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CCCLX,

HEROD.

St. Luko xiii. 31-35.

The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him, Get thee out, and depart'hence : for Herod will kill thee. And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected. Nevertheless I must walk to

ay, and to morrow, and the day following : for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate : and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when

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Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

Our Lord was now in Peræa, the other side of the Jordan, in the territory of Herod, who had beheaded John the Baptist. The Pharisees there, desirous to get rid of Him (for we can hardly suppose their motive to have been a friendly one) warn Him of a like fate if He remains. Herod's character was well known for a crafty one. Our Lord, after the manner of the Prophets,' applies to him this comparison. If, jealous of my growing popularity in his dominions, and desirous to be rid of a dangerous rival, he has sent you under the guise of friendship to hasten my departure,—you may go and tell this ? fox, the man who acts with this proverbial cunning, that there is a set time : appointed for my work and for its termination,4 with which he cannot interfere. I am indeed about to quit his territory, not from fear

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however of violence at his hands. If I feared death, I should rather remain here. I journey towards Jerusalem to die. Away from it I am safe. I cannot suffer elsewhere than in that great slaughter-house of Prophets. Then He breaks out into that lamentation. Many a time has He thought of these rebellious children, and longed to gather them where they might be safe from impending judgment, even as a hen gathers her brood beneath her wings when the hawk is in view. But they were wilful. They were unwilling. Speaking of the future as already present to His prophetic eye, He depicts the rebellious city as a house emptied of its inhabitants. This judgment was coming upon it. He should be withdrawn from them; nor should they see the Messiah till, converted, they had learned to receive Him whom now they rejected, with words of welcome, as the very Messenger of God.

CCCLXI.

ANOTHER CURE ON THE SABBATH DAY.

St. Luke xiv. 1-6.

And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched him. And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy. And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go ; and answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and you,

i It is the same word which is rendereil depart in y. 31, and in v. 33 walk.

? Latimer's apostrophe to London seems suggested by this—“O London, London! repent, repent. For I think God is more displeased with London

than ever He was with the city of Nebo."-Ser. Of the Plough.

3 There seems to be a reference to Ps. lxix. 25.

* He seems to be calling their attention to the prophecy of Ps. cxviii. See the heading of the Psalm.

will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day? And they could not answer him again to these things.

Here is another cure on the Sabbath-day. This snare seems to have been set for our Lord. At all events they were once more on the look-out for something that they might lay hold of against Him. This watching Him was against

" all the laws of hospitality. To ask one to your house only that you may have an opportunity of accusing Him to the authorities, to be hostile to him who breaks bread with was understood in the East as a heinous breach of the peace.” The host here was not only a Pharisee, but also a Ruler of the Jews, a member of the Sanhedrim or Council. Among the Jews of old the Sabbath-day was not accounted a fast. It was rather a feast day with them, a day selected for such entertainments; which however were not allowed to hinder any from public worship. We do not find that those who watched for His halting spoke on this occasion, but “He answered to their wicked thoughts, as on so many other occasions. Once before . . . 'they 'had 'asked Him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath-day? that they might accuse Him.' The same question they now hear addressed to themselves.”4 And they dare not answer. “He took him," that is to say, he laid his healing hand upon him,-preferring

, to use an action, by way of reproving their superstition, when He might have dried this water with a word,—"and let him go;" that is, dismissed him with a solemn form of blessing. And again He answers their thoughts; for “thoughts are words in the ears of Him with whom we have to do.” 4 He reminds them that they are ready enough to dispense with their scruples in cases where their own interests are concerned. How shall they blame Him for doing what they never fail to do themselves ? 5

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i St. Luke vi. 7.
2 Pes. vii. 4; xxviii. 3; xli. 9; lv. 20.
3 St. John iii. 1.
+ A Plain Commentary.

5 The reading son for ass seems generally admitted. The stress, as in St. John viii, 7, is on the you. The

Author of A Plain Commentary has some valuable remarks on the mode of argument our Lord employed with the Doctors of the Law among the Jews, which would not, necessarily, be the same with others, or with us.

CCCLXII.

HUMILITY.

St. Luke xiv. 7-11.

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And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms ; saying unto them, When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room ; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him ; and he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place ; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room ; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher : then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased ; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

The Lord in His character of Rabbi? was expected to give some word of exhortation.2 His address grew out of the occasion. Humility was a grace in which the Jews generally, and the Pharisees in particular, were strangely wanting. The want of it here was shown in each striving to secure for himself the highest place. At these banquets couches were placed around, forming three sides of a square. The middle place in these was considered the most honourable. At such a feast there would be many of these, which all were scrambling for, without regard to their own or others' fitness. This was not a wedding, yet the Lord rather instances an occasion on which such things were wont to occur; thus indirectly and delicately reproving them for what was taking place even on this. His brief parable too is but an explanation of the proverb 4 which He recalls to their minds. The shame and confusion of face with which the pushing person proceeds to take, not just a lower, but the lowest place, are

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term, but seats, or places on a seat. St. Matt. xxiii. 6.

• Prov. xxv. 6, 7.

sense of the

graphically depicted in the parable. He has to descend lower and lower. He who usurped the top has to go down even to the bottom. This "worship" is honour, reverence, respect;

. and it is paid to another's estimate of us, not to our own. The Lord concludes with an adage of frequent occurrence, and of wide application.”

CCCLXIII.

HOSPITALITY.

St. Luke xiv. 12-14.

Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen nor thy rich neighbours ; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind : and thou shalt be blessed ; for they cannot recompense thee : for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.

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The Lord does not here forbid our entertaining relatives or friends or neighbours or equals. Civility to these is supposed. This is a point it was not needful to insist upon. There was no fear of their forgetting this. His words were addressed to one who was evidently in danger of overlooking the true nature of hospitality, which, so far from being selfish and calculating, only exercising itself where there is a prospect of compensation, seeks out rather those that need it from the very fact of their being unable to make a return. “Allusion may here be made to the religious feasts which the Jews were in the habit of giving on the Sabbath-day. The sense will then be, When thou makest a religious feast, let it be of a truly religious character: Ask not the rich, as to a common entertainment; but the poor, who cannot repay

I St. Matt. xxiii. 12; St. Luke xviii. 14.

2 Is. siv. 13-15; Phil. ii. 5-11.

Compare St. Matt, ix, 13.

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