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sudden appearance among them, • Saluted him.' Received him with joy, with the customary marks of affection and respect.
16 And he asked the scribes, What question ye with them?
* What question ye?' What is the subject of your inquiry or debate with the disciples ?
17 And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit;
• A dumb spirit.” A spirit which deprived his son of the power of speaking:
18 And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him : and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not.
'He teareth him. He rends, distracts, or throws him into convulsions, • He foameth.' At the mouth. Among us these would all be considered as marks of violent derangement or mad
Ànd pineth away. Becomes thin, haggard, and ema. ciated. This was the effect of the violence of his struggles, and perhaps of the want of food.
19 He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you ? Bring him unto me. 20 And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. 21 And he asked his father, How long.is it ago since this came unto him ? And he said, Of a child. 22 And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him : but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.
If thou canst do any thing.'. I have brought him to thy disciples, and they could not help him. If thou canst do any thing, have compassion, &c.
23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
If thou canst believe. This was an answer to the request. I can help him. If thou canst believe, it shall be done. Jesus here demanded faith or confidence in hiniself, in his power of healing. So he demands faith of every sinner that comes to him; and none that come without confidence in him can obtain
the blessing. • All things are possible to hin that believeth.' All things can be effected or accomplished in favour of him that oelieves, and if thou canst believe, this will be done. Good will do nothing in our favour without faith.
24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. 25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Th dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. 26 And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead ; insomuch that many said, He is dead. 27 But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose. 28 And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? 29 And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
Said with tears. The man felt the implied rehuke in the Saviour's language. Nothing can be more touching or natural than this. Distressed at the condition of his son, having applied to the disciples in vain, now coming to the Saviour, and not having full confidence that he had any proper qualification to be aided, he wept. Any man would have wept in his condition, nor would the Saviour turn the weeping suppliant away. 'I believe.' I have faith. I do put confidence in thee; thougḥ I am conscious that my faith is not as strong as it should be. 'Lord.' This word here, signifies master, or sir, as it does aften in the New Testament.” Help thou my unbelief.' Supply thou the defects of my faith. Give me strength and grace to put entire confidence in thee. Every one who comes to the Saviour for help has need of offering this prayer.
30 4 And they departed thence, and passed through Galilee;
and he would not that any man should know it. 31 For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of inen, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day. 32 But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him.
Sce Matt. xvii. 22, 23. 'Is delivered.? Is given to men to make an atonement by his sullerings and death, and will in dua time be taken and killed.
33 And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way? 34 But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest. 35 And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all. 36 And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them, 37 Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.
See notes on Matt, xviii. 1-3.
38 ( And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not lis.
We saw one,' &c. There is no improbability in supposing that this might have been one of the disciples of John, or one of the seventy whom Jesus had sent out, and who, though he did not personally attend on Jesus, yet had the power of working miracles.
39 But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. 40 For he that is not against us is on our part.
* Forbid him not. Do not prevent his doing good. If he can work a miracle in my name, it is sufficient proof of attachment to me, and he should not be prevented. 'Can lightly speak evil of me.' The word here rendered lightly' means quickly, or immediately. The meaning of the passage is, that he to whom God gave the power of working a miracle, by that gave evidence that he could not soon be found among the enemies of Jesus. He ought not, therefore, to be prevented in it. Wherever he might be, or whatever his work, yet, if he did it in the name of Jesus, and with the approbation of God, it was evidence sufficient that he was right. Christians should rejoice in good done by their brethren of any denomination. There are men calling themselves christians, who seem to look with doubt and suspicion on all that is done by those who do not walk with them. They undervalue their labours, attempt to lessen the evidences of their success, and to diminish their influence. True likeness to the Saviour would lead us to rejoice in all the good accomplished, by whomsoever it might be done. Compare Phil. i. 18.
41 For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.
• Whosoever shall give you a cup,' &c. But it must be his name-tnat is, because he is a christian, because he is attached to the Lord Jesus, and therefore out of love to the Saviour. This is very different from giving it from a mere motive of common kindness. If done from love to Christ, it will be rewarded ; and hence we learn that the humblest acts of christians, the lowest service that is rendered, will be graciously noticed by Jesus, None so poor or humble in his kingdom as not to be able to do good and show attachment to him. Their feeblest service will be accepted; and acts of love, that may be forgotten by man, will be remembered by him, and rewarded in heaven.
42 And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. 43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall bequenched : 46 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire : 48 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
See Matt. xviii. 7-9. • Millstone.' See Mait. xviii. 6. • Their worm. This figure is clearly taken from Isa. Ixvi. 24. In describing the great prosperity of the kingdom of the Messiah, Isaiah says tha the people of God shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of men who have_transgressed against God. Their enemies shall be overcome. The people of God shall triumph, The figure is taken from heaps of the dead slain in battle; and the prophet says that the number shall be so great that their worm-the worm feeding on the dead-shall not die, shall live long, as long as there are carcases to be devoured ; and that the fire which was used to burn the bodies of the dead shall continue long to burn, shall not be extinguished till they are consumed. The figure, therefore, denotes great misery, and certain
and terrible destruction. In these verses it is applied to the state beyond the grave, and is intended to denote that the destruction of the wicked will be awful, wide-spread, and eternal.
49 For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt.
Every one shall be salted with fire.' As salt is sprinkled on the victim preparatory to its being devoted to God. (see Lev. ii. 13,) so should the apostles, by trials, calamities, &c., represented here by fire, be prepared as a sacrifice and offering to God. The chief object of the passage was to teach them that every thing which would endanger their salvation should be sacrificed ; that they should deny themselves all forbidden indulgences, and practise all required self-denials. In this way they would be preserved to eternal life. The word 'fire,' here, therefore, denotes self-denials, sacrifices, trials in keeping ourselves from the gratification of the flesh. As if he had said : Look at a sacrifice on the altar. It is an offering to God, about to be presented to him. It is sprinkled with salt, emblematic of purity, of preservation, and of fitting it, therefore, for a sacrifice. So you are devoted to God. You are sacrifices, victims, offerings to him in his service. To niake you acceptable offerings, every thing must be done to preserve you from sin, to purify you, and to make you fit offerings. Self-denials, subduing the lusts, enduring trials, removing offences, are the proper preservatives in the service of God. Doing this, you will be acceptable offerings, and be saved : without this, you will be unfit for God's eternal service, and will be lost.
50 Salt is good : but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.
Lost his saltness,' &c. See note, Matt. v. 13. 'Have salt in yourselves.' Have the preserving purifying principle always; the principles of denying yourselves, of suppressing pride, ambition, contention, &c., and thus you will be an acceptable offer ing to God.
• Have peace.' Avoid contention and quarrelling, struggling for places, honours, and office, and seek each other's welfare, and religion will be honoured and preserved in the world.
CHAPTER X. I AND he arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judea by the further side of Jordan : and the people resort unto him again; and, as he was wont, he taught them again. 2 And the pharisees came