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Commentary from 

Rivingtons, London, 1884
The dangerous sympathy which exists between human nature and evil is set forth on this Sunday with fearful intensity of expression.  Our Lord had cast out another of those evil spirits which were permitted in His time to exercise their utmost power over men, that His glory might be shown in overcoming them; and some of those who witnessed the occurence, finding no other way of explaining it, attributed it to "Beelzebub, the prince of the devils."  This foolish and wicked way of accounting for the marvel our Lord met by two arguments.  [1] Satan would not act against himself; [2] If Satan cast out Satan, then "the children" of the Jews, i.e. the Apostles, to whom "the very devils were subject" through Christ's name, could only have cast them out by the same evil power.  In the parallel passage, Matt. 11:31, He also goes on to show how this wicked accusation was in danger of becoming the unpardonable sin; the Jews, in reality, calling the saving work of the Holy Spirit a "soul-destroying" work, that of the Destroyer of souls.  Then the Lord declared that it is He alone Who can cast out Satan; He being stronger than the strong Evil One.  From His words we may deduce the truth that all driving out of the Evil One is the work of Christ, as all sin is ultimately the work of the Enemy.  He is the Stronger than the strong Who drives evil from our nature, by purifying that nature in His own holy and immaculate Person; from each individual by the work of the same Person through the grace given in sacraments: and His power extends over every form of Satan's power, physical or mental infirmity, or spiritual disease.  This personal power of Christ is illustrated by the words of St. Paul, "O wretched man that I am," through this power of Satan over me, "Who shall deliver me?"..."I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord." 

After this comes that awful truth respecting repossession which illustrates so fearfully the abiding sympathy of our nature with evil, and the intensification of Satan's power through every unresisted submission to the influence of it.  This was spoken first of the generation of Jews among whom our Lord had come, and has its application to later times in the falling away of churches into heresy and worldliness.  Satan was driven out from every position which he had taken up as soon as Christ appeared for the purpose of opposing him.  But the sympathies of the nation were towards evil, and after their rejection of Christ and His Apostles their spiritual condition became far worse than it was even in our Lord's time when He called them a "generation of vipers."  The vanquished strong man returned, and the horrors of sin among the Jews between our Lord's Ascension and the final destruction of Jerusalem, --the hardness of heart, the blindness, the cruelty, --were never exceeded.  It is probable that the sway of Mohametanism in the East and in India is a return of the "Strong man armed," with "seven others more wicked than himself," to nations among whom the Church had been received as a cleansing and garnishing power for a time, but was afterwards rejected when the new unbelief aroused old sympathies with evil. 

The application of the same truth to individuals is obvious.  The sense of Satan's power was so strong in the early Church as to lead it to make exorcism an ivariable preliminary of baptism.  Every act of penitence is a kind of exorcism, and every Absolution is the conquest of Satan by Christ.  But unless the swept and garnished soul is preoccupied with good, evil will return to it.  In all Lenten discipline, therefore, the occupation of the soul by the sevenfold gifts of the Spirit is the true bar to the entrance of the seven evil spirits, and works of mercy will guard against the dangers and deadly sins to which inactive devotion makes it liable.