Matthew Poole Commentary - Matthew 12:26 - 12:26

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Matthew Poole Commentary - Matthew 12:26 - 12:26


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Ver. 25,26. This is our Lord’s first argument. Mark relates it, Mar_3:23-26, with little alteration in the phrase; so doth Luke, Luk_11:17,18. The sum of the argument is, The devil is so wise, that he will look to the upholding of his own kingdom in the world. This will require an agreement of the devils amongst themselves, for if they be divided they cannot uphold their kingdom, nor stand, any more than a house, city, or kingdom in the world so divided can stand; therefore the prince of devils will not forcibly cast out the inferior devils. There is but one imaginable objection to this: Do we not see the contrary to this in people’s going to cunning men for help against those that are bewitched, to get help for them? And is there no truth in those many stories we have of persons that have found help against the devil for some that have traded with the devil? I answer, It is one thing for the devils to play one with another, another thing for them to cast out one another. One devil may yield and give place to another, to gain a greater advantage for the whole society, but one never quarrels with another. The first may be for the enlarging of Satan’s kingdom. This must be to destroy it. When a poor wretched creature goeth to one who dealeth with the devil for help for one who is vexed with some effect of the devil, one devil here doth but yield and give place to another by compact, voluntarily, and for the devil’s greater advantage; for it is more advantage to the devil (who seeks nothing so much as a divine homage) to gain the faith of one soul, than to exercise a power to afflict many bodies. In such cases as these, the devil, for the abatement of a little bodily pain, gains a power over the soul of him or her who cometh to implore his help, and exerciseth a faith in him. This is an establishing, promoting, and enlarging his kingdom. But Christ forced the devils out of persons; they did not yield voluntarily, for a greater advantage, but forcibly, for no advantage. He did not pray the devils to come out, nor make use of any of the devil’s sacraments, upon the use of which, by some original compact, he was obliged to come out upon a soul’s surrender of itself by faith to him; but they came out unwillingly, upon the authoritative words of Christ, without the use of any magical rites and ceremonies testifying the least homage done to him.