Mark 16:18 Commentary - Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments
18. They shall take up serpents All the miracles here specified, and more, were doubtless plentifully performed in the early Christian Church; but the scantiness of the historical record furnishes no narratives of some of them. Of the present miracle of taking up serpents but a single instance remains on record, namely, in Act 28:1-6.
Drink any deadly thing There is a legend that this miracle occurred to the apostle John, but it is not sufficiently authentic. Hands on the sick… recover Instances are alluded to in Act 3:6; Act 5:15, and Jas 5:14.
As bodily ills are the shadow of the ills of the soul, so these miracles of external mercy are images of the spiritual and moral miracles that Christianity ever works. In all ages the regenerating Spirit casts out devilish passions from men’s souls. The young convert to the Gospel speaks with a new language. The powerful grace of God enables the faithful Christian to handle unharmed the evil things of this life, and perform its secular business, which bite other men and kill them. The cup of temptation and trial which poisons the soul of the unregenerate is drained by the faithful truster in Christ unhurt. And from all the ailments of which men sicken and die, the power of the resurrection shall completely heal them.
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Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments
Daniel D. Whedon (1808-1885) was a prominent university professor, theologian, and author. He served as Professor of Ancient Languages at Wesleyan University in Connecticut; as Professor of Rhetoric at the University of Michigan; and as editor of the Methodist Quarterly Review from 1856 to1884. He authored numerous books including Commentary on the New Testament (New York: Carlton & Porter, 1860); Commentary on the Old Testament (New York: Nelson & Phillips, 1873); What is Arminianism? (Toronto: W. Briggs, 1879); and Essays, Reviews, and Discourses (New York: Phillips & Hunt, 1887).