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men, besides women and children, who were all satisfied; and with the remains of the repast, they afterwards filled seven baskets. -- This prodigy appears to be a mere repetition of what we have related before ; yet St. Chrysostom maintains, that the difference of the number of baskets proves irrefragably they must not be confounded.

Admitting this, it would appear, that Jesus, having no longer any safe retreat in his own country, sacrificed once more the money and provisions his prodigies had enabled him to amass. It was necessary to gain the people, and he at that time felt he had very great need of them; he was generous when he had the means to be so, and he had not forgot that they had promised to follow him, provided he would give them food.

The evangelists, however, overheated with the idea of this miracle, forgot another equally deserving their notice. It was indeed a prodigy to see four thousand men, without reckoning women and little children, following Jesus during three days without eating or drinking; or else we must believe, that, prepared to travel, these people had provided themselves with provisions, which suddenly failed. But, in a desart, whence came the baskets they made use of in gather

the remains of the entertainment? It is to be presumed, that they dropt down from heaven. But, on the other hand, why not make loaves and fishes drop down also ? It was undoubtedly still requisite, by a new miracle, to feed this multitude during the three days' march necessary for their return. Yet, throughput the whole business, it would have been a shorter way to have made the people feel neither hunger nor thirst. It would have been a shorter way, by an ef. fort of effectual mercy, to have converted, at once, all

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the inhabitants of Judea, and spared Jesus the trouble of so many entertainments, flights, marches, and countermarches, which at last terminated in a manner so tragical to this hero of the romance.

The Pharisees and Sadducees did not lose sight of Jesus; and on learning that he had returned to the interior of the kingdom, they went in search of him. The evangelists, it is suspected, made them much worse than they were in reality, by representing them as eager to ruin them. Was it then so difficult to arrest thirteen men? Be that as it may, these Pharisees at this time accosted Jesus very politely, and demanded of him a miracle. “ You perform them," said they, , “ by dozens, in presence of a thousand people, who, by your own confession, do not believe in you; give us then a specimen of your skill, and we shall be less opiniative than those of whom you complain. Do then shew us this condescension.” Jesus was inexorable, and perpetually referred them to Jonas. This refusal offended them: he, in turn, inveighed against them ; and as the presence of these inconvenient spectators rendered bis power useless, he quitted them in order to go to Bethsaida.

On the way his apostles asked him the reason of his refusal to work a miracle in presence of persons who entreated him in so handsome a manner ; on which Jesus, by, a figure, gave them to understand, that he could not operate before people so clear-sighted; Bea ware, said he, of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod. Our silly folks, who had not time to provide bread, thought their master meant to reprove them for their negligence. Any other but Jesus would have laughed at the mistake, but the state of


his affairs chagrined him, and he treated them very harshly*.

On his entering Bethsaida, they brought hi:n a blind man whom he cured by applying spittle to his eyes. This remedy at first produced a pleasant effect : the man saw other men, like trees, walking; Jesus then laid his hands on him, and immediately he saw quite otherwiset

But this miracle gained no conquest to the Messiah. He, therefore, went to try his fortune in the villages in the environs of Cæsarea-Philippi. It is in this journey, that asking his apostles what they thought of him, some said, that he passed for Elias, others for Jeremiah, &c.; but Peter openly confessed that he acknowledged him for the Christ I: a confession which has since gained him the honour of supremacy in the sacred college,and of being declared the head of the church.

Though sovereign in heaven, Christ possessed nothing on earth, and of course could confer no temporal gifts. Instead of these, he gave his disciples the spiritual privilege of damning and saving the rest of mankind at their pleasure.-He promised to Peter the place of door-keeper of Paradise, since become so lucrative an office to his successors and assigns. Meanwhile Jesus recommended silence to the party on this promotion ; but perhaps the traitor Judas, not satisfied with the office of treasurer, did not preserve the se

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Notwithstanding the suffrage of Peter, the consequences which might result from the choler of the


* St. Matt. xvi. St. Mark, viii. St. Luke, xii.
+ St. Mark, viii. 22-26.
I St. Matt. xvii. St. Mark, vii. St. Luke, ix.

priests were always present to the mind of Jesus. He saw himself cried down, and rejected on all sides, and presumed with good sense, that being once excluded from all the provinces, and the Gentiles not much inclined to receive a Jew, expelled his own country, for legislator, he would be constrained, sooner or later, to return to Jerusalem, where he must expect to meet with perilous adventures. On the other hand, the Romans, masters of the forces over whom the Jews could arrogate no authority, would very quickly have put an end to the mission of a men whom they must have regarded either as a fool or as a disturber of the public peace, if he should have dared to declare against them. There is reason, indeed, to believe, that the mission of Jesus existed in Judea merely because the Romans were not much displeased that a restless and turbulent people should amuse themselves with following a man of his rank, a pretended Messiah, to whose appearance the prepossessions of the nation gave rise. Always certain of being able to crush those who dared to undertake the boldest enterprises, they troubled themselves little about what might be done in the country by a party no way formidable to an authority seconded by disciplined legions.

The situation of the Son of God must have alarmed the companions of his fortune, however dull we may suppose them to have been; it was therefore necessary to contrive means to encourage those at least who were the honest dupes of his vain promises. He did not dissemble the bad state of his affairs, the fate he had to dread, and the death with which he was nepaced. He anticipated them on this subject, and declared that even if he should suffer death, they must not be discouraged, for at the end of three days he would rise triumphant from the tomb.-We shall afterwards see the use the apostles made of this prediction which must at the time have appeared to them as foolish as incredible.

To retain them as his followers, and revive their zeal, Christ entertained them incessantly with the beauty of his Father's kingdom ; but he forewarned them, that to arrive there, they must have courage, love him sincerely, and agree to suffer with him. These melancholy sermons demonstrated the situation of the orator, and tended rather to depress than incite the courage of his auditory. He, therefore, thought it seasonable to present to his disciples a specimen of the glory of which he had so often vaunted. For this purpose he exhibited the brilliant spectacle of the transfiguration. All the apostles were not witnesses of it; he granted this favour to three only, Peter, James, and John, his most intimate confidents, to whom he recommended silence. This scene took place, it is said, on mount Thabor. There Jesus appeared irradiated with glory, accompanied with two others, whom the apostles took for Moses and Elias, and whom, as far as we can discover, they had never seen before*. A cloud unexpectedly enve. loped the three luminous bodies; and when they no longer beheld any person, a voice was heard pronouncing these words, This is my beloved Son. The

* Theophylact assures us, that " in the transfiguration the apostles recognized Moses and Elias, not by their visage, which they had never seen, but by their talk.” We sus. pect, however, that the apostles were as well acquainted with the countenances of Moses and Elias as with their speech.

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