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commanded, for a testimy unto them.
(See on Mark i. 43. 30.) For although he was now followed by a great multitude of people, not many of them, it seems, had been witnesses to it. Or his meaning might be, that the man who had received the cure was not to speak of it as he went to the priest.
not leisure to take his necessary meals, far less leisure for instructing his disciples, Mark i. 45. iii. 20. vi. 31. To conclude, besides these general reasons, there may oft-times have been particular circumstances, which made it fit to conceal the miracle on occasion of which the caution was given. We know there was a reason of this kind attending the miracle under consideration. Jesus intended that the priests should pass judgment on the cure of the leper, before they knew how it had been brought about; because, had they known this, it is more than probable that, in order to destroy the credit of the miracle, they would have refused to pronounce the man clean.
It has generally been thought, that this is the leper whose cure is recorded Mark i. 40. Luke v. 12. § 30. But the cures are different. That was performed in a city, this in the fields. Having cleansed the leper here mentioned, Jesus entered into Capernaum, and cured the centurion's son that was sick, Whereas the other leper having published the miracle, Jesus could not, at least in the day time, go into the town, but was obliged to remain without in desert places to shun the crowd. It must be acknowledged indeed, that there are some things similar in the two cures; for instance, both the lepers say to Christ, If thou wilt thon canst make me clean. But it was so natural to address their desires unto the Son of God in this form, by which also they expressed their belief in his power, that it is rather matter of wonder we do not find it more frequently made use of. We have a parallel example, Matt. ix. 27. Luke xviii. 38. where different blind men at different times desiring cures, make use of the same form of address, San of David, bave mercy on us. Farther, there is the command given to the lepers to go shew themselves to the priest. But this command must have been repeated, not twice, but twenty times, on supposition that Jesus cleansed lepers so often. Accordingly we find him repeating it to the ten lepers whom he cleansed at one time in Samaria, Luke xvii. 14. § 99. As for the circumstance of bidding the cured person tell no man what had happened, it occurs almost in every mira cle performed by Christ during the two first years of his ministry.
§ XXVIII. Jesus goes into Capernaum, and cures a centurion's son. Matt. viii. 5,-13. See § 39.
WHEN the leper was dismissed, Jesus proceeded to Capernaum, and as he was entering the town, a Roman centurion in Herod's pay, met and told him of the grievous distress his son was in, by reason of a palsy which he laboured under. Matt. viii. 5. And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, 6. And saying, Lord, my servant (wais μs, my son) lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. Jesus kindly replied, that he would come and heal him. The centurion answ swered, that he did not mean he should take the trouble of going to his house, being a Gentile, but only that he would be so good as to command his son's cure, though at a distance; for he knew his power was equal to that effect, diseases VOL. I. 3 P
and devils of all kinds being as much s ject to his command, as his soldiers were to him. 7. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. 8. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof, but speak the word only, command it to be so, and my servant shall be healed. 9. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me; and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doth it. If I, who am but an inferior officer, can make the soldiers under my command, and the servants in my house, go whither I please, and do what I please, merely by speaking to them, much more canst thou make diseases go or come at thy word, seeing they are all absolutely subject to thee. 10. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled. Our Lord's marvelling on this occasion, by no means implies that he was ignorant either of the centurion's faith, or of the grounds on which it was built. He knew all fully before the man spake one word; but he was struck with admiration at the noble notion which this heathen Roman captain had conceived of his power; the passion of admiration being excited by the greatness and beauty of any object, as well as by its novelty and unexpectedness. Jesus expressed his admiration of the centurion's faith in the praises which he bestowed on it, with a view to make it the more conspicuous; for he declared publicly, that he had not met with any one among the Jews, who possessed such just and elevated conceptions of the power by which he acted, notwithstanding they enjoyed the benefit of a divine revelation, directing them to believe on him. And said to them that followed, (viz. as he was passing along the street of Caper naum, ver. 5.) Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no not in Israel. Some of the heathens, indeed, formed very grand ideas of the divine power; for instance, Cicero, who says, Nihil est quod Deus efficere non posset, et quidem sine labore ullo: ut enim hominum membra nulla contentione mente ipsa ac voluntate moveantur, sic numine Deorum omnia regi moveri mutarique posse. De Nat. D. 1. 3. But the excellency, and the pecu liarity of the centurion's faith, consisted in his applying this su blime idea to Jesus, who by outward appearance was only a man. His faith seems to have taken its rise from the miraculous cure that was performed some time before this, on a nobleman's son in Capernaum; for as the centurion dwelt there, he might know that at the time of the cure Jesus was not in Capernaum, but in Cana, at the distance of a day's journey from the sick person, when he performed it. From this exalted pitch of faith found in a heathen, Jesus took occasion to declare the merciful purpose which God entertained towards all the Gentiles, namely, that he
would accept their faith as readily as the faith of the Jews, and set them down with the founders of the Jewish nation, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, in heaven, while the children of the kingdom, i. e. such of the professed people of God, as came short of the faith of the patriarchs, should be shut out for ever. 11. And I that many say unto shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. 12. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Having thus spoken, Jesus dismissed the centurion, with an assurance that his son was well; and at the same time insinuated, that he had conceived no higher idea of his power than was just. 13. And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way, and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant (his son) was healed in the self-same hour †, or moment, So the Greek
* Ver. 11. And shall sit down with Abraham, &c] The words, avaλidncov TO μerra Abquaμ, &c, whereby our Lord expressed the further happiness of the Gentiles, signify properly to sit down at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob This is a greeable to the phraseology of Scripture, which represents the rewards of the righteous under the idea of a sumptuous entertainment, Luke xiv. 15. Matt. xxiis 1. Rev. xix. 9. And though the joys of heaven be all of a spiritual kind, this metaphor needs not be thought strange, since, as Le Clerc observes, we can neither speak ourselves, nor understand others speaking of our state in the life to come, unless phrases taken from the affairs of this life be made use of. Besides, the metaphor is not peculia to the inspired writings. The Greeks represented divine pleasures under the notion of a feast. Thus their poets feigned that Ixion was permitted to eat with the gods, meaning that he enjoyed the highest human felicity. They tell the same thing of Tantalus. Nor is the idea peculiar to the poets; the philosophers have likewse adopted it. For Empedocles. speaking of the felicity of virtuous men after death, says, They live cheerfully at tables with the other immortals, freed from the pains to which men are. subjected And Epictetus has imitated Empedocles, when he tells him who has made proficiency in wisdom, έση ποτε των θέων αξιος συμπότης, Tbou shalt some time or other be a worthy guest of the gods.—Our Lord, by representing the Gentiles as lying down at the feasts of heaven, on the same couch with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the founders of the Jewish nation, has disgraced the pride of the Israelites, who disdained to eat with Gentiles, though many of them, in point of morality, were far better than they. He very beautifully describes the grief, the fruitless repentance, and endless woe of wicked men, on their exclusion from heaven, by the behaviour of persons that are turned out of doors from a marriage feast, which they had come in full expectation to partake of. They weep and gnash their teeth through vexation and rage. And as the Jews made their great entertainments for the most part in the evening, with candle light, the outer darkness, or darkness without the house, into which the disgraced persons were thrust, fitly represents the sadness of the damned, under the sentence of eternal banishment from the blis-fal presence of God, a sadness which can neither be expressed in words, nor conceived in thought.
The composers of harmonies generally make this miracle the same with that related Luke vii. 1. yet they seem to have For, . according to Matthew, it was the centurion's son
been different(Tas) who was
Greek word here used often signifies. By the suddenness of the cure, the whole family became sensible that it was miraculous; and by the time when it happened, they were convinced that the miracle proceeded from Jesus. Wherefore the centurion, by this
sick, whereas, according to Luke, it was his slave (duλes). It is true, Luke once calls him was, a circumstance which, among others, has led harmonywriters to confound the two miracles. Yet there is little in it, as we are directed to explain that word by the name deλos, which he uses no less than three times. On the other hand, we re under no necessity to translate the word as in Matthew by servant, but upon the supposition that the mira cles are the same. 2. Matthew's centurion came in person, being to ask the savour of Jesus for his son; whereas Luke's centurion considering with himself that he was to petition Jesus in behalf of a slave, first prevailed with the elders of the town to present his petition; afterwards, on second thoughts, he deputed some intimate friends to hinder Jesus from coming. The maxim indeed of the civilians, that he who causes another to do a thing, may be said to do it himself, is thought by many a sufficient reconciliation of this difference. But it is not so; for though the law establishes that maxim, to render the execution of justice effectual, it cannot so well be allowed in history, the perfec tion of which lieth in the exactness of the narration. And therefore seeing Matthew has expressly affirmed that the centurion came beseeching Jesus, that Jesus said to him, I will come, &c. that the centurion answered, I am not wertby, &c. and that Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way, and as theu bast believed, so be it done unto thee; to interpret these things as said to the man's friends, would be extremely harsh, and contrary to all the rules of history. 3. There is not the smallest hint given in Matthew that the centurion of whom he speaks was a proselyte. On the contrary, there is an insinuation that he was not, in the declaration which our Lord was pleased to make on this occasion, viz. that many should come from the east and west, i. e. from all countries, and sit down in the kingdom of God, while the children of the kingdom, who looked on themselves as having the only natural right to it, should be excluded for ever; whereas the centurion Luke speaks of, was a lover of the Jewish nation, and had built them a synagogue, perhaps in Italy, or some other heathen country, and so was in all probability a proselyte of the gate, as they were called, for which cause, the principal people in the town cheerfully undertook to solicit Jesus in his behalf.-On the other hand, there are three similar circumstances attending these miracles, which have made the bulk of readers confound them. 1. They were both performed in the town of Capernaum, after Jesus had preached sermons which in substance are pretty much the same. To this I reply, that these sermons were different; the one in Matthew having been preached on a mountain, whereas that in Luke was delivered on a plain, chap. vi. 17. See Prelim. Obs. iv. 2. 2. Both centurions dwelt in Capernaum. But this might easily happen, as in the space of twelve or fourteen months, different companies of Roman soldiers in He rod's pay, with their officers, may have been stationed there. Or there may have been two centurions in Capernaum at the same time, whose soldiers might be quartered in the town and the neighbouring villages 3. Both centurions made the same speech to Jesus, the one in person, the other by his friends. Matt. viii. 8. Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof, but speak the word only, and my servant shall bealed. But this circumstance may be accounted for in the following manner. As the faith of the first centurion, who was a heathen, took its rise from the extraordinary cure which Jesus had performed on the nobleman's son, the
new instance, was confirmed in the high opinion which he enter tained of our Lord's character, and the whole family was disposed to befriend him; a circumstance very favourable to Jesus, as he had now taken up his residence in Capernaum.
address of the second might take its rise from the success of the first, which could not fail to be well known both in the town and country. Much encouraged therefore by that instance of Christ's goodness, the second centurion might expect something in behalf of his slave, especially as he was himself not a heathen by religion, but a proselyte to Moses, and a lover of the Jews, and had built them a synagogue. Besides, he had engaged the elders of the city to present his petition. However, when the elders were gone, recollecting his brother centurion's speech that had been so favourably received, he bethought himself of sending some friends with the same speech, improved by this farther circumstance of humility, that he did not think himself worthy so much as to come into Christ's presence. Luke vii. 6. Lord, trouble not thyself, for I am not worthy that thou shouldst enter under my roof. 7. Wherefore, neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee, but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed. This being an eminent instance of faith and humility, Jesus would not let it pass without due approbation. He honoured it with the same high encomium which he had passed on the like faith and humility in the other centurion. Only as this was not a hea then by religion, he did not, as formerly, set the reward of his faith in opposition to the reward of the faith of the Jews. This opposition he stated afterwards when one asked him, Are there few that be saved? "Luke xiii. 28. § 91. To conclude, that two centurions should have had, the one his son, and the other his slave, cured in Capernaum, with like circumstances, is no more improbable, than that the temple should have been twice purged, the multitude twice fed, and the fishes twice caught by miracle, and with the same circumstances.
XXIX. Jesus cures a demoniac in and heals Peter's mother-in-law.
casts out many demons. Then Galilee. Matth. viii. 14,-17. 33,-44.
the synagogue of Capernaum, He cures many diseases, and makes a second tour through Mark i. 21,-39. Luke iv.
On the Sabbath following, Jesus taught in the synagogue of Capernaum, where he had an opportunity of confirming his doctrine by a miracle upon one possessed with a devil, who happened to be in the congregation. Mark i. 21. And they went into Capernaum, and straightway on the Sabbath-day he entered into the synagogue and taught. (See on Luke iv. 15. § 23.) 22. And they were astonished at his doctrine; for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the Scribes. (See on Matt. vii. 23. § 26.) 23. And there was in their synagogue, a man with an unclean spirit, (Luke, which had a spirit of an unclean devil) and he cried out, (Luke, with a loud voice). As soon as the devil saw Jesus, dreading his power, and expecting to be dispossessed, he cried out in great terror-24. Saying, let us alone, what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God. The Holy One of God was a title of Messiah, Psal. xvi. 10.