Wright - BT300 W8 1788

122 The NEW and COMPLETE LIFE of Our BLESSED fay the Seribes, that Elias mutt firfl come? To this inquiry, our Lord replied, that the Scribes had rightly explained the prophecy of Malachi, by declaring that Elias muff come before the appearance of the Melfiah; but, at the fame time, he informed them, that this great prophet had made his ap- pearance, and had beenufed by that per- verfe generation, in the fame manner as the prophets of old had been treated by their father's: But Ifay untoyou, Paid he, that Elias is come already, and they knew him not, . but have done unto him whatfoever they lied: likewife (hall alto the Son of manfuffer of them. Then the difciples unr derftood that he fpake to them of yohn the Bapt. When Jesus defcended to the foot of the mountain, attended by his three dif- ciples, he law a great multitude furround- ing the nine, who had continued with the people while our Lord had been transfi- gured, and the Scribes difputing with them. The people Teeing JEsus approach, ran to him with exultation and joy, and faluted him with the warmeft gratitude, and the molt refpeiìful reverence. Our Lordha- ving joined the company, he immediately alked the Scribes, what was the fubjea of their debate withhis difciples ? To which one of the company anfwered, Matter, I have brought unto thee myfon, which hath a dumb fpiirit; and wheree never he taketh him, he teareth him: and hefoameth, and gnafheth with his teeth, and pineth away : and 1 fpake unto thy difciples, that they jhould call him out, but they could not. This anfwer feems to indicate, that the Scribes had been reproaching the difciples, on account of their inability to reftore the affli&ed youth: and, no doubt, they re- joiced, that, at laic, a devil had appeared whowas too hard for them, and, perhaps, would not fubmit to their Matter. That fomething like this had been the fubjea of their converfation, is evident from our Sa- viour's reply : 0 faithlefs generation, faid he, how long jhall I be with you? How long jhall I fuller you? After having fpokett in this manner to the proud, Pelf- conceited, fceptical Scribes, our Lord turned to the father of the aftlifled young man, and faid, Bring thyfon hither. The af;Ziéted father obeyed ; but no fooner was the youth brought into the prefence of the great Ruler of earth and heaven, than the evil fpirit attacked him with double fury : the fpirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowedfoaming. It is not to be fuppofed, that the bleffed Jesus could not have prevented this furi- ous attack; but he was pleafed to fuffer it, probably, that the minds of the fpeaators might be the more affeéled with the deplo- rable condition of the fferer, and have the more jufl and lively ideas of that wif- dom, power, and goodnefs, which fhould give him relief; and, it is probable, with the fame views, he afked the mournful fa- ther, how long his fon had been in this pitious condition ? To which he replied, Of a child. And oft times it hath call hint into thefire, and into the waters to dejlroy him : but, if thou cant do any thing, have compajion on us, and help us. It feems, that the inability ofthe difciples to call out this evil fpirit, had greatly dif- couraged the affliaed father ; and the ex- quifite torture and apparent agonies of his fon, and the remembrance of their long continuance, had difpirited him fo much, that he began to fear, that this poffeffìon was too ftrong for the power of Jesus himfelf, as the Scribes had affirmed ; which was the reafon of his expreffing himfelf with fo much hefitation and doubt, when he told our Lord, how long his fon had been afflifed. But Jesus, to make him fenfible of his miflake, as well as gently to reprove him for his unbelief and ground- lefs fears, faid unto him, If thou can/t be- lieve, all things are poble to him that be- lieveth. The father, affeaed with this declaration, and with a heart full of ten,- dernefs and joy, at the fuppofed poffibility of the relief of his fon, replied with tears, Lord, I believe; he thou mine unbelief Thevehement manner in which the afflifted parent