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manners, seats, and habits of his guests; and despising the proud, often vouchsafeth to the humble so many gifts of his spirit, that they are deservedly honoured by those that sit at table with them, that is, they are glorified before the assembly of those that dwell in the faith, with the admiration of all; and filled with wonder in their Creator's praise, they leap for joy, saying, “To me thy friends, O GOD, are made exceedingly honourable; their principality is exceedingly strengthened." (Ps. cxxxviii. 17.) “ Because, every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” From this conclusion it is manifest that the preceding discourse of our Lord was to be understood in a typical sense. For it is not now that every one that humbleth himself shall be exalted; nor he that humbleth himself in the sight of men shall be exalted by them. But on the contrary, we see that he that is raised to the highest point of dignity, or acquireth the height of glory, often continues therein to the last ; and in like manner, the man that is humble and shame-faced, continueth in the mediocrity with which he is contented even to the end of his life. And therefore it is that according to truth, every one that incautiously buildeth himself up in his own merit, shall be humbled by the Lord ; but he that providently humbleth himself in his good deeds, the same shall be exalted by Him. In which sense the words of our Lord are doubtless to be taken, wherein he forbids the taking the first place at the wedding feast.
“ And he said to him also that had invited him; when thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, nor thy kinsmen, nor thy neighbours who are rich." (v. 12.) Not that he would forbid the celebrating of feasts between friends, kinsmen, or neighbours, who are rich, but to show that such could claim no reward, as sinners do the like to sinners to receive as much ; but that they are of none avail towards deserving eternal life. But “lest perhaps they also invite thee again, and a recompense be made to thee.” He does not say, it is sin, but that you have a recompense ; like what he says elsewhere ;
If you do good to them who do good to you, what thanks are to you." (St. Luke vi. 33.) He does not say such is a sin, but that you have your thanks; “ For sinners also do this.” (Ibid.) And this, although often their feasts to their friends, kinsmen, and those that are rich in this world are such, that they not only receive a recompense here, but one in damnation in the life to come ; for they are accounted by the apostle amongst the works of darkness ; when he says; “ Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness.” (Rom. xiii. 13.)
And such feasts of luxury are indeed rioting; which are wont to be exhibited at great entertainments and tavern meetings, so that no one is ashamed to say or do what is unseemly; as the impulse of much wine suggests, or the diverse pleasure of lust incites.
“But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, and the blind, and thou shalt be blessed ; because they have not wherewith to make thee recompense; for recompense shall be made thee at the resurrection of the just.” In the resurrection of the just he says, for though all shall rise, yet is it only properly their resurrection ; who in this doubt not but that they shall be blessed ; therefore he that calls the poor unto a feast, shall receive his reward in the world to come. He that calls his friends and kinsman, has already received his recompense. But yet if he does this, as holy Job did, at the command of God, he also who commanded it will give a reward ; but if he invite the glutton and luxurious, for lasciviousness' sake, he shall receive eternal punishment hereafter.
“When one of them that sat at table with him, had heard these things, he said to him : Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the Kingdom of God." He that eateth bread in the Kingdom of God, must not be understood as of food in the corporeal sense ; but particularly of that of which He said; “I am the living bread, which came down from Heaven : if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever.” (St. John vi. 51.) That is, whosoever is wholly incorporated in the sacrament of my incarnation, shall deserve to enjoy the sight of my divine majesty. He shall enjoy the everlasting beatitude of immortal life.
HOMILY OF ST. JEROME ON THE GOSPEL FOR THE
EIGHTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST.
GOSPEL—St. Matth. ix. 1-8.—“At that time: Jesus entering into a boat, he passed over the water and came into his own city. And behold, they brought to him one sick of the palsy, lying on a bed. And Jesus seeing their faith, said to the man sick of the palsy, Be of good heart, son, thy sins are forgiven thee. And behold, some of the scribes said within themselves : He blasphemeth. And Jesus, seeing their thoughts, said: Why do you think evil in your hearts? whether is it easier to say, Thy sins are forgiven thee; or
say, Arise and walk. But that you may know that the Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins (then said he to the man sick of the palsy) Arise, take up thy bed, and go into thy house. And he arose and went into his house. And the multitudes, seeing it, feared, and glorified God that gave such power to men.” This day's lesson shows, that in his human actions, Christ performed divine mysteries, and by things visible, treated of those that are invisible. “For Jesus, 'entering into a boat, he passed over the water." Is this not He, who, having made the waves to fly, laid bare the depths of the sea, so that the people of Israel went dry.shod “ through the midst of the sea; for the water was as a wall on their right hand and on their left” ? (Exod. xiv. 22.) Is it not He who beckoned unto Peter to walk on the foaming billows, as then He trod with human foot the liquid surface which became solid at his command ? and why is it now that He denies himself the service of the sea, so as to pass over the waters of this narrow lake in a fisherman's boat? “For entering into a boat," it is said, “he passed over the water.” And why should we wonder, my brethren ? Christ came to bear our infirmities and to confer on us the wholesome remedy of soundness; and as a physician who knows not how to cure can never restore health, so also, had He not been weak with the weak, he would not have conferred the gift of health on those that are infirm. So, then, if Christ had dwelt amongst us in all the plenitude of his power, he would have had nothing in common with men; and had he not fulfilled the condition of the flesh, his as. suming our flesh would have been of none avail. Therefore, he took upon him our state of want, that by these human necessities he might be proved to be true man.
“ He went up into a little ship." Christ went up into the ship of this world for ever to still its waves; that he might lead those that be. lieve in Him, by a tranquil voyage to the heavenly haven; and make them free of its blessed privileges, whom he had vouchsafed to make partakers of his humanity. Christ then needed not the ship, but the ship needed Christ. Because, without the pilotage of Christ, the ship of the Church would not be able to sail through this world's sea, through so many and so great dangers, and to reach in safety the heavenly haven.
So far, my brethren, we have spoken in reference to the spiritual interpretation of this passage, but let us follow in succession the order of this history. “Jesus entering into a boat, passed over the water, and came into his own city.” Our Lord, the Creator of the whole
world, from the time since he, for our sakes, straightened himself within the narrow bounds of our flesh, began to have a human country; he began to be a citizen of the Jewish state ; He began to have parents, who was himself the Father of all parents ; that his love might invite, his charity attract, his affection overcome, his humanity persuade, those whom condemnation had put to flight, whom fear had dispersed, whom the power of sin had made outcasts.
“He came into his own city. And behold, they brought him one sick of the palsy, lying on a bed. And Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the man sick of the palsy : Be of good heart, son, thy sins are forgiven thee. He that was sick of the palsy hears his pardon, and is silent; neither does he return thanks, as if he thought more of the cure of his body than of his soul; he mourned so for the temporal afflictions of his enfeebled frame, that he wept not over the eternal punishments of his more weakened soul; reckoning this present life to be more pleasing than that to come. With good reason, does Christ look on the faith of those that bring the sick man to him, and in that so beholds the dotage of him that lyeth sick of the palsy, that by another's suffrage he would cure his soul rather than his body. “And seeing their faith," it is said. Observe in this passage that our Lord does not seek to fülfil the will of those that are witless ; he does not look for the faith of the ignorant; he does not scan narrowly the silly desires of him that is sick; but rather brings relief by the faith of another. deed, my brethren, what physician is it that inquires after or pays regard to the wish of his patient, seeing the sick ever seeks and desires what is contrary to his recovery. Hence he prescribes the knife, the fire, or the bitter draught; and brings it to the patient all unwilling, that when he is well he may be sensible of his care, who, when he was sick was incapable of feeling it. And if the physician despises injuries and overlooks the reproaches of the sick, that by the means of a wound voluntarily given, he may confer on them life and health, how much more does Christ, our physician, by his divine goodness, treat those that lie in the disease of sins, and draweth those that labour under the phrensy of vice, yea even willing or unwilling, to salvation. Oh! that we would, my brethren,-oh! that we would ever look earnestly on the palsied sickness of our souls, and behold our souls, lying destitute of virtue, on the bed of vice,– how Christ would give us light! and He that looketh every day on our own noxious will, would draw us strongly to a wholesome cure, and cleanse us, all unwilling.
“Son," he says, “thy sins are forgiven thee.” This he says wishing it to be un
And in very
derstood that he is God, who yet lay hid in his humanity to the eyes of men. From his virtues and signs, they compared him to the prophets, as if by his own might these had been done. But to forgive sins was not in the power of man ; it was the singular token of the GODHEAD, inserted by God himself, in the hearts of men. The malice of the Pharisee proves this ; for when he had said, “ Thy sins are forgiven thee,” the Pharisees answered : “He blasphemeth. Who can forgive sins but God alone ?” O Pharisee, who, in thy knowledge, showest thy ignorance, who deniest what you confess, seeing you impugn what you have borne witness to ? If he be God, who .remitteth sins, why then is not Christ thy God, who by one gift of his forgiveness is proved to have taken away the sins of the whole world. “ Behold,” saith the Gospel, “behold the Lamb of God,-behold him who taketh away the sin of the world.” (St. John i. 29.) But that you may understand still higher tokens of his divinity; see him now he has penetrated into the secret place of thy breast. Behold how he has reached into the lurking places of your thoughts, acknowledge that he has laid bare the counsel of thy heart. “ And Jesus seeing their thought, said ; Why do you think evil in your hearts? whether is it easier to say, thy sins are forgiven thee: or to say, arise and walk : But that you may know that the Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins (then said he to the man sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go into thy house: and he arose and went into his house.” The searcher of hearts, came to the deep counsel of their mind; and by the testimony of his work, showed the power of his Godhead, whilst he puts together the limbs of the scattered body, binds on the sinews, joins the bones together, completes the bowels, strengthens their might, recals life, raises up from the dead, and sets them among the living who were buried in the grave.
“ Take up thy bed," that is, take
the course of thy burthen. That what was a token of thy sickness, may now be a proof of thy health, that the bed of thy sorrow may be the sign of thy cure; that the greatness of its weight may avouch for the greatness of thy recovered strength. “Go," he says “ into thy house," that being cured by the Christian faith, you may linger now no more in the ways of Judaical perfidy.
up what carries you;