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among all the widows of Israel, did not find one more deserving of a miracle than her of Sarepta, a woman of the country of the Sidonians. In the days of Elias, Judea was overrun with lepers, and yet the Prophet cured Naaman, who was a Syrian and an idolater, in preference to his countrymen.
This harangue, which tended to insinuate the reprobation and perversity of the audience, put
them into ill humour, and excited their rage so much that they dragged the orator out of the synagogue, and led him to the top of a mountain with an intention to throw him down headlong; but he had the good fortune to escape, and thus avoid the fate which was intended him in the place of his nativity.
St. Matthew, speaking of this journey to Nazareth, says that his Master did not perform many miracles there on account of the unbelief of the inhabitants. But St. Mark says positively, that he could not do any, which is still more probable*.
Our luminous interpreters and commentators believe, that Jesus escaped only by a miracle out of the hands of the Nazarenes. But would it have cost him more to perform a miracle in order to convert them, and thereby prevent their mischievous designs? This was all that was required of him, and then he would not have stood in need of performing a miracle in order to save himself and place his person in security. Jesus never performed miracles but with certain loss; he always dispensed with working any wben they would have been decisive.
* Compare on this fact, St. Matt. xi. 11. St. Mark, vi. St. Luke, iv. and viii.
MISSION OF THE APOSTLES. THE INSTRUCTIONS JESUS GAVE
THEM.MIRACLES WROUGHT BY HIM UNTIL THE END
OF THE SECOND YEAR OF HIS OWN MISSION.
DISSATISFIED with his expedition to Nazareth, Jesus went to Upper Galilee, which had already been the theatre of his wonders. He found the inhabitants of that country in a disposition better adapted to his purpose. He perceived, however, that the necessity they were under of suspending their labour in order to come and hear him, kept a great number at home. This consideration obliged him to disperse his apostles by two and two in the province. It is probable he resolved on this dispersion because he found his own sermons and prodigies did not gain proselytes enough. The continual enterprises of his enemies made him feel the necessity of increasing his party.
It appears that Jesus had already sent several of his disciples on mission, retaining near himself his twelve apostles only ; it may, however, be presumed that these preachers were as yet mere novices; their labours were unsuccessful; for they found the devils so obstinate as to resist their exorcisms. Yet this want of success was owing solely to the weakness of their faith, and would seem to throw a shade on the foresight and penetration of their divine master. Why did he send missionaries whose dispositions were not sufficiently known to him ? Besides, it belonged to him alone to bestow on them before hand a necessary stock of faith for their journey.
Whatever opinion may be formed of this, there is reason for believing that the apostles, who never quitted their master, saw him continually operating, enjoyed his confidence, and had faith from the first hand--were better qualified than the disciples to labour to the satisfaction of the public. Thus Jesus, fully resolved to make a desperate effort, renewed all their powers, and gave them his instructions, of which the following is the substance : “Every thing being well consider- . ed, do not go among the Gentiles, for our Jews will charge it as a crime against us, and will employ it as a reproach against me. It is true I have already threatened to renounce them, but it is still necessary to make one attempt more ; you will therefore preach to the Jews only. Repentance supposes sobriety and few wants ; hence the inutility of riches. I have no money to give you, but strive to pick up for yourselves what you can. Providence will provide for you ; if he takes care of the sparrows, he will take care of you. Moreover expect to be ill received, reviled, and persecuted; but be of good courage; all is for the best. Silence is no longer requisite; preach openly and on the house tops what I have spoken to you in secret. Inform the world that I am the Messiah, the son of David and the Son of God. We have no longer to ob serve discretion ; we must either conquer or die ; away then with pusillanimity.
“ Though I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves, explain to the good people that you are under
the safeguard of the Most High, who will take a terrible revenge for the outrages offered you, and liberally reward those who welcome you*.-You do not require to concert measures for supplying your expences; it belongs to those whose souls you are going to save to provide for the wants of your bodies ; carry not therefore either gold, or silver, or provision, or two suits of raiment; take a good cudgel, and depart in the name of the Lord.
“ Take care in your way always to preach that the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Speak of the end of the world ; this will intimidate women and poltroons. On entering cities and villages, inform yourself underhand of such credulous people, as are very charitable and prepossessed in our favour. You will salute them çivilly ; saying, Peace be to this house. But the peace you bring must be only allegorical; for my doctrine is calculated to create trouble, discord, and division every where. Whoever would follow me must abandon father, mother, kinsmen, and family; we want only fanatics and enthusiasts, who, attaching themselves, wholly to us, trample every human consideration under foot. I came not to send peace, but a sword. As a like conduct might embroil you with your hosts, you
* It was evidently in strict compliance with this injunction that John Calvin, on the 30th of September 1561, wrote the following letter to the High Chamberlain of the King of Navarre :-“ Honor, glory, and riches, shall be the reward of your pains ; but above all, do not fail to rių the country of those zealous scoundrels, who'stir up the people to revolt against us. Such monsters should be exterminated, as I have exterminated Michael Serretus the Spaniard."-Vide Eccles. Researches, p. 348.
will change your abode from time to time. Do not rely on the power I have of raising the dead ;. the safest
you is not to risk your being killed; shun therefore places where you shall find yourselves me. naced with persecution. Leave disobedient cities and houses, shaking the dust from off your feet. Tell them, that they have incurred the punishment of Sodom and Gomorrah. Declare, in my name, that the divine vengeance is ready to make them sensible of their guilt, and that the inhabitants of these cities will be less ri. gorously punished than those who shall have the audacity to resist your lessons. The great and last day is at hand: I assure you, that you shall not have finished your tour through all the cities of Israel, bem fore the Son of man shall arrive*.”
Such is the sense and spirit of the instructions which Jesus gave to his apostles. In charging them to divulge his secret, he gave them a commission, which, notwithstanding his omnipotence, he himself dared not execute, But it was a grand policy to have instruments to act, without exposing himself personally in the matter.
These trifles, however, scarcely merit notice :- -We are more surprised to find the Son of God proclaiming peace and charity, and at the same time asserting that he brings war and hatred. It is without doubt a God only who can reconcile these contradictions. It is besides unquestionable, that the apostles, and especially their successors in the sacred ministry, have in preaching their gospel brought on the world troubles and divisions unknown in all other preceding