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They had alarming apprehensions concerning themselves; and having no grace to love Christ; they had all the alarms of their guilty consciences to fear Christ. Hence their language was; and it is the language of all sinners untaught of God, and unrenewed by grace, as Job described them in his days: "They say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways.” (Job xxi. 14.)
Let the reader pause over the subject! They that are not brought by an act of grace to love God, remain in the same unaltered state of nature to hate God. There is nothing neutral in this warfare. "The carnal mind is enmity against God." (Rom. viii. 7.) Every individual of the children of Adam, however specious and plausible in the outward acts of life they may appear, hath an aversion to God. Hence the Lord Jesus, in his conversation with Nicodemus, declared that the very entrance into his kingdom of grace, must begin with regeneration, or the new birth: "Ye must be born again." (John iii. 7.) And this explains to us not only the conduct of the Gadarenes, but of all men as they are by nature. The whole mass of mankind, unless born again, prefer the raging lusts of their own hearts, the dominion of Satan, and the customs, pursuits, and pleasures of the world to Christ; and if not in words, do, in effect, in deeds say unto Christ: "Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways." Hence those sensual, blind, and deluded Gadarenes so acted towards Christ. And hence the multitude of our own equally blind countrymen do the same, "who live without God and without Christ in the world." And are we graciously delivered from the delusion? Yes! if so be the Lord hath brought us out. Do I remember the wormwood and the gall of unawakened, unrenewed, unregenerated nature? Can I look back, and remember the state in which I lived before
this mighty change was wrought? And am I now sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in my right mind? Could I now, as these wretched Gadarenes did, desire Jesus to depart out of their coasts? Nay, is it not the daily, hourly, petition of my soul, that the Lord will not leave me, neither suffer me to depart from him? And is not his constraining love so with me, that I feel a confidence, amidst all my unworthiness and undeservings,' he will do as he hath said; "I will not turn away from them to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me." (Jer. xxxii. 40.) And it is a sweet thought which the instance of this history furnisheth; that the same love which led the Lord Jesus over the lake of Gennesaret, to redeem the poor man from the captivity of sin and Satan, is part of the same love which first brought him down from heaven to save his church from everlasting ruin. And as the Son of God went over the lake for him, unsent for, and unasked, and departed not from the coasts until he was sent away: so will he never depart from his people, while he puts the cry in their hearts for his manifestations and favour. Very blessedly the Lord hath said this, and therefore our redeemed and regenerated hearts may echo to the same. For he hath
said, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. that we may boldly say: The Lord is my Helper, I will not fear what man shall do unto me." (Heb.. xiii. 5.)
"And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil, prayed him that he might be with him. "Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go
home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.
"And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis, how great things Jesus had done for him; and all men did marvel.” (Mark v. 18-20.)
NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS.
I DETAIN the reader at the very entrance of this Scripture with calling upon him to observe what a mighty change the sovereignty of grace had made in the heart of this poor man. When in the fury of his uncontrouled passions, and under the influence of the devil, his language to Christ was, "What have I to do with thee, Jesus! thou Son of God: I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.” But now we hear him earnestly desiring "that he might be with Jesus." Oh! who shall describe the powerful operations of God in the spiritual world ! Surely, nothing within the compass of natural things, in all the creation of God, is equal to it. It must have been a wonderful sight to have beheld the Son of God commanding the blind eyes to open, and the deaf ears to hear. But the mightiest cures on the body, are as nothing compared to the salvation Jesus wrought on the soul. To have beheld this demoniac, while under the influence of Satan, desiring Christ to depart from him, and now praying that he might be with him; here is somewhat beyond the mere outside of things. But the Holy Ghost, by Paul, hath taught the cause; when praying to know "what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward," saith the apostle, "who believe." "who believe." And then he adds: "that it is according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead." (Eph. i. 19, 20.) The greatest act ever wrought in this our world, was the raising Christ from
the dead; in which all the persons in the GODHEAD co-operated and concurred. (See 1 Cor. vi. 14. Rom. i. 4. Rom. viii. 11. I Tim. iii. 16.) And next to this, the resurrection of Christ's people spiritually, from the death of sin by grace. Hence while the Gadarenes desired Christ to depart out of their coasts, this man prayed Jesus" that he might be with him." And tremendously awful as the subject is, in every instance of the unawakened and the unregenerate, both here and hereafter, the different characters are so marked. Could we look into the other world among those that departed out of life as they came into it, under the possession of sin and Satan; could we behold the Cains, the Judases, and the Herods; amidst all the horrors they sustain, there are no desires for Christ. They are described as "gnawing their tongues for pain; but yet blaspheming the God of heaven, because of their pains and sores; and repenting not." (Rev. xvi. 10, 11.)
There is at first view, somewhat which excites astonishment in the account given of the Lord Jesus, refusing this poor man to go with him. "Howbeit Jesus suffered him not." Would it not have been a matter of infinite blessedness to his soul's welfare, to have been constantly with Jesus, to have sat day by day at his feet, and to have "heard the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth?" No doubt this is the desire of all the Lord's people in every age of the church, when brought to the knowledge of the Lord. But the Lord hath provided all things for their spiritual welfare; and his spiritual presence is always with them; and in the true and strict sense of the word, they are never separated from the Lord. (See Isaiah xxvii. 2, 3.) As far therefore as relates to the personal interest of the Lord's redeemed ones upon earth; they are not only under the constant eye and favour of the Lord; but
the whole persons in the GODHEAD are visiting and abiding with them. And it is this unceasing love of the Holy Three in one, to the persons of the Lord's people, as they are in Christ, which is the everlasting blessedness, and the everlasting security of the whole church of God, in all generations of the Lord's people. (John xiv. 23.)
But the Lord hath graciously added another cause, for which the Lord Jesus granted not his petition. The Lord hath a church to be gathered in the earth from among men. He hath appointed means and ordinances of grace for this purpose, under his own Almighty power. And one among the several methods the Lord hath taken, to accomplish the sovereign designs of his holy will, is by influencing one poor sinner when called to the knowledge of the Lord, to communicate to other poor sinners what acts of grace hath been shown him. "Go home," said Jesus" to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee." on thee." And who that is taught of God, but must see an abundance of grace and favour in all this, both as it concerns the soul that makes proclamation of saving mercy; and the church of Christ, in every instance to whom it is related. While the Lord Jesus hath a church on earth, which he will have till the time of the restitution of all things, what can the imagination form so endearing as that of ministering to it, in every method, and by every way the Lord shall afford power and opportunity. And who is there, that hath himself tasted that "the Lord is gracious," but would esteem it his greatest happiness to communicate the glad tidings to others. Surely, if there be a circumstance this side eternity to reconcile the redeemed and regenerated child of God, to a continuance in the body, this is the very one. Neither can any of this de