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to be more acceptable to him than sacrifice, the greatest of the ceremonial duties, so unreasonably magnified by the men of your sect, who observe them on many occasions at the expence of charity.-For I am not to come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance; the repentance of righteous persons is not so much the object of my attention, as the conversion of sinners; for a like form of expression, see 1 Cor. i. 17. Some commentators indeed imagine, that self-righteous persons are here spoken of; but the scope and connection of the passage seems to confirm the former meaning. By citing the passage from Hosea, Jesus insinuated that in his labours for the conversion of sinners, he acted from a principle of benevolence; here he appeals to his practice for a proof of that insinuation, as if he had said, Ye cannot doubt that I am actuated by the most lively charity, since ye see me spend my pains not so much in exhorting the pious to change their lives, as those whose vices have made a total reformation necessary; a scheme more difficult, dangerous, and exceptionable, than the other, which I would certainly pursue, were I influenced by considerations of interest. Thus our Lord clearly proved a capital doctrine of right reason and true religion, which the teachers of those times, notwithstanding they boasted of their knowledge, seem to have lost the very idea of, viz. that ceremonial institutions should always give place to works of charity. See on Matt. xii. 7. § 46.
While Jesus was in Levi's house, some of John Baptist's followers came and asked him, why his disciples wholly neglected to fast, a duty which they and the Pharisees frequently performed. Matt. ix. 14. Then came to him the disciples of John, (Mark, and of the Pharisees) saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft (Luke, and make prayers) but thy disciples fast not? (Luke, but thine eat and drink?) In the law, we find only one fast day enjoined, namely, the tenth of the seventh month, on which the national atonement was made. But the Jews of their own accord observed many other days of fasting, see Isa. lviii. 3. In our Lord's time, days of this kind were more frequent than ever, especially among the Pharisees, who, according to the practice of their sect, fasted probably twice a-week, Luke xviii. 12. and therefore as Jesus did not pretend to teach his disciples a more lax kind of doctrine than John and the Pharisees, the disciples of the latter were surprised to find them overlooking so essential a duty-Matt. ix. 15. And Jesus said unto them, Can (Luke, ye make) the children of the bride-chamber mourn (Mark, Luke, fast) as long as the bridegroom is with them? Would it not be improper for the guests at a wedding, to fast and weep while the marriage solemnity continues? It would be equally improper for my disciples to enter on a course of severe and strict abstinence, at the time that I am personally present with them
to give them joy. Mark ii. 20. As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days. Christ did not mean, as the Montanists affirmed, that the Pharisaical fasts should be introduced into his church when he was gone, but that his disciples should fast and mourn on account of the various calamities befalling them after his departure, and that they should repeat these fasts as often as the circumstances of distress and danger in which they were placed, required it. Farther, by the similitude of a piece of new cloth put upon an old garment, he shewed his hearers, that to have laid on his disciples precepts of frequent abstinence, at a time when he was employing them to preach the gospel, which abolishes all rites and ceremonies whatsoever, would have been as incongruous, as to fill up the holes of an old thread-bare garment with pieces of new cloth, which cannot be joined to the old but with the danger of making the rent worse. Luke v. 36. And he spake also a parable unto them. To convince them of the propriety of not obliging his disciples to fast often in the beginning of the gospel dispensation. He spake the following parables. Matt. ix. 16. No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment; for that which is put in to fill it up, taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse. Luke v. 36. And (moreover) the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old. In the next place, by the similitude of new wine put into old leathern bottles, which burst by the fermentation of the wine, he taught them that the old corrupt nature of man will not admit, all at once, of a thorough reformation, and that infant virtue must not immediately be put to the greatest trials, lest it be killed with the severity of the exercise. Matt. ix. 17. Neither do men put new wine into old bottles, else the bottles break, (Mark, the new wine doth burst the bottles), and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish; but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved. In the last place, that as people who have been accustomed to drink wine made mellow with age, do not willingly drink new wine, which for the most part is harsh and unpleasant, so his disciples having been accutomed, for some time, to live without practising any of the severities for which the Pharisees were remarkable, could not relish that new way of life which they had been recommending. They were not yet so fully acquainted with, and established in his doctrine, as to submit cheerfully to any extraordinary hardships. This is Le Clerc's interpretation of mens liking to drink old wine better than new. But Wolf and others apply it to the Pharisees, who were much better pleased with the traditions of the elders than with the doctrines of Christ, because the latter prescribed duties more difficult and disagreeable to the corrupt natures of men than the for
mer. Luke 39. No man also having drunk old wine, straightway desireth new; for he saith the old is better
Mark and Luke bring in the plucking of the ears of corn, and the miracle performed on the man with the withered hand, immediately after our Lord's vindication of his disciples. But as these things happened after the first second day sabbath, or the sabbath that first followed the second day of the passover solemnity, (see § 46.) the series of the history requires, that what happened then, should be related immediately after the account of the passover which preceded it, unless there were reasons for inverting the order. That the order is inverted here by the two evangelists for good reasons, may be supposed, as they have affirmed nothing particularly concerning the times of these facts, neither do they establish any connection between them and the precedent or subsequent ones, Mark ii. 23. ×× sysvito nagaπogsvidαi autor, &c. And it came to pass, that be went through the corn fields on the sabbath day. Luke vi. 1. sysveto de εν σαββατο δευτερόπρωτο διαπορεύεσθαι αυτού, &c. And it came to pass on the second sabbath after the first, that be went through the corn fields.-Mark iii. 13. And be goeth up unto a mountain, and called unto him whom he would, and they came unto bim. 14 And be ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that be might send them forth to preach. Luke vi. 12. And it came to pass in those days, that be event out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. 13. And when it was day, be cailed unto bim his disciples; and of them he chose truelve, whom also be named apostles. On the other hand, Matthew seems to assert the exactness of his own order in both parts of his history. In this he says, that Jairus came to Jesus while he was speaking in defence of his disciples, who had been blamed by the Pharisees for not fasting frequently. In the other passage, he connects the plucking of the ears of corn, with what goes before it, thus, Matth. xii. 1. Ev exsiva TW xalqw, At that time, Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn fields. The two evangelists, therefore, who have inverted the order of the history here, knew very well that these things did not happen immediately after the above-mentioned conversation with the disciples of John and the Pharisees. But because the supercilious austerity of the Pharisees, which occasioned that conversation, appeared eminently when the ears of corn were plucked, and the man with the withered hand was cured, they thought fit to relate these facts along with the former, that the rigid malicious disposition of those hypocrites, who had condemned our Lord for keeping company with publicans, and complained of the disciples for not fasting often, might be made more fully to appear. Mark and Luke therefore have not in this part of their histories departed from the true order by mistake, but with design; taking a liberty which every historian claims in such cases. If the reader will take the trouble of looking to Matth. xxvii. 6. he will find an indisputable instance of this liberty, and which, being perfectly similar to the one under consideration, makes it the more probable. In that passage, the evangelist having related the history of Judas' repentance, tells us, that the chief priests took counsel and bought the potter's field, with the money which he threw down in the temple, as if they had made the bargain immediately after the money was cast down, and before our Lord was tried by the governor, and crucified. Nevertheless, it is certain that the bargain for the potter's field could not possibly be made till after the trial was finished. For as the passover was at hand, and the priests were urgent to have Jesus condemned before the feast began, they had not one moment to spend on a bargain of this kind; which was the reason that they hurried their prisoner away from the high priest's palace to the governor's, agisnon as it was light. See on Matth. xxvii. 6. § 138.
§ XXXV. The woman who had the flux of blood is cureil in the street of Capernaum: and in the same time Jairus's daughter is raised from the dead. Matth. ix. 18,-26. Mark v. 22,—43. Luke viii. 41,-56.
N. B. Before the history of the resurrection of Jairus's daughter is examined, Antiq. Disc. iv. on the eastern buildings, ought to be carefully read.
WHILE Jesus at Matthew's entertainment was reasoning in defence of his disciples, Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, probably that was in Capernaum, came in the utmost perplexity, fell down upon the ground before him, in presence of all the company, and most humbly entreated that he would go with him and cure his only daughter, a child of twelve years of age, who lay at the point of death. Mark v. 22. And (Matth. While he spake these things) behold there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, (Matth. a certain ruler) Jairus by name, and when he saw him, he fell at his feet, 23. And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter (Luke, only daughter, about twelve years of age) lieth at the point of death; (Matth. is even now dead) I pray thee come and lay thine hands on her, that she may be healed, and she shall live. Generally speaking, the rulers were Christ's bitterest enemies; yet there were some of them of a different character, John xii. 42. In particular, this ruler must have had a very favourable opinion of Jesus, and an high notion of his power, else he would not have applied to him for help in the present extremity, and by publicly acknowledging his power, have done him so much honour. His faith may have been built on the miracles which he knew Jesus had performed. For our Lord had by this time resided in Capernaum several months. No sooner had Jairus made his supplication, than Jesus, ever ready to assist the afflicted, rose from table and went along with him. Mark v. 24. And Jesus went with him (Matth. and so did his disciples) and much people followed and thronged him. But as he passed through the street, surrounded with his disciples, and a crowd that went along
* Ver. 23. Lieth at the point of death.] Luke agrees with Mark in this cir cumstance; but Matthew differs from him. According to the latter, Jairus said, ix. 18. My daughter is now dead (męti ETEλUTAGE). But he might utter both the expressions, for as his daughter lay expiring when he came away, he might think she could not live many minutes; and therefore having told Jesus that she was lying at the point of death, he added that in all probability she was dead. Nevertheless, if this solution seems inconsistent with the ruler's petition, Come and lay thine bands on her that she may be bealed, and with the dejection that appeared in his countenance when his servants told him his daughter had actually expired, we may fully remove the difficulty by translating the clause in Matthew thus: My daughter is almost dead, a sense, which, according to the analogy of the Greek language, it will easily bear. See on Luke v. 7. § 30. where this sense of the phrase is proved.
along in hopes of seeing the miracle, a woman who had been afflicted with a flux of blood for twelve years, and had applied to many physicians without success, came behind him, laid hold on the hem of his garment, and was cured. Mark 25. And a certain woman which had an issue of blood twelve years, 26. And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, (Luke, had spent all her living upon physicians) and quas nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, (Luke, neither could be healed of any.) These circumstances are mentioned by the evangelists, to shew that the woman's disease was incurable, and that she herself knew it to be so; circumstances which at one and the same time demonstrate the greatness of the woman's faith, and the greatness of the miracle. 27. When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment, (Luke, the border; Matt, the hem of his garment.) Her disease being reckoned unclean, she was ashamed to mention it before the multitude; and having formed the highest idea of Christ's power, she resolved to try this method of cure, believing that no more was necessary to effect it, 28. For she said, (Matth. within herself) If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. However, because her distemper was of such a nature as to render them whom she touched unclean, she durst not handle the person of so great a prophet, nor any part of his garment but its hem, (see on Matt. xxiii. 5. § 121.) shewing at the same time, both the strength of her faith, and the greatness of her humility. 29. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up, (Luke, her issue of blood staunched) and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. It was necessary that the ministry of the Son of God should be rendered illustrious by all kinds of miracles, and that the whole people of the country where he lived, should have both the highest idea, and the firmest persuasion of his power. It was for advancing these great ends, that the success of this woman's attempt equalled the faith and humility by which she was guided. For the same reasons, Jesus would by no means allow the opinion which she entertained of his power and goodness, to pass silent and unapplauded. Therefore he immediately turned about in the crowd, and asked who it was that had touched his clothes. 30. And Jesus immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? He knew the person, for no virtue nor miraculous cure could be derived from him, unless by his own consent. But he spake in this manner, that the woman might of her own accord make a confession of the whole matter, by which the power of her faith, and the greatness of her cure, would appear to the glory of God, and that he might have an opportunity to instruct and comfort her. Accordingly, when the persons nearest to him cleared themselves, and Jesus insisted on
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