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tion, decided the controversy between the Jewish mode of worship at Jerusalem, and the rival Samaritan at Mount Gerizim, in favour of the former; at the same time foretelling that both would soon be superseded by the true and spiritual Christian worship throughout the world, more agreeable to the SPIRITUAL nature of the DEITY. And to her he openly avowed himself the MESSIAH, in his two-fold character of a PROPHET, or teacher of religion, and the SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD, according to the true notions which were entertained and expressed by the woman, when he told her all that ever she did, or the private history of her life, and by her countrymen, when they heard his preaching, John iv. 7—42.
The favourable disposition of these Samaritans of Sichem to receive CHRIST and his doctrines, is elegantly expressed in his agricultural comparison to his disciples, when he saw them coming to meet him, on the woman's invitation: "Lift up your eyes, and observe the fields, how they are white already unto the harvest," the whiteness of the stalk at the top indicating the ripeness of the grain in general *, verse 35. And to this, John's preaching, perhaps at Salem, in that neighbourhood, might have contributed; and OUR LORD predicted the future success of his Apostles, following both himself and John: "One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you forth to reap what ye laboured not; others have laboured, and ye have entered into [the fruits of] their labours," ver. 37, 38.
CHRIST'S FIRST RETURN TO GALILEE.
After spending two days with these hospitable and well-disposed Samaritans, at their entreaty, he departed and went into Galilee, where he also was favourably received, the Galileans having seen the miracles he did the preceding passover at Jerusalem, which they also attended. Here, at Cana, he worked his second miracle, of healing, at Capernaum, about twentythree miles distant, the son of a nobleman, or one of Herod's courtiers, who besought him that he would come and heal his son, who was at the point of death. And JESUS said, in his usual concise and authoritative manner, πορεύου, ὁ υἱος σου ζη, Go thy way, thy son liveth! And the father believed the oracular
* Molli paulatim flavescet campus aristâ. Virgil.
Here the "yellowness" precedes the "whiteness," or ripeness.
word, and found his son healed, the fever having left him the day before, precisely at the hour that JESUS spoke, ver. 43-54.
With his return to Galilee, the three first Evangelists begin their accounts of OUR LORD'S public ministry, because it was the principal scene of his preaching and miracles. The substance of his preaching was the same as John's: "Repent, for the kingdom of HEAVEN is at hand," Matt. iv. 17, or, as more fully expressed, "The season is already fulfilled, and the kingdom of GOD is at hand; repent, and believe in the GosPEL," Mark i. 15.
"When the fulness of time had come, GOD sent forth HIS SON, born of a woman, born under THE LAW, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons, [promised in THE GOSPEL,"] Gal. iv. 4, 5.
This fulness of time may appear from the following prophetical and chronological characters :
1. By Jacob's prophecy, SHILOH, "the APOSTLE," was to be sent for the instruction of the Jews, before "the sceptre had departed from Judah," when Judea was made a Roman province, and before the dissolution of their ecclesiastical polity, "before the native scribe, or expounder of the law, had departed," while they were still "under the law †." 2. And the second temple still standing, according to Malachi. And 3. his harbinger, the Baptist, already come in the power and spirit of Elijah.
By Daniel's prophecies :
4. "In the days of the four great temporal kingdoms," of the Babylonians, Medo-Persians, Macedo-Grecians, and Romans, when the three first had been incorporated, as it were, with the fourth, which had now reached the zenith of its power and grandeur, the fifth or spiritual kingdom of the stone was to be founded; and, though small in its beginnings, was to subdue all those kingdoms, to become the kingdom of the mountain, and to fill the whole earth.
5. "After the sixty-two weeks," and during "the one week,"
The word yɛvoμɛvov, in both places, should be rendered "born" (not "made,") as also Rom. i. 3; 1 Cor. i. 30; like Isa. ix. 6; John viii. 58. And so Josephus, “Of Phaleg, the son of Eber, is born (yɩverai) a son Ragau," Ant. I. 6, 5. And Hesiod wishes (η προσθε θανειν, η επειτα γενεσθαι) that he had died before, or to be born after, the iron age. See Vol. I. p. 247.
See the foregoing interpretation of the prophecy, p. 15,
in the midst of which "the MESSIAH was to be cut off." And accordingly they expired A.D. 14, fourteen years before the commencement of OUR LORD'S public ministry, A.D. 28.
By Isaiah's prophecies:
6. The precise year of its commencement was foretold to be a Jubilee, or "the acceptable year of THE LORD," and such was A.D. 28, as shewn before.
7. The chief scene of his ministry is also foretold to be "Galilee of the Gentiles," the upper or northern Galilee, bordering on Syria, which had formerly been "the land of Naphtali, and the land of Zebulon;" the first which had been wasted, and the inhabitants carried into captivity by the Assyrians, under Tiglath-pilassar, 2 Kings xv. 29, 1 Chron. v. 26; and also the first to be blessed with the marvellous light of the GOSPEL, though held in contempt by the Jews.
IX. 1. "As [GOD,] in the former time debased
[By] the way of the sea, beside Jordan,
2. The people that walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
The inhabitants in a land the shadow of death,
Upon them hath the light shined."
This noble prophecy (more closely rendered) is partially cited by the Evangelist Matthew, giving only the substance of the first verse, and a slight variation of the second.
"The land of Zebulon and the land of Naphtali,
[By] the way of the sea, beside Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles:
16. The people that sate in darkness
Have seen a great light;
And to them that sate in the region and shadow of death,
May the concentrated light of these luminous chronological prophecies contribute to remove that "partial blindness which hath still befallen Israel," and the veil, of ignorance, inattention, and obduracy, which prevents the Jews from understanding the spirit and meaning of their own LAW, and perceiving that "CHRIST is the end of the LAW for righteousness," "the testifying of JESUS, the spirit or drift of prophecy," " to whom give all the prophets witness;" which veil has hitherto been cast
over them, as a judicial punishment for their wilful and malicious rejection of GOSPEL LIGHT, as repeatedly foretold by Moses and the prophets, CHRIST and his apostles, and as some of their own Rabbis ingenuously confess. See the remarkable narrative of Solomon Duitsch, p. 411.
CHRIST'S FIRST VISIT TO NAZARETH.
JESUS again experienced that "no prophet is acceptable in his own country," at Nazareth, when he opened his commission there, as SHILOH and CHRIST, on the grand Jubilee, foretold in that other noble prophecy of Isaiah.
LXI. 1. "The Spirit of THE LORD is upon me,
Because He hath anointed me
To preach the Gospel to the poor;
He hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind *;
[To set at liberty them that are bruised f.]
2. To proclaim the acceptable year of THE LORD." Luke iv. 18.
On this occasion, in the synagogue, he read and applied it to himself: "This day is this scripture-prophecy (ypapn) fulfilled in your ears." But though "all the assembly had their eyes fixed on him, and wondered at the words of grace that proceeded from his mouth," thus "bearing testimony" undesignedly to another signal prophecy of the MESSIAH:
"Thou art most beautiful among the sons of Adam,
yet their prejudices soon recurred, on account of the apparent meanness of his descent, " Is not this Joseph's son ?" They also reproached him with not healing any sick persons at Nazareth, as he had done at Capernaum, in the case of the nobleman's
This line in the Evangelist's citation is supported by the Sept and Arab. versions and by the parallel prophecy, Isa. xxxv. 5. Instead of it, the present Masorete text, followed by the Vulgate Latin and Syr. gives, " And opening of prison to the bound.” The former seems preferable, as stating one of the specific miracles of the MESSIAH actually performed by JESUS, which might have led the Jews, at an early period, to corrupt the text, in order to weaken the evidence of this signal prophecy.
†This line within brackets, in the Evangelist's citation, is wanting in the Sept. and Arab. as well as in the Hebrew text. It seems therefore to have been a marginal gloss from Isa. lviii. 6, where the Sept. renders also, añoσтeidaι re≈ρavoμevovs ev apeσEL, though not conformable to the present Hebrew text there; and here it seems to express the substance of the fourth and fifth lines, and therefore to be a mere tautology.
son: “Ye will surely say, or apply to me, this proverb, Physician, heal thyself:' whatsoever we have heard done at Capernaum, do here also in thine own country." But JESUS told them they were not worthy, because they did not receive him as a prophet, and justified his conduct by the example of the greatest of their prophets, Elijah and Elisha, who worked miracles for heathens, in preference to their own ungrateful and persecuting countrymen. Provoked at this severe and undaunted reproof, as they justly interpreted his answer, they thrust him out of the city, and led him to the brow of the hill, on which it stood, to throw him down headlong; but, either blinding their eyes, or making himself invisible, he passed through the midst of them, and took up his residence at Capernaum, the metropolis of Galilee, in their neighbourhood, where the people were well affected toward him, and where he was likely to be under the protection of the nobleman whose son he had cured, and also of the Roman Centurion, (Matt. viii. 5,) and of the Ruler of the Synagogue, (Mark v. 22,) for whom he was next to work signal miracles, and in security from the machinations of his enemies at Jerusalem, the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees, which followed him even into Galilee, (Luke v. 17.) The adjacent sea of Galilee, or lake of Tiberias, surrounded with many towns and populous villages, and where his disciples chiefly resided, afforded him peculiar facilities also for travelling by water from place to place, and for avoiding the importunities of the multitude, when they either incommoded, or intended to make him "King" by force. Upon all these accounts, therefore, Capernaum was peculiarly fitted for his chief residence, Luke iv. 16-32.
His next care was to summon his early disciples, Simon Peter and Andrew, James, and John, to constant attendance on his person, that they might witness his miracles, and be instructed in his doctrines, Mat. iv. 18-22, Mark i. 16-20. Their call, and the miraculous draught of fishes, elegantly signifying that they were hereafter to become fishers of men, is related more fully, Luke v. 1-11. About the time of their call, we may date the cure of Peter's mother-in-law, Mark i. 29, Luke iv. 38, Matt. viii. 14 *.
* Matthew places this cure after the sermon on the Mount, but the joint testimony of Mark and Luke, for its earlier date, seems preferable; especially as Matthew does not critically determine the time.