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markedly drawn between the son and the servants of the householder: and these statements on the matter, which are thus, as it were, bedded deep in Scripture, assumed as the foundation of further superstructures, not lying on the surface, or contained in single isolated expressions, will always carry with them a peculiar weight. It is true that for the unbelieving, for those that are determined not to be convinced, there is always a loop-hole of escape, as from other declarations, so also from these; in the present instance, the plural “sons” affords for those who seek it the desired opportunity of evasion. But under this protest Christ will pay the money; “Lest we should offend them, lest they should say we despise the temple, or should count that we are come to destroy the law,”—lest they who knew not the awful secret of his birth, should imagine that he was using a false liberty;” or even lest it might appear unseemly if he went back from that to which his follower had engaged him, he will pay it. Thus will he provide things honest in the sight of men. There was no need, only a becomingness, in the payment; in the same way as there was no necessity for his baptism; it was that whereto of his own choice he willingly submitted; nor yet for the circumcision which he received in his flesh; but he took on him the humiliations of the law, that he might deliver from under the law. And here comes out the deeper meaning of the Lord not paying for himself only, but for Peter, the representative of all the faithful, “for me and for thee;”—he came under the same yoke with men, that they might enter into the same freedom which was his. But, as on other occasions, at his presentation in the temple, (Luke ii. 22–24) and again at his baptism, there was something more than common which should hinder the misunderstanding of that which was done;—at the presentation, in Simeon's song and Anna's thanks. giving: at the baptism, first in John's reluctance to baptize him, and
* Chrysostom (Hom. 64 in Joh) understands in a remarkably different way these words, “Lest we should offend them;" lest, when this secret of our heavenly birth, and our consequent exemption from tribute is told them, they should be unable to receive it; lest we should thus put a stumbling-block in their way, revealing to them something which they were altogether unable to receive.
+ Ambrose (Ep.7, c. 18, Ad Justum): Ideo didrachmum solvi jubet prose et Petro, quia uterque sub Lege generati. Jubet ergo secundam Legem solvi, ut eos qui sub Lege erant redimeret. And Augustine, on the words which he found Pa cxxxvii. 8: Domine, retribues pro me, adduces this history, saying, Nihil debebat: prose non reddidit, sed pro nobis reddidit; and again (Serm 155, c. 7): Mysterium latebat: Christus tamen tributum non debitum persolvebat. Sic persolvit et mortem: non debebat, et persolvebat. mle nisi indebitum solveret, nunquam nos a debito liberaret. Jerome (Comm. in Matth, in loc.): Ut ostenderetur similitudo carnis, dum eodum et servus et Dominus pretio liberatur.
then in the opened heaven and the voice from thence;—so also is there here a protest of Christ's immunity from the present payment, first in his own words, “Then are the children free,” and next in the novel method by which he supplies the emergent need.”
For putting back Peter to his old vocation, he says, “Go thou to the sea, and cast a hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up;# and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money,” or “a stater,” as it is in the margin. It is remarkable, and a solitary instance of the kind, that the issue of the bidding is not told us: but we are, of course, meant to understand that at his Lord's command Peter resumed his old occupation, went to the neighboring lake, cast in his hook, and in the mouth of the first fish that rose to it, found, according to his Lord's word, the money that was needed. “That take, and give unto them for me and thee.”$ He says not “for us,” but as elsewhere, “I ascend unto my Father and your Father; and to my God and your God,” (John xxv. 17,) so does he use the same language here; for while he has made common part with his brethren, yet he has done this by an act of condescension, not by a necessity of nature; and for them it greatly imports that they should not confound the two, but see ever clearly that here is a delivered and a deliverer, a ransomed and a ransomer, however to the natural eye it may seem that there are two who alike are ransomed.
* Bengel: In medio actu submissionis emicat majestas. And Clarius: Reddit ergo censum, sed ex ore piscis acceptum, ut agnoscatur majestas. So too Origen (Comm. in Matth, in loc.) recognizes a saving of the Lord's dignity in the mode of the payment. Of course, when we speak of this saving of his dignity, it is of a saving, not for his own sake, but for men's, since it is most important for them that they think not unworthily of him. In other cases, where misapprehension was possible, we find a like care for this. (John xi. 41, 42.) # This does not mean the first that he drew up with his line, but the first that ascended from the deeper waters to his hook. # Moule (Heraldry of Fish) gives the natural mythology connected with this miracle. He says, “A popular idea assigns the dark marks on the shoulders of the haddock to the impression left by St. Peter with his finger and thumb, when he took the tribute money out of the fish's mouth at Capernaum; but the haddock certainly does not now exist in the seas of the country where the miracle was performed.... The dory, called St. Peter's fish in several countries of Europe, contends with the haddock the honor of bearing the marks of the apostle's fingers, an impression transmitted to posterity as a perpetual memorial of the miracle. The name of the dory is hence asserted to be derived from the French adoré, worshipped. § Observe the 4 vti tuoi, kat goû, (cf. Matth., xx. 28,)—another proof that we have here to do with the ransom for persons, a price given in their stead, with a reference to the original institution of this payment, and so another argument, if that were needed, for the correctness of the view maintained at the outset.
As has been observed on the miraculous draught of fishes, the miracle does not lie only in a foreknowledge on the Lord's part that so it should be in the first fish which came up, for it was not merely that he foreknew the fact; but he himself, by the mysterious potency of his will, which ran through all nature, drew the particular fish to that spot at that moment, and ordained that it should swallow the hook. Compare Jon. i. 17, “The Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah.” Thus we see the sphere of animal life unconsciously obedient to his will; that also is not out of God, but moves in him, as does every other creature. (1 Kin. xiii. 24; xx. 36; Amos iz. 3.)
All attempts to get rid of a miracle, and to make the Evangelist to be telling, and meaning to tell, an ordinary transaction, as the scheme for instance of Paulus, who will have it that the Lord bade Peter go and catch as many fish as would sell for the required sum, and who maintains that this actually lies in the words,-all such, it is at once evident are hopelessly absurd." Yet, on the other hand, it is an idle
* His honesty and his Greek keep admirable company. IIgorov labüv he takes collectively, primum quemdue piscem, dvočac to a Tóua abroi solvens eum ab hamo, eipsiaeic oraripa vendendo piscem statera tibi comparabis. This has not even the merit of novelty; for I find the same scheme mentioned in Köchea's Analecta (in loc.), published in 1766: Piscem capies quem pro statere vendere poteris. In a later work, however, Paulus desires to amend his plea, and dvojac rô aróua is no longer, opening the fish's mouth to take out the hook, but, opening thine own mouth, i.e., crying the fish for sale, airoi (adverbially) there, upon the spot, eipsiaetc araripa thou wilt earn a stater. Another of the same school (see Kuinoel, in loc.) will have that the whole speech is a playful irony on the Lord's part, whereby he would show Peter the impossible payment to which he has pledged him, when money they had none in hand; as though he had said, “The next thing which you had better do is to go and catch us a fish, and find in it the piece of money which is to pay this tax for which you have engaged,”—not as meaning that he should actually do this, but as a slight and kindly rebuke. It was reserved, however, for the yet more modern or mythic school of interpreters to find other difficulties here besides the general one of there being a miracle at all. “How,” exclaims one of the chiefest of these, (STRAuss, Leben Jesu, v. 2, p. 195,) “could the fish retain the stater in its mouth the coin must needs have dropt out while it was opening its jaws to swallow the hook: and, moreover, it is not in the mouths, but in the bellies, of fishes that precious things are commonly found.” Such is the objection against which this history is to prove too weak to stand! It can only be matched with the objection which another interpreter makes to the historic accuracy of the account of Daniel and the lion's den; namely, that if a stone was laid at the mouth of the den, the lions must needs have been suffocated,—so that nothing will satisfy him but that the den's mouth must have been by this stone hermetically sealed. Surely to anticipate the above difficulty, and te evade it, Juvencus gives dwoíšac to orápa, with this variation,
Hujus pandantur scissi penetralia ventris)
and unwarranted multiplication of miracles, to assume that the stater was created for the occasion,” and it is in fact a stepping out of the region of miracle altogether into that of absolute creation; for in the miracle, as distinguished from the act of pure creation, there is always a nature-basis to which the divine power which works the wonder, more or less closely links itself. That divine power which dwelt in Christ, restored, as in the case of the sick and blind; it multiplied, as the bread in the wilderness; it ennobled, as the water at Cana; it quickened, as Lazarus and others; it brought together, as here, by wonderful coincidences, the already existing; but, as far as we can see, it formed no new limbs; it made no bread, no wine, out of nothing; it created no new men: it did not, as far as our records reach, pass over on any one occasion into the region of absolute creation.} The allegorical interpretations, or rather uses, of this miracle, for they are seldom meant for more, have not in them much to attract, neither that of Clement, with which Theophylact mainly agrees, that each skilful fisher of men will, like Peter, remove the coin of pride and avarice and luxury, from the mouth of them whom they have drawn up by the hook of the Gospel from the waste waters of the world; nor yet that which St. Ambrose brings forward, wherein the stater plays altogether a different, indeed, an opposite part;$ nor has Augustine'ss more to draw forth our assent. The miracle is rich enough already in meaning and in teaching, without our seeking to press it further.
* So does Seb. Schmidt, (Fascic. Diss., p. 796) Chrysostom (Hom. 87 in Joh.) has a like explanation of the fish which the disciples find ready upon the shore (John xxi. 9); in the same way many assume that Christ not merely gave sight to, but made organs of vision for, the man who was born blind. (John ix.)
+ The accounts are numerous of precious things being found in the bellies of fishes. The story of Polycrates' ring is well known; (HERod, l. 3, c. 42;) and in Jewish legend Solomon, having lost his ring of power, recovered it in the same unexpected way. (EisenMENGER's Entdeckt. Judenth., v.1, p. 360.) Augustine (De Civ. Dei, l. 22, c. 8) gives the account of a like incident in his own day, in which he sees a providential dealing of God to answer the prayer, and supply the need, of one of his servants.
+ Padag., l.2, v.1, p. 172, Potter's ed. Cf. OnigEN, Comm. in Matth., for the Same.
§ Heraim, l. 5, c. 6: Ideo misit retia, et complexus est Stephanum, qui de Evangelio primus ascendit [ráv dvadávra "pārov] habens in ore suo staterem justitiae. Unde confessione constanti clamavit, dicens: Ecce video coelos apertos, et Filium hominis stantem ad dexteram Dei. So HILARY, Comm. in Matth, in loc.
| Enarr. in Ps. cxxxvii. 8: Primum surgentem de mari, primogenitum a mortuis; for by him, he says, with the error which runs through his whole interpretation, ab exactione hujus seculi liberamur.
Tur fact of this miracle being passed over altogether by the first three Evangelists, a miracle so memorable in itself, so weighty too in its consequences, since the final and absolute determination to put the Lord out of the way resulted immediately from it, this must ever remain a mystery: the utmost that can be hoped is to suggest some probable solution of the omission. The following among the explanations which have been offered have found most favor. First, It has been said by some that the three earlier Evangelists, writing in Palestine, and while Lazarus was yet alive, or at least while some of his family yet survived, would not willingly draw attention, and it might be, persecution upon them; but that no such causes hindered St. John, who wrote at a much later period, and out of Palestine, from bringing forward this miracle. The omission on their part, and the mention upon his, will then be a parallel to a like omission and mention in regard of the disciple who actually cumote off the ear of the high priest's servant. Only St. John mentions that it was Peter who did it. (xviii. 10.) This is Olshausen's view, and that of Grotius before him, who refers to John xii. 10, in proof of the danger that ensued to Lazarus from being this living witness of Christ's power. But how far-fetched a theory is this At the furthest it would apply only to the Gospel of St. Matthew; that of St. Mark was probably written at Rome, and for the Gentile Christians, certainly not in Palestine; as little was that of St. Luke, which was addressed to his friend Theophilus, whom many intimations in that Gospel would make us conclude to have lived in Italy. Moreover, the existence of that danger, and of those snares against his life, while the miracle and the impression of the miracle were yet fresh, is no proof of