Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
1774-1824
Vol 3

This document is: ACE_3_0371

[click an item below to go to other documents]

Previous document: ACE_3_0351 List of documents Next document: ACE_3_0391
Table of Contents for this Volume
Cover page with links to All Volumes (1 to 4)

Jesus Teaching

371

Outside the city Jesus was met by the Jewish Elders and Doctors, also two of the philosophers from Salamis, who having been touched by His doc­trine, had followed Him thither in order to hear Him again. After they had given Jesus a reception with the customary attentions, foot-washing and refresh­ments in the house devoted to such purposes, they petitioned Him for the cure of several sick persons who had been longingly awaiting His coming. Jesus accompanied His escort into the Jewish quarter where, in the street before several of the houses, about twenty invalids were lying, whom He cured. Some among them were lame. They were leaning on crutches, which were like frames resting on three feet. The cured and their relatives proclaimed the praises of Jesus, shouting after Him short passages of encomium taken chiefly from the Psalms, but the disciples told them to keep quiet.

Jesus went next to the house of the Elder of the synagogue where several of the literati were assem­bled, among them some belonging to the sect of Rech­abites. These last-named wore a garb somewhat different from the other Jews, and their manners and customs were peculiarly rigorous. Of these, how­ever, they had already laid aside many. They had a whole street to themselves, and were especially engaged in mining. They belonged to that race that settled in Ephron, in the kingdom of Basan, in whose neighborhood also, mining was carried on. Jesus was invited by the Elder to dinner, which he had ordered to be prepared for Him when the Sabbath was over. But as He had promised to dine with Barnabas' father, He invited all the present guests to accom­pany Him thither, and begged the Elder to enter­tain the poor laborers and miners after the synagogue was over with the viands prepared for the dinner.

The synagogue was filled with people, and crowds of pagans were listening on the porches outside. Jesus took His text from the third book of Moses, treat­ing

372

Life of Jesus Christ

 of the sacrifice of the Tabernacle, and from Jere­mias, relating to the Promise. He spoke of sacrifices living and dead, answered His hearers' questions upon the difference between them, and taught on the Eight Beatitudes.

There was in the synagogue a pious old rabbi who had been for a long time afflicted with the dropsy, and who as usual had caused himself to be carried thither to his customary place. As the literati were disputing Jesus on various points, he cried aloud: "Silence! Allow me a word!" and when all were still, he called out: "Lord! Thou hast shown mercy to oth­ers. Help me, too, and bid me to come to Thee!" Thereupon Jesus said to the man: "If thou dost believe, arise and come to Me!" The sick man instantly arose, exclaiming: "Lord, I do believe!" He was cured. He mounted the steps to where Jesus stood, and thanked Him, while the whole assembly broke forth into shouts of joy and praise. Jesus and His follow­ers left the synagogue and went to Barnabas' dwelling. Then the master of the feast gathered together the poor and the laborers to partake of the dinner that Jesus had left them.

1. Luke 8:18

15. The Paternal Home and Family of Barnabas. Jesus Teaching in the Environs of Chytrus

The father of Barnabas dwelt beyond the west­ern limits of the city in one of the many houses there scattered. Chytrus was surrounded by such dwellings, some of which, standing in clusters, formed villages. The house was quite handsome. On one side it was terraced, the walls brown as if painted in oil or smeared with resin-or was that the natural color? On these terraces were plants and foliage. Besides. the terraces the house was surrounded by a colon­nade,

Jesus Teaching

373

 an open gallery, upon which were beautiful trees. Beyond these were vineyards and an open space full of building wood, all in good order. In it were some trunks of trees extraordinarily thick, and there were all kinds of figures made out of the wood, but all was so well arranged that one could easily walk among them. I think the wood was intended for ship building. I saw too long wagons, but not wider than the wood itself, and provided with heavy iron wheels. They were drawn by oxen yoked far apart. One can see at no great distance from Chytrus a very beautiful forest of lofty trees.

The father of Barnabas was a widower. His sis­ter with her maidservants had a house in the neigh­borhood; she took care of his household and provided the meals. The pagans that accompanied Jesus, as well as the philosophers from Salamis, did not recline with Him at table, because it was still the Sabbath; but they walked up and down in the open hall, ate from their hand and, standing under the colonnade, listened to Jesus' teaching. The meal consisted of birds and broad, flat fish, besides cakes, honey, and fruit. There were likewise dishes with pieces of meat twisted into a spiral form and garnished with all kinds of herbs. Jesus spoke of sacrifice, of the Promise, and dwelt at length upon the Prophets.

During the dinner, several bands of poor, half-clad children of from four to six years old made their ap­pearance. They had in little loosely woven baskets some kind of edible herbs, which they offered to the guests in exchange for bread or other food. They seemed to prefer that side of the table at which Jesus and His followers were reclining. Jesus stood up, emptied their baskets of the herbs, filled them from the viands on the table, and blessed the little ones. This scene was very lovely, very touching.

Next morning Jesus taught in the rear of Barn­abas' house, where there was a plot of beautiful ris­ing ground furnished with a teacher's chair. The path

374

Life of Jesus Christ

 leading to it from the house was through magnifi­cent arbors of grapevines. A large audience was gath­ered. Jesus first addressed the miners and other laborers, then the pagans and, lastly, a great crowd of Jews that had married into pagan families. A great many sick pagans had begged Jesus' help and permission to hear His instructions. They were mostly laborers, sick and crippled, who lay on couches near the teacher's chair. Jesus' instruction to the laborers was on the Our Father and the refining of ore by fire; that to the pagans, on the wild shoots of trees and grapevines (which had to be cut away), or the one, only God, the children of God, the son of the house and the servant, and the vocation of the Gentiles. Then He turned to the subject of mixed marriages, which were not to be countenanced lightly, though they might be tolerated through condescen­sion. In the latter case, however, they might be allowed only when there was a prospect of converting or perfecting one of the parties, but never merely for the gratification of sensuality. They could be suf­fered only when both parties were animated by a holy intention. He spoke, nevertheless, more against than for such unions, and declared them happy who had raised pure offspring in the house of the Lord. He touched upon the serious account the Jewish party would have to render, of the responsibility of rearing children in piety, of the necessity of corre­sponding with grace at the time of its visitation, and of penance and Baptism.

After that Jesus cured the sick and dined with Barnabas. Accompanied by His friends, He next went to the opposite side of the city, where were numbers of beehives placed at an unusually great distance from one another among the large flower gardens. Nearby were a fountain and a little lake. Jesus here taught and related parables, after which all went into the city to the synagogue, where the instruc­tion on sacrifice and the Promise was concluded.

Bee-raising

375

There were at this time some learned Jews trav­elling through the country. They put all kinds of cunningly contrived questions to Jesus, but He soon solved them. These men seemed to be actuated by some bad design. Their questions referred to mixed marriages, to Moses and the numbers he had caused to be put to death, to Aaron, the golden calf he had ordered to be made, his punishment, etc.

The next day appeared to be either a feast or a fast among the Jews, for there was morning service in the synagogue, that is, prayer and preaching. That over, Jesus left the city by the north side with all His disciples and some pagan youths. His little band was joined by some Jewish Doctors and several Rech­abites, so that there were altogether fully one hun­dred men. They pursued their journey for about an hour to a place which was the principal seat of the bee-raising industry. Far off toward the rising sun stood long rows of white beehives, about the height of a man and woven, I think, of rushes or bark. They had many openings, and were placed one above another. Every group had in front of it a flowery field, and I noticed that balm grew here in abun­dance. Each field, or garden, was hedged in, and the whole bore the appearance of a city. One could read­ily recognize the pagan part of it, for here and there standing in niches were puppets with tails, like those of a fish, curving behind them into the air. They had little short paws and faces not altogether human.

The village itself consisted of many little cottages belonging to the bee proprietors, who kept there the vessels and utensils used in their branch of indus­try. The inn was a large building with all kinds of dependencies. Rows of sheds, or open halls, crossed one another around the courts in which were numer­ous trestles and long mats. The steward of this estab­lishment provided for the needs of all that were here employed. He was a pagan. The Jews had their own halls and places for prayer, I think the wax and

376

Life of Jesus Christ

 honey were prepared in the house and under the long sheds. It looked like a house for the general gathering in of the produce. I saw here also many of those little trees whose yellow blossoms are so beautiful. The leaves are more yellow than green, and the blossoms fall so thickly on the ground that they form, as it were, a soft carpet. Long mats were spread beneath the trees to catch them. I saw the workmen pressing the flowers to extract from them some kind of coloring matter. The little trees when young were planted in pots, and then transplanted often into the holes of rocks with earth around the roots. There were similar trees in Judea. I saw here also large plants of flax, from which they drew long threads.

Not far from Chytrus, about half an hour to the north, quite a considerable stream issued from the rock, flowed first through the city, and then watered the region by which Jesus had come. In some places it flowed along freely, in others it was bridged over. I think the water supplies of the Salamis aqueducts were obtained from it. It formed at its source a real little lake. In its waters Baptism was yet to be given, and I think there was some allusion made to it. The number of beautiful wildflowers in this region was surprising. All along the roads stood orange trees, fig trees, currant bushes, and grapevines.

Jesus had come here principally to be able to instruct the pagans without interruption, without disturbance from visitors. This He did all the rest of the day in the gardens and arbors of the inn. His hearers stood or lay stretched on the grass, while He instructed them on the Our Father and the Eight Beatitudes. When addressing the pagans, He spoke especially of the origin and abominations of their gods, of the vocation of Abraham and his separation from idolaters, and of God's guidance over the chil­dren of Israel. He spoke openly and forcibly. There were about a hundred men listening to Him. After

Jesus Instructs the Pagans

377

 the instruction, all took refreshments in the inn, the pagans apart. The repast was made up of bread, long strips of goat cheese, honey, and fruit. The propri­etor of the house was a pagan, but very humble and reserved in his manners. That evening, the pagans having retired, Jesus instructed the Jews and they prayed together. All spent the night at the inn.

Chytrus was a far more stirring place than Salamis, where all kinds of business and traffic were confined to the port and a couple of streets. Here, however, there reigned great activity. On the side by which Jesus approached the city, there was a great market where cattle and birds were exposed for sale. Near the heart of the city was another mar­ket beautiful to look upon. It was very high and all around it, as well as under its lofty arches, hung many different kinds of colored stuffs and covers. The opposite side of the city was occupied almost entirely by the workers in metal and their foundries. The hammering and pounding were so astonishingly loud that one could not hear his own words, although most of the factories were outside the city. They made all kinds of vessels, especially a kind of oval oven large and light, with a little cover and two han­dles near the top. In manufacturing them, the metal was first bent into shape, and then put into immense ovens, where the molten mass was blown by means of long tubes into the form of the hollow vessel required. They were yellow outside and white within. All kinds of fruit, as well as honey or syrup, were exported in them. When transported over the sea they were placed on a kind of trestle, and on land they were carried by means of poles run through the handles.

The next day Jesus again taught at the apiary, the number of His hearers having increased to a couple of hundred. In most convincing terms He again explained to the pagans their errors, and represented the existence of their gods as so very pitiful that

378

Life of Jesus Christ

 they had to explain it by all kinds of significations in order to be able even to endure them themselves. And when, continuing His discourse, He exhorted them to renounce their subtleties, their vain imag­inations, their continual efforts in behalf of false­hood, and in simplicity of heart to confine their researches to God and His revelations, some of them who had come thither like travelling literati with staves in their hands, became indignant, and turn­ing off murmuring upon their way. Jesus remarked at this conjuncture: "Let them go! It is better that they should do so than remain to make new gods out of what they have just heard." He uttered many prophetic words on the desolation that should one day come upon that beautiful region, its cities and temples, and of the judgment that was to fall on all those countries. He said that when idolatry should have reached its height, then would paganism come to naught, and He dwelt long on the chastisement of the Jews and the destruction of Jerusalem. The pagans took all in better part than did the Jews who, supporting themselves upon their Promises, had always some objections to bring forward. Jesus went through all the Prophets with them, explained the passages relating to the Messiah, and told them that the time for their fulfillment had arrived. The Mes­siah would arise among the Jews, but they would not own Him. They would mock and deride Him, and when He would assure them He was the One whom they were expecting, they would seize Him and put Him to death. This language was not at all to the taste of many of His hearers, and Jesus reminded them of how they were accustomed to do with their Prophets. He ended by saying that as they had treated the heralds, so too would they act toward the One whom they announced.

The Rechabites spoke with Jesus of Malachias, for whom they entertained great veneration. They told Jesus that they esteemed him an angel of God, that

The Pagan Women's Costume

379

 he had come as a child to certain pious people, that he had frequently disappeared for a time, and that no one knew whether he was now really dead or not. They dwelt at length on his prophecies of the Mes­siah and His new sacrifice, which Jesus explained as relating to the present and the near future.

From the apiary, Jesus went with a large com­pany (which, however, constantly decreased on the road) back again to Barnabas' home, a journey of several hours. The greater number of His party con­sisted of young men belonging to the Jewish com­munity, and who were about to embark for Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of Pentecost. Nevertheless, they that remained with Jesus formed quite a consider­able band. From thirty to forty pagan women and maidens and about ten Jewish girls were assembled at the entrance of the gardens to do Jesus honor. They were playing on flutes and singing canticles of praise; they wore flowery wreaths and strewed green branches in the way. Here and there also they spread mats on the road over which Jesus was to pass, inclined low before Him, and offered Him pre­sents of wreaths, flowers, aromatic shrubs, and lit­tle flasks of perfume. Jesus thanked them, and addressed to them some words. They followed Him to the courtyard of Barnabas' house, and set their gifts down in the assembly hall. They had adorned everything with flowers and garlands. This recep­tion, though rural and less noisy, was something similar to that tendered Jesus on Palm Sunday. His escort soon returned to their homes, for it was evening.

I was astonished at the costume of the pagan women. The young girls wore curious-looking caps, like the so-called cuckoo baskets that, when a child, I used to weave of rushes. Some were without orna­ment; others had a wreath twined around them from which innumerable threads with all kinds of orna­mentation fell upon the forehead. The lower edge

380

Life of Jesus Christ

 always consisted of a wreath made of worsted or feather flowers. The veil was worn under the hat, or cap. It was in two parts so that it could be opened in front, or thrown up over the hat; in the latter case, it fell behind as low as the neck. They were girdled very tightly, wore a breast piece, and around the neck all kinds of ribands and finery. Their lower dress was very full. It consisted of several skirts of thin material one above the other, and each about a span, or nine inches, longer than the one above it, so that the lowest of all was the longest. The arms were not entirely covered. The dress had no sleeves, only long lappets, and little wreaths were fastened round the arms. The material was of dif­ferent colors: yellow, red, white, blue, some striped and others covered with flowers. Their hair fell around their shoulders like a veil. It was fastened at the ends with a tasseled string, and thus pre­vented from floating on the breeze. The sandals on their bare feet were bent up into a point at the toe and kept in place by means of laces. The married women's headdress was not so high as that of the young girls. It had a stiff leaf in front that screened the forehead and descended in a point as far as the nose, and thence curved up above the ears, thus exposing them to view with their pearl pendants. It was open worked and wound with braided hair, pearls, and all kinds of ornaments. They wore long man­tles that hung very full in the back. The children with them had no other clothing than a band of some kind of stuff, which, passing over one shoul­der, crossed the breast, and was tied around the waist, forming a covering for the middle of the body. These women had awaited Jesus fully three hours.

A repast had been prepared at Barnabas'. But the guests did not recline at table. The food was handed to each on a little board, a wooden waiter, such as had been used on the ship. Many old men were assembled here, among them the old Doctor of the

Mallep

381

 Law whom Jesus had cured in the synagogue. Barn­abas' father was a solid, square-built old man, and one could easily see that he was accustomed to work in wood. The men of those days looked much more robust than those of the present age.

I next saw Jesus seated in the teacher's chair at the spring outside of Chytrus. He was preparing the neophytes for Baptism, which the disciples conferred, first upon the Jews and then upon the pagans.

Jesus spoke here also with the Jewish Doctors on the subject of circumcision. He said that it should not be imposed upon the converted pagans, unless they themselves desired it. At the same time, the Jews ought not to be expected to allow these con­verts entrance into the synagogue, for they should avoid scandal. But they should thank God that the pagans, having abandoned their idolatry, were await­ing the hour of salvation. Other mortifications, the circumcision of the heart and of every species of con­cupiscence, could be imposed upon them. Jesus pro­vided for their instruction and devotions apart from the Jews.

16. Jesus in the City of Mallep

I noticed some men very respectfully closing the well outside of Chytrus, at which the disciples had been baptizing. The crowd that had been present at Jesus' instructions, as well as the newly baptized, were upon the point of separating for their homes. Some were standing around several Jewish travelers that had just arrived. To their questions as to Jesus' whereabouts, they received the answer: "The Prophet taught here from early this morning until noon. But now He is gone with His disciples and about seven philosophers of Salamis, just baptized, to the great village of Mallep." This place was built by the Jews, therefore only Jews lived in it. It was situated on a height toward the base of a mountain chain, and

382

Life of Jesus Christ

 commanded a wondrously beautiful view upon all sides, even as far as the sea. It had five streets, all converging toward the center where, hewn out of the rocky foundation, was a reservoir which received its water supply from the conduit of the well near Chytrus. All around the reservoir were beautiful seats under shady trees, and from it stretched a magnifi­cent view over the whole city and the surrounding country, which was teeming with fruit. Mallep was surrounded by a double entrenchment, the inner one lower than the outer. A great part of it was hewn out of the rock, and beyond it, looking like little val­leys, ran ditches all around the city. On the fresh green sward, covered with lovely flowers, stood rows of the most magnificent fruit trees, under which lay the large yellow fruit in the grass, for everything here was now in full harvest. The people were busy drying the fruit that was to be sent to a distance. They manufactured also cloths, carpets, mats, and out of sapwood light, shallow cases in which to dry the fruit.

On Jesus' arrival, He was met at the gate by the Doctors of the synagogue, the school children, and a crowd of people who had come to welcome Him, all adorned as for a feast. The children were singing, playing on musical instruments, and carrying palm branches, the little girls going before the boys. Jesus passed through the children, blessing them as He went, and with His followers, about thirty men, was escorted by the Doctors into a reception hall where the ceremony of washing the feet was performed.

Meanwhile about twenty invalids, some lame, others dropsical, were brought into the street out­side the house. Jesus cured them, and directed them to follow Him to the well in the heart of the city. Great was the joy of the relatives as, with the lately cured, they made their way to the place designated, where Jesus gave them an instruction upon daily bread and gratitude toward God.

Jesus in Mallep

383

From here He went to the synagogue and taught upon the petition: "Let Thy Kingdom come." He spoke of the Kingdom of God in us and of its near approach. He explained to His hearers that it was a spiritual, not an earthly kingdom, and told them how it would fare with them that cast it from them. The pagans who had followed Jesus were standing back of the Jews, for the line of separation was more strictly observed here than in pagan cities.

The instruction over, Jesus assisted at a dinner given by the Doctors, after which they escorted Him to the inn, which they had prepared for Him and His company. A steward had been appointed to see to all things.

On the following day, Jesus taught again in the extraordinarily beautiful synagogue where all the people were assembled. He spoke of the sower, of different kinds of soil, of weeds, and of the grain of mustard seed, which bears fruit so large. He took His similitudes from a shrub that grew in those regions which, from a very small kernel, shoots forth a stalk thick as one's arm and almost as high as a man, and which is very useful. Its fruit was large as an acorn, red and black. Its juice when expressed was used for dyeing. The baptized pagans were not in the synagogue, but outside on the terraces lis­tening to Jesus' words.

When Jesus was afterward taking dinner with the Elders, three blind boys about ten to twelve years old were led in to Him by some other children. The former were playing on flutes and another kind of instrument which they held to the mouth and touched at the same time with the fingers. It was not a fife, and it made a buzzing, humming sound like the Jew's harp. At intervals also they sang in a very agreeable manner. Their eyes were open, and it seemed as if a cataract had obscured the sight. Jesus asked them whether they desired to see the light, in order to walk diligently and piously in the paths

384

Life of Jesus Christ

 of righteousness. They answered most joyously: "Lord, and wilt Thou help us! Help us, Lord, and we will do whatever Thou commandest!" Then Jesus said: "Put down your instruments!" and He stood them before Him, put His thumbs to His mouth, and passed them one after the other from the corner of the eyes to the temple above. Then He took up a dish of fruit from the table, held it before the boys, said: "Do ye see that?" blessed them, and gave them its contents. They stared around in joyful amazement, they were intoxicated with delight, and at last cast themselves weeping at Jesus' feet. The whole company were deeply touched; joy and wonder took possession of all. The three boys, full of joy, hurried with their guides out of the hall and through the streets to their parents. The whole city was in excitement. The children returned with their relatives and many oth­ers to the forecourt of the hall, singing songs of joy and playing upon their instruments, in order thus to express their thanks. Jesus took occasion from this circumstance to give a beautiful instruction on gratitude. He said: "Thanksgiving is a prayer which attracts new favors, so good is the Heavenly Father."

After dinner, Jesus walked with the disciples and the pagan philosophers through the beautiful shady meadows around the city, teaching the pagan men and new disciples. The elder disciples were them­selves instructing separate groups. That evening Jesus taught again in the synagogue.

Next day He visited the parents of the blind boys whom He had cured. They were Jews from Arabia, from the region in which Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, had dwelt. They had a particular name. They travelled around a great deal, and had already been baptized near Capharnaum. They were journeying through that part of the country at the time, and had heard Jesus' sermon on the mount. These peo­ple, that is, these two families composed of about twenty persons including the women and children,

A Verdant Valley

385

 were tradesmen and manufacturers, who, as among us the Italians, the Tyrolese, and the inhabitants of the Black Forest, tarry awhile sometimes here, some­times there, busying themselves in making clocks, mousetraps, figures in plaster of Paris, which they sold to their neighbors, thus uniting labor and traf­fic. At this season they generally visited Mallep for a couple of months. Outside the city, on the north, they occupied a private inn in which they had all kinds of tools, weaving apparatus, etc. Their blind boys had, in their wanderings, to earn something by singing and playing on the flute when occasion offered. Jesus told the parents that they should no longer drag the boys around after them, but that they should remain in Mallep and attend school. He indicated to them the persons that would receive and instruct their boys, for He had already arranged all that the day before. The parents promised to do whatever He directed.

17. Jesus Teaching Before the Pagan Philosophers. He Attends A Jewish Wedding

Jesus walked with the disciples and the seven baptized philosophers through the charming meadow valley that led from Mallep to the village of Lanifa and then, gently rising, turned southward into the mountains. From this southern side descended a brook, about three feet broad, which took its rise in the spring near Chytrus. It ran in a covered bed through the mountains, then through the village Lan­ifa and the valley near Mallep whose surrounding moats it fed. But it was not the same water as that in the elevated fountain in the center of Mallep, although the street by which Jesus left the city, the fifth and last of the place, was that of the canal by which the beautiful reservoir was supplied. Words cannot describe the charm and quiet of this verdant

386

Life of Jesus Christ

 valley, gently winding around and entirely shut in by the surrounding heights. As far as Mallep lay isolated granges on either side of the road, depen­dent upon the village of Lanifa at the end of the valley. All was perfectly green and covered with the most beautiful flowers and fruits which here grew, some wild, some cultivated. Jesus took the road to the left, on the south side of the brook to Lanifa. He met a band of young people on their way to take ship for Jerusalem, there to celebrate Pentecost. Jesus accosted them with the command to salute Lazarus, but beyond that not to speak of Him. Far­ther on, He crossed the brook, turned to the north, and descended again into the valley, in order to return to Mallep. On that side He came to another village, which bore the singular name of Leppe.

The harvest was now over, and the people placed together the sheaves destined for the poor.

During the whole journey Jesus taught the pagan philosophers, sometimes walking, sometimes tarry­ing in some lovely spot. He instructed them upon the absolute corruption of mankind before the Flood, of the preservation of Noe, of the new growth of evil, of the vocation of Abraham, and of God's guidance of his race down to the time in which the promised Consoler was to come forth from it. The heathens asked Jesus for explanations of all kinds, and brought forward many great names of ancient gods and heroes, telling Him of their benevolent deeds. Jesus replied that all men possessed by nature, more or less, human kindness by which they effected many things useful and advantageous for time, but that many vices and abominations arose from such ben­efits. He showed them the state of degradation, the partial destruction of the nations sunk in idolatry, the ridiculous and fabulous deformity running through the history of their divinities, mixed up with demoniacal divinations and magical delusions which were woven into them as so many truths.

Melchisedech

387

The philosophers made mention also of one of the most ancient of the wise kings who had come from the mountainous regions beyond India. He was called Dsemschid. With a golden dagger received from God, he had divided off many lands, peopled them, and shed blessing everywhere. They asked Jesus about him and the many wonders which they related of him. Jesus answered that Dsemschid, who had been a leader of the people, was a man naturally wise and intelligent in the things of sense. Upon the dis­persion of men at the time of the building of the Tower of Babel, he had put himself at the head of a tribe and taken possession of lands according to certain regulations. He had fallen less deeply into evil, because the race to which he belonged was itself less corrupt. Jesus recalled to them also the fables that had been written in connection with him, and showed them that he was a false companion-picture, a false type of Melchisedech, the priest and king. Jesus told them to fix their attention on the latter and upon the descendants of Abraham, for as the stream of nations moved along, God had sent Melchisedech to the best families that he might guide them, unite them, and make ready for them coun­tries and dwellings, in order to preserve them in their purity and, according to their worthiness or unworthiness, either hasten or retard the fulfillment of the Promise. Who Melchisedech was, He left to themselves to determine; but of him this much was true, he was an ancient type of the then far-off, but now so near grace of the Promise, and the sacrifice of bread and wine which he had offered would be fulfilled and perfected, and would endure till the end of the world.

Jesus' words upon Dsemschid and Melchisedech were so clear, so indisputable, that the philosophers exclaimed in astonishment: "Master, how wise Thou art! It would almost seem as if Thou didst live in that time, as if Thou didst know all these people

388

Life of Jesus Christ

 even better than they knew themselves!" Jesus said to them many more things concerning the Prophets, both the greater and the minor, and He dwelt espe­cially upon Malachias. When the Sabbath began, He went to the synagogue and delivered a discourse upon the passage of Leviticus referring to the jubilee year, also upon something from Jeremias. He said that a man should cultivate his field well, so that his brother, who was to receive it from him, might see in it a proof of his affection.

On the following morning, Jesus continued in the synagogue His discourse on the jubilee year, the cul­tivation of the field, and the passages from Jere­mias. This over, He went with the disciples and, followed by many people, Jews and pagans, to a Jew­ish bathing garden outside the southern end of the city, the water supply to which was furnished by the Chytrus aqueducts. There was a beautiful cistern in the garden and all around it were the large basins for bathing, pleasant avenues, and long shady bow­ers. Everything necessary for administering Bap­tism was already prepared here. Crowds followed Jesus to an open place near the well fitted up for teaching, and among them were seven bridegrooms with their relatives and attendants.

Jesus taught of the Fall, of the perversion of Adam and Eve, of the Promise, of the degeneracy of men into the wild state, of the separation of the less cor­rupt, of the guard set over marriage, in order to transmit virtues and graces from father to son, and of the sanctification of marriage by the observance of the Divine Law, moderation, and continency. In this way, Jesus' discourse turned upon the bride and bridegroom. To illustrate His meaning, He referred to a certain tree on the island which could be fer­tilized by trees at a distance—yes, even across the sea, and He uttered the words: "In the same way may hope, confidence in God, desire of salvation, humility and chastity become in some manner the

The Kingdom of God

389

 mother for the fulfillment of the Promise." This led Jesus to touch upon the mysterious signification of marriage, in that it typifies the bond of union between the Consoler of Israel and His Church. He called marriage a great mystery. His words on this subject were so beautiful, so elevated, that it seems to me impossible to repeat them. He afterward taught upon penance and Baptism, which expiate and efface the crime of separation, and render all worthy to participate in the alliance of salvation.

Jesus went aside also with some of the aspirants to Baptism, heard their confession, forgave their sins, and imposed upon them certain mortifications and good works. James the Less and Barnabas performed the ceremony of Baptism. The neophytes were prin­cipally aged men, a few pagans, and the three boys cured of blindness, who had not been baptized with their parents at Capharnaum.

The Sabbath over, some of the philosophers started the following questions: Whether it was necessary that God should have allowed the frightful deluge to pass over the earth; Why He permitted mankind to await so long the coming of the Redeemer; Could He not have employed other means for the same end, and send One who would restore all things? Jesus answered by explaining that that entered not into the designs of God, that He had created the angels with free will and superior faculties, and yet they had separated from Him through pride and had been precipitated into the kingdom of darkness; that man, with free will, had been placed between the kingdom of darkness and that of light, but by eat­ing the forbidden fruit he had approached nearer to the former; that man was now obliged to cooperate with God in order to receive help from Him and to attract into himself the Kingdom of God, that God might give it to him. Man, by eating the forbidden fruit, had sought to become like unto God; and that he might rise from his fallen state it was necessary

390

Life of Jesus Christ

 that the Father should allow His Divine Son to suc­cor him and reconcile him again to Himself. Man, in his entire being, had become so deformed that the great mercy and wonderful guidance of God were needed, to establish upon earth His Kingdom, which that of darkness had driven from the hearts of men. Jesus added that this Kingdom consisted not in worldly dominion and magnificence, but in the regen­eration, the reconciliation of man with the Father, and in the reunion of all the good into one body.1

On the following day, Jesus taught again at the place of Baptism. The seven bridal couples were pre­sent. Among the bridegrooms two were converted pagans who had received circumcision and espoused Jewish maidens. There were some other pagans inclined toward Judaism, who had sought and obtained permission to assist at the instructions with them.

At first Jesus spoke in general terms upon the duties of the married state, and especially upon those of wives. They should, He said, raise their eyes only to fix them upon those of their husband; at other times they should be kept lowered. He spoke, like­wise, of obedience, humility, chastity, industry, and the care of their children. When the women had retired in order to prepare a repast in Leppe, Jesus instructed the men for Baptism. He spoke of Elias and of the great drought that fell upon the whole country, and of the rain cloud which, at the prayer of Elias, had risen out of the sea. (Today there was just such another dense, white cloud of fog resting over the earth. One could not see far around him.) Jesus referred to that drought over the country as to a punishment from God for the idolatry of King Achab. Grace and blessing likewise had withdrawn, and the drought had prevailed even in human hearts. He spoke of Elias' concealment by the torrent of Carith, of his being fed by the bird, of his journey­ing

1. The Church

Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
1774-1824
Vol 3

This document is: ACE_3_0371

[click an item below to go to other documents]

Previous document: ACE_3_0351 List of documents Next document: ACE_3_0391
Table of Contents for this Volume
Cover page with links to All Volumes (1 to 4)