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should be made of the plenitude of the catholic church, and multitudes of believers, who should be taken by Simon and the rest of the disciples, whom by that miracle he consigned to become “ fishers of men;" who, by their artifices of prudence, and holy doctrine, might gain souls to God; that when the net should be drawn to shore, and separation made by the angels, they and their disciples might be differenced from the reprobate portion.
10. But the light of the sun uses not to be confined to a province or a kingdom. So great a prophet, and so divine a physician, and so great miracles, created a fame loud as thunder, but not so full of sadness and presage. Immediately the “ fame of Jesus went into all Syria, and there came to him multitudes from Galilee, Decapolis, Jerusalem, and Judæa." And all that had any “ sick with divers diseases, brought them to him ;” and he laid his hands on every one of them, “ and healed them.” And when he cured the “lunatics, and persons possessed with evil spirits,” the devils cried out, and confessed him to be “ Christ, the Son of God;" but he “ suffered them not," choosing rather to work faith in the persuasions of his disciples, by moral arguments, and the placid demonstrations of the Spirit; that there might in faith be an excellency in proportion to the choice, and that it might not be made violent by the conviction and forced testimonies of accursed and unwilling spirits.
11. But when Jesus saw his assembly was grown full, and his audience numerous, he “ went up into a mountain," and when his disciples came unto him, he made that admirable sermon, called “ the sermon upon the mount:” which is a Divine repository of such excellent truths, and mysterious dictates of secret theology, that contains a breviary of all those precepts which integrate the morality of Christian religion; pressing the moral precepts given by Moses, and enlarging their obligation by a stricter sense and more severe exposition, that their righteousness might “ exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees;"
preaches perfection, and the doctrines of meekness, poverty of spirit, Christian mourning, desire of holy things, mercy and purity, peace and toleration of injuries; affixing a special promise of blessing to be the guerdon and inheritance of those graces and spiritual excellences. He explicates some parts of the decalogue, and adds appendices and precepts of his own. He teaches his disciples to pray, how to fast, how to give alms, contempt of the world, not to judge others, forgiving injuries, an indifference and incuriousness of temporal provisions, and a seeking of the kingdom of God and its appendant righteousness.”
12. When Jesus had finished his sermon, and descended from the mountain, a poor leprous person came and worshipped, and begged to be cleansed; which Jesus soon granted, engaging him not to publish it where he should go abroad, but sending him to the priest, to offer an oblation, according to the rites of Moses' law; and then came directly to Capernaum, and “ taught in their synagogues upon the sabbath-days;” where, in his sermons, he expressed the dignity of a prophet, and the authority of a person sent from God; not inviting the people by the soft arguments and insinuations of Scribes and Pharisees, but by demonstrations and issues of Divinity. There he cures a demoniac, in one of their synagogues; and by and by, after going abroad, he heals Peter's wife's mother of a fever; insomuch that he grew the talk of all men, and their wonder, till they flocked so to him, to see him, to hear him, to satisfy their curiosity and their needs, that after he had healed those multitudes which beset the house of Simon, where he cured his mother of the fever, he retired himself into a desert place very early in the morning, that he might have an opportunity to pray, free from the oppressions and noises of the multitude.
13. But neither so could he be hid, but, like a light shining by the fringes of a curtain, he was soon discovered in his solitude; for the multitude found him out, imprisoning him in their circuits and undeniable attendances. But Jesus told them plainly, he must preach the Gospel “to other cities also;” and therefore resolved to pass to the other side of the lake of Genesareth, so to quit the throng. Whither as he was going, a Scribe offered himself a disciple to his institution; till Jesus told him his condition to be worse than foxes and birds, for whom an habitation is provided, but none for him ; no,“ not a place where to bow his head,” and find rest. And what became of this forward professor afterwards, we find not. Others that were probationers of this fellowship, Jesus bound to a speedy profession; not suffering one to go home to bid his friends farewell, nor another so much as to “ bury his dead.”
14. By the time Jesus got to the ship it was late; and he, heavy to sleep, rested on a pillow, and slept soundly, as weariness, meekness, and innocence could make him; insomuch that " a violent storm,” the chiding of the winds and waters, which then happened, could not awake him ; till the ship, being almost covered with broken billows and the impetuous dashings of the waters, the men already sunk in their spirits, and the ship like enough to sink too, the disciples awaked him, and called for help: “ Master, carest thou not that we perish ?” Jesus arising, reproved their infidelity, commanded the wind to be still and the seas peaceable, and immediately " there was a great calm;" and they presently arrived in the land of the Gergesenes, or Gerasenes.
15. In the land of Gergesites, or Gergesenes, which was the remaining name of an extinct people, being one of the nations whom the sons of Jacob drave from their inheritance, there were two cities; Gadara, from the tribe of Gad, to whom it fell by lot in the division of the land, (which, having . been destroyed by the Jews, was rebuilt by Pompey, at the request of Demetrius Gadarensis, Pompey's freed-man,) and near to it was Gerasa, as Josephus reports e : which diversity of towns and names is the cause of the various recitation of this story by the evangelists. Near the city of Gadara, there were many sepulchres in the hollownesses of rocks, where the dead were buried, and where many superstitious persons used Memphitic and Thessalic rites, invocating evil spirits ; insomuch that, at the instant of our Saviour's arrival in the country, “there met him two possessed with devils from these tombs, exceeding fierce," and so had been long, “ insomuch that no man durst pass that way.”
16. Jesus commanded the devils out of the possessed persons : but there were certain men feeding swine, which, though extremely abominated by the Jewish religion, yet for the use of the Roman armies and quarterings of soldiers, they were permitted, and divers privileges granted to the masters of such herdsf: and because Gadara was a Greek
Joseph. de Bel. Jud. lib. i. c. 5, et lib. iii. c. 2, et lib. v. c. 3. Epiph. contr. Eb. Hæres. 30.
i Cod. Theod. de Suariis. Joseph. lib. ii. de Bel, Jud. c. 33.
city, and the company mingled of Greeks, Syrians, and Jews, these last, in all likelihood, not making the greatest number; the devils, therefore, besought Jesus, he would not send them into the abyss, but “ permit them to enter into the swine.” He gave them leave; “ and the swine ran violently down a steep place into the" hot baths, which were at the foot of the hill on which Gadara was built, (which smaller congregation of waters the Jews used to call seas ;) or else, as others think, into the lake of Genesareth, “ and perished in the waters.” But this accident so troubled the inhabitants, that they came and“ entreated Jesus to depart out of their coasts." And he did so; leaving “ Galilee of the Gentiles," he came to the lesser Galilee, and so again to the city of Capernaum.
17. But when he was come thither, he was met by divers “ Scribes and Pharisees,” who came from Jerusalem, and “ doctors of the law from Galilee;" and while they were sitting in a house, which was encompassed with multitudes, that no business or necessity could be admitted to the door, a poor paralytic was brought to be cured ; and they were fain to uncover the tiles of the house, and let him down in his bed with cords, in the midst before Jesus," sitting in conference with the doctors. “ When Jesus saw their faith, he said, Man, thy sins be forgiven thee.” At which saying, the Pharisees being troubled, thinking it to be blasphemy, and that “none but God could forgive sins;" Jesus was put to verify his absolution, which he did in a just satisfaction and proportion to their understandings. For the Jews did believe that all afflictions were punishments for sin; (“ Who sinned, this man or his father, that he was born blind ?') and that removing of the punishment was forgiving of the sin. And therefore, Jesus, to prove that his sins were forgiven, removed that which they supposed to be the effect of his sin; and by curing the palsy, prevented their farther murmur about the pardon: “ That ye might know the Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and walk. And the man arose, was healed, and glorified God.”
18. A while after, Jesus went again toward the sea, and
& Ut mare Æneum, vas templi ad aquarum receptionem.
on his way,“ seeing Matthew," the publican, “ sitting at the receipt of custom,” he bade him“ follow him.” Matthew first feasted Jesus, and then became his disciple. But the Pharisees that were with him began to be troubled that he “ate with publicans and sinners.” For the office of publican, though amongst the Romans it was honest and of great account; and “the flower of the Roman knights, the ornament of the city, the security of the commonwealth, was accounted to consist in the society of publicans ";" yet amongst both the Jews and Greeks the name was odious, and the persons were accursed; not only because they were strangers that were the chief of them, who took into them some of the nation where they were employed; but because the Jews especially stood upon the charter of their nation and the privilege of their religion, that none of them should pay tribute ; and also because they exercised great injustices and oppressionsk, having a power unlimited, and a covetousness wide as hell, and greedy as the fire or the grave. But Jesus gave so fair an account concerning his converse with these persons, that the objection turned to be his apology: for therefore he conversed with them, because they were sinners; and it was as if a physician should be reproved for having so much to do with sick persons; for therefore was he" sent, not to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance;” to advance the reputation of mercy above the rites of sacrifice.
19. But as the little bubbling and gentle murmurs of the water are presages of a storm, and are nore troublesome in their prediction than their violence; so were the arguings of the Pharisees, symptoms of a secret displeasure and an ensuing war; though at first represented in the civilities of question and scholastical discourses, yet they did but forerun vigorous objections and bold calumnies, which were the fruits of the next summer. But as yet they discoursed fairly, asking him “ why John's disciples fasted often, but the dis
h Cicero Ep. Famil. lib. xiii. et in Orat. pro Plancio.
Idem ad Quint. Fratrem de Regimine Præfecturæ Asian.
k Vita Publicanorum aperta est violentia, impunita rapina, negotiatio nullâ ratione constans, inverecunda mercatura.
Πάντες τελώναι, πάντες εισίν άρπαγες. -- Suidas, V. Publicanus,
Apud Hebræum textum D. Matthæi publicani dicti Parisim, nomine proprio latronibus qui sepes et maceriam dirimunt, licèt propriè dicti Gabaim ; unde fortasse Gabella. VOL. 11.