Matthew 12:11-13. And he said That he might show their unreasonableness, and confute them by their own practice: What man that shall have
Or, Who, if he have but one sheep, that on the sabbath day shall fall into a pit, and it be in danger of perishing there, will not lay hold on it, &c.
The stress of the question does not lie on supposing a man to have only one sheep, but on one only falling into a pit; and yet, for the comparatively small value of that one, his not scrupling to undertake the labour of helping it out on the sabbath day. How much then is a man better than a sheep? As if he had said, If the regard you have for the life of your cattle leads you to do servile work on the sabbath, for the preservation of a single sheep, charity should much rather induce you to labour for the preservation of a fellow-creature, though the good office is to be done on the sabbath day. Wherefore it is lawful to do well To save a beast, much more a man, or to perform any of the lovely acts of mercy and charity on the sabbath day. Our Lord, having spoken as above, according to St. Mark 3:5, looked round about upon them with anger, with a holy indignation at their wickedness, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, for their stupidity and impenitence, and for that condemnation and ruin which he knew they were thus bringing on themselves, as well as for the pernicious effect which their conduct would have on others. But at the same time that he testified his displeasure at the Pharisees, he relieved and comforted the infirm man, saying to him, Stretch forth thy hand, and, a divine power accompanying the word, he immediately stretched it out, and, in an instant, it was made sound as the other. The evangelists say no more; but leave their readers to imagine the wonder and astonishment of the numerous spectators, and the joy of the man who had recovered the use of so necessary a member.
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