Mark 1

Verse 66. Made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and

setting a watch.] Or rather, made the tomb secure by the guard,

and by sealing the stone. I follow Kypke, in construing μετατης

κουστωδιας, with ησφαλισαντο. The guard was to take care that

the disciples should not steal him away; and the seal, which was

probably the seal of the governor, was to prevent the guards from

being corrupted so as to permit the theft. So every thing was

done which human policy and prudence could, to prevent a

resurrection, which these very precautions had the most direct

tendency to authenticate and establish. How wonderful are the

wisdom and goodness of God!-and how true is it, that there is

neither might nor counsel against him!

1. The death of Christ was ordered, so as to be witnessed by

thousands; and if his resurrection take place, it must be

demonstrated; and it cannot take place without being

incontestable, such are the precautions used here to prevent all

imposture.

2. The more the circumstances of the death of Christ are

examined, the more astonishing the whole will appear. The death

is uncommon-the person uncommon-and the object uncommon; and the

whole is grand, majestic, and awful. Nature itself is thrown into

unusual action, and by means and causes wholly supernatural. In

every part, the finger of God most evidently appears.

3. How glorious does Christ appear in his death! Were it not for

his thirst, his exclamation on the cross, and the piercing of his

side, we should have found it difficult to believe that such a

person could ever have entered the empire of death; but the

divinity and the manhood equally appear, and thus the certainty of

the atonement is indubitably established.

4. But who can reflect on the state of the poor disciples, during

the whole of the time in which our blessed Lord lay under the

empire of death, without sharing their sorrows! When he expired

on the cross their expectation was cut off; and when his body was

laid in the grave their hopes were buried; and nothing but the

resurrection of Christ from the dead could have given a

resurrection to their hopes. It is true they had heard him say

that he would rise again the third day; but in this it is evident

their faith was very imperfect; and the uncertainty, perplexity,

anxiety, and distress which they in consequence must have

suffered, can neither be described nor imagined. Though we know

the glorious result, yet who can help sympathizing with the pious

father, the virgin mother, and the disconsolate disciples!

THE GOSPEL

ACCORDING TO

ST. MARK.

-Usherian year of the World, 4030.

-Alexandrian year of the World, 5528.

-Antiochian year of the World, 5518.

-Constantinopolitan AEra of the World, 5534.

-Rabbinical year of the World, 3786.

-Year of the Julian Period, 4740.

-AEra of the Seleucidae, 338.

-Year of the Christian AEra, 26.

-Year of the CCI. Olympiad, 2.

-Year of the building of Rome, 769.

-Year of the Julian AEra, 71.

-Year of the Caesarean AEra of Antioch, 74.

-Year of the Spanish AEra, 64.

-Year of the Paschal Cycle or Dionysian Period, 27.

-Year of the Christian Lunar Cycle, or Golden Number, 8.

-Year of the Rabbinical Lunar Cycle, 5.

-Year of the Solar Cycle, 7.

-Dominical Letter, F.

-Epact, 17.

-Year of the Emperor Tiberius, 14.

-Consuls, C. Calvisius Sabinus, and Cn. Corn. Lentulus

Getulicus, from January 1 to July 1; and Q. Marcius Barca and

T. Rustius Nummus Gallus, for the remainder of the year. The

reason why two sets of Consuls appear in this Chronology is

this: the Consuls were changed every year in July; therefore,

taking in the whole year, four Consuls necessarily appear: two

for the first six months, and two for the latter half of the

year.

CHAPTER I.

The mission, preaching, and success of John Baptist, 1-5.

His manner of life, 6.

Proclaims Christ, and baptizes him in Jordan, 7-11.

The temptation of Christ, 12, 13.

John being put in prison, Christ begins to preach, 14, 15.

He calls Andrew and Simon, 16-18.

James and John, 19, 20.

Teaches in Capernaum, 21, 22.

Casts out a demon, 23-28.

Goes into the house of Simon, and heals his mother-in-law,

29-31.

Heals many diseased persons, 32-34.

Goes to the desert, and is followed by his disciples, 35-37.

Preaches in different towns and synagogues of Galilee, and casts

cut devils, 38, 39.

Cleanses a leper, who publishes abroad his miraculous cure,

40-45.

NOTES ON CHAP. I.

Verse 1. The beginning of the Gospel] It is with the utmost

propriety that Mark begins the Gospel dispensation by the

preaching of John the Baptist, he being the forerunner of Jesus

Christ, and the first proclaimer of the incarnated Messiah.

Gospel-for the meaning of the word see the preface to Matthew.

Mt 1:1

Son of God] To point out his Divine origin; and thus glancing

at his miraculous conception. This was an essential character of

the Messiah. See Mt 16:16; 26:63; Lu 22:67, &c.

Verse 2. As it is written in the prophets] Rather, As it is

written by Isaiah the prophet. I think this reading should be

adopted, instead of that in the common text. It is the reading of

the Codex Bezae, Vatican, and several other MSS. of great repute.

It is found also in the Syriac, Persic, Coptic, Armenian, Gothic,

Vulgate, and Itala versions, and in several of the fathers. As

this prophecy is found both in Isaiah and Malachi, probably the

reading was changed to ταιςπροφηταις, the prophets, that it might

comprehend both. In one of ASSEMAN'S Syriac copies, both Isaiah

and Malachi are mentioned. See all the authorities in Griesbach,

2d edit.; and see the parallel place in Matthew, Mt 3:3, where

the Prophet Isaiah is mentioned, which seems fully to establish

the authority of this reading.

Verse 3. The voice of one crying] See Clarke on Mt 3:1-3.

Verse 4. John] The original name is nearly lost in the Greek

ιωαννης, and in the Latin Johannes, and almost totally so in the

English John. The original name is Yehochanan, compounded

of Yehovah chanan, the grace or mercy of Jehovah: a

most proper and significant name for the forerunner of the God of

ALL GRACE. It was John's business to proclaim the Gospel of the

grace of God, and to point out that Lamb or sacrifice of God

which takes away the sin of the world.

For the remission of sins.] Or, toward the remission-εις

αφεσιν. They were to repent, and be baptized in reference to the

remission of sins. REPENTANCE prepared the soul for it, and

BAPTISM was the type or pledge of it. See Clarke on Mt 3:2.

Verse 5. All the land] See on Mt 3:4-6.

Confessing their sins.] It was an invariable custom among the

Jews to admit no proselyte to baptism, till he had, in the most

solemn manner, declared that he forever had renounced all

idolatrous worship, all heathenish superstitions, and promised an

entire and unreserved submission to the law of Moses. This was

necessary for a proselyte adult-a child dedicated to God by

baptism must be brought up in this faith.

Verse 6. John was clothed, &c.] See Clarke on Mt 3:4.

Verse 7. The latchet of whose shoes] The shoe of the ancients

was properly only a sole tied round the foot and ankle with

strings or thongs. See Clarke on Mt 3:11.

Verse 8. I indeed have baptized you with water] As if he had

said: This baptism is not to be rested in; it is only an emblem of

that which you must receive from him who is mightier than I. It

is he only who can communicate the Holy Spirit; and water baptism

is nothing, but as it points out, and leads to, the baptism of the

Holy Ghost. The subject of these two verses is not found in

Matthew nor John; but is mentioned with some varying circumstances

by Luke, Lu 3:16.

Verse 9. - 11. See the subject of these verses which contain the

account of our Lord's baptism, explained. Mt 3:13-17.

Verse 10. See Clarke on Mr 1:9.

Verse 11. See Clarke on Mr 1:9.

Verse 12. The Spirit driveth him] εκβαλλει, putteth him

forth. St. Matthew says, Mt 4:1,

ανηχθη, was brought up. See this important subject of our Lord's

temptation explained at large, Mt 4:1-11.

Verse 13. With the wild beasts] This is a curious

circumstance, which is mentioned by none of the other evangelists;

and seems to intimate that he was in the most remote,

unfrequented, and savage part of the desert; which, together with

the diabolic influence, tended to render the whole scene the more

horrid. Perhaps this very circumstance is mentioned, as

emblematical of that savage and brutal cruelty with which he was

persecuted to death by the Jews and Gentiles, instigated thereto

by the malice of Satan.

Verse 14. Preaching the Gospel of the kingdom]

See Clarke on Mt 3:2;

and on the office of the preacher, or herald, at the end of that

chapter.

Verse 15. The time is fulfilled] That is, the time appointed

for sending the Messiah; and particularly the time specified by

Daniel, Da 9:24-27.

Here are four points worthy of deep attention, in the preaching

of the Son of God.

1. Every thing that is done is according to a plan laid by the

Divine wisdom, and never performed till the time appointed was

filled up.

2. That the kingdom and reign of sin are to be destroyed, and

the kingdom of grace and heaven established in their place.

3. That the kingdom of God, and his reign by grace, begins with

repentance for past sins.

4. That this reign of grace is at hand; and that nothing but an

obstinate perseverance in sin and impenitence can keep any soul

out of it; and that now is the accepted time to enter in.

Verse 16. As he walked by the sea, &c.]

See Clarke on Mt 4:18-22.

Andrew his brother] Instead of the common reading, αδελφον

αυτου, his brother, the best MSS. and versions have αδελφουτου

σιμωνος, the brother of Simon, which should be received into the

text. The most eminent critics approve of this reading.

Verse 21. Capernaum] See Mt 4:13.

He entered into the synagogue] Their synagogues-ενταις

συναγωγαιςαυτων, according to the Syriac, which has the word in

the plural.

Verse 22. As one that had authority] From God, to do what he

was doing; and to teach a pure and beneficent system of truth.

And not as the scribes.] Who had no such authority, and whose

teaching was not accompanied by the power of God to the souls of

the people: 1. because the matter of the teaching did not come

from God; and 2. because the teachers themselves were not

commissioned by the Most High. See Clarke on Mt 7:28.

Verse 23. A man with an unclean spirit] This demoniac is only

mentioned by Mark and Luke, Lu 4:33. It seems the man had lucid

intervals; else he could not have been admitted into the

synagogue. Unclean or impure spirit-a common epithet for those

fallen spirits: but here it may mean, one who filled the heart of

him he possessed with LASCIVIOUS thoughts, images, desires, and

propensities. By giving way to the first attacks of such a

spirit, he may soon get in, and take full possession of the whole

soul.

Verse 24. What have we to do with thee] Or, What is it to us

and to thee? or, What business hast thou with us? That this is

the meaning of the original, τιημινκαισοι, Kypke has

sufficiently shown. There is a phrase exactly like it in

2Sa 16:10.

What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah?

ma li v'lacem beney Tseruiah, What business

have ye with me, or, Why do ye trouble me, ye sons of Tseruiah?

The Septuagint translate the Hebrew just as the evangelist does

here, τιεμοικαιυμιν; it is the same idiom in both places, as

there can be no doubt that the demoniac spoke in Hebrew, or in the

Chaldeo-Syriac dialect of that language, which was then common in

Judea. See Clarke on Mt 8:29.

Art thou come to destroy us?] We may suppose this spirit to

have felt and spoken thus: "Is this the time of which it hath been

predicted, that in it the Messiah should destroy all that power

which we have usurped and exercised over the bodies and souls of

men? Alas! it is so. I now plainly see who thou art-the Holy One

of God, who art come to destroy unholiness, in which we have our

residence, and through which we have our reign in the souls of

men." An unholy spirit is the only place where Satan can have his

full operation, and show forth the plenitude of his destroying

power.

Verse 25. And Jesus rebuked him] A spirit of this cast will

only yield to the sovereign power of the Son of God. All

watchings, fasting, and mortifications, considered in themselves,

will do little or no good. Uncleanness, of every description,

will only yield to the rebuke of God.

Verse 26. And when the unclean spirit had torn him] And had

thrown him down in the midst, Lu 4:35,

καισπαραξαν, and convulsed him. Never was there a person

possessed by an unclean spirit who did not suffer a convulsion,

perhaps a total ruin of nature by it. Sins of uncleanness, as the

apostle intimates, are against the body; they sap the

foundation of life, so that there are very few of this class,

whether male or female, that live out half their days: they

generally die martyrs to their lusts. When the propensities of

the flesh are most violent in a person who is determined to serve

God, it is often a proof that these are the last efforts of the

impure spirit, who has great rages because he knows his time is but

short.

Verse 27. What thing is this?] Words of surprise and

astonishment.

And what new doctrine] I have added the particle and, from the

Syriac, as it helps the better to distinguish the members of the

sentence; but there is a vast diversity in the MSS. on this verse.

See Griesbach.

For with authority] They had never heard such a gracious

doctrine, and never saw any teaching supported by miracles before.

How much must this person be superior to men!-they are brought

into subjection by unclean spirits; this person subjects unclean

spirits to himself.

Verse 28. And immediately his fame spread abroad] The miracle

which he had performed was-1. great; 2. evidenced much

benevolence in the worker of it; and 3. was very public, being

wrought in the synagogue. The many who saw it published it

wherever they went; and thus the fame of Christ, as an

incomparable teacher, and unparalleled worker of miracles, became

soon spread abroad through the land.

The word, ευθεως, immediately, occurs more frequently in this

evangelist than in any other writer of the new covenant: it is

very often superfluous, and may often be omitted in the

translation, without any prejudice to the sense of the passage in

which it is found. It seems to be used by St. Mark, as our

ancient writers used forsooth, and such like words.

Verse 29. See this account of the healing of Peter's

mother-in-law explained at large, Mt 8:14-17.

Verse 32. When the sun did set] See Clarke on Mt 8:14.

Verse 34. Because they knew him] To be the Christ, is added

here by several ancient and respectable MSS. and versions; but it

appears to be only a gloss.

Verse 35. In the morning a great while before day] By πρωι,

the morning, is to be understood the whole space of three hours,

which finished the fourth watch of the night.

And there prayed.] Not that he needed any thing, for in him

dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily; but that he might be

a pattern to us. Every thing that our blessed Lord did he

performed either as our pattern, or as our sacrifice.

Verse 36. And Simon-followed after him.] κατεδιωξαν, followed

him eagerly. They had now begun to taste the good word of God,

and thought they could never hear too much of it. Many possess

this spirit when first converted to God. O! what a pity that they

should ever lose it! The soul that relishes God's word is ever

growing in grace by it.

Verse 37. All men seek for thee.] Some to hear; some to be

healed; some to be saved; and some, perhaps, through no good

motive. There are all sorts of followers in the train of Christ;

but how few walk steadily, and persevere unto the end!

Verse 38. The next towns] κωμοπολεις properly signifies such

towns as resembled cities for magnitude and number of inhabitants,

but which were not walled as were cities. The Codex Bezae, most

of the versions, and all the Itala, read, Let us go into the

neighbouring villages, AND INTO THE CITIES.

For therefore came I forth.] ειςτουτο, for this purpose am I

come forth-to preach the Gospel to every creature, that all might

hear, and fear, and return unto the Lord. The towns and the

villages will not come to the preacher-the preacher must go to

them, if he desires their salvation. In this, also, Jesus has

left his ministering servants an example, that they should follow

his steps. Let no minister of God think he has delivered his own

soul, till he has made an offer of salvation to every city and

village within his reach.

Verse 39. And he preached] He continued preaching-ην

κηρυσσων: this is the proper meaning of the words: he never

slackened his pace-he continued proclaiming the glad tidings of

salvation to all-there was no time to be lost-immortal souls were

perishing for lack of knowledge; and the grand adversary was

prowling about, seeking whom he might devour. This zealous,

affectionate, and persevering diligence of Christ should be copied

by all his servants in the ministry; it is not less necessary now

than it was then. Thousands, thousands of Christians, so called,

are perishing for lack of knowledge. O God, send forth more and

more faithful labourers into thy vineyard!

Verse 40. There came a leper] See the notes on Mt 8:2, &c.

Should any be inclined to preach on this cleansing of the leper,

Mark is the best evangelist to take the account from, because he

is more circumstantial than either Matthew or Luke.

I. Consider this leper.

1. He heard of Jesus and his miracles.

2. He came to him for a cure, conscious of his disease.

3. He earnestly besought him to grant the mercy he needed.

4. He fell down on his knees, (with his face to the earth,

Lu 5:12,) thus showing his humbled state, and the distress

of his soul.

5. He appealed to his love-if thou wilt; with a full conviction

of his ability-thou canst; in order to get healed.

II. Consider Jesus.

1. He is moved with tender compassion towards him: this is the

alone source of all human salvation.

2. He stretches forth his hand, showing thus his readiness to

relieve him.

3. He touches him; though this was prohibited by the law, and

rendered him who did it in any common case legally unclean.

4. He proves at once his infinite love and unlimited power, by

his word and by his act; I will-be thou cleansed; and

immediately his leprosy was removed.

But See Clarke on Mt 8:2.

Verse 43. Straitly charged] See the reason for this, Mt 8:4.

This verse is wanting in two copies of the Itala.

Verse 45. Began to publish it much] Began to publish πολλα,

many things; probably all that he had heard about our Lord's

miraculous works.

And to blaze abroad the matter] That is, his own healing;

thinking he could never speak too much, nor too well, of him who

had thus mercifully and miraculously cleansed him.

Jesus could no more openly enter into the city] A city of

Galilee, probably Chorazin or Bethsaida, in which he did not

appear, for fear of exciting the jealousy of the secular

government, or the envy and malice of the Jewish rulers.

And they came to him from every quarter.] So generally had the

poor man, who was cleansed of his leprosy, spread abroad his fame.

And can we suppose that, of all these people who came to him from

all parts, and to whom he preached the glad tidings of the

kingdom, by the power and authority of God, few or none were

saved? This is a common opinion; but every person who seriously

considers it must see that it is unfounded. Without doubt, Christ

had thousands that were brought to God by his ministry; though, in

general, only those are mentioned who were constant attendants on

his person. It would be strange, if, while God manifested in the

flesh was preacher, there should be few brought to the knowledge

of themselves, and of the truth! In this respect he does not

permit his faithful ministers to labour in vain. The Son of man

sowed the seed of the kingdom; and it afterwards produced a

plentiful harvest. Multitudes of Jews were converted by the

preaching of the Gospel; and the first Christian Church was

founded at Jerusalem.

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