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miles distant from Cana, where he then was, the stalion of the father, at whose entreaty he restored the son to health (he was probably on the household establishment of Herod), could not fail to raise the expectation to a higher pitch, and to prepare the inhabitants of Galilee to listen with eager deference lo the new doctrines (1). One place alone received the son of Mary with cold an inhospit- Nazarett.
Luhospitable unconcern, and rejected his claims with indignant violence
able recep his native town of Nazareth. The history of this transaction is sin- tion of gularly true to human nalure (2). Where Jesus was unknown, the awe-struck imagination of the people, excited by the fame of his wonderful works, beheld him already arrayed in the sanctity of a prophetical, if not of a divine, mission. Nothing intruded on their thoughts to disturb their reverence for the commanding gentleness of his demeanour, the authoritative persuasiveness of his language, the holiness of his conduct, the celebrity of his miracles : he appeared before them in the pure and unmingled dignity of his public character. But the inhabitants of Nazareth had to struggle with old impressions, and to exalt their former familiarity into a feeling of deference or veneration. In Nazareth he had been seen from his childhood, and though gentle, blameless, popular, nothing bad occurred, up to the period of his manhood, to place him so much above the ordinary level of mankind. His father's humble station and employment had, if we may so speak, still farther updignified the person of Jesus to the mind of his fellow-townsmen. In Nazareth Jesus was still the carpenter's son.” We think, likewise, that we discover in the language of the Nazarenes something of local jealousy against the more favoured town of Capernaum. If Jesus intended to assume a public and distinguished character, why had not his native place the fame of his splendid works? why was Capernaum honoured, as the residence of the new prophel, rather than the city in which he had dwelt from his youth?
It was in the synagogue of Nazareth, where Jesus had hitherto been a huinble and devout listener, that he stood up in the cha- the synaracter of a Teacher. According to the usage, the chazan or minister of the synagogue (3), whose office it was to deliver the volume of the law or the prophets appointed to be read to the person to whom that function had fallen, or who might have received permission from the rulers of the synagogue to address the congregation, gave it into the hands of Jesus. Jesus opened on the passage in the beginning of the 16th chapter of Isaiah (4), by universal
(1) John, iv. 46-54.
other day by less than three. The prophets were (2) Luke, iv. 16—30. There appears to be an read by any one; in general one of the former allusion (John, iv. 44.) to this incident, which readers, whom the minister might summon to , may have taken place before the second miracle, the office.
(3) It is said that on the Sabbath the law. was (4) It is of some importance to the chronology read'in succession by seven persons -- a priest, a
of lhe life of Christ, to ascertain whether this peLexite, and five Israelites and never on any rioche or portion was that appointed in the or
consent applied to the coming of the Messiah, and under its beau-
acceptable year of the Lord;" but before it came to the next clause, which harmonised ill with the benign character of the new faith, and spoke of “the day of vengeance,” he broke off and closed the book. He proceeded, probably at some length, lo declare the immediate approach of these times of wisdom and peace.
The whole assembly was in a state of pleasing astonishment at the ease of his delivery, and the sweet copiousness of his language; they could scarcely believe that it was the youth whom they had so often seen, the son of a humble father, in their streets, and who had enjoyed no advantages of learned education. Some of them, probably either by their countenance, or tone, or gesture, expressed their incredulity, or even their contempt, for Joseph's son; for Jesus at once declared his intention of performing no miracle to satisfy the doubts of his unbelieving countrymen : “No prophet is received with honour in his own country.” This avowed preference of other places before the dwelling of his youth; this refusal to grant to Nazareth any share in the fame of his Axtraordinary works, embittered perhaps by the suspicion that the general prejudice against their town might be strengthened, at least not discountenanced, as it might have been, by the residence of so distinguished a citizen within their walls—the reproof so obviously concealed in the words and conduct of Jesus, mingled
no doubt with other fanatical motives, wrought the whole assembly Violence to such a pitch of frenzy, that they expelled Jesus from the synaNazarenes.
goguc. Nazareth lies in a valley, from which a hill immediately rises; they hurried him up the slope, and were preparing to cast him down from the abrupt cliff on the other side, when they found that the intended victim of their wrath had disappeared.
Jesus retired to Capernaum, which from this time became, as Caper. ,naun the it were, his head-quarters (1). This place was admirably situated sidence of for his purpose, both from the facility of communication, as well Jesus by land as by the lake, with many considerable and flourishing
lowns, and of escape into a more secure region, in case of any
dinary course of reading, or ane selected by Jews. According to that, the 16th chapter of
threatened persecution. It lay towards the northern extremity of the lake or sea of Gennesareth (1). On the land side it was a centre from which the circuit of both Upper and Lower Galilee might begin. The countless barks of the fishermen employed upon the lake, many of whom became his earliest adherents, could transport him with the utmost ease to any of the cities on the western bank ; while, if danger approached from Herod or the ruling powers of Galilee, he had but to cross to the opposite shore, the territory, at least at the commencement of his career, of Philip, the most just and popular of the sons of Herod, and which on his death reverted to the Roman government. Nor was it an unfavourable circumstance, that he had most likely secured the powerful prolection of the officer attached to the court of Herod, whose son he had healed, and who probably resided at Capernaum.
The first act of his public career was the permanent attachment Apostles lo his person, and the investing in the delegated authority of clusten. teachers of the new religion, four out of the twelve who afterwards became the apostles. Andrew and Peter were originally of Bethsaida, at the north eastern extremity of the lake, but the residence of Peter appears to have been at Capernaum. James and John, were brothers, the sons of Zebedee (2). All these men had united themselves to Jesus, immediately after his baptism ; the latter, is not all, had probably attended upon him during the festival in Jerusalem, but had returned to their usual avocations. Jesus saw them on the shore of the lake,-\wo of them were actually employed in fishing, the others at a little distance. were mending their nels. At the well-known voice of their master, confirmed by the sign of the miraculous draught of fishes (3), which impressed Peter with so much awe, that he thought himself unworthy of standing in the presence of so wonderful a Being, they left their ships and followed him into the lown; and though they appear to have resumed their humble occupations, on which, no doubt, their livelihood depended, it should seem that from this time they might be considered as the regular allendanls of Jesus.
The reception of Jesus in the synagogue of Capernaum was very different from that which he encountered in Nazareth. He was heard on the regular day of teaching, the Sabbath, not only un- of Caperdisturbed, but with increasing reverence and awe (4). And, indeed, is the inhabitants of Nazareth were offended, and the Galileans in general astonished at the appearance of the humble Jesus in the character of a public teacher, the lone and language which he assumed was not likely to allay their wonder. The remarkable
Jesus in the synagoguo
(1) This is the usual position of Capernaum, but it rests on very uncertain grounds, and some circumstances would induce me to adopt Lightfoot's opinion, that it was much nearer to the southern end of the lake.
(2) Matt. iv. 22. ; Mark, i. 17.-20.; Luke, v. 1-11.
(3) This supposes, as is inost probable, that Luke, v. 1-11. refers to the same transaction,
(4) Luke, iv. 31-38.; Mark, i. 21, 22.
expression, “ he speaks as one having authority and not as the scribes," seems to imply more than the extraordinary power and persuasiveness of his language.
The ordinary instructors of the people, whether under the name ing differ. of scribes, lawyers, or rabbis, rested their whole claim to the public ent frome attention on the established sacred writings. They were the conRabbins. servators, and perhaps personally ordained interpreters of the
law, with its equally sacred traditionary comment; but they pretended to no authority, not originally derived from these sources. They did not stand forward as legislators, but as accredited expositors of the law; not as men directly inspired from on high, but as men who, by profound study and intercourse with the older wise men, were best enabled to decide on the dark, or latent, or ambiguous sense of the inspired writings; or who had received, in regular descent, the more ancient Cabala, the accredited tradition. Although, therefore, they had completely enslaved the public mind, which reverenced the sayings of the masters or rabbis equally with the original text of Moses and the prophets; though it is quite clear that the spiritual rabbinical dominion, which at a later period established so arbitrary a despotism over the understanding of the people, was already deeply rooted, still the basis of their supremacy rested on the popular reverence for the sacred writings. “It is written," was the sanction of all the rabbinical decrees, however those decrees might misinterpret the real meaning of the law, or add burdens to the neck of the people," by no means intended by the wise and humane lawgiver.
Jesus came forth as public teacher in a new and opposite character. His authority rested on no previous revelation, excepting as far as his divine commission had been foreshown in the law and the prophets. He prefaced his addresses with the unusual formulary, “I say unto you." Perpetually displaying the most intimate familiarity with the Sacred Writings, instantly silencing or baffling his adversaries by adducing, with the utmost readiness and address, texts of the law and the prophets according to the accredited interpretation, yet his ordinary language evidently assumed a higher tone. He was the direct, immediate representative of the wisdom of the Almighty Father; he appeared as equal, as superior, to Moses; as the author of a new revelation, which, although it was not to destroy the law, was in a certain sense to supersede it, by the introduction of a new and original faith. Hence the implacable hostility manifested against Jesus, not merely by the fierce, the fanatical, the violent, or the licentious, by all who might take offence at the purity and gentleness of his precepts, but by the better and more educated among the people, the scribes, the lawyers, the pharisees. Jesus at once assumed a superiority not merely over these teachers of the law, this acknowledged
religious aristocracy, whose reputation, whose interesls, and whose pride were deeply pledged to the maintenance of the existing system, but he set himself above those inspired leachers, of whom the rabbis were but the interpreters. Christ ultered commandments which had neither been registered on the tablets of stone, nor defined in the more minule enactments in the book of Leviticus. He superseded at once by his simple word all that they had painfully learned, and regularly taught as the eternal, irrepealable word of God, perfect, complete, enduring no addition. Hence their per- Causes of petual endeavours to commit Jesus with the multitude, as dispa- lity of the raging or infringing the ordinances of Moses; endeavours which ordinary were perpetually baffled on his part, by his cautious compliance with the more important observances, and, notwithstanding the general bearing of his teaching towards the development of a higher and independent doctrine (1), his uniform respect for the leller as well as the spirit of the Mosaic institutes. But as the strength of the rabbinical hierarchy lay in the passionate jealousy of the people about the law, they never abandoned the hope of convicling Jesus on this ground, notwithstanding his extraordinary works, as a false pretender lo the character of the Messiah. At all events they saw clearly that it was a struggle for the life and death of their authority. Jesus once acknowledged as the Christ, the whole fabric of their power and influence fell at once. The traditions, the Law itself, the skill of the scribe, the subtilty of the lawyer, the profound study of the rabbi, or the teacher in the synagogue and in the school, became obsolele; and the pride of superior wisdom, the long-enjoyed deference, the blind obedience wilh which the people had listened to their decrees, were gone by for ever. The whole hierarchy were to cede at once their rank and estimation to an humble and uninstructed peasant from Galilee, a region scorned by the belter educated for its rudeness and ignorance (2), and from Nazareth, the most despised town in the despised province. Against such deep and rooted motives for animosity, which combined and knit together every feeling of pride, passion, habit, and interest, the simple and engaging demeanour of the Teacher, the beauty of the precepts, their general harmony with the spirit, however they might expand the letter of the law, the charilies they breathed, the holiņess they inculcated, the aptitude and imaginalive felicity of the parables under which they were couched, the hopes they excited, the fears they allayed, the blessings and consolations they
(1) Compare the whole of the Sermon on the to an edition and translation of the whole talmuMuuut, especially Matt. v. 20–45.-the parables dical books, the curious passage (p. 60.) from the of the leaven and the grain of mustard seed—the Erubin, in which the Jews and Galileans are frequent intimations of the comprehensiveness contrasted. The Galileans did not preserve the of the “ kingdom of God," as contrasted with pure speech, therefore did not preserve pure the Jewish theocracy.
doctrine--the Galileans had no teacher, there(2) See in the Compendiun of the Talmud by fore po doctrine-the Galileans did not open the Pinner of Berlin, intended as a kind of preface book, therefore they had no doctrine.