Wright - BT300 W8 1788

58 The NEW and COMPLETE LIFE of our BLESSED and goodnefs to JESUS CHRIST, who ap- peared to be no more than a man, our Lord took occafion, from the open con feffion of his faith, to declare the gracious defign of his Almighty Father towards the Gentile world, and gave the furrounding multitude to underftand, that the divine goodnefs was not confined to the feed of Abraham, nor to the land of Ifrael : And I fay untoyou, faid he, Mat manyflail come front the Eaft, and the We/t, and fhall fit down with "Abraham, Ifaac, and .7acob, in the kingdomof heaven. And, having a clear view of the obflinacy, impenitence, and final unbelief of the Jewifh nation, he added, But the children of the kingdom fhall be call out into outer darknefs ; there fhall be weeping and gnafhing of teeth. Having thus fpoken to the"liftening thirong, our Lord directed his difcourfe to the cen- turion, and faid, Go thy way; and as thou haft believed, fo be it done unto thee; and immediately the fervant was healed. On the next fabbath -day, Jesus went to the Jewifh fynagogue at Capernaum, and inftrured the people with filch energy and power, and at the fame time, with fuch remarkable plainnefs and fimplicity, that the congregation heard him with the greateft pleafure and furprife : and to in- creafe their admiration, there was a per- fon in the alfembly, that was poffeffed by an unclean and wicked fpirit, who cried out in the molt dreadful manner : Let us afone, what have we to do with thee, thou Jfus of Nazareth? Art thou come to de- ftroy us? I know thee, who thou art, the Holy One of God. But the bleffed JESUS, whowantedno fuch teftimony, commanded him to keep filence, and immediatelycome out of the man ; this command, the wicked fpirit durft not difobey, and di- realy complied, leaving the difordered perfon, to the aftonilhment of the whole congregation. It is conflantly alleged, by thofe who are enemies to our religion, and delight to cavil with the conduit of our Re- deemer, and depreciate his mighty deeds, that the perfons, who are faid in the gof- pels to be poffeffed by devils, were only affected by fome ftrange and unaccountable diforders ; and becaufe fepulchres were efteemed polluted places, the melancholy perrons who frequented them, were faid to be pofreffed with the devil. And the ad- verfaries of our religion, are fond of in- quiring, why there fhould be any more demons in Judea, than in any other country. To thefe objections it may, with great certaintybe replied, that thefe dasmoniacs were not perlons affe&ed only with fome uncommon and dreadful difeafe ; for the evangelioshave taken care to be very par- ticular on that head: and being poffeffed with the devil, is carefully diflinguifhed from any other affliction and complaint : St. Matthew tells us, that, They brought unto Chrf, all Fick people, that were taken with divers difeafes, and thole that were podffed with devils, and thole that were lunatic; and he healed them, chap. iv. ver. 24. And again, chap. x. ver, s. He gave to the apoftles power againft evil fpirits to cart then out, and to heal all manner of fcknes and dfeafes. Andwe are informed by St. Mark, chap. i. 34. That they healed many that were fek of divers difeafes, and cart out devils. There is in thefe paffages a plain diftinhtion between thofe who were -tick of various difeafes, and thofe who were poffelfed with devils ; and this being diftinitly noticed by the evangelios, it cannot be fuppofed, that there were not plain, evi- dent marks of diflinilion, which made the cure fo manifeft, that there was no dan- ger ofbeing deceived. And it may further be obferved, to thofe who doubt of theexioenceofevil fpirits, that they cannot entertain fuch doubts without queoioning the truth of the Holy Scrip- tures ; for the facred writers have laid down feveral