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mouths of the Scribes and Pharisees, which were open upon him, for curing an hydropic person upon the Sabbath. For Jesus, that he might draw off and separate Christianity from the yoke of ceremonies, by abolishing and taking off the strictest Mosaical rites, chose to do very many of his miracles upon the Sabbath, that he might do the work of abrogation and institution, both at once; not much unlike the sabbatical pool in Judea, which was dry six days, but gushed out in a full stream upon the Sabbath. For though, upon all days, Christ was operative and miraculous, yet many reasons did concur and determine him to a more frequent working upon those days of public ceremony and convention. But, going forth from thence, he went up and down the cities of Galilee, re-enforcing the same doctrine he had formerly taught them, and daily adding new precepts, and cautions, and prudent insinuations: "advertizing of the multitudes of them that perish, and the paucity of them that shall be saved, and that we should strive to enter in at the strait gate;' that the way to destruction is broad' and plausible, the way to heaven' nice and austere, and few there be that find it :' teaches them modesty at feasts, and entertainments of the poor: discourses of the many excuses and unwillingnesses of persons who were invited to the feast of the kingdom, the refreshments of the Gospel; and tacitly insinuates the rejection of the Jews, who were the first 'invited,' and the calling of the Gentiles, who were the persons called in from the highways and hedges.' reprehends Herod for his subtilty and design to kill him; prophesies that he should die at Jerusalem; and intimates great sadnesses future to them, for neglecting this, their day' of visitation, and for killing the prophets and the messengers sent from God.'”
29. It now grew towards winter, and the Jews' feast of Dedication was at hand; therefore, Jesus went up to Jerusalem to the feast, where he preached in Solomon's porch, which part of the temple stood entire from the first ruins: and the end of his sermon was, that the Jews had like to have stoned him. But, retiring from thence, he went beyond Jordan, where he taught the people, in a most
j Joseph. de Bello Jud. lib. vii. c. 24.
elegant and persuasive parable, concerning "the mercy of God in accepting penitents, in the parable of the prodigal son' returning; discourses of the design of the Messias coming into the world, to recover erring persons from their sin and danger, in the apologues of the lost sheep,' and 'groat;' and, under the representment of an unjust, but prudent, steward, he taught us so to employ our present opportunities and estates, by laying them out in acts of mercy and religion, that, when our souls shall be dismissed from the stewardship and custody of our body, we may be entertained in everlasting habitations.' He instructeth the Pharisees in the question of divorces, limiting the permissions of separations to the only cause of fornication: preferreth holy celibate before the estate of marriage, in them to whom the gift of continency is given, in order to the kingdom of heaven. He telleth a story, or a parable, (for which is uncertain,) of a a rich man (whom Euthymius, out of the tradition of the Hebrews, nameth Nymensis,) and Lazarus; the first a voluptuous person, and uncharitable; the other, pious, afflicted, sick, and a beggar: the first died, and went to hell; the second, to Abraham's bosom: God so ordering the dispensation of good things, that we cannot easily enjoy two heavens; nor shall the infelicities of our lives, if we be pious, end otherwise than in a beatified condition. The epilogue of which story discovered this truth also, that the ordinary means of salvation are the express revelations of Scripture, and the ministries of God's appointment; and whosoever neglects these, shall not be supplied with means extraordinary, or, if he were, they would be totally ineffectual."
30. And still the people drew water from the fountains of our Saviour, which streamed out in a full and continual emanation. For, adding wave to wave," line to line, precept upon precept," he "reproved the fastidiousness of the Pharisee, that came with eucharist to God, and contempt to his brother; and commended the humility of the publican's address, who came deploring his sins, and, with modesty, and penance, and importunity, begged, and obtained a mercy. Then he laid hands upon certain young children, and gave them benediction, charging his apostles to admit infants to him, because to them, in persom, and to such, in emblem and signification, the kingdom of heaven does appertain.
He instructs a young man in the ways and counsels of perfection, besides the observation of precepts, by heroical renunciations, and acts of munificent charity." Which discourse, because it alighted upon an indisposed and an unfortunate subject, (" for the young man was very rich;") Jesus discourses "how hard it is for a rich man to be saved; but he expounds himself to mean, they that trust in riches;' and, however it is a matter of so great temptation, that it is almost impossible to escape, yet,' with God nothing is impossible.'" But, when the apostles heard the Master bidding the young man "sell all, and give to the poor, and follow him," and, for his reward, promised him " a heavenly treasure;" Peter, in the name of the rest, began to think that this was their case, and the promise also might concern them but they asked the question, What shall we have, who have forsaken all, and followed thee? Jesus answered, that they should "sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."
31. And Jesus extended this mercy to every disciple, that should "forsake either house, or wife, or children, or any thing, for his sake and the Gospel's," and that they "should receive a hundred fold in this life," by way of comfort and equivalence," and, in the world to come," thousands of glories and possessions, in fruition and redundancy. For "they that are last shall be first, and the first shall be last:" and the despised people of this world shall reign like kings, and contempt itself shall swell up into glory, and poverty into an eternal satisfaction. And these rewards shall not be accounted according to the privileges of nations, or priority of vocation, but readiness of mind and obedience, and sedulity of operation after calling: which Jesus taught his disciples in the parable of the "labourers in the vineyard," to whom the master gave the same reward, though the times of their working were different; as their calling and employment had determined the opportunity of their labours.
Of Scandal, or giving and taking Offence.
1. A SAD curse being threatened, in the Gospel, to them who offend any of Christ's little ones," that is, such as are novices and babes in Christianity, it concerns us to learn our duty, and perform it, that we may avoid the curse; for, "Woe to all them, by whom offences come "." And, although the duty is so plainly explicated, and represented in gloss and case, by the several commentaries of St. Paul, upon this menace of our blessed Saviour; yet, because our English word "offence," which is commonly used in this question of scandal, is so large and equivocal, that it hath made many pretences, and intricated this article to some inconvenience, it is not without good purpose to draw into one body those propositions, which the masters of spiritual life have described in the managing of this question.
2. First: By whatsoever we do our duty to God, we cannot directly do offence, or give scandal, to our brother; because, in such cases where God hath obliged us, he hath also obliged himself to reconcile our duty to the designs of God, to the utility of souls, and the ends of charity. And this proposition is to be extended to our obedience to the lawful constitutions of our competent superiors, in which cases we are to look upon the commandment, and leave the accidental events to the disposition of that Providence, who reconciles dissonances in nature, and concentres all the variety of accidents into his own glory. And whosoever is offended at me for obeying God, or God's vicegerent, is offended at me for doing my duty; and in this there is no more dispute, but whether I shall displease God, or my peevish neighbour. These are such, whom the Spirit of God complains of, under other representments: they "think it strange we run not into the same excess of riot;" their " eye is evil, because" their Master's " eye is good;" and the abounding of God's grace also may become to them an occasion of falling, and the long-suffering of God the en
couragement to sin.. In this there is no difficulty for in what case soever we are bound to obey God, or man, in that case, and in that conjunction of circumstances, we have nothing permitted to our choice, and have no authority to remit of the right of God, or our superior. And, to comply with our neighbour in such questions, besides that it cannot serve any purposes of piety, if it declines from duty in any instance, it is like giving alms out of the portion of orphans, or building hospitals with the money and spoils of sacrilege. It is pusillanimity, or hypocrisy, or a denying to confess Christ before men, to comply with any man, and to offend God, or omit a duty. Whatsoever is necessary to be done, and is made so by God, no weakness or peevishness of man can make necessary not to be done. For the matter of scandal is a duty beneath the prime obligations of religion.
3. Secondly: But every thing which is used in religion, is not matter of precise duty; but there are some things, which indeed are pious and religious, but dispensable, voluntary, and commutable; such as are, voluntary fasts, exterior acts of discipline and mortification, not enjoined, great degrees of exterior worship, prostration, long prayers, vigils: and in these things, although there is not directly a matter of scandal, yet there may be some prudential considerations. in order to charity and edification. By pious actions, I mean either particular pursuances of a general duty, which are uncommanded in the instance, such as are the minutes and expresses of alms; or else they are commended, but in the whole kind of them unenjoined, such as divines call the "counsels of perfection." In both these cases, a man cannot be scandalous. For the man doing, in charity and the love of God, such actions which are aptly expressive of love, the man, I say, is not uncharitable in his purposes; and the actions themselves, being either attempts or proceedings toward perfection, or else actions of direct duty, are as innocent in their productions as in themselves, and, therefore, without the malice of the recipient, cannot induce him into sin and nothing else is scandal. To do any pious act proceeds from the Spirit of God, and to give scandal, from the spirit of malice, or indiscretion; and, therefore, a pious action, whose fountain is love and wisdom, cannot end in uncharitableness or imprudence. But, because, when any