Page images

assisted by them, will be enabled to dictate proper rules of self denial.

When the Scribes and Pharisees asked him, in the synagogue, whether it were lawful to heal a man with a withered hand on the sabbath, he thus appealed to their feelings and understanding : “Is ? it lawful to do good on the sabbath day, or to do evil ? to save life, or to kill ?” or What man shall there be among you that shall have one sheep; and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold of it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do good on the sabbath day.” And he argued in like manner, when the ruler of the synagogue was moved with indignation at his restoring on the sabbath a woman “ who had been bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself,” for a long course of years. " Thou s hypocrite, doth not each of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound lo these eighteen years, to be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day.” And he thus vindicated his miracle at the pool of Bethesda : “Moses gave

9 Mark iii. 4.

i Malt. xii. 11, 12. • Luke xiii. 15, 16. · The authorities for omitting v. 4. of John, c. v. may be seen in Wet. stein, and in Kuster's edit. of Mill in loc. and proleg. 433, and præf. p. 5, I add that cod. Brix. in Blanchini's evang. quadr. omits this verse : though against this omission some remarks may be found in the proleg. to that work, p. 22. The close of this verse does not resemble St. John's style ; and contains two words which do not occur else where in the New Testament. I am strongly inclined to omit the verse, and, with Theophylact and Hammond, to attribute the quality of the water

you circumcision, and ye on the sabbath circumcise

"If a man on the sabbath day receive cir

a man.

to the blood and entrails of the beasts slain in the temple at the Jewish festivals. Maundrel says that the place shewn for Bethesda is contiguous to the area of the temple. Journey 6th ed. p. 108. The word Bethesda is usually derived from gon n'a domus misericordiæ ; but its etymology may be on nis domus effusionis : for yox is effudit in Chald. and Syr. The blood, &c. of the victims may therefore have been con. ducted off, from the place of slaying the beasts in the temple, to this pool :

: and the multitude may have supposed its healing quality greater and more general than it really was. The former part of o. 7. may refer to the latter part of o. 3 ; if indeed this clause is to be retained. Otherwise it alludes to a well known fact at the time, that the virtue of the water began when it was disturbed by the usual influx. And araos in the latter part of o. 7. may signify plurally, as . 43. and 1 Cor. üi. 10. Others prevent me : some one or other of the crowd continues to obstruct me, till the waters lose their quality, or till the place is full. I have no friend to bring me forward soon enough.” Wolfius, curæ phil. in loc. mentions the derivation from son, and says ; ila statuit Bochartus ii. 614, Wagenseilius in nolis ad Sota, p. 308, cum Calviro, Gomaro, aliisque : aquas præterea illas eas fuisse autumat, quibus sacerdotes manus suas pedesque aut victimas abluerent, et quæ e labro æneo quotidie evacuabantur, ex templo manantes, et hinc in urbe alicubi stagnantes. Non alienus hinc est Adrian Relandus in Palestina, p. 857. Posset, inquit is, aliquis suspicari, aquas quæ lavandis victimis inservierunt in conclavi lavantium, collectas fuisse certo loco, et illas pro sanctis habitas, adeoque salubribus. Reland quotes Eusebius's Onomasticon as saying that “ one of the two lakes of Bethesda had uncommonly red water, and retained a trace, as was reported of the victims which were formerly cleansed in it ; for which reason it is called the sheep pool, on account of the sacrifices.” And he also quotes these words from Jerom : alter (lacus,] mirum in modum rubens, quasi cruentis aquis antiqui in se operis signa testatur. Nam hostias in eo lavari a sacerdotibus solitas ferunt, unde et nomen accepit. John vii 22, 3. Abei Tšto may very well be joined to the preceding verse. Some think that it may be rendered, As to this matter. See Mark xii. 24. Grotius supplies, Propterea audite quod dicam. It seems probable thai the words, ( not that it is of Moses, but of the fathers, ) are a gloss inserted in the text.


[ocr errors]

cumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken ; are ye angry at me because I have made a man altogether whole on the sabbath day ?”

He established the goodness and transcendent liberality of God in the following manner: “If a "son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone ? Or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent ? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children ; how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him ?

When the Jews charged him with blasphemy, for making himself God by the assertion that he and his Father were one, he answered: “Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are Gods. * If he called them Gods unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; say ye of him whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest : because I said, I am the Son of God ?”

When the Pharisees questioned him about » divorces, he referred them to the words of Moses ; took up the point on which the argument turned, “ So that they are no more twain but one flesh ;” and reasoned against “divorcing a wife for every cause,” from the closeness of the marriage tie, and from its divine appointment.

We also read that he thus proved the resurrection of the dead against the Sadducees, who denied that

w Luke xi. 11, 13.

* John x. 35, &c.

y Matt. xix. 3-6.

[ocr errors]

great truth.

" . Have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”

For ! all live unto him.” therefore do greatly err.” I consider our Lord as arguing thus : The inconceivably great and glorious God could not be called the God of those whose ex. istence terminated with this life. God would be b ashamed to be called their God, if he had not prepared for them a continuing city; of which, in his own time, he will make them the glorious inhabitants.

Once more : When the Scribes and Pharisees, who went down from Jerusalem to Capernaum, said that our Lord had Beelzebub, and that he cast out demons by the prince of the demons, he forcibly confuted their blasphemy by the following parables : " How can Satan cast out Satan? And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot standa And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end. No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, unless he first bind the strong man : and then he will spoil his house." “And if I by Beelzebub cast out demons, by whom; do your sons cast them out ? therefore shall they be your judges. But if I by the finger of God cast out demons, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.” He seems to

b Heb. xi. 16. xii. 14.

2 Mark xii. 26, 7. Mark iii. 23–7.

Luke xx. 38. d Luke xi. 19, 20.

[ocr errors]

say: I am establishing a kingdom of righteousness by beneficent miracles : and if Satan assisted me in such a work, he would destroy his own power. You represent him as averting both natural and moral evil, instead of delighting in them. But it is plain, from the nature of my doctrines and miracles, that he is the vanquished and not the confederate. And if there be such an unnatural confederacy, your own kinsfolk will appear to be engaged in it; and it will be too general not to be discovered.



OUR Lord's discourses are void of artificial and studied ornaments, but have a force and energy which no art can equal. The general characteristics of his manner are simplicity, affection, and dignity : qualities of speech which are the immediate sources of beauty and sublimity.

We may observe a lively use of the interrogation in some places : “* Ye shall know false prophets by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns ? or figs of thistles ?” “6 Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? c or with what comparison shall we compare it?"

ud Whereunto shall I liken the

• Matt. vii. 16. b Mark iv. 30. c Observe here the pleonastic manner common in the Old Testament ; the parallelism of the second branch of the sentence to the former. d Luke vii. 31.

« PreviousContinue »