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his own institution. Thus 'our Lord' plainly proved it to be God's will, that works of mercy should not be left undone, though attended with the violation of the most sacred ceremonial institutions. Mark ii. 27. And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for mari, and not man for the sabbath the sabbath was contrived for the benefit and relief of man, being instituted in commemoration of the creation of the world finished in six days, and to perpetuate unto latest ages the knowledge of this grand truth," that the world was made by God, in opposition both to atheism : and idolatry, the sins which mankind have ever been apt to run into. It was instituted also that men abstaining from all sorts of labour, but such as are necessary to the exercises of piety and charity, might have leisure for meditating on the works of creation, wherein the perfections of God are fairly delineated ; and that by these meditations they might acquire, not only the knowledge of God, but a relish of spiritual and divine pleasures, flowing from the contemplation of God's attributes, from the exercise of the love of God, and from obedience to his commande : ments.' It is thus that men are prepared for entering into the heavenly rest, of which the earthly sabbath is an emblem. To' conclude, among the Israelites, the sabbath was appointed to keep up the remeinbrance of their deliverance from Egypt, and for the comfort of their slaves and beasts, humanity to both being especially incumbent upon a people, who had once groaned under the heaviest bondage. From all which it is evident, that to burden men, much more to hurt them, through the observation of the sabbath, which has no intrinsic excellency in itself, is to ace: quite contrary to the design of God in appointing it. Mark ii. 28. Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath; since the sabbath was instituted for the benefit of man, the observation of it in cases of necessity may be dispensed with by any man whatsoever, but especially by me who am lawgiver of the Jewish commonwealth, and can make what alterations in its institutions I think fit. This argument, drawn from the consideration of his own dignity, our Lord largely insisted on, when he was prosecuted for a pretended profanation of the sabbath, by the cure which he performed at Bethesda, John v. 17, 30.45 *. *
* For the order observed by Mark and Luke in this part of the history, sce $ 14.--Jesus was often blamed by the Pharisees as having broken the fabbath, particularly John v 16. $25. Luke vi. 2. § 46 Mitth. xii. ic. $ 47. John ix. 14. $ 78. Luke xiii. 14. & 90. Luke xiv. 2. $ 92. . Ý XLVII. A few days after the second passover, a man that had
his hand withered, is cured in a synagogue near Jerusalem. Af. ter which Jesus goes away to Galilee. Matth. xii. 9,-21. Mark iii. 1,–12. Luke vi. 6,-11.
At this time Jesus continued a while about Jerusalem, teaching not only the inhabitants of that city and of the neighbour-' VOL. II.
ing villages, but the people who had come from all quarters to the feast, and who, in all probability, tarried on this occasion longer than usual, in order to hear the sermons and see the miracles of a prophet, concerning whom they had heard such astonishing reports. We may therefore suppose, that during his abode in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem, our Lord was constantly attended by great multicudes; and consequently, that every sermon he preached had many hearers, and every miracle he performed many witnessses. In examining the following passage of the history, these observations deserve attention. For we are told that on another sabbath, perhaps the sabbath immediately following the first second-day sibbath mentioned in the preceding section, Jesus entered into a synagogue near Jerusalem, and taught the people. Luke, who alone mentions our Lord's teaching on this occasion, has not told us what the subject of this sermon was. He only observes, that there was in the synagogue a person whose right hand w:s withered, and gives an account of the miracle which Jesus so kindly performed for the recovery thereof. Luke vi. 6. And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he entered into the (Matt. their) synagogue and tauglit, and there was a man (Mark, there) whose right hand was withered. His hand was not only withered, but contracted, as appears from Mark iii. 5. Matthew seems to say this miracle happened immediately after the transaction recorded in the preceding section. Matth. xii. 9. And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue, &c. Nevertheless, the transition which he makes use of, does not necessarily imply this. See Prelim. Observ. ii. On this occasion, there were present scribes and Pharisees, persons of the greatest character and learning, who had either mixed with the crowd that followed Jesus, or were in the synagogue before he came. These men, ever unfriendly to the Saviour, carefully attended to every thing he said or did, with an intention to find some matter of blame in him, by which they might blast his reputation with the people. Wherefore, when they saw Jesus, after he had ended his sermon, fix his eyes on the man whose right hand was withered, they made no doubt but he would essay to cure him, and resolved to charge him directly with the sin, for which they blamed the disciples the sabbath before, hoping at least to raise prejudices in the minds of the peoole against him. Luke vi. 7. And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him. So gross was their hypocrisy, that they resolved to raise an outcry against him, if on the sabbath he should give a lame man the use of his hard, while they themselves were profaning it by an action which would have polluted any day; were seeking an opportunity to murder one wlio never had done them any harm, but a great deal of good. The evangelist ob
hon peo in opposchat to Por
serves that the malicious designs of the Pharisees were not hid from Jesus. We may therefore, in this instance, see the greatness of the courage of our blessed Lord, who resolutely performed the benevolent action he had undertaken, notwithstanding he knew it would expose him to the fiercest resentment of these wicked men. 8. But he knew their thoughts, and said to the man which had the withered hand, Rise up, and stand forth in the midst. He ordered him to shew himself to the whole congregation, that the sight of his distress might move them to pity him; and that they might be the more sensibly struck with the miracle, when they observed the wasted hand restored to its former dimensions and activity in an instant. And he arose and stood forth. Matt. xii. 10. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the scho bath days ? that they might accuse him. When the Pharisees saw Jesus going to perform the cure, they put this question to him, by which they declared in the strongest terins their opinion of its unlawfulness. But in so doing, they had no intention to prevent the action, which they knew he was resolved upon, but to render him odious to the common people, expecting that he would openly declare such things lawful, in opposition to the des finitions of the doctors, who had all determined that to perform cures on the sabbaih, was a violation of the holy rest. Or if he should give no answer to their question, as it applied an affirmation of the unlawfulness of what he was about to attempt, they thought it would render him inexcusable, and give the better co lour to their accusation. Luke vi. 9. Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask you one thing, Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good or to do evil? 10 save life or to destroy it? (Mark, to save life or to kill ?) That he might expose the malice and superstition of the Pharisees, he appealed to the dictates of their own mind, whether it was not more lawful to do good on the sabbaths than to do evil, to save life than to kill. He meant, more laws ful for him on the sabbath to save mens lives, than for them to plot his death without the least provocation. This was a severe but just rebuke, which in the present circumstances must have been sensibly felt. Yet the Pharisees pretending not to understand his meaning, made him no answer, Mark iï. 4. But they held their peace. Wherefore he answered them with an argu. ment which the clulness of stupidity could not possibly overlook, nor the peevishness of cavilling gainsay. Matth. xii. il. And he suid unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall kave one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out 12. How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawfiel to do well on the sabbath days. If the regard you have for the life of your catde leads you to do servile work on the sabbath for the preservation of a single sheep, charity should much rather induce you to
labour for the preservation of a brother, though the good office is to be done on the sabbath. Having thus spoken, he looked upon them all in such a manner as to shew both his indignation at their wickedness, and his grief for their impenitence. Mark iii. 5. And when he had looked round about on them (Luke, upon them all) with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts. He knew that his arguments did not prevail with them, because they were resisting the conviction of their own minds, and was both angry at their obstinacy, and grieved on account of the consequences of it; shewing these just affections of his righteous spirit by his looks, that if possible an impression might be made either on them or on the spectators. He might in this likewise, propose to teach us the just regulation of the passions and affections of our nature, which are not sinful in themselves, otherwise he who was without sin could not have been subject to them.
The evil of them lies in their being excited by wrong objects, or by right objects in an improper degree. But to return, at the same time that Jesus testified his displeasure with the Pharisees, he comforted the infirm man, for he commanded him to stretch out his contracted hand, and with the command communicated power to obey. In an instant his hand was made sound as the other, so that he stretched it out immediately in the sight of all present, who thus were eye-witnesses of the miracle. Mark iii. 5. He saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand; and be stretched it out, and his hand was restored whole as the other. The evangelists say no more. They leave their readers to imagine the wonder and astonishment of the numerous spectators, and ihe joy of the man who had recovered the use of so necessary a member. They only observe that the Pharisees being as little able to find fault with the miracle, as they had been to answer the argument by which Jesus justiñed his performing it on the sahbath, acted like downright madmen. They were sensible of the greatness of this miracle, and perhaps were convinced of the truth of his mission who had performed it. But their rage, on account of his having violated their precepts concerning the sab. bath, and their other evil passions, pushed them to such a pitch of extravagance, that they went away and joined counsel with their inveterate enemies the Herodians or Sadducees, in order to have him taken out of the way; for they found it was not in their power otherwise to keep the people from being impressed with his doctrine and miracles. Luke vi. 11. And they were filled with madness, and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus. Mark iii. 6. And the Pharisees went forth and straight way took counsel with the Herodians against him, (Matth. held a council against him) how they might destroy him. The circumstance taken notice of by Matthew, makes it probable that the scribes and Pharisees who were present at this miracle, were
members of the Sanhedrim'or great council. 7. But Jesus witha drew himself with his disciples to the sea. (Matth. xii. 15. But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence.) The wrath of the rulers being raised to such a pitch, endangered our Lord's life. Wherefore, knowing their designs, he retired into Galilee, where he preached and wrought miracles as privately as he could, that he might avoid giving offence. His fame however was now so great, that vast multitudes gathered round him even in Galilee, among whom were many, who having seen or heard of the miracles on the infirm man at Bethesda, and on the withered hand in the synagogue, followed him from Jerusalem and Judea, after his retreat from the Pharisees. And a great multitude from Galilee followed him, and from Judea. 8. And from Jerusalem, * and from Idumea, and from beyond Jordan, and they about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they had heard what great things he did, came unto him. This immense multitude did not all come together purely out of curiosity. It was the principle no doubt which moved many, but others came to be healed of their diseases and infirmities. And as our Lord's fame had spread, not only through the whole land of Israel, but into the neighbouring heathen countries Idumea, Tyre, Sidon, Syria, and the rest, we mar be sure that the diseased who came at this time to be cured by him, were not a few, and that they with their attendants made a considerable part of the crowd, which was
* Ver. 8. And from Idumea. ] Properly Idumea is a Greck name, derived from the Ilchrew Fdom, by wnich Esau was also called, whese posterity ongiralls inhabited Mount Seir, Deut. ii. 5. or that hilly trart of country which lay between Horeb the mount of God, and Canaan, Deut. i. 2. However those mountains did not extend to the Arabian Gulf. For when the Israelites were denied a passage through them, they went round Mount Seir, or the habitation of Edom, towards the Arabian Gulf, Deut. i. 1. And after they had spent many days in this journey, went at length towards he north, and passed the border of the Edomites, that is, the land of the Edomites itself. I he ancient Idumea consisted of two parts, Gobo. litis and Amalecitis; and the whole was called by various names, Goba
it and Egypt. So that the southern border of the land, which full to the lot of the tribe of Judah, hordered upon Edom, Josh. xvi. I, 21. Compare
vity, the Edomites spread then selves into the southern parts of Judea, at that time left desolate, or but thinly inhabited. Afterwards they were conquered by the Maccabees, but rather than quit their possessions they
Edomites dwelling in the southern parts of Judea were incorporated with the Jews; hut the country which they had seized was still named after them, especially when the Herod family came to the throne, the first Hesod being one of this nation. Idumea therefore comprehended, not the ancient possession of the Edomites only, but the south parts of Judea. Affer our Lord's time, the whole of judea was sometimes called by the Grecks and Romans Idumea, who named even the Jews themselves Idumeuns from the country which they possessed.