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by two and two together (in the same manner as he had sent his twelve apostles), in- From Matth. to those places which he himself, in a short time, intended to visit, and gave them in- 23. Lukarki. structions much of the same import with what, upon the like occasion, he had given John v. 1. to his apostles.
Matth. xvii. 14.
The feast of tabernacles always continued eight days, but, for some time after his ar- Luke ix. 37. rival, our Saviour did not appear publicly, which occasioned no small enquiry, and va- John vii. 1. rious dicourses concerning him; some saying that he was a good man, and others, an impostor, who deluded the people. At length, when every one began to despair of seeing him, about the middle of the feast he shewed himself openly, and went and taught in the temple, to the great admiration of the Jews, who were not a little surprised to find him, whose education had been destitute of all learning, so perfect in the Scriptures: But, to obviate this exception, he gave them to understand, that the doctrine, wherein he instructed them, was not of human acquisition, but Livine inspiration; and that it was a very base and ungenerous thing in them, to endeavour to take away the life of one, who taught them nothing but what was agreeable to the law of Moses, whereof they made so loud a profession. In this manner he preached to the people for the remaining part of the feast; and, †2 on the last and greatest day thereof, took oc
than seventy. What their names were is a thing unknown, only we have an uncertain account of twentyeight of them out of Eusebius, Epiphanius, and Papias; and these are,―Matthias, Mark, Luke, Barnabas, Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, Nicholas, Justus, Apelles, Sosthenes, Rufus, Niger, Cephas, Thaddæus, Aristion, John, Barsabas, Andronicus, Junius, Silas, Lucius, Manaen, Mnason, and Ananias. Now, whereas some compare the bishops to the apostles, and these seventy to the presbyters of the church, and thence conclude, that these two orders in the ministry, one inferior to the other, were instituted by Christ himself, there is this difference in the matter,-That the LXX received not their mission (as presbyters do) from bishops, but im mediately from our Lord, as the apostles did, and were sent upon the same errand, and with the same powers. There is, however, I think, this foundation for that wherein St Chrysostom and others place the superiority of bishops over presbyters, viz. that the power of ordination belongs to them alone: For, though the commission to preach the Gospel belonged to the LXX, as well as the twelve apostles, yet the power of conferring the Holy Ghost by the imposition of hands was peculiar to the twelve, Acts viii. 14, &c. and this seems to be the reason why the conferring of the Holy Ghost, for the use of the ministry (which is done by the imposition of hands), has perpetually been esteemed peculiar to those bishops, who, in the ecclesiastical style, are always called the successors of the apostles. Whitby's Annotations, and Echard's Ecclesiastical History, lib. i. c. 5. [I know not by whom-if by any person the apostles were compared to bishops and the seventy to presbyters; but the comparison certainly does not hold. During our Lord's sojourning on earth, he was the only bishop or overseer of his church, if without absurdity we can taik of the bishops of a church, which was not yet built, though he was laying its foundation; and if so, the apostles ought to be compared to presbyters, and the seventy to deacons. More than deacons they. VOL. III.
certainly were not-if even so much; for if this cata-
That they might be of mutual assistance to each
+ From the xxixth chapter of the book of Numbers we learn, that on the first day of this feast, thirteen bullocks were to be offered; on the second, twelve; on the third, eleven; on the fourth, ten; on the fifth, nine; on the sixth, eight; on the seventh, seven; and on the eight, or last, only one; so that in regard to the sacrifices, the last day was the least of all, and yet the Jews accounted it the greatest, because on that day the king of Israel (as the Talmu dists love to speak) was entertained by his own people only, and not by those of any other nation. For their tradition is, that on the first day of the feast, their ancestors (when the temple was standing) sacrificed seventy bullocks for the seventy nations, (for they suppose just so many) that are upon the face of the earth; but on the last day, no more than one, but that in the name of the people of Israel only. And as they imagine that an earthly prince may sometimes (instead of a vast entertainment) desire but a small collation with his first favourite, that they may have an opportunity of some familiar converse together; so upon the account of the intimate friendship with God, which the Jews on that day thought themselves admitted to, and the excessive joy which, from the sense of that friendship, they expressed in all the outward significations of music, singing, and dancing, the last day of the feast of Tabernacles was always accounted the greatest. Surenhusii Conciliationes in Loca V. T. apud. Johan.
casion from the custom of fetching water from the fountain of Siloah in great pomp, and pouring it upon the altar of burnt-offerings in great abundance, to acquaint them with the future effusion of the Holy Ghost, which he intended to send down upon all Vulg. Ar. 30. those that believed in him.
A. M. 4035. &c. or 5
5141. Ann. Dom.
Those who knew the great hatred which the ruling part of the nation had conceived against him, admired to hear him speak with so much freedom and intrepidity; and those who had seen the number and greatness of his miracles, were by them convinced that he was the true Messiah; but the prejudice of his being a Galilean, and not acknowledged by any of their rulers and learned Rabbies, led others into a contrary persuasion. In the conclusion, officers were sent from the Sanhedrim to apprehend him, but they were so taken with his person and preaching, that they became his disciples; for upon their return, they told the council that they could not execute their office, because "never man spake like him : " so that the Pharisees, who were part of the assembly, being more enraged at their reason which they gave, than the neglect of their duty, upbraided them for being so easily seduced, and for following the error of an ignorant mob; until Nicodemus, who had formerly conversed with our Lord, and was indeed a secret disciple of his, seeing with what violence his enemies were bent against him, could not forbear interposing in his behalf, by urging the unlawfulness of condemning a person without hearing; so that after some reflections thrown upon him, as a favourer of this Galilean †2, who could have no pretensions (as they said) to the title of a prophet, the assembly +3 broke up without proceeding any farther against him, because indeed as yet "his time was not fully come."
In the evening Jesus repaired to the Mount of Olives, about a mile from the city, and where he sometimes used to pass the night with his apostles. Early next morning he returned to the temple, and as he was teaching the people that were gathered about him, the scribes and Pharisees brought in a woman taken in the act of adultery, and desired him to give his judgment in the case. Their purpose was to find an occasion of accusing him, either of assuming a judicial power if he condemned her, or of nulling the law if he acquitted her: But he (as if he had not much minded them) stoopeddown, and wrote + something with his finger upon the dust of the pavement; till, up
In these words there are two things remarkable, 1st, The power of Christ's preaching to change the frame and temper of mens spirits; for these men came with hearts alienated from Christ, and with intention to apprehend, and carry him before the chief priests, but returned with great admiration of his excellency and worth. 2dly, The honesty and integrity of these men is very remarkable; for they do not return with a pretence that they feared the multitude, and therefore thought it dangerous to apprehend him, but in genuously confess, that they could not prevail with themselves to lay violent hands upon a person whose discourses were so excellent and Divine. Whitby's Annotations.
+ Our Blessed Saviour was neither by birth nor by descent a Galilean; but admitted he had been so, it is a false assertion to say, that no prophet ever arose out of Galilee, since Nahum, though originally of the tribe of Simeon, (according to the testimony of St Jerome, who himself was a Galilean) was born in that province, and in Elcisi, the same town which that fa ther came from; since Jonas was undoubtedly of Gath-hepher, in the tribe of Zebulon, which lay in the land of Galilee, 2 Kings xiv. 25. and in the opinion of several, Malachi was of the same tribe, and born in the city of Sapha: For as there can be no
reason in nature, so is there no declaration of the Divine Will, why a Galilean should not be inspired with the gift of prophecy as well as any other Jew. Pool's and Beausobre's Annotations, and Calmet's Commentary.
+3 Some are of opinion, that the party of Sadducees in the council who held the rites and traditions of the Pharisees in great contempt, joined with Nico. demus in not having Christ condemned without a fair hearing, which was no more than what the law required, Deut. i. 16. 17. Pool's Annotations.
It is generally agreed, that upon this occasion our Lord wrote some memor ble sentence or other, but what that sentence was, the conjectures of learned men have been various. Some have imagined, that it was the reproof against a rigid and uncharitable temper, which occurs in his sermon on the Mount: Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?" Matth v. 3. others, that it was the very words which upon his raising himself up he pronounced to the woman's accusers; "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her," John viii 7. and others again, that it might rather be that passage in the Psalmist, "Unto the ungodly, said God, why dost thou preach my laws, and takest my
xii. 1. Mark ii.
on their importuning him for an answer, he raised himself up, and said, †" He that From Matth. is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone;" and so stooping down, wrote as 23. Luke vi. 1. before. This unexpected answer baffled these insidious accusers, who, thoroughly con- John v. 1. to vinced of their own crimes, retired one by one, and left the woman alone; so that Matth. xvii. 14. when our Lord lift up himself again, and found none but the woman standing by him, Luke ix. 37. he asked her what was become of her accusers, and whether any one had condemned John vii. 1. her? And when he understood by her answer that no one had, †2 "Neither do I condemn thee (said he), go and sin no more."
Mark ix. 14.
After this interruption Jesus returned to the business of instructing the people, and in a sublime discourse opened several great mysteries of Christianity, viz his Divine mission, his co-equality with the Father, his ability to give eternal life to his followers, and the necessity of believing in him, which would be more evident after his crucifixion; and thence taking occasion to expose the wickedness and. degeneracy of those who sought to take away his life, and how unlike to the behaviour of the Sons of God
covenant in thy mouth? Whereas thou hatest to be reformed, and hast cast my words behind thee. When thou sawest a thief thou consentedst unto him, and hast been partaker with the adulterers, Psal. I. 16, &c. But all this is mere guess work and it seems more prudent to say nothing of the actions of our Saviour, when we are not admitted to the reasons of them. Calmet's Commentary, and Beausobre's An
doubtless not far from him; the meaning therefore of the expression must be, that she was left without any of her accusers, who, out of shame, sneaked a. way, being convicted in their consciences, that whatever the woman was, they were no proper evidences against her: For, " Non modo accusator, sed ne objurgator quidem ferendus est (says Tully, in Verron. Orat. v.) is, qui, quod in alio reprehendit, in eo ipse reprehenditur." Nor is it to be wondered that, upon this occasion, all the woman's accusers departed from her, since the Jews themselves own that adulteries did multiply under the second temple, when their Rabbins came to permit every one "to have four or five wives, and said that they sinned not if, after the example of the patriarchs, when they saw a beautiful woman they desired to have her." Just. Mart. Dial. pag. 363. Calmet's Commentary and Whitby's An
+ The Rabbinical writers tell us, that when a man or woman was convicted of adultery, they were led out to the brow of an hill, with their hands tied behind their backs, where their accusers pushed them down headlong; that if with the fall they were killed, there was no more done to them; but if they were still alive, the same accusers were to roll great stones upon them, and if these did not dispatch them, the company then all took up stones and quite overwhelmed them with them. But we have nothing of all this in the law of Moses. In all the places where he makes mention of this punishment, we only find that the criminal was to be led out of the city," and stoned with stones till he died," and that "the hands of the witnesses should be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hands of all the people," Deut. xvii. 7. It is in allusion to this passage that our Saviour says, "Let him that is without sin among you cast the first stone," because it badly becomes those who are guilty, either of the same or greater crimes, to be so very zealous for the punishment of others. This however hinders not but that magistrates, who are entrusted with the execution of the Jaws, should put them in force against malefactors, even though themselves are not entirely exempt from sin; but still it reminds them that they should execute judgment with compassion and tenderness, and as much moderation as the law will allow them; considering that they themselves are not free from guilt, but as obnoxious to punishment for other sins as those poor creatures are, who have failen into crimes that are punishable by human judicatories. Calmet's Commentary and Pool's Annotations.
In the very next words it is said, that the woman "stood in the midst of the people," and our Lord's apostles, who were his constant attendants, were
+ Both Selden and Fagius are of opinion, that this woman might come under the number of them whose case is thus represented in the words of Deuteronomy. "If a dansel that is a virgin be betrothed to an husband, and a man find her in the city, and he lie with her, then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of the city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour's wife," Deut. xxii. 23, 24. The punishment of stoning, which this law mentions, and the accusers of this woman here insist on, seems to favour this notion; and the indulgence which our Saviour shewed her, looks as if she had suffered some kind of violence, though she was not entirely innocent. Our Saviour, however, could not act in the capacity of a judge, because that was no part of his presenti ministry: Though therefore he was so far from approving her conduct, that he sufficiently bla med her, in bidding her sin no more, yet was he restrained from pronouncing any sentence of condemnation upon her, because the end of his coming at this time into the world was "not to judge the world but to save it," John xii. 47. Selden, Uxor. Heb. lib. iii. c. 11. Fagius in Deut. xxii. 22. and Calmet's Commentary.
A. M. 4035, and Abraham (whom they boasted themselves to be) such causeless and inveterate ma&c. or 5441. lice was, he so provoked them with his severe reflections, and especially with the superiority which he claimed above Abraham, that they took up stones to cast at him, had Vulg. Er. 30. he not miraculously conveyed himself out of their hands.
Before our Lord left Jerusalem the seventy disciples, whom he had sent to preach the Gospel, returned from their journey and ministry greatly rejoicing, because the very devils, by virtue of his name t, were subjected to them; whereupon our Lord promised them still greater success; invested them with power to tread upon the most venomous beasts +2, and all the malignant instruments of Satan, without the least harm; and at the same time gave them assurance of a blessing more peculiarly theirs, viz. that their +3 names were recorded in heaven; and so broke out into a rapture of joy, glorifying God for concealing the mysteries of the Gospel from the great and wise, and revealing them to the simple and ignorant, and to his disciples more especially, who, in virtue of that revelation, enjoyed an happiness which many kings and prophets had in vain desired.
Our Lord had scarce ended his discourse, when a doctor of the law stood up, and enquired of him, what was necessary to be done for the attainment of that eternal life † which he was so very liberal in promising to his followers. Whereupon our Lord remitted him to the law, which, according to the doctor's own account, consisted chiefly in the love of God and the love of our neighbour. But when he demanded farther,
The power which our Saviour gave to the Seventy, when he sent them out to preach the Gospel, was only that of healing the sick wherever they went, Luke x. 9. but finding that, upon naming their master's name, they were able likewise to cure those that were possessed of devils, this they made the greater matter of their joy, and at their return told it with more pleasure, because it was no part of their commission. It is to be observed, however, that our Lord himself cast out devils by a Divine power residing in himself; his disciples only, in virtue of his name, or by a power derived from him. Seeing then that this power accompanied them in all parts of the world, it was necessary that Christ's presence should be with them every where, and such a presence was a certain proof of his being God. Whitby's Annotations and Hammond's Paraphrase.
These words seem to have a plain allusion to those in the Psalmist, where, under the metaphor of "treading on the scorpion and basilisk," Psalm xci. 13. God promises the good man a more than common protection from all sorts of dangers and enemies. But there is no reason however, I think, why our Saviour's words may not here be taken in a literal sense, since they agree so well with what he promises all true believers in another place, they shall take up serpents, (as we find one fastened upon St Paul's hand without doing him any harm, Acts xxviii. 3.), and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them," Mark xvi. 18. Whitby's Annotations and Calmet's Commentary.
+3 The words allude to a known custom in well governed cities, where registers are kept of the names of their inhabitants, and do plainly denote the title which believers have to eternal happiness; but by no means an absolute election to it.. For as a citizen,
when he misbehaves egregiously, and thereupon becomes infamous, has his name razed out of the cityregister, and is himself disfranchised of all his privileges; so we read of some whom Christ threatens "to blot their names out of the book of life," Rev. xxii.. 19. For," as men are written in this book (says St Basil in Isaiah iv. 3.) when they are converted from vice to virtue, so are they blotted out of it when they backslide from virtue to vice." Of the twelve, we read that one was certainly a reprobate; and though it becomes us to hope better of the Seventy, yet our Saviour's words give us no room to think that they were all predestinated to eternal life, since his meaning only is, that his disciples, instead of estimating their happiness from the power of working miracles, should rather make it consist in this,-That he had called, chosen, and separated them from great. numbers that would perish; that he had given them the grace of faith and admission to the Christian covenant, but that on themselves it was incumbent, by the preservation of their faith and the practice of good works comporting therewith, "to make their calling and election sure. Hammond's and Whitby's Annotations, and Calmet's Commentary.
+ The law of Moses does no where expressly promise eternal life to those that observed its precepts. It is wholly taken up with temporal blessings and prosperities; and yet the generality of the Jews were not destitute of the hopes of another life, because their writers, a little before and after the captivity, are very full of it, so that it became the prevailing opinion of the whole nation, and was received by their two principal sects, the Pharisees and Essenes ; for as for the Sadducees, who had other notions of the matter, their religion was very little, and their principles purely Epicurean. Calmet's Commentary.
xii. 1. Mark ii.
what the notion of a neighbour † implied? Our Lord thought proper to answer this From Mater. question by telling him-" That once upon a time, a certain Jew, as he was travelling 23. Luke vi. 1. in the road between +2 Jerusalem and Jericho, was robbed, stripped, barbarously used, John v. 1. to and left almost dead with his wounds; that by chance a priest † came that way, and Mark ix. 14. saw the poor wretch weltering in his blood, but the horror of the sight did not affect Luke ix. 37. him, he passed along unconcerned; that next came a Levite, but he too was as void of John vii. 1. tenderness and compassion as was the priest, though both of them were of the same country with the sufferer; that at last a Samaritan, a stranger, and one abhorred by the Jews, seeing this distressed person, with great compassion came to him, raised his head, recalled his fainting spirits, and closed his gaping wounds with the best medicines ++ he had; then, mounting him on his own horse, he gently conveyed him to the first inn, where, at his own cost, he entertained him while he stayed with him, and at his departure + promised the host to be at whatever expences more should accrue." From which plain narration, the doctor himself + could not but conclude, that the Samaritan was the neighbour to the person in distress, and, consequently, that the notion of a neighbour comprehended men of all nations and all religions whatever.
As soon as the feast of tabernacles was ended, our Lord departed from Jerusalem, and in the beginning of his journey went to a small village called Bethany, about two miles east of Jerusalem, where he was joyfully received by a woman named Martha, who, with her sister Mary and her brother Lazarus, was highly in favour with him. While Martha was busy in making preparation for his entertainment, her sister Mary
In our Saviour's time, the Pharisees had restrained the word neighbour to signify those of their own nation, their own religion, and their own friends only; and all who differed from them in any of these respects, they indulged the people the liberty to hate, nor would they permit them to extend the least office of common civility to any such. But our Saviour overthrew these false maxims of the Jewish doctors, and reduced the precept of universal charity to its first intention, when, in this parable of the Jew and the Samaritan, he plainly demonstrated, that no difference of nation or religion, no quarrel or resentment, no enmity or alienation of affections, can exempt us from owning any person to be our neighbour. Whitby's Annotations.
+ Between Jerusalem and Jericho (which were about seven leagues distant) the road was very infamous for murders and robberies, for in it was a place called the valley of Adommim, or of bloody men, because of the great quantity of blood that was there spilt; and for this reason it is that our Lord lays the scene of his parable in this place. Calmet's Commentary.
To make the description more lively, our Saviour instances in two men, a priest and a Levite, who took no pity of this Jew in distress, though they were of the same religion and country, nay, though they were the ministers and teachers of the religion which he professed, and might therefore be presumed, even in virtue of their office and education, to have more extensive notions, and hearts more capable of tender impressions than the ruder vulgar: And for the same reason, he introduces a Samaritan as acting a different part, and taking all imaginable care of this wounded Jew, though between Jews and Samaritans there was a most inveterate hatred.
+ The words in the text are, "pouring in wine and oil;" Oil, to ease and assuage the pain; and wine, to cleanse and heal the wound: And these things the good Samaritan had about him, because the inns in the eastern countries (even as it is still) afforded nothing but barely house-room; and therefore the custom was for the traveller to carry all kinds of necessaries, both for his bed and board, along with him. Calmet's Commentary.
+ The words in the text are," when he departed he took out two pence," Luke x. 35. The δηνάριον, which we render a penny, was a kind of Roman coin, much about seven pence half-penny of our money. In the New Testament (for it never occurs in the Old) it is usually put for a piece of money in general, i. e. for a shekel, which was the most common coin among the Jews before they became subject to the Greeks and Romans; so that in this sense, what the Samaritan gave the host amounted to five shillings or thereabout, which is more consistent with the rest of his character, than that he should leave so small a matter behind him. Calmet's Commentary.
+ Had our Saviour propounded the parable in this manner,--That a certain Samaritan fell among thieves, and that a priest and a Levite passed by without offering him any help, this doctor of the law might have replied, that they did nothing but right, because the Samaritan was no neighbour of theirs: But now, as he makes a Jew the subject of the parable, and the object of the Samaritan's compassion, he draws him in to acknowledge the voice of nature, which declares, that every man is neighbour to his fellow creature, and that the law of Moses has not annulled, but perfected the law of nature, by commanding us to "love our neighbour as ourselves," Levit. xix. 18. Calmet's Commentary.