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thou serve." Then for a season Satan ceased to tempt him, (afterwards setting himself more industriously io use every stratagem to take away his life) and the angels came and ministered to him, being messengers of comfort sent from his Father to support his humanity, and to congratulate himn on this illustrious victory over the prince of darkness : a victory in which every Christian must re. joice ; for thus, our Redeemer, “ having himself suffered, being tempted,” .obtained an experimental fitness, “ to succour us when we are tempted,” and became also an illustrious example for our imitation, that we should learn to " resist Satan,” that he may “ flee from us.”
While our blessed Lord was in the desert, struggling against, and overcoming, all the temptations and allurements of the devil, St. John, as became the office of a forerunner, ceased not to give public testimony concerning Christ, now_manifested : for after that by a sign from heaven the Baptist was confirmed in spirit, and understood Jesus to be the Messiah, he inmediately published to the Jews what God had manifested to him ; and first to the Priests and Levites, sent from the Sanhedrim or council, he declared that he himself was not the Christ, nor Elias, nor that prophet whom they, by a special tradition expected to be revealed, they knew not when, As concerning himself, he said, “ That he was the voice of one crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord :" but there was one amongst them, as yet unknown, a person of great dignity, to whom the baptist was not worthy to perform the meanest office; who coming after John, was preferred before him; who was to increase, while the Baptist should decrease, and who should baptize with the Holy Ghost and with fire. *
had applied themselves more closely to study the style of the Scriptures, they would have been ashamed to use such kind of arguments: for it is evident that the word only, which is expressed in the command of serving God, is also under. stood in that of worshipping him.
• Fire. Fire here, according to St. Chrysostom, signifies the efficacy of the Holy Ghost; whose operation is so mighty where it is felt, that like fire it consumes the impurities of sin. This is a reference, no doubt, to the miraculous ap
This was the illustrious character of our blessed Lord; but as yet no demonstration was made of his person, till after the descent of the Holy Ghost upon him : and then, when and wherever the baptist saw him, he points him out with his finger, saying, “ Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” But more particularly after the return of our blessed Lord from the wil. derness: for John having declared to the priests and Le. vites that he himself was not the Christ, the next day he seeth Jesus coming to him, and by the power of the Holy Ghost, he exclaims, “Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world !” and confirming his former testimony of him, he adds, “ This is he of whom I said, After me cometh one that is preferred before me, for he was be. fore me.
And though I knew him not, yet I knew that he should be made manifest to Israel; therefore am I come baptizing with water.” And John bare farther record of the Messiah, saying, “ I saw the Spirit descending from heaven, as a dove descends, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not; but he that sent me to baptize with wafer, the same said to me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining upon him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.” “ This,” says he, “I saw; and bear record that this is the Son of God.”
The day after the Baptist appeared again; and besides the multitudes that promiscuously flocked to hear his discourses, he had, according to the manner of the Jewish masters, some peculiar and select disciples, who more constantly attended upon his lectures, and for the most part waited upon his person. Amongst these was Andrew, who was then with him about Jordan, when our Saviour, who some time since had been baptized, came that way : upon whose approach the baptist assured them that this was the Messiah, the Divine person of whom he had so often spoken; and, to usher in whose appearance, his whole ministry was but suisservient; that this
pearance of tongues of fire on the day of Pentecost, emblematical of the gift of languages, and the heavenly animation with which the first preachers declared the word of life, as well as of the wonderful effects of their doctrine,
was the Lamb of God, the true sacrifice, which was to expiate the sins of mankind. Upon this testimony, An. drew* and another disciple (probably St. John) followed our Saviour to the place of his abode, and after some converse with him, Andrew went to acquaint his brother Si. mon, and both together came to Christ; who, as soon as he beheld Simon, said, “Thou art Simon the son of Jo- . nas, thou shalt be called Cephas, t which signifies a stone.”
The day following, Jesus going into Galilee finds out Philipț of Bethsaida, and bids him follow him ; which was the constant form he used in making choice of his disciples, and those that inseparably attended upon him. Philip being thus honourably distinguished by his Lord and Saviour, he soon found Nathanael, I a man of note, and acquainted him with the tidings that the Messiah was come. Nathanael could not easily be induced to give credit to Philip's account; for the title of Nazarene was both by Jews and Gentiles reckoned the greatest reproach that could be fixed on any one; therefore Nathanael questioned with Philip, Can any good thing come out of
Andrew. Upon this account St. Andrew is generally by the fathers and ancient writers styled the Protocletos, or first-called disciple; but in a strict sense he was not so; for though he was the first of the disciples that came to Christ, yet he was not called till afterwards.
+ Cepbas. Anaclete and other Roman writers derive Cephas (the Syriac name of Peter, which signifies a stone) from the Greek word Kephale, which signifies a head, and by this silly mistake endeavour to prove St. Peter's supremacy.
| Philip. The prerogative of being first called evidently belongs to Philip, he being one of the first of our Lord's disciples. For though Andrew and Peter were the first that came to and conversed with Christ, yet did they immediately return to their trades again, and were not called to their discipleship till above a whole year after, when John was cast into prison.
$ Nathanael. Here is room for a very probable conjecture of St. Augustin on Nathanael ; it may be wondered at, that our Saviour bestowing such particular marks of esteem on this good man, did not take him into the college of the apostles: to which St. Augustin gives this for answer, because he was a doctor of the law; which profession at that time was become very scandalous, by reason of the many and vile corruptions crept into it; which soon after was the occasion of so many woes proclaimed against the professors of it by our Saviour. VOL. II.
Nazareth ? But Philip insisting on what he had seen and heard, urges him to go along with him and see; which he did, and was speedily convinced. Nathanael no sooner had approached his Saviour, but he received from him a most ample testimony of his holy simplicity and sincerity in these words, “ Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile !” Nathanael perfectly surprised at such an unexpected evidence of our Lord's omniscience, immediately says, with all the natural frankness of his temper, " Whence dost thou know me?” Jesus re. plied, that before Philip called him, when he was alone, under the fig-tree, he saw him. * Upon which, in an ecstasy of joy, Nathanael, acknowledged his Saviour, say. ing, “ Thou art the Son of God, † thou art the King of Israel! Thou art the promised Messiah, described to us as a King:" and Jesus took this affection of Nathanael in so good part, that he promised him greater things; which gave occasion to the first prophecy made by our Saviour. For, he said unto him, " Because I said I saw thee under the fig-tree, believest thou ? Thou shalt see greater things than these. And then he prophesied, that he should see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and de. scending upon the son of man.
Him. That is, Jesus had in spirit observed what passed in his secret retire. ment for devout meditation and prayer, probably in his own garden. Nathanael was so struck with this express reference to what none but God and his own con. science had witnessed, that all his prejudices were at once removed, and he acknowledges Jesus as the Messiah, the sent of God.
+ Son of God. The ancient Jews universaHy expected that the Son of God would appear on earth, and be that great king whom they had for so many ages expected ; this appears from the expression of Nathanael in the present instance, and from the following scriptures, Matt. xxvi. 16. John vi. 69. John xi. 27. Matt. viii. 29.
See Dr. Macknight's Harmony, Sect. 18. Propbesied. John i. 51. $ Man. Probably the meaning may be such a train of miracles in his ministry, that it should seem as if heaven was opened, and the angels of God (as in Jacob's vision, Gen. xxviii, 12.) ascending and descending to wait on the Son of Man, to receive and execute his orders. But some think this prediction refers to the ascension of our Lord, of which Nathanael might be a witness ; for he is supposed to have been the same person, who.in the catalogue of the apostles is called Bartholomcw.
Much about the same time there happened to be a marriage at Cana of Galilee, in the neighbourhood of his dwel. ling, to which Jesus and his mother being invited, he went to oblige the persons espoused, and do honour to the holy rite of marriage. The persons then married were but of indifferent fortunes, richer in the love of their neighbours, than in the fulness of their large possessions. They had more company than wine: for the master of the feast* complained to the bridegroom, that the guests wanted wine. As soon as the holy mother had notice of this want of wine, she mentioned it to her son, thereby affording him an opportunity of displaying his power, by shewing a miracle in supplying the guests. But Christ ans ered, “ Wo. man, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come.”+ By this answer intending her no denial, to whom he always bare a religious respect, but telling her, that this part of his office, to which he was sent by God, was a thing, wherein she, though his earthly parent, was not to interpose; adding moreover, that it was not yet seasonable for him to shew his power to all, intimating his design, that he would do it more privately, than by her words she seemed to wish. Whereupon, that none but the servants might take notice of it (who knowing the wine was all spent, must of course know if any supply were provided) she
gave express charge to them to do whatsoever he commanded. There were there six water-pots † of stone, cis
Master of the Feast. According to the piety and order of the Jewish nation they chose the Architriclinos, or Master of the Feast from the order of priests to be the president of it, that by the reverence of his person he might restrain all intemperance, by his discretion govern and order the circumstances, by his religious knowledge direct the solemnities of marriage, and by his power keep the guests within the bounds of modesty and prudence.
+ Come. No rudeness or disrespect was intended by our Lord's using the word "Woman," in speaking to his mother. Blackwell in his sacred Classics refers to several instances in Greek writers, where the same appellation is given to persons of distinction, even by their inferiors.
| Water-pots. These were set there to wash in, after the manner of the Jews, who constantly washed with a superstitious nicety before meat; especially in all public meetings, for fear of contracting pollution or illegal impurities, which they did with a particularity next to superstition, washing even the seats and tables at