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DISCOURSE XI.

THE TESTIMONY OF CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE.

MARK v. 18, 19. And when he was come into the ship,

he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. Howobeit 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.

For this purpose was the Son of God manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. This was an object peculiarly suited to his character who is the Holy One and the Good; and in the accomplishment of it, his power and grace were displayed in a way most honourable to himself and most happy for human beings. In the prophecies of the Old Testament, many intimations were given that this should be the great object of his coming, and there were striking indications throughout the whole of his public life, that to this his plans and efforts were directed.

During Christ's appearance on earth, Satan was permitted to exercise a peculiar influence, not only over the souls, but over the bodies of men, that our Lord might, in expelling him, give a pledge of his final victory over all the powers of darkness. In this light were those miracles viewed by the more enlightened among his disciples, and in his own mind they awakened the joyful anticipations expressed in these words,-“I beheld Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”

On the occasion to which our text refers, two demoniacs were relieved by our Lord, but one only is noticed by Mark, on account of the uncommon violence of his malady. The case of this poor man seems to have been peculiarly afflictive. He was an object of terror to all around, by his fierceness and strength, his horrible cries, and the tortures which he inflicted on himself; but Jesus beheld him with pity, and did great things for him ; freed him from this oppression of the devil, and formed a meek and

pure spirit within him. There were miracles of Christ in which the cure of the body was not accompanied with any sanctifying operation on the soul. The nine lepers who were cleansed still remained in that moral impurity which they never felt as an evil, and from which they expressed no wish to be freed; but this child of the devil was made a child of wisdom, and was translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God's dear Son. He formed in him a reverence for God, and a submission to his will, against whom he had poured out such hideous blasphemy, and implanted dispositions soft and kind in a heart which raged with malignant fury. It has been supposed that he was of Gentile extraction; and if this was the case, the Syrophenician woman and he were the only two heathens cured by our Lord, and were the pledges of that grace which is destined to heal the nations. There is another circumstance most interesting about him. He is an honourable exception to that aversion from Christ which was felt and ex

pressed by all the inhabitants of that district; for while they were eager for his removal, the man was most desirous not to be separated from him, and was willing to forsake all and to follow him. Such was the spirit of his request to our Lord, to which an answer was given which is rich in instruction," Go home to thy friends, and show them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.”

In this discourse I shall call your attention to the motives which dictated this man's request; to the reasons which led our Lord to give this answer to it; and to the practical lessons we should derive from this incident.

I. Let us consider the reasons which led this man to this request.

1. He was led to this by fear. He was afraid that, in our Lord's absence, the devil might return and render him more vile and miserable than ever. There might have been seasons already in which devils ceased to molest him, but had come back with redoubled fury. He might have heard of cases of possession by devils, in which they retired for a while, and then returned in greater wrath than before. Our Lord alludes to this when he says," When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return to my place from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and these words,—“I beheld Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”

On the occasion to which our text refers, two demoniacs were relieved by our Lord, but one only is noticed by Mark, on account of the uncommon violence of his malady. The case of this poor man seems to have been peculiarly afflictive.

He was an object of terror to all around, by his fierceness and strength, his horrible cries, and the tortures which he inflicted on himself; but Jesus beheld him with pity, and did great things for him ; freed him from this oppression of the devil, and formed a meek and pure spirit within him. There were miracles of Christ in which the cure of the body was not accompanied with any sanctifying operation on the soul. The nine lepers who were cleansed still remained in that moral impurity which they never felt as an evil, and from which they expressed no wish to be freed; but this child of the devil was made a child of wisdom, and was translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God's dear Son. He formed in him a reverence for God, and a submission to his will, against whom he had poured out such hideous blasphemy, and implanted dispositions soft and kind in a heart which raged with malignant fury. It has been supposed that he was of Gentile extraction; and if this was the case, the Syrophenician woman and he were the only two heathens cured by our Lord, and were the pledges of that grace which is destined to heal the nations. There is another circumstance most interesting about him. He is an honourable exception to that aversion from Christ which was felt and expressed by all the inhabitants of that district; for while they were eager for his removal, the man was most desirous not to be separated from him, and was willing to forsake all and to follow him. Such was the spirit of his request to our Lord, to which an answer was given which is rich in instruction,—“Go home to thy friends, and show them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee."

In this discourse I shall call your attention to the motives which dictated this man's request; to the reasons which led our Lord to give this answer to it; and to the practical lessons we should derive from this incident.

I. Let us consider the reasons which led this man to this request.

1. He was led to this by fear. He was afraid that, in our Lord's absence, the devil might return and render him more vile and miserable than ever. There might have been seasons already in which devils ceased to molest him, but had come back with redoubled fury. He might have heard of cases of possession by devils, in which they retired for a while, and then returned in greater wrath than before. Our Lord alludes to this when he says,-" When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return to my place from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and

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