord's
Supper! And yet, they who receive them by faith in the sacrifice
they represent, are made partakers of the blessings purchased by
the crucified body and spilled blood of the Lord Jesus!
22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.
22 Verse 22. Daughter, be of good comfort] θαρσειθυγατερ, Take
courage, daughter. . The reason of this kind
speech was-Jesus, finding that virtue had proceeded from him; made
inquiry who had touched him. The woman, finding that she could
not be hid, came fearing and trembling, (,) and confessed
the truth: to dispel these fears and to comfort her mind, Jesus
said, Daughter, take courage.
Thy faith hath made thee whole.] ηπιστιςσουσεσωκεσε, This
thy faith hath saved thee: i.e. thy faith in my power has
interested that power in thy behalf, so that thou art saved from
thy disorder, and from all its consequences.
23And when Jesus came into the ruler's house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise,
23 Verse 23. Saw the minstrels and the people making a noise]
αυλητας, pipers; Anglo-Saxon, [Anglo-Saxon] the whistlers;
Gothic, haurngans haurngandans, the horn-blowers blowing with
their horns. Nearly the same as the pipublasara, pipe-blowers of
the Islandic: for among all those nations funeral lamentations
accompanied with such rude instruments, were made at the death of
relatives. That pipes were in use among the Jews, in times of
calamity or death, is evident from . And among the
Greeks, and Romans, as well as among the Jews, persons were hired
on purpose to follow the funeral processions with lamentations.
See ; . Even the poorest among the Jews were
required to have two pipers, and one mourning woman. At these
funeral solemnities it was usual with them to drink considerably;
even ten cups of wine each, where it could be got. See Lightfoot.
This custom is observed among the native Irish to this day, in
what is called their CAOINAN. The body of the deceased, dressed
in grave-clothes and ornamented with flowers, is placed in some
eminent place; the relations and caoiners range themselves in two
divisions, one at the head and the other at the feet of the
corpse. Anciently, where the deceased was a great personage, the
bards and croteries prepared the caoinan. The chief bard of the
head chorus began by singing the first stanza in a low doleful
tone; which was softly accompanied by the harp. At the
conclusion, the foot semichorus began the lamentation, or ULLALOO,
from the final note of the preceding stanza, in which they were
answered by the head semichorus; then both united in one general
The chorus of the first stanza being ended, the chief bard of
the foot semichorus sung the second stanza, the strain of which
was taken from the concluding note of the preceding chorus, which
ended, the head semichorus began the GOL, or lamentation, in which
they were answered by that of the foot, and then, as before, both
united in the general full chorus. Thus alternately were the song
and choruses performed during the night. I have seen a number of
women, sometimes fourteen, twenty-four, or more, accompany the
deceased from his late house to the grave-yard, divided into two
parties on each side the corpse, singing the ULLALOO, alternately,
all the way. That drinking, in what is called the wake, or
watching with the body of the deceased, is practised, and often
carried to a shameful excess, needs little proof. This kind of
intemperance proceeded to such great lengths among the Jews that
the Sanhedrin were obliged to make a decree, to restrain the
drinking to ten cups each. I mention these things more
particularly, because I have often observed that the customs of
the aboriginal Irish bear, a very striking resemblance to those of
the ancient Jews, and other Asiatic nations. The application of
these observations I leave to others.
It was a custom with the Greeks to make a great noise with
brazen vessels; and the Romans made a general outcry, called
conclamatio, hoping either to stop the soul which was now taking
its flight, or to awaken the person, if only in a state of torpor.
This they did for eight days together, calling the person
incessantly by his name; at the expiration of which term the
phrase, Conclamatum est-all is over-there is no hope-was used.
See the words used in this sense by Terence, EUN. l. 347. In all
probability this was the θορυβουμενον, the making a violent
outcry, mentioned here by the evangelist. How often, on the death
of relatives, do men incumber and perplex themselves with vain,
worldly, and tumultuous ceremonies, instead of making profitable
reflections on death!
24He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn.
24 Verse 24. The maid is not dead, but sleepeth] That is, she is
not dead so as to continue under the power of death; but shall be
raised from it as a, person is from natural sleep.
They laughed him to scorn.] κατεγελωναυτον, they ridiculed
him; from κατα, intensive, and γελαω, I laugh:-they
grinned a ghastly smile, expressive of the contempt they felt for
his person and knowledge. People of the world generally ridicule
those truths which they neither comprehend nor love, and deride
those who publish them; but a faithful minister of God, (copying
the example of Christ,) keeps on his way, and does the work of his
Lord and Master.
25But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose.
25 Verse 25. He-took her by the hand, and the maid arose.] The
fountain of life thus communicating its vital energy to the dead
body. Where death has already taken place, no power but that of
the great God can restore to life; in such a case, vain is the
help of man. So the soul that is dead in trespasses and sins-that
is, sentenced to death because of transgression-and is thus dead
in law, can only be restored to spiritual life by the mighty power
of the Lord Jesus; because HE alone has made the atonement, and HE
alone can pardon transgression. If the spiritually dead person be
utterly unconcerned about the state and fate of his soul, let a
converted relative either bring him to Christ by leading him to
hear the unadulterated Gospel of the kingdom; or bring Christ to
him by fervent, faithful, and persevering prayer.
26And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land.
26 Verse 26. And the fame hereof went abroad] In this business
Jesus himself scarcely appears, but the work effected by his
sovereign power is fully manifested; to teach us that it is the
business of a successful preacher of the Gospel to conceal himself
as much as possible, that God alone may have the glory of his own
grace. This is a proper miracle, and a full exemplification of
the unlimited power of Christ.
27 ¶ And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us.
27 Verse 27. Son of David] This was the same as if they had
called him Messiah. Two things here are worthy of remark: 1st.
That it was a generally received opinion at this time in Judea,
that the Messiah should be son of David. (.) 2dly. That
Jesus Christ was generally and incontestably acknowledged as
coming from this stock. .
Have mercy on us.] That man has already a measure of heavenly
light who knows that he has no merit; that his cry should be a cry
for mercy; that he must be fervent, and that in praying he must
follow Jesus Christ as the true Messiah, the son of David,
expected from heaven.
28 And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord.
28 Verse 28. When he was come unto the house] That is, the house
of Peter at Capernaum, where he ordinarily lodged.
Believe ye that I am able to do this?] Without faith Jesus does
nothing to men's souls now, no more than he did to their bodies
in the days of his flesh.
They said unto him, Yea, Lord.] Under a sense of our spiritual
blindness we should have, 1st. A lively faith in the almighty
grace of Christ. 2dly. A fervent, incessant cry for the
communication of this grace. 3dly. A proper view of his
incarnation, because it is through his union with our nature, and
by his sufferings and death, we are to expect salvation.
29Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.
29 Verse 29. According to your faith] .
30And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it.
30 Verse 30. Straitly charged them] He charged them severely,
from ενεβριμησατο, from εν, and βριμαομαι, to roar or storm
with anger; he charged them, on pain of his displeasure, not to
make it as yet public. See the reasons, Clarke "Mt 8:4".
31But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country.
31 Verse 31. But they-spread abroad his fame] They should have
held their peace; for to obey is better than sacrifice,
; but man must always be wiser than God, however, it may
be profitable to remark, 1st. That honour pursues those who fly
from it. 2dly. He who is thoroughly sensible of God's mercy
cannot long contain his acknowledgments. 3dly. That God in
general requires that what a man has received, for his own
salvation, shall become subservient to that of others-Let your
light so shine, &c. God chooses to help man by man, that all may
be firmly knit together in brotherly love.
32 ¶ As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil.
32 Verse 32. A dumb man possessed with a devil.] Some demons
rendered the persons they possessed paralytic, some blind, others
dumb, &c. It was the interest of Satan to hide his influences
under the appearance of natural disorders. A man who does not
acknowledge his sin to God, who prays not for salvation, who
returns no praises for the mercies he is continually receiving,
may well be said to be possessed with a dumb demon.
33 And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel.
33 Verse 33. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake] The
very miracle which was now wrought was to be the demonstrative
proof of the Messiah's being manifested in the flesh.
It was never so seen in Israel.] The greatest of the prophets
has never been able to do such miracles as these. This was the
remark of the people; and thus we find that the poor and the
simple were more ready to acknowledge the hand of God than the
rich and the learned. Many miracles had been wrought in the
course of this one day, and this excited their surprise.
34 But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils.
34 Verse 34. He casteth out devils through the prince of the
devils.] This verse is wanting in both the Greek and Latin of
the C. Bezae, in another copy of the Itala, and in Hilary and
Juvencus. But .
It is a consummate piece of malice to attribute the works of God
to the devil. Envy cannot suffer the approbation which is given
to the excellencies of others. Those whose hearts are possessed
by this vice speak the very language of the devil. Calumny is but
a little distance from envy. Though all persons may not have as
much envy as the Pharisees, yet they should fear having some
degree of it, as all have the principle from whence it proceeds,
35And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
35 Verse 35. Jesus went about all the cities and villages] Of
Galilee. See on . A real minister of Jesus Christ,
after his example, is neither detained in one place by a
comfortable provision made by some, nor discouraged from pursuing
his work by the calumny and persecution of others. It is proper
to remark, that, wherever Christ comes, the proofs of his presence
evidently appear: he works none but salutary and beneficial
miracles, because his ministry is a ministry of salvation.
Among the people.] εντωλαω. This clause is omitted by about
fifty MSS., several of them of the first antiquity and authority;
by the Complutensian, and by Bengel; by both the Syriac, both the
Arabic, both the Persic; the Ethiopic, Gothic, Saxon, and all the
Itala, except four. Griesbach has left it out of the text.
36 ¶ But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
36 Verse 36. Moved with compassion] εσπλαγχνισθη, from σπλαγχνον
a bowel. The Jews esteemed the bowels to be the seat of sympathy
and the tender passions, and so applied the organ to the sense.
επλαγχνιζομαι signifies, says Mintert, "to be moved with pity
from the very inmost bowels. It is an emphatic word, signifying a
vehement affection of commiseration, by which the bowels and
especially the heart is moved." Both this verb and the noun seem
to be derived from σπαω, to draw; the whole intestinal canal, in
the peristaltic motion of the bowels, being drawn, affected, and
agitated with the sight of a distressed or miserable object. Pity
increases this motion of the bowels, and produces considerable
pain: hence σπλαγχνιζομαι, to have the bowels moved, signifies to
feel pity or compassion at seeing the miseries of others.
They fainted] Instead of εκλελυμενοι, fainted, all the best
MSS., versions, and fathers, read εσκυλμενοι, grieved and
melancholy. Kypke says σκυλλειν properly signifies, to pluck off
the hair, as persons do in extreme sorrow or distress. The margin
says, They were tired and lay down.
And were scattered abroad] εππιμμενοι, thrown down, or, all
along. They were utterly neglected as to the interests of their
souls, and rejected by the proud and disdained Pharisees. This
people (οχλος, this mob) that knoweth not the law, is accursed,
. Thus those execrable men spoke of the souls that God
had made, and of whom they should have been the instructers.
Those teachers, in name, have left their successors behind them;
but, as in the days of Christ, so now, God has in his mercy
rescued the flock out of the hands of those who only fed upon
their flesh, and clothed themselves with their wool. The days in
which a man was obliged to give his property to what was called
THE Church, for the salvation of his soul, Christ being left out
of the question, are, thank God, nearly over and gone. Jesus is
the true Shepherd; without him there is nothing but fainting,
fatigue, vexation, and dispersion. O that we may be led out and
in by him, and find pasture!
37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;
37 Verse 37. The harvest] The souls who are ready to receive the
truth are very numerous; but the labourers are few. There are
multitudes of scribes, Pharisees, and priests, of reverend and
right reverend men; but there are few that work. Jesus wishes for
labourers, not gentlemen, who are either idle drones, or slaves
to pleasure and sin, and nati consumere fruges. "Born to consume
the produce of the soil."
It was customary with the Jews to call their rabbins and
students reapers; and their work of instruction, the harvest. So
in Idra Rabba, s. 2. "The days are few; the creditor is urgent;
the crier calls out incessantly; and the reapers are few." And in
Pirkey Aboth: "The day is short, the work great, the workmen idle,
the reward abundant, and the master of the household is urgent."
In all worldly concerns, if there be the prospect of much gain,
most men are willing enough to labour; but if it be to save their
own souls, or the souls of others, what indolence, backwardness,
and carelessness! While their adversary, the devil, is going
about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour; and a
careless soul, and especially a careless minister is his
The place of the harvest is the whole earth: it signifies
little where a man works, provided it be by the appointment, in
the Spirit, and with the blessing of God.
38Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
38 Verse 38. That he will send forth labourers] οπωςεκβαλλη
εργατας, that he would thrust forth labourers. Those who are
fittest for the work are generally most backward to the
employment. The man who is forward to become a preacher knows
little of God, of human nature, or of his own heart. It is, God's
province to thrust out such preachers as shall labour; and it is
our duty to entreat him to do so. A minister of Christ is
represented as a day-labourer: he comes into the harvest, not to
become lord of it, not to live on the labour of others, but to
work, and to labour his day. Though the work may be very severe,
yet, to use a familiar expression, there is good wages in the
harvest-home; and the day, though hot, is but a short one. How
earnestly should the flock of Christ pray to the good Shepherd to
send them pastors after his own heart, who will feed them with
knowledge, and who shall be the means of spreading the knowledge
of his truth and the savour of his grace over the face of the
The subject of fasting, already slightly noticed in the
preceding notes, should be farther considered.
In all countries, and under all religions, fasting has not only
been considered a duty, but also of extraordinary virtue to
procure blessings, and to avert evils. Hence it has often been
practised with extraordinary rigour, and abused to the most
superstitious purposes. There are twelve kinds of fasts among the
1. The person neither eats nor drinks for a day and night. This
fast is indispensable, and occurs twenty-nine times in the year.
2. The person fasts during the day, and eats at night.
3. The person eats nothing but fruits, and drinks milk or water.
4. He eats once during the day and night.
5. Eats one particular kind of food during the day and night,
but as often as he pleases.
6. Called Chanderaym, which is, to eat on the first day, only
one mouthful; two on the second; and thus continue increasing one
mouthful every day for a month, and then decreasing a mouthful
every day, till he leaves off where he began.
7. The person neither eats nor drinks for twelve days.
8. Lasts twelve days: the first three days he eats a little once
in the day; the next three, he eats only once in the night; the
next three, he eats nothing, unless it be brought to him; and,
during the last three days, he neither eats nor drinks.
9. Lasts fifteen days. For three days and three nights, he eats
only one handful at night; the next three days and nights, he eats
one handful if it be brought him, if not, he takes nothing. Then
he eats nothing for three days and three nights. The next three
days and nights he takes only a handful of warm water each day.
The next three days and nights he takes a handful of warm milk
10. For three days and nights he neither eats nor drinks. He
lights a fire, and sits at a door where there enters a hot wind,
which he draws in with his breath.
11. Lasts fifteen days. Three, days and three nights he eats
nothing but leaves; three days and three nights, nothing but the
Indian fig; three days and three nights, nothing but the seed of
the lotus; three days and three nights, nothing but peepul leaves;
three days and three nights, the expressed juice of a particular
kind of grass called doobah.
12. Lasts a week. First day he eats milk; second, milk-curds;
third, ghee, i.e. clarified butter; fourth, cow's urine; fifth,
cow's dung; sixth, water; seventh, nothing.
During every kind of fast, the person sleeps on the ground,
plays at no game, has no connection with women, neither shaves nor
anoints himself, and bestows alms each day.-AYEEN AKBERY, vol.
iii. p. 247-250. How much more simple and effectual is the way of
salvation taught in the BIBLE! But, because it is true, it Is not
credited by fallen man.
FASTING is considered by the Mohammedans as an essential part of
piety. Their orthodox divines term it the gate of religion. With
them, it is of two kinds, voluntary and incumbent; and is
distinguished by the Mosliman doctors into three degrees: 1. The
refraining from every kind of nourishment or carnal indulgence. 2.
The restraining the various members from every thing which might
excite sinful or corrupt desires. 3. The abstracting the mind
wholly from worldly cares, and fixing it exclusively upon God.
Their great annual fast is kept on the month Ramzan, or Ramadhan,
beginning at the first new moon, and continuing until the
appearance of the next; during which, it is required to abstain
from every kind of nourishment from day-break till after sun-set
of each day. From this observance none are excused but the sick,
the aged, and children. This is properly the Mohammedan Lent.
See HEDAYAH, prel. Dis. p. LV. LVI.
It is worthy of remark, that these children of the Bridegroom,
the disciples, did not mourn, were exposed to no persecution,
while the Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus, was with them, but after he
had been taken from them, by death and his ascension, they did
fast and mourn; they were exposed to all manner of hardships,
persecutions, and even death itself, in some of its worst forms.