Matthew 9


Christ heals a paralytic person at Capernaum, 1-8.

Calls Matthew, 9-10.

Eats with publicans and sinners, at which the Pharisees are

offended, and he vindicates his conduct, 11, 12.

The disciples of John come to him and inquire about fasting,


A ruler requests him to heal his daughter, 18, 19.

On his road to the ruler's house, he heals a diseased woman,


Arriving at the ruler's house, he restores the young woman to

life, 23-26.

Heals two blind men, 27-31.

Casts out a dumb demon, 32-34.

Preaches and works miracles in all the cities and villages, 35.

Is greatly affected at the desolate and dark state of the Jewish

people, 36.

Exhorts his disciples to pray to God to send them proper

instructers, 37, 38.


Verse 1. He came into his own city] Viz. Capernaum, where he

seems to have had his common residence at the house of Peter. See

Mt 4:13, and Mt 8:14. This verse properly belongs to the

preceding chapter.

Verse 2. Sick of the palsy] See Mt 4:24.

Lying on a bed] κλινης, a couch or sofa, such as they

reclined on at meals.

Seeing their faith] The faith of the paralytic person, and the

faith of those who brought him; See Clarke on Mr 2:4.

Be of good cheer] θαρσειτεκνον, Son, take courage! Probably

he began to despond, and Christ spoke thus to support his faith.

Thy sins be forgiven thee.] Moral evil has been the cause of

all the natural evil in the world. Christ goes to the source of

the malady, which is sin; and to that as the procuring cause we

should refer in all our afflictions. It is probable that this

paralytic person had, in the earnest desires of his heart,

entreated the cure of his soul, leaving his body to the care of

others, as the first miracle of healing is wrought on his soul.

In a state of helplessness, when we seek above all things to

please God, by giving him our hearts, he often inspires others

with the care of our temporal necessities. It may be necessary to

be observed, that it was a maxim among the Jews that no diseased

person could be healed till all his sins were blotted out. See

Nedarim, fol. 41. Hence our Lord first forgives the sins, and

then heals the body of the paralytic person. This appears to have

been founded on Ps 103:3.

Who forgiveth all thine iniquities, and healeth all thy diseases.

Here pardon precedes health. See also Ps 41:3, 4. It may be

observed, also, that most people are more in earnest about their

souls when in sickness than in health, and therefore are more

earnest in prayer for salvation.

Verse 3. This man blasphemeth.] βλασφημεω comes either from

βλαπτειντηνφημην, to hurt or blast the reputation or credit

of another, or from βαλλεινταιςφημαις, to smite with reports.

Whenever it is used in reference to GOD, it simply signifies, to

speak impiously of his nature, or attributes, or works. Injurious

speaking is its proper translation when referred to man.

The scribes were the literati of that time; and their learning,

because not used in dependence on God, rendered them proud,

envious, and obstinate. Unsanctified knowledge has still the same

effect: that light serves only to blind and lead men out of the

way which is not joined with uprightness of heart. The most

sacred truths often become an occasion of delusion, where men are

under the government of their evil passions.

Verse 4. Jesus knowing (ιδων seeing) their thoughts] In

telling them what the thoughts of their hearts were, (for they had

expressed nothing publicly,) he gave them the fullest proof of his

power to forgive sins; because God only can forgive sins, and God

only can search and know the heart. Jesus pronounced the man's

sins forgiven; and gave the scribes the fullest proof of his power

to do so, by telling them what, in the secret of their souls, they

thought on the subject.

God sounds the secrets of all hearts-no sin escapes his notice;

how senseless then is the sinner to think he sins securely when

unseen by men! Let us take heed to our hearts, as well as to our

conduct, for God searches out and condemns all that does not

spring from, and leads not to himself.

Verse 5. For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven

thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?] Both are equally easy, and

equally difficult; for both require unlimited power to produce

them. And every thing is equally easy to that power which is

unlimited. A universe can be as easily produced by a single act

of the Divine will as the smallest elementary part of matter.

The common punctuation of the above passage almost destroys the

sense: the comma should be placed after easier, and to say, made

the first part of the question.

Verse 6. But that ye may know, &c.] External miracles are the

proofs of internal ones. Three miracles are wrought in this case.

(I mean, by miracle, something produced or known that no power is

capable of but that which is omnipotent, and no knowledge adequate

to but that which is omniscient.) The miracles are these: 1st.

The remission of the poor man's sins. 2d. The discernment of the

secret thoughts of the scribes. 3d. The restoring of the

paralytic, in an instant, to perfect soundness. Thus one miracle

becomes the proof and establishment of another. Never was a

clearer proof of omnipotent energy and mercy brought under the

senses of man. Here is an absolutely perfect miracle wrought; and

here are absolute incontestable proofs that the miracle was

wrought; and the conclusion is the fullest demonstration of the

Divinity of the ever-blessed Jesus.

Arise, take up thy bed] Being enabled to obey this command was

the public proof that the man was made whole. Such a circumstance

should not pass without improvement. A man gives proof of his

conversion from sin to God who imitates this paralytic person. He

who does not rise and stand upright, but either continues

grovelling on the earth, or falls back as soon as he is got up,

is not yet cured of his spiritual palsy. When we see a penitent

enabled to rejoice in hope of God's glory, and to walk in the way

of his commandments, he affords us all the proof which we can

reasonably require, that his conversion is real: the proof

sufficient to satisfy himself is the witness of the Holy Spirit in

his own heart; but this is a matter of which those who are without

cannot judge: they must form their opinion from his conduct, and

judge of the tree by its fruits.

Verse 8. When the multitudes saw it, they marvelled] Instead

of εθαυμασαν, wondered, the Codex Vatic. and Cod. Bezae, with

several other MSS. and versions, have εφοβηθησαν, feared. In the

Gothic, and one copy of the Itala, both readings are conjoined,

thus: And the multitudes seeing it, wondered and feared, and

glorified God. Wondered at the miracle; feared to offend against

such power and goodness; and glorified God for the works of

mercy which he had wrought.

That which to the doctors of the law, the worldly-wise and

prudent, is a matter of scandal, is to the humble an occasion of

glorifying the Most High. Divine things make a deeper impression

on the hearts of the simple multitude than on those of the

doctors, who, puffed up with a sense of their own wisdom, refuse

to receive the truth as it is in Jesus. The conversion of one

rebellious soul is a greater miracle, and more to be admired than

all that can be wrought on inanimate creatures. He who sees a

sinner converted from the error of his way sees a miracle wrought

by eternal power and goodness. May such miracles be multiplied!

Verse 9. Named Matthew] Generally supposed to be the same who

wrote this history of our blessed Lord. Mathai signifies a gift

in Syriac; probably so named by his parents as implying a gift

from God.

The receipt of custom] The custom-house, τελωνιον-the place

where the taxes levied by the Romans of the Jews, were collected.

Follow me.] That is, become my disciple.

And he arose, and followed him.] How blessed it is to be

obedient to the first call of Christ-how much happiness and glory

are lost by delays, though conversion at last may have taken


Verse 10. Sat at meat in the house] Viz. of Matthew, who it

appears, from Lu 5:29, made a great feast on the occasion, thus

testifying his gratitude for the honour done him; and that his

friends and acquaintances might profit by the teaching of his new

master, he invites them to the entertainment that was honoured by

the presence of Christ. His companions, it appears, were not of

the most creditable kind. They were tax-gatherers

(See Clarke on Mt 5:46)

and sinners, αμαρτωλοι, a word which I believe in general

signifies heathens, throughout the Gospels, and in several other

parts of the New Testament. See, among others, Mt 11:19; 26:45;

Mr 2:15-17; 14:41; Lu 5:30-32; 6:32-34; 7:34, 37, 39;

Lu 15:1, 2, 7, 10; 19:7; 24:7; Joh 9:16, 24, 25, 31; Ro 5:8;

Ga 2:15; Heb 7:26; 1Pe 4:18; in most, if not all of which

places, it evidently refers to the character or state of a

Gentile, or Heathen. See also the notes on these passages.

Verse 11. When the Pharisees saw it] He who, like a Pharisee,

never felt himself indebted to infinite mercy for his own

salvation, is rarely solicitous about the salvation of others.

The grace of Christ alone inspires the soul with true benevolence.

The self-righteous Pharisees considered it equal to legal

defilement to sit in company with tax-gatherers and heathens. It

is certain that those who fear God should not associate, through

choice, with the workers of iniquity, and should only be found

with them when transacting their secular business requires it, or

when they have the prospect of doing good to their souls.

Verse 12. They that be whole need not a physician] A common

proverb, which none could either misunderstand or misapply. Of it

the reader may make the following use:-

1. Jesus Christ represents himself here as the sovereign

Physician of souls. 2. That all stand in need of his healing

power. 3. That men must acknowledge their spiritual maladies, and

the need they have of his mercy, in order to be healed by him.

4. That it is the most inveterate and dangerous disease the soul

can be afflicted with to imagine itself whole, when the sting of

death, which is sin, has pierced it through in every part,

infusing its poison every where.

Verse 13. I will have mercy, and not sacrifice] Quoted from

1Sa 15:22. These are remarkable words. We may understand them

as implying, 1st. That God prefers an act of mercy, shown to the

necessitous, to any act of religious worship to which the person

might be called at that time. Both are good; but the former is

the greater good, and should be done in preference to the other.

2dly. That the whole sacrificial system was intended only to point

out the infinite mercy of God to fallen man, in his redemption by

the blood of the new covenant. And 3dly. That we should not rest

in the sacrifices, but look for the mercy and salvation prefigured

by them. This saying was nervously translated by our ancestors,

[---------Anglo-Saxon----------], I will mild-heartedness, and not


Go ye and learn] tse velimmed, a form of speech in

frequent use among the rabbins, when they referred to any fact or

example in the Sacred Writings. Nothing tends more to humble

pretenders to devotion than to show them that they understand

neither Scripture nor religion, when, relying on external

performances, they neglect love to God and man, which is the very

soul and substance of true religion. True holiness has ever

consisted in faith working by love.

I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners] Most of the

common editions add, ειςμετανοιαν, unto repentance; but this is

omitted in the Codex Vatic. and Bezae, sixteen others, both the

Syriac, both the Persic, Ethiop. Armen. Gothic, Anglo-Saxon, all

the Itala except three, the Vulgate, Clemens Roman, Origen, Basil,

Jerome, Augustin, Ambrose, and Barnabas. The omission is approved

by Mill and Bengel. Griesbach leaves it out of the text.

Verse 14. Thy disciples fast not?] Probably meaning that they

did not fast so frequently as the others did, or for the same

purposes, which is very likely, for the Pharisees had many

superstitious fasts. They fasted in order to have lucky dreams,

to obtain the interpretation of a dream, or to avert the evil

import of a dream. They also fasted often, in order to obtain the

things they wished for. The tract, Taanith is full of these

fasts, and of the wonders performed thus by the Jewish doctors.

Verse 15. Can the children of the bride-chamber] νυμφωνος.

Or, νυμφιου, bridegroom, as the Cod. Bezae and several versions

have it. These persons were the companions of the bridegroom, who

accompanied him to the house of his father-in-law when he went to

bring the bride to his own home. The marriage-feast among the

Jews lasted seven days; but the new married woman was considered

to be a bride for thirty days. Marriage feasts were times of

extraordinary festivity, and even of riot, among several people of

the east.

When the bridegroom shall be taken from them, &c.] There was

one annual fast observed in the primitive Church, called by our

ancestors [Anglo-Saxon] the spring fast, and, by us, LENT; by the

Greeks τεσσερακοστη, and by the Latins, Quadrigessima. This fast

is pretended to be kept by many, in the present day, in

commemoration of our Lord's forty days' fast in the wilderness;

but it does not appear that, in the purest ages of the primitive

Church, genuine Christians ever pretended that their

quadrigessimal fast was kept for the above purpose. Their fast

was kept merely to commemorate the time during which Jesus Christ

lay under the power of death, which was about FORTY HOURS; and it

was in this sense they understood the words of this text: the days

will come, &c. With them, the bridegroom meant Christ: the time

in which he was taken away, his crucifixion, death, and the time

he lay in the grave. Suppose him dying about twelve o'clock on

what is called Friday, and that he rose about four on the morning

of his own day, (St. John says, Early, while it was yet dark,

Mt 20:1,)

the interim makes forty hours, which was the true primitive Lent,

or quadrigessimal fast. It is true that many in the primitive

Church were not agreed on this subject, as Socrates, in his Church

History, book v. chap. 22, says, "Some thought they should fast

one day; others two; others more." Different Churches also were

divided concerning the length of the time, some keeping it three,

others five, and others seven weeks; and the historian himself is

puzzled to know why they all agreed in calling these fasts,

differing so much in their duration, by the name of Quadrigessima,

or forty days' fast: the plain obvious reason appears to me to

have been simply this: They put DAYS in the place of HOURS; and

this absurdity continues in some Christian Churches to the present

day. For more on fasting, See Clarke on Mt 6:16.

Verse 16. No man putteth a piece of new cloth] ουδειςδε

επιβαλλειεπιβλημαρακουςαγναφουεπιιματιωπαλαιω. No man

putteth a patch of unscoured cloth upon an old garment. This is

the most literal translation I can give of this verse, to convey

its meaning to those who cannot consult the original. ρακος

αγναφον is that cloth which has not been scoured, or which has

not passed under the hand of the fuller, who is called γναφευς in

Greek: and επιβλημα signifies a piece put on, or what we commonly

term a patch.

It-taketh from the garment] Instead of closing up the rent, it

makes a larger, by tearing away with it the whole breadth of the

cloth over which it was laid; αιρειγαρτοπληρωμααυτου-it taketh

its fulness or whole breadth from the garment; this I am persuaded

is the meaning of the original, well expressed by the Latin, or

Itala of the C. BEZAE, Tollit enim plenitudo ejus de vestimento.

"It takes away its fulness from the garment."

Verse 17. New wine into old bottles] It is still the custom,

in the eastern countries, to make their bottles of goat skins: if

these happened to be old, and new wine were put into them, the

violence of the fermentation must necessarily burst them; and

therefore newly made bottles were employed for the purpose of

putting that wine in which had not yet gone through its state of

fermentation. The institutes of Christ, and those of the

Pharisees, could never be brought to accord: an attempt to combine

the two systems would be as absurd as it would be destructive.

The old covenant made way for the new, which was its completion

and its end; but with that old covenant the new cannot be


Christian prudence requires that the weak, and newly converted,

should be managed with care and tenderness. To impose such duties

and mortifications as are not absolutely necessary to salvation,

before God has properly prepared the heart by his grace for them,

is a conduct as absurd and ruinous as putting a piece of raw,

unscoured cloth on an old garment; it is, in a word, requiring the

person to do the work of a man, while as yet he is but a little

child. Preachers of the Gospel, and especially those who are

instruments in God's hand of many conversions, have need of much

heavenly wisdom, that they may know to watch over, guide, and

advise those who are brought to a sense of their sin and danger.

How many auspicious beginnings have been ruined by men's

proceeding too hastily, endeavouring to make their own designs

take place, and to have the honour of that success themselves

which is due only to God.

Verse 18. A certain ruler] There were two officers in the

synagogue, chazan ha-ceneseth, the bishop or overseer of

the congregation; and rosh ha-ceneseth, the head or

ruler of the congregation. The chazan takes the book of the Law,

and gives it to the rosh, or ruler; and he appoints who shall read

the different sections, &c. Jairus, who is the person intended

here, was, in this latter sense, the ruler or governor of one of

the synagogues, probably at Capernaum. See Mr 5:22; Lu 8:41.

My daughter is even now dead] Or, my daughter was just now

dying; αρτιετελευτησεν, or, is by this time dead: i.e. as Mr.

Wakefield properly observes, She was so ill when I left home that

she must be dead by this time. This turn of the expression

reconciles the account given here with that in Mark and Luke.

Michaelis conjectures that, in the Hebrew original, the words must

have stood thus, atah matah, which, without the points,

may signify either, She is dead, or She is dying.

To be successful in our applications to God by prayer, four

things are requisite; and this ruler teaches us what they are.

First, A man should place himself in the presence of God-he came

unto him.

Secondly, He should humble himself sincerely before God-he fell

down before him-at his feet. Mr 5:22.

Thirdly, He should lay open his wants with a holy earnestness-he

besought him greatly. Mr 5:23.

Fourthly, he should have unbounded confidence in the power and

goodness of Christ that his request shall be granted-put thy hand

upon her, and she shall live. He who comes in this way to God,

for salvation, is sure to be heard. Imposition of hands was a

rite anciently used by the servants of God, through which heavenly

influences were conveyed to the bodies and souls of men. This

rite is still used in certain Churches; but, as there is no Holy

Ghost communicated by it, some suppose it may be as well omitted.

But why is this? Is it not because there is an unfaithfulness in

the person who lays on hands, or an unfitness in him on whom they

are laid? Let the rite be restored to its primitive simplicity,

and God will own it as he formerly did. But, however this may be,

where is the man or number of men who have authority to abrogate a

rite of God's own appointment? In the appointment of men to the

sacred ministry it should never be omitted: even in these

degenerate days, it may still serve as a sign of the necessity of

the gifts and graces of that Holy Spirit without which no man can

fulfil the work of the ministry, or be the instrument of saving

the souls of them that hear him. When the inventions of men are

put in the place of the ordinances of God, the true Church of

Christ is in great danger.

Verse 19. Jesus arose, and followed him] Our blessed Lord

could have acted as well at a distance as present; but he goes to

the place, to teach his ministers not to spare either their steps

or their pains when the salvation of a soul is in question. Let

them not think it sufficient to pray for the sick in their

closets; but let them go to their bed-sides, that they may

instruct and comfort them. He can have little unction in private,

who does not also give himself up to public duties.

Verse 20. A woman which was diseased with an issue of blood]

γυνηαιμορρουσα. Mulier sanguinis profluvio laborans.

Significatur hoc loco, fluxus muliebris, in SANIS, menstruus; in

HAC perpetuus. It would be easy to explain the nature and

properties of the disease here mentioned; but, when it is said

that prudence forbids it, the intimation itself may be thought

sufficiently explanatory of the disorder in question. There are

some remarkable circumstances relative to this case mentioned by

St. Mark, Mr 5:25, &c., which shall be properly noticed in the

notes on that place.

The hem of his garment] The tsitsith, or fringes,

which the Jews were commanded to wear on their garments.

See Nu 15:38, and the note there.

Verse 21. She said within herself, If I may but touch his

garment] Her disorder was of that delicate nature that modesty

forbade her to make any public acknowledgment of it; and therefore

she endeavoured to transact the whole business in private.

Besides, the touch of such a person was by the law reputed

unclean. By faith in Christ Jesus, little things are often

rendered efficacious to our salvation. What more simple than a

morsel of bread, and a few drops of wine, in the Lord's

Supper! And yet, they who receive them by faith in the sacrifice

they represent, are made partakers of the blessings purchased by

the crucified body and spilled blood of the Lord Jesus!

Verse 22. Daughter, be of good comfort] θαρσειθυγατερ, Take

courage, daughter. See Clarke on Mt 9:2. The reason of this kind

speech was-Jesus, finding that virtue had proceeded from him; made

inquiry who had touched him. The woman, finding that she could

not be hid, came fearing and trembling, (Mr 5:33,) and confessed

the truth: to dispel these fears and to comfort her mind, Jesus

said, Daughter, take courage.

Thy faith hath made thee whole.] ηπιστιςσουσεσωκεσε, This

thy faith hath saved thee: i.e. thy faith in my power has

interested that power in thy behalf, so that thou art saved from

thy disorder, and from all its consequences.

See Clarke on Lu 8:46.

Verse 23. Saw the minstrels and the people making a noise]

αυλητας, pipers; Anglo-Saxon, [Anglo-Saxon] the whistlers;

Gothic, haurngans haurngandans, the horn-blowers blowing with

their horns. Nearly the same as the pipublasara, pipe-blowers of

the Islandic: for among all those nations funeral lamentations

accompanied with such rude instruments, were made at the death of

relatives. That pipes were in use among the Jews, in times of

calamity or death, is evident from Jer 48:36. And among the

Greeks, and Romans, as well as among the Jews, persons were hired

on purpose to follow the funeral processions with lamentations.

See Jer 9:17-21; Am 5:16. Even the poorest among the Jews were

required to have two pipers, and one mourning woman. At these

funeral solemnities it was usual with them to drink considerably;

even ten cups of wine each, where it could be got. See Lightfoot.

This custom is observed among the native Irish to this day, in

what is called their CAOINAN. The body of the deceased, dressed

in grave-clothes and ornamented with flowers, is placed in some

eminent place; the relations and caoiners range themselves in two

divisions, one at the head and the other at the feet of the

corpse. Anciently, where the deceased was a great personage, the

bards and croteries prepared the caoinan. The chief bard of the

head chorus began by singing the first stanza in a low doleful

tone; which was softly accompanied by the harp. At the

conclusion, the foot semichorus began the lamentation, or ULLALOO,

from the final note of the preceding stanza, in which they were

answered by the head semichorus; then both united in one general


The chorus of the first stanza being ended, the chief bard of

the foot semichorus sung the second stanza, the strain of which

was taken from the concluding note of the preceding chorus, which

ended, the head semichorus began the GOL, or lamentation, in which

they were answered by that of the foot, and then, as before, both

united in the general full chorus. Thus alternately were the song

and choruses performed during the night. I have seen a number of

women, sometimes fourteen, twenty-four, or more, accompany the

deceased from his late house to the grave-yard, divided into two

parties on each side the corpse, singing the ULLALOO, alternately,

all the way. That drinking, in what is called the wake, or

watching with the body of the deceased, is practised, and often

carried to a shameful excess, needs little proof. This kind of

intemperance proceeded to such great lengths among the Jews that

the Sanhedrin were obliged to make a decree, to restrain the

drinking to ten cups each. I mention these things more

particularly, because I have often observed that the customs of

the aboriginal Irish bear, a very striking resemblance to those of

the ancient Jews, and other Asiatic nations. The application of

these observations I leave to others.

It was a custom with the Greeks to make a great noise with

brazen vessels; and the Romans made a general outcry, called

conclamatio, hoping either to stop the soul which was now taking

its flight, or to awaken the person, if only in a state of torpor.

This they did for eight days together, calling the person

incessantly by his name; at the expiration of which term the

phrase, Conclamatum est-all is over-there is no hope-was used.

See the words used in this sense by Terence, EUN. l. 347. In all

probability this was the θορυβουμενον, the making a violent

outcry, mentioned here by the evangelist. How often, on the death

of relatives, do men incumber and perplex themselves with vain,

worldly, and tumultuous ceremonies, instead of making profitable

reflections on death!

Verse 24. The maid is not dead, but sleepeth] That is, she is

not dead so as to continue under the power of death; but shall be

raised from it as a, person is from natural sleep.

They laughed him to scorn.] κατεγελωναυτον, they ridiculed

him; from κατα, intensive, and γελαω, I laugh:-they

grinned a ghastly smile, expressive of the contempt they felt for

his person and knowledge. People of the world generally ridicule

those truths which they neither comprehend nor love, and deride

those who publish them; but a faithful minister of God, (copying

the example of Christ,) keeps on his way, and does the work of his

Lord and Master.

Verse 25. He-took her by the hand, and the maid arose.] The

fountain of life thus communicating its vital energy to the dead

body. Where death has already taken place, no power but that of

the great God can restore to life; in such a case, vain is the

help of man. So the soul that is dead in trespasses and sins-that

is, sentenced to death because of transgression-and is thus dead

in law, can only be restored to spiritual life by the mighty power

of the Lord Jesus; because HE alone has made the atonement, and HE

alone can pardon transgression. If the spiritually dead person be

utterly unconcerned about the state and fate of his soul, let a

converted relative either bring him to Christ by leading him to

hear the unadulterated Gospel of the kingdom; or bring Christ to

him by fervent, faithful, and persevering prayer.

Verse 26. And the fame hereof went abroad] In this business

Jesus himself scarcely appears, but the work effected by his

sovereign power is fully manifested; to teach us that it is the

business of a successful preacher of the Gospel to conceal himself

as much as possible, that God alone may have the glory of his own

grace. This is a proper miracle, and a full exemplification of

the unlimited power of Christ.

Verse 27. Son of David] This was the same as if they had

called him Messiah. Two things here are worthy of remark: 1st.

That it was a generally received opinion at this time in Judea,

that the Messiah should be son of David. (Joh 7:42.) 2dly. That

Jesus Christ was generally and incontestably acknowledged as

coming from this stock. Mt 12:23.

Have mercy on us.] That man has already a measure of heavenly

light who knows that he has no merit; that his cry should be a cry

for mercy; that he must be fervent, and that in praying he must

follow Jesus Christ as the true Messiah, the son of David,

expected from heaven.

Verse 28. When he was come unto the house] That is, the house

of Peter at Capernaum, where he ordinarily lodged.

Believe ye that I am able to do this?] Without faith Jesus does

nothing to men's souls now, no more than he did to their bodies

in the days of his flesh.

They said unto him, Yea, Lord.] Under a sense of our spiritual

blindness we should have, 1st. A lively faith in the almighty

grace of Christ. 2dly. A fervent, incessant cry for the

communication of this grace. 3dly. A proper view of his

incarnation, because it is through his union with our nature, and

by his sufferings and death, we are to expect salvation.

Verse 29. According to your faith] See Clarke on Mt 8:13.

Verse 30. Straitly charged them] He charged them severely,

from ενεβριμησατο, from εν, and βριμαομαι, to roar or storm

with anger; he charged them, on pain of his displeasure, not to

make it as yet public. See the reasons, Clarke "Mt 8:4".

Verse 31. But they-spread abroad his fame] They should have

held their peace; for to obey is better than sacrifice,

1Sa 15:22; but man must always be wiser than God, however, it may

be profitable to remark, 1st. That honour pursues those who fly

from it. 2dly. He who is thoroughly sensible of God's mercy

cannot long contain his acknowledgments. 3dly. That God in

general requires that what a man has received, for his own

salvation, shall become subservient to that of others-Let your

light so shine, &c. God chooses to help man by man, that all may

be firmly knit together in brotherly love.

Verse 32. A dumb man possessed with a devil.] Some demons

rendered the persons they possessed paralytic, some blind, others

dumb, &c. It was the interest of Satan to hide his influences

under the appearance of natural disorders. A man who does not

acknowledge his sin to God, who prays not for salvation, who

returns no praises for the mercies he is continually receiving,

may well be said to be possessed with a dumb demon.

Verse 33. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake] The

very miracle which was now wrought was to be the demonstrative

proof of the Messiah's being manifested in the flesh.

See Isa 35:5, 6.

It was never so seen in Israel.] The greatest of the prophets

has never been able to do such miracles as these. This was the

remark of the people; and thus we find that the poor and the

simple were more ready to acknowledge the hand of God than the

rich and the learned. Many miracles had been wrought in the

course of this one day, and this excited their surprise.

Verse 34. He casteth out devils through the prince of the

devils.] This verse is wanting in both the Greek and Latin of

the C. Bezae, in another copy of the Itala, and in Hilary and

Juvencus. But See Clarke on Mt 12:24.

It is a consummate piece of malice to attribute the works of God

to the devil. Envy cannot suffer the approbation which is given

to the excellencies of others. Those whose hearts are possessed

by this vice speak the very language of the devil. Calumny is but

a little distance from envy. Though all persons may not have as

much envy as the Pharisees, yet they should fear having some

degree of it, as all have the principle from whence it proceeds,

viz. sin.

Verse 35. Jesus went about all the cities and villages] Of

Galilee. See on Mt 4:23, 24. A real minister of Jesus Christ,

after his example, is neither detained in one place by a

comfortable provision made by some, nor discouraged from pursuing

his work by the calumny and persecution of others. It is proper

to remark, that, wherever Christ comes, the proofs of his presence

evidently appear: he works none but salutary and beneficial

miracles, because his ministry is a ministry of salvation.

Among the people.] εντωλαω. This clause is omitted by about

fifty MSS., several of them of the first antiquity and authority;

by the Complutensian, and by Bengel; by both the Syriac, both the

Arabic, both the Persic; the Ethiopic, Gothic, Saxon, and all the

Itala, except four. Griesbach has left it out of the text.

Verse 36. Moved with compassion] εσπλαγχνισθη, from σπλαγχνον

a bowel. The Jews esteemed the bowels to be the seat of sympathy

and the tender passions, and so applied the organ to the sense.

επλαγχνιζομαι signifies, says Mintert, "to be moved with pity

from the very inmost bowels. It is an emphatic word, signifying a

vehement affection of commiseration, by which the bowels and

especially the heart is moved." Both this verb and the noun seem

to be derived from σπαω, to draw; the whole intestinal canal, in

the peristaltic motion of the bowels, being drawn, affected, and

agitated with the sight of a distressed or miserable object. Pity

increases this motion of the bowels, and produces considerable

pain: hence σπλαγχνιζομαι, to have the bowels moved, signifies to

feel pity or compassion at seeing the miseries of others.

They fainted] Instead of εκλελυμενοι, fainted, all the best

MSS., versions, and fathers, read εσκυλμενοι, grieved and

melancholy. Kypke says σκυλλειν properly signifies, to pluck off

the hair, as persons do in extreme sorrow or distress. The margin

says, They were tired and lay down.

And were scattered abroad] εππιμμενοι, thrown down, or, all

along. They were utterly neglected as to the interests of their

souls, and rejected by the proud and disdained Pharisees. This

people (οχλος, this mob) that knoweth not the law, is accursed,

Joh 7:49. Thus those execrable men spoke of the souls that God

had made, and of whom they should have been the instructers.

Those teachers, in name, have left their successors behind them;

but, as in the days of Christ, so now, God has in his mercy

rescued the flock out of the hands of those who only fed upon

their flesh, and clothed themselves with their wool. The days in

which a man was obliged to give his property to what was called

THE Church, for the salvation of his soul, Christ being left out

of the question, are, thank God, nearly over and gone. Jesus is

the true Shepherd; without him there is nothing but fainting,

fatigue, vexation, and dispersion. O that we may be led out and

in by him, and find pasture!

Verse 37. The harvest] The souls who are ready to receive the

truth are very numerous; but the labourers are few. There are

multitudes of scribes, Pharisees, and priests, of reverend and

right reverend men; but there are few that work. Jesus wishes for

labourers, not gentlemen, who are either idle drones, or slaves

to pleasure and sin, and nati consumere fruges. "Born to consume

the produce of the soil."

It was customary with the Jews to call their rabbins and

students reapers; and their work of instruction, the harvest. So

in Idra Rabba, s. 2. "The days are few; the creditor is urgent;

the crier calls out incessantly; and the reapers are few." And in

Pirkey Aboth: "The day is short, the work great, the workmen idle,

the reward abundant, and the master of the household is urgent."

In all worldly concerns, if there be the prospect of much gain,

most men are willing enough to labour; but if it be to save their

own souls, or the souls of others, what indolence, backwardness,

and carelessness! While their adversary, the devil, is going

about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour; and a

careless soul, and especially a careless minister is his

especial prey.

The place of the harvest is the whole earth: it signifies

little where a man works, provided it be by the appointment, in

the Spirit, and with the blessing of God.

Verse 38. That he will send forth labourers] οπωςεκβαλλη

εργατας, that he would thrust forth labourers. Those who are

fittest for the work are generally most backward to the

employment. The man who is forward to become a preacher knows

little of God, of human nature, or of his own heart. It is, God's

province to thrust out such preachers as shall labour; and it is

our duty to entreat him to do so. A minister of Christ is

represented as a day-labourer: he comes into the harvest, not to

become lord of it, not to live on the labour of others, but to

work, and to labour his day. Though the work may be very severe,

yet, to use a familiar expression, there is good wages in the

harvest-home; and the day, though hot, is but a short one. How

earnestly should the flock of Christ pray to the good Shepherd to

send them pastors after his own heart, who will feed them with

knowledge, and who shall be the means of spreading the knowledge

of his truth and the savour of his grace over the face of the

whole earth!

The subject of fasting, already slightly noticed in the

preceding notes, should be farther considered.

In all countries, and under all religions, fasting has not only

been considered a duty, but also of extraordinary virtue to

procure blessings, and to avert evils. Hence it has often been

practised with extraordinary rigour, and abused to the most

superstitious purposes. There are twelve kinds of fasts among the


1. The person neither eats nor drinks for a day and night. This

fast is indispensable, and occurs twenty-nine times in the year.

2. The person fasts during the day, and eats at night.

3. The person eats nothing but fruits, and drinks milk or water.

4. He eats once during the day and night.

5. Eats one particular kind of food during the day and night,

but as often as he pleases.

6. Called Chanderaym, which is, to eat on the first day, only

one mouthful; two on the second; and thus continue increasing one

mouthful every day for a month, and then decreasing a mouthful

every day, till he leaves off where he began.

7. The person neither eats nor drinks for twelve days.

8. Lasts twelve days: the first three days he eats a little once

in the day; the next three, he eats only once in the night; the

next three, he eats nothing, unless it be brought to him; and,

during the last three days, he neither eats nor drinks.

9. Lasts fifteen days. For three days and three nights, he eats

only one handful at night; the next three days and nights, he eats

one handful if it be brought him, if not, he takes nothing. Then

he eats nothing for three days and three nights. The next three

days and nights he takes only a handful of warm water each day.

The next three days and nights he takes a handful of warm milk

each day.

10. For three days and nights he neither eats nor drinks. He

lights a fire, and sits at a door where there enters a hot wind,

which he draws in with his breath.

11. Lasts fifteen days. Three, days and three nights he eats

nothing but leaves; three days and three nights, nothing but the

Indian fig; three days and three nights, nothing but the seed of

the lotus; three days and three nights, nothing but peepul leaves;

three days and three nights, the expressed juice of a particular

kind of grass called doobah.

12. Lasts a week. First day he eats milk; second, milk-curds;

third, ghee, i.e. clarified butter; fourth, cow's urine; fifth,

cow's dung; sixth, water; seventh, nothing.

During every kind of fast, the person sleeps on the ground,

plays at no game, has no connection with women, neither shaves nor

anoints himself, and bestows alms each day.-AYEEN AKBERY, vol.

iii. p. 247-250. How much more simple and effectual is the way of

salvation taught in the BIBLE! But, because it is true, it Is not

credited by fallen man.

FASTING is considered by the Mohammedans as an essential part of

piety. Their orthodox divines term it the gate of religion. With

them, it is of two kinds, voluntary and incumbent; and is

distinguished by the Mosliman doctors into three degrees: 1. The

refraining from every kind of nourishment or carnal indulgence. 2.

The restraining the various members from every thing which might

excite sinful or corrupt desires. 3. The abstracting the mind

wholly from worldly cares, and fixing it exclusively upon God.

Their great annual fast is kept on the month Ramzan, or Ramadhan,

beginning at the first new moon, and continuing until the

appearance of the next; during which, it is required to abstain

from every kind of nourishment from day-break till after sun-set

of each day. From this observance none are excused but the sick,

the aged, and children. This is properly the Mohammedan Lent.

See HEDAYAH, prel. Dis. p. LV. LVI.

It is worthy of remark, that these children of the Bridegroom,

the disciples, did not mourn, were exposed to no persecution,

while the Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus, was with them, but after he

had been taken from them, by death and his ascension, they did

fast and mourn; they were exposed to all manner of hardships,

persecutions, and even death itself, in some of its worst forms.

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