6.And Jesus stooping down. By this attitude he intended to show that he despised them. Those who conjecture that he wrote this or the other thing, in my opinion, do not understand his meaning. Nor do I approve of the ingenuity of Augustine, who thinks that in this manner the distinction between the Law and the Gospel is pointed out, because Christ did not write on tables of stone, (Exo_31:18,) but on man, who is dust and earth. For Christ rather intended, by doing nothing, to show how unworthy they were of being heard; just as if any person, while another was speaking to him, were to draw lines on the wall, or to turn his back, or to show, by any other sign, that he was not attending to what was said. Thus in the present day, when Satan attempts, by various methods, to draw us aside from the right way of teaching, we ought disdainfully to pass by many things which he holds out to us. The Papists teaze us, to the utmost of their power, by many trifling cavils, as if they were throwing clouds into the air. If godly teachers be laboriously employed in examining each of those cavils, they will begin to weave Penelope’ web; (208) and therefore delays of this sort, which do nothing but hinder the progress of the Gospel, are wisely disregarded.
(208) “Ce sera toujours a recommencer;” — “ will always have to begin anew.” Dropping the classical allusion, our Author has thus conveyed the meaning to his countrymen in plain terms. All who have read Homer’ Odyssey will remember Penelope, the wife of Ulysses, and especially that part of her history to which Calvin refers, that what she wove during the day she unravelled during the night, and thus accomplished her resolution that she should be daily employed in weaving, and yet that her web should not be finished till after her husband’ return. Penelopes telam texere ,to weave Penelope ’s web, was a proverbial expression, which the Romans borrowed from the Greeks. — Ed.