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him, than the pleasure he could receive from the refreshment he might have experienced in partaking of their provisions: he let them know, that to gather this spiritual harvest, and finish the work of his heavenly Father, was his proper food; and adding, for the encouragement of his disciples, that as they had laboured with him in this harvest of souls, so should they be partakers in the eternal harvest of joy, which would be the reward of their diligence in the work of God.
The words of the woman had taken such an effect on the inhabitants of the city, that many of them belieyed that Jesus was certainly the Messiah; and when they crowded about him with wonder and joy, their first request was, that he would condescend to go to their city, and take his abode amongst them. The kind, indulgent Saviour of sinners was so favourable to them, that he complied with their petition, and staid with them two days. This time he spent in preaching the kingdom of God, and instructing them in the nature of his religion. Such success attended his ministry, that a great number of the inhabitants of the city believed on him, and declared unto the woman at his departure, Now we believe, not because of thy saying ; for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the World.
Our Lord, having thus favoured the Samaritans with his heavenly instructions, left the city of Sychar, and continued his journey to Galilee: and though he did not expect much honor or esteem amongst his countrymen, he would not neglect giving them an opportunity of receiving his heavenly doctrine. He had performed several miracles at Jerusalem, during the late feast of the passover, at which many of the inhabitants of Galilee were present: his preaching amongst them, in consequence of this, was at first attended with great success, and he dwelt some small time at Cana, where he had turned the water into wine, and both himself and his doctrine were kindly received.
While he abode at that city, a nobleman of Capernaum having heard of the many miracles he performed, came to him, and addressed him with the utmost reverence and respect; at the same time humbly beseeching him to come to Capernaum, and heal his son, who lay at the point of death. Our Lord was so compassionate, as to comply with the latter part of the request, but thought proper to give the concerned parent to understand, that there was no necessity for him to take a journey to Capernaum to effect this cure; for that great Being, who was present in all places, could perform his mighty works, without personally appearing at the place where the miracle was wrought: Jesus, therefore dismissed the father, with a declaration that his son was restored to health, but refused to accompany him to his city: Go thy way, said he, thy son liveth. The nobleman not doubting the truth of what our Lord had declared, departed to his house; but, before his arrival, he was met on the road by his servants, who brought the joyful news, that his son was perfectly recovered. The father inquired, at what time they perceived the first alteration in him; the servants replied, Yesterday, at the seventh hour, the fever left him. By this, the joyful father perceived, that his son recovered immediately as Jesus had spoken the words, thy son liveth; and was fully convinced, that this cure was performed by the mighty power of God. This amazing instance of divine power and goodness, fully convinced the nobleman, and all his family, not only that Jesus was a true prophet, but that he was the Messiah, that great deliverer of his people, so long expected in the world.
Some short time after this, JESUS departed from Cana, and went to Nazareth, the place where he had been brought up, and where he had dwelt till he entered on his public ministry. There, as bad been his con- .
stant custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and attended on the reading of the law and the prophets. After the passages appointed for the service of the day were read, Jesus took the book from the hand of the person who officiated, and opened it on this celebrated prediction of the Messiah, in the prophecy of Isaiah, 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 preach deliverance to the captives, and rea covering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
It is the opinion of some learned and judicious commentators, that our Lord read this passage in native Hebrew, which was then a dead language, and as it was known by his townsmen, that he was not learned, it excited their admiration, especially when he expounded it with such clearness of judgment, and beauty of expression ; and what the more raised their astonishment, he applied it to himself: but as he had performed no miracles in their city, they seemed to be offended: perhaps they imagined, that the place of his nativity should have claimed his first regard, and that his friends and townsmen should have been the objects of his peculiar care; and as it appeared, that with a word, he could heal the sick or diseased, at a distance, it is very likely, they thought that there should not have been one sick, lame, or blind person, at Nazareth. That they really entertained such sentiments as these, is plain from our Saviour's own words, Ye will surely say to me, Physician, heal thyself; zohatever we have had done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country: they seem to have hinted to our Lord, that it was unkind in him to heal the nobleman's son at Capernaum, and take no notice of the sick and diseased as Nazareth; which being the place of his nativity and residence, should have been a larger sharer in his benevolence and care, than those cities
which were unknown to him, and therefore could have no claim on his goodness. To this insinuation, our Lord thought fit to reply, by giving them an account of the conduct of the two great prophets Elijah and Elisha, who were directed by the God of Israel, to exert those miraculous powers, which he had given them, in favour of Heathens, when many of the people of Israel stood in need of their assistance. I tellyou of a truth, said he, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great fcmine was throughout all the land; but unto none of them was Elias sent, suve unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elizeus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, sating Naaman the Syrian. No sooner had our Redeemer spoken these words, than the synagogue was in an uproar; the whole assembly foamed with rage, and was the more unruly and turbulent, because none of them knew how to reply; but forgetting the solemnity of the Sabbath, they seized the Saviour of the world, and took him by force, to the brow of the hill on which their city stood, thinking to have thrown him down, and dashed him to pieces; but no sooner were they come to the place where they intended to have put their cruel designs in execution, than they were impressed with awe; and each looked on the other, none daring to make the horrid attempt. Our Redeemer perceiving the consternation which they were in, departed from amongst them, and none prestimed to detain him.
Our Saviour being thus treated by the blind, outrageous fury of his townsmen, and the cruel usage he had received, removed his place of residence, a ja some time abode at Capernaum. This was the ca city of Galilee, and was built on the borders of lake of Genesareth.
It may not be improper in this place, to give a s!
account of this lake. It is called, in the Old Testament, the sea of Chinnereth ; but, in the Evangelists, it has three several names: it is called the sea of Galilee, from the province where it was situated; the sea of Tiberias, from a city of that name on its western shore; and the lake of Genezareth, from the name of a considerable part of Galilee, extending along its western shore. According to Josephus, it was twentytwo miles in length, and five in breadth: the bottom being of gravel, rendered the water both clear and good tasted: it was said to be softer than either fountain or river water, and at the same time so cold, that it would not grow warm, though exposed to the rays of the sun in the hottest season of the year. The river Jordan runs through this lake, and it abounds with plenty of excellent fish, and some sorts that are not to be found in any other place.
The countries surrounding this lake, according to the above-mentioned historian, were fertile and populous, especially the two Galilees, which contained a great number of towns and villages, the least of which included fifteen hundred souls. On the east side, were the cities of Chorasin, Bethsaida, Gadara, and Hippon; on the west, Capernaum, Tiberias, and Tarrichea. From all these advantages, it was a common saying amongst the Jews, that God had a peculiar love to the sea of Galilee: and if we consider, that, added to the above-named privileges, it was so often favoured with the presence of our great Redeemer, we must allow that the observation was just; for frequent were his excursions on these waters, while he dwelt at Capernaum; and once he honoured them with his presence, and worked a miracle in their streams, after he had risen from the dead,
It was the divine will, that Jesus should spend a considerable time in preaching, and working miracles, to confirm the truth of his divine mission, and instruct his disciples in the doctrine which they were after