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Luke ix. 54, 55. And when bis Disciples James and John Saw
this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we
command Fire to come down from Heaven, · and consume them, even as Elias did? But
be turned and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what Manner of Spirit ye are of.
W HAT Provocation the Disciples had
V to call Fire from Heaven to con the Samaritans, may be learnt from the 511t: and following Verses: And it came to pass, when the Time was come that he should be received up, he ftedfastly fet his Face to go to
Face: And they went and entered into a Village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And they did not receive him, because his E 2
Face was as though he would go to Jeru. falem. And when bis Disciples James and Yohn faw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command Fire to come down from Heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? And be turned and rebuked them, and faid, Ye know not what Manner of Spirit ye are of. For the Son of Man is not come to destroy Men's Lives, but to save them.-The Hatred between the Jews and Samaritans was founded in a religious Controverly; and had proceeded so far, that all Offices of common Humanity had ceased between them ; insomuch that when our Saviour asked a Women of that Country but for a little Water to drink, she marvelled at it, and said, Eow is it, that thou being a' Few askeft Drink of me, which am a Woman of Samaria? John, iv. 9. The Reason of her Wonder is added in the next Words; For the fews bave no Dealings with the Samaritans. From the 20th Verse of the same Chapter we may gather what the Foundation of this Quarrel was: Our Fathers, says the Woman, worshipped in this Mountain ; and ye fay, that in Jerusalem is the Place where Men ought to worship. This Account is likewise confirmed by Josephus, who tells
us, that there were perpetual Quarrels and Animosities between the ews and Samaritans, occafioned by a Contest concerning the Holiness of their Temples: the One affirming the Temple at Jerusalem to be holy; and that all Jews ought to send their Offerings thither : the others affirming the same concerning the Temple in Mount Gerizim.
It was about the Time of the Passover, that our Saviour took this journey to Jerufalem, as we may collect from what is said in the 51st Verse; And it came to pass when the Time was come that he should be received up, be stedfastly fèt bis Face to go to Yerusalem. The Time that our Saviour was received up, we know, was at the Jewifh Passover; and this Time being come, when this Journey was made, shews it to be about the Time of the Celebration of this Feast. And this may account, together with what has been already faid, for the unkind Reception which the Disciples met with in Samaria. The Samaritans finding them upon a Journey to Jerusalem about the Time of the Passover, concluded that they were going to celebrate the Feast there, and consequently were such as esteemed the Temple of Jerusalem to be the true Place of Wor
ship, and were Despisers of the Temple in the Mount of Samaria. For this Reason they refused to afford them any Entertainment in their Village ; but sent them out to prosecute their journey, without the necesfary Refreshments for it. This raised the Indignation of the Disciples : they immediately call to Mind the Story of Elias; it was in Samaria that Elias had destroyed the Captains and their Fifties with Fire from Heaven ; the Place itself prompted them to imitate the noble Vengeance, that had once before been executed there; they knew that a greater than Elias was there now, and had been more barbaroully treated : why not then the like exemplary Punishment? Why Thould not the Fire of Heaven come down to consume the Enemies of God's own Son, as once it did to destroy the Enemies of his Prophet? Warm with these Thoughts, and full of Resentment for their Master's Honour, they apply to him, Lord, wilt thou that we command Fire to come down from Heaven and consume them, even as Elias did? But he felt other Resentments than theirs ; and turned about, and calmly rebuked them, saying, Ye know not what Manner of Spirit ye are of.
III. 55 I have been the larger in setting forth the Circumstances of this Story, because in so many Instances they are applicable to our own Case. It was Hatred that grew out of a religious Controversy, that bred the Treason of this Day: it was Fire, though not from Heaven, that was called for to decide the Dispute: it was Zeal for Christ, but not according to Knowledge, that prompted to the Revenge: the Revenge was bloody and unchristian ; and to every One concerned in it does the Voice of Christ reach, Ye know not what Manner of Spirit ye are of.
It would be endless on this Occasion to run into the Controversies that are between us and the Church of Rome : the Case we have this Day to plead with them, wants not the Support which the Righteousness of our Cause might afford it. Let them be the Disciples : let us be the Samaritans; mistaken, nay, obstinately mistaken in our Religion : let them have all the Advantage that the Parallel in the Text can afford them : let them call us Heretics, Schismatics, Aliens from the Body and Church of Christ : yet, after all, their furious Rage, and their cruel Thirst after Blood entitle them to the Reproof of their Lord, Ye know not what Manner of Spirit ye are of. : E4