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The next morning, as our Lord landed on the East
into the trembleThe
tis, which is called the country of the Gadareens, two de. moniacs, most grievously distracted, came running towards him, and fell at his feet, and worshipped him. They were both most hideous spectacles; but one, who was much fiercer than the other, made dismal outcries both day and night, cutting his flesh with sharp stones, and though he had been often bound with fetters and chains, yet he as often broke them to pieces, ranging, with his companion, among the rocks and tombs, and so fu. rious and outrageous was he, that no traveller durst pass that way.
As soon as these two wretched objects approached our Lord, the devils (who spoke by their mouths) declared him to be the Son of God, and expressed their fear of his being come to torment them before their time. The apos. tate spirits well knew his power, and trembled lest he should immediately cast them into the torments prepared for them, and not suffer them to continue roving through the earth till the day of judgment, when they should be condemned to eternal punishments in the sight of the whole creation.
The Blessed Jesus, willing that the torments suffered by these miserable men should be known before he healed them, asked one of the devils his name, who answered, Legion, for we are many. Begging, at the same time, that he would not command them to repair into the deep, or bottomless pit, but suffer them to enter into a herd of swine that were feeding on the adjacent mountains. This request our Lord thought proper to comply with, and no sooner was the Divine permission granted, than the spectators beheld at a distance the tormento these poor creatures suffered, with what amazing rapidity they ran to the confines of the lake, leaped from the precipices into the sea, , and perished in the waters.
As soon as the keepers of the herd beheld this strange sight, they fled, in the utmost fright, to the city of Gadara, where they gave a circumstantial account of all that had happened. In consequence of this, prodigious numbers of people, not only from the city, but likewise the neighbor
ing villages, immediately went to the place, where they found the man (who had been the more furious of the
perfect senses. But, whether it was, that the people took amiss the destruction of the swine, or thought themselves unworthy of his Divine presence, so it was, that they en. treated our Lord to depart out of their country. This request he was pleased to comply with, but, instead of permitting the man to go along with him, as he desired, he ordered him to return to his house, and his friends, and " then to declare what wonderful things the Lord had 6 done for him."
As soon as our Blessed Lord had repassed the lake, and was returned to Capernaum, the people, as usual, came flocking round him in prodigious multitudes. While be was teaching them, one Jairus, a chief ruler of the syn. agogue, came running to him in all the agonies of grief, and, in the presence of the whole company, fell on the ground before him, beseeching that he would come and heal his daughter, who lay at the point of death. The forwardness of the ruler's faith claimed our Saviour's com. passion and assistance; and therefore he immediately arose, and followed him. As he passed along the streets,
issue, or flux of blood, and had spent her whole substance on physicians to no purpose, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment ; for she said within herself, if I may but touch his clothes, I shall be whole. Nor was she deceived; for no sooner had she touched the border of the garment of the Son of God, than her issue of blood dried up; and she felt, by the return of her health and strength, and other agreeable sensations, that the cure was fully completed. But this transaction could not be concealed; the Blessed Jesus knew the whole, and was perfectly acquainted with the secret thoughts of the woman before she put them in practice. Pleased, however, with the opinion she had entertained, both of his power and goodness, he would not, by any means, suffer it to pass unapplauded. Accordingly, he turned himself about, and asked this question: Who touched me? Ho well know the person; but asked the question for the
fuller manifestation of the woman's faith, and that he might have an opportunity of instructing and comforting her. His disciples, being ignorant of what had passed, were surprized at the question: Thou seest (said they to their master) the multitude thronging and pressing thee, and sayest thou who touched me? They did not distinguish between the spiritual and corporal touch, nor knew that such efficacious virtue had gone out of their master. Jesus, however, persisted in knowing who it was that had done the thing; upon which the woman, finding it in vain to conceal what she had done any longer, went to him trembling, and told him all. Perhaps the uncleanness of her distemper was the cause of her fear, thinking he would be offended even at her touching the hem of his garment. But the Divine physician, so far from being angry, spoke to her in the kindest manner, and commended her faith. Daughter, (said he) be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole. .
While our Blessed Lord stopped on this occasion, a messenger came to Jairus with news that his daughter was actually dead, and therefore there was no occasion to give our Saviour any farther trouble. This message was a terrible blow to the affectionate parent. His only daughter, who, a few days before, was in the bloom of youth, was now a pale and lifeless corpse; and with her all his joys and comforts were fled. But the Blessed Redeemer of mankind soon gave him relief; for, having overheard wbat the messenger said, he bid bim not to fear, but only believe, and he should find the blessed effects of his faith in the recovery of his daughter.
When our Lord entered the house, he found the mourners already come, who were deploring her death with melancholy tones, and loud lamentations, according to the custom of those times; upon which, as he went in, he desired them to cease their funeral ceremonies, because, at that time, there was no occasion for them. Having said this, he entered the chamber where the damsel lay, but suffered none to follow him, except Peter, James and John, together with the father and mother of the damsel. As soon as he approached the bed where she lay, he took her gently by the hand, and, with
a low voice, said, Maid, arise. The heavenly command was instantly obeyed; the damsel arose, as from a sleep,
great wonderraiture, he orderedict charge wit
great wonder and astonishment of all present. At our Saviour's departure, he ordered the parents to give her something to eat, and left a strict charge with them that they should keep the miracle a secret; but their joy was too great to conceal, what, in gratitude for so great a mercy, they thought they were obliged to divulge.
After our Blessed Lord had performed this miracle, and left the ruler's house, be was followed by prodigious numbers of people, and among them were two blind men, who, in the most piteous manner, implored his assistance. The Redeemer of mankind, ever ready to grant the petitions of those who apply to him for relief, listened to their request, and going with them into a house, to avoid the interruption of the multitude, he touched their eyes, and said, According to your faith, be it unto you. And immediately they received their sight.
No sooner were these two men departed, than the multitude brought to him a dumb man possessed with the devil. So moving a sight could not fail of attracting a compassionate regard from the Saviour of the world, who, being never weary of beneficent acts, immediately cast out the apostate spirit. The wretched object, being thus relieved, instantly recovered his speech, which being heard by the multitude, they unanimously acknowledged that the like had never been seen in Israel.
After a short stay at Capernaum, our Lord departed with bis disciples, into some other parts of Galilee. He had, about a year before, been very ill-treated by the inhabitants of Nazareth, the place of his education; but notwithstanding this, he was resolved once more to make them a tender of his mercy. He accordingly repaired to their city, and entering their synagogue on the sabbathday, preached to the people the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. They were, indeed, astonished at his doctrine, but so attached to the prejudice they bad conceived against him, that they scandalized his person, and began to upbraid him with the meanness of his parentage and employment, as they had done before; upon which our
raise the desto cure all dispose he invested
Lord, after finishing his discourse, retired from the synagogue, and left the city.
Upon our Lord's departure from Nazareth, he visited most of the cities and villages of Galilee, teaching in the synagogues, preaching the Gospel, and curing all kinds of diseases among the people. Observing one day the numerous throngs and multitudes that resorted to him, he looked upon them with an eye of pity and compassion, as so many sheep destitute of shepherds; and from thence formed the resolution of sending out his twelve apostles (two and two together) into the more distant parts of Judea, while himself continued preaching in Galilee, and the places adjacent. To this purpose he invested them with a full power to cure all diseases, eject devils, and even raise the dead. He gave them instructions in what man. ner they were to behave in the places whither they went; but at the same time forbade them to address themselves to any of the Gentiles, or Samaritans, but only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. He told them the consequences of their ministry, which, (more especially after his death) instead of entitling them to temporal advantages, would expose them to sundry kinds of persecutions; but, for their encouragement, he acquainted them, that those who rejected their doctrine should be treated with severity at least at the righteous judgment of God; whereas those who received it kindly, and gave (were it but a cup of cold water) to the least of his disciples, for their Master's sake, should in no wise miss of their reward.
With this commission, and these instructions, the twelve apostles (two and two together) went into all the parts of Palestine that were inhabited by the Jews, where they preached the Gospel, and worked many miracles in confirmation of it; while their Blessed master was employed in the like offices in Galilee. The miracles which the apostles wrought raised the expectation of the people higher than ever; they were astonished to see the disci. ples of Jesus perform such wondrous works; and therefore concluded, that our Saviour must be greater than any of the old prophets, who could not transmit the power invested in them to any other person,
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