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ment am I come into this world, that they which see not might see, and that they which see might be made blind"." be made blind." "I am come a light into this world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness"."-Did he also raise up the dead? He did it that we might "believe that the Father had sent him;" that we might know that he is "the resurrection, and the life; that he that believeth in him, though he were dead, yet shall live, and that whosoever liveth and believeth in him shall not die eternally." And He still demands of us as he did of Martha, "Believest thou this?" Blessed shall we be, if we can concur with her in the declaration, "Yea, Lord, I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, that should come into the world." Once more then I repeat by way of caution, "Blessed is he whosoever shall not be offended in Jesus!"

a John ix. 39.

b Ibid. xii. 46.

• Ibid. xi. 25-27.








St. LUKE XI. 20.

But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.

THESE words form a portion of that discourse, in which our Lord answers the well known cavil of the Pharisees, who, more than once ascribed to Satanic co-operation the miracles mentioned in our text. Of no miracles have the Evangelists made more frequent mention, of none have they given a more circumstantial description. They are moreover of so remarkable a character, as to suggest an inquiry into their nature; and as our Lord entered into an argument with a view of evincing the reality of divine co-operation in that particular class of miracles, and, having established his position, specified the particular inference to

be drawn from it, the consideration of this subject must not be omitted, in a course of Lectures designed to review and illustrate our Lord's reasonings respecting the evidences of his mission.

Our attention must, in the first place, be directed to the nature and reality of the miracles in question. The Evangelists state', that there were brought unto Jesus such as were "possessed with devils," such as were "vexed with unclean spirits;" and that "he healed them," and "cast out the spirits with a word." To whatever decision we come as the nature and origin of the affliction described in these terms, of its reality we can entertain no doubt. In some instances the Evangelists have recorded, either in their own words, or in the words of those who requested Jesus to extend his compassion to the sufferers, many of the symptoms of the disorder with which they were affected. They were the visible and pitiable exhibitions of melancholy, furious distraction, and convulsion. That all these ceased at the will and by the word of Jesus is not less evident. "The people were amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves saying, What thing is this? What new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he the unclean spirits, and

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Matt. viii. 16. Luke 18.

they do obey him"." "The unclean spirit came out of one, and hurt him not ";""the people found another sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind;" the daughter of the Syrophenician woman "was made whole from the hour," in which Jesus declared to her that her petition was granted. The Pharisees never denied the reality of the cure, though they endeavoured to account for it in such a way as might obviate the inferences which the multitude were disposed to make from it. And the fact itself must have been both notorious and undeniable, which drove them to the necessity of adopting such a procedure.

But still the question remains to be answered, what was the nature of the calamity itself, to which these unhappy sufferers had been subjected, and from which they were delivered? We are told by some that all these were cases either of insanity or of epilepsy; and that they are to be considered as ordinary disorders, resulting from natural causes. Such an opinion makes this class of miracles to differ little, if at all, from the healing of the sick, the lame, and the blind. We have, in that case, a greater variety of instances of the same description of miracle; and undoubtedly, the reality of the miracle being

b Mark i. 27.

e Matt. xv. 28.

c Luke iv. 35.

d Luke viii. 35.

undeniable, the same general inference is deducible in favour of the divine mission and Messiahship of Jesus. But it cannot but occur to us, that there is a peculiarity in the inference drawn in the text from these miracles, which may dispose us to hesitate, at least, in admitting such an opinion; and to suppose that there may also be a peculiarity in the miracles themselves. But of this we shall be better prepared to judge hereafter.

There is, however, another difficulty in admitting that opinion. If the Evangelists had merely, as in other cases, described the symptoms of these disorders, the question whether they were at all different from ordinary disorders would never, probably, have been agitated. Did it appear, that those only who applied to Jesus in behalf of their suffering friends, ascribed their disorder to a demoniacal possession, and had we been told, at the same time, that such was the general opinion of the Jewish nation in that age, we might at once have granted that the notion was merely a vulgar error. But we naturally pause, when we find that the Evangelists themselves ascribe the disorder to the same cause, in a great variety of form and expression, repeatedly distinguishing the demoniacs from other sick and afflicted persons". Even this perhaps might not

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Matt. iv. 24. Mark i. 34. Luke vi. 17, 18.

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