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with Belial ?” But it is mournful to reflect upon the close resemblance which the language of the evil spirit bears to the language of the Jewish people. The Lord complains concerning them, “ Ye will not come unto me, that ye might have life !"! “Your deeds are evil: and therefore ye love darkness rather than light,” ? and say, Let us alone, what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? And indeed the case is very similar with wicked men in every age. They desire to be let alone. The prophet Elijah was sent of God to reveal his will to Ahab king of Israel. And Ahab, when he came into his presence, addressed him in words like those of the unclean spirit here, and said to Elijah, “ Hast thou found me, O mine enemy ?” So likewise a later king, likeminded with Ahab his predecessor, received from Jeremiah the volume of a book in which the will of God was written ; written for a purpose of mercy like that on which Jesus had come.* For the Lord had said concerning it, “It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto them; that they may return every man from his evil way; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.” This writing Jehudi read in the hearing of the king. “And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with a penknife, and cast it on the fire that was in the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire."
It is the natural course;—“every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved." 5 " John v. 40. 2 Ib. iii. 19.
3 1 Kings xxi. 21. • Jer. xxxvi. 1-23.
5 John iii. 20.
The Lord took this first occasion of showing the power with which he was endued. “For this purpose was the Son of God manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” 6
25. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him.
26. And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him.
27. And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this ? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.
28. And immediately his fame spread abroad through all the region round about Galilee.
This then must be our comfort, when we reflect upon a subject so awful and mysterious as the power of evil spirits in the world. There is the power of Satan: there is the power of those who belong to his company, and are engaged in contriving the ruin of man's soul : as described in the parable where Satan, as "the strong man armed," returns to the heart which he had left, and finding it unguarded, and an entrance open to him, “takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself,” and obtains secure possession.”7 This is an awful revelation of power and malice, and ought to maintain us in a constant state of watchfulness and prayer. For the same Scripture which reveals to us the extent of Satan's power, reveals to us also Him to whom it yields: who came to break and subdue it, and before whom “Satan falls from heaven."8 So the unclean
61 John iii, 8.
7 Matt. xii. 43–45.
8 Luke x. 18.
spirit confesses; and says, Art thou come to destroy us. As the people around him saw, and bare witness: With authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they obey him. So that our danger, and our security, are alike revealed. There is our adversary, Satan, the author of sin: so there is a guardian, who came to “save his people from their sins." There is one who, “ like a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour:" but there is also “a good shepherd,” who laid down his life for his flock, and opens to them the door of a fold which Satan is unable to break through. Our safety is to commit ourselves to Him, and never quit his care. The unclean spirits say, Art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy one of God. Let us also say, I know thee who thou art! Thou art come to save us; thou art come to be “a propitiation for our sins;" thou art come “to bless us, in turning away every one from his iniquity:" thou art come to make us “a peculiar people, zealous of good works,” and to “cleanse us from all unrighteous
“Thou art my portion, O Lord : let, I pray thee, thy loving kindness be my comfort: let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight. Let my heart be sound in thy statutes, that I be not ashamed.”9
9 Ps. cxix. 57, 76, 80.
MANY SICK PERSONS HEALED: JESUS RETIRES TO
MARK i. 29–39.
29. And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.
30. But Simon's wife's mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her.
31. And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them.
Gladly would this woman minister to him, who had restored her health, and to those who had told him of her. So it will be the desire and purpose of all who enjoy spiritual life through the gospel, to serve the author and giver of that inestimable blessing They may still do so. They serve him, when they obey him. They serve him most acceptably, when they minister to the comforts of those who are dear to him. And those are dear to him, who
. follow his precepts. For whosoever “shall do the will of God, the same is his brother, and sister, and mother.”
32. And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils.
33. And all the city was gathered together at the door.
34. And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him.
The Lord said concerning himself, “ The works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of
“If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in him.” i
It was thus, by the works that he did, and by the words which he spake, that he chose to be proclaimed: and not by the evil spirits, whose power he was come to take away.
35. And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.
He must "work the works of Him that sent him, whilst it was day.” He must be “about his Father's business." . And therefore he received all them that
” 2 were diseased, and healed many, and cast out many devils. Still he must find opportunity to hold inter
. course with his Father. He had taken on himself the nature of man: and the life of man, the spiritual life, is supported by such heavenly intercourse. Whatever else was to be done, prayer must not be left undone. Therefore rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. It was not the ordinary prayer of men; prayer of contrition and repentance; prayer for pardon of transgressions and omissions of duty; for “ he did no sin, neither was guile found in I John X. 25–37.
2 Ib. ix, 4. Luke ü. 49.