Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

where, as men have felt strongly and deeply, and desired to make others feel so, they have had recourse to such a language as this, which has many advantages for bringing home its truth. When Hannibal, for instance, as he was advancing into Italy, set some of his captives to fight,” placing before them freedom and presents and rich armor for the victor, and at least escape from present extreme misery for the slain; who does not feel that he realized to his army the blessings which not victory alone, but even the other alternative of death, would give them, in affording release from the intolerable evils of their present state, as words could never have done? or that Diogenes expressed his contempt for humanity by his noonday lantern more effectually than by all his scornful words he could ever have expressed it? As the Cynic, so too the Hebrew prophets, though in quite another temper, would oftentimes weave their own persons into such parabolic acts, would use themselves as part of their own symbol, and that because nothing short of this would satisfy the earnestness with which the truth of God, whereof they desired to make others partakers, possessed their own souls. (Ezek. xii. 1–12; Acts xxi. 11.) And thus, too, not this only, but many actions of our Lord's were such an embodied teaching, the incorporation of an act, having a deeper significance than lay upon the surface, and being only entirely intelligible when we recognize in them a significance such as this. (Matt. xxi. 18, 19; John xxi. 19.) Christ being the Word, his deeds who is the Word, are themselves also words for us..?

* Poly BIUs, Hist., l.2, c. 62,

+ Lampe: In umbră praemonstrabatur quâm laeto successu in omni labore, quem in nomine Dei suscepturi essent, piseaturam praecipue mysticam inter gentes instituentes, gravisuri sint. Grotius, who is much more forward to admit mystical meanings in the Scripture than in general he is given credit for, whether that is for his praise or the contrary, finds real prophecy in many of the subordinate details of this miracle: Libenter igitur hic veteres sequor, qui praecedentis historiae hoc putant esse to d?? myopoćuevov, Apostolos non suapte industria sed Christi imperio ac virtute expansis Evangelii retibus tantam facturos capturam, ut opus habituri sint subsidiariä multorum ebayyežtaróv operá; atque ita impletum iri non unam navem, Judaeorum scilicet, sed et alteram gentium, sed quarum navium futura sit arcta atque indivulsa societas. Cyril of Alexandria (see CRAMER's Catena, in loc.) had anticipated this; and compare also Theophylact, (in loc.) who besides the above, finds one more significant circumstance; the night during which they had taken nothing was the time of the law; but there was then no success, nor a kingdom of God with all men pressing into it, till Christ was come, and he had given the word.

f Augustine (In Ev. Joh., Tract. 24): Nam quia ipse Christus Verbum est,etiam factum Verbi verbum nobis est. Ep. 102, qu. 6: Nam sicut humana consuetudo ver. bis, ita divina potentia etiam factis loquitur.

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

THE three Evangelists who relate this history agree in placing it immediately before the healing of the possessed in the country of the Gadarenes. It was evening, the evening probably, of that day on which the Lord had spoken all those parables recorded in Matt. xiii. (cf. Mark iv. 35), when, dismissing the multitude, he would fain pass over to the other side of the lake, and so, for a little while, withdraw from the tumult and the press. With this intention, he was received by the disciples “even as he was” in the ship.” But before the transit was accomplished, a sudden and violent squall, such as these small inland seas, surrounded with mountain gorges, are notoriously exposed to, descended on the bosom of the lake: and the ship which bore the Saviour of the world appeared to be in imminent peril, as, humanly speaking, no doubt it was; for these men, exercised to the sea many of them from their youth, and familiar with all the changes of that lake, would not have been terrified by the mere shadow of a danger. But though the danger was so real, and was ever growing more urgent, until “the waves beat into the ship, so that now it was full,” their Master, weary, it may be, after the toils of the day, continues sleeping still: he was, with details which St. Mark alone has preserved, “in the hinder part of the ship, asleep upon a pillow ;” and was not roused by all the tumult and confusion incident on such a moment. We behold him here as exactly the reverse of Jonah; the prophet asleep in the midst of a like danger through a dead conscience, the Saviour out

[ocr errors]

of a pure conscience—Jonah by his presence making the danger, Jesus yielding the pledge and the assurance of deliverance from the danger.” But the disciples understood not this. It was long, probably, before they dared to arouse him; yet at length they did so, and then with exclamations of haste and terror; as is evidenced by the double “Master, master,” of St. Luke. In St. Mark, they awaken him with words almost of rebuke, as if he were unmindful of their safety, “Master, carest thou not that we perish #" though no doubt they meant in this “we” to include their beloved Lord as well as themselves. Then the Lord arose; from St. Mark it would appear, first blaming their want of faith, and then pacifying the storm; though the other Evangelists make the blame not to have gone before, but to have followed after, the allaying of the winds and waves. Probably it did both: he spoke first to them, quieting with a word the tempest in their bosoms; and then, having allayed the tumult of the outward elements, be again turned to them, and more leisurely blamed them for their lack of faith in him.t Yet is it to be observed that he does not, in St. Matthew, call them “without faith,” but “of little faith.”$ They were not wholly without faith; for, believing in the midst of their unbelief, they turned to Christ in their need. They had faith, but it was not quick and lively, it was not at hand as it should have been ; “Where is your faith ?” as in St. Luke he asks; so that it was like a weapon which a soldier has, but yet has mislaid, and cannot lay hold of in the moment of extremest need. The imperfection of their faith consisted not in this, that they appealed

* Jerome (Comm. in Matth., in loc.): Hujus signi typum in Jona legimus, quando ceteris periclitantibus ipse securus est et dormit et suscitatur: et imperio ac sacramento Passionis suae liberat suscitantes. + On the different exclamations of fear which the different Evangelists put into the mouth of the disciples, Augustine says excellently well (De Cons. Evang., l. 2, c. 24): Una eademque sententia est excitantium Dominum, volentiumque salvari: nec opus est quaerere quid horum potius Christo dictum sit. Sive enim aliquid horum trium dixerint, sive alia verba quae nullus Evangelistarum commemoravit, tantumdem tamen valentia ad eandem sententiae veritatem, quid ad rem interest? And presently after (c.28): Per hujusmodi Evangelistarum locutiones varias, sed non contrarias, rem planè utilissimam discimus et pernecessariam; nihil in cujusque verbis nos debere inspicere, nisi voluntatem, cui debent verba servire: nec mentiri quemquam, si aliis verbis dixerit quid ille voluerit, cujus verba non dicit; ne miseri aucupes vocum, apicibus quodammodo literarum putent ligandam esse veritatem, cum utique non in verbis tantùm, set etiam in caeteris omnibus signis animorum, non sit nisi ipse animus inquirendus. Cf. c. 66, in fine. # Theophylact: IIpyrov traúaac Töv xetuáva to puxsic airów, táre Asset kai Tôv rio 6a7 doom.c. § Not &miorot, but 824ydruarot. The “How is it ye have no faith?" of St. Mark, must be overruled and explained by this word, and not vice versd.

unto their Lord for help, for herein was faith;* but in the ercess of their terror, in their counting it possible that the ship which bore their Lord, could ever truly perish.; But especially noticeable are the words with which that Lord, as all three Evangelists relate, quieted the storm. He “rebuked the winds and the sea;” in the spirit of which words St. Mark relates, further, a more direct address to the furious elements, “Peace, be still,”; which it would be absurd to suppose a mere oratorical personification. Rather, as Maldonatus truly remarks, there is in these words a distinct recognition of Satan and the powers of evil as the authors of the disharmony in the outward world, a tracing of all these disorders up to their source in a person, a carrying of them back to him as to their ultimate ground. The Lord elsewhere uses the same form of address to a fever, for it is said that he rebuked it, (Luke iv. 39) where the same remarks will hold good. And in the hour of her wildest uproar, nature yielded obedience unto him, who was come to reassert man's dominion over her, and over the evil powers, which held her in thrall, and had made her, who should have always been his willing handmaid, to be oftentimes the instrument of his harm and ruin.S. And his word was sufficient for this. He needed not, as Moses, to stretch a rod over the deep; he needed not, as his servant had needed, an instrument of power, foreign to himself, with which to do his mighty work; but only at his word “the wind ceased,

* Something of the same kind we see in John the Baptist. No doubt there was a shaking of his faith before he could send to Jesus with the question, “Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?” (Matt. xi. 3;) but that he sent to Jesus and to no other to resolve him this doubt, proved that the faith which was assaulted, yet was not overthrown. # They are blamed, not for fearing, but for being ot to det?oi. Calvin: Quà particulá notateos extra modum pavescere; .... quemlibet veró timorem non esse fidei contrarium, inde patet, quod si nihil metuimus, obrepit supina carnis securitas. # Støra, Teófuoco. We may compare Ps. cwi. 9: “He rebuked (ortriumae, LXX.) the Red Sea also,” although there, as in a poem, the same stress cannot be laid on the word as here. § A notable specimen of the dexterity with which a neological interpretation may be insinuated into a book of geography occurs in Röhm's Palästina, p. 59, in many respects a useful manual of the Holy Land. Speaking of this lake, and the usual gentleness and calmness of its waters, he adds, that it is from time to time disturbed by squalls from the neighboring hills, which yet, “last not long, nor are very perilous. (Matt. viii. 23–27.)” What his reference to this passage means is at once clear, and may be seen more largely expressed in Kuinoel, or any other rationalist commentary, in loc. I 'Exáradev, as one ceases out of weariness (Korášo, from kóroc). Ta’ivn, probably not, as some propose, from ydźa, to express the soft milky color of the calm sea, and there was a great calm.” And then is added the moral effect which this great wonder exercised on the minds of those that were in the ship with him;-it may be, also on those that were in the “other little ships,” which St. Mark has noted as sailing in their company: “The men mar velled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him * an exclamation which only can find its answer in another exclamation of the Psalmist, “O Lord God of Hosts, who is like unto thee? Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them.” (Ps. lxxix. 8, 9.)” We see then here one of the moral purposes to which, in the providence of God, who ordered all things for the glory of his Son, this miracle should serve. It should lead his disciples into thoughts ever higher and more awful of that Lord whom they followed, and should more and more bring them to feel that in nearness to him was all safety and deliverance from every danger. The danger which exercised, should strengthen their faith, who indeed had need of a mighty faith, since God, in St. Chrysostom's words, had chosen them to be the athletes of the universe.} An old expositor has somewhat boldly said, “This power of the Lord's word, this admiration of them that were with him in the ship, holy David had predicted in the Psalms, saying, “They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters, these see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep,” and so forward. (Ps. cwiii. 23–30.) And as in the spiritual world, the inward is ever shadowed forth by the outward, we may regard this outward fact but as the clothing of an inward truth which in the language of this miracle the Lord declares unto men. He would set himself forth as the true Prince of Peace, (Isai. xi. 6–9) as the speaker of peace to the troubled and storm-stirred heart of man, whether the storms that stir it be his own in

but from ye740. So Catullus, describing the gently-stirred water-leni resonant plangore cachinni. * Tertullian (Adv. Marc., l. 4, c. 20): Quum transfretat, Psalmus expungitur, Dominus, inquit, super aquas multas [Ps. xxxix. 3]: quum undas freti discutit, Abacuc adimpletur, Dispargens, inquit, aquas itinere [Hab, iii. 15]: quum ad minas ejus eliditur mare, Naum quoque absolvitur; Comminans, inquit, mari, et arefaciens illud, [Nah. i. 4,] utique cum ventis quibus inquietabatur. + Bengel: Jesus habebat scholam ambulantem, et in ea scholā multö solidius instituti sunt discipuli, quâm si sub tecto unius collegii sine ullá solicitudine atque tentatione vixissent.—The fact which has perplexed some, that, apparently, the apostles were never baptized, at least with Christ's baptism, has been by others curiously enough explained, that as the children of Israel were baptized into Moses in the Red Sea, (1 Cor. x. 2.) so the apostles were in this storm baptized into Christ. Tertullian (De Bapt., c. 12): Alii planè satis coacté injiciunt, tune apostolos baptismi vicem implésse, quum in navicula fluctibus adspersi operti sunt.

« PoprzedniaDalej »