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CHRIst cures a Man that had the Dropsy,

144 Sect. 119. nions (a), he went into the House of one of the chief of one of the chief Pharisees w

Pharisees, who was a Magistrate of great Diftinc. to eat Bread on the SabbathLuke XIV.

day, that they watched him, tion (b), that had invited him to eat Bread, i. e. to dine with him, on the Sabbath-Day; and many of the Pharisees were present there, and, as their usual Custom was, they were narrowly watching bim, to make the most invidious Observations on

his Conduct. 2 And behold, there was a certain Man before 2 And behold, there was him, that had a Dropsy, who having heard that a certain Man before him,

which had the Dropsy. Jesus was to dine there, had conveyed himself thither, in Hope of a Cure (c).

And yesus answering to the secret Reasonings 3 And Jesus anfwering, which he discerned in their Minds on this Occa

spake unto the Lawyers and

Pharisees, saying, Is it lawfion, said to the Doctors of the Law, and other ful to heal on the SabbathPharisees, who were then present, What do you day! think now of this Case ? Is it lawful to heal a distenipered Person on the Sabbath-Day? or can there be any Thing in so benevolent an Action, inconsistent with that sacred Rest which is required

on that Day? 4 But they were filent ; as not being able with 4 And they held_their any Face to deny the Legality of the Action, and

Peace. yet unwilling to say any Thing which might seem to authorize those Cures, which Christ performed on the Sabbath-Day, as well as at other Times; and which in the general they had been known to censure. And Jesus, when he found that they would

make (a) Just as our Lord was finishing his Journey thro' Herod's Dominions.] As all that follows from the Beginning of this xivth Chapter to Chap. xvii. 10. is placed by Luke before the Account of his Journey thró Samaria to Jerusalem; and as I find no other Event in any of the Evangelists before the Feast of Dedication, to which I conclude that Journey sefers ; I am obliged (by the Rule I lay down to myself, of never changing the Order without apparent Reason,) to take all these Discourses and Stories just as I find them ; tho' I cannot pretend positively to say, that Luke, who no doubt has sometimes changed the Order in his Narration, has exactly observed it here. It is however possible, that all recorded in these Chapters might happen within the Compass of a few Days į and so would be consistent with interpreting Chap. xiii. 32, 33. in a more literal Manner, than is absolutely necessary.

(b) A Magistrate of great Distinction.] If (as Dr. Whitby supposes,) the Person who gave the Invitation was indeed one of the grand Sanhedrim, he might nevertheless have a Country Seat in Galilee ; as the higher Courts never fail of allowing fome Recess to their Members. So that Grotius's Argument for transposing this Story, till Christ's Arrival at Jerusalem, seems inconclusive.

(c) Had conveyed himself thither, &c.] I cannot think, (as some suppose, that he was one of the Family ; because it is said, that Chrif dismissed, or let him go, when he was cured ; ver. 4.

(d) Taking

in the Compass of 'a is however posible, thinnes changed the

and vindicates his healing on the Sabbath-Day. 145 Peace. And he took him, make him no Reply, extended his Compassion to Sect. 119. and healed him, and let him the poor Man; and taking him [by the Hand (d), go :

be miraculously healed him before them all, and Lu
dismissed him perfectly well, and reduced in a
Moment to his proper Shape and Bulk (e).

And more fully to convince them how justi- 5
saying, Which of you fall fiable such an Action was, even upon their own .
have an Ass or an Ox fallen Principles, as he faw they were secretly cavilling
in a Pit, and will not
straightway pull him out on

at it, he said in Answer to them, Which of you, the Sabbath-day?

if he have but an Ass or an Ox, that shall happen
to fall into a Pit, will not immediately draw him
out whithout any Scruple, even on the Sabbath-
Day (f), tho’ that is a much more laborious
Action, and the Life of one of those Animals is
so much less important than the Health of a Man:
And can you then without the greatest Injustice

condemn me for what I have now done?
6 And they could not an. And they were all confounded at the Force 6
fwer him again to these and Evidence of what he said, and were not able

to answer him again to these Things, tho' they had
not the Candor to acknowledge themselves con-

vinced by then.
- 7 And he put forth a And he spake what may, in one Sense of the 2
Parable to those which were
bidden. when he marked Word, be called a Parable, that is, a grave, con-
how they chose out the chief cise, and memorable Sentence, (see Note (6),
Rooms; laying unto them, Vol. i. pag. 394.) to those that were invited to

Dinner, when he observed how they chose and con-
tended for the chief Seats at the Table ; and to
reprove them for their Pride, and recommend

Humility,

Things.

seduced to his proper Shop with a Touch; believe, the Cure Waapparent.

(d) Taking him by the Hand.] I know some have imagined, that Christ led him aside to avoid Oftentation : But the Words do not express this; and as our Lord speaks of the Cure, both immediately before, and after it, there can be no Room to imagine, he intended to conceal it. Probably the Circumstance of taking him by the Hand is mentioned, as an Infance of his Condescension, and shews, that there was nothing in the Manner of the Cure, which could be objected to as a servile Work.

(e) Reduced to his proper Shape and Bulk.) If any ask, How this could be? I answer, He that at once could cure the Droply with a Touch, could, if he pleased, annihilate the Excess of Water that caused it; and it is reasonable to believe, the Cure was wrought in such a Manner, as would make the Reality and Perfection of it immediately apparent.

,00). If he have but an Ass or an Ox, &c.] Our Lord had used the fame Reasoning before,
almost in the same Words, when vindicating the Cure of the Man whose Hand was withered;
(Mat. xii. 11. Vol. i. pag. 310.) and at another Time had urged an Argument in effect the
lame, with regard to the Cure of the Crooked Woman: (Luke xii. 15. Seet. 117. pag. 135.)
Which may serye, among a Variety of other Instances, to vindicate several Repetitions,
which must be supposed, if we desire to assert the exact and circumftantial Truth of the
Sacred Historians.
Vol. II.

(8) Sit

146

The Parable of them that chose the highest Seat. Sect. 119. Humility, he said unto them: There is one 8 When thou art bidden VIŲ Thing I would, on this Occasion, address to every lite

of any Man to a Wedding, Luke XIV.

ay fit not down in the highest one in the. Company, namely, When thou art Room: leit a more honourinvited by any Friend to a Wedding Feast, or any able Man than thou be bidother great Entertainment, remember the Hint

med den of him ;
which Solomon has given, (Prov. xxv. 6, 7.)
and do not fit down in the uppermost Place ; left

another of more honourable Rank in Life than thee,
9 mould happen to be invited by him. And be 9 And he that bade thee
that invited you both, mould come and say to thee, and him, come and say to

thee, Give this Man Place; Thou must give Place to this Person ; and thou and thou begin with Shame shouldst then, to avoid a second Disgrace of this to take the lowest Room. Nature, begin with Shame to take the very lowest Place, as conscious how much thou hast ex

posed thyself, by so haughty and foolish a Be10 haviour. But rather, on the contrary, when 10 But when thou art thou art thus invited, go and hit down at first in

bidden, go and fit down in

the lowest Room; that when the lowest Place thou canst find (g); that when he he that bade thee cometh, he that invited'thee comes into the Room, he may say may say unto thee, Friend, to thee, My Friend, go up higher : Then shall thy go up.

go up higher : then shalt Modesty bę followed with a distinguishing Re- Presence of them that fit at

thou have Worship in the gard, and thou shalt thus have Honour in the Meat with thee. Sight, both of the Master of the Feast, and of all them that fit at Table with thee, as having assumed nothing to thyself, but rather been contented to stoop to thine Inferiors. For this may be laid in For whosoever exaltdown as a certain Maxim in Life, and happy is

eth himself, shall be abased;

and he that humbleth him. the Man that attends to it, Every one who exalts self, thall be exalted. himself beyond his proper Rank and Circumstances, shall be proportionably humbled and mortified; but he that humbles himself, mall be exalted and honoured, as well as beloved, both by God and Man. (Compare Mat. xxiii. 12. and Luke xviii. 14.)

Then said he also to him that invited him. If 12 Then said he also to you desire to improve what you have to the best thou makelt a Dinner or a

him that bade him, When Advantage, spend it in Charity, rather than in Supper, call not thy Friends, Magnificence and Luxury: And when thou makelt nor thy Brethren, neither & Dinner or a Supper..invite not fo much thu thy Kinsmen, nor thy rich

Neighrich Friends, or thy Brethren, or thy Kindred, or

Neigh

(g) Sit down at first in the lowest Place. It is most probable, that Chrif himself, as illustrious a Person as he was, had accordingly done thus, and fate down among them in ing lowest Place at the Table,

. (b) Invite

149

Blind:

The Poor should rather be invited than the Rich. Neighbours ; left they also Neighbours (b); left they should also invite thee Sect. 119. bid thee again, and, a Re- again, and so that should be all thy Recompence, w compence be made thee.

to receive one Banquet for another ; which would Luke XIV, introduce an Habit of high Living, at a great Ex-'

12. pence ! both of Money and Time, and would

occasion the Disorder of your respective Families. 13 But when thou makest But rather, when thou wouldst make an Entertaina Feast, call the Poor, the ment, which should turn to the surest Account, Maimed, the Lame, the i

• let it be plain and frugal, and invite to it the

Poor, the Disabled, the Lame, [and] the Blind (i);
who are incapable of taking Care of them

felves : Let these come to thy House frequently,
.. . to receive thine Alms; 'or '« send Portions to

: “ them," when they cannot come. (Neh. viii.
'14 And thou thalt be 10.) And this will afford thee a much nobler 14
blessed; for they cannot re- Satisfaction than Banquets can give'; and I may
compence thee : for thou)
Thali' be recompenced at the truly fay, thou Jhalt be happy, in that they are
Resurrection of the Just. " not capable of making. thee such a Requital; for

their Prayers thall descend in Blessings on thy
Head; and, besides all the Pleasure a generous
Heart will find in the very Exercise of such Boun-
ties, thou shalt be abundantly recompenced at the
· Resurrection of the Yust (k), if they proceed from
a real Principle of Piety and Faith. (Compare
Note (a), Vol. i, pag. 337.).

(6) Invite not so much thy rich Friends, or Neighbours.] Probably (as Mr. Reading well conjectures,) he observed in the Pharisees a Humour of making Magnificent Feafts, (on the Sabbath-Days, and on other Occasions,) and of treating Great Perfons, chiefly out of Pride, Ambition, and Oftentation; which might render this Advice peculiarly proper, especially if he who now gave this Entertainment was, as many of his Brethren certainly were, very deficient in Works of Charity. (See Reading's Life of Christ, pag. 256.) It is plain, the Word Ricb, (as Grotius well observes,) refers not merely to Neighbours, but to the Kindred, and the other Persons that are mentioned with them ; for if these were in low Circumstances, their being related to them was an Argument, why they should be regarded, rather than neglected.

(i) The Disabled, &c.] We render evanness, the Maimed; but the Signification of the Word is much more extensive, and indeed takes in both the Lame, and the Blind, afterwards mentioned ; and may also include those, whom the Infirmities of Age have rendered helpless.- Grotius thinks, this Scripture was the Foundation of the Agapæ, or Love-Feafts, among the primitive Christians; but it is not evident. Pliny has a fine parallel Pallage. Şee Plin. Epift. lib. ix. epift. 30. .

(k) At the Resurrection of the Juft.] It is not so evident, as Dr. Clarke supposes, that
Sirolo must here fignify charitable Men; it rather seems to me, a strong and awakening
Intimation, that none who neglect Works of Charity, shall have their final 'Lot among the
Righteous ; which is evident from the many hundred Scriptures, which indispensably require
Mercy, as well as Juftice. (Compare Mai. i. 19. Note (a), Vol. i. pag. 38.)

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Sect. 119. L O W happy were they, who had frequent Opportunities of con

n versing with Christ, whose Discourses were always fo wise, and so

useful! How well did he repay all the Entertainments he received, in the

Advantages which he gave for religious Improvement! In vain might his Luke xiv. 1. Enemies watch for Occasions against him. In his Tongue was the Law of

Wisdom, as well as of Kindness. (Prov. xxxi. 26.) And surely the Lips of · his Ministers and Disciples would feed many to their everlasting Benefit,

were this blessed Model to be more carefully traced. (Prov. x. 21.) Ver. 89.-11. Let us particularly observe, what he here says concerning a modest and

bumble Deportment, which is indeed the surest Way to be honoured and respected. And let us take great heed, that that good Breeding, which confifts fo much in the Expressions of Humility, and a Readiness to prefer others to ourselves, do not degenerate into a mere Form, and prove, as it too often does, the Cloak of Arrogance and Pride; but that it have its Foundation in a lowly Opinion of ourselves, and an habitual Disposition to submit even to our Inferiors, when we may do it without breaking in upon the Duties and Decencies of Life, and injuring those to whom it may be exercised, by an Indulgence, which they know nor how to under

stand, or improve. Ver. 12, 13. Let us hearken to these Exhortations to Charity, from the Mouth of

our Charitable Saviour, who gave himself for us. And as Christ pleafed not bimself, (Rom. xv. 3.) let us not allow ourselves to squander away great Quantities of Money, in what may gratify our own Senses, or make a gaudy Shew in the Eyes of the vainer Part of Mankind; but, let us be willing to spare from the Luxuries and Superfluities of Life, that we may bestow it on the Poor, and the Distressed. And indeed, whatever our Circumstances and Possessions be, we must expcct that the Stream of our Bounty will soon be dried up, if it be not supplied from the Fountain of

a prudent Frugality. This self-denial may now in some Instances be Ver. 14. painful; but it will be amply recompenced at the Resurrection of the Just.

May we then meet with many, whom our Liberality has fed and clothed, whom our Knowledge and Zeal have instructed, and whom our holy Examples have edified and quickened ! Here will be a Foundation laid for the Endearments of an eternal Friendhip; when that which has been formed upon a Partnership in Vice, or animal Pleasure, Ihall be for ever forgotten, or be remembered with mutual Horror.

SECT.

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