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awaken in him a longing for its fulness, and, this longing once awakened, presently satisfied him with that fulness. To the rest of the world, this healing step by step is a testimony of the freeness of God's grace, which is linked to no single way of manifestation, but works in divers manners, sometimes accomplishing only little by little what at other times it brings about in a moment. And certainly no symbol more suitable could be found of the progressive steps by which He who is 'the Light of the world' makes sometimes the souls that come to Him partakers of the illumination of his grace. Not all at once are the old errors and the old confusions put to flight; not all at once do they see clearly: for a while there is much of their old blindness remaining, much for a season impairing their vision; they see men but as trees, walking. Yet in good time Christ completes the work which He has begun. • The author,' He is also the finisher of their faith ;' He lays his hands on them anew, and they see every man clearly.”
"And He sent him away to his house, saying, Neither go into the town, nor tell it to any in the town' (cf. Matt. ix. 30; Mark i. 44; vii. 36). The first of these commands seems to contain, and in fact does contain, the second; for if he did not go into the town,' it is certain he could not • tell it to any in the town ;' but St. Mark loves emphatic statements of this kind, and by such repetitions to secure a strong impression on the minds of his readers. Whether on this occasion the Lord was better obeyed tban on so many others, we are not told.
i Calvin: Paulatim cæco visum restituit : quod ideo factum esse probabile est, ut documentum in hoc homine statueret liberæ suæ dispensationis, nec se astrictum esse ad certam normam, quin hoc vel illo modo virtutem suam proferret. Oculos ergo cæci non statim ita illuminat ut officio suo fungantur, sed obscurum illis confusumque intuitum instillat: deinde alterâ manuum impositione integram aciem illis reddit. Ita gratia Christi, quæ in alios repente effusa prius erat, quasi guttatim defluxit in hunc hominem.
Bede: Quem uno verbo totum simul curare poterat, paulatim curat, ut magnitudinem humanæ cæcitatis ostendat, quæ vix et quasi per gradus ad lucem redeat, et gratiam suam nobis indicet, per quam singula perfectionis incrementa adjuvat. Quod autem eum in domum ire præcepit, mystice admonet omnes qui cognitione veritatis illustrantur, ut ad cor suum redeant, et quantum sibi donatum sit sollicitâ mente perpendant.
17. TIIE HEALING OF THE LUNATIC CHILD.
Matt. xvii. 14-21; Mark ix. 14-29; LUKE ix. 37-42.
MHE old adversaries of our Lord, the Scribes, had taken
advantage of his absence on the Mount of Transfiguration, to win a temporary triumph over such of his disciples as He had left behind Him. These had undertaken to cast out an evil spirit of a peculiar malignity, and had proved unequal to the task; 'they could not—weakened as they were by the absence of their Lord; and with Him, of three, the chiefest among themselves—the three in whom, as habitually the nearest to Him, we may suppose his power most mightily resided. It was here again, as it was once before during the absence of Moses with his servant Joshua, on his mount of a fainter transfiguration (Exod. xxxiv. 29). Then, too, in like manner, the enemy, profiting by his absence, awhile prevailed against the people (Exod. xxxii.). And now the Scribes were pressing to the uttermost the advantage which they had gained by this miscarriage of the disciples. A great multitude were gathered round, spectators of the defeat of Christ's servants; and the strife was at the highest,—the Scribes, no doubt, arguing from the impotence of the servants to the impotence of the Master,' and these denying the conclusion ; when suddenly He concerning whom the strife was, appeared, returning from the holy Mount, his face and person yet glistening, as there is reason to suppose, with traces of the glory which
· Calvin: Scribæ victores insultant, nec modo subsannant discipulos, sed proterviunt adversus Christum, quasi in illorum personâ exinanita esset ejus virtus.
had clothed Him there,—and which had not yet disappeared, nor quite faded into the light of common day. But very different was the impression which that glory made from the impression made by the countenance of Moses. When the multitude saw the lawgiver of the elder Covenant, as he came down from his mountain, the skin of his face shining, they were afraid to come nigh him? (Exod. xxxiv. 30); for that glory upon his face was a threatening glory, the awful and intolerable brightness of the law. But the glory of God shining in the face of Christ Jesus, though awful too, is also an attractive glory, full of grace and beauty; it draws men to Him, does not drive them from Him; and thus, indeed, all the people, when they beheld Him, were greatly amazed, such gleams of brightness arrayed Him still; yeť did they not therefore flee from Him, but rather, as the more allured by that brightness, running to Him, saluted Him'' (cf. 2 Cor. iii. 18).
Yet the sights and sounds whicb greeted Him on his return to our sinful world, how different were they from those which He had just quitted upon the boly Mount! There the highest harmonies of heaven; here some of the wildest and harshest discords of earth. There He had been receiving from the Father honour and glory (2 Pet. i. 17); here his disciples, those to whom his work had been intrusted in his absence, had been procuring for Him, as far as in them lay, shame and dishonour. But as when some great captain, suddenly arriving upon a battle-field, where his subordinate lieutenants have wellnigh lost the day and brought all into
| Bengel with his usual beauty: Tangebantur a gloriâ, etiamsi nescirent quid in monte actum esset; cf. Marc. x. 32; Luc. xix. 11; nec non Ex. iv. 14; xxxiv, 29. Occultam cum Deo conversationem facile sentias majorem hominum erga te proclivitatem insequi. Theophylact mentions, though he does not adopt, this explanation : Tuvès oè quoiv örı ý ovis avtoù ωραιοτέρα γινομένη από του φωτός της μεταμορφώσεως, έφείλκετο τους γλους apos tò dc rúbrota. Corn. a Lapide : Quod viderent in vultu Jesu paulo ante transfigurato reliquos adhuc aliquos splendoris radios, sicut Mosi post Dei colloquium in vultu adhæserunt radii, et quasi cornua lucis.
2 These mighty and wondrous contrasts have been embodied by Christian Art. In them lies the idea of Raphael's great picture of the Transfiguration, and its two parts, which so mightily sustain one another.
a hopeless confusion, with his eye measures at once the necessities of the moment, and with no more than his presence causes the tide of victory to turn, and everything to right itself again, so was it now. The Lord arrests the advancing and victorious foe: He addresses Himself to the Scribes ; with the words, “ What question ye with them ?' taking the baffled and hard-pressed disciples under his own protection. What question there is more, henceforth it must be with Him. These, who were so forward to dispute with the servants, do not so readily accept the challenge to contend with the Master. The disciples are as little forward to proclaim their own failure; and thus ' one of the multitude, the father of the poor child on whom the ineffectual attempt at healing had been made, is the first to speak;' kneeling down to Him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son;' and with this declaring the miserable case of his child, and the little help he had obtained from the disciples.
St. Mark paints the whole scene with the hand of a master, and his account of this miracle, compared with those of the other Evangelists, would alone suffice to vindicate for him an original character, and to refute the notion of some, that we have in his Gospel nothing more than an epitome and abridgement, now of the first, and now of the third.' All the symptoms, as put into the father's mouth, or described by the sacred historians, exactly agree with those of epilepsy; -not that we have here only an epileptic; but this was the ground on which the deeper spiritual evils of this child were superinduced. The fits were sudden and lasted remarkably long; the evil spirit 'hardly departeth from him;'_ a dumb
1 Even Augustine consents to this unworthy estimate of the second Gospel (De Cons. Erang. i. 2): Divus Marcus eum [Matthæum) subsequutus, tanquam pedissequus et breviator ejus videtur.
He has quite enough of perfectly independent notices, his and his only, to justify our claim of quite another position for him and for his Gospel. I subjoin references to some of these: i. 13, 20, 29; ii. 14, 27; iii. 17; iv. 26–29; v. 13, 42, 43 ; vi. 13, 40, 43 ; vii. 32–37; viii. 14, 22-26; ix. 49; x. 16, 46, 50; xi. 16, 20; xiii. 3, 32; xiv. 51, 52; xv. 21, 44: xvi. 16-18.
в в 2
spirit,' St. Mark calls it, a statement which does not contradict that of St. Luke, he sudilenly crieth out;' this dumbness was only in respect of articulate sounds; he could give no utterance to these. Nor was it a natural defect, as where the string of the tongue has remained unloosed (Mark viii. 32), or the needful organs for speech are wanting ; nor yet a defect under which he had always laboured; but the consequence of this possession. When the spirit took him in its might, then in these paroxysms of his disorder it tare him, till he foamed ' and gnashed with his teeth : and altogether he pined away like one the very springs of whose life were dried
And while these accesses of his disorder might come upon him at any moment and in any place, they often exposed him to the worst accidents: ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.' In St. Mark the father attributes these fits to the direct agency of the evil spirit :
ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him ;' yet such calamities might equally be looked at as the natural consequences of his unhappy condition.3
1 Lucian (Philopseudes, 16) has ironical allusions, as I must needs think, to this and other cures of demoniacs by our Lord: Iávrac ionou τον Σύρον τον εκ της Παλαιστίνης, τον επί τούτων σοφιστήν, όσους παραλαβών καταπίπτοντας προς την σελήνην και των οφθαλμώ διαστρέφοντας και αφρού πιμπλαμένους το στόμα όμως ανίστησι και αποπέμπει αρτίους επί μισθώ μεγάλο απαλλάξας των δεινών. There is much of interest in the
besides what I have quoted.
? If indeed Enpaiverat has not reference to the stiffness and starkness, the unnatural rigescence of the limbs, in the accesses of the disorder; cf. 2 Kin. xiii. 4, LXX. Such, though not its primary, might well be its secondary, meaning ; since that which is dried up loses its pliability, and the father is describing not the general pining away of his son, but his symptoms when the paroxysm took him. The oed yviacóuevo (in other Greek σεληνιακοί, σεληνόβλητοι) are mentioned once besides in the New Testament (Matt. iv. 24), where they are distinguished from the daipoviLóuevo. The distinction, whatever it was, in the popular language would continually disappear; and the father saying of his son med nviástrat does but express the fact, or rather the consequence, of his possession. The word, like uavia (from uhv) and lunaticus, originally embodied the belief, not altogether unfounded, of the evil influence of the moon (Ps. cxxi. 6) on the human frame (see Creuzer, Symbolik, vol. ii. p. 571).
3 These extracts will abundantly justify wbat was said abore of the symptoms of this child's case being those of one taken with epilepsy.