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Of Jesus's Departure into Galilee ; his Manner of Life,
Miracles, and Preaching; his calling of Disciples ; and what happened until the Second Passover.
1. “ When Jesus understood that John was cast into prison",” and that the Pharisees were envious at him for the great multitudes of people that resorted to his baptism, which he ministered, not in his own person, but by the deputation of his disciples, they finishing the ministration which himself began, (who, as Euodius", bishop of Antioch, reports, baptized the blessed Virgin, his mother, and Peter only; and Peter baptized Andrew, James, and John, and they others;) he left Judæa, and came into Galilee; and in his passage he must touch Sychar, a city of Samaria, where, in the heat of the day and the weariness of his journey, he sat himself down upon the margin of Jacob's well; whither, when“ his disciples were gone to buy meat, a Samaritan woman cometh to draw water," of whom Jesus asked some, to cool his thirst, and refresh his weariness.
2. Little knew the woman the excellency of the person, that asked so small a charity: neither had she been taught, that “ a cup of cold water given to a disciple should be rewarded," and much rather such a present to the Lord himself. But she prosecuted the spite of her nations, and the interest and quarrel of the schism; and, instead of washing Jesus's feet, and giving him drink, demanded, why he, “ being a Jew, should ask water of a Samaritan? for the Jews have no intercoure with the Samaritans.”
3. The ground of the quarrel was this. In the sixth year of Hezekiah, Salmanasar, king of Assyria, sacked Samaria, transported the Israelites to Assyria, and planted an Assyrian colony in the town and country; who, by Divine vengeance, were destroyed by lions, which no power of man could restrain or lessen. The king thought the cause was, their
a Matt, iv. 12.
Quæsitum ad fonteni solos deducere verpos. ---Jur. Sat, xiv.
not serving the God of Israel according to the rites of Moses; and therefore sent a Jewish captive priest, to instruct the remanent inhabitants in the Jewish religion; who so learned and practised it, that they still retained the superstition of the Gentile rites; till Manasses, the brother of Jaddi, the high priest at Jerusalem, married the daughter of Sanballat, who was the governor under king Darius. Manasses being reproved for marrying a stranger, the daughter of an uncircumcised Gentile, and admonished to dismiss her, flies to Samaria, persuades his father-in-law to build a temple in mount Gerizim, introduces the rites of daily sacrifice, and makes himself high priest, and began to pretend to be the true successor of Aaron, and commences a schism, in the time of Alexander the Great. From whence the question of religion grew so high, that it begat disaffections, anger, animosities, quarrels, bloodshed, and murders ; not only in Palestine, but wherever a Jew and Samaritan had the ill fortune to meet. Such being the nature of men, that they think it the greatest injury in the world, when other men are not of their minds; and that they please God most, when they are most furiously zealous; and no zeal better to be
think God hates. This schism was prosecuted with the greatest spite that ever any was, because both the people were much given to superstition; and this was helped forward by the constitution of their religion, consisting much in ex
ternals and ceremonials, and which they cared not much to hallow and make moral, by the intertexture of spiritual senses and charity. And, therefore, the Jews called the Samaritans “ accursed;" the Samaritans, at the paschal solemnity, would at midnight, when the Jews' temple was open, scatter dead men's bones", to profane and desecrate the place; and both would fight, and eternally dispute the question; sometimes referring it to arbitrators, and then the
conquered party would decline the arbitration after sentence; which they did at Alexandria, before Ptolemæus Philometor, when Andronicus had, by a rare and exquisite oration, procured sentence against Theodosius and Sabbæus, the Samaritan advocates : the sentence was given for Jerusalem, and
the schism increased, and lasted till the time of our Saviour's conference with this woman.
4. And it was so implanted and woven in with every understanding, that when the woman “ perceived Jesus to be a prophet,” she undertook this question with him : “ Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” Jesus knew the schism was great enough already, and was not willing to make the rent wider: and though he gave testimony to the truth, by saying, “ Salvation is of the Jews ;” and “ we know what we worship, ye do not;" yet, because the subject of this question was shortly to be taken away, Jesus takes occasion to preach the Gospel, to hasten an expedient, and, by way of anticipation, to reconcile the disagreeing interests, and settle a revelation, to be verified for ever. Neither here nor there, by way of confinement; not in one country more than another; but wherever any man shall call upon God“ in spirit and truth," there he shall be heard.
5. But all this while the holy Jesus was athirst, and therefore hastens at least to discourse of water, though as yet he got none. He tells her of “ living water,” of eternal satisfactions, of “ never thirsting again," of her own personal condition of matrimonial relation, and professes himself to be the Messias ; and then was interrupted by the coming of his disciples, who wondered to see him alone,“ talking with a woman,” besides his custom and usual reservation. But the woman, full of joy and wonder, left her water-pot, and ran to the city, to publish the Messias : and immediately “ all the city came out to see ; and
upon the testimony of the woman, and more when they heard his own discourses.” They invited him to the town, and received him with hospitable civilities for two days, after which he departed to his own Galilee.
6. Jesus, therefore, came into the country, where he was received with respect and fair entertainment, because of the miracles which the Galileans saw done by him at the feast; and being at Cana, where he wrought the first miracle, a a noble personage; a little king, say some; a palatine, says St. Jerome; a kingly person, certainly, came to Jesus with much reverence, and desire that he would be pleased to come to his house, and cure his son, now ready to die;
which he seconds with much importunity, fearing lest his sont be dead before he get thither. Jesus, who did not do his miracles by natural operations, cured the child at distance, and dismissed the prince, telling him his son lived; which, by narration of his servants, he found to be true, and that he recovered at the same time when Jesus spake these salutary and healing words. Upon which accident he and all his house became disciples.
7. And now Jesus left Nazareth, and came to Capernaum, a maritime town, and of great resort, choosing that for his scene of preaching, and his place of dwelling. For now the time was fulfilled, the office of the Baptist was expired, and the kingdom of God was at hand. He, therefore, preached the sum of the Gospel, faith and repentance: “Repent ye, and believe the Gospel.” And what that Gospel was, the sum and series of all his sermons afterwards did declare.
8. The work was now grown high and pregnant, and Jesus saw it convenient to choose disciples to his ministry and service in the work of preaching, and to be “ witnesses of all that he should say, do, or teach,” for ends which were afterwards made public and excellent. Jesus, therefore, “ as he walked by the sea of Galilee,” called Simon and Andrew, who knew him before, by the preaching of John; and now “ left all,” their ship and their net," and followed him. And when he was gone a little farther, he calls the two sons of Zebedee, James and John; and they went after him.” And with this family he goes up and down the whole Galilee, preaching the Gospel of the kingdom, healing all manner of diseases, curing demoniacs, cleansing lepers, and giving strength to paralytics and lame people.
9. But when “ the people pressed on him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Genesareth," and presently “ entering into Simon's ship,” commanded him to launch into the deep,” and “from thence he taught the people," and there wrought a miracle ; for, being Lord of the creatures, he commanded the fishes of the sea, and they obeyed. For when Simon, who had “ fished all night in vain, let down his net at the command of Jesus, he enclosed so great a multitude of fishes, that the net brake;" and the fishermen were amazed and fearful at so prodigious a draught. But beyond the miracle, it was intended, that a representation
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