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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 oppressions", 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
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 more 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
b Cicero Ep. Famil. lib. xiii. et in Orat.
Plancio. "Ideni ad Quint. Fratrem de Regimine Præfecturæ Asian.
* Vita Publicanorum aperta est violentia, impunita rapiva, negotiatio pullâ ratione constans, inverecunda mercatura.
Πάντες τελώναι, πάντες εισίν άρπαγες. -- Suidas, V. Publicanus.
Apud Hebræum textum D. Matthæi publicani dicti Parisin, nomine proprio latronibus qui sepes et maceriam dirimunt, licèt propriè dicti Gabuim; unde fortasse Gabella. VOL. I.
ciples of Jesus did not fast?” Jesus told them, it was because these were the days in which the Bridegroom was come in person to espouse the church unto himself; and, therefore, for “ the children of the bride-chamber to fast” then, was like the bringing of a dead corpse to the joys of a bride, or the pomps of coronation ; " the days should come, that the bridegroom should retire” into his chamber, and draw the curtains, “ and then they should fast in those days."
20. While Jesus was discoursing with the Pharisees, “ Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue, came to him,” desiring he would help his daughter, who lay in the confines of death, ready to depart. Whither as he was going, a woman met him, who had been diseased with an issue of blood twelve years," without hope of remedy from art or nature; and therefore she runs to Jesus, thinking, without precedent, upon the confident persuasions of a holy faith,“ that if she did but touch the hem of his garment, she should be whole.” She came trembling, and full of hope and reverence, and “touched his garment, and immediately the fountain of her unnatural emanation was stopped,” and reverted to its natural course and offices. St. Ambrose says, that this woman was Martha. But it is not likely that she was a Jewess, but a Gentile ; because of that return which she made, in memory of her cure and honour of Jesus, according to the Gentile rites. For Eusebius reports', that himself saw, at Cæsarea Philippi, a statue of brass, representing a woman kneeling at the feet of a goodly personage, who held his hand out to her in a posture of granting her request, and doing favour to her ; and the inhabitants said, it was erected by the care and cost of this woman; adding, (whether out of truth or easiness is not certain,) that at the pedestal of this statue an usual plant did grow, which, when it was come up to that maturity and height as to arrive at the fringes of the brass monument, it was medicinal in many dangerous diseases : so far Eusebius. Concerning which story I shall make no censure but this, that since St. Mark and St. Luke affirm, that this woman, before her cure,
I Lib. vii. Hist. c. 14.
'Επίσημον Χριστού άγαλμα, et του Χριστού ανδριάντα. -Αpud Sozomen. lib. V. c. 20.
Johan. Damas. de Imagin. Orat. iii. ex Chronico Johan. Melalæ Autioch. Episc. ait, supplicem libellum oblatum Philippo Tetrarchæ Trachonitidis regionis, ut liceret statuas erigere in memoriam accepti beneficii.
“ had spent all her substance upon physicians,” it is not easily imaginable how she should become able to dispend so great a sum of money, as would purchase two so great statues of brass : and if she could, yet it is still more unlikely that the Gentile princes and proconsuls, who searched all places, public and private, and were curiously diligent to destroy all honorary monuments of Christianity, should let this alone; and that this should escape, not only the diligence of the persecutors, but the fury of such wars and changes as happened in Palestine, and that for three hundred years together it should stand up in defiance of all violences and changeable fate of all things. However it be, it is certain, that the book against images, published by the command of Charles the Great, eight hundred and fifty years ago, gave no credit to the story; and if it had been true, it is more than probable, that Justin Martyr", who was born and bred in Palestine, and Origen, who lived many years in Tyre, in the neighbourhood of the place where the statue is said to stand, and were highly diligent to heap together all things of advantage and reputation to the Christian cause, would not have omitted so notable an instanoe. It is therefore likely that the statues which Eusebius saw, and concerning wbich he heard such stories, were first placed there upon the stock of a heathen story or ceremony; and in process of time, for the likeness of the figures, and its capacity to be translated to the Christian story, was, by the Christians in after ages, attributed, by a fiction of fancy, and afterwards by credulity, confidently applied to the present narrative.
21. “ When Jesus was come to the ruler's house," he found the minstrels making their funeral noises for the death of Jairus's daughter, and his servants had met him, and acquainted him of“ the death of the child;" yet Jesus turned out the minstrels, and “ entered with the parents of the child into her chamber, and taking her by the hand, called her," and awakened her from her sleep of death, and “commanded them to give her to eat,” and enjoined them not to publish the miracle. But as flames, suppressed by violent detentions, break out and rage with a more impetuous and rapid motion;
► Mark, v. 26. Loke, viii. 43.
• Lib. iv. de Imagin. cap. 15.
so it happened to Jesus ; who, endeavouring to make the noises and reports of him less popular, made them to be æcumenical; for not only we do that most greedily from which we are most restrained, but a great merit, enamelled with humility, and restrained with modesty, grows more beauteous and florid, up to the heights of wonder and glories.
22. As he came from Jairus's house, he cured two blind men upon their petition, and confession that they did believe in him; and cast out a dumb devil, so much to the wonder and amazement of the people, that the Pharisees could hold no longer, being ready to burst with envy, but said, “ he cast out devils by help of the devils :" their malice being, as usually it is, contradictory to its own design, by its being unreasonable ; nothing being more sottish than for the devil to divide his kingdom upon a plot; to ruin his certainties upon hopes future and contingent. But this was but the first eruption of their malice; all the year last past, which was the first year of Jesus's preaching, all was quiet ; neither the Jews, nor the Samaritans, nor the Galileans, did malign his doctrine or person, but he preached with much peace on all handso; for this was the year which the prophet Isaiah called in his prediction “ the acceptable year of the Lord.”
Ad SECTION XII.
Considerations upon the Intercourse happening between the
Holy Jesus and the Woman of Samaria.
1. When the holy Jesus, perceiving it unsafe to be at Jerusalem, returned to Galilee, where the largest scene of his prophetical office was to be represented, he journeyed on foot through Samaria ; and being weary' and faint, hungry and thirsty, he sat down by a well, and begged water of a Samaritan woman that was a sinner; who' at first refused him, with some incivility of language. But he, instead of returning anger and passion to her rudeness, which was com.
• Epiphan. in Panar. lib. ii. tom. 1. hæres. 51.
menced upon the interest of a mistaken religion", preached the coming of the Messias to her, unlocked the secrets of her heaīt, and let in his grace, and made " a fountain of living water to spring up” in her soul, to extinguish the impure flames of lust which had set her on fire, burning like hell ever since the death of her fifth husband, she then becoming a concubine to the sixth. Thus Jesus transplanted nature into grace, his hunger and thirst into religious appetites, the darkness of the Samaritan into a clear revelation, her sin into repentance and charity, and so quenched his own thirst by relieving her needs : and as “it was meat to him to do his Father's will,” so it was drink to him to bring us to drink of " the fountain of living water.” For thus God declared it to be a delight to him to see us live, as if he were refreshed by those felicities which he gives to us as communications of his grace, and instances of mercy, and consignations to heaven. Upon which we can look with no eye but such as sees and _admires the excellency of the Divine charity, which, being an emanation from the mercies and essential compassion of eternity, God cannot choose but rejoice in it, and love the works of his mercy, who was so well pleased in the works of his power. He that was delighted in the creation, was highly pleased in the nearer conveyances of himself, when he sent the holy Jesus to bear his image, and his mercies, and his glories, and offer them to the use and benefit of man., For this was the chief of the works of God, and therefore the blessed Master could not but be highliest pleased with it, in imitation of his heavenly Father.
2. The woman, observing our Saviour to have come with his face from Jerusalem, was angry at him upon the quarrel of the old schism. The Jews and the Samaritans had differing rites, and the zealous persons upon each side did commonly dispute themselves into uncharitableness: and so have Christians upon the same confidence, and zeal, and mistake. For although“ righteousness hath no fellowship with unrighteousness, nor Christ with Belial;" yet the consideration of the crime of heresy, which is a spiritual wickedness, is to be
• Apud ipsos fides obstinata, misericordia in promptu, adversus omnes alios hostile odium. - Tacit.
b Quæ nubit toties non dubit, adultera lege est. Offendor mechà simpliciore minùs.- Martial. Ep.