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The Great Commentary Of Cornelius À Lapide Volumes 1 To 8

1 Christ healeth one sick of the palsy, 14 calleth Matthew from the receipt of custom, 15 eateth with publicans and sinners, 18 excuseth his disciples for not fasting, 23 and for plucking the ears of corn on the Sabbath-day.

Ver. 1. And again He entered into Capernaum after some days. A few MSS. read, after eight days.

Ver. 2. And many came together, so that there was no room, &c. See what is said in the Introduction to this Gospel.

Ver. 5. Son, thy sins are forgiven thee. Hear Bede, “When He is about to heal, He first forgives the man his sins, to show that he was suffering for his faults.” For men are afflicted with bodily ills, either for the increase of merit, as Job and the martyrs; or for the preservation of humility, as Paul; or for the correction of sin, as the sister of Moses, and this paralytic; or for the glory of God, as the man who was born blind; or for a beginning of damnation, as Herod.

Bede adds that this paralytic was carried by four bearers, to signify that a man in the faith of his soul is lifted up by four virtues to deserve soundness, namely, by prudence, fortitude, justice, and temperance.

Ver. 14. He saw Levi (the son) of Alphæus, i.e., He saw Matthew, who by another name is called Levi before he was called by Christ, for after his vocation he is always called Matthew. Of Alphæus, i.e., the son, as the Syriac expresses it. This Alphæus is a different person from the Alphæus who was the husband of Mary of Cleopas, who was the father of James the Less and Jude (Matt. 10:3). Luke and Mark call Matthew Levi, out of regard for his good name, because this name of Levi was known but to few. But he calls himself Matthew, to humiliate himself, and to profess openly that he was a sinner and a publican.

And rising up, &c., i.e., leaving everything. Wherefore Bede saith, “He left his own possessions who was wont to seize those of others. He left also the accounts of his taxes imperfect, and not cast up, because the Lord had so inflamed him that he straightway followed Him who called him.”

Ver. 26. Under Abiathar. You will say that it is said in 1 Sam. 21:6 that this was done under Ahimelech, the father of Abiathar. I answer, first, that Abiathar was even then the pontiff together with his father, because when his father was absent, or sick, or otherwise engaged, he discharged the High Priest’s office; and he was shortly to succeed his father, at his death, in the pontificate. Listen to Bede: That the Lord calls Abiathar the High Priest instead of Ahimelech involves no discrepancy, for both were on the spot when David came and asked for and received the loaves. And when Ahimelech was slain by Saul, Abiathar fled to David, and was his companion through the whole of his exile. Afterwards, when David was king, he received the rank of the high-priesthood; and continuing in the pontificate during the whole of David’s reign, he became much more celebrated than his father, and so was more worthy to be called High Priest by the Lord, even during his father’s lifetime.

Second, and better, It is clear from Scripture that both father and son bore both names, and were called sometimes Abiathar, sometimes Ahimelech. This appears from 2 Sam. 8:17, 1 Chron. 18:16 and 24:6. So Jansen, Toletus, &c.

The Sabbath was made (Syr. created) for man, &c. That is, the Sabbath was instituted for the benefit of man, that man, by the rest of the Sabbath, should refresh and restore his body, fatigued by the continuous labour of six days of the week; and that he should apply his mind to the things which concern his eternal salvation, such as hearing and meditating upon the law of God. The force of the argument is this: Since the Sabbath was instituted for the sake of man, and not man for the sake of the Sabbath, therefore, if the Sabbatical rest be hurtful to man, it must be abandoned, and the labour undertaken that man may be benefited. Therefore rightly do I permit My disciples to engage in the moderate labour of plucking the ears of corn on the Sabbath, to satisfy their hunger. For it is better that the rest of the Sabbath should be broken than that men should perish.

Therefore the Son of Man, &c. Some understand the therefore in this place as properly inferential from what has gone before, thus: Since the Sabbath was made for man, and the Son of Man, that is, Christ, is Lord of all men, and of all things which pertain to man’s health, therefore He is Lord also of the Sabbath, so as to be able to dispense from it. But it is better and simpler to take the therefore not as inferential, but as complementary for lastly, in short. Wherefore the Arabic so translates, and makes the passage of the following effect: “Lastly, the Son of Man, that is, I, Christ, because I am the Messias and God, am Lord of the Sabbath, I who instituted it at the beginning for man’s benefit, and therefore am able for the benefit of man to order, to relax, or to abolish it. This is the fresh and final reason by which Christ proves to the Scribes that it was lawful to pluck the ears of corn on the Sabbath to satisfy hunger.”

Mystically: Says Theophylact, Christ healing on the Sabbath signifies that those who have rest in their passions are able to heal sinners agitated by their passions, and lead them to virtue. More fully Bede. The disciples, he says, are teachers. The corn means those planted in the faith, whom the teachers visit, and hungering for their salvation, pluck away from earthly things. And by their hands, i.e., by their examples, they bring them away from the lust of the flesh, as it were out of husks. They eat them, that is, they incorporate them as members into the Church. And they do it upon the Sabbath, because this is for the hope of future rest.








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