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38how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.

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38. Jesus of Nazareth. He calleth him a Nazarite here, not because he was born there, but because he came thence to execute his office; again, because he was surnamed thus commonly. He saith that he was anointed with the Spirit and power by hypallage. For the power wherein Christ exceeded proceeded from the Spirit alone. Therefore, when as the heavenly Father anointed his Son, he furnished him with the power of his Spirit. Peter saith immediately after, that this power appeared in miracles; although he expresseth one kind only in plain words, that Christ testified that he was endowed with power of the Holy Ghost that he might do good in the world. For it was not meet that the fearful power of God should be showed forth in him, but such as might allure the world with the sweet taste of goodness and grace to love him and to desire him. The metaphor of anointing is usual so often as mention is made of the gifts of the Holy Ghost. It is now applied unto the person of Christ, because by this means he was consecrated a king and priest by his Father. And we know that in time of the law, oil was a solemn token of consecration. The going of Christ is taken for the course of his calling, as if he should say, that he fulfilled his function until the time appointed before. The similitude is taken from travelers which go forward in their journey until they come unto the appointed place; although he showeth therewithal that he walked through Judea in three years, so that no corner was without his good deeds.

Those which were holden of devils. This also was a more manifest token of God’s power in Christ, that he did not only heal men of common diseases, but did also cure desperate evils. All diseases are indeed light punishments 704704     “Totidem ferulae,” so many rods. wherewith God doth punish us; but when as he dealeth more gently with us according to his fatherly kindness, he is said to strike us with his hand then; but in more grievous scourges he useth Satan as the minister of his wrath, and as it were an hangman. And we must diligently mark this distinction; for it were an absurd thing to say that he is tormented of the devil who is sick of an ague, or of some other common kind of disease; but the alienating of the mind, 705705     “Mentis alienatio,” mental alienation. furious madness, and other, as it were, monstrous griefs, [evils,] are fitly and properly attributed to Satan. And, in this respect, the Scripture useth to call men who are so taken and carried headlong with such madness that they have no hold of themselves, so that they seem to be turned almost into beasts, men possessed of devils.

Because God was with him. Peter noteth briefly to what end those powers did tend which were showed 706706     “Editae,” exhibited, performed. by the hand of Christ, to wit, that tie might purchase credit among men, who did behold God as it were present; and this was the true use of miracles, as we have said already elsewhere, and as we shall see again hereafter when we come to it. For we must stay ourselves upon this principle, that we diminish the majesty of God unless we embrace and reverence those whom he marketh with the mark of his servants. Therefore, forasmuch as powers [miracles] did plainly prove that Christ descended from heaven, his dignity is placed without the lot of man’s judgment.




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