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Luke XIV i.

day, that they watched him.

2 And behold, there was a certain Man before him, which had the Dropsy.

3 And Jesus answering, spake unto the Lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbathday .'

144 Christ cures a Man that had the Dropsy,

Sect. 11 o. nions (a), he went into the House of one of the chief of one of the chief Pharisees Pharisees, who was a Magistrate of great Distinc- to eat Brecon the Sabbath 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 him, to make the most invidious Observations on his Conduct.

And behold, there was a certain Man before him, that had a Dropsy, who having heard that Jesus was to dine there, had conveyed himself thither, in Hope of a Cure (c).

And Jesus- answering to the secret Reasonings which he discerned in their Minds on this Occasion, said to the DoBors of the Law, and other Pharisees, who were then present, What do you think, now of this Cafe? Is it lawful to heal a distempered 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?

But they were silent; as not being able with any Face to deny the Legality of the Action, and yet unwilling to fay any Thing which might seem to authorize those Cures, which Christ performed on the Sabbath-Day, as well as at other Times j 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. io. is placed by Luke before the Account of his Journey thro' Samaria to Jerusalem; and as I find no other Event in any of the Evangelists before the' Fea/i of Dedication, to which I conclude that Journey refers; 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; 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. Wliitby 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 some Recess to their Members. So that Grotius's Argument for transposing this Story, till Christ's Arrival at "Jerusalem, seems inconclusive.

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

(d) Taking

4 And they

held their Peace.

Peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go:

5 And answered them,

in a

straightway pull him out on

the Sabbath-days

and vindicates his healing on the Sabbath-Day. 14.5

make him no Reply, extended his Compassion to Sect. 119.
the poor Man; and taking him [by the Hand] fdj, ^f^'-^ts^
he miraculously healed him before them all, and,u e
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 faying, Which of you shall fiable such an Action was, even upon their own ima^A&oranOxsollcn Principles, as he saw they were secretly cavilling

at it, he said in Answer to them, Which of you,
if he have but an AJi or an Ox, that shall happen'
to fall into a Pit, will not immediately draw him
cut 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?

And they were all confounded at the Force 6
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 them.

And he spake what may, in one Sense of the 7
Word, be called a Parable, that is, a grave, con-
cise, and memorable Sentence, (see Note sb)t
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,

6 And they could not answer him again .to these

Things.

7 And he put forth a Parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief Rooms j saying unto them,

(i\ Taking him by the Hand.] I know some have imagined, that Christ led him aside to avoid Ostentation: 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 Instance of his Condescension, and shews, that there was nothing in the Manner of the Cure, Which could be objected to as a servile Work.

(<) Reduced to his proper Shape and Bulk.] If any ask, How this could be? I answer, He that at once could cure the Dropsy 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.

(sj Is be have but an As or an Ox, Use] Our Lord had used the same Reasoning before, almost in the same Words, when vindicating the Cure of the Man whose Hand was withered; (Mat. xii. ir. Vol i. pag. 310.) and at another Time had urged an Argument in effect the &me, with regard to the Cure of the Crooied Woman: (Luke xW'i. 15. Sett, lij.pag. 135.) Which may serve, among a Variety of other Instances, to vindicate several Repetitions, which must be supposed, if we desire to assert the exact and circumstantial Truth of the Sacred Historians.

Vol. II. T te) Sit

Luke XIV. 8.

10

146 The Parable of them that chose the

Sect. 119. Humility, he said unto them: There is one Thing I would, on this Occasion, address to every one in the. Company, namely, When thou art invited by any Friend to a Wedding Feast, or any other great Entertainment, remember the Hint which Solomon has given, (Prov. xxv. 6, 7.) and do not fit down in the uppermost Place; lest another of more honourable Rank in Life than theet Jhould happen to be invited by him. Jnd he that invited you both, Jhould come and say to thee, Thou must give Place to this Person j and thou jhouldst then, to avoid a second Disgrace of this Nature, begin with Shame to take the very lowest Place, as conscious how much thou hast exposed thyself, by so haughty and foolish a Behaviour, But rather, on the contrary, when thou art thus invited, go and fit down at first in the lowest Place thou canst find (g); that when he that invited thee comes into the Room, he may fay to thee, My Friend, go up higher: Then (hall thy Modesty be followed with a distinguishing Regard, and thou shalt thus have Honour in the Sight, both of the Master of the Feast, and ofa\\ 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 down as a certain Maxim in Life, and happy is the Man that attends to it, Every one who exalts himself beyond his proper Rank and Circumstances, shall be proportionably humbled and mortified; but he that humbles himself, shall 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 you desire to improve what you have to the best Advantage, spend it in Charity, rather than in Magnificence and Luxury: And when thou makest a Dinner or a Supper, invite not so much thy rich Friends, or thy Brethren, or thy Kindred, or

Neigh

11

12

highest Seat.

8 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 j

9 And he that bade thee and him, come and fay to thee, Give this Man Place; and thou begin with Shame to take the lowest Room.

10 But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest Room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may fay unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have Worship in the Presence of them that sit at Meat with thee.

11 For whosoever exalt-* eth himself, shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself, shall be exalted.

12 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 Neigh

as

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

{h} limits bid thee again, and a compence be made thee,

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13 But when thou makest a Feast, call the Poor, the Maimed, the Lame, the Blind:

The Poor Jh'ould rather be Invited than the Rich. 147

Neighbours; lest they also Neighbours (b); lest they should also invite thee Sect. 119.

again, and so that should be all thy Recompence, o^v-v^
to receive one Banquet for another j which would L" x'
introduce an Habit of high Living, at a great Ex-" ^ .
pence ' both of Money and Time, and would
occasion the .Disorder of your respective Families.
But rather, when thou would/I make an Entertain- 1*
menty which should turn to the surest Account,
let it be plain and frugal, and invite to it the
Poor, the Disabled, the Lame, [a/id] the Blind (i)t
who are incapable of taking Care of them-
selves: Let ■ these come to thy House frequently,
to receive thine Alms, or " fend Portions to
"them," when they cannot come. (Neh. viii.
10.) .And this will afford thee a much nobler 14.
Satisfaction than Banquets can give; and I may
truly fay, thou shalt be happy, in that they are
riot capable of making thee such a Requital; for
their Prayers {hall descend in Blessings on thy
Head; and besides all the Pleasure a generous
Heart wuTfihd in the very Exercise of such Boun-
ties, thou shalt be abundantly recompenced at the
RefurrecJion of the Jufl (k), if they proceed from
a real Principle of Piety and Faith. (Compare^
Note (a), Vol. i, pag. 331.)

14 And thou (halt be Messed; for they cannot recompence thee: for thou shalt be recompenced at the Resurrection of the. Just.

(h) 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 Feajls, (on the Sabbath-Days, and on other Occasions,) and of treating Great Persons, chiefly out of Pride, Ambition, and Ostentation; 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 Rich, (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.

(»') The Disabled, csfs.] We render ta'tt7rtiev<, 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 Agapte, or Love-Feastst

among the primitive Christians; but it is not evident. Pliny has a fine parallel Passage. See Plin. Epist. lib. ix. epist. 30.

(k) At the Resurreclion os the Just.] It is not so evident, as Dr. Clarke supposes, tha,t hx.tt.ieov must here signify 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 Justice. (Compare Mat. i. 19. Nott {a), Vol. i. pag. 38.)

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148 Rese£i ions on the Exercise os Humility and Charity.

IMPROVEMENT.

Sect. up. T T OW happy were they, who had frequent Opportunities of con-'

V-o'V^J Jlx versing with Christ, whose Discourses were always so wife, 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. 26J 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. 8,--ii. Let us particularly observe, what he here says concerning a modest and humble Deportment, which is indeed the surest Way to be honoured and respected. And let us take great heed, that that good Breeding, which consists so much in the Expressions of Humility, and a Readiness to prefer others to ourselves, do not degenerate into a mere Forrn, 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 not how to understand, 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 pleased not himself, (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 expect 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 Refurreflion 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 Friendship; when that which has been formed upon a Partnership in Vice, or animal Pleasure, {hall be for ever forgotten, or be remembered with mutual Horror.

SECT.

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