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an hundred men. (2 Kin. iv. 42–44.) All the rudiments of this miracle there appear*; the two substances, one artificial, one natural, from which the many persons are fed, as here bread and fish, so there bread and fresh ears of corn. As here the disciples are incredulous, so there the servitor asks, “ Should I set this before an hundred men ?” as here twelve baskets of fragments remain, so there “they did eat and left thereof." Yet were they only the weaker rudiments of this miracle, and this for reasons which more than once have been noted. Chrysostom bids us observe this difference between the servant and the Lord; how the prophets having grace only in measure, so in measure they wrought their miracles; but the Son, working with infinite power, and that not lent him but his own, did all with much superabundancet. Analogies to this miracle, but of a remoter kind, are to be found in the multiplying of the widow's cruse of oil and her barrel of meal by Elijah (1 Kin. xvii. 16,) and in that other miracle of the oil, which, according to the prophet's word, continued to flow so long as there were vessels to contain it. (2 Kin. iv. 147.)
* Tertullian notes this prefiguration of the miracles of Christ in those of his servants, against the Gnostics, who would fain have cut loose the New Testament from the Old, and found not merely distinction but direct opposition between the two (Adv. Marc., l. 4, c. 21): Invenies totum hunc ordinem Christi circa illum Dei hominem, qui oblatos sibi viginti hordeaceos panes cùm populo distribui jussisset, et minister ejus proinde comparatâ multitudine et pabuli mediocritate, respondisset, Quid ergo hoc dem in conspectu centum hominum? Da, inquit, et manducabant ...0 Christum et in novis veterem! Hæc itaque quæ viderat, Petrus, et cum pristinis comparat, et non tantùm retro facta, sed et in futurum jam tunc prophetantia recognoverat, interroganti Domino, quisnam illis videretur, cùm pro omnibus responderet, Tu es Christus, non potest non eum sensisse Christum, nisi quem noverat in scripturis, quem jam recensebat in factis.
+ Tertullian (Ad. Marc., 1. 4, c. 35): Cùm aliter utique Dominus per semetipsum operetur, sive per Filium; aliter per Prophetas famulos suos, maximè documenta virtutis et potestatis ; quæ ut clariora et validiora, quà propria,"distare à vicariis fas est.
# I have promised at page 76 an example or two of the rationalist explanations of the miracles. It were to slay the slain to enter now-a-days on a serious refutation of them; new forms of opposition to the truth have risen up, but this has gone by; yet as curiosities of interpretation, they may deserve a passing notice. This then is the scheme of Paulus for a natural explanation of the present miracle. He supposes that, however many there were of the multitude who had nothing to eat, there were others who had stock and store by them; which was the more probable on the present occasion, as we know that the Jews, when travelling to any distance, were accustomed to carry their provisions with them,--and of this multitude many were thus coming from far to the passover at Jerusalem. These stores, although hitherto they had withheld from the common needs, yet now, put to shame by the free liberality of Jesus, they brought forth and distributed, when he had shewn them the example, and had himself first done this with the small stock at his command. Many difficulties certainly seem to stand in the way of this, that is, of the Evangelists having actually meant to relate this; for Paulus does not say that they made a mistake, and turned an ordinary event into a miracle, but that this is what they actually intended to record. It is, for example, plainly a difficulty that, even supposing the people to have followed “the example of laudable moderation” which Jesus shewed them, there should have remained twelve baskets of fragments from his five loaves. But to this he replies that they indeed affirm nothing of the kind. St. John, for instance, (vi. 13,) is not asserting this, but is accounting for the fact that there should be any residue at all, explaining why the Lord should have had need (ver. 12) to bid gather up a remnant, from the circumstance that the apostles had set before the people so large à supply that there was more than enough for all ;-and it is exactly, he says, this which ver. 13 affirms, which verse he thus explains: 'For they got together couvnyayov oūv) and had filled (éyéuloav, an aor. 1. for plusq. perf.) twelve baskets with fragments (i. e., with bread broken and prepared for eating) of the five loaves, which were more than enough (à émepigoevoe) to the eaters ;'-so that John is speaking, not of remnants after the meal, but of bread broken before the meal. That this should be called presently after a onueîov (ver. 14), does but mean a sign of his humanity and wisdom, by which he made a little to go so far. But this may suffice.
The three Evangelists who narrate this miracle agree in placing it in immediate sequence to the feeding of the five thousand, and on the evening of the same day. The two first relate, that when all was over and the multitude were fed, the Lord “straightway constrained his disciples to get into the ship,” a phrase in itself not very easily accounted for, and finding probably its best explanation in the fact which St. John alone relates, that the multitude desired to take Jesus and make him a king. (vi. 15.) It is likely that the disciples had notice of this purpose of the multitude, — indeed, they could scarcely have avoided knowing it; and this was exactly to their mind, so that they were most unwilling to be parted from their Master in this hour, as they deemed it, of his approaching exaltation. St. Jerome gives the reason more generally, that they were reluctant to be separated even for a season from their beloved Lord *. While he was dismissing the assemblage, they were to return, according to St. Mark, to Bethsaida, which does not contradict St. John, when he says they “ went over the sea towards Capernaum ;" since this Bethsaida, not the same which St. Luke has made mention of but just before, and which for distinction was called Bethsaida Julias, but that of which we have already mention, (John i. 44,) the city of Philip and Andrew and Peter, lay on the other side of the lake, and in the same direction as, and in the neighbourhood of, Capernaum. St. Matthew, and St. Mark with him, would seem to make two evenings to this day, -one which had already commenced ere the preparations for the feeding of the multitude had begun, (ver. 15;) the other, now when the disciples had entered into the ship and begun their voyage. (ver. 23.) And this was an ordinary way of speaking among the Jews, the first evening being very much our afternoon, (compare Luke ix. 12, where the “ evening” of Matthew and Mark is described as the day beginning to decline ;) the second evening * being the twilight, or from six o'clock to twilight; on which the absolute darkness followed. It was the first evening, or afternoon, when the preparations for feeding the five thousand commenced ; the second, when the disciples had taken ship.
* So Chrysostom: To “vdykaqev” dè citev, triv nollriv me pooedplav δεικνύς των μαθητών.
But in the absence of their Lord they were not able to make any effectual progress : “the wind was contrary,” and the sea was rough: their sails, of course, could profit them nothing. It was now “the fourth watch of the night," near morning therefore, and yet with all their efforts and the toil of the entire night, they had not accomplished more than “ five and twenty or thirty furlongs,” scarcely, that is, more than half of their way, the lake being forty or forty-five furlongs in breadth. Probably they were ever finding themselves more unable to proceed, the danger probably was ever heightening, when suddenly they see their Lord "walking on the seat,” and already close to their bark.
* 'Ovía deutépa.
+ Many have supposed that there is a scoff against this miracle intended by Lucian (Ver. Hist., l. 2, c. 4,) in his account of the cork-footed race, (pellótodes,) whom in his voyage he past émi toù neláyous diabéovtas. I confess it seems to me a question whether so expert a scoffer, if he had meant this, would not have done it better ; while at the same time the hint which he gives, l. 1, c. 2, that there is something under these absurd and extravagant travellers' tales which he has strung together, that they contain every one allusions to the fables and portents of poets and historians and philosophers, makes it not altogether improbable; and in the Philopseudes, where there seem to me far more evident allusions to the miracles of the Gospel, -as for instance, a miraculously-healed man taking up his bed, (c. 11,) the expulsion of the evil spirit from a demoniac, (c. 16,) reminding one singularly of that recorded Mark ix. 14.-29; this also of walking on the water recurs (c. 13,) among the incredible things proposed for the wise man's belief. Not otherwise the Golden City of the Blest, with its diamond walls, its floors of ivory, and its trees bearing fruit every month (Ver. Hist.,
After they had left him, and when he had likewise “sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray, and when even was come, he was there alone.” But from thence, with the watchful eye of love, “ he saw them toiling in rowing,” (cf. Exod. iii. 7; Ps. Lyi. 8,) and now, so soon as they had made proof that without him they could do nothing, he was with them once more. For it had been his purpose in all this, as Chrysostom well brings out, to discipline and lead them up to ever higher things than they had learned before. In the first storm he was present in the ship with them; and thus they must have felt all along, that if it came to the worst they might rouse him, and the very consciousness of his presence must have given them the sense of comparative security. But he will not have them to be clinging only to the sense of his bodily presence,-as ivy, needing always an outward support, but as hardy forest trees which can brave a blast ;-and this time he puts them forth into the danger alone, even as some loving mother-bird thrusts her fledglings from the nest, that they may find their own wings and learn to use them. And by the issue he will awaken in them a confidence in his ever-ready help; for as his walking over the sca must have been altogether unimagined by them, they may have easily despaired of that help reaching them, and yet it does not fail them. When he has tried them to the uttermost, “in the fourth watch of the night," he appears beside
1. 2, c. 11–13,) may very well be written in rivalship and in ridicule of the description of the New Jerusalem, Rev. xxi.; as the story of the great multitude of men who are comfortably housed for some years in the belly of a whale (Ib., 1. 1, c. 30—42) may be intended in the same way to be an outdoing of the story of Jonah and his three days' abode in a like place, which we know from more allusions than one was an especial object of the flouts of the heathen. See AUGUSTINE, Ep. 102, qu. 6; and Josephus (Antt., l. 9, c. 10, § 2,) who aimed to make his works acceptable to the cultivated Roman world, gets over it with a loyos—as some say. On the point of view under which Lucian contemplated Christianity there is an essay by KREBS, De Malitioso Luciani Consilio, &c. in his Opusc. Acad., p. 308; and the subject is discussed in TZSCHIRNER's Fall des Heidenthums, p. 320.