« PreviousContinue »
sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliver. ance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised :
To preach the acceptable year of the LORD.
And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down : and the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gra. cious words which proceeded out of his mouch.
And they said, Is not this the carpenter's son ? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, Jaines, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?
And his sisters, are they not all with us? whence then bath this man all these things ?
And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me, this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country
And he said, Verily I say unto you, no prophet is accepted in his own country.
But I tell you of a truth, many widows . were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut -'up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land :
But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow.
And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.
And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,
And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill (whereon their city was built) that they might cast him down headlong,
But he passing through the midst of them, went his way. And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.
And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages teaching,
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
It was observed in a former section, that our LORB did not begin his public preaching at Nazareth, think. ing it best to establish his reputation in other parts first; as those who had known him in private life, would be most likely to disbelieve his divine mission : and we find " that, even after he had in different places given a num. ber of proofs that he came out from God, his countrymen were quite averse to receiving him even as a Prophet, notwithstanding there were many that followed him, who bore testimony to his wonderful works, and his fame was spread throughout Galilee : such is the force of popular prejudice!
It seems to have been our LORD's constant practice to attend public worship on Sabbath-days, not only for the sake of example to his followers, but to do honour ito : The FATHER.
Out of regard to our Lord's reputation for gravity and wisdom, the ruler of the synagogue, after a paragraph of the Law had been read, desired him to read a portion of the holy Writings, which regularly made a part of public worship.
The books of Scripture did not consist, as ours do, of separate leaves sewed or bound up together, but were
each written on large scrolls of parchment, and rolled upon two sticks; and this form the Jews still retain in their
synagogues. There were seven readers every Sab. bath-day, one a Priest, another a Levite, the rest 15. raelites of that synagogue.
The book of Isaiah was given to our Savio vor, who finding the lesson for that day, read it, and sat down, as the custom was, to expound it. The people, having Feard of his fame, attentively expected his discourse, when he directly appropriated to himself that part which he read'; which was declaring himself to be the Mes. SIAH, and at the same time explaining the nature of his office. « This day,” said he,'" is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears.
The SPIRIT of the LORD is upon me in an extraordinary degree. I am appointed to preach the Gospel, and qualified for the office. sent to the meek and fiuinble, to those who are truly penitent, to proclaim the glad tidings of Salvation. I am come to those who are bound by their sins, and in spiritual darkness, to bring thein deliverance, and open their eyes, that they may be converted, and I may heal them. Behold, now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation. If you rejoice in the year of jubilee, when your debts are remitted, and your inheritances restored, rejoice now when redemption from death is promised you, when an 'eternal inheritance is offered. This, we may conceive, was the purport of our Lord's exposition of this famous prophecy; but to describe the graceful. ness of his eloquence is impossible, “ for never mor spake as he spake."
The outrageous behaviour of the Nazareres justified the sentiments our Lord entertained of them, who gave a fresh proof, that he knew all hearts,' vi and needed not that any should testify of man; for he knew what Vol. V,
was in -man." The particulars, which so enraged the Nazarenes were his comparing himself to two such fa., mous Prophets, and them to those corrupt Israelites who had bowed the knee to Baal; and they were more. over exasperated, that he should intimate God's intention of shewing favour to the Gentiles. On this occa. sion, our LORD saved himself from their fury by a mi. racle; for, though so justly provoked, he would not de. part from the mildness of his character by inflicting any judgment on them ; the rancour of their own obdurate hearts, and the loss of the means of grace, were sufli. cient punishments; neither would he submit 10 their rage, as he had much to do on earth; but He observed to his disciples, that the unbelief of the Nazarenes was quite astonishing to human reason.
Whoever reads this passage of Scripture with atten, tion, and a pious mind, must wonder at the wickedness of the Nazarenes; let us, therefore, carefully avoid an imitation of their crime. We have no opportunity of rejecting our SAVIOUR personally; but it is equally sin. ful to reject bis doctrine. The Nazarenes réfused to acknowledge him to be the Messt AH, because he was their countryman; many persons in these days deny his divinity, because he came in our nature.
The offence, I apprehend, is similar; and if we thus dishonour our SAVIOUR, he will neither enlighten our minds, nor de. liver us from the evil consequences of our sins; but will secretly withdraw his grace, and leave us to ourselves.
We may observe, that our Lord did not read the whole of the prophecy; the reason for which seems to be this, that it was foreign to his purpose to produce any more of it than was necessary to prove that he was the Messiah.
mory SECTION XLVIII.
CHLIST SENDETH OUT THE TWELVE APOSTLESÓ
From Matthew, Chap. ix.-Mark, vi. · AND JESUS went about all the cities and villages; teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospek of the kingdom, and healing every sickness, and every disease among the people.
But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad as sheep having no shepherd.
Then saith he unto his disciples, the harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few.
Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
And when he had called unto him his twelve dis. ciples, he began to send them forth by two and two, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter yé not.
But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven és at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils; freely ye have received, freely give.
Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass, in your purses, nor scrip for your journey ; neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet stayes: (for the workman is wore thy of his meat :)
And into whatsoever city, or, town ye shall enter, en. quire who in it is worthy, and there abide till ye go thence. And when ye come into an house, salute it. And if