And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him.
53. And it happened, when Jesus had concluded these discourses,  that he departed thence. 54. And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were amazed, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom and these miracles? 55. Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary, and his brothers James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? 56. And his sisters, do not they all live amongst us? Whence then hath this man all these things? 57. And they were offended at him. But Jesus said to them, A prophet is not destitute of honor, except in his own country and in his own house. 58. And he did not perform many miracles there on account of their unbelief.
1. And he departed thence, and came into his own country, and his disciples followed him. 2. And when it was Sabbath, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many hearing were amazed, saying, Whence hath this man these things?  And what is the wisdom that hath been given to him, so that such miracles are done by his hands? 3. Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and Judas, and Simon? Are not his sisters also here with us? And they were offended at him. 4. And Jesus said to them, A prophet is not devoid of honor,  except in his own country, and among his relatives, and in his own family. 5. And he could not perform any miracle there, except that he cured a few sick persons by laying his hands on them. 6. And he wondered at their unbelief, and walked about through the surrounding villages teaching.
Matthew 13:53. When Jesus had concluded. Matthew does not mean, that immediately after delivering these discourses, he came into his own country; for it is evident from Mark, that some interval of time elapsed. But the meaning is, that after having taught for some time in Judea, he returned again to the Galileans, but did not receive from them kind treatment. A narrative which Luke gives (4:22) is nearly similar, but is not the same. Nor ought we to wonder that Christ's countrymen, when they perceived that his family was mean and despised, and that he had been poorly educated, were at first so much offended as to murmur at his doctrine, and afterwards persevered in the same malice to such an extent, that they did not cease to slander him, when he chose to discharge the office of a prophet amongst them. This second rejection of Christ shows that the space of time which had intervened had not effected a reformation on the inhabitants of Nazareth, but that the same contempt was constantly thrown as an obstacle in the way, to prevent them from hearing Christ. 
54. So that they were amazed. They are struck with amazement at the novelty of the occurrence, that Christ, who had not learned letters, but had been employed from youth to manhood in a mechanical occupation, is so eminent a teacher, and is filled with divine wisdom. In this miracle they ought to have perceived the hand of God; but their ingratitude made them cover themselves with darkness.  They are compelled to admire him, whether they will or not; and yet they treat him with contempt. And what is this but to reject a prophet whom God has taught, because he has not been educated by men? They cut their throat by means of their own acknowledgment, when they render so honorable a testimony to the doctrine of Christ, which after all has no influence on them, because it does not take its origin, in the usual way, from the earth. Why do they not rather lift their eyes to heaven, and learn that what exceeds human reason must have come from God?
Besides, the miracles, which were added to the doctrine, ought to have affected them the more powerfully, or at least to have aroused them from their excessive carelessness and stupidity to glorify God; for certainly, when God adopts unwonted methods of procedure, so much the more clearly does he display the power of his hand. And yet this was the very reason why the inhabitants of Nazareth maliciously drew a veil over their eyes. We see, then, that it is not mere ignorance that hinders men, but that, of their own accord, they search after grounds of offense, to prevent them from following the path to which God invites. We ought rather to argue in the opposite way, that, when human means fail, the power of God is clearly revealed to us, and ought to receive undivided praise.
55. Is not this the carpenter's son? It was, we are aware, by the wonderful purpose of God, that Christ remained in private life till he was thirty years of age. Most improperly and unjustly, therefore, were the inhabitants of Nazareth offended on this account; for they ought rather to have received him with reverence, as one who had suddenly come down from heaven. They see God working in Christ, and intentionally turn away their eyes from this sight, to behold Joseph, and Mary, and all his relatives; thus interposing a veil to shut out the clearest light. The word brothers, we have formerly mentioned, is employed, agreeably to the Hebrew idiom, to denote any relatives whatever; and, accordingly, Helvidius displayed excessive ignorance in concluding that Mary must have had many sons, because Christ's brothers are sometimes mentioned. 
57. A prophet is not devoid of honor. I have explained this statement at considerable length, where it occurs in the Gospel of John,  (4:44.) It may, no doubt, be a general proverb, that those who are distinguished by eminent gifts are nowhere held in less estimation than in their own country; and this manifests the ingratitude of men, who, in proportion to the greater familiarity with which God exhibits himself to them, are the more bold to reject him in the influences of his Spirit. I readily agree, however, with Chrysostom, who thinks that this proverb was applied in a peculiar manner to the Jews. But what was usually spoken against the whole nation, Christ now asserts with special reference to his Galilean countrymen; for nowhere did he receive less honor than on his native soil. There were good grounds for the charge which he brings against them, that, instead of being the first to accept the grace offered to them, as they ought to have been, they drive him to a distance from them; for it is truly extraordinary that a prophet of God, whom others warmly receive as a newly-arrived stranger, should be despised in the place where he was born.
58. And he did not perform many miracles in that place. Mark states it more emphatically, that he could not perform any miracle. But they are perfectly agreed as to the substance of what is said, that it was the impiety of Christ's countrymen that closed the door against the performance of a greater number of miracles among them. He had already given them some taste of his power; but they willingly stupify themselves, so as to have no relish for it. Accordingly, Augustine justly compares faith to the open mouth of a vessel, while he speaks of faith as resembling a stopper, by which the vessel is closed, so as not to receive the liquor  which God pours into it. And undoubtedly this is the case; for when the Lord perceives that his power is not accepted by us, he at length withdraws it; and yet we complain that we are deprived of his aid, which our unbelief rejects and drives far from us.
When Mark declares that Christ could not perform any miracles, he represents the aggravated guilt of those by whom his goodness was prevented; for certainly unbelievers, as far as lies in their power, bind up the hands of God by their obstinacy; not that God is overcome, as if he were an inferior, but because they do not permit him to display his power. We must observe, however, what Mark adds, that some sick people, notwithstanding, were cured; for hence we infer, that the goodness of Christ strove with their malice, and triumphed over every obstacle.  We have experience of the same thing daily with respect to God; for, though he justly and reluctantly restrains his power, because the entrance to us is shut against him, yet we see that he opens up a path for himself where none exists, and ceases not to bestow favors upon us. What an amazing contest, that while we are endeavoring by every possible method to hinder the grace of God from coming to us, it rises victorious, and displays its efficacy in spite of all our exertions!
 "Quand Iesus ent acheve ces similitudes-ci;" -- "when Jesus had concluded these parables."
 "D'ou vienent ces choses a cestuy-ci?" -- "Whence comes these things to this man?"
 "Un prophete n'est deshonore;" -- "a prophet is not dishonored."
 "A fin de n'approcher de luy, et de ne recevoir sa doctrine;" -- "that they might not approach to him, and might not receive his doctrine."
 "Mais par leur ingratitude ils se sont eblouis l'entendement, a fin de ne faire leur profit de ce qu'ils voyoyent devant leurs yeux;" -- "but by their ingratitude their understanding was dazzled, so that they did not derive advantage from what they saw before their eyes."
 Jerome replied to Helvidius in a work entitled, Contra Helvidium de Beatoe Marioe Virginitate CAVIN has formerly alluded to the controversy between these two authors, (Harmony, vol. 1.[p. 107.) -- Ed.
 Our Author's Preface to his Commentary on John's Gospel is dated 1st January 1553; while the Preface to the Harmony is dated 1st August 1555. This accounts for the former being always referred to as an earlier work. -- Ed.
 "La bonne liqueur;" -- "the good liquor."
 "En sorte que quelques empeschemens qu'ils ayent scen y mettre, encore est--elle venue au dessus, et s'est monstree en quelque maniere." --"So that, whatever obstacles they might be able to throw in the way, still it rose above them, and was in some measure displayed."
And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?
Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.
But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.
And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.
And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.
And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits;
1. And having called the twelve disciples,  he gave them power against the unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure any disease and any sickness. 2. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3. Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alpheus, and Lebbeus, surnamed Thaddeus; 4. Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him. 5. These, twelve in number, Jesus sent out, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles,  and enter not into a city of the Samaritans: 6. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  7. And when you have departed, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. 8. Cure the diseased, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely you have received, freely give. 
7. And he calleth the twelve, and began to send them out two and two, and gave them power against  the unclean spirits.
1. And having called the twelve,  Jesus gave them power and authority over all devils and to cure diseases. 2. And sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to cure the diseased.
The calling of the Apostles is here described to us, not as on a former occasion, when the Lord Jesus Christ, intending to prepare them for their office, selected them for admission into his private circle. They are now called to immediate performance, are ordered to prepare themselves for the work, receive injunctions, and, that there may be no want of authority, are endued with the power of the Holy Spirit. Formerly, they were held in expectation of future labor: now, Christ announces that the hour is come when they must put their hands to the work. It is proper to observe, however, that he does not as yet speak of perpetual apostleship, but only of temporary preaching, which was fitted to awaken and excite the minds of men, that they might be more attentive to hear Christ. So then they are now sent to proclaim throughout Judea that the time of the promised restoration and salvation is at hand at a future period, Christ will appoint them to spread the Gospel through the whole world. Here, he employs them as assistants only, to secure attention to him where his voice could not reach afterwards, he will commit into their hands the office of teaching which he had discharged. It is of great importance to observe this, that we may not suppose it to be a certain and fixed rule laid down for all ministers of the word, when our Lord gives instructions to the preachers of his doctrine as to what he wishes them to do for a short time. From inattention to this point many have been led astray, so as to demand from all ministers of the word, without distinction, conformity to this rule. 
Matthew 10:1. And having called the twelve disciples The number, twelve, was intended to point out the future restoration of the Church. As the nation was descended from twelve patriarchs, so its scattered remains are now reminded by Christ of their origin, that they may entertain a fixed hope of being restored. Although the kingdom of God was not in so flourishing a state in Judea, as to preserve the nation entire, but, on the contrary, that people, which already had miserably fallen, deserved doubly to die on account of ingratitude in despising the grace which had been offered to them, yet this did not prevent a new nation from afterwards springing up. At a future period, God extended far beyond Zion the scepter of the power of his Son, and caused rivers to flow from that fountain, to water abundantly the four quarters of the world. Then God assembled his Israel from every direction, and united into one body not only the scattered and torn members, but men who had formerly been entirely alienated from the people of God.
It was not without reason, therefore, that the Lord, by appointing, as it were, twelve patriarchs, declared the restoration of the Church. Besides, this number reminded the Jews of the design of his coming; but, as they did not yield to the grace of God, he begat for himself a new Israel. If you look at the beginnings, it might appear ridiculous that Christ should bestow such honorable titles on persons who were mean and of no estimation: but their astonishing success, and the wide extension of the Church, make it evident that, in honorable rank and in numerous offspring, the apostles not only are not inferior to the patriarchs, but greatly excel them.
Gave them power The apostles had almost no rank among men, while the commission which Christ gave them was divine. Besides, they had neither ability nor eloquence, while the excellence and novelty of their office required more than human endowments,  It was therefore necessary that they should derive authority from another source. By enabling them to perform miracles, Christ invests them with the badges of heavenly power, in order to secure the confidence and veneration of the people. And hence we may infer what is the proper use of miracles. As Christ gives to them at the same time, and in immediate connection, the appointment to be preachers of the gospel and ministers of miracles, it is plain that miracles are nothing else than seals of his doctrine, and therefore we are not at liberty to dissolve this close connection. The Papists, therefore, are guilty of forgery, and of wickedly corrupting the works of God, by separating his word from miracles.
2. The first, Simon, who is called Peter The Church of Rome displays extreme folly in drawing from this passage their doctrine of the primacy. That Simon Peter was the first among the apostles we readily allow, but what was true in reference to a few persons, cannot, on any proper grounds, be extended to the whole world. Besides, the circumstance of his being mentioned first, does not imply that he possessed authority over his companions. Granting all that they ask regarding Peter, his rank will be of no avail to the Roman See, till they prove that wicked and sacrilegious apostles are Peter's successors.
5. Into the tray of the Gentiles This makes still more evident what I have lately hinted, that the office, which was then bestowed on the apostles, had no other object than to awaken in the Jews the hope of an approaching salvation, and thus to render them more attentive to hear Christ. On this account, he now confines within the limits of Judea their voice, which he afterwards commands to sound everywhere to the farthest limits of the world. The reason is, that he had been sent by the Father to be
the minister of circumcision, to fulfill the promises, which had anciently been given to the fathers, (Romans 15:8.)
Now God had entered into a special covenant with the family of Abraham, and therefore Christ acted properly in confining the grace of God, at the outset, to the chosen people, till the time for publishing it were fully come. But after his resurrection, he spread over all nations the blessing which had been promised in the second place, because then the veil of the temple had been rent, (Matthew 27:51,) and the middle wall of partition had been thrown down, (Ephesians 2:14.) If any one imagine that this prohibition is unkind, because Christ does not admit the Gentiles to the enjoyment of the gospel, let him contend with God, who, to the exclusion of the rest of the world, established with the seed of Abraham alone his covenant, on which the command of Christ is founded.
6. But go rather to the lost sheep The first rank, as we have said, is assigned to the Jews, because they were the firstborn; or rather, because at that time they alone were acknowledged by God to belong to his family, while others were excluded.  He calls them lost sheep, partly that the apostles, moved by compassion, may more readily and with warmer affection run to their assistance, and partly to inform them that there is at present abundant occasion for their labors. At the same time, under the figure of this nation, Christ taught what is the condition of the whole human race. The Jews, who were near to God, and in covenant with him, and therefore were the lawful heirs of eternal life, are nevertheless pronounced to be lost, till they regain salvation through Christ. What then remains for us who are inferior to them in honor?  Again, the word sheep is applied even to the reprobate, who, properly speaking, did not belong to the flock of God, because the adoption extended to the whole nation; as those who deserved to be rejected, on account of their treachery, are elsewhere called the children of the kingdom, (Matthew 8:12.) In a word, by the term sheep, Christ recommends the Jews to the apostles, that they may dedicate their labors to them, because they could recognize as the flock of God none but those who had been gathered into the fold.
7. Preach, saying This is the preaching,  I spoke of, by which Christ intended to arouse the minds of the nation to expect an approaching redemption. The kingdom of heaven is at hand For the kingdom of heaven Luke substitutes the kingdom of God; but the meaning is the same. It was to inform the Jews, first, that they owed their restoration to divine agency, and not to the kindness of men; secondly, that under the reign of God their condition would be prosperous; and, thirdly, that the happiness which had been promised to them was not earthly and fading, but heavenly and eternal.
8. Cure the diseased As he has bestowed on them power, so he enjoins them to be faithful and liberal in dispensing it, and charges them not to suppress that power, which had been lodged with them for the common benefit of all. By those miracles he shows why he was sent by the Father, and what was the design of his Gospel. It is not without design that he enjoins them to raise the dead and heal the sick, instead of bringing diseases on the healthy and inflicting death on the living. There is an analogy and resemblance, therefore, which those miracles bear to the office of Christ; and this is intended to inform us, that he came to bestow upon us every blessing, to rescue us from the tyranny of Satan and of death, to heal our diseases and sins, and to relieve us from all our miseries.
Freely you have received  That they may be more willing to communicate the gifts which he had bestowed on them, he declares that they were not entrusted to them for their own individual renown, but in order that they might be, as it were, a sort of channels for transmitting the free bounty of God. "Consider whence you derived this power. As it flowed without any merit of yours from the pure grace of God, it is proper that, through your agency, it should flow freely to others."
We know how unwilling every man is to communicate to others what he considers to belong to himself, and how any one who excels the rest of the brethren is apt to despise them all. No higher commendation could have been given to a liberal communication of spiritual gifts, than by the warning which Christ gives them, that no man surpasses another through his own industry, but through the undeserved kindness of God. Now Christ has presented to us in his ministers a proof of that grace which had been predicted by Isaiah, (55:1)
Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milh without money and without price.
At the same time he shows, that no man will be a sincere minister of his word or dispenser of his grace, till he is prepared to bestow his labor gratuitously,  and that all hirelings basely corrupt and profane the sacred office of teaching. Yet it is not inconsistent with this gratuitous dispensation, that the teachers of the church receive public salaries, provided that they willingly and generously serve Christ and his church, and that their support is, in some sort, an accessory of their labor.
 "Lors ayant appel, a soy ses douze disciples;" -- "then having called to himself his twelve disciples."
 "N'allez point vers les Gentils;" -- "go not towards the Gentiles."
 "Mats plustost allez aux ouailles de la matson d'Israel, qui sontperies;" -- "but rather go to the flocks of the house of Israel, which are lost."
 "Vous l'avez receu pour neant, donnez-le pour neant;" -- "you have received it for nothing, give it for nothing."
 "Sur les esprits immondes;" -- "over the unclean spirits."
 "Puis apres avoir appel, ses douze disciples ensemble;" -- "then after having called his twelve disciples together."
 "Voulant reigler indifferemment tous ministres de la parole selon ee qui est ici dk;" -- "wishing to regulate indiscriminately all ministers of the word according to what is here said."
 "Et cependant une charge si excellente et nouvelle requeroit des graces plus grandes qu'on n'en pent trouver en l'homme;" -- "and yet an office so excellent and new demanded higher graces than can be found in man."
 "Les autres en estans eslogncz et bannis;" -- "the others being removed and banished from it."
 "Qui n'avons point une telle prerogative;" -- "who have not such a prerogative."
 "La predication, ou publication;" -- "the preaching, or publication."
 "Vous l'avez receu pour neant;" -- "you have received it for nothing."
 "S'il n'est prest de s'y employer, et d'y mettre son labor gratuitement, et sans consideration de son profit;" -- "if he is not ready to be employed in it, and to bestow his labor on it gratuitously, and without regard to his own gain."
And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse:
9. Do not provide gold, nor silver,  nor brass in your purses, 10. Nor scrip for the journey, nor two coats, nor shoes, nor staff: for the laborer is worthy of his food. 11. But into whatsoever city or village you shall enter, inquire what person in it is worthy, and remain there till you depart. 12. And when you shall enter a house, salute it. 13. And if the house shall be worthy, may your peace come upon it: but if it shall not be worthy, may your peace return to you. 14. And whosoever shall not receive you, or hear your words, when you go out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. 15. Verily I say to you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and of Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city.
8. And commanded them to take nothing for the journey, but a staff only; not a scrip, nor bread, nor money in their girdle: 9. But to be shod with sandals, and not to wear two coats. 10. And he said to them, Whenever you shall enter a house, remain there till you depart thence. 11. And whoever shall not receive you or hear you, when you go out of that place, shake off the dust which is under your feet for a testimony to them. Verily I say to you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorroah in the day of judgment than for that city.
3. And he said to them, Carry nothing for the journey, neither a staff, nor a scrip, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two coats each. 4. And into whatsoever house you shall enter, remain there, and depart thence. 5. And whoever will not receive you, when you go out of that city, shake off even the dust from your feet for a testimony against them.
Matthew 10:9. Do not provide. As the embassy  was of such a nature, that Christ wished the disciples to traverse the whole of Judea within a few days, and immediately to return to him, he forbids to carry luggage with them, by which this speed may be retarded. Some have ignorantly supposed that the rule here laid down for the ministers of the word, or for the apostles, is perpetual. We shall presently meet with a few sentences which have a more extensive reference: but the present injunctions not to carry baggage must undoubtedly be restricted to that temporary commission of which I have already spoken. The whole of the prohibition of gold, silver, a scrip, and two coats, which is given by Matthew, must be read in immediate connection, as is evident from the other two Evangelists.
I have therefore chosen to translate ue ktesesthe, do not provide: for our Lord simply intended to forbid them to take any thing for the journey They might have scrips, and shoes, and a change of coats, at home; but that they may be better prepared for the journey, he orders them to leave every thing that would be burdensome. Such too is the import of what Mark says, to be shod with sandals There is an appearance of contradiction as to the staff, or stick for, according to Mark, the staff is allowed, while according to Matthew and Luke it is refused. But there is an ambiguity in the use of the Hebrew word svt, (shebet;) and the Evangelists, though they wrote in Greek, used the word rha'bdos in various senses. Matthew and Luke mean by it a rod which would be burdensome to the person who carries it: while Mark means by it a walking-stick to support and relieve a traveler. It is evident, that in making a journey it was customary to carry a staff; and hence those words of Jacob, With my staff, I passed over this Jordan, (Genesis 32:10,) by which he acknowledges that he came empty and without money into Syria.
10. For the laborer is worthy of his food. Christ anticipates an objection that might be made: for it might appear to be a harsh condition to travel through the whole of Judea without any provisions.  Accordingly, Christ tells them, that they have no reason to dread that they will suffer hunger; because, wherever they come, they will at least be worthy of their food  He calls them laborers, not that they resembled ordinary ministers, who labor in the Lord's vineyard, and who, by planting and watering, bring it into a state of cultivation; but merely because they were the heralds of a richer and more complete doctrine. They did not at that time receive the office of preaching any farther than to render the Jews attentive to the preaching of the Gospel.
11. Inquire what person in it is worthy. Again, they might object that they would be deprived of the food to which they were entitled, because nobody would acknowledge them as laborers But Christ meets this difficulty also by ordering them to make inquiry what person in each city is worthy of the message of salvation. By these words, he bids them ask, if there are any godly and upright men, who have some fear and reverence for God, and of whose readiness to receive instruction good hopes may be entertained, that they may direct their labors chiefly to them. For, as they were not at liberty to remain long in any one place, it was proper to begin with those who, in some respect were better prepared.
Remain there till you depart. This too has a reference to dispatch: for if they had made a longer stay in any place, it would have been necessary to change their lodging, that they might not be too burdensome to any individual. When, therefore, Christ enjoins them to remain in the house of the person who shall first receive them, till they depart to another city, he intimates that they must make haste, so that, after having published the Gospel in one city, they may immediately run to another.
12. Salute it. As they could not distinguish the devout worshippers of God from despisers, he enjoins them to address in a friendly manner any family which they may have occasion to meet. The act of saluting is a kind of opening to a conversation. They had already been warned to look out for persons to entertain them, whose religious zeal was generally known and believed. But as it sometimes happens that persons of lofty reputation, when they are brought to a serious trial, discover their impiety, it was proper that this rule should be expressly laid down. The meaning therefore is: "Make trial, when you first enter, whether your entertainers will cheerfully submit to hear you. Whoever shall willingly embrace your doctrine, remain in their house, that your salutation may be confirmed. If any shall reject, depart from them immediately, and, so far as lies in your power, withdraw your salutation."
13. If it be not worthy. The import of this mode of expression may be thus stated, -- "As their ingratitude makes them unworthy to enjoy the blessing of God which you have supplicated for them, break off every bond of communication." The word peace refers to the mode of salutation which generally used among the Jews. As the Hebrew word slvm, (shalom,) peace, denotes prosperity, when they desire that any one may be well and happy, and that his affairs may succeed to his wish, they pray that he may have peace I do acknowledge that the apostles brought to men a different kind of peace, but it is too great a refinement of speculation to make this passage refer to the free reconciliation which takes place between God and men.
14. And whoever will not receive you. This awful threatening of punishment against the despisers of the gospel was intended to animate his disciples, that they might not be retarded by the ingratitude of the world. He directs the apostles, indeed, what he wishes them to do if they meet with despisers. But his principal design was that, wherever their doctrine was rejected, their well-founded grief and distress might be relieved by consolation, that they might not fail in the middle of their course. And we see how Paul, relying on this consolation, boldly sets at naught all the obstinacy of men, moves on steadily in the midst of hindrances, and boasts that he is
a sweet savor to God, though he is the savor of death to them that perish, (2 Corinthians 2:15,16.)
Now, this passage shows in what estimation the Lord holds his gospel, and, indeed, as it is an inestimable treasure, they are chargeable with base ingratitude who refuse it when offered to them. Besides, it is the scepter of his kingdom, and therefore cannot be rejected without treating him with open contempt.
Shake off the dust As the Lord here recommends the doctrine of the gospel, that all may receive it with reverence, and terrifies rebels by threatening severe punishment, so he enjoins the apostles to proclaim the vengeance which he threatens. But this they cannot do, unless they burn with very ardent zeal to make known the doctrines which they preach. We must therefore hold that no man is qualified to become a teacher of heavenly doctrine, unless his feelings respecting it be such, that he is distressed and agonized when it is treated with contempt.
To shake off the dust from the feet was probably a custom then prevalent in Judea, as a sign of execration; and was intended to declare that the inhabitants of the place were so polluted, that the very ground on which they trod was infected. That it was an ordinary custom I conjecture from our Lord's manner of speaking of it as a thing well known. This form of execration confirms still more what I lately mentioned, that no crime is more offensive to God than contempt of his word: for he does not enjoin them to make use of so solemn a mode in expressing their detestation of adulterers, or murderers, or any description of malefactors.
Verily, I say to you That they may not imagine this to be an idle bugbear,  Christ declares that those who reject the gospel, will receive more severe punishment than the inhabitants of Sodom. Some view the word judgment as referring to the destruction of Jerusalem. But this is foreign to our Lord's intention: for it must be understood as referring to the general judgment, in which both must give their account, that there may be a comparison of the punishments. Christ mentioned Sodom rather than other cities, not only because it went beyond them all in flagitious crimes, but because God destroyed it in an extraordinary manner, that it might serve as an example to all ages, and that its very name might be held in abomination. And we need not wonder if Christ declares that they will be treated less severely than those who refuse to hear the gospel. When men deny the authority of Him who made and formed them, when they refuse to listen to his voice, nay, reject disdainfully his gentle invitations, and withhold the confidence which is due to his gracious promises, such impiety is the utmost accumulation, as it were, of all crimes. But if the rejection of that obscure preaching was followed by such dreadful vengeance, how awful must be the punishment that awaits those who reject Christ when he speaks openly! Again, if God punishes so severely the despisers of the word, what shall become of furious enemies who, by blasphemies and a venomous tongue, oppose the gospel, or cruelly persecute it by fire and sword?
 "Ne faites provision d'or ni d'argent;" -- "make no provision of gold or of silver."
 "La commission et ambassade;" -- "the commission and einbassy."
 "N'ayans rien de quoy faire leurs despens;" -- "having no means of paying their expenses."
 "Ils gaigneront bien pour le moins leur nourriture;" -- "they will get their food at least."
 "Afin qu'il ne semble que ce soit une menace vaine, et (cornroe on dit) seulement pour faire peur aux petits enfans;" -- "that it may not seem as if it were an idle threatening, and (as we say) only to frighten young children."
But be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats.
And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place.
And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.
And they went out, and preached that men should repent.
12. And they departed, and preached  that men should repent. 13. And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many diseased persons, and healed them.
6. And they departed, and we went round about through the villages  preaching the Gospel, and healing everywhere.
Mark 6:12. And they departed, and preached. Matthew silently passes over what the Apostles did. Mark and Luke relate that they proceeded to execute the commission which they had received; and from their statements it appears more clearly, that the office which Christ at that time bestowed upon them, as I have formerly mentioned, was temporary, and indeed lasted but a few days. They tell us that the Apostles went through the cities and villages: and they unquestionably returned in a short time to their Master, as we shall find to be stated in another passage.
The only matter that requires exposition here is the fact related by Mark, that they anointed with oil many diseased persons Christ having conferred on them the power of healing, it is asked, why did they apply oil? Some learned persons suppose that it was a sort of medicine; and I acknowledge that in these countries the use of oil was very common. But nothing is more unreasonable than to imagine, that the Apostles employed ordinary and natural remedies, which would have the effect of obscuring the miracles of Christ. They were not instructed by our Lord in the art and science of healing, but, on the contrary, were enjoined to perform miracles which would arouse all Judea. I think, therefore, that this anointing was a visible token of spiritual grace, by which the healing that was administered by them was declared to proceed from the secret power of God; for under the Law oil was employed to represent the grace of the Spirit. The absurdity of an attempt to imitate the Apostles, by making the anointing of the sick a perpetual ordinance of the Church, appears from the fact, that Christ bestowed on the Apostles the gift of healing, not as an inheritance which they should hand down to posterity, but as a temporary seal of the doctrine of the Gospel. In our own day, the ignorance of the Papists is exceedingly ridiculous in maintaining that their nasty unction,  by which they hurry to the grave persons who are fast dying, is a Sacrament.
 "Eux donc estans partis prescherent;" -- "they then having set out, preached."
 "Eux donc estans partis alloyent de village en village a l'entour;" -- "they then having set out, went from village to village round about."
 The allusion is to extreme unction, (or last anointing,) which is one of the Seven Sacraments recognized by the Church of Rome. -- Ed.
And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.
And king Herod heard of him; (for his name was spread abroad:) and he said, That John the Baptist was risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him.
1. At that time, Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus, 2. And said to his servants, This is John the Baptist: he is raised from the dead, and therefore miracles work in him.
14. And king Herod heard of him, (for his name had become celebrated,) and said, John, who baptized, hath risen from the dead, and therefore miracles are performed by him. 15. Others said, It is Elijah; and others said, It is a prophet, or as one of the prophets. 16. But when Herod heard that, he said, It is John whom I beheaded, he hath rasen from the dead.
7. Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by him, and was perplexed, because it was said by some that Christ had risen from the dead; 8. And by some, that Elijah had appeared; and by others, that one of the ancient prophets had risen again. 9. And Herod said, John have I beheaded, but who is this of whom I hear such things? And he desired to see him.
The reason why the Evangelists relate this occurrence is, to inform us that the name of Christ was universally celebrated, and, therefore, the Jews could not be excused on the plea of ignorance. Many might otherwise have been perplexed by this question, "How came it that, while Christ dwelt on the earth, Judea remained in a profound sleep, as if he had withdrawn into some corner, and had displayed to none his divine power?" The Evangelists accordingly state, that the report concerning him was everywhere spread abroad, and penetrated even into the court of Herod.
2. And said to his servants. From the words of Luke it may be inferred, that Herod did not of his own accord adopt this conjecture, but that it was suggested to him by a report which was current among the people. And, indeed, I have no doubt that the hatred which they bore to the tyrant, and their detestation of so shocking a murder, gave rise, as is commonly the ease, to those rumors. It was a superstition deeply rooted, as we have formerly mentioned, in the minds of men, that the dead return to life in a different person. Nearly akin to this is the opinion which they now adopt, that Herod, when he cruelly put to death the holy man, was far from obtaining what he expected; because he had suddenly risen from the dead by the miraculous power of God, and would oppose and attack his enemies with greater severity than ever.
Mark and Luke, however, show that men spoke variously on this subject: some thought that he was Elijah, and others that he was one of the prophets, or that he was so eminently endued with the gifts of the Spirit, that he might be compared to the prophets. The reason why they thought that he might be Elijah, rather than any other prophet, has been already stated. Malachi having predicted (4:5,6) that Elijah would come to gather the scattered Church, they misunderstood that prediction as relating to the person of Elijah, instead of being a simple comparison to the following effect: "That the coming of Messiah may not be unknown, and that the people may not remain ignorant of the grace of redemption, there will be an Elijah to go before, like him who of old raised up that which was fallen, and the worship of God which had been overthrown. He will go before, by a remarkable power of the Spirit, to proclaim the great and dreadful day of the Lord." The Jews, with their usual grossness of interpretation, had applied this to Elijah the Tishbite, (1 Kings 17:1,) as if he were to appear again and discharge the office of a prophet. Others again conjecture, either that some one of the ancient prophets had risen, or that he was some great man, who approached to them in excellence.
It was astonishing that, amidst the diversity of views which were suggested, the true interpretation did not occur to any one; more especially as the state of matters at that very time directed them to Christ. God had promised to them a Redeemer, who would relieve them when they were distressed and in despair. The extremity of affliction into which they had been plunged was a loud call for divine assistance. The Redeemer is at hand, who had been so clearly pointed out by the preaching of John, and who himself testifies respecting his office. They are compelled to acknowledge that some divine power belongs to him, and yet they fall into their own fancies, and change him into the persons of other men. It is thus that the world is wont, in base ingratitude, to obliterate the remembrance of the favors which God has bestowed.
With respect to Herod himself, as I hinted, little ago, the conjecture that John had risen did not at first occur to himself; but as bad consciences are wont to tremble and hesitate, and turn with every wind, he readily believed what he dreaded. With such blind terrors God frequently alarms wicked men; so that, after all the pains they take to harden themselves, and to escape agitation, their internal executioner gives them no rest, but chastises them with severity.
And therefore miracles work in him. We naturally wonder what reasoning could have led them to this conclusion. John had performed no miracle during the whole course of his preaching. There appears to be no probability, therefore, in the conjecture, that it was John whom they saw performing extraordinary miracles. But they imagine that miracles are now performed by him for the first time, in order to prove his resurrection, and to show that the holy prophet of God had been wickedly put to death by Herod, and now came forward with a visible and divine protection, that no man might afterwards venture to assail him. They think that miracles work (enezgousin) in him; that is, are powerfully displayed, so as to give him greater authority, and make it evident that the Lord is with him.
Others said, That it is Elias. And others said, That it is a prophet, or as one of the prophets.
But when Herod heard thereof, he said, It is John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead.
For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife: for he had married her.
3. For Herod had seized John, and bound him, and put him in prison, on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip. 4. For John said to him, It is not lawful for thee to have her. 5. And though he wished to put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they accounted him a prophet. 6. But when Herod's birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company, and pleased Herod. 7. And therefore he promised with an oath, that he would give her whatever she would ask. 8. But she, after having been instructed by her mother, said Give me here in a dish the head of John the Baptist. 9. And the king was sorry, yet on account of the oath, and of those who sat with him at table, he commanded that it should be given. 10. And he sent and beheaded John in the prison. 11. And his head was brought in a dish and given to the girl, and she carried it to her mother. 12. And his disciples came and carried away the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus.
17. For Herod himself had sent, and seized John, and bound him in prison, on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, because he had married her. 18. For John said to Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife. 19. And Herodias lay in wait for him, and wished to kill him, and could not. 20. For Herod dreaded John, knowing that he was a just and holy man, and observed him, and, having heard him, did many things, and heard him gladly. 21. And when a convenient day came, when Herod on his birthday made a supper to the nobles, and captains, and distinguished men of Galilee; 22. And when the daughter of Herodias entered, and danced, and pleased Herod, and those who sat at table with him, the king said to the girl, Ask any thing from me,  and I will give it to thee. 23. And he swore to her, Whatever thou shalt ask of me, I will give to thee, even to the half of my kingdom. 24. But she went out and said to her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist. 25. And she went in immediately with haste to the king, and asked, saying, I wish that thou wouldst give to me immediately in a dish the head of John the Baptist. 26. And the king being sorry on account of the oath, and of those who sat at table with him, would not refuse her.  27. And he immediately sent a spearman,  and commanded that his head should be brought: and he went, and beheaded him in the prison. 28. And he brought his head in a dish, and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother. 29. And when his disciples heard of this, they carne and carried off his body, and laid it in a tomb.
This narrative is at present omitted by Luke, because he had explained it on a former occasion; and for my own part, as I am unwilling to annoy my readers by writing the same thing twice, I shall handle this passage with greater brevity  The Evangelists relate that John was seized, because he had openly condemned Herod for carrying off Herodias, and for his incestuous marriage with her. Josephus assigns a different reason, namely, that Herod, dreading on his own account a change of affairs, regarded John with suspicion, (Ant. 18. 5:2;) and it is possible that this may have been the pretext on which the tyrant excused his crime, or that such a report may have been in circulation; for it frequently happens that various motives are assigned for unjust violence and cruelty. The true state of the fact, however, is pointed out by the Evangelists: Herod was offended at the holy man, because he had been reproved by him.
Josephus is mistaken in supposing that Herodias was carried off, not from his brother Philip, but from Herod, King of Chalcis, his uncle, (Ant. 18:5:4.) For not only was the crime still recent when the Evangelists wrote, but it was committed before the eyes of all. What is elsewhere stated by Josephus, (Ant. 18:4:6,) that Philip was a person of amiable dispositions, emboldened Herod, I have no doubt, to expect that an outrage committed on a mild, gentle, and peaceable man, would pass with impunity. Another probable conjecture may be mentioned. There is greater reason to suppose that Herodias was married to her uncle Philip than to her grand-uncle, her grandfather's brother, who must have been at that time in the decrepitude of old age. Now Herod Antipas (who is here mentioned) and Philip were not brothers by the same mother; for Herod was the son of Marthaca, third wife of Herod the Great, and Philip was the son of Cleopatra. 
To return to the Evangelists, they tell us that John was thrown into prison, because he had reproved Herod's crime with greater freedom than the ferocity of the tyrant would endure. The atrocious character of the deed was in itself sufficiently detestable and infamous; for not only did he keep in his own house another man's wife, whom he had torn away from lawful wedlock, but the person on whom he had committed this outrage was his own brother. When, in addition to this, he is freely reproved by John, Herod has some reason to fear that sedition will suddenly break out. His lust did not allow him to correct his fault; but having imprisoned the prophet of God, he promises to himself repose and liberty. 
Ignorance of history has led many persons into a fruitless debate; "Have I a right to marry the woman who was formerly married to my brother?" Though the modesty of nature recoils from such a marriage,  yet John condemns the rape still more than the incest; for it was by violence or by stratagem  that Herod had deprived his brother of his lawful wife: and otherwise it would have been less lawful for him to marry his niece than to marry his brother's widow. There cannot be a doubt, that a crime so flagrant was universally blamed. But others loaded Herod with their curses in his absence. John alone comes into his presence, and reproves him boldly to his face, if by any means he may be brought to repentance. Hence we learn with what unshaken fortitude the servants of God ought to be armed when they have to do with princes; for in almost every court hypocrisy and servile flattery are prevalent; and the ears of princes, having been accustomed to this smooth language, do not tolerate any voice which reproves their vices with any severity. But as a prophet of God ought not to overlook so shocking a crime, John steps forward, though a disagreeable and unwelcome adviser, and, rather than fail in his duty, scruples not to incur the frown of the tyrant, even though he knew Herod to be so strongly held by the snares of the prostitute, that he could scarcely be moved from his purpose.
5. And though he wished to put him to death. There is some appearance of contradiction between the words of Matthew and Mark: for the former says that Herod was desirous to commit this shocking murder, but was restrained by the fear of the people; while the latter charges Herodias alone with this cruelty. But the difficulty is soon removed. At first Herod would have been unwilling, if a stronger necessity had not compelled him reluctantly to do so, to put to death the holy man; because he regarded him with reverence, and, indeed, was prevented by religious scruples from practising such atrocious cruelty against a prophet of God; and that he afterwards shook off this fear of God, in consequence of the incessant urgency of Herodias; but that afterwards, when infuriated by that demon he longed for the death of the holy man, he was withheld by a new restraint, because he dreaded on his own account a popular commotion. And here we must attend to the words of Mark, Herodias lay in wait for him;  which imply, that as Herod was not of himself sufficiently disposed to commit the murder, she either attempted to gain him over by indirect wiles, or labored to find some secret method of putting the holy man to death. I am more disposed to adopt the former view, that she employed stratagems for influencing the mind of her husband, but did not succeed, so long as Herod was prevented by remorse of conscience from pronouncing sentence of death on the holy man. Next followed another fear that the business of his death should excite the people to some insurrection. But Mark glances only at what prevented Herod from yielding immediately to the entreaties of the prostitute; for Herodias would have wished that, as soon as John was thrown into prison, he should be privately executed. Herod, on the contrary, reverenced the holy man, so far as even to comply willingly with his advises: Herod feared John Now the fear which is here mentioned, was not a dread arising from a mistaken opinion, as we dread those who have obtained some authority over us, though we reckon them to be unworthy of the honor. But this fear was a voluntary respect; for Herod was convinced that he was a holy man and a faithful servant of God, and therefore did not dare to despise him.  And this deserves our attention; for though John knew by experience that it was, in many respects, advantageous for him to have some share in the good wishes of the tetrarch,  yet he was not afraid to offend him, when he could find no other way of securing that favor, than by wickedly conniving at a known and disgraceful crime. He might indeed have protested that he did not at all consult his private interests, and that he had no other object in view than the public advantage; for it is certain that he requested nothing from motives of ambition  but that Herod yielded to his holy counsels, which had a reference to the lawful administration of the kingdom. But as he perceives that he has no right to accept this kind of compensation,  which would procure for him some kind offices by betraying the truth, he chooses rather to turn a friend into an enemy than to encourage, by flattery or silence, an evil which he is laid under the necessity of reproving with severity.
John has thus, by his example, furnished an undoubted rule for pious teachers, not to wink at the faults of princes, so as to purchase their favor at this price, how advantageous soever that favor might appear to be to the public interests.  In Herod, on the other hand, the Spirit of God exhibits, as in a mirror, how frequently it happens that those who do not sincerely worship God are nevertheless willing, in some measure, to obey His commands, provided that He will grant them some indulgence or abatement. But whenever they are hard pressed, they throw off the yoke, and break out not only into obstinacy, but into rage. There is no reason, therefore, why they who comply with many sound advises should be well satisfied with themselves, till they have learned to yield and surrender themselves unreservedly to God.
6. And when Herod's birthday was kept. The Evangelists now begin to relate the stratagem by which Herodias at length succeeded in a design which she had long meditated, the taking away of John's life. The opportunity was afforded to her by an annual festival, when Herod was celebrating his birthday. It is scarcely possible that such magnificent preparations should not draw luxury, pride, unbridled merriment, and other crimes, and likewise many other evils, along with them. Not that there is any thing wrong in the mere act of preparing an expensive banquet; but such is the tendency of the human mind to licentiousness, that when the reins are loosened, they quickly go astray. The ancient custom of observing a birthday every year as an occasion of joy cannot in itself be disapproved; for that day, as often as it returns, reminds each of us to give thanks to God, who brought us into this world, and has permitted us, in his kindness, to spend many years in it; next, to bring to our recollection how improperly and uselessly the time which God granted to us has been permitted to pass away; and, lastly, that we ought to commit ourselves to the protection of the same God for the remainder of our life.
But nothing is so pure that the world shall not taint it with its own vices. A birthday, which ought to have been held sacred, is profaned by the greater part of men with disgraceful abuses; and there is scarcely a single entertainment at all costly that is free from wicked debauchery. First, men drink more freely; next, the door is opened to filthy and immodest conversation; and, lastly, no moderation is observed. This was the reason why the patriarch Job was in the habit of offering sacrifices, while his sons were feasting alternately in each other's houses, (Job 1:5.) It was because he thought that, when the guests invite one another to mirth, they are far from maintaining due moderation, and sin in a variety of ways.
Thus it happened that Herod, intending to give a rich entertainment to his guests, permitted his wife's daughter to dance. Hence, too, it appears what sort of discipline existed at his court; for, though most people at that time thought themselves at liberty to dance, yet for a marriageable young woman to dance was a shameful display of the impudence of the strumpet. But the unchaste Herodias had moulded her daughter Salome to her own manners in such a manner that she might not bring disgrace upon her.  And what was the consequence? The wicked murder of a holy prophet. The heat of wine had such an influence on Herod, that, forgetting gravity and prudence, he promised to a dancing girl, that he would give her even to the half of his kingdom. A shameful example truly, that a drunken king not only permits himself to behold with approbation a spectacle  which was disgraceful to his family, but holds out such a reward! Let us therefore learn to be careful in anticipating and resisting the devil, lest he entangle us in such snares.
Mark 6:24. And she went out, and said to her mother We need not wonder that Herodias attached so much importance to John's death.  The conjecture thrown out by some--that she was actuated by revenge,--is not at all probable. It was rather the dread of being cast off that inflamed and tormented her; as it usually happens that, when adulterers are visited with feelings of uneasiness, they become ashamed of their own lust. But she hoped that this crime would bind Herod more closely to her than ever, if the disgrace of a pretended marriage were washed out by the blood of the prophet. That her power might be more secure for the future, she longed for the death of that man whom she imagined to be her only opponent; and this shows us the wretched anxiety by which a bad conscience is always tormented. John was detained in prison, and the haughty and cruel woman might have issued orders that no man should converse with or approach him; and yet she has no rest, but is oppressed with anxiety and alarm, till the prophet be removed out of the way. This likewise serves to show the power of the word of God, that the voice of the holy man, even when shut up in prison, wounds and tortures in the keenest manner the mind of the king's wife. 
26. And the king being sorry. His heart, as we have said, was no longer influenced by religious sentiments; but, foreseeing the detestation that will be excited by such a crime, he dreads both the loss of character and positive harm, and consequently repents of his levity. And yet he has not the courage to give a refusal to a dancing girl, lest he should incur the reproach of unsteadiness; as if it were more dishonorable to retract a rash and foolish promise than to persist in a heinous crime. With the wonted vanity of kings, he does not choose that what he has once uttered shall be recalled, and orders that the prophet shall be instantly slain. We infer that Herod was at that time supping in the castle of Macherus, where, Josephus tells us, John was imprisoned, (Ant. 18. 5:2.)
On account of the oath, and of those who sat at table with him. It deserves our attention that the Evangelists state this to be the reason of his grief; and hence we infer that, though he had sworn a hundred times, yet if there had been no witness, he would not have held by his oath. No inward feelings of religion constrained Herod to do this, but the mere love of power drove him headlong; for he reckoned that he would sink in the estimation of those who were present, if he did not fulfill his engagement. Thus it frequently happens that ungodly men fail to perform their duty, because they do not look to God, but are only intent on this object, that they may not incur the reproaches of men.  But though Herod had kept before his eyes the sacredness of an oath alone, and not the dread of the opinion of men, he committed a more heinous offense in fulfilling a foolish promise than if he had violated his oath. First, he was deeply in fault for such haste in swearing; for the design of an oath is to confirm a promise in a doubtful matter. Next, when it appeared that he could not be relieved from his engagement without involving himself in an aggravated crime, he had no right to implicate the sacred name of God in such wickedness; for what could be more at variance with the nature of God than to lend his countenance to a shocking murder? If a private loss is at stake, let him who has made a rash oath suffer the punishment of his folly; but, when a man has taken the name of God in vain, let him beware of doubling his guilt by employing this as a pretense for committing some enormous crime. Hence it follows, that monastic vows, which are attended by open impiety, do not bind the conscience any more than the enchantments of magicians; for it is not the will of God that his sacred name shall give support to what is sinful. But this passage teaches us, that we ought to beware of making promises without consideration; and next, that lightness must not be followed by obstinacy.
28. And gave it to the girl. It was an additional aggravation of this detestable crime, that the head of the holy man was made, after his death, a matter of sport. But in this way the Lord sometimes gives up his people to the pride of wicked men, till he at length makes it evident that their blood is precious in his sight (Psalm 116:15.) Herodias is delighted with the thought of having gained her wicked purpose, and cruelly triumphs over her reprover; but when afterwards, stripped of her wealth, and not only deprived of the title of queen, but driven from her native country, and destitute of all means of support, she dragged out a wretched life in poverty and banishment, she presented a spectacle gratifying to angels and to all good people. When we perceive that the guests are compelled to pollute their eyes by beholding this detestable exhibition, let us learn from it, that those who sit at the tables of kings are often involved in many crimes; for, granting that the table is not stained by murder, every thing partakes so largely of all sorts of wickedness, that they who approach to it must be at least given up to debauchery.
29. His disciples came. One thing only remained to complete the woman's cruelty. It was, to leave the corpse of the holy man unburied; for there is reason to believe that, when his disciples performed this duty, the attendants of the tyrant had thrown out the corpse. Though the honor of burial is of no importance to the dead, yet it is the will of the Lord that we should observe this ceremony as a token of the last resurrection; and therefore God was pleased with the carefulness which was manifested by the disciples, when they came to commit to the tomb the body of their master. Moreover, it was an attestation of their piety; for in this way they declared that the doctrine of their master continued to have a firm hold of their hearts after his death. This confession was therefore worthy of praise, more especially as it was not without danger; for they could not do honor to a man who had been put to death by the executioner without exciting against themselves the rage of the tyrant.
 "Demande-moy ce que tu voudras;" -- "ask of me what thou wilt."
 "Le roy estant fort marri, ne la voulut point' toutesfois' esconduire ou reietter;" -- "The king being very angry, did not wish, however, to deny or refuse her."
 "Ainsi envoy, incontinent le bourreau;" --"so he immediately sent the executioner."
 The allusion is to his exposition of Luke 3.19, 20, which will be found in Harmony, vol. 1.[p. 222. -- Ed.
 "The apparent discrepancy between Josephus and the sacred historians is removed, as was formerly suggested, (Harmony, vol. 1.[p. 223, n. 1,) by a hypothesis which appears to be generally admitted, that the name of the person in question was Herod-Philip. -- Ed.
 "Il se fait accroire qu'il sera en repos, et qu'il pourra continuer sa meschancete sans aucune crainte;" -- "he makes himself believe that he will be at ease, and that he will have it in his power to continue his wickedness without any dread."
 "Combien que l'honneste naturelle condamne un tel marriage;" -- "though natural decency condemns such a marriage."
 "Ou par force et violence, ou par quelque ruse et moyen subtil;" -- "either by force and violence, or by some trick and cunning method."
 "Herodias cherchoit occasion;" -- "Herodias sought an opportunity."
 "Estoit aucunement contreint en soy mesme de luv porter l'honneur, et ne l'osoit pas mespriser;" -- "was somewhat constrained in himself to bear respect towards him, and did not dare to despise him."
 "Qu'il eust quelque entree en la Cour, et que le Roy l'eust aucunement agreable;" -- "that he should have some access to the Court, and that the King should be somewhat favorable to him."
 "Qu'il n'a rien demande au Roy pour se faire valoir, ou pour monstrer son credit;" -- "that he asked nothing from the King to put himself forward, or to display his influence."
 "Que ceste facon de compensation n'est point honneste, ne selon Dieu;" -- "that this kind of compensation is not honorable, nor according to God."
 "Encore qu'ils ne la cherchent point pour leur regard particulier, mais seulement pour avoir occasion de profiter plus en d'autres endroits;" --"even though they do not seek it for their private interest, but solely in order to have an opportunity of doing more good in other respects."
 "Si elle eust mieux fallu que sa mere;" -- "if she were more highly esteemed than her mother."
 "Non seulement prend plaisir a un fol passe-temps;" -- "not only takes pleasure in a foolish pastime."
 "De ce qu' Herodias a estime un grand avantage pour elle de faire mourir Iean;" -- "that Herodias reckoned it a great advantage to her to put John to death."
 "Ne laisse pas d'espouvanter asprement, et navrer au vif le coeur de ceste femme;" -- "fails not vehmently to alarm and cut to the quick the heart of the woman."
 "Et ne se soucient seulement que d'eviter le blasme et la moquerie des hommes;"-- "and are only anxious to avoid the censure and ridicule of men."
For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife.
Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him, and would have killed him; but she could not:
For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.
And when a convenient day was come, that Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee;
And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee.
And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom.
And she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist.
And she came in straightway with haste unto the king, and asked, saying, I will that thou give me by and by in a charger the head of John the Baptist.
And the king was exceeding sorry; yet for his oath's sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her.
And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison,
And brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel: and the damsel gave it to her mother.
And when his disciples heard of it, they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb.
And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught.
13. When Jesus heard this, he departed thence to a ship to a desert place apart; and when the multitudes heard it, they followed him on foot out of the cities. 14. And Jesus, when leaving (the ship,) saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion towards them, and healed of such of them as were diseased. 15. And when the evening was drawing on, his disciples came to him, saying, It is a desert place, and the time is now past: send the multitudes away, that they may go into the village, and purchase victuals for themselves. 16. And Jesus said to them, It is not necessary that they should go away: give you to them something to eat. 17. And they say to him, We have nothing here but five loaves and two fishes. 18. And he said, Bring them hither to me. 19. And he commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass, and, taking the five loaves and the two fishes, and raising his eyes to heaven, he blessed.  And when he had broken the loaves, he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples to the multitudes. 20. And they all ate, and were satisfied, and carried away what remained of the fragments  twelve baskets full. 21. And they who had eaten were nearly five thousand men, besides women and children.
30. And the Apostles assembled to Jesus, and related to him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught.  31. And he said to them, Come you apart into a desert place, and rest for a little. For there were many who were coming and going, so that there was not even leisure to take food.  . 32. And he went into a desert place by ship apart. 33. And the multitude saw them departing, and many recognized him, and ran hither on foot out of all the cities, and went before them, and came together to him. 34. And Jesus, as he was leaving (the ship,) saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion towards them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd, and he began to teach them many things. 35. And when a great part of the day was already past, his disciples came to him, saying, It is a desert place, and the day is now far advanced. 36. Send them away, that they may go into the surrounding towns and villages and purchase bread for themselves; for they having nothing to eat. 37. And he answering said to them, Give you to them something to eat. And they said to him Shall we go and purchase bread for two hundred pence, and give them something to eat? 38. And he said to them, How many loaves have you? Go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes. 39. And he commanded them to make them all sit down, arranging the guests on the green grass. 40. And they sat down, arranged in hundreds, and fifties. 41. And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, raising his eyes to heaven, he blessed,  and brake the loaves, and gave to the disciples to set before them, and divided the two fishes among them all. 42. And they all ate, and were satisfied. 43. And they carried away twelve baskets full of the fragments and of the fishes. 44. Now they who had eaten were about five thousand men.
10. And the Apostles, having returned,  related to him all that they had done. And he took them, and withdrew apart into a desert place, near a city which is called Bethsaida. 11. And when the multitudes knew it, they followed him; and he received them, and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing. 12. And the day began to decline; and the twelve approached and said to him, Send away the multitudes, that they may go into the neighboring towns and villages, and procure food; for we are here in a desert place. 13. And he said to them, Give you to them something to eat. And they said, We have no more than five loaves and two fishes; unless we go and buy food for all this people. 14. Now they were about five thousand men. And he saith to his disciples, Make them sit down, fifty in each division. 15. And they did so, and made them all sit down. 16. And, taking the five loaves and the two fishes, he raised his eyes to heaven, and blessed them, and broke them,  and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude. 17. And they all ate, and were satisfied; and there was carried away what was left of the fragments twelve baskets.
Matthew 14:13. When Jesus heard it. John, who relates the same narrative, does not mention the reason why Jesus crossed over to the opposite bank, (6: 5.) Mark and Luke differ somewhat from Matthew; for they describe the occasion of the journey to have been to give some repose to his disciples, after that they had returned from their embassy. But there is no contradiction here; for it is possible that he intended to withdraw his disciples into a desert place, in order that he might be more at leisure to train them for higher labors, and that, about the same time, an additional reason arose out of the death of John. Minds which were still feeble might have been terrified by the death of John, learning from the melancholy end of that eminent prophet what condition awaited them all. Certainly, as it was formerly related that, when John was imprisoned, Christ removed from Herod's territory, in order to avoid his fury for the time, so we may now infer that Christ, in order to keep his trembling disciples at a distance from the flame, withdrew into a desert place.
How long the Apostles were employed in their first embassy it is not in our power to determine; for the Evangelists, as we have formerly remarked, either did not attend to dates, or did not observe them with great exactness. I think it highly probable that their commission to proclaim the kingdom of Christ was not confined to a single occasion, but that, as opportunities were offered, they either repeated their visit to some places, or went to others after a lapse of time. The words, they came together to him, I look upon as meaning that ever afterwards they were his constant attendants; as if the Evangelist had said, that they did not leave their Master so as to be individually and constantly employed in the ordinary office of teaching, but that, having discharged a temporary commission, they went back to school to make greater advances in learning.
They followed him on foot out of the cities. Though Christ, who foresaw all things before they happened, was in no respect ignorant of what would take place, yet he wished, as a man, to forewarn his disciples, that the fact might testify the anxiety which he had about them. The vast crowd that had assembled shows how widely his fame was spread in every direction: and this left the Jews without excuse in depriving themselves, by their own carelessness, of the salvation which was offered to them; for even out of this great multitude, which was inflamed by a sudden zeal to follow Christ, it is evident from what is stated by John, (6:66, 12:37) that not more than a very small number yielded a true and steady adherence to his doctrine.
14. He was moved with compassion towards them. The other two Evangelists, and particularly Mark, state more clearly the reason why this compassion (sumpatheia) was awakened in the mind of Christ. It was because he saw famishing souls, whom the warmth of zeal had carried away from their homes and led into a desert place This scarcity of teaching indicated a wretched state of disorder; and accordingly Mark says that Jesus was moved with compassion towards them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd Not that, as to his Divine nature, he looked upon them all as sheep, but that, as man, he judged according to the present aspect of the case. It was no small manifestation of piety that they left their own homes, and flocked in crowds to the Prophet of God, though he purposely concealed himself from them. Besides, it ought to be remarked, that Christ was mindful of the character which he sustained; for he had been commanded to discharge the duties of a public teacher, and was therefore bound to look upon all the Jews, for the time being, as belonging to the flock of God and to the Church, till they withdrew from it.
So strongly was Christ moved by this feeling of compassion, that though, in common with his disciples, he was fatigued and almost worn out by uninterrupted toil, he did not spare himself. He had endeavored to obtain some relaxation, and that on his own account as well as for the sake of his disciples; but when urgent duty calls him to additional labor, he willingly lays aside that private consideration,  and devotes himself to teaching the multitudes. Although he has now laid aside those feelings which belonged to him as a mortal man, yet there is no reason to doubt that he looks down from heaven on poor sheep that have no shepherd, provided they ask relief of their wants. Mark says, that he began to teach them MANY things; that is, he spent a long time in preaching, that they might reap some lasting advantage. Luke says, that he spoke to them concerning the Kingdom of God, which amounts to the same thing. Matthew makes no mention of any thing but miracles, because they were of great importance in establishing Christ's reputation; but it may naturally be concluded that he did not leave out doctrine, which was a matter of the highest importance.
15. When the evening was drawing on. The disciples had now lost their object, and they see that Christ is again absorbed in teaching, while the multitudes are so eager to receive instruction that they do not think of retiring. They therefore advise that for the sake of attending to their bodily wants, Christ should send them away into the neighboring villages. He had purposely delayed till now the miracle which he intended to perform; first, that his disciples might consider it more attentively, and might thus derive from it greater advantage; and next, that the very circumstance of the time might convince them that, though he does not prevent, and even does not immediately supply, the wants of his people, yet he never ceases to care for them, but has always at hand the assistance which he affords at the very time when it is required.
16. Give you to them something to eat. As a fuller exposition of this miracle will be found at the sixth chapter of John's Gospel, instead of troubling my readers with a repetition of what I have said, I would rather send them to that exposition; but rather than pass over this passage entirely, I shall offer a brief recapitulation. Hitherto Christ had bestowed his whole attention on feeding souls, but now he includes within his duties as a shepherd the care even of their bodies. And in this way he confirms his own saying, that to those who
seek the kingdom of God, and his righteousness,
We have no right, indeed, to expect that Christ will always follow this method of supplying the hungry and thirsty with food; but it is certain that he will never permit his own people to want the necessaries of life, but will stretch out his hand from heaven, whenever he shall see it to be necessary to relieve their necessities. Those who wish to have Christ for their provider, must first learn not to long for refined luxuries, but to be satisfied with barley-bread.
Christ commanded that the people should sit down in companies; and he did so, first, that by this arrangement of the ranks the miracle might be more manifest; secondly, that the number of the men might be more easily ascertained, and that, while they looked at each other, they might in their turn bear testimony to this heavenly favor. Thirdly, perceiving that his disciples were anxious, he intended to make trial of their obedience by giving them an injunction which at first sight appeared to be absurd; for, as no provisions were at hand, there was reason to wonder why Christ was making arrangements that resembled a feast. To the same purpose is what follows, that he gave them the loaves, in order that in their hands the astonishing increase might take place, and that they might thus be the ministers of Christ's divine power; for as if it had been of small importance that they should be eye-witnesses, Christ determined that his power should be handled by them.  Two hundred pence, according to the computation of Budaeus, are worth about thirty-four French livres;  and so when the disciples speak of what is sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little, they calculate at the rate of a farthing for each individual. Forming so high an estimate of the sum of money that would be required to purchase bread barely sufficient for procuring a morsel to the people, they are entitled to no small praise for their obedience, when they implicitly comply with the command of Christ, and leave the result to his disposal.
19. He blessed. In this passage, as in many others, blessing denotes thanksgiving. Now Christ has taught us, by his example, that we cannot partake of our food with holiness and purity, unless we express our gratitude to God, from whose hand it comes to us. Accordingly, Paul tells us, that every kind of food which God bestows upon us is sanctifed by the word of God and prayer, (1 Timothy 4:5;) by which he means, that brutal men, who do not regard by faith the blessing of God, and do not offer to him thanksgiving, corrupt and pollute by the filth of their unbelief all that is by nature pure; and, on the other hand, that they are corrupted and defiled by the food which they swallow, because to unbelievers nothing is clean. Christ has therefore laid down for his followers the proper manner of taking food, that they may not profane their own persons and the gifts of God by wicked sacrilege.
Raising his eyes towards heaven. This expresses warm and earnest supplication. Not that such an attitude is at all times necessary when we pray, but because the Son of God did not choose to disregard the outward forms which are fitted to aid human weakness. It ought also to be taken into account, that to raise the eyes upwards is an excitement well fitted to arouse us from sloth, when our minds are too strongly fixed on the earth.
20. And carried away what was left. The fragments that remained after satisfying so vast a multitude of men were more than twelve times larger in quantity than what was at first put into their hands, and this contributed not a little to the splendor of the miracle. In this way all came to know that the power of Christ had not only created out of nothing the food that was necessary for immediate use, but that, if it should be required, there was also provision for future wants; and, in a word, Christ intended that, after the miracle had been wrought, a striking proof of it should still remain, which, after being refreshed by food, they might contemplate at leisure.
Now though Christ does not every day multiply our bread, or feed men without the labor of their hands or the cultivation of their fields, the advantage of this narrative extends even to us. If we do not perceive that it is the blessing of God which multiplies the corn, that we may have a sufficiency of food, the only obstacle is, our own indolence and ingratitude. That, after we have been supported by the annual produce, there remains seed for the following year, and that this could not have happened but for an increase from heaven, each of us would easily perceive, were he not hindered by that very depravity which blinds the eyes both of the mind and of the flesh, so as not to see a manifest work of God. Christ intended to declare that, as all things have been delivered into his hands by the Father, so the food which we eat proceeds from his grace.
 "Rendit graces;" -- "gave thanks."
 "Puis recueillerent le residu des pieces des pains;" -- "then gathered what was left of the pieces of bread."
 "Tout ce qu'ils avoyent fait et enseigne;" -- "all that they had done and taught."
 "Tellement qu'ils n'avoyent pas mesmes loisir de manger;" -- "so that they had not even leisure to eat."
 "Rendit graces;" -- "gave thanks."
 "Quand les Apostres furent retournez;" -- "when the Apostles were returned."
 "Les benit, et les rompit."
 "Mettant arriere ceste consideration particuliere de donner repos au corps;"-- "setting aside that private consideration of giving rest to the body."
 "Car Christ ne se contentant point de leur faire voir de leurs propres yeux sa vertu, a voulu mesme qu'elle passast par leurs mains, et qu'ils la touchassent;"-- "for Christ, not satisfied with making them see his power with their own eyes, determined even that it should pass through their hands, and that they should touch it."
 The value of a livre was so much affected both by time and by place, that it is not easy to determine with exactness how it was rated by Budaeus or Calvin. Most probably, the reference is to la livre Parisis, which was three times the value of a franc, or about two shillings and sixpence sterling; and thirty-four of these would amount to four pounds, five shillings, sterling. Now reckoning the Roman denarius, or the eighth part of an ounce of silver, to be worth sevenpence halfpenny of our own money, une livre Parisis must have been equal to four denarii, and therefore two hundred denarii must have been worth--not thirty-four but fifty livres Parisis, or six pounds, five shillings, sterling.--Ed.
And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.
And they departed into a desert place by ship privately.
And the people saw them departing, and many knew him, and ran afoot thither out of all cities, and outwent them, and came together unto him.
And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.
And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed:
Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat.
He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat?
He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes.
And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass.
And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties.
And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all.
And they did all eat, and were filled.
And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes.
And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men.
And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people.
22. And immediately Jesus constrained his disciples to embark, and to go before him to the opposite bank, till he had sent away the multitudes. 23. And when he had sent away the multitudes, he went up into a mountain alone to pray; and when the evening came, he was there alone. 24. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves; for the wind was contrary. 25. And about the fourth watch of the night Jesus came to them, walking on the sea. 26. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, It is an apparition, and cried out for fear. 27. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, Take courage; it is I, be not afraid. 28. And Peter replying to him said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come to thee on the water. 29. And he said, Come. And when Peter had come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. 30. But when he perceived the wind to be boisterous, he was afraid; and when he began to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. 31. And immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, O man of little faith, why didst thou doubt? 32. And when they had entered into the ship, the wind ceased. 33. Then they that were in the ship approached and worshipped him, saying, Truly thou art the Son of God.
45. And immediately he constrained his disciples to embark, and to go before him, across the lake, to Bethsaida, while he sent away the multitude. 46. And when he had sent them away, he went into the mountain  to pray. 47. And when the evening came, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he was alone on the land. 48. And he saw that they had difficulty in rowing, (for the wind was contrary to them;) and about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea, and intended to pass by them. 49. But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought that it was an apparition, and cried out; 50. For they all saw him, and were alarmed. And immediately he spoke to them, and said to them, Take courage; it is I, be not afraid. 51. And he went up to them into the ship, and the wind ceased; and they were greatly astonished within themselves beyond measure, and wondered. 52. For they had not understood about the loaves; for their heart was blinded. 
Matthew 14:22. And immediately Jesus constrained his disciples They must have been constrained; for they would never, of their own accord, have left him, and gone to the other side. Now in this they testify their great veneration for him, when, contrary to their own opinions, they yield to his command and obey it. And, indeed, it had an appearance of absurdity, that he should remain alone in a desert place, when night was approaching. But so much the greater commendation is due to the submissiveness of those who set a higher value on the authority of their heavenly teacher than on all that could be pleaded on the other side. And, indeed, we do not truly and perfectly obey God, unless we implicitly follow whatever he commands, though our feelings may be opposed to it. There is always the best reason, no doubt, for every thing that God does; but he often conceals it from us for a time, in order to instruct us not to be wise in ourselves, but to depend entirely on the expression of his will. And thus Christ constrained his disciples to cross over, in order to train them to that rule of obedience which I have mentioned; though there cannot be a doubt that he intended to prepare the way for the miracle which will immediately come under our consideration.
23. He went up into a mountain alone. It is probable that the Son of God, who was fully aware of the tempest that was coming on, did not neglect the safety of his disciples in his prayers; and yet we naturally wonder that he did not rather prevent the danger than employ himself in prayer. But in discharging all the parts of his office as Mediator, he showed himself to be God and man, and exhibited proofs of both natures, as opportunities occurred. Though he had all things at his disposal, he showed himself to be a man by praying; and this he did not hypocritically, but manifested sincere and human affection towards us. In this manner his divine majesty was for a time concealed, but was afterwards displayed at the proper time.
In going up into the mountain he consulted his convenience, that he might have more leisure for praying when removed from all noise. We know how easily the slightest interruptions destroy the ardor of prayer, or at least make it languish and cool. Though Christ was in no danger of this fault, yet he intended to warn us by his example, that we ought to be exceedingly careful to avail ourselves of every assistance for setting our minds free from all the snares of the world, that we may look direct towards heaven. Now in this respect solitude has a powerful influence, by disposing those who engage in prayer, when God is their only witness, to be more on their guard, to pour their heart into his bosom, to be more diligent in self-examination; and, in a word--remembering that they have to do with God--to rise above themselves. At the same time, it must be observed, that he did not lay down a fixed rule, as if we were never permitted to pray except in retirement; for Paul enjoins us to pray everywhere, lifting up clean hands, (1 Timothy 2:8;) and Christ himself sometimes prayed in presence of others, and even instructed his disciples to assemble together for offering social prayer. But that permission to pray in all places does not hinder them from engaging in secret prayer at proper seasons.
24. The ship was now in the midst of the sea. The reader will find this narrative expounded by me at the sixth chapter of John's Gospel, and therefore I shall treat it more briefly here. When Christ permitted his disciples to be tossed about in a perilous condition, for a time, by an opposing storm, it was to fix their attention more powerfully on the assistance which he brought to them. For the adverse wind arose about midnight, or at least a little before it, and Christ appears about the fourth watch, that is, three hours before sunrise. Their arms were not more fatigued by rowing than their faith was shaken by grievous terrors. But when they were urged by strong necessity to desire the presence of their Master, it showed very extraordinary stupidity to be alarmed at his appearance as if he had been a ghost.
For this reason Mark tells us, that their heart was blinded, and that they understood not about the loaves; for that miracle had given abundant evidence that Christ possessed divine power to assist his followers, and that he was careful to assist them, when necessity required. Justly, therefore, are they now charged with stupidity in not immediately recollecting that heavenly power, having beheld, on the preceding day, so astonishing a proof of it, which ought to have been still before their eyes. It is, no doubt, true, that their blameworthy slowness of apprehension was the reason why they were astonished; for they had not profited, as they ought to have done, by other and preceding miracles. But the principal charge brought against them is blindness, in allowing so recent an exhibition to fade from their memory, or rather in not directing their mind to the contemplation of Christ's divinity, of which the multiplication of the loaves was a sufficiently bright mirror.
Two things are expressed by the words of Mark; first, that they did not properly consider the glory of Christ, which was exhibited in the multiplication of the loaves; and, secondly, a reason is assigned, that their heart was blinded. This appears to have been added, not only as an aggravation of their fault, but as a warning to us respecting the corruption of our understanding, that we may seek from the Lord new eyes. It certainly was a proof--as I have lately mentioned--of brutal ignorance, that they did not perceive the power of God, when they might almost feel it with their hands; but as the whole human race labors under the same disease, Mark purposely mentions blindness, in order to inform us that it is no new thing if men have their eyes closed against the manifest works of God, till they are enlightened from above; as Moses also said,
The Lord hath not yet given thee a heart to understand, (Deuteronomy 29:4.)
Now though the word heart more frequently denotes the will or the seat of the affections, yet here, as in that passage which I have now quoted from Moses, it is put for the understanding.
27. But immediately Jesus spake to them. As Christ is not known to be a Deliverer till he actually makes his appearance, he speaks, and desires his disciples to recognize him. That confidence, to which he exhorts them, is represented by him as founded on his presence; plainly implying that, since they perceive him to be present with them, there are abundant grounds of hope. But as terror had already overpowered their minds, he corrects that terror, lest it should hinder or abate their confidence: not that they could all at once lay aside fear and experience unmingled joy, but because it was necessary that the fear which had seized them should be allayed, that it might not destroy their confidence. Although to the reprobate the voice of the Son of God is deadly, and his presence appalling, yet the effect which they produce on believers is here described to us as widely different. They cause inward peace and strong confidence to hold the sway over our hearts, that we may not yield to carnal fears. But the reason why we are disturbed by unfounded and sudden alarms is, that our ingratitude and wickedness prevent us from employing as shields the innumerable gifts of God, which, if they were turned to proper account, would give us all necessary support. Now though Christ appeared at the proper time for rendering assistance, yet the storm did not immediately cease, till the disciples were more fully aroused both to desire and to expect his grace. And this deserves our attention, as conveying the instruction, that there are good reasons why the Lord frequently delays to bestow that deliverance which he has ready at hand.
28. And Peter answering. The condition which he lays down shows that his faith was not yet fully settled. If it is thou, says he, bid me come to thee on the water. But he had heard Christ speak. Why then does he still argue with himself under doubt and perplexity? While his faith is so small and weak, a wish not well considered bursts into a flame. He ought rather to have judged of himself according to his capacity, and to have supplicated from Christ an increase of faith, that by its guidance and direction he might walk over seas and mountains. But now, without the wings of faith, he desires to fly at will; and though the voice of Christ has not its due weight in his heart, he desires that the waters should be firm under his feet. And yet there is no room to doubt that this longing sprung from a good principle; but as it degenerates into a faulty excess, it cannot be applauded as good.
Hence too it happens that Peter immediately begins to smart for his rashness. Let believers, therefore, instructed by his example, beware of excessive haste. Wherever the Lord calls, we ought to run with alacrity; but whoever proceeds farther, will learn from the mournful result what it is to overleap the bounds which the Lord has prescribed. Yet it may be asked, Why does Christ comply with Peter's wish? for by so doing he seems to approve of it. But the answer is obvious. In many eases God promotes our interests better by refusing our requests; but at times he yields to us, that by experience we may be the more fully convinced of our own folly. In this manner, it happens every day that, by granting to those who believe in him more than is actually needed, he trains them to modesty and sober-mindedness for the future. Besides, this was of advantage to Peter and to the other disciples, and it is of advantage to us at the present day. The power of Christ shone more brightly in the person of Peter, when he admitted him as a companion, than if he had walked alone on the waters. But Peter knows, and the rest see plainly, that, when he does not rest with a firm faith, and rely on the Lord, the secret power of God, which formerly made the water solid, begins to disappear; and yet Christ dealt gently with him by not permitting him to sink entirely under the waters.  Both of these things happen to us; for as Peter was no sooner seized with fear than he began to sink, so the fleeting and transitory thoughts of the flesh immediately cause us to sink in the midst of our course of employments.  Meanwhile, the Lord indulges our weakness, and stretches out his hand, that the waters may not swallow us up altogether. It must also be observed that Peter, when he perceives the unhappy and painful consequences of his rashness, betakes himself to the mercy of Christ. And we too, though enduring just punishment, ought to betake ourselves to him, that he may have compassion on us, and bestow the aid of which we are unworthy.
31. O man of little faith. While our Lord kindly preserves Peter, he does not connive at Peter's fault. Such is the object of the chastisement administered, when Peter is blamed for the weakness of his faith. But a question arises, Does every kind of fear give evidence of a weakness of faith? for Christ's words seem to imply that, where faith reigns, there is no room for doubt.  I:reply: Christ reproves here that kind of doubt which was directly opposed to faith. A man may sometimes doubt without any fault on his part; and that is, when the word of the Lord does not speak with certainty on the matter. But the case was quite different with Peter, who had received an express command from Christ, and had already experienced his power, and yet leaves that twofold support, and falls into foolish and wicked fear.
33. They that were in the ship. I understand these words to refer not only to the disciples, but to the sailors and other passengers. So then those who had not yet declared that he was their Master, instantly acknowledge that he is the Son of God, and by this term render to him the honor of the Messiah. Though at that time this lofty mystery was not generally known, how God was to be manifested in the flesh, (1 Timothy 3:16,) yet as they had learned from the prophets, that he who was to be the Redeemer would be called the Son of God, those who under this designation proclaim the glory of Christ, declare their belief that he is the Christ. 
 "En la montagne."
 "Car ils n'avoyent point entendu le faict des pains, d'autant que leur coeur estoit aveugle, ou, estourdi;" -- "for they had not understood what happened as to the loaves, because their heart was blinded, or, bewildered."
 "Ne permettant qu'il enfondre du tout en l'eau, et se noye;" -- "not allowing him to sink entirely in the water, and be drowned."
 "Ainsi les vaines et folles pensees de la chair font qu'a tous coups nous defaillons au milieu des affaires, comme si nous estions plongez en l'eau iusques par dessus la teste;" -- "so the vain and foolish thoughts of the flesh cause us to stumble at every step in the midst of business, as if we were plunged in the water over the head."
 "Que Doute et Crainte ne peuvent avoir lieu ou la foy regne;" -- "that Doubt and Fear cannot have place where faith reigns."
 "Declarent qu'ils croyent qu'il est le Christ et le Messins;" -- "declare that they believe that he is the Christ and the Messiah."
And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray.
And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land.
And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.
But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out:
For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.
And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.
For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.
And when they had passed over, they came into the land of Gennesaret, and drew to the shore.
34. And when they had passed over, they came into the country of Gennesareth. 35. And when the men of that place had recognized him, they sent messengers into all the surrounding country, and brought to him all that were diseased. 36. And besought him that they might ouch only the fringe of his robe; and as many as touched were made whole.
53. And when they had passed over, they came into the country of Gennesareth, and landed. 54. And when they had left the ship, they immediately knew him.  55. And, running through all that country round about, they began to carry to him in beds those that were sick, wheresoever they heard that he was. 56. And to what place, soever he went, into villages, or into cities, or into towns, they laid the diseased in the streets, and besought him that they might touch only the fringe of his robe; and as many as touched him were healed.
Matthew 14:34. They came into the country of Gennesareth. The Evangelists give that designation to the country which borrowed its name from the lake, though it is uncertain if it was not rather the name of the country that was bestowed on the lake; but that is a matter of little consequence. Our chief business is, to attend to the object which the Evangelists have in view. It is, to show that the glory of Christ was attested not by one or by another miracle, but that this part of Judea was filled with innumerable proofs of it, the report of which might easily be carried to Jerusalem and to other towns in every direction. Hence we infer, that singularly base and wicked must have been the ingratitude of that nation which wickedly shut its eyes from perceiving, and even endeavored, as far as lay in its power, to extinguish the brightness of the divine glory which was exhibited before them. Our present business is, to perceive, amidst so large an assemblage of miracles, the reason why Christ came, which was, that he might offer himself as a physician to heal all the diseases of all men  For we must bear in mind what Matthew had formerly quoted from the Prophet Isaiah, (53:4,) that in healing bodies he shadowed out something greater, namely, that he restores our souls to health, and that it is his peculiar office to remove spiritual diseases.  He is not now an inhabitant of the earth; but it is certain that, now that he is in heaven, he is authorized to bestow those favors of which he then exhibited a visible proof. Now as we labor under every kind of diseases till he heal us, let each of us not only present himself to him, but endeavor to bring others who need the same remedy.
That they might touch the fringe. There is reason to believe that they were under the influence of some superstition, when they limited the grace of Christ to a touch of his robe; at least, they defrauded him of a part of his honor, since they did not expect any efficacy  to be derived from his bare word. But that he may not quench the smoking flax, (Isaiah 42:3,) he accommodates himself to their ignorance. Yet there is nothing here that lends countenance to the views of those who seek the grace of God in wood, or nails, or robes; while Scripture expressly declares, that we have no right to form any conception respecting Christ but what is spiritual and consistent with his heavenly glory. The weakness of those who, not knowing that Christ is God, desired to make a nearer approach to him, was endured for a time. Now that he fills heaven and earth with the sweet savor of his grace, we must embrace--not with hands or eyes, but by faith--the salvation which he offers to us from heaven.
 "(Les gens) le cognurent incontinent;" -- "(the people) immediately knew him."
 "En guairissant toutes sortes de maladies en toutes personnes;" -- "by healing all kinds of diseases in all persons."
 See Harmony, vol. 1, p. 251.
 "Veu qu'ils n'esperoyent point de sentir aucun secours de sa vertu;" -- "since they did not hope to experience any relief from his power."
And when they were come out of the ship, straightway they knew him,
And ran through that whole region round about, and began to carry about in beds those that were sick, where they heard he was.
And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole.