Thursday, June 8th, 2023
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
Trapp's Complete Commentary Trapp's Commentary
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Matthew 20". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://studylight.org/
commentaries/ eng/ jtc/ matthew-20.html. 1865-1868.
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Matthew 20". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://studylight.org/
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1 For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.
Ver. 1. For the kingdom of heaven, &c. ] That last sentence Christ further illustrateth and enforceth by this following parable. Peter and the rest were in danger to be puffed up with the pre-conceit of their abundant reward promised, Matthew 19:28-29 . This to prevent, and that they might not stand upon their terms and tip-toes, they are again and again given to know, that "many that are first shall be last, and last first."
Which went out early in the morning ] "God is found of them that seek him not," Isaiah 65:1 ; "Yea, the Father seeketh such to worship him," John 4:23 ; he soliciteth suitors and servants. A wonderful condescension it is, that he looketh out of himself upon the saints and angels in heaven, Psalms 113:6 . How much more upon us poor earthworms!
Labourers into his vineyard ] Not loiterers. Jacob saw the angels, some ascending, others descending, none standing still. God hath made Behemoth to play in the waters, not so men; they must be doing, that will keep in with God.
2 And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
Ver. 2. For a penny a day ] Not for eternal life (for this those murmuring merit mongers never had, who yet had their penny), but something (whatever it were) that gave the labourers good content; that it was for which each of them followed Christ, whether for food perishing, or enduring, John 6:27 .
3 And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
Ver. 3. Others standing idle ] For any good they did, or could do, till sent into the vineyard, and set awork by God. Till then we are mere excrements of human society. Nos numerus sumus, &c.
4 And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way.
Ver. 4. Go ye also into the vineyard ] God hath his times to call men in; only let them stand in God’s way, wait at the posts of wisdom’s gates, at the pool of Bethesda, &c. Gratuita et inopinata est ad gratiam vocatio,Ephesians 1:11; Ephesians 1:11 . The separation of the saints is wonderful, Exodus 33:16 .
5 Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise.
Ver. 5. About the sixth and ninth hour ] God hath his servants of all sexes and sizes, calling when and whom he pleaseth. And they have the comfort and credit of it that are first called, so they walk worthy of their time, and that vocation wherewith they are called, Ephesians 3:1 . Thus it was an honour to Mnason that he was an "old disciple," Acts 21:16 ; and to Andronicus and Junia, that Paul should say of them, "who also were in Christ before," Romans 16:7 .
6 And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?
Ver. 6. And about the eleventh hour ] About five o’clock in the afternoon; when it was well nigh time to leave work. Nunquam sero si serio. Never too late if in earnest. Howbeit delays are dangerous, opportunities are abrupt and headlong, and, if once past, irrecoverable. If, therefore, ye will inquire, inquire; return, come, Isaiah 21:12 . They that say men may repent hereafter, say truly, but not safely. They that allege these here that came in at the eleventh hour, must consider that these were never called till then. But now God calleth, yea, "commandeth all men everywhere to repent," Acts 17:30 . And now he is more peremptory, sure, than ever heretofore. SeeHebrews 2:3; Hebrews 2:3 . How many are daily taken away in their offers and essays, before they have prepared their hearts to cleave to God!
7 They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.
Ver. 7. Go ye also into, the vineyard ] At this hour the penitent thief was sent in, and he bestirred him; for he justifies Christ, condemns himself, chides his fellow for railing, prays for a part in Paradise, &c.; he lived much in a little time. Howbeit, this is a singular example, one of the miracles wherewith Christ would honour the ignominy of his cross. Neither is it often seen or read about, that old men are converted. They are usually so set in sin, that they are hardly removed; such a hoof they have over their hearts, that scarce anything will affect them. Abraham in the Old Testament, and Nicodemus in the New, were called in their old age. Name a third he that can. Conversion (as divines observe) usually occurs between 18 years of age and 28, when men have less of the world, which afterward steals away affection.
8 So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.
Ver. 8. Saith unto his steward ] That is, to his Son Christ, whom he hath made judge of all, to give unto every man according to his works. This he will do with demonstration of his singular both justice (so that none shall receive less than was promised him) and mercy (so that all shall receive more than they deserved). For although their penny be here called their hire, and elsewhere their reward, yea, their wages, yet all is of grace.
9 And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.
Ver. 9. And when they came ] These last labourers were first paid, because they trusted not to the worth of their own works, but to God’s free grace and goodness; when the other are fumed off in displeasure, with Tolle quod tuum est, et vade: Take thy penny, and be packing.
10 But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny.
Ver. 10. They supposed that they, &c. ] Good works are mercatura regni coelestis, saith Bellarmine. But God is no such merchant. Cerium gratis non accipiam, I will not have heaven for nothing, saith Vega. Thou shalt never have it therefore; I will give thee that gift.
11 And when they had received it , they murmured against the goodman of the house,
Ver. 11. They murmured, &c. ] They had what they agreed for, some temporal blessings, which is all that carnal men commonly care for. Or if any seek after spiritual things, it is not for any beauty he seeth or taste he findeth in them, but only as a bridge to bring them to heaven; as Spira confessed of himself. It is not good therefore to indent and bargain with God how much he shall give us, either of temporals or spirituals; for so you may have your penny, and yet be discontented that it is but a penny, and no more. Profits, pleasures, honours, appear to be but empty things, when men are to go into another world.
12 Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.
Ver. 12. Thou hast made them equal ] Lo, this is the guise of graceless hypocrites, to be quarrelling and contending with God and man, as unworthily dealt withal. Thus those Jewish justiciaries, Isaiah 58:3 , hit God in the teeth with their good services and small thanks. So the proud Pharisee sets forth, not his wants, but his worth. Contrariwise, Jacob cries out in a low language, Domine, non sum dignus, Genesis 30:10 . So doth Paul, 1 Corinthians 15:9 ; the centurion,Matthew 8:6; Matthew 8:6 ; the Baptist, Matthew 3:11 . St Augustine, Non sum dignus, quem tu diligas, Domine, Lord, I am not worthy of thy love.
13 But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?
Ver. 13. Friend, I do thee no wrong ] Friend he is called, not reprobate, though he were a murmurer, a merit monger. In arguing the case with others, use hard arguments, but in a soft language. This will soonest work; for man is a cross, crabbed creature, and if roughly dealt with, will sooner slight you for your passion than regard your reason, though never so convincing, because not well managed. There are a generation whose words are swords, whose tongues are rapiers to run men through with, upon every small occasion, and their throats as a gaping grave to bury them in,Romans 3:12-13; Romans 3:12-13 .
14 Take that thine is , and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.
Ver. 14. Take that thine is, and go ] A fearful sentence. David blesseth himself from those men of God’s hand, which have their portion here, and that is all they are to look for,Psalms 17:14; Psalms 17:14 . Valde protestatus sum, said Luther, when great gifts were offered him, me nolle sic a Deo satiari. A gracious spirit cannot rest satisfied with low things. The Turkish empire, as big as it is, saith the same Luther, is nothing else but a crust of bread, which the goodman of the house casteth to his dogs: Turc. Imp. quantum quantum est, nihil est nisi panis mica, quam dives paterfamilias proiecit canibus. Luther.
15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?
Ver. 15. Is it not lawful for me, &c. ] This is God’s speech (who is the great Proprietary of all); it may not be ours, who have nothing of our own, but all in trust: so that when we present anything to God, we must say as David did, 1 Chronicles 29:14 , and afterwards Justinian the emperor, τα σα εκ των σων σοι προσφερομεν οι δουλοι σου . Of thine own we give thee; for all that is in the heaven and the earth is thine. St Bernard reports of Pope Eugenius, that meeting with a poor but honest bishop, he secretly gave him certain jewels wherewith he might present him. If God did not first furnish us, we should have nothing wherewith to honour him, or do good to others.
Is thine eye evil, because I am good ] It is commonly observed that witches, and those that are in league with the devil to do mischief, are never given over so to do, till they come to have an evil eye. ( Βασκαινω quasi φαεσι καινω .) Hence that, nescio quis teneros, &c., and those that are bewitched are said to be overseen, that is, to be looked upon with an envious eye. Envy is a quick-sighted and sharp-fanged malignity, Proverbs 27:4 , and doth de alieua mente tam prompte quam prave coniecere, as one saith, nimbly and naughtily guess at another man’s meaning.
16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
Ver. 16. So the last shall be first, &c. ] This is the purport of the preceding parable. Application is the life of preaching.
Few are chosen ] It is a strange speech of Chrysostom, in his fourth sermon to the people of Antioch, where he was much beloved and did much good. How many, think you, shall be saved in this city? It will be a hard speech to you, but I will speak it: though there be so many thousand of you, yet there cannot be found a hundred that shall be saved, and I doubt about them too; for what villany is there in youth! what sloth in old men! and so he goes on. Non arbitror inter sacerdotes multos esse qui salvi flaunt. Chrysost. hom. 3. in Act. See Trapp on " Mat 7:14 "
17 And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them,
Ver. 17. Took the twelve disciples ] To rouse them and raise them out of their carnal fears and dejections. Jerusalem was the saints’ slaughter house,Luke 13:33; Luke 13:33 ; (as Rome is now, which therefore is spiritually called Jerusalem, Egypt, Sodom, &c., Rev 11:8 ). Hither our Saviour bent his course; hereupon they were amazed and afraid, Mark 10:32 , and gave him counsel to go back rather into Galilee for his own and their safety, John 11:8 . He takes them therefore apart, and tells them as followeth, what they must trust to; and that though he be brought to the dust of death, he will rise again gloriously, to their great comfort.
18 Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death,
Ver. 18. Behold, we go up to Jerusalem ] Behold, as it requires attention (and this was no more than need; for St Luke, Luke 18:34 , tells us that they understood none of these things, &c.), so it sets forth our Saviour’s forwardness to go this dangerous voyage.
19 And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him : and the third day he shall rise again.
Ver. 19. To mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him ] What are all our sufferings to his? and yet we think ourselves undone, if but touched; and in setting forth our calamities, we add, we multiply, we rise in our discourse, like him in the poet, τρις κακοδαιμων και τετρακις, και πεντακις, και δωδεκακις, και μυριακις (Aristoph.). I am thrice miserable, nay, ten, twenty, a hundred, a thousand times unhappy. And yet all our sufferings are but as the slivers and chips of that cross, upon which Christ, nay, many Christians, have suffered. In the time of Adrain the emperor 10,000 martyrs are said to have been crucified in the Mount of Ararat, crowned with thorns, and thrust into the sides with sharp darts, after the example of the Lord’s passion. The chief of whom were Achaicus, Heliades, Theodorus, Carcerius, &c. (Acts and Mon.)
20 Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping him , and desiring a certain thing of him.
Ver. 20. Then came to him, &c. ] Then, most unseasonably, when Christ had by the parable been teaching them humility, and now was discoursing of his death and passion, then came these sons of Zebedee to beg a principality in Christ’s imaginary earthly monarchy. And this is not the first time of their so foul mistake, so unseasonable a suit to him, or strife among themselves. The leprosy was cured at once in Naaman; so is not corruption in the saints, but by degrees, and at times.
The mother of Zebedee’s children ] Set on by her two sons, who were ashamed to make the motion themselves (but as good they might, for Christ knew all, and therefore directs his answer to them, Mar 10:35 ), and she also was not well assured of the fitness of her request, and therefore came courtesying and craving a certain thing; not telling him what at first, as going somewhat against her conscience. And surely her request had been impudent, but that she presumed upon her near alliance to Christ; for she is thought to have been sister to Joseph, who was Pater Christi politicus; the legal father of Christ, and thence her boldness, by reason of her right of kindred by the father’s side. And this is some kind of carnal excuse; yet not for her and her sons’ folly and vanity, in dreaming of an earthly kingdom, and therein a distribution of honours and offices, as in David and Solomon’s days.
21 And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.
Ver. 21. What wilt thou? ] We may not overly hasty engage ourselves by promise of this or that to our best friends, but hold off and deliberate. Alioqui saliens antequam videat, casurus est ante quam debeat. Bernard.
The one on thg right hand ]
" Quid voveat dulci nutricula maius alumno? " Horat.
Our Saviour had promised in the former chapter that the twelve should sit upon twelve thrones, &c. These men’s suit was for the first and second seat. Self-love makes men ambitious, and teacheth them to turn the glass, to see themselves bigger, others lesser than they are; Paul, on the contrary, was least of saints, last of apostles.
22 But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able.
Ver. 22. Ye know not what ye ask ] Ye ask and miss, "because ye ask amiss," James 4:1 . A prayer for things not lawful begs nothing but a denial, as Moses did, in praying to enter into the land, Deuteronomy 3:25 ; as Job did in that peevish request of his, that God would "let loose his hand, and cut him off," Job 6:8-9 ; as the disciples did in that overly curious inquiry, "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom of Israel?" Acts 1:6-8 . Our Saviour answers that that is not fit for them to know. But a better thing he could tell them, that they should shortly after be clothed with the Holy Ghost. God sometimes in much mercy crosseth the prayers of his people, as he did David’s, for the child’s life, who, if he had lived, would have been but a standing monument of David’s shame. Was it not better for him to have a Solomon? The saints have their prayers out, either in money or money’s worth, provided they bring lawful petitions and honest hearts.
Are ye able to drink of the cup, &c. ] Afflictions are frequently set forth by this metaphor of a cup; taken, say some, from an ancient custom that the father of the family should give to each under his charge a cup fit for his use, according to his size; or, as others think, from the manner of feasts, whereat the symposiarch, or "ruler of the feast," as he is called, John 2:9 , prescribed what and how much every man should drink.
And to be baptized with the baptism ] Or plunged over head and ears in the deep waters of affliction. Of these we may say, as one doth of the Spa waters, that they are more wholesome than pleasant. Ever since Christ cast his cross into them, as Moses did that tree, Exodus 15:25 , the property of them is altered, the waters healed.
They say unto him, We are able ] In your own conceit, at least, not else. For these two disciples, since they knew not what they asked, so they knew not what they answered. And yet Maldonatus hath the face to defend them in it, as if they here testified their alacrity, rather than betrayed their precipitancy: Sed exitus acta probavit; they showed their valour at Christ’s apprehension.
23 And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.
Ver. 23. Ye shall drink indeed of my cup ] Illud solum quod suavius et limpidius. The saints sip of the top of God’s cup; as for the dregs, the wicked shall wring them out, and drink them up.
And be baptized, &c. ] Or ducked, washed (not drowned), as St Paul was in the shipwreck; or as the baptized child, which shakes off the water, or is dried after baptism. Afflictions, saith one, are called baptism, because they set God’s mark upon us (as baptism doth) that we belong to God; this for outward afflictions. And for desertion, it is called Christ’s cup, because we are sure to pledge him in that too, and be conformed unto him, as was Job, David, Heman,Psalms 88:1-18; Psalms 88:1-18 , &c. Grace is no target against affliction; but the best shall have terrors within and troubles without, as sure as the coat is on their back or the heart in their belly.
Is not mine to give ] i.e. It is no part of my present office; or, I have no such commission from my Father to give precedencies to all that affect them. Christ hereby seeks to raise up the low grovelling spirits of his apostles to things supernatural, supernal.
24 And when the ten heard it , they were moved with indignation against the two brethren.
Ver. 24. They were moved ] They were angry at that ambition in their fellows, that themselves were deeply guilty of. So Diogenes trampled Plato’s pride, but with greater pride. So Crassus earnestly inveighed against covetousness in others, when there was not a more covetous caitiff (wretch) than he upon the earth. So Gregory the Great stomached the title of universal bishop to the patriarch of Constantinople, which yet himself affected, and his successor, Boniface, arrogated and usurped.
25 But Jesus called them unto him , and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
Ver. 25. Jesus called them to him, and said ] We must (by Christ’s example) advance, cherish concord all we can, among ministers especially, by casting out those mischief makers, emulation and ambition. Pareus was wont to say, that the only cause of all Church dissensions was, ministers reaching after rule and preeminence, as did Diotrephes. a And that if this evil humour could possibly be purged out, there would be a sweet symmetry, a happy harmony of all hearts.
And they that are great ] The grandees of the earth. There is, saith one, a greatness belluine (brutal) and genuine. In that, a beast may and doth exceed us; in this we exceed ourselves and others. "Great men are not always wise," saith Elihu, Job 32:9 . And Nemo me maior nisi qui iustior, No one is greater than me unless he is more just, said Agesilaus, when the king of Persia styled himself the great king. Calamitas nostra magnus est, Our harm is great, said Mimus concerning Pompey, the people applauding so handsome an impropriety. Privilegium unius conceditur in beneficium alterius, saith a learned doctor; et si vis esse vere magnus, ne sis instar utris folle tumidi, sed instar uteri prole gravidi; nec attollas inane supercilium, sed exhibeas utile ministerium. Goodness is the only greatness.
a Infelicium ecclesiae concertationem causam dixit ecclesiasticorum φιλαρχαιν . In vita Parei.
26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
Ver. 26. But it shall not be so among you ] How express is that against Papal primacy and lordly prelacy. When the duke shall be damned, what will become of the bishop? said the clown to the Bishop of Cullen. Mr Whitehead refused a bishopric, because he liked not to be lorded. And Mr Coverdale being deprived of his bishopric in Queen Mary’s days, would not (for the same cause) be reinvested in Queen Elizabeth’s, but taught a school. Mr Knox would not have a bishopric, because it had aliquid commune cum antichristo somewhat with the common antichrist.
27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
Ver. 27. Let him be your servant ] This is the ready way to rise. Neither may any think himself too good to serve the saints, to wash their feet, to minister to their necessities. Christ came out of the bosom of his Father to fetch them to heaven. The Holy Ghost disdains not to dwell in their hearts. Angels are desirous to do them any good office. Prophets think not much to minister to them, 1 Peter 1:12 . Paul, and Apollos, and Cephas are theirs, public servants to the Church; accounting it a far greater matter prodesse quam praeesse, to seek men’s salvation than to exercise dominion.
28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Ver. 28. And to give his life a ransom ] A redemptory, a valuable rate, λυτρον , for it was the blood of God wherewith the Church was purchased, Acts 20:28 ; silver and gold could not do it, 1 Peter 1:18-19 ; nor anything else but that ransom given by Christ, αντιλυτρον , 1 Timothy 2:6 .
29 And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed him.
Ver. 29. And as they departed from Jericho ] Christ cured one blind man as he went into Jericho, Luke 18:35-43 , and two as he went out; for all the haste he had to go to Jerusalem. a Hence such multitudes followed him, to make up his ensuing triumph.
a Tres in his locis ita curatos esse crediderim. Aretius.
30 And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David.
Ver. 30. When they heard that Jesus passed by ] Happy it was for them that, though blind, yet they were not deaf. For as death came in by the ear, so doth life. "Hear, and your soul shall live," Isaiah 55:3 ; a heavy ear is a singular judgment, Isaiah 6:11 ; a hearing ear a special favour, Proverbs 20:12 . When God struck Zacharias,Luke 1:22; Luke 1:22 , he made him dumb, but not deaf. When God struck Saul, he made him blind but not deaf. When God struck Mephibosheth, he made him lame, but not deaf. There is a deaf devil, Mark 9:25 , and a deaf adder, Psalms 58:4 , and a deaf man, that yet want for no ears, Isaiah 43:8 . But "he that heareth instruction is in the way of life," saith Solomon. These two blind beggars had heard of Christ by the hearing of the ear, but that satisfied them not, unless their eyes also might see him, Job 42:5 . They waylay therefore the Lord of light, who gives them upon their suit, both sight and light, irradiates both organ and object, cures them of their both outward and inward blindness at once.
Thou Son of David ] They knew and acknowledged Christ to be the true Messiah. Few such knowing blind beggars today. They are commonly more blind in mind than body, loose and lawless vagrants; such as are neither of any church nor commonwealth; but as the baser sort of people in Swethland, who do always break the sabbath, saying, that it is only for gentlemen to sanctify it; or rather as the poor Brazilians, who are said to be sine rege, lege, fide, without any government, law, or religion.
31 And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David.
Ver. 31. And the multitude rebuked them ] In prayer, we must look to meet with many rubs and discouragements; but God’s Spirit is heroic, and gets over them all. The devil will interrupt us, as the Pythoness did Paul, Acts 16:16 ; as the birds did Abraham, Genesis 15:11 ; as those Samaritans did the Jews in building the temple, Neh 6:1-19 Hence we are bidden to strive in prayer, Colossians 4:2 , and watch in prayer; for Satan will be at our right hand, as at Joshua’s, Zechariah 3:1 , watching his time to cast in, if not a profane, yet an impertinent thought, thereby to bereave us of the benefit of our prayers; besides our own natural lack of devotion through hardness of heart, heaviness of body, multiplicity of worldly distractions and disturbances. All which we must break through, and cry the more earnestly, as Bartimeus here did, though checked by the multitude, "Have mercy on us, O Lord," &c. Daniel would not be kept from his God for any danger of death, Daniel 6:10-11 , nor the French Protestants restrain prayer, though King Henry III made a law to forbid them to pray with their families. The sun shall sooner stand still than the trade of godliness, and that continual intercourse that is between God and the Christian soul.
32 And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I shall do unto you?
Ver. 32. And Jesus stood still ] See the admirable power of fervent prayer. Preces Christum licet festinantem remorantur, Christ stands and stays (for all the haste of his journey to Jerusalem, which till he had finished, oh how was he straitened, Luk 12:50 ) to hear the blind beggars’ petition. So the sun once stood still in Gibeon, and the moon in the valley of Ajalon, upon the prayer of worthy Joshua, who set the trophies of his victory in the very orbs of heaven.
33 They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened.
Ver. 33. Lord, that our eyes might be opened ] "Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun," Ecclesiastes 11:7 , and yet how little is this mercy prized, because common. Our corrupt natures heed nothing that we enjoy, as the eye seeth nothing that lies on it, but things at a distance it discerns clearly. Bona a tergo formosissima. Copy of good things breeds satiety, and makes them no dainties, till God for our folly many times makes us see the worth of them by the want of them, and so commends and endears his favours to us. But what a blindness is this, worse than that of Bartimeus, never to see the face but the back only of benefits.
34 So Jesus had compassion on them , and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him.
Ver. 34. And Jesus had compassion on them ] He made their case his own. Misericordia Mercy sounds as much as misery laid to heart. Christ’s heart sounded upon the sight and suit of these blind beggars, Isaiah 63:15 , and this was beyond all alms, should he have done no more for them. For when one gives an alms, he gives somewhat without himself, but by compassion we relieve another by somewhat within and from ourselves, while we draw out our soul (not our sheaf only) to the hungry, Isaiah 58:10 .
And immediately their eyes received sight ] This is not every blind man’s happiness, that yet prays for sight. But there is a better eyesight than that of the body, which if God vouchsafe to any in bodily blindness (as he did to that blind boy of Gloucester that had suffered imprisonment there for confessing the truth) it may be said to such surely, as Bishop Hooper the martyr did to him, Ah, poor boy, God hath taken from thee thy outward sight, but hath given thee another much more precious, &c. (Acts and Mon.) The like favour God showed to Didimus Alexandrinus, who though blind from his childhood, yet was not only an excellent artist, but an able divine; and wrote certain commentaries on the Psalms, and likewise on the Gospels; being now (saith Jerome, who relates it) above 83 years of age. Trithemius and Bozius report the like things concerning one Nicasius de Voarda, a Dutchman, who being struck blind at three years old, became nevertheless an excellent scholar, and skilful in the laws, which he publicly professed at Collen. Afterwards he proceeded Master of Arts at Lovain, Licentiate in Divinity at the same University, and lastly Doctor of the Laws at Cullen; where, after he had printed his public lectures, he died, and was buried in the Cathedral Church, A.D. 1491, 17 Calend. September. (August 16.)