Some critics have accused Ellen White of plagiarizing the contents of The Desire of Ages from the writings of various authors. But, did she really? Below is an analysis of the alleged comparisons.
It has been noted by students of plagiarism that one can make a work look plagiarized when it is not by carefully using ellipses and discarding all the material that is different. What we want to do is determine whether the critics did a fair analysis, or whether their comparisons actually distorted reality. Accordingly, we have coded the text so that you, the reader, can easily come to your own conclusion. Paragraphs that are not coded means that neither the critics, nor Dr. Veltman and his team of researchers, could not, or did not, find anything worthy of note.
Material in Ellen G. White that is an exact, word-for-word match to her alleged source.
Material in Ellen G. White that is similar to her alleged source.
Words that are either an exact, or similar, match of the source, but are also an exact, or similar, match to Biblical material.
Material that is represented in either Rea's book or Dr. Veltman's study by an ellipsis.
Material dropped from the beginning or end of the paragraph of the alleged source in Rea's book.
Material clipped from the beginning or end of a sentence in Rea's book, without giving the reader any indication of such. (Either a capital letter or a period appears where it should not, hiding the fact that material is missing.)
Material that was mis-capitalized or mis-abbreviated in Rea.
Typical author's caveat: all errors are, of course, mine. If you find any errors please let me know and I'll fix them.
|W. Hanna The Life of Christ. (1863)||Ellen G. White The Desire of Ages. (1898)|
But if the forenoon of this long and busy day at Capernaum was rendered remarkable by the change of attitude which Jesus assumed towards the Pharisees, its afternoon was rendered equally if not still more remarkable by the change of method in addressing the multitude. More than half of the term allotted to his ministry in Galilee had now expired. The temper of the community towards him had been fairly tried. The result was sufficiently manifest. Here beside him was a small band of followers--ignorant yet willing to be taught; weak in faith but strong in personal attachment. There against him was a powerful and numerous band, socially, politically, religiously, the leaders of the people. Between the two lay the bulk of the common people--greatly excited by his miracles, listening with wonder and half approval to his words, siding with him rather than against him in his conflict with the Pharisees. With them, if we looked only at external indications, we should say that he was generally and highly popular. But it was popularity of a kind that Jesus had no wish to gain, as he had no purpose to which to turn it. Behind all the show of outward attachment he saw that there was but
Page 256little discernment of his true character, but little disposition to receive and honor him as the Redeemer of mankind, but little capacity to understand the more secret things of that spiritual kingdom which it was his office to establish and extend. And as he had altered his conduct towards his secret enemies by dragging out their opposition to the light and openly denouncing them, so now he alters his conduct toward his professed friends, by clothing his higher instructions to them in a new and peculiar garb. As he left the house in which the hasty mid-day meal was taken, the crowd gathered round him--increased in numbers, a keener edge put upon its curiosity by what had just occurred. Followed by this crowd, he goes down to the lake side; finds the press of the people round about him oppressive and inconvenient, sees a boat lying in close to the beach, enters it, sits downs and, separated from them by a little strip of water, addresses the multitude that lines the shore. He speaks about a sower, and how it fared with the seed he sowed: 'Some of it fell by the wayside, and some upon stony places, and some among thorns, and some upon good soil.' He speaks about a field in which good seed was sown by day but tares by night, and how both grew up, and some would have them separated; but the householder to whom the field belonged would not hear of it, but would have both grow together till the harvest. He speaks of a man casting seed into the ground, and finding that by night and by day, whether he slept or woke, was watching and tending, or doing nothing about it, that seed secretly grew up, he knew not how; he speaks of the least of seeds growing up into the tallest of herbs; of the leaven working in the three measures of meal till the whole was leavened; and he tells his hearers that the kingdom of heaven is like unto each of the things that he describes. His hearers are all greatly interested, for it is about plain, familiar things of the house, the garden, the field, that he speaks: and yet a strange expression of mingled surprise and perplexity sits upon every countenance. The disciples within the boat share these sentiments equally with the people upon the shore. Nothing seems easier than to understand these little stories of common life; but why has Jesus told them? What from his lips can they mean? What has the kingdom of heaven to do with them? Teaching by parables was a common way of instruction with the Jewish Rabbis. But it had not been in the first instance adopted by Christ; they had not as yet heard a single parable from his lips; and now he uses nothing else--parable follows parable, as if that were the only instrument of the teacher that Jesus cared to use. And besides the entire novelty of his employment of the parabolic method, there is that haze, that
Page 259thick obscurity, which covers the real meaning of the parables he utters. The disciples take the first opportunity that offers itself of speaking to him privately, and putting to him the question: "Why speakest thou to them in parables?" A question which they would have never put but for the circumstance that they had never before known him employ this kind of discourse. Now mark the answer to the question. "Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have abundance; but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not, and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive; for this people's heart is waxed gross; and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them." Matt. 13:1-15.
"Peace, Be Still"
[This chapter is based on Matt. 8:23-34;
Five parables appear to have been addressed by Jesus to the multitude from the boat, their delivery broken by the private explanation to the disciples of the parable of the Sower. Landing, and sending the multitude away, Jesus entered into the house. There the disciples again applied to him, and he declared unto them the parable of the Tares. Thereafter, the three shorter parables of the Treasure, the Pearl, and the Net were spoken to the disciples by themselves. The long, laborious day was now nearly over, and in the dwelling which served to him as a home while in Capernaum, he might have sought and found repose. Again, however, we see him by the lake-side; again, under the pressure of the multitudes. Seeking rest and seeing no hope of it for him in Capernaum, Jesus said, "Let us pass over unto the other side." That other eastern side of the Lake of Galilee offered a singular contrast to the western one. Its wild and lonely hills, thinly peopled by a race, the majority of whom were Gentiles, were seldom visited by the inhabitants of the plain of Gennesaret. Now-a-days both sides of the lake are desert; yet still there is but little intercourse between them. Few travellers venture to traverse the eastern shore; fewer venture far into the regions which lie behind, which are now occupied wholly by an Arab population. As offering to him in some one or other of the deep valleys which cleave its hills and run down into the sea, a shady and secure retreat for a day or two from the bustle and fatigue of his life in Galilee, Jesus proposes a passage across the lake. All is soon ready; and they hurriedly embark, taking Jesus in "even as he was," with no preparation for the voyage. It was, however, but a short
Page 262sail of six or eight miles. Night falls on them by the way, and with the night one of those terrible hurricanes by which a lake which lies so low, and is bounded on all sides by hills, is visited at times. The tempest smote the waters, the waves ran high and smote the little bark. She reeled and swayed, and at each lurch took in more and more water till she was nearly filled, with the next wave that rolls into her she must sink. They were practised hands that navigated this boat, who knew well the lake in all its moods,1 not open to unreasonable fear;2 but now fear comes upon them, and they are ready to give up all hope. [faulty ellipsing at this point] Where all this while is he at whose bidding they had embarked? [faulty ellipsing at this point] They had been too busy for the time with the urgent work required by the sudden squall, to think of him; the mantle of the night's thick darkness may have hidden him from their view. But now in their extremity they seek for him, and find him "in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow." Unbroken by all the noise of winds and waves without, and all the tumult of those toiling hands within, how quiet and deep must that rest of the wearied one have been! They have some difficulty in awaking him, and they do it somewhat roughly. "Master! Master!" they cry to him, "save us! We perish! Carest thou not that we perish?" With a word of rebuke for their great fear and little faith, Jesus rises, and speaking to the boisterous elements as one might speak to a boisterous child, he says to the winds and the waves, "Peace, be still!" Nature owns at once the sovereignty of the Lord. The winds cease their blowing--the waves subside--instantly there is a great calm. Those who had sought and roused the sleeping Saviour fall back into their former places, resume their former work; at the measured stroke of their oars the little vessel glides silently over the placid waters. All quiet now, where but a few minutes before all was tumult; few words are spoken during the rest of the voyage, the rowers only whispering to each other as they rowed: "What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the waves obey him?"
compared with the western side. It contained a population more heathen than Jewish, and had little communication with Galilee. Thus it offered Jesus the seclusion He sought, and He now bade His disciples accompany Him thither.
After He had dismissed the multitude, they took Him, even "as He was," into the boat, and hastily set off. But they were not to depart alone. There were other fishing boats lying near the shore, and these were quickly crowded with people who followed Jesus, eager still to see and hear Him.
The Saviour was at last relieved from the pressure of the multitude, and, overcome with weariness and hunger, He lay down in the stern of the boat, and soon fell asleep. The evening had been calm and pleasant, and quiet rested upon the lake; but suddenly darkness overspread the sky, the wind swept wildly down the mountain gorges along the eastern shore, and a fierce tempest burst upon the lake.
The sun had set, and the blackness of night settled down upon the stormy sea. The waves, lashed into fury by the howling winds, dashed fiercely over the disciples' boat, and threatened to engulf it. Those hardy fishermen had spent their lives upon the lake, and had guided their craft safely through many a storm; but now their strength and skill availed nothing. They were helpless in the grasp of the tempest, and hope failed them as they saw that their boat was filling.
Absorbed in their efforts to save themselves, they had forgotten that Jesus was on board. Now, seeing their labor vain and only death before them, they remembered at whose command they had set out to cross the sea. In Jesus was their only hope. In their helplessness and despair they cried, "Master, Master!" But the dense darkness hid Him from their sight. Their voices were drowned by the roaring of the tempest, and there was no reply. Doubt and fear assailed them. Had Jesus forsaken them? Was He who had conquered disease and demons, and even death, powerless to help His disciples now? Was He unmindful of them in their distress?
Again they call, but there is no answer except the shrieking of the angry blast. Already their boat is sinking. A moment, and apparently they will be swallowed up by the hungry waters.
Suddenly a flash of lightning pierces the darkness, and they see Jesus lying asleep, undisturbed by the tumult. In amazement and despair they exclaim, "Master, carest Thou not that we perish?" How can He rest so peacefully, while they are in danger and battling with death?
Their cry arouses Jesus. As the lightning's glare reveals Him, they see the peace of heaven in His face; they read in His glance self-forgetful, tender love, and, their hearts turning to Him, cry, "Lord, save us: we perish."
Never did a soul utter that cry unheeded. As the disciples grasp their oars to make a last effort, Jesus rises. He stands in the midst of His disciples, while the tempest rages, the waves break over them, and the lightning illuminates His countenance. He lifts His hand, so often employed in deeds of mercy, and says to the angry sea, "Peace, be still."
The storm ceases. The billows sink to rest. The clouds roll away, and the stars shine forth. The boat rests upon a quiet sea. Then turning to His disciples, Jesus asks sorrowfully, "Why are ye fearful? have ye not yet faith?" Mark 4:40, R.V.
A hush fell upon the disciples. Even Peter did not attempt to express the awe that filled his heart. The boats that had set out to accompany Jesus had been in the same peril with that of the disciples. Terror and despair had seized their occupants; but the command of Jesus brought quiet to the scene of tumult. The fury of the storm had driven the boats into close proximity, and all on board beheld the miracle. In the calm that followed, fear was forgotten. The people whispered among themselves, "What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?"
Jesus lying this moment under the weakness of exhausted strength, rising the next in all the might of manifested omnipotence: in close proximity, in quick succession, the humanity and the divinity that were in him exhibited themselves. Though suddenly roused to see himself in a position quite new to him, and evidently of great peril, Jesus had no fear. His first thought is not of the danger, his first word is not to the tempest, his first care is not for the safety of the body, it is for the state of the spirit of those who wake him from his slumbers; nor is it until he has rebuked their fears that he removes
Page 263the cause, but then he does so, and does it effectually, by the word of his power. And so long as the life we are living shall be thought and spoken of as a voyage, so long shall this night scene on the lake of Galilee supply the imagery by which many a passage in the history of the church, and many in the history of the individual believer, shall be illustrated. Sleeping or waking, let Christ be in the vessel and it is safe. The tempest may come, our faith be small, our fear be great, but still if in our fear we have so much faith as to cry to him to save us, still in the hour of our greatest need will he arise to our help, and though he may have to blame us for not cherishing a livelier trust and making an earlier application, he will not suffer the winds or the waves to overwhelm us.
When Jesus was awakened to meet the storm, He was in perfect peace. There was no trace of fear in word or look, for no fear was in His heart. But He rested not in the possession of almighty power. It was not as the "Master of earth and sea and sky" that He reposed in quiet. That power He had laid down, and He says, "I can of Mine own self do nothing." John 5:30. He trusted in the Father's might. It was in faith--faith in God's love and care--that Jesus rested, and the power of that word which stilled the storm was the power of God.
As Jesus rested by faith in the Father's care, so we are to rest in the care of our Saviour. If the disciples had trusted in Him, they would have been kept in peace. Their fear in the time of danger revealed their unbelief. In their efforts to save themselves, they forgot Jesus; and it was only when, in despair of self-dependence, they turned to Him that He could give them help.
How often the disciples' experience is ours! When the tempests of temptation gather, and the fierce lightnings flash, and the waves sweep over us, we battle with the storm alone, forgetting that there is One who can help us. We trust to our own strength till our hope is lost, and we are ready to perish. Then we remember Jesus, and if we call upon Him to save us, we shall not cry in vain. Though He sorrowfully reproves our unbelief and self-confidence, He never fails to give us the help we need. Whether on the land or on the sea, if we have the Saviour in our hearts, there is no need of fear. Living faith in the Redeemer will smooth the sea of life, and will deliver us from danger in the way that He knows to be best.
There is another spiritual lesson in this miracle of the stilling of the tempest. Every man's experience testifies to the truth of the words of Scripture, "The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest. . . . There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked." Isa. 57:20, 21. Sin has destroyed our peace. While self is unsubdued, we can find no rest. The masterful passions of the heart no human power can control. We are as helpless here as were the disciples to quiet the raging storm. But He who spoke peace to the billows of Galilee has spoken the word of peace for every soul. However fierce the tempest, those who turn to Jesus with the cry, "Lord, save us," will find deliverance. His grace, that reconciles the soul to God, quiets the strife of human passion, and in His love the heart is at rest. "He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet;
so He bringeth them unto their desired haven." Ps. 107:29, 30. "Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." "The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever." Rom. 5:1; Isa. 32:17.
In the early morning the Saviour and His companions came to shore, and the light of the rising sun touched sea and land as with the benediction of peace. But no sooner had they stepped upon the beach than their eyes were greeted by a sight more terrible than the fury of the tempest. From some hiding place among the tombs, two madmen rushed upon them as if to tear them in pieces. Hanging about these men were parts of chains which they had broken in escaping from confinement. Their flesh was torn and bleeding where they had cut themselves with sharp stones. Their eyes glared out from their long and matted hair, the very likeness of humanity seemed to have been blotted out by the demons that possessed them, and they looked more like wild beasts than like men.
The disciples and their companions fled in terror; but presently they noticed that Jesus was not with them, and they turned to look for Him. He was standing where they had left Him. He who had stilled the tempest, who had before met Satan and conquered him, did not flee before these demons. When the men, gnashing their teeth, and foaming at the mouth, approached Him, Jesus raised that hand which had beckoned the waves to rest, and the men could come no nearer. They stood raging but helpless before Him.
With authority He bade the unclean spirits come out of them. His words penetrated the darkened minds of the unfortunate men. They
The storm is past, the night is over, the morning dawns, the opposite coast of the Gadarenes is reached. Here, then, in these lonely places there will be some rest for Jesus, some secure repose? Not yet, not instantly. Soon as he lands, immediately, from some neighboring place of graves there comes forth a wild and frenzied man, a man possessed by many devils; for a long time so possessed, exceeding fierce so that no man could tame him. They had bound him with fetters and with chains; the fetters he had plucked asunder, the chains had been broken by him. Flying from the haunts of men, flinging off all his garments, the naked, howling maniac lies day and night among the tombs, crying and cutting himself with stones; so fiercely assaulting all who approached him that no man might pass by that way. From his lair among the graves the devil-haunted madman rushes upon Jesus, His neighbors had all fled terrified before him. This stranger who has just landed flies not, but tranquilly contemplates his approach. He who had so lately brought the great calm down into the bosom of the troubled lake, is about now to infuse a greater calm into this troubled spirit. The voice that an hour or two before had said to the winds and the waves. "Peace, be still," has already spoken, while yet the poor demoniac is afar off, to the possessing devil that is within, and said, "Come out of him, thou unclean spirit." If underneath that dark and terrible tyranny of the indwelling demons there still survived within the man some spark of his native independence, some glimmering consciousness of what he once had been and might be again, were but those usurpers of the spirit quieted; if something of the old man still were there, crouching, groaning, travailing beneath the intolerable pressure that drove him into madness--what a new and strange sensation must have entered this region of his consciousness when the devils
Page 264which had been rioting within him, claiming and using him as all their own, heard that word of Jesus, and in their terror began to cry out, as in the presence of one their acknowledged Superior and Lord What a new light of hope must have come into that wild and haggard eye as it gazed upon that mysterious being, hailed by the devils as the Son of the Most High God! His relief, indeed, was not immediate; the devils did not at once depart. There was a short and singular colloquy between Christ and them. They beseech, they adjure him not to torment them before the time, not to send them down at once into the abyss, or if he were determined to give liberty to their human captive, then not to drive them from the neighborhood, which, perhaps, was their only earthly allotted haunt, but to suffer them to enter into a neighboring herd of swine. The permission was given. They entered into the swine--how we know not, operating upon them how and with what intent we know not. All we have before us is the fact, that the whole herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters. What became of the devils then? As the dumb beasts went down into the waters, did they go down into a darker, deeper depth, to be kept there in chains and darkness to the judgment of the great day? It is not said that the devils purposely destroyed the swine. It no doubt was their entrance and the frenzy into which that entrance drove the animals, that made them plunge headlong into the lake. But who shall tell us whether in their reckless and intense love of mischief the foul spirits did not here outwit themselves, creating an impulse that they could not curb, destroying the new habitation they had chosen, and by their own inconsistent and suicidal acts bringing down upon themselves the very fate from which they had prayed to be delivered? We know far too little of the world of spirits to affirm or to deny here; far too little for us either mockingly to reject the whole as an idle tale, or presumingly to speculate as if the mysteries of the great kingdom of darkness stood revealed. It is true, indeed, that whatever was the design or anticipation of the devils in entering into the swine, the result must have been known to Jesus. Knowing then, beforehand, how great the destruction here of property and animal life would be, why was the permission given? We shall answer that question when any man will tell us how many swine one human spirit is worth--why devils were permitted to enter anywhere or do any mischief upon this earth--why such large and successive losses of human and bestial life are ever suffered, the agencies producing which are as much under the control of the Creator as these devils were under that of Christ. To take up the one single
Page 265instance in which you can connect the loss of life, not directly with the personal agency but evidently with the permission of the Saviour, and to take exception to that, while the mystery of the large sufferance of sin and misery in this world lies spread out everywhere before and around us, is it not unreasonable and unfair? We do not deny that there is a difficulty here. We are not offering any explanation of this difficulty that we consider to be satisfactory. We are only pleading, first, that in such ignorance as ours is, and with a thousand times greater difficulties everywhere besetting our faith in God, this single difficulty should throw no impediment in the way of our faith in Jesus Christ.
The keepers of the herd, who had waited to see the issue, went and told in the adjoining village and in the country round about all that had happened. At the tidings the whole population of the neighborhood came out to meet Jesus. They found him, with the man who had been possessed with devils, in the manner they all knew so well, sitting at his feet--already clothed, in his right mind, all traces of the possession, save the marks of the bonds and of the fetters, gone. They were alarmed, annoyed, offended at what had happened. There was a mystery about the man, who had such power over the world of spirits, and used it in such a way, that repelled rather than attracted them. They might have thought and felt differently had they looked aright at their poor afflicted brother, upon whom such a happy change had been wrought. But they thought more of the swine that had perished than of the man that had been saved; and they besought Jesus to depart out of their coasts. He did not need to have the entreaty addressed to him a second time; he complied at once--prepared immediately to re-embark, and we do not read that he ever returned to that region again-they never had another opportunity of seeing and hearing him. Nor is it the habit of Jesus to press his presence upon the unwilling. Still he has many ways of coming into our coasts, and still have we many ways of intimating to him our unwillingness that he should abide there. He knows how to interpret the inward turning away of our thoughts and heart from him--he knows when the unspoken language of any human spirit to him is--Depart; and if he went away so readily when asked on earth, who shall assure us that he may not as readily take us at our word, and when we wish it, go--go it may be, never to return?
realized dimly that One was near who could save them from the tormenting demons. They fell at the Saviour's feet to worship Him; but when their lips were opened to entreat His mercy, the demons spoke through them, crying vehemently, "What have I to do with Thee, Jesus, Thou Son of God most high? I beseech Thee, torment me not."
Jesus asked, "What is thy name?" And the answer was, "My name is Legion: for we are many." Using the afflicted men as mediums of communication, they besought Jesus not to send them out of the country. Upon a mountainside not far distant a great herd of swine was feeding. Into these the demons asked to be allowed to enter, and Jesus suffered them. Immediately a panic seized the herd. They rushed madly down the cliff, and, unable to check themselves upon the shore, plunged into the lake, and perished.
Meanwhile a marvelous change had come over the demoniacs. Light had shone into their minds. Their eyes beamed with intelligence. The countenances, so long deformed into the image of Satan, became suddenly mild, the bloodstained hands were quiet, and with glad voices the men praised God for their deliverance.
From the cliff the keepers of the swine had seen all that had occurred, and they hurried away to publish the news to their employers and to all the people. In fear and amazement the whole population flocked to meet Jesus. The two demoniacs had been the terror of the country. No one had been safe to pass the place where they were; for they would rush upon every traveler with the fury of demons. Now these men were clothed and in their right mind, sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening to His words, and glorifying the name of Him who had made them whole. But the people who beheld this wonderful scene did not rejoice. The loss of the swine seemed to them of greater moment than the deliverance of these captives of Satan.
It was in mercy to the owners of the swine that this loss had been permitted to come upon them. They were absorbed in earthly things, and cared not for the great interests of spiritual life. Jesus desired to break the spell of selfish indifference, that they might accept His grace.
But regret and indignation for their temporal loss blinded their eyes to the Saviour's mercy.
The manifestation of supernatural power aroused the superstitions of the people, and excited their fears. Further calamities might follow from having this Stranger among them. They apprehended financial ruin, and determined to be freed from His presence. Those who had crossed the lake with Jesus told of all that had happened on the preceding night, of their peril in the tempest, and how the wind and the sea had been stilled. But their words were without effect. In terror the people thronged about Jesus, beseeching Him to depart from them, and He complied, taking ship at once for the opposite shore.
The people of Gergesa had before them the living evidence of Christ's power and mercy. They saw the men who had been restored to reason; but they were so fearful of endangering their earthly interests that He who had vanquished the prince of darkness before their eyes was treated as an intruder, and the Gift of heaven was turned from their doors. We have not the opportunity of turning from the person of Christ as had the Gergesenes; but still there are many who refuse to obey His word, because obedience would involve the sacrifice of some worldly interest. Lest His presence shall cause them pecuniary loss, many reject His grace, and drive His Spirit from them.
But far different was the feeling of the restored demoniacs. They desired the company of their deliverer. In His presence they felt secure from the demons that had tormented their lives and wasted their manhood. As Jesus was about to enter the boat, they kept close to His side, knelt at His feet, and begged Him to keep them near Him, where they might ever listen to His words. But Jesus bade them go home and tell what great things the Lord had done for them.
Here was a work for them to do,--to go to a heathen home, and tell of the blessing they had received from Jesus. It was hard for them to be separated from the Saviour. Great difficulties were sure to beset them in association with their heathen countrymen. And their long isolation from society seemed to have disqualified them for the work He had indicated. But as soon as Jesus pointed out their duty they were ready to obey. Not only did they tell their own households and neighbors about Jesus, but they went throughout Decapolis, everywhere declaring His power to save, and describing how He had freed them from the demons. In doing this work they could receive a greater
blessing than if, merely for benefit to themselves, they had remained in His presence. It is in working to spread the good news of salvation that we are brought near to the Saviour.
The two restored demoniacs were the first missionaries whom Christ sent to preach the gospel in the region of Decapolis. For a few moments only these men had been privileged to hear the teachings of Christ. Not one sermon from His lips had ever fallen upon their ears. They could not instruct the people as the disciples who had been daily with Christ were able to do. But they bore in their own persons the evidence that Jesus was the Messiah. They could tell what they knew; what they themselves had seen, and heard, and felt of the power of Christ. This is what everyone can do whose heart has been touched by the grace of God. John, the beloved disciple, wrote: "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; . . . that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you." 1 John 1:1-3. As witnesses for Christ, we are to tell what we know, what we ourselves have seen and heard and felt. If we have been following Jesus step by step, we shall have something right to the point to tell concerning the way in which He has led us. We can tell how we have tested His promise, and found the promise true. We can bear witness to what we have known of the grace of Christ. This is the witness for which our Lord calls, and for want of which the world is perishing.
Though the people of Gergesa had not received Jesus, He did not leave them to the darkness they had chosen. When they bade Him depart from them, they had not heard His words. They were ignorant of that which they were rejecting. Therefore He again sent the light to them, and by those to whom they would not refuse to listen.
In causing the destruction of the swine, it was Satan's purpose to turn the people away from the Saviour, and prevent the preaching of the gospel in that region. But this very occurrence roused the whole country as nothing else could have done, and directed attention to Christ. Though the Saviour Himself departed, the men whom He had healed remained as witnesses to His power. Those who had been mediums of the prince of darkness became channels of light, messengers of the Son of God. Men marveled as they listened to the wondrous news. A door was opened to the gospel throughout that region. When Jesus returned to Decapolis, the people flocked about Him, and for three
days, not merely the inhabitants of one town, but thousands from all the surrounding region, heard the message of salvation. Even the power of demons is under the control of our Saviour, and the working of evil is overruled for good.
The encounter with the demoniacs of Gergesa had a lesson for the disciples. It showed the depths of degradation to which Satan is seeking to drag the whole human race, and the mission of Christ to set men free from his power. Those wretched beings, dwelling in the place of graves, possessed by demons, in bondage to uncontrolled passions and loathsome lusts, represent what humanity would become if given up to satanic jurisdiction. Satan's influence is constantly exerted upon men to distract the senses, control the mind for evil, and incite to violence and crime. He weakens the body, darkens the intellect, and debases the soul. Whenever men reject the Saviour's invitation, they are yielding themselves to Satan. Multitudes in every department in life, in the home, in business, and even in the church, are doing this today. It is because of this that violence and crime have overspread the earth, and moral darkness, like the pall of death, enshrouds the habitations of men. Through his specious temptations Satan leads men to worse and worse evils, till utter depravity and ruin are the result. The only safeguard against his power is found in the presence of Jesus. Before men and angels Satan has been revealed as man's enemy and destroyer; Christ, as man's friend and deliverer. His Spirit will develop in man all that will ennoble the character and dignify the nature. It will build man up for the glory of God in body and soul and spirit. "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Tim. 1:7. He has called us "to the obtaining of the glory"--character--"of our Lord Jesus Christ;" has called us to be "conformed to the image of His Son." 2 Thess. 2:14; Rom. 8:29.
And souls that have been degraded into instruments of Satan are still through the power of Christ transformed into messengers of righteousness, and sent forth by the Son of God to tell what "great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee."
1 In his book Rea has a semi-colon here -- this could be because my "edition" was published by the American Tract Society (year unknown).
2 Too bad Rea ellipsed the semi-colon which Ellen G. White also has before the words "but now".
Note that by including a few more lines than are present in Rea's book I pick up a couple more words (unfortunately, they don't help his case all that greatly).
which it was, page 333; I found this phrase
across the lake., page 333; I found this phrase
the pressure of the multitude, page 334; I found this phrase
hid Him from their, page 334
says to the, page 335; I found this phrase
are ready to, page 336; I found this phrase
Him to save us,, page 336; I found this phrase
not to send them, page 338; I found this phrase
herd of swine, page 338; I found this phrase
the keepers of the, page 338; I found this phrase
the whole population, page 338; I found this phrase
of the swine that, page 338; I found this phrase
Note that in looking at the longest phrases we did not include "parable of the" since it occurs repeatedly in both texts.