« PreviousContinue »
made whole, sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon
thee." Again,—“And behold there came a leper, and Matt. viii. 2. worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will, be thou clean: and immediately his leprosy was cleansed.”
Again,—“And when Jesus was entered into Ca- Matt. viii. 5. pernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, and saying, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.” “ And Jesus Matt. viii. 13. said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the self-same hour."
Again,—“ And when Jesus was come into Peter's Matt. viii. 14, house, he saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever; and he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered to them.”
Again,—“When the even was come, they brought Matt. viii. 16. to him many that were possessed with devils ; and he cast out the spirits, with his word, and he healed all that were sick."
Here, then, it is clear that the spirit of malignity,
* We do not here imply, that diseases are the sole consequences of wilful sin far from it. Sickness and diseases, the Scriptures inform us, more frequently proceed from the love of God, than from his displeasure.“ Despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him, for whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son that he receiveth.” Hebrews xii. 6. Again, Job vii. 1. Happy is the man whom God correcteth.”
Matt. xii. 22.
called devils, was cast out by the Spirit of God, the Word, which healed all that were sick; and is in accordance with the revelation from the beginning of the world ; that the serpent, or malignant passions brought death and infirmities upon mankind, —that is, death in the malignity of the soul, and all bodily infirmities under which they suffer.
But for further evidence, “ Then was brought unto him, one possessed with a devil, blind and dumb; and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw.”
We need not repeat the blasphemy of the Pharisees, but give solely the answer of our Saviour to illustrate, in the following occurrence.
“ And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself, is brought to desolation : and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand : and if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? but if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come
Matt. xii. 25.
The revelation by St. John, of the final redemption, accords with it: “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent called the Devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him."
So that throughout the Scriptures, all is in accordance: that the serpent has his angels, or seed of his own nature. But, we will add the following case:
“And when Jesus was come to the other side into Matt. viii. 28. the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed of devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way: and behold, they cried out, (the spirits of malignity who had possession of the minds of the men) saying What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? Art thou come hither to torment us before the time? And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding, so the malignant spirits besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine: and he said unto them, Go; and when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine; and behold the whole herd of swine, ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters.”
“And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country; and they went out to see what it was that was done. And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind."
Again, from the old testament." And the Spirit 1 Sam. xvi. 13. of the Lord came upon David from that day forward : but the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him.”—“And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was
Job i. 7.
upon Saul, that David took a harp, and played with his hand : so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.” And it is also recorded, that Saul afterwards sought the life of David, from being full of the malice and hatred of that evil spirit.
That Satan is a power created for the purposes of God in this world, not only to punish, but to try the best by afflictions, is manifest, as related of Job.
And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast thou not made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath, on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land : but put forth thine hand now, and (let me) touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power, only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord.” What befel Job in consequence, shows also, that all the evils incident to human nature, are derived from that evil spirit.
Again, the words of St. Paul show, that even he was teazed with an evil spirit from Satan, that weakness may convince us of our entire dependence
6 And lest I should be exalted above measure, 2 Cor. xii. 7. through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me; and he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
What occurred between our Saviour and St. Peter, shows, that Satan is a power, created for the Lord's purposes, to raise mankind in his own image,—that the knowledge of the wiles of that spirit of evil, were imparted to him progressively, and not all at once,that whatever the Lord said, would be inevitably fulfilled,—and that human efforts are vain against his decrees.
“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold Satan Luke xxii. 31. hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat; but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not ; and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren," by the knowledge he would thereby obtain. And now for his self-confidence, under his ignorance of the power
he had to do with. " And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee both into prison, and to death. And he said, I tell thee,