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the Jews? Little did the woman know the excellency of the person who asked her so
After two days stay in the city, our Lord proceeded to Cana, where he had changed
morsels. This, however, our Lord despised, as ha-
as well as the Jews might not be furnished with right
the water into wine, and where the Galileans, who at the passover had seen the mira- from the be: cles which he did at Jerusalem, received him with great kindness and respect. Hither É. gue it was that an officer belonging to the court came, and addressed himself to him with Matth. ix. 8. great humility and reverence, desiring him that he would come and cure his son, who "...# was just at the point of death; and when, with more importunity, he renewed his request, and our Lord, to shew the excellency of his power, that could cure in absence as well as presence, dismissed him with this assurance, “that his son was restored to health;” the believing father, joyfully returning home, was by the way congratulated with the welcome news of his son's recovery; and enquiring of his servants the hour when the child began to amend, by the account which they gave him, he perceived, that it was at the very instant when Jesus had declared to him, “thy son is well;” whereupon both he and his whole family, being convinced of our Saviour's divinity, were converted to the Christian faith. . z The imprisonment of John had put an end to his ministry; and therefore, to supply that loss, our Saviour himself began to preach the sum and substance of the gospel, faith, hope, and repentance, in the province of Galilee; and this he did in such an extraordinary manner, that he was admired by all, and his fame spread through the whole country. Coming however to Nazareth, the place of his education, he went into the # synagogue on the Sabbath-day; and when he #2 stood up, and read (as the custom for lay-men was at that time) a passage in the prophet Isaiah, beginning with these words, (a) “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor,” &c. which he applied to himself (but in general terms), and spake thereupon with so much gracefulness, that the eyes of the whole congregation were turned upon him, admiring his discourse; many, who had known him in the disadvantages of his education, began to have abject thoughts of him, upon the meanness of his extract, as if he had been no more than a carpenter's son; so that his taking an occasion to upbraid them with their ingratitude and insensibility, so far provoked the whole assembly, that they hurried him out of the city, and brought him to the brow of the hill on which it was built, with a design to have f* cast him down from thence, and de
+ That the synagogue worship was at this time loaded with rites and ceremonies of human invention, that the priests were very defective in the discharge of their functions, and the manners of those who met there, very much corrupted, no one can doubt who is at all acquainted with the Scriptures and the Jew. ish history; and yet we find that our Saviour and his disciples (as members of the church of Nazareth) went constantly every Sabbath day to these synagogues, preserving thereby “the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace,” and not upon slight pretences “forsaking the assembling of themselves together, as the manner of some is,” Heb. x. 25. Whitby's Annotations.
+* What the nature and design of synagogues were, and at what time, and upon what occasion, they were at first erected by the Jews, we have, in a particular dissertation, already discussed, and need only take notice, that though every synagogue had a settled reader, to whom was allowed an annual stipend, yet when any grave and learned person came in (especially if he was a stranger), it was customary to make him the compliment of reading the portion of Scripture appointed for the day, Acts xiii. 15, which he always did in a standing posture. For, “as the law was given with reverence,” say the Jews, “ so it
is to be handled with reverence;” and when he had
reading the law, people were confined to the lesson of
the day, but the Rabbins have observed, that, in
A. M. 4034, stroyed him, had not he, by a miraculous power, t withdrawn himself from the fury of
these wretched people, and left their city.
This barbarous treatment of the Nazarenes made our Saviour remove from them, and Vulg. Ær. 38 settle his habitation in Capernaum, which was the metropolis of Galilee, and by reason
of the lake +2 which was near it, a place highly convenient for his designs.
not long been here before great multitudes flocked to him ; and as he was walking one day by the side of the lake, with a crowd of people pressing upon him, he saw two fishing vessels ||, one belonging to Peter and Andrew, and the other to James and John, (who were all partners and companions in that business) and stepping into Peter's ship, he desired him to put a little from the shore, that from thence he might preach to the
Peter and his companions had been hard at work all night, but without any manner of success ; and therefore when sermon was ended, and our Saviour ordered Peter to launch out farther and to let down his nets for a draught, he modestly told him of their unsuccessful toiling all night, but nevertheless, in obedience to him, he was willing : Nor had he cause to repent ; for upon letting down the nets, they inclosed such a multitude of fishes that their tackle began to break, so that they were forced to call to their partners in the other ship to come to their assistance, because the draught was such from the bethat it loaded both the vessels so very deep that they were in some danger of sinking ... *
formality of justice. But what made the Nazarenes so exceeding outrageous against our Saviour was, his declaring them unworthy of the miracles he had done at Capernaum, his equalizing himself to some of the greatest of the ancient prophets, and, by the instances of the Sidonian woman, and Naaman the Syrian, plainly intimating, that his gospel should chiefly be received by the Gentiles. Calmet's Commentary, and Whitby's Annotations. + How he got out of their hands, when they had laid hold of him, the Scripture does not tell us ; nor is it our concern to be curious to enquire. We know very well, that it was an easy thing for him, who was God as well as man, to quit himself of any mortal enemies: But how he did it, whether it was by blinding them for the present, or making himself invisible, or merely by allaying their rage, and changing their wills, it is impossible to determine. Which way soever he did it, it was certainly something miraculous, and therefore deprived the Nazarenes of the liberty of complaining that he had done no miracles among them. Pool's Annotations, and Calmet's Comment. +*This lake, which, according to Josephus, is forty furlongs in breadth, and in length an hundred, was, in the times of the Old Testament, called the “Sea of Chinnereth,” Numb. xxxiv. 11. ; but the writers of the New have given it three different appellations. For, as it is called the “Sea of Galilee” from the province of Galilee in general, so it is called the “Sea of Tiberias,” from a town of that name standing on its western shore, and the “Lake of Gennesareth,” from that particular tract of Galilee which bounded it a great way on the western side. The lake lies upon a gravel, which makes its water both of a good colour and taste. It is softer than either fountain or river water, and withal so very cold, that it will not grow warm though set in the sun in the hottest season of the year. [This indeed is undoubtedly a fiction; but the lake has many attractions, for] the river Jordan runs through the midst of it, which stocks it with a great variety of fish, of a peculiar
taste and shape, not to be equalled in any other place. In short, it was a common saying among the Jews, that “God loved the Sea of Galilee more than any other sea;” which so far holds good, that this sea, above all others, was honoured with the Divine presence of our Blessed Saviour, while he dwelt at Capernaum, very frequently, and even once after he was arisen from the dead. Wells's Geography of the New Testament.
| St Matthew and St Mark, in their relations of this transaction, are pretty uniform, but St Luke differs from them so widely, that interpreters have been at some pains to reconcile them. For, whereas the two former tell us, that these fishermen were “casting a net into the sea,” St Luke informs us, that “ they were gone out of their ships, and had washed their nets,” besides some other variation in the manner of the call of the four apostles. But not to enter into a minute examination of particulars, we ought to consider, that some allowances are reasonable, and necessary to be made for the variation of circumstances in one historian, who makes it his business to recount matters distinctly, and at large; and in another, whose intention it is only to declare facts in general, without entering into the series and order of each action. Now, this is the case of the two former evangelists: They designed no more than a summary account of these four apostles' call, and their compliance with it; and therefore they contented themselves with setting down apart, so much, first, as relates to Andrew and Peter, and afterwards, what related to James and John. But St Luke, who purposes to shew the manner and whole process of the call, records the miracle at large, and interweaves several remarkable passages, which were not needful to be mentioned in the brief account of St Matthew and St Mark, but highly conducive to St Luke's purpose of undertaking to describe the miraculous draught of fishes, (Luke v. 10.) which, upon our Lord's command to make a fresh experiment, was taken, Stanhope on the Epistles and Gospels, vol. iii.
Gospels t before they got to shore. ..". 8. Amazed at this marvellous sight, and dreading the visible appearance of so great and *.*, *
so Divine a power just by him, Peter threw himself down at our Saviour's feet, desiring = him to t depart from him, because he was a person no ways worthy of his presence. But our Saviour bid him be of good comfort, and, from the present incident, took occasion to inform him that he had a nobler work and employment for him, even the #2 gaining of mens souls to salvation, if he would adjoin himself to him ; and having given the like invitation to the other three, Andrew, James, and John, they all obeyed his
call, and leaving their vessels, nets, relations, and employment, #3 became, ever after,
his constant and inseparable disciples.
After the choice of these four disciples, our Saviour returned with them into the city; and on the next Sabbath-day went into the chief synagogue, and there preached to the people, with so much force and authority, and in a manner so widely different from
their usual teachers the scribes f*, that all
+ We have several instances, both in the Old and New Testament, of persons struck with dreadful ap: prehensions at the presence of the Divine Majesty, or even of some angel, or a prophet delivering a message from him. And therefore Grotius supposes, that Peter’s case was much the same with that of the widow of Sarepta, when she complained to Elijah, “What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God; art thou come unto me to call my sins to remembrance 2" 1 Kings xvii. 18. But others more justly think, that Peter's words are expressive, rather of his high senti. ments of our Lord, and the consciousness of his own unworthiness to be found in such a person's company, and that therefore, they do not a little resemble that glorious declaration of the centurion in the gospel, “Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof, but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed,” Matthew viii. 8. Calmet's Commentary, and Pool's Annotations.
+* The words in our translation are, “From henceforth thou shalt catch men,” but in the Greek or roo vo, Arteszews on 3-year, there is something very remarkable. For it does not say, that Peter should catch men, as people generally do wild beasts or fishes, in order to kill them, and eat them ; but that he should take them alive, as such fish and wild creatures are taken that are designed to be put in fish ponds or in parks ; and therefore the sense of the word is, “Thou shalt be a fisher of men,” but such a fisher as shall preserve them alive: as shall retrieve them, in short, from error, and ignorance, and death; and conduct them to truth, and knowledge, and eternal life. Ham. mond's Paraphrase, and Calmet's Commentary.
+3 Towards the conclusion of the first chapter of St John's Gospel, we meet with a call of some five of our Lord's disciples, about a year prior to this; but, by the account of the other evangelists, it appears that they did not, at this time, become our Saviour’s constant attendants, because it is presumable, that though he took this opportunity to make himself known to them, yet he had not as yet any immediate occasion for them, and therefore remitted them to their respective trades.
were astonished at him ; and to increase
Only Philip is supposed to have retained to him from the very first, because he seems to have called him in a formal manner, as he did not, at that time, the rest, John i. 43. and because we find no farther interview between him and Philip, upon this score, as there was between him and three, at least, of the rest, Luke v. 10, 11. These three disciples therefore, viz. Andrew, Peter, and John, were twice called ; but the former calling was rather a warning to hold themselves in readiness for it, than an actual engaging them in his service; but now in Philip, we meet with no other call than what he had at first, and therefore, though the fathers and some ancient writers have given the honour to St Andrew of being the first disciple : yet that prerogative is evidently St Philip's. For though Andrew and Peter were the first that came and conversed with our Lord, yet we find them returning to their trades again, and not ordained to their discipleship till after the time that the Baptist was cast into prison. Beausobre's Annotations, and Calmet's Commentary, and Howell's History, book ii. in the Notes.
+* There are several opinions wherein the excellency of Christ's preaching above that of the Jewish doctors did consist. Some think that his teaching was not so much in the manner of an instructor as a legislator, and one who, in his own name, had power to propound the terms of life and death. But though this, in relation to Christ's Divinity, be certainly true, yet it is not so agreeable either to his prophetic office or his frequent declarations, “that the doctrine which he taught was not his own, but his who sent him ; and that he spake not of himself, but as his Father had commanded him,” John Wii. 16. and xi. 51. Others imagine, that the excellency of Christ's preaching consisted in the miracles wherewith he confirmed his doctrine; for so the evangelist represents the matter: “ They all marvelled, saying, What new doctrine is this? For with authority he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they obey him,” Mark i. 27. But because another evangelist tells us that it was his doctrine, without his miracles, that astonished the people, Matth. vii. 29, others are of opinion that his
A. M. 4034, their admiration, one in the congregation, whose body was possessed with an unclean spirit #, cried out in an hideous manner, “Let us alone, what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? Art thou come to destroy us? fo I know thee who thou art;
the Holy One of God.”
But Jesus, who wanted the testimony of no such confessors,
commanded his silence and departure out of the poor man's body; which immediately
excellency lay in the graceful and lively manner of his delivery, not like the teachers of the Jews, who read their lectures of the law so coldly, so perfunctorily, as never to affect the hearts of their hearers; and that, in short, he spake as a prophet who had a full commission from God to deliver his message to them; not as the Scribes, who pretended only to deliver the traditions of their forefathers. Whitby's and Pool's Annotations. + Those who are minded to depreciate our Saviour's miracles, will need persuade us, that the Jews, having a notion that the diseases whose symptoms they could not account for, were inflicted by devils, whom God might employ to chastise mankind, did therefore give the name of evil spirits to several distempers which proceeded merely from natural causes; that of these distempers, such as had any thing loathsome or nauseous attending them, they generally called by the name of an unclean spirit; and that because sepulchres, of all other places, were reputed the most polluted, therefore, whenever any crazy or melancholic people took it in their heads to frequent such places, that they were always said to be possessed with such spirits. See Beausobre's Annotations in Matth. iv. 24. and x. 1. But how groundless this whole hypothesis is, we shall take occasion to shew at large in our answer to the objections belonging to this chapter. +* It may justly be made a question, whether the devil who possessed this man did actually know our Saviour to be the Son of God, as he pretended. There are two evangelists who relate this miracle ; and in the conclusion of it, both tell us that our Saviour “suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him to be Christ,” Mark i. 34. Luke iv, 41. But notwithstanding this, some interpreters do not scruple to affirm the contrary, viz. that the devil had no perfect perception of our Lord’s Divinity until his resurrection from the dead. The state of humi. liation which he chose, the obscurity which he lived in, and the persecutions which he suffered, without ever employing his power to redress them; the care which he took to conceal his most renowned actions, and to refer the glory of them all to God alone, deceived the devil and kept him in suspence. For had he known Jesus, say they, he would never have put
it into the heart of Judas to betray, or of the Jews to crucify him, since this was the proper way to accomplish man's redemption. But the answer to this is obvious, That though the devil did know Jesus to be the Messiah, yet he did not know the mystery of man's redemption. When he first essayed our Lord in his temptations, he spake indeed in a different manner, “If thou be the Son of God;” but by his defeat he soon perceived that his antagonist was more than man. Though therefore he perfectly knew him to be the Son of God, yet seeing him invested with our nature, he might very likely be so far infatuated as to think, that by destroying his humanity, he might possibly defeat God's great design. For how sublime soever we may suppose his intellective faculties to be, yet the wonderful work of man's salvation by the death of Christ, the apostle plainly tells us, is what no finite understanding could comprehend, until “God was pleased to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery which, from the beginning of the world, hath been hid in God, to the intent that now, unto principalities, and powers in heavenly places, might be known, by the church, the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal o: which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord,” Eph. iii. 9, &c. Calmet's Commentary.
+3 Fevers are common distempers, and very often cured by ordinary means, so that the nature of this miracle did not lie in the cure of an incurable disease, but in the manner of the cure, which was with a touch; the suddenness of it; her fever immediately left her; and the perfectness of it, in that she was able to rise and wait on the company. This is said to be Peter’s wife's mother; and from hence it may be presumed, that Péter, who was himself of Bethsaida, had married a woman of Capernaum, and there lived with his mother-in-law. Pool’s and Beausobre's Annotations.
| This plainly shews that the curing of diseases, and the casting out of devils, were two distinct things, and consequently the error of those who, in their annotations upon the very texts where they are mentioned separately, endeavour to persuade us that the devils cast out were only diseases. Whitby's Annotations.