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2. Our blessed Lord, “ by whom are all things,” (Rom. viii. 6.) and who, when upon earth, “ did no sin, neither was guile found in liis mouth,” (1 Pet. ii. 22.) and who would neither “break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoaking flax,” (Isaiah xlii. 3.; Matt. xii. 20.) scrupled not to partake of the usual entertainments of those times, at which, no doubt, according to the custom of the Jews, there was flesh. So much did he frequent and partake of them, that the Pharisees, in reproach, called him “a gluttonous man.” (Matt. xi. 19.) At the feast given by Matthew the publican, on his quitting his profession, (Matt. ix. 10, 11.) and at the marriage feast in Cana, he probably partook, with others, of “oxen and fatlings." (John ii. 1-11.; Matt. xxii. 4.) In the parable of the Prodigal Son, mentioned as a type of the rejoicing in heaven on the repentance of a sinner, the fatted calf is killed for the enter
tainment.” (Luke xv. 23.) And, again, at the marriage supper of the king's son, another likeness of the kingdom of heaven, we hear expressly of the “oxen and fatlings” being “ killed.” (Matt. xxii. 4.) of the paschal lamb he partook along with his disciples, who were most of them fishermen by trade, an employment which consists in the taking away of life for the sustenance of man. Upon two occasions he brought a multitude of them miraculously to their nets; (LUKE v. 1–11.; JOHN xxi. 1—14.) and these were, probably, their common food, as we find they had fishes with them upon those occasions, when Christ'miraculously increased them, together with the bread, to give food to fainting thousands. (Matt. xiv. 15–21.; Mark vi. 35–44.; LUKE ix. 10-17.; John vi. 5–14.) Of fish, also, he ate, even after his resurrection. (LUKE xxiv. 42.; JOHN xxi. 29.) He mentions, also, without any censure, the “two
sparrows sold for a farthing,” and the “five for two farthings,” which were probably sold as food.
3. Under the law of Moseș, and, indeed, long before that, in the time of Noah, certain animals had been forbidden to be used as food, under a distinction of unclean and clean animals. But, under the gospel, even this is done away; for, when St. Peter was at Joppa, and at prayer upon the house-top, “and he became very hungry, and would have eaten:” “while they made ready, he fell into a trance, and saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet, knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth, wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.” (Acts x. 10-16.) Here permission is given to kill and to eat animals of all kinds. St. Peter, again, in his Second Epistle, speaks of the “brute beasts” as being “made to be taken and destroyed.” (ii. 12.) And, afterwards, when the disciples at Antioch had some scruples, as to the necessity of observing many parts of the Mosaic law, and sent Barnabas and Paul to Jerusalem, to consult with the other apostles on the subject, their determination was: “That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled.” (Acts xv. 29.) And St. Paul, in the tenth chapter of his First Epistle to the Corinthians, advises them, “ Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no questions for conscience sake. For the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof. If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you eat, asking no questions for conscience sake.”—“Whether, therefore, ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (ver. 25–27. 81.) And he says, also, in another place, that “the kingdom of God is not meat and drink;" that is, that these, however necessary and desirable, are not the great objects of life, “but righteousness and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” (Rom. xiv. 17.)