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are to take Christ's word that they will be cleansed, that in some sort they are so already (John xv. 3); for in baptism they have the pledge and promise and the initial act of it all. And this they must believe, even while they still feel in themselves the leprous taint of sin,-must go forward in faith, being confident that in the use of his Word and his sacraments, and all his appointed means of grace, slight as they may seem to meet and overcome such mighty mischiefs, they will find that health, which according to the sure word of promise is in some sort already theirs; and as they go, believing this word, using these means, they are healed. And for them, too, a warning is here—that they forget not the purging of their old sins (2 Pet. i. 9)-nor what those sins were, how ugly, how loathsome; after the manner of those nine, who perhaps did not return, as desiring to obliterate the very memory of all which once and so lately they had been. Let those who now are clean through the word spoken to them, keep ever in memory the times of their past anguish,—the times when everything seemed defiled to them, and they to everything ; when they saw themselves as 'unclean, unclean,' shut out from all holy fellowship of God and men, and cried out in their anguish, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.' Let them see to it, that they forget not all this; but let each remembrance of the absolving word which was spoken to them, with each new consciousness of a realized deliverance from the power and pollution of sin, bring them anew to the Saviour's feet, giving glory to God by Him ; lest, failing in this, their guilt prove greater than even that of these unthankful nine. For these carried away temporal mercies unacknowledged; but we should in such a case be seeking to carry away spiritual ; not, indeed, that we should succeed in so doing; since the spiritual mercy which is not evermore referred to its Author, sooner or later inevitably ceases from him who hopes on any other conditions to retain it."
1 Chemnitz (Harm. Evang. 125): Remittit nos Filius Dei ad ministerium Verbi et Sacramentorum in Ecclesiâ ; et quemadmodum hi sanati
sunt dum iverunt, et mandato Christi obtemperârunt, ita et nos dum in Ecclesiâ Verbum Dei audimus, absolutione et Sacramentis utimur, vult nobis Christus peccata remittere, nos sanare, ut in cælesti Jerusalem mundi coram Deo compareamus.
. . Omnes nati sumus filii iræ, in baptismo remittitur nobis ille reatus, sed non statim in cælos abripimur: verum dicit nobis, Ite, ostendite vos sacerdotibus. Leve quid ut videtur injungit. Utut autem leve sit, sequitur tamen enarrabile bonum, quia is qui nobis hoc præcipit, est omnipotens Deus, qui ex minimis maxima producere potest. Cf. Augustine, Quæst. Evang. ii. 40.
23. THE HEALING OF THE DAUGHTER OF THE
Matt. xv, 21-28; Mark vii. 24-30.
E have no reason to think that at any time during his
earthly ministry our Lord overpassed the limits of the Holy Land ; not even when He departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.' It was only into the borders of Tyre and Sidon,' as St. Mark expressly tells us (vii. 24), that He went; and even St. Matthew's words need not, and certainly here do not, mean more than that He approached the confines of that heathen land. The general fitness of things, and more than this, his own express words on this very occasion, 'I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel, combine to make it most unlikely that He had now brought his healing presence to any other but the people of the Covenant; and, moreover, when St. Matthew speaks of the woman of Canaan’as coming out of that district, or of the same coasts,' he clearly shows that he did not intend to describe the Lord as having more than drawn close to the skirts of that profane land.
Being there, He entered into a house, and would have no man know it:' but, as the ointment bewrayeth itself, so He, whose 'Name is like ointment poured out,' on the present occasion could not be hid;' and among those
1 Kuinoel here : In partes Palæstine regioni Tyriorum et Sidoniorum finitimas. So Exod. xvi. 35: eis uépos tñs Þorvirns (LXX), 'to the borders of Canaan.'
attracted by its sweetness was a woman of that country,—'a woman of Canaan,' as St. Matthew terms her, a Greek, a Syrophænician, as St. Mark has it,' by the first term indicating her religion, that it was not Jewish, but heathen ; by the second, the stock of which she came, being even that accursed race once doomed of God to a total excision, root and branch (Deut. vii. 2), but of which some branches had been spared by those first generations of Israel that should have destroyed all (Judg. ii. 2, 3). Everything, therefore, was against her; yet this everything did not prevent her from drawing nigh, from seeking, and as we shall presently see from obtaining, the boon that her soul longed after. She had heard of the mighty works wbich the Saviour of Israel had done: for already his fame had gone through all Syria ; so that they brought unto Him, besides other sick, 'those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and He healed them'(Matt. iv. 24). And she has a boon to ask for her daughter;—or say rather for herself, so entirely has she made her daughter's misery her own : ‘Have mercy on me, O Lord, Thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil;' just as on a later occasion the father of the lunatic child exclaims, · Have compassion on us, and help us' (Mark ix. 22).
But she finds Him very different from that which report had described Him to her. That had extolled Him as the merciful and gracious, not breaking the bruised reed, nor quenching the smoking flax, inviting every weary and afflicted soul to draw nigh and find rest with Him. He, who of Himself had anticipated the needs of others (John v. 6), withdrew Himself from hers; He answered her not a word.' The Word has
1 Supoporvikiona, Lachmann; Lína Þouvirioga, Tischendorf; and between these readings the best MSS. are divided. Evpopoiviosa is very weakly attested: it is indeed the more Greek form, yet not therefore here to be preferred, but rather the contrary. See a learned note by Grotius, on Matt. xv, 22. This woman's name, according to the Clementine Homilies (ii. 19), was Justa, where legends of her later life, and her passage from heathenism to Judaism, are to be found.
no word; the fountain is sealed; the physician withholds his remedies' (Chrysostom); until at last the disciples, wearied out with her persistent entreaties, and to all appearance more merciful than their Lord, themselves came and besought Him, saying, Send her away.' Yet was there in truth a root of selfishness out of which this compassion of theirs grew; for why is He to satisfy her and dismiss her ?
for she crieth after us;' she is making a scene; she is drawing on them unwelcome observation. Theirs is that heartless granting of a request, whereof most of us are conscious ; when it is granted out of no love to the suppliant, but to leave undisturbed his selfish ease from whom at length it is extorted,-a granting such as his who gave, but gave saying, lest by her continual coming she weary me' (Luke xviii. 5). Here, as so often, behind a seeming severity lurks the real love, while under the mask of a greater easiness selfishness lies hid.
These intercessors meet with no better fortune than the suppliant herself; and Christ stops their mouth with words which might appear to set the seal of hopelessness on her suit: 'I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel' (cf. Matt. x. 5, 6). But in what sense was this true? All prophecy which went before declared that in Him, the promised Seed, not one nation only, but all nations of the earth, should be blest (Rom. xv. 9–12). He Himself declared, 'Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice' (John X. 16). It has happened before now with the founders of false religions that, as success beckoned them on, the circle of their vision has widened ; and they who meant at first but to give a faith to their tribe or nation, have aspired at last to give one to the world. But here all must have been always known; the world-embracing reach of bis mission, and of the faith which He should found, was contemplated by Christ from the beginning. In what sense then, and under what limitations, could He say with truth ‘I am