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The Devil Cast Out From the Blind and Dumb.

Matt 12:22-29.

Then was brought to Him one possessed with a devil, blind and dumb, etc.

Q. YOU have already told me what is to be understood by being possessed of a devil. Can you now tell me what is here further to be understood by one blind and dumb?

A. According to the letter of the history, by one blind and dumb is to be understood a person deprived of bodily sight, and of bodily speech; but according to the spiritual sense, is to be understood the state of the Jewish church at that period, which, in consequence of being immersed in the evil of self-love, and the love of the world, was blind to the knowledge of heavenly truth, and overspread with the darkness of false principles and persuasions, by reason of which it was also dumb, or unable to think, to utter, and to teach any truth of doctrine conducive to good of life. For there are two distinct origins of spiritual dumbness, one in the will, and the other in the understanding, and the latter is here recorded, because connected with blindness; whereas, when the former is noticed, it is connected with deafness, (Mark 9:25), blindness having relation to a defect of truth in the understanding, arising from the influence of false principles and persuasions; and deafness having relation to a defect of good in the will, by reason of the influence of evil love and corrupt affections.

Q. Do you conceive, then, that there is any necessary connection between blindness and dumbness?

A. Not according to the literal meaning of those two bodily imperfections, but, according to the spiritual meaning, the connection, I conceive, is both, necessary and close. For blindness, according to the spiritual idea, implies a defect of the spiritual light of truth in the human understanding, through the influence of false principles and persuasions; and where this is the case, spiritual dumbness must be a necessary consequence, because without spiritual thought derived from the light of truth in the understanding, it is impossible for man to give utterance to truth; and if he cannot give utterance to truth, he is then spiritually dumb, agreeable to what has been above observed concerning this spiritual infirmity.

Q. And what do you understand by the words which follow, where it is written, He healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spoke and saw?

A. By He, is to be understood the great saviour, whose name is Jesus Christ; and by healing him, is further to be understood the restoration of the blessing of sight and of speech, whether considered in a natural or in a, spiritual sense. By the blind and dumb therefore both speaking and seeing, is further to be understood the effect of the healing virtue applied by the great redeemer, and made manifest both naturally and spiritually; naturally by opening  the eyes of one who had been blind, and by unloosing his tongue; and spiritually by opening the eyes of the understanding also, to see by the bright light of the eternal truth, and at the same time by unloosing the organs of spiritual speech, to give utterance to that truth, and thus to declare the praises of the incarnate god.

Q. But it is written further, that all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the Son of David? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow does not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils   — how do you understand what is here said of the people, and the opposite sentiment ascribed to the Pharisees?

A. By the people being amazed, is to be understood the sacred awe with which their minds were impressed on observing the operation of the divine power exercised upon the blind and dumb man possessed with a devil; and by their exclamation, Is not this the Son of David? is further to be understood, the unanimous conviction worked in their minds by a supernatural agency, that Jesus Christ was the expected Messiah, and consequently was a being more than human. Again, by the Pharisees saying, This fellow does not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils, is to be understood the lamentable perversion of the divine truth in the minds of all hypocrites, or of those who practise external piety, while their hearts are totally void of the heavenly spirit and love of charity. For the miracle above recorded was a manifest proof of divine agency, being worked, as Jesus Christ afterwards declares (verse 28), by the Spirit of god.    But the Spirit of god is the Spirit of divine truth; and therefore the Pharisees, in ascribing the miracle to Beelzebub, proved themselves guilty of that most terrible and unpardonable of all sins, the sin against the holy ghost, which is nothing else but the perversion and consequent profanation of divine truth.    Moreover, by Beelzebub is meant the god of flies; and by flies, according to their spiritual signification, are to be understood the false principles and persuasions of the natural mind; therefore the Pharisees in ascribing the miracle to Beelzebub, and not to the spirit of god, not only perverted and profaned the truth; but gave a manifest proof of their own folly, by supposing that the prince of the devils   could oppose himself and his   own kingdom, or that Satan could cast out Satan. Yet such,  alas! is  still the folly of those, who deny the divine omnipotence of the blessed jesus, and thus rob  Him of His divinity; when yet they ought rather to conclude, in agreement with the tenor of what Jesus afterwards declares, that in His divine person  the kingdom of god is. come unto man; for thus He expresses Himself,  If I cast out devils by the Spirit of god, then the kingdom of God is come to you.

Q. What then is the general instruction which you learn from the above miracle?

A. I learn, in the first place, again to adore the divine mercy and omnipotence of that incarnate god, who was manifested to destroy the works of the devil, whether worked on the bodies or in the minds of men, and whether they appear in a simple or in a compound shape. In the next place, I learn to distinguish in myself the two mental defects of want of eyes, and want of speech, or of spiritual blindness, and spiritual dumbness, and to see that the latter is always a necessary consequence of the former, Lastly, from the different effects produced on different minds by the above miracle, whilst it led some, under the impulse of a sacred awe, to confess the blessed Jesus to be the true Messiah, and led others to pervert and blaspheme the eternal truth, I am taught the great importance of attending well to the temper and disposition of my own mind, that I may always be in a state willingly and thankfully to confess the operation of the divine omnipotence, and thus to escape the dreadful crime of perverting and profaning divine purposes and intentions. I am resolved therefore from now on, under every state of spiritual blindness and dumbness, to apply to my saviour Jesus Christ for his omnipotent aid. I am resolved further to watch well over all the affections and thoughts of my own heart, so that I may always entertain just and worthy sentiments respecting divine agency, and never, like the Pharisees of old, impute the operation of the spirit of god to any inferior power, and especially to that infernal one, the power of Beelzebub. So may I humbly hope to experience the healing virtue of my god and saviour, in the cure of all my spiritual blindness and dumbness, and being enabled both to see and to speak, may rejoice in the discovery of the glory of His divinity, and in telling forth his praises from generation to generation, amen.

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