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parison of the Lord's dealing with this man and with the centurion of the other Gospels. Here being entreated to come, he does not ; but sends his healing word. There, being asked to speak that word of healing, he rather proposes himself to come ; for here, as Chrysostom, unfolding the motives of his different conduct in the two instances, well brings out, a narrow and poor faith is enlarged and deepened, there a strong faith is crowned and rewarded. By not going he increases this nobleman's faith ; by offering to go, he brings out and honours that centurion's humility. Nor shall we fail to observe by the difference of his conduct in the two cases how far was the Lord from being an accepter of persons. He will not come, but only send, to the son of this nobleman (see 2 Kin. v. 10, 11); he is prompt to visit in his own person the servant of that centurion*.

It would seem that now his confidence in Christ's word was so great, that he proceeded leisurely homewards, since it was not till the next day that he reached his house, though the distance between the two cities was not so great that the journey need have occupied many hours. Maldonatus quotes Isai. xxviii. 16, “He that believeth shall not make haste.” It is worthy of note that his inquiry of the servants who met him on his return with news of his child's recovery, was when the childbegan to amend t,” to be a little better. For at the height of his faith, the father had only looked for a slow and gradual amendment, and therefore he used such an expression as this : but his servants answer, that at such an hour, the very hour when Jesus spake the word, the fever

* Thus the Opus. Imperf. in Matt., Hon. 22: Illum ergo contemsit, quem dignitas sublevabat regalis ; istum autem honoravit, quem conditio humiliabat servilis.

1 Κομψότερον έσχε = meliuscule se habuit. Κομψός from κομέω,-so in Latin, comptus, for adorned in any way. Thus in Arrian, (Diss. Epict., 3, 10,) Kouyūs ēxels, (bellè habes, Cicero,) are the words of the physician to his patient that is getting better.

* A beautiful remark of Bengel's : Quo curatius divina opera et beneficia considerantur, eo plus nutrimenti fides acquirit.

not merely began to subside, there was not merely a turning point in the disease, but it “left him*,” it suddenly forsook himt. So the father knew that it was at the same hour in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth, and himself believed ;"—this he did for all the benefits which the Lord had bestowed on him, he accepted another and the crowning benefit, even the cup of salvation; and not he alone, but, as so often happened, and this for the bringing us into the perception of the manner in which each smaller community, as well as the great community of mankind,-a nation, or as in this case a family, is united and bound together under its federal head, his conversion drew after it that of all who belonged to him : "himself believed, and his whole house.(Cf. Acts xvi. 15, 34; xviii. 81.)

Yet, might it not be asked, Did he not believe before ? was not the healing itself a reward of his faith? Yes, he believed that particular word of the Lord's; but this is the adherence of faith, the entering into the number of Christ's disciples, the giving of himself to him as to the promised Messiah. Or, supposing he already truly believed, there may be indicated here an heightening and augmenting of his faith. For a true faith is yet most capable of this increase; “Lord,

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increase our faith ;” (Luke xvii. 5;) and so in him who said, “ Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief,” (Mark ix. 24,) the true faith was born, though as yet its actings were weak and feeble. So too we read after the last miracle of the water made wine, that “his disciples believed on him,” (John ii. 11,) who yet, being already his disciples, must have believed on him before*. Thus in the Old Testament they who suffered themselves to be guided by Moses must have already believed that he was the instrument of God for their deliverance, yet not the less is it said after the great overthrow of Pharaoh and his host, that the people “believed the Lord, and his servant Moses.” (Exod. xiv. 31.) We have another analogous example, 1 Kin. xvii. 24, where after the mighty work which Elijah did, raising the widow's son, she addresses him thus : “Now by this I know thou art a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in thy mouth is truth,” while yet she had recognized him as such before, (ver. 18;) now however her faith received a new confirmation ; (cf. John xi. 15; xiii. 19 ;) and so we may accept it


* Beda: Unde datur intelligi et in fide gradus esse, sicut et in aliis virtutibus, quibus est initium, incrementum, et perfectio. "Hujus ergo fides initium habuit, cùm filii salutem petiit: incrementum, cùm credidit sermoni Domini dicentis, Filius tuus vivit ; deinde perfectionem obtinuit, nuntiantibus servis.



LUKE v. 1-11. There have been some in all times who have deemed themselves bound to distinguish this narrative from those in St. Matthew (iv. 18), and St. Mark (i. 16–20). Augustine, for example, finds the differences so considerable, that he can only suppose the circumstance narrated by St. Luke to have first happened, our Lord then predicting to Peter that hereafter he should catch men; but not at that time summoning him to enter on the work; that without any sinful drawing back, he and his fellows returned after a while to their usual employments ;-—they only on a somewhat later occasion, that recorded by St. Matthew and St. Mark, hearing the word of command, “ Follow me,” which then they obeyed, and attached themselves for ever to their heavenly Lord*

Now that there are some difficulties, yet such as hardly deserve that name, in the harmonizing of the two accounts, every one will readily admit; but the flying immediately to the resource of supposing an event happened, with slight variations, twice or even three times over, whenever there is any difficulty in bringing the parallel accounts perfectly to agree, seems a very questionable expedient, at least to him who will deal honestly in the matter, and will ask himself

* De Cons. Evang., 1. 2, c. 17: Unde datur locus intelligere eos ex capturâ piscium ex more remeâsse, ut postea fieret quod Matthæus et Marcus narrant . . . Tunc enim non subductis ad terram navibus tanquam curâ redeundi, sed ita eum secuti sunt, tanquam vocantem ac jubentem ut eum sequerentur. Mr. Greswell in the same way, (see his Dissert., v. 2, Diss. 9,) earnestly pleads for the keeping asunder the two narrations. Yet any one who wishes to see how capable they are, by the expenditure of a little pains, of being exactly reconciled, has only to refer to SPANHEIM'S Dub. Evang., v. 3, p. 337. Lightfoot, in his Harmony, sees but the records of one and the same event, and Grotius and Hammond.

whether he would be satisfied with such an explanation in any other history. It is for him a far greater difficulty made than avoided. For the other is nothing so great, indeed in most cases, as here, is none at all. Any one who knows the various aspects, yet all true, in which the same event will present itself from different points of view to different witnesses, who keeps in mind how very few points in any complex fact or event any narration whatever can seize, least of all a written one, which in its very nature is limited, will little wonder when two or three narrators have in part seized diverse as the culminating points of a narrative, have brought out different moments of an event: he will rather be grateful to that providence of God which thus often sets us not merely in the place of one bystander, but of more ; allows us to see the acts of Christ, each part of which is significant, from various points of view; to hear of his discourses, not merely what one heard and carried away, but also that which sunk especially deep into the heart and memory of another.

A work exclusively devoted to the miracles of our Lord has only immediately to do with the narrative of St. Luke, for in that only the miracle appears. That which followed upon the miracle, the effectual calling of four apostles, appears in the parallel narratives as well—he thus by his narrative excellently completing theirs, and explaining to us why the Lord, when he bade these future chiefs of his kingdom to follow him, should have clothed the accompanying promise in that especial shape, “I will make you fishers of men;" words which would anyhow have had their propriety as addressed to fishers whom he found casting their nets, and unconsciously prophesying of their future work*, yet winning a peculiar fitness after he has just shown them what success

* Auct Oper. Imperf. in Matth., Hom. 6: Futuræ dignitatis gratiam artificii sui opere prophetantes. Augustine (Serm. Inedd., Serm. 58): Petrus piscator non posuit retia, sed mutavit.

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