16.Call thy husband. This appears to have no connection with the subject; and, indeed, one might suppose that Christ, annoyed and put to shame by the impudence of the woman, changes the discourse. But this is not the case; for when he perceived that jeers and scoffs were her only reply to what he had said, he applied an appropriate remedy to this disease, by striking the woman’ conscience with a conviction of her sin. And it is also a remarkable proof of his compassion that, when the woman was unwilling of her own accord to come to him, he draws her, as it were, against her will. But we ought chiefly to observe what I have mentioned, that they who are utterly careless and almost stupid must be deeply wounded by a conviction of sin; for such persons will regard the doctrine of Christ as a fable, until, being summoned to the judgment-seat of God, they are compelled to dread as a Judge him whom they formerly despised. All who do not scruple to rise against the doctrine of Christ with their scoffing jests must be treated in this manner, that they may be made to feel that they will not pass unpunished. Such too is the obstinacy of many, that they will never listen to Christ until they have been subdued by violence. Whenever then we perceive that the oil of Christ has no flavour, it ought to be mixed with wine, that its taste may begin to be felt. Nay more, this is necessary for all of us; for we are not seriously affected by Christ speaking, unless we have been aroused by repentance. So then, in order that any one may profit in the school of Christ, his hardness must be subdued by the demonstration of his misery, as the earth, in order that it may become fruitful, is prepared and softened by the ploughshare, (76) for this knowledge alone shakes off all our flatteries, so that we no longer dare to mock God. Whenever, therefore, a neglect of the word of God steals upon us, no remedy will be more appropriate than that each of us should arouse himself to the consideration of his sins, that he may be ashamed of himself, and, trembling before the judgment-seat of God, may be humbled to obey Him whom he had wantonly despised.
(76) “Tout ainsi que la terre, pour apporter fruict, sera menuisee et amollie par le soc de la charrue.”