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God being but the cloak which he wore to hide, whether from others only, or, in a sadder hypocrisy, from his own heart also, his true hatred of all that was holy and divine.” He was not, in fact, disturbed, because the Sabbath was violated, but because Christ was glorified. Therefore drew he down upon himself that sharp rebuke from him, whose sharpest rebuke was uttered only in love, and who would have torn, if that had been possible, from off this man's heart, the veil which was hiding his true self even from his own eyes. Another part of his falseness was, that not daring directly to find fault with the Lord, he seeks obliquely to reach him through the people, who were more under his influence, and whom he feared less. He takes advantage of his position as the interpreter of the Law and the oracles of God, and from “Moses' seat” would fain teach the people that this work done to the glory of God—this restoring of a human body and a human soul—this undoing the heavy burden—this unloosing the chain of Satan,—was a servile work, and one, therefore, forbidden on the Sabbath. Blaming them for coming to be healed, he indeed is thinking not of them, but means that rebuke to glance off on him who has put forth on this day his power to help and to save. Every word of Christ's answer is significant. It is not a defence of his breaking the Sabbath, but a declaration that he has not broken it at all. “You have your relaxations of the Sabbath strictness, required by the very nature and necessities of your earthly condition; you make no difficulty in the matter, where there is danger that loss would ensue, that your possessions would be perilled by the leaving some act undone. Your ox and your ass are precious in your sight, and you count it no violation of the day to lead them away to water. Yet is not a human
soul more precious still? the loosing this as allowable as the loosing those 7" Every word in his answer tells. “Each one of you, whatever your scheme and theory may be concerning the strictness with which the Sabbath ought to be kept, disciples of Hillel or disciples of Schammai, you loose your beasts; yet ye will not that I should loose a human spirit—one who is of more value than many oxen and asses;–and this you do, though they have not been tied up for more than for some brief space; while, in your thoughts, I may not unloose from the thraldom of
* Augustine (Enarr. 2" in Ps. lxviii. 24): Bene scandalizati sunt de illá erectá, ipsi curvi. And again (Serm. 392, c. 1): Calumniabantur autem erigenti, qui, nisi curvif
# Tertullian (Adv. Marc, 1.4, c. 80): Unusquisque vestrum sabbatis non solvit asinum autbovem suum a praesepi et ducit ad potum ? Ergo secundum conditionem legis operatus, legem confirmavit, non dissolvit, jubentem nullum opus fieri, nisi quod fieret omni animae, quantò potius humanae. Cf. In ENAEUs, Con. Haer, l. 4, c. 8.
Satan this captive of eighteen years.” Yours, moreover, is a long process of unfastening and leading away to water-which yet, (and rightly,) you make no difficulty about; but ye are offended with me who have spoken but a word and released a soul.”? There lies at the root of this argument, as of so much else in Scripture, a deep assertion of the specific dif. ference between man, the lord of the creation, for whom all things were made, and all the inferior orders of beings that tread the same earth with him, and with whom upon the side of his body he is akin. He is something more than the first in this chain and order of beings; he is specifically different. (Cf. 1 Cor. ix. 9. “Doth God take care of oxen o’ and Ps. viii. 8.) And more than merely this: the woman was a “daughter of Abraham.” Some think here that the Lord means to magnify her claim to this benefit, as being an heir of the faith of Abraham,_one, indeed, who, for the saving of her soul in the day of the Lord, had come for some sin under the scourge of Satan and this long and sore affliction of the flesh. Yet it is more probable that he means but this, that she was one of the chosen race, a daughter of Abraham after the flesh,_however, after this healing, she may have become something more, a child of the faith of Abraham.
* Ambrose (Erp. in Luc., l. 7, c. 175): Vinculum vinculo comparat....Cúm ipsi animalibus Sabbato solvunt vincula, reprehendunt Dominum, qui homines à peccatorum vinculis liberavit.
# Chemnitz (Harm. Evang, c. 112): Tempus etiam inter se confert. Jumenta fortassis ad noctem unam aut paucos dies praesepi alligantur. At vero hac foemina vel saltem ob temporis prolixitatem omnium commiseratione dignissima est.
of In a sermon on the Day of the Nativity, (Serm. Inedd, p. 33) Augustine makes
the following application of this history: Inclinavit se, cum sublimis esset, ut nos qui incurvati eramus, erigeret. Incurvata siquidem erat humana natura ante adventum Domini, peccatorum onere depressa; et quidem se in peccativitium spontanea voluntate curvaverat, sed sponte se erigere non valebat.... Haec autem mulier formam incurvationis totius humani generis praeferebat. In håc muliere hodie natus Dominus noster vinculis Satanae alligatos absolvit, et licentiam nobis tribuit ad superna conspicere, ut qui olim constituti in miseriis tristes ambulabamus, hodie venientem ad nos medicum suscipientes, nimirum gaudeamus.
ALL which is most remarkable in the circumstances of this miracle has been already anticipated in others, as especially in the two immediately preceding, to which the reader is referred. Our Lord, not even at this late period of his ministry treating the Pharisees as wholly and finally hardened against the truth, but still seeking to win, if it were possible, them also for his kingdom, had accepted the invitation of one of the chief among them “to eat bread,” in his house. This was upon the Sabbath, the day which the Jews ordinarily selected for their festal meals: for the idea of the Sabbath among the Jews was not at all that of a day to be austerely kept, but very much the contrary. The practical abuses of it were the turning it into, a day of rioting and excess.” But the invitation, though accepted in love, yet seems not to have been given in good faith, but in the hope that the nearer and more accurate watching of the Lord's words and ways, which such an opportunity would give, might afford some new matter of accusation against him. Such was, probably, the spring of the apparent courtesy which they showed him now, and so did they reverence the sacred laws of hospitality.f It has been suggested that the man with a dropsy was of design placed where he was, since he would scarcely without permission have found entrance into a private house. But although it is quite conceiva
* On the abuses in this kind of the Jewish Sabbath at a later day, see AugustiNE, Enarr. in Ps. xci. 1, and 2* in Ps. xxxii. 2, and Serm. 9, c. 3.
+ The emphasis, however, which Hammond finds in the ka? atrol, even they that had invited him did treacherously watch him, as though the Evangelist would bring into notice the violation here of the laws of hospitality, is questionable. Such a superabounding use of kai is not unusual in St. Luke.
# "Haav traparmpotuevot. For a similar use of Tapai mpeiv, compare vi. 7 ; xx. 20; Mark iii. 2; Dan. vi. 11.
ble of these malignant adversaries of Christ, that they should have laid such a snare for him as this, yet there is nothing in the narration to give it likelihood here; and the difficulty that, without such design, the man would scarcely have found his way into the house of the Pharisee, rests upon an ignorance of the almost public life of the East, and a forgetting how easily in a moment of high excitement, such as this must have been, the feeble barriers which the conventional rules of society would oppose might be broken through. (Luke vii. 36, 37.) At any rate, if there was such a plot, the man himself was no party to it; for the Lord “took him, and healed him, and let him go.” Yet, ere he did this, he justified the work which he would accomplish, as more than once he had justified other similar works of grace and love wrought upon the Sabbath, saying to these interpreters of the Law, “Is it lawful to heal upon the Sabbath #" Here, as in so many matters of debate, it only needs for the question to be truly put, to be once rightly stated, and the answer at once is given; all is so clear, that the possibility of its remaining a question any longer has for ever vanished.” As was the case before, he obtains no answer from them,-for they will not approve, and they cannot gainsay. “As on other occasions, (Matt. xii. 11; Luke xiii. 15,) the Lord brings back those present to their own experience, and lets them feel the keen contradiction in which their blame of Christ's free work of love sets them with themselves, in that, where their worldly interests were at hazard, they did that very thing whereof they made now an occasion against him.”? We may observe, that as in that other case where the woman was bound, he adduces the example of unbinding a beast, (Luke xiii. 15,)—so in this, where the man was dropsical, suffering, that is, from water, the example he adduces has its equal fitness. “You grudge that I should deliver this man upon this day from the water that is choking him, yet if the same danger from water threatened one of your beasts, an ass or an or $ you would make no scruple of extricating it on the Sabbath from
* Tertullian (Adv. Marc, 1.4, c. 12): Adimplevit enim ethic legem, dum conditionem interpretatur ejus, dum operum differentiam illuminat, dum facit quae Lex de Sabbati feriis excipit, dum ipsum Sabbati diem benedictione Patris à primordio sanctum, benefactione suá efficit sanctionem, in quo scilicet divina praesidia ministrabat. + Olsh AUSEN. † So Augustine (Quast. Evang, l. 2, c. 29): Congruenter hydropicum animali quod cecidit in puteum, comparavit: humore enim laborabat; sicut et illam mulierem quam decem et octo annis alligatam dixerat....comparavit jumento quod solvitur ut ad aquam ducatur. Grotius: Hydropicum submergendae pecudi, uttov ovyköTrovoay pecudi vinctae, comparavit. § There are very considerable authorities for, instead of Övoc, reading viór, which
the dangers which threatened it; how much then is a man better than a beast !” “And they could not answer him again to these things ;” they were silenced, that is, but not convinced. The truth, which did not win them, did that which alone else it could do, exasperated them the more; and they replied nothing, biding their time. (see Matt. xii. 14.) t
Mill and Wetstein favor, and which Chrysostom (see CRAMER's Catena, in loc.) appears to have read in his copy; yet the internal connection seems decisive in favor of the other reading. Christ is arguing from the less to the greater: “You will save a comparatively worthless beast, do you murmur when I save a man f" We
have the ox and the ass set together as liable to this accident of falling into a pit, Exod. xxi. 33.