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Peter in Lydda and Joppa

36 Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas. She was devoted to good works and acts of charity.

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36. There followeth a more famous token of Christ’s power, by how much it is more hard to restore life to a dead body, than to restore health to a man that is sick. But Luke doth first commend the person of Tabitha on whom the miracle was showed, and that with a double title; to wit, that she was Christ’s disciple, and that she approved her faith with good works and alms. He hath oftentimes already put this word disciple for a Christian man; and lest we should think that that name was proper to men only, he attributeth the same to a woman. And this title teacheth us that Christianity cannot be without doctrine; and that that form of learning is prescribed, that the same Christ may be Master to all. This is the chiefest praise, this is the beginning of holy life, this is the root of all virtues, to have learned of the Son of God the way to live, and the true life. The fruits of good works proceed afterward from faith. By good works I mean the duties of love, wherewith our neighbors are helped; and Luke placeth the chief kind in alms. The commendation of liberality is great, because, as the Holy Ghost doth witness, it containeth in itself the sum of a godly and perfect life. Now we see what titles Tabitha hath. For religion toward God or faith goeth first; secondly, that she exercised herself in helping the brethren, and specially in relieving the poverty of the poor. For by use it is come to pass, that all that help wherewith the poor, and those which are in misery, are helped, is called ελεημοσυνη. Tabitha is rather a Syrian word than an Hebrew, which Luke did turn into Greek, that we might know that it was not like to the virtues of the holy women, and that she was debased in such a simple name; 634634     “Ut sanctae mulieris virtutibus non fuisse conforme sciremus, et in nomine parum honorifico fuisse quasi dejectam,” that we might know that it was not suitable to the virtues of a holy woman, and that she was, as it were, degraded by a name far from honorable. for Dorcas signifieth a goat; but the holiness of her life did easily wipe away the blot of a name not very seemly.