« PoprzedniaDalej »
round him, has often suggested many profitable reflections. Thus it has been often observed how she only touched with the touch of faith : the others, though as near or nearer in body, yet lacked that faith which is the connecting link between Christ's power and our need; and thus they crowded upon Christ, but did not touch him in any way that he should take note of. And thus it is ever in the Church; many press upon Christ: his in name; near to him and to his Sacraments outwardly; yet not touching him, because not drawing near in faith, not looking for and therefore not obtaining life and healing from him, and through these *.
When the disciples, and Peter at their head, wonder at the question, and in their reply dare almost to find fault with a question which to them seems so out of place, “ Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?" the Lord replies, re-affirming the fact, “Somebody hath touched me ; for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.” Whereupon the woman, finding that concealment was useless, that the denial, which probably she had made with the rest, for it is said, “ all denied,” (Luke viii. 45,) would profit her nothing ; unable, too, to escape his searching glance, for “he looked round about to see her,” (Mark v. 32,) “ came trembling, and
• Augustine (Serm. 62, c. 4): Quasi enim sic ambularet, ut à nullo prorsus corpore tangeretur, ita dicit, Quis me tetigit ? Et illi, Turbæ te comprimunt. Et tanquam diceret Dominus, Tangentem quæro, non prementem. Sic etiam nunc est corpus ejus, id est, Ecclesia ejus. Tangit eam fides paucorum, premit turba multorum. .. .. Caro enim premit, fides tangit. And again he says (Serm. 77, c. 4): Corpus ergo Christi multi. molestè premunt, pauci salubriter tangunt. And elsewhere he makes her the symbol of the Church (Serm. 245, c. 3): Illi premunt, ista tetigit. .,.. Judæi affligunt, Ecclesia credidit. Chrysostom has with reference to this saying the same antithesis : 'O LOTEÚwv eis tòy Ewrópa öntetai aŭtouó oe dmiotwv Oxißel autóv kai dute. Cf. Gregory the Great, Moral., 1. 3, c. 20, and 1. 20, c. 17. Chemnitz (Harm. Evang., c. 67): Ita quoque in Ecclesiâ multi Christo approximant, externis auribus verbum salutis accipiunt, ore suo Sacramentum corporis et sanguinis ipsius manducant et bibunt, nullam tamen efficaciam ex eo percipiunt, nec sentiunt fluxum illum peccatorum suorum sisti et exsiccari. Unde illud ? Quia destituuntur verâ fide, quæ sola ex hoc fonte haurit gratiam pro gratiâ.
falling down before him, she declared unto him," and this " before all the people, for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately.” Olshausen brings out here, with much beauty, how in all this the loving and gracious dealings of the Son of man, who always sought to make through the healing of the body a way for the healing of the soul, are to be traced. She had borne away a maimed blessing, hardly a blessing at all, had she been suffered to bear it away in secret and unacknowledged. She desired to remain in concealment out of a shame, which, however natural, was untimely here in this crisis of her spiritual life: and this her loving Saviour would not suffer her to do: by a gracious force he drew her from it; yet even here he spared her as far as he could. For not before, but after she is healed, does he require the open confession from her lips. She had found it perhaps altogether too hard, had he demanded it of her before; therefore does he graciously wait till the cure is accomplished, and thus helps her through the narrow way. Altogether spare her this painful passage he could not, for it pertained to her birth into the new life *.
And now he dismisses her with words of gracious encouragement, “ Daughter, be of good comfort ; thy faith hath made
* Sedulius then has exactly missed the point of the narrative, when of the Lord he says,
.......... furtumque fidele
Laudat, et ingenuæ tribuit sua vota rapinæ ; for it was precisely this which was deficient in her, that she sought it as a furtum, when she should have claimed it openly: and no less Bernard (De Divers., Serm. 99,) when he makes her the figure of all those who would do good hiddenly, avoiding all human applause: Sunt alii qui nonnulla bona occultè faciunt, .... sed tamen furari [regnum coelorum] dicuntur, quia laudem humanam vitantes, solo divino testimonio contenti sunt. Horum figuram tenuit mulier in Evangelio, &c. Rather she is the figure of those who would get good hiddenly, and without an open profession of their faith, who believe in their hearts, but shrink from confessing with their lips, that Jesus Christ is Lord, forgetting that not this alone, but that also is required. (Rom. x. 9.)
thee whole*.” Her faith had made her whole, and Christ's virtue had made her whole t. It is as when we say that faith justifies : our faith is not itself the blessing; but it is the organ by which the blessing is received; it is the right hand of the soul, which lays hold upon it. “Go in peace;" this is not merely, Go with a blessing, but, Go into the element of peace as the future element in which thy life shall move;—" and be whole of thy plague.”
Theophylact brings out a mystical meaning in this miracle. This woman's complaint represents the ever-flowing fountain of sin; the physicians, the philosophers and wise men of this world, that with all their medicines, their systems and their philosophies, prevailed nothing to stanch that fountain of evil in man's heart. To touch Christ's garment is to believe in his Incarnation, wherein he touched us, enabling us to touch him: whereupon that healing, which in all those other things was vainly sought, follows at once. And if we keep in mind how her uncleanness separated her off as one impure, we shall have here an exact picture of the sinner, drawing nigh to the throne of grace, but out of the sense of his impurity not with boldness, rather with fear and trembling, hardly knowing what there he shall expect; but who is welcomed there, and, all his carnal doubtings and questionings expelled, dismissed with the word of an abiding peace resting upon him.
8. THE OPENING THE EYES OF TWO
BLIND IN THE HOUSE.
We have here the first of those healings of the blind whereof so many are recorded (Matt. xii. 22; xx. 30; xxi. 14; John ix.) or alluded to in the Gospel narrative *Nor is this little history without one or two features distinguishing it from others of a like kind. These two blind men appear to have followed Jesus in the way; it may have been, and Jerome supposes it was, as he was returning from the house of Jairus. Yet one would not lay too much stress on the connexion in which St. Matthew sets the miracle, or necessarily conclude that he intended to place it in such immediate relation of time and place with the raising of the ruler's daughter. There was the same trial of the faith of these blind men, although in a more mitigated form, as found place in the case of the Syrophenician woman. Not all at once did they receive the boon which they sought; but the Lord seemed at first rather to withdraw himself from them, suffering them to cry after him, and for a while paying no regard to their cries. It was only after they followed him into the house, and had thus shown that they were in earnest
* Their frequent recurrence need not surprise us ; for blindness throughout all the East is a far commoner calamity than with us. For this there are many causes. The dust and flying sand, pulverized and reduced to minutest particles, enters the eyes, causing inflammations, which being neglected, end frequently in total loss of sight. The sleeping in the open air, on the roofs of the houses, and the consequent exposure of the eyes to the noxious nightly dews, is another source of this malady. A modern traveller calculates that there are four thousand blind in Cairo alone, and another that you may reckon twenty such in every hundred persons. It is true that in Syria the proportion of those afflicted with blindness is not at all so great, yet there also the calamity is of far more frequent occurrence than in western lands, so that we find humane regulations concerning the blind as concerning a class in the old Law. (Lev. xix, 14; Deut. xxvii. 18.)
in seeking and expecting a boon from him, that he yielded to them the blessing which they sought*. But ere he does this, as he has tried them in deed by the delay of the blessing, he proves them also in word. He will have the confession of their faith from their own lips : “ Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord.” And then, when he found that they had this necessary condition for the receiving any one of his blessings, when he perceived that tliey had faith to be healed " he touched their eyes.” And this time it is by that simple touch that he opens those closed eyes (Matt. xx. 34 ;) at other times he uses as the conductors of his power, and as helps to the faith of those who should be healed, some further instruments,—the clay mingled with spittle (John ix. 6, 7,) or the moisture of his mouth alone. We do not, I think, anywhere read of his opening the blind eyes simply by his word, although of course that would have been equally easy to him. The words which accompany the act of healing are remarkable“ According to your faith be it unto you,”—remarkable for the insight which they give us into the relation of man's faith and God's gift. The faith, which in itself is nothing, is yet the organ of receiving every thing. It places the man in relation with the divine blessing; of no esteem in itself, but only in its relation to its object. It is the bucket let down into the fountain of God's grace, without which the man could not draw up out of that fountain ; the purse, which though itself of the coarsest material, does yet enrich its owner by that which it contains t.
: * Calvin: Re igitur et verbis examinare voluit eorum fidem: suspensos enim tenens, imo præteriens quasi non exaudiat, patientiæ ipsorum experimentum capit, et qualem in ipsorum animis radicem egerit fides.
+ Faith, the õpyavov Anttikov, nothing in itself, yet every thing, because it places us in living connexion with him in whom every good gift is stored.
haustri gratiæ cælestis et salutis nostræ, quo ex inscrutabili et inexhausto divinæ misericordiæ et bonitatis fonte, ad quem aliter penetrare non possumus,