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"thou wilt, thou canst make me 3. "clean." And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, "I "will; be thou clean:" And immediately his leprofy was cleansed. 4. And Jesus saith unto him, "See "thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew (c) thyfelf to the priest, and offer the gift that "Moses commanded for a (d) tes5. timony unto them." And when Jesus was entered into Caper
naum, there came unto him a cen6. turion, beseeching him, and saying, "Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, griev7. ously tormented." And Jesus saith unto him, "I will come and 8. " heal him." The centurion answered and said, "Lord, I am "not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak "the word only, and my servant 9. "shall be healed. For I am a
man under authority, having "soldiers under me: and I say to "this man, (e) Go, and he goeth; "and to another, Come, and he "cometh; and to my servant, "Do this, and he doeth it." 10. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, "Verily I say unto you, I have "not found so great (f) faith,
And I say
"unto you, That (g) many shall
come from the east and west, " and shall sit down with Abra"ham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in "the kingdom of heaven: But "the children (b) of the kingdom "shall be cast out into outer "darkness: there shall be weep"ing and gnashing of teeth." And Jesus said unto the centurion, "Go thy way; and as thou hast "believed, so be it done unto "thee." And his servant was healed in the self-same hour.
The Conversion of St.Paul.
O GOD, who through the preaching of the blessed Apostle Saint Paul hast caused the light of the Gospel to shine throughout the world; Grant, we beseech thee, that we having his wonderful conversion in remembrance, may shew forth our thankfulness unto thee for the same, by following the holy doctrine which he taught, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
For the Epistle. Acts ix. 1. (i) AND Saul, yet breathing out
(g) Many," &c. i.e. Gentiles.
"Children of the kingdom," i.e. v. Jews. The strong instance of faith in the Centurion, who was a Gentile, naturally led our Saviour to contrast the conduct of the Gentiles with that of the Jews.
(i) Lord Lyttleton, in an admirable discussion on the conversion and conduct of St. Paul, considers it of itself sufficient to satisfy any reasonable mind of the
threatenings (k) and slaughter || voice (1), but seeing no man. against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, and 2. desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he i found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusa3. lem. And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus; and suddenly there shined round about 4. him a light from heaven: and he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, "Saul, why persecutest thou 5. " me?" And he said, "Who
"art thou, Lord?" And the Lord said, "I am Jesus whom "thou persecutest: it is hard "for thee to kick against the 6. " pricks." And he trembling and astonished, said, "Lord, "what wilt thou have me to "do?" And the Lord said unto him, "Arise, and go into the "city, and it shall be told thee 7. " what thou must do." And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a
truth of the Christian religion. St. Paul must have known, to a certainty, whether what is here stated really did happen to him, and whether he really received the spiritual communications, and possessed the supernatural powers elsewhere mentioned and he could have had no temporal views, because his profession was decidedly against his worldly interests. What he went through and endured for the Christian cause (see 2 Cor. xi. 23. to 27. Sexagesima Sunday) is pretty strong proof that he was no impostor. St. Luke, who wrote the Acts, was with St. Paul the greatest part of twelve years, from A.D. 46 to A.D. 58, so that his account of the conversion may be depended upon as correct. The conversion is supposed to have occurred A.D. 35, two years after the Crucifixion.
(k) Threatenings and slaughter."
And Saul arose from the earth; 8.
This implies pretty strongly that the first converts were severely persecuted, and that it could not be desirable, as to worldly views, to embrace Christianity: what then could have induced the apostles to persevere themselves, and to bring over others, but the certain knowledge that they had seen our Saviour after his crucifixion, and that they had assurances in which they could not have been mistaken or deceived, that Jesus was the Messiah; and what could have worked upon any one to turn to this persuasion, but the conviction, from seeing what the apostles did, that God was with them?
15. "all that call on thy name." But the Lord said unto him, "Go "thy way for he is a chosen " vessel unto me, to bear my "name before the Gentiles, and "kings, and the children of Is16." rael: for I will shew him how
66 great things he must suffer for 17. my name's sake." And Ananias went his way, and entered
into the house; and putting his hands on him, said, " Brother "Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, "that appeared unto thee in the 66 way as thou camest, hath sent "me, that thou mightest receive "thy sight, and be filled with 18. " the Holy Ghost." And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales; and he received sight forthwith, and arose, 19. and was baptized. And when he had received meat, he strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples 20. which were at Damascus. And
straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, "that he is the
21. "Son of God." But all that heard him were amazed, and said, "Is "not this he that destroyed them "which called on this name in "Jerusalem, and came hither for "that intent, that he might bring "them bound unto the chief "priests?" But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.
v. 1. (m) "Let, &c." The apostles were anxious to satisfy their converts that their spiritual subjection to Christ did not exempt them from temporal subjection to the established government under which they lived. A contrary doctrine would have had a tendency to set all established
unto the higher powers. there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained 2. of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance (n) of God; and they that resist shall receive to them3. selves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt (o) thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the (p) 4. same: for he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute (9) wrath upon him that 5. doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath (r), but also for conscience
(n) "Ordinance," i. e. appointment. (0) Wilt, &c." i.e. if you wish to avoid being in fear of the power do that which is good, and instead of punishment, &c. from it, it shall give thee praise, for it is the minister of God to thee for good, if thou actest right, and for punishment if thou doest evil.
(p) "The same," i. e. the power. (q)" Wrath," i. e. punishment.
(r)"For wrath, &c." Not only to avoid the punishment of man, but from a sense that it is part of your duty to God. (s) "For this cause," i. e. because they are God's ministers. (1) "
Pay you," i. e. you are to pay,
it is your duty.
(u) "This very thing," i. e. the pu nishment of evil-doers, and the praise, &c. of them that do well.
(x) "Tribute, &c." When some of
sake. For, for this (s) cause '6. pay you (t) tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this (u) very thing. Render therefore to all 7. their dues; tribute to whom (x) tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.
The Gospel. Matt. viii 23. (y) AND when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. And, behold, there arose 24. a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came 25to him, and awoke him, saying, "Lord, save us : we perish." And he saith unto them, "Why are 26. ye fearful, O ye of little faith?"
the Pharisees, &c. sought occasion against our Saviour, to bring him under the cognizance of the civil magistrate by putting to him the question whether in his opinion it was lawful to give tribute unto Cæsar? he told them to render "unto Cæsar the things which are Cæ-"sar's, and unto God the things which
are God's," Matt. xxii. 15, 17, 21.Mark xii. 13, &c.-Luke xx. 20, &c.; meaning perhaps to insinuate, that his religion would not interfere with the
government, and that his followers would still continue subject to the laws and control of the state.
(y) The miracles here stated were perhaps before the call of St. Matthew, so that the testimony is not, as in many other instances, that of an eye-witness. St. Matthew's call is not mentioned till the next chapter; and his statement implies that it was after these events, though not long after them. His associ-. ation, however, almost immediately after their occurrence, with those disciples in whose presence they occurred, when they would naturally be topics of conversation and astonishment, gives his statement great credit.
the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils. And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they (a) besought him that he would depart out of their
THE PRESENTATION OF CHRIST IN THE TEMPLE, commonly called The Purification of the Virgin Mary.
Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was 27. a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, "What manner "of man is this, that even the "winds and the sea obey him?" 28. And when he was come to the other side, into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass 29. by that way. And, behold, they cried out, saying, "What have we "to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son "of God? art thou come hither "to torment us before the time?" 30. And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine 31. feeding. So the devils besought him, saying, "If thou cast us out, "suffer us to go away into the "herd of swine." And he said unto them, "Go." And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and behold, the whole herd of (z) swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the 33. waters: And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into
(x)" Swine." If these were kept by Jews, it was a breach of their law: if by Gentiles, yet if it was in the country of the Jews, it was a snare to them.
(a)" Besought him," &c. St. Luke assigns as a reason for this request, ch. viii. 37. that "they were taken with great fear;" and St. Mark says, ch. v. 15. "that they were afraid." (b) Malachi prophesied about 430 years before our Saviour's time.
(c)" Messenger." John the Baptist was this messenger: and he prepared the way before our Saviour; that is, prepared men's hearts for his reception, by preaching" repentance, for the king"dom of heaven is at hand," &c. See Matt. iii. 2. 8 to 12. Isaiah had before