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the wonder more or less closely links itself. That divine power which dwelt in Christ, restored, as in the case of the sick, the halt, the blind; it multiplied, as the bread in the wilderness; it changed into a nobler substance, as the water at Cana; it quickened and revived, as Lazarus and the daughter of Jairus ; it brought together, as here, by wonderful coincidences, the already existing; but, as far as our records reach, it formed no new limbs; it made no bread, no wine, out of nothing; it created no new men: never passed over on any one occasion into the region of absolute creation."
The allegorical interpretations, or rather uses, of this miracle, for they are seldom intended for more, have not in them much to attract; neither that of Clement of Alexandria,2 that each skilful “fisher of men' will, like Peter, remove the coin of pride and avarice and luxury, from the mouth of them whom he has drawn up by the hook of the Gospel from the waste waters of the world ; nor yet that which St. Ambrose brings forward, wherein the stater plays altogether a different, indeed an opposite, part;3 nor has Augustine’s 4 more to draw forth our assent. It is superfluous to press further a miracle already. so rich in teaching as this approves itself to be.
1 The accounts are numerous of precious things found in the bellies of fishes. The story of Polycrates' ring is well known (Herodotus, iii. 42); and in Jewish legend Solomon, having lost his ring of power, recovers it in the same unexpected way (Eisenmenger, Entdeckt. Judenth. vol. i.
Augustine (De Civ. Dei, xxii. 8) records a like incident in his own day, in which he sees a providential dealing of God, answering the prayer, and supplying the need, of one of his servants.
* Pædag. ii. vol. i. p. 172, Potter's ed.; cf. Origen, Comm. in Matt. for the same.
3 Hexaëm. v. 6: Ideo misit retia, et complexus est Stephanum, qui de Evangelio primus ascendit [rov ávaßárta apùtov] habens in ore suo staterem justitiæ. Unde confessione constanti clamavit, dicens: Ecce video cælos apertos, et Filium hominis stantem ad dexteram Dei. So Hilary, Comm. in Matt, in loc.
• Enarr. in Ps. cxxxvii. 8: Primum surgentem de mari, primogenitum a mortuis; for by Him, he says, with the error which runs through his whole interpretation, ab exactione hujus seculi liberamur.
29. THE RAISING OF LAZARUS.
John xi. 1-54
ST. JOHN expressly states towards the close of his Gospel
that there were many signs wrought by the Lord in the presence of his disciples which were not written in his book, but that enough were recorded to make evident that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God (xx. 30, 31; xxi. 35). He has indeed shown a remarkable restraint, even a parsimony, in the commemoration of these. He has in no instance more than one miracle of the same kind ; thus one healing of the lame (v.9), one opening of blind eyes (ix. 7), one raising from the dead, namely this of Lazarus; and, as wrought by the Lord in the days of his flesh, only seven miracles in all—these seven again dividing themselves into two groups, of four and of three ; four wrought in Galilee, and three in Judæa. When we call to mind the frequent grouping by seven both in his Gospel and in the Apocalypse, we can hardly account this number accidental. We have now reached the last of this seven; it is not for nothing that it should thus be the last, and so occupy the place which it does just at the close of Christ's ministry on earth. He who was Himself so soon to taste of death will show Himself by this infallible proof the Lord of life and conqueror of death ; who, redeeming the soul of another from the grave, would assuredly not lack the power to redeem his own from the same.
It must always remain a mystery why this miracle, transcending as it does all other miracles which the Lord
wrought, so memorable in itself, drawing after it the consequences which it did (John xi. 33), should have been past over by the three earlier Evangelists, and left for the latest to record. The utmost that can be hoped is to suggest some probable explanation. Thus, some have urged, as Grotius and Olshausen, that the earlier Evangelists, writing in Palestine, and while Lazarus or some of his family yet survived, would not willingly draw attention, and, it might be, persecution, upon them (see John xii. 10); while St. John, who wrote at a much later date, and not in Palestine, but in Asia Minor, had no such motive for keeping this miracle out of sight. The omission on their part, and the mention upon his, will then correspond to a like omission and mention of the name of the disciple who smote off the ear of the High Priest's servant, St. John alone recording that it was Peter who struck the blow (xviii. 10). But how unsatisfying an explanation is this! It would account at the utmost for the silence of St. Matthew; not for St. Mark's, whose Gospel was probably written at Rome; for St. Luke's as little, who wrote for his friend Theophilus, whom many intimations make us conclude to have lived in Italy. And the danger itself, how hard it is to imagine that this should actually have existed! There may have been, we know there was, such at the first moment; but how much must have altered since, what new objects of hostility arisen : not to say that if there was danger, and such as a mention of this miracle wrought on him would enhance, yet Lazarus would as little himself have shrunk, as those who loved him would have wished to withdraw him, from honourable peril, incurred for
1 Hengstenberg reminds us of similar phenomena in the relation between the Books of Kings and of Chronicles. The former, not to speak of other omissions, passes over altogether the great confederacy of the desert tribes in the times of King Jehoshaphat, with the deliverance which was divinely wrought for Judah ; and it is only in the Chronicles that any record of these events is to be found; and this, although nothing less than the existence of the nation was then at stake; and Ps. xlvii., xlviii., lxxxiii. all testify how profound the impression on the mind of the people which the danger, and the deliverance from the danger, had wrought.
Christ's sake. Neither be nor they could have desired that a work revealing so much of the glory of the Lord should remain untold, lest persecution or danger might from the telling accrue to him, or to some dear to him. Others, as Neander, feeling the insufficiency of this explanation, have observed how the three earlier Evangelists report few miracles save those which were wrought in Galilee, leaving those of Jerusalem and its neighbourhood nearly untouched; and that so they have omitted this.' This is perfectly true; but is no explanation, only a re-stating in other words of the fact which needs explanation; and the question still remains, Why they should have done so ? and to this it is difficult to find now the satisfactory answer. That the earlier Evangelists did not know of this wondrous work cannot for an instant be admitted. One of them, St. Matthew, was an eye-witness of it, no less than St. John; and two of them record the feast in Simon's house which grew immediately from it (Matt. xxvi. 6 ; Mark xiv. 3).
Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. This . Now, or · But, which would be preferable, connects with what just had gone before, and indicates how it came to pass that the safer and more retired life of the Lord (see x. 39-42) was brought to a close, and He once more drawn into the perilous neighbourhood of the city which was the chief seat of his bitterest foes. Lazarus, who appears now for the first time
1 Leben Jesu, p. 357.
2 Stanley (Sinai and Palestine, p. 186): 'Bethany, a wild mountain hamlet, screened by an intervening ridge from the view of the top of Olivet, perched on its broken plateau of rock, the last collection of human habitations before the desert hills which reach to Jericho,—this is the modern village of El-Lazarieh, which derives its name from its clustering round the traditional site of the one house and grave which give it an undying interest. High in the distance are the Perean mountains; the foreground is the deep descent to the Jordan valley. On the further side of that dark abyss Martha and Mary knew that Christ was abiding when they sent their messengers ; up that long ascent they had often watched his approach ; up that long ascent He came when, outside the village, Martha and Mary met Him, and the Jews stood round weeping.'
in the Evangelical history, and the manner of whose introduction marks that he was one hitherto unknown to St. John's readers, is described by him as “from (åtó) Bethany, of (éx) the town of Mary and Martha. Some have urged that these two prepositions denote different facts, the first the place of his present residence, namely Bethany, the second the town or village from which he originally came. But this is assuredly a mistake. The later clause is added not as stating a new fact, but to prevent any misapprehension in one mentioned just before, to make plain, which Bethany was intended. There were two villages of this name. In addition to this Bethany, another 'beyond Jordan ;' for 'Bethany,' not ‘Bethabara,' is the proper reading of John i. 28. It was so read, Origen assures us, in nearly all copies of his day; and Bethany,' having the authority of the best MSS. and of most of the elder Versions, has now obtained a place in all the chief critical editions of the text. Lazarus might be, and was, unknown to St. John's readers, but with Mary and Martha they were familiar. The Evangelist has not himself named them yet; but here as everywhere he assumes an acquaintance on the part of his readers with the preceding Gospels, and in St. Luke's, as all are aware, the two sisters, though not the brother, appear (x. 38-42). When therefore he designates Bethany as 'the town of Mary and Martha,' he at once makes evident which Bethany he meant.
Let me say by the way that this reference leaves little doubt upon my mind that the certain village,"? in which
1 Greswell, for example, in an ingenious essay, On the Village of Mary and Martha (Dissert, vol. ii. p. 545). But a change of the preposition with no change of the meaning, such as we have here, is sufficiently common in Greek; see Sophocles, Electra, 700, seq.; and Kühner, Greek Gramm. vol. ii. p. 319; see moreover John i. 44, where exactly the same use of añó and ex occurs, and which is quite decisive in respect of their intention here. It may, indeed, be a question whether the comma after Lazarus should not be removed, and Lazarus of Bethany ( = Lazarus Bethaniensis) be read in one breath.
? Kösun there as here, though translated there village,' and here town.'