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stood therefore in the same position as David the servant of God, who, in like manner, with them that were with him, hungered in the service of the Lord; as the priests, who in the temple must labour on the Sabbath, and so for the Lord's sake seem to break the law of the Lord. While this was so, they also might without scruple eat of the show-bread of the Lord: what was God's, was also theirs.'
St. Mark has alone preserved for us the important words which follow : “ The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath' (ii. 27). The end for which the Sabbath was ordained was that it might bless' man; the end for which man was created was not that He might observe the Sabbath. A principle is here laid down, which it is impossible to restrict to the Sabbath, which must extend to the whole circle of outward ordinances. The law was made for man; not man for the law. Man is the end, and the ordinances of the law the means; not these the end, and man the means (cf. 2 Macc. v. 19; a remarkable parallel). Man was not created to the end that he might observe these; but these were given, that they might profit man, discipline and train him, till he should be ready to serve God from the free impulses of his spirit. And all this being so, therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.' To affirm with Grotius, that “Son of man' has no deeper meaning here than “man’ in the verse preceding, that the context will admit of no other, and from this to conclude that the Sabbath being made for man,' man therefore can deal with the Sabbath as he will, is a serious error.? For, in the first place, in no single passage of the
1 Even in the Talmud it was said, "The Sabbath is in your hands, not you in the hands of the Sabbath ; for it is written, The Lord hath given you the Sabbath, Exod. xvi. 29; Ezek. xx. 12.'
2 Cocceius answers well: Non sequitur : Hominis causâ factum est sabbatum : Ergo homo est dominus sabbati. Sed bene sequitur: Ergois, cujus est homo, et qui propter hominem venit in mundum, quique omnem potestatem in cælo et terrâ possidet, in hominis salutem et bonum est et Dominus sabbati. Ceterum Dominus sabbati non esset, nisi esset supremus vouoferns, et nisi ad ipsius gloriam pertineret sabbati institutio, et ejus usus ad salutem hominis.
New Testament where “Son of man' occurs (and they are eighty-eight in all) does it mean other than the Messiah, the Man in whom the idea of humanity was altogether fulfilled. And then secondly, among all the bold words with which St. Paul declares man's relations to the law, he never speaks of him, even after he is risen with Christ, as being its lord.' The redeemed man is not, indeed, under the law; he is released from his bondage to it, so that it is henceforth with him, as a friendly companion, not over him, as an imperious master. But for all this it is God's law, the expression of his holy will concerning man; and he, so long as he bears about a body of sin and death, and therefore may at any moment need its restraints, never stands above it; rather, at the first moment of his falling away from the liberty of a service in Christ, will come under it anew. Even of the ceremonial law man is not lord, that he may loose himself from it, on the plea of insight into the deeper mysteries which it shadows forth. He must wait a loosing from it at those hands from which it first proceeded, and which first imposed it upon him. But the Son of man, who is also Son of God, has power over all these outward ordinances. It was He who first gave them as a preparatory discipline for the training of man; and when they have done their work, when this preparatory discipline is accomplished, it is for Him to remove them (Heb. ix. 11-15). • Made under the law' in his human nature (Gal. iv. 4), He is above the law, and lord of the law, by right of that higher nature which is joined with his human. He therefore may pronounce when the shadow shall give place to the substance, when his people have so embraced this that they may forego the other. Christ is the end of the law,' and that in more ways than one. To Him it pointed ; in Him it is swallowed up; being Himself living law; yet not therefore in any true sense the destroyer of the law, as the adversaries charged Him with being, but its transformer and glorifier, changing it from
He is not, to use Augustine's fine distinction, sub lege, but cum lege and in lege.
a bondage to a liberty, from a shadow to a substance, from a letter to a spirit' (Matt. v. 17, 18).
To this our Lord's clearing of his disciples, or rather of Himself in his disciples (for it was at Him that the shafts of their malice were indeed aimed), the healing of the man with a withered hand is by St. Matthew immediately attached, although from St. Luke we learn that it did not find place till another Sabbath. Like the very similar healing of the woman with a spirit of infirmity (Luke xiii. 11), like that of the demoniac at Capernaum (Mark i. 2, 3), it was wrought in a synagogue. There, in their synagogue,' the synagogue of those with whom He had thus disputed, He encountered 'a man who had his hand withered ;' his right hand,' as St. Luke tells us. His disease, which probably extended through the arm, had its origin in a deficient absorption of nutriment by the limb; was a partial atrophy, showing itself in a gradual wasting of the size of the limb, with a loss of its powers of motion, and ending with the total cessation in it of all vital action. When once thoroughly established, it is incurable by any art of man.
The apparent variation in the different records of this miracle, that in St. Matthew the question proceeds from the Pharisees, in the other Gospels from the Lord, is no real one; the reconciliation of the two accounts is easy. The Pharisees first ask Him, 'Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath day?' He
1 Augustine (Serm. cxxxvi. 3): Dominus sabbatum solvebat: sed non ideo reus. Quid est quod dixi, sabbatum solvebat? Lux ipse venerat, umbras removebat. Sabbatum enim a Domino Deo præceptum est, ab ipso Christo præceptum, qui cum Patre erat, quando lex illa dabatur : ab ipso præceptum est, sed in umbrâ futuri.
? See Winer, Realwörterbuch, s. v. Krankheiten. In the apocryphal Gospel according to the Hebrews, in use among the Nazarenes and Ebionites, which consisted probably of our St. Matthew, with some extraneous additions, this man is a mason, who thus pleads for his own healing : Cæmentarius eram, manibus victum quæritans: precor te, Jesu, ut mihi restituas sanitatem, ne turpiter mendicem cibos. The reipa éxwv čnpáv is = tnv xxipa áðpavic ūv of Philostratus (Vita Apollon. iii. 39), wbom the Indian sages heal.
answers question with question, as was so often his custom (see Matt. xxi. 24): ‘I will ask you one thing. Is it lavful on the Sabbath days to do good or to do evil? to save life or destroy it?' With the same infinite wisdom which we admire in his answer to the lawyer's question, “Who is my neighbour?' (Luke x. 29), He shifts the whole argument, lifts it up altogether into a higher region; and then at once it is evident on which side the right lies. They had put the alternative of doing or not doing; there might be a question here. But He shows that the alternative is, the doing good or the failing to do good,—which last He puts as identical with doing evil, the neglecting to save as equivalent to destroying (Prov. xxiv. II, 12). Here there could be no question; this under no circumstances could be right; it could never be good to sin. Therefore it is not merely allowable, but a duty, to do some things on the Sabbath. “Yea,' He goes on, and things much less important and urgent than that which I am about to do, you would not yourselves leave undone. What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the Sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? You have asked Me, Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath? I reply, It is lawful to do well on that day, and there
1 Danzius (in Meuschen, Nov. Testament. ex Talm. illustr. p. 585): Immutat ergo beneficus Servator omnem controversiæ statum, ac longe eundem rectius, quam fraudis isti artifices, proponit. In his interesting and learned Essay, Christi Curatio Sabbathica vindicata ex legibus Judaicis, Danzius seeks to prove by extracts from their own books that the Jews were not at all so strict, as now, when they would accuse the Lord, they professed to be, in their own observance of the Sabbath. He finds proof of this (p. 607) in the words, Thou hypocrite,' addressed on one such occasion to the ruler of the synagogue (Luke xiii. 15). The grent difficulty in judging whether he has made out his point, is to know how far the extracts in proof, confessedly from works of a later, often a far later, date than the time of Christ, do fairly represent the earlier Jewish
In the apocryphal gospels (see Thilo, Codex Apocryphus, pp. 502, 558), it is very observable how prominent a place among the charges brought against Christ on his trial, are the healings wrought upon the Sabbath.
fore to heal.' «They held their peace, having nothing to answer
Then,'—that is, 'when He had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts (Mark iii. 5),—saith He to the man, Stretch forth thy hand.' The existence of grief and anger together in the same heart is no contradiction. Indeed, with Him who was at once perfect love and perfect holiness, grief for the sinner must ever have gone hand in hand with anger against the sin ; and this anger, which with us is in danger of becoming a turbid thing, of passing into anger against the man, who is God's creature, instead of being anger against the sin, which is the devil's corruption of God's creature,—with Him was perfectly pure; for it is not the agitation of the waters, but the sediment at the bottom, which troubles and defiles them, and where no sediment is, no impurity will follow on their agitation. This important notice of the anger with which the Lord looked round on these evil men we owe to St. Mark, who has so often preserved for us a record of the passing lights and shadows which swept over the countenance of the Lord (vii. 34; X. 21). The man obeyed the word, which was a word of power; he stretched forth his hand, and it was restored ' whole like as the other.'
Hereupon the exasperation of Christ's enemies rises to the highest pitch. He has broken their traditions ; He has put them to silence and to shame before all the people.
• They were filled with madness,' as St. Luke tells us; or, in the words of St. Matthew, went out and held a council against Him, how they might destroy Him' (cf. John xi. 53). In their blind hate they snatch at the nearest weapon in their reach ; do not even shrink from joining league with the Herodians, the Romanizing party in the land,-attached to Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee, who was only kept on
1 'Arokartorán. Josephus (Antt. viii. 8. 5) uses the remarkable word ávaču vpeiv (2 Tim. i. 6) in relating the restoration of Jeroboam's withered arm (1 Kin. xi. 6).