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that day, that is, before sunset. Thus Chrysostom, on one occasion, although on another he sees here more generally an evidence of the faith and eagerness of the people, who, even when the day was spent, still came streaming to Christ, and laying their sick at his feet.
All this found place, as St. Matthew tells us, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses.' Not a few have seized on this that it might be fulfilled' as a proof that St. Matthew did not see any reference in the passage which he cites from Isaiah (liii. 4) to the vicarious and atoning work of the Christ; and if to Him as a remover of the world's woe, yet not as Himself coming under that woe that so He might remove it. Few will, I suppose, at this day deny that such a sense lies in the original words of Isaiah, that his 'took 'is not merely removed,' nor his bare,' bare away;"? his image being rather that of one who, withdrawing a crushing burden from the shoulder of another, submits to it bis own. But this interpretation of the words, so distinctly vindicated for them by St. Peter (1 Pet. ii. 24), St. Matthew in no way denies. That • Himself' with which he commences his citation, implying as it does a reaction in some shape or other of the cures wrought, upon Him who wrought them, is decisive upon this point; not to say that the two verbs which he uses 3 refuse to lend themselves to any other interpretation. Doubtless there is a difficulty about this citation, or rather difficulties, for they are two-the first, why St. Matthew should bring it at all into connexion with the healing of the bodily diseases of men; and the second, how there should have been any more real fulfilment of it herein,
1 In Cramer, Catena, vol. i. p. 278.
2 Tertullian indeed so quotes the words from his old Latin version (Adv. Marc. iii. 17): Ipse enim imbecillitates nostras abstulit, et languores portavit; but the Vulgate more correctly, Vere languores nostros ipse tulit, et dolores nostros ipse portavit.
than in every other part of the earthly ministry of Christ. The first of these difficulties is easily disposed of.
The connexion, above all as traced in Scripture, is so intimate between sin and suffering, death (and disease is death begining) is so directly the consequence of sin, all the weight of woe wbich rests upon the world is in one sense so distinctly penal, that the Messiah might be regarded equally as in his proper work, as fulfilling the prophecies which went before concerning Him, whether He were removing the sin, or removing the sickness, sorrow, pain, which are the results of the sin, the disorder of our moral or the disorder of our physical being
The other question is one of a more real embarrassment. The words of St. Matthew, as of the prophet from whom he draws them, certainly imply, as we have seen, an assuming upon the part of the Lord of the sicknesses and infirmities from which He delivered others. But how could this be? In what true sense could our Lord be said to bear the sicknesses, or Himself to take the infirmities, which He healed ? Did He not rather abolish, and remove them altogether? It is, no doubt, a perfectly scriptural thought, that Christ is the kábapua, the pápuakov, the piaculum, who shall draw to Himself and absorb all the evils of the world, in whom they shall all meet, that in Him they all may be done away; yet He did not become this through the healing of diseases, any more than through any other isolated acts of his earthly ministry. We can understand his being said in his death and passion to come Himself under the burden of those sufferings and pains from which He released others; but how can this be affirmed of Him when engaged in works of beneficent activity? Then He was rather chasing away diseases and pains altogether, than Himself undertaking them.
An explanation has found favour with many, suggested by the fact that his labours this day did not end with the day, but reached far into the evening ;-so that He removed, indeed, sicknesses from others, but with painfulness to Him
self, and with the weariness attendant upon toils unseasonably drawn out; and thus may not unfitly be said to have taken those sicknesses on Himself. Olshausen adopts, though in somewhat more spiritual a manner, this explanation. The obscurity of the passage, he says, only disappears when we learn to think more really of the healing activity of Christ, as an actual outstreaming and outbreathing of the fulness of his inner life. As therefore physical exertion physically wearied Him (John iv. 6), so did spiritual activity long drawn out spiritually exhaust Him; and this exhaustion, as all other forms of suffering, He underwent for our sakes. The statement is questionable in doctrine: moreover, I cannot believe that the Evangelist meant to lay any such stress upon the unusual or prolonged labours of this day, or would not as freely have cited these words in relating any other cures which the Lord performed. Not this day only, even had it been a day of especial weariness, but every day of his earthly life was a coming under, upon his part, those evils which He removed from others. For that which is the law of all true helping, namely, that the burden which
would lift, you must yourself stoop to and come under (Gal. vi. 2), the grief which you would console, you must yourself feel with,-a law which we witness to as often as we use the words -sympathy’and compassion,'—was truest of all in Him upon whom the help of all was laid.? Not in this single
1 So Woltzogen, whom, despite his Socinian tendencies, here Witsius (Meletem. Leidens. p. 402) quotes with approbation : Adeo ut locus hic prophetæ bis fuerit adimpletus; semel cum Christus corporis morbos abstulit ab hominibus non sine summâ molestiâ ac defatigatione, dum ad vesperam usque circa ægrorum curationem occupatus, quodammodo ipsas hominum ægritudines in se recipiebat. . . . Alterâ vice, cum suis perpessionibus ac morte spiritualiter morbos nostrorum peccatorum a nobis sustulit. Cf. Grotius, in loc. Theophylact had led the way to this explanation, finding an emphasis in the fact that the sick were brought to Jesus in the evening, out of season (rapå kaipór), though he does not bring that circumstance into connexion with these words of Isaiah.
? Hilary (in loc.): Passione corporis sui infirmitates humanæ imbecillitatis absorbens. Schoettgen (Hor. Heb. in loc.) has a remarkable quotation to the same effect from the book Sohar.
aspect of his life, namely, that He was a healer of sicknesses, were these words of the prophet fulfilled, but rather in the life itself, which brought Him in contact with the thousand forms of want and woe, of discord in man's outward life, of discord in man’s inner being. Every one of these, as a real consequence of sin, and at every moment contemplated by Him as such, pressed with a living pang into the holy soul of the Lord. St. Matthew quotes these words in reference to one day of our Lord's work upon earth; but we only, I think, enter into their full force when we see that, eminently true of that day,—and here we may fitly urge its long and exhausting toils,—they were also true of all other days, and of all other aspects of that ministry which He came into the world to fulfil. He bore these sicknesses, inasmuch as He bore that mortal suffering life, in which alone He could bring them to an end, and finally swallow up death, and all that led to death, in victory.
14. THE RAISING OF THE WIDOW'S SON.
LUKE vii. 11-16.
LUKE is the only Evangelist who relates more than one
of our Lord's raisings from the dead. St. Matthew and St. Mark record only that of Jairus' daughter; St. John only that of Lazarus. St. Luke, recording the first of these miracles with the two earlier Evangelists, records also this one which is peculiarly his own. "And it came to pass
the day after that He went into a city called Nain. That healing of the centurion's servant at a distance and with a word was no doubt a great miracle; but the day after' was to see a far mightier and more wonderful work even than this. Nain is not mentioned elsewhere in Scripture. It lay upon tbe southern border of Galilee, and on the road to Jerusalem, whither our Lord was probably now going to keep the second passover of his open ministry. Dean Stanley points out its exact position, and even the spot where this mighty work must bave been wrought: On the northern slope of the rugged and barren ridge of Little Hermon, immediately west of Endor, which lies in a further recess of the same range, is the ruined village of Nain. No convent, no tradition marks the spot. But, under these circumstances, the name is sufficient to guarantee its authenticity. One entrance alone it could have had—that which opens on the rough hill-side in its downward slope to the plain. It must have been in this steep descent, as, according to Eastern custom, they "carried out the dead man,” that “nigh to the