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darkly, then more clearly; and would finally combine the whole, in the more advanced stages of his ministry, into doctrines clear and explicitly expressed. Here is the beginning of such a process of exposition. The employment of a bridegroom and a nuptial train, as images to designate himself and his disciples, was likely to kindle a train of associations with the marvellous scene at Cana. While the imagination was thus refreshed, our Lord gives a meaning to that scene, which had not yet perhaps been observed, “New wine must be put into new bottles ;” intimating that the image on which he was harping, was the same as that which he had symbolically presented to them in the feast. And although the truth conveyed was still dim and indistinct, they might perceive that there was some connection between the symbol of new wine and a new dispensation ; and that all was annexed somehow to the “ taking away of Him” who described himself as “the Bridegroom.”
If it should occur to any, that, in this and in some other cases which may be adverted to in proof or illustration of the connected and tissuelike form of Christ's teaching, the expression was only a common proverb-it should be observed, that were these the only expressions which appear to allude thus to former acts and words, there might be some force in the objection ; but observing a long train into which these fit, who can scruple to give them a place amongst the rest ? Perhaps even the observation respecting the new cloth and the old garment, may be, like the one which accompanies it, an allusion to some lesson unrecorded; to some portion perhaps of that very scene at Cana.
THE DISCIPLES PLUCKING THE EARS OF CORN ON
And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn. And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful ? And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him? How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shew-bread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him? And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the
sabbath: therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.
Christ here connects a declaration of his being Lord of the sabbath with an event in the Old Testament history, of which the circumstances were somewhat similar. This confirms what was before observed, that, in his method of combining the several parts of his own instruction, he had in view, amongst other objects, that of teaching his disciples to connect his own ministry, as a whole, with the facts of the old dispensation
-so as to explain the former by the latter. The passage of Old Testament history will be found in the twenty-first chapter of the first book of Samuel, and will derive further illustration from the twenty-fourth chapter of Leviticus, ver. 9.
The declaration that “the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath,” was, or ought to have been, intelligible to those, who knew that the strict command of God was, “Keep my sabbaths.” This property in God's sabbath, was now claimed by Christ, and accordingly they do all so far appear to have understood his meaning, that his enemies watched him closely, (see chap. iii.) in
order to observe whether he would act as he professed. The frequent tests by which they tried his observance of the sabbath, and the importance attached to his most trifling violation of it, must be considered with reference to this view.
CURE OF THE MAN WITH THE WITHERED HAND
ON THE SABBATH DAY.
And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him. And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth. And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill ? But they held their peace. And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other. And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him. But Jesus withdrew himself with his disciples to the sea.
In considering the miracle here recorded, it will be useful to call to mind the observation made at the close of the preceding chapter. The concert of the Pharisees with the Herodians