Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

that the denial, which probably she had made with the rest, for it is said, “all denied,” (Luke viii. 45,) would profit her nothing; unable, too, to escape his searching glance, for “he looked round about to see her,” (Mark v. 32) “came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him,” and this “before all the people, for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately.” Olshausen brings out here, with much beauty, how in all this the loving and gracious dealings of the Son of man, who always sought to make through the healing of the body a way for the healing of the soul, are to be traced. She had borne away a maimed blessing, hardly a blessing at all, had she been suffered to bear it away in secret and unacknowledged. She desired to remain in concealment out of a shame, which, however natural, was untimely here in this crisis of her spiritual life: and this her loving Saviour would not suffer her to do: by a gracious force he drew her from it; yet even here he spared her as far as he could. For not before, but after she is healed, does he require the open confession from her lips. She had found it perhaps altogether too hard, had he demanded it of her before; therefore does he graciously wait till the cure is accomplished, and thus helps her through the narrow way. Altogether spare her this painful passage he could not, for it pertained to her birth into the new life.* And now he dismisses her with words of gracious encouragement, “Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole.”f Her faith had made her whole, and Christ's virtue had made her whole. It is as when we say that faith justifies: our faith is not itself a blessing; but it is the organ by which the blessing is received; it is the right

* Sedulius then has exactly missed the point of the narrative, when of the Lord he says,

---------------- furtumque fidele
Laudat, et ingenuae tribuit suavota rapinae;

for it was precisely this which was deficient in her, that she sought it as a furtum, when she should have claimed it openly: and no less Bernard, (De Divers, Serm. 99) when he makes her the figure of all those who would do good hiddenly, avoiding all human applause: Sunt alii quinonnulla bona occulté faciunt, .... sed tamen furari [regnum coelorum] dicuntur, quia laudem humanam vitantes, solo divino testimonio contenti sunt. Horum figuram tenuit mulier in Evangelio, &c. Rather she is the figure of those who would get good hiddenly, and without an open profession of their faith, who believe in their hearts, but shrink from confessing with their lips, that Jesus Christ is Lord, forgetting that not this alone, but that also is required. (Rom. x.9)

# TERTULLIAN, Adv. Marc, l. 4, c. 20.

# Her faith, ēpyavukoc, Christ's virtue, £vepymrukår. This, as the causa efficiens; that, as the conditio sine quâ non.

hand of the soul, which lays hold upon it. “Go in peace;” this is not merely, Go with a blessing, but, Go into the element of peace as the future element in which thy life shall move;—“and be whole of thy plague.” Theophylact brings out a mystical meaning in this miracle. This woman's complaint represents the ever-flowing fountain of sin; the physicians, the philosophers and wise men of this world, that with all their medicines, their systems and their philosophies, prevailed nothing to stanch that fountain of evil in man's heart. To touch Christ's garment is to believe in his Incarnation, wherein he touched us, enabling us to touch him: whereupon that healing, which in all those other things was vainly sought, follows at once. And if we keep in mind how her uncleanness separated her off as one impure, we shall have here an exact picture of the sinner, drawing nigh to the throne of grace, but out of the sense of his impurity not with boldness, rather with fear and trembling, hardly knowing what there he shall expect; but who is welcomed there, and, all his carnal doubtings and questionings expelled, dismissed with the word of an abiding peace resting upon him.

VIII.

THE OPENING THE EYES OF TWO BLIND IN THE HOUSE.

[ocr errors]

WE have here the first of those healings of the blind whereof so many are recorded (Matt. xii. 22; xx. 30; xxi. 14; John ix.) or alluded to in the Gospel narrative.” Nor is this little history without one or two features distinguishing it from others of a like kind. These two blind men appear to have followed Jesus in the way; it may have been, and Jerome supposes it was, as he was returning from the house of Jairus. Yet one would not lay too much stress on the connection in which St. Matthew sets the miracle, or necessarily conclude that he intended to place it in such immediate relation of time and place with the raising of the ruler's daughter. There was the same trial of the faith of these blind men, although in a more mitigated form, as found place in the case of the Syrophenician woman. Not all at once did they receive the boon which they sought; but the Lord seemed at first rather to withdraw himself from them, suffering them to cry after him, and for a while pay

* Their frequent recurrence need not surprise us; for blindness throughout all the East is a far commoner calamity than with us. For this there are many causes. The dust and flying sand, pulverized and reduced to minutest particles, enters the eyes, causing inflammations, which being neglected, end frequently in total loss of sight. The sleeping in the open air, on the roofs of the houses, and the consequent exposure of the eyes to the noxious nightly dews, is another source of this malady. A modern traveller calculates that there are four thousand blind in Cairo alone, and another that you may reckon twenty such in every hundred persons. It is true that in Syria the proportion of those afflicted with blindness is not at all so great, yet there also the calamity is of far more frequent occurrence than in western lands, so that we find humane regulations concerning the blind as concerning a class in the old Law. (Lev. xix. 14; Deut. xxvii. 18.)

ing no regard to their cries. It was only after they followed him into the house, and had thus shown that they were in earnest in seeking and expecting a boon from him, that he yielded to them the blessing which they sought.” But ere he does this, as he has tried them in deed by the delay of the blessing, he proves them also in word. He will have the confession of their faith from their own lips: “Believe ye that I am able to do this 2 They said unto him, Yea, Lord.” And then, when he found that they had this necessary condition for the receiving any one of his blessings, when he perceived that they had faith to be healed, “he touched their eyes.” And this time it is by that simple touch that he opens those closed eyes; (Matt. xx. 34;) at other times he uses as the conductors of his power, and as helps to the faith of those who should be healed, some further instruments, the clay mingled with spittle, (John ix. 6, 7,) or the moisture of his mouth alone. We do not, I think, anywhere read of his opening the blind eyes simply by his word, although of course that would have been equally easy to him. The words which accompany the act of healing are remarkable—“According to your faith be it unto you,”—remarkable for the insight which they give us into the relation of man's faith and God's gift. The faith, which in itself is nothing, is yet the organ of receiving every thing. It places the man in relation with the divine blessing; of no esteem in itself, but only in its relation to its object. It is the bucket let down into the fountain of God's grace, without which the man could not draw up out of that fountain; the purse, which though itself of the coarsest material, does yet enrich its owner by that which it contains.# It is very characteristic, and rests on very deep differences, that of the Romish interpreters almost all, indeed I know not an exception, should excuse, or rather applaud, these men for not adhering strictly to Christ's command, his earnest, almost threatening, injunction to them, that they should let none know what he had done,—that the expositors of that Church of will-worship should see in their disobedience the over

* Calvin: Re igitur et verbis examinare voluit eorum fidem : suspensos enim tenens, imo praeteriens quasi non exaudiat, patientiae ipsorum experimentum capit, et qualem in ipsorum animis radicem egerit fides.

+ Faith, the bpyavov Amirruków, nothing in itself, yet everything, because it places us in living connection with him in whom every good gift is stored. Thus on this passage Chemnitz (Harm. Evang., c. 68): Fides est instar haustri gratiae coelestis et salutis nostrae, quo ex inscrutabili et inexhausto divinae misericordiae et bonitatis fonte, ad quem aliter penetrare non possumus, haurimus et ad nos attrahimus quod nobis salutare est. Calvin (Inst., iii. 11, 7); Fides etiamsi nullius per se dignitatis sit, vel pretii, nos justificat, Christum afferendo, sicut olla pecuniis referta hominem locupletat.

# 'Eve6ptuñoaro abroic. Suidas explains tuğptuáaffa = herd āret?ic ēvréWAeo6au, Mer’ abarmpórnrog &raruav.

flowings which could not be restrained of grateful hearts, and not therefore a fault but a merit. Some indeed of the ancients, as Theophylact, go so far as to suppose that the men did not disobey at all in proclaiming the miracle, that Christ never intended them to preserve his precept about silence; but gave it out of humility, being best pleased when it was not observed.” But the Reformed, whose first principle is to take God's Word as absolute rule and law, and to worship God not with self. devised services, but after the pattern that he has given them, stand fast to this, that obedience is better than sacrifice, even though that sacrifice may appear in honor of God himself; and see in this publishing of the miracle, after the prohibition given, a blemish in the perfectness of their faith who did it, a fault, though a fault into which they only, who were full of gratitude and thankfulness, could have fallen.

* Thus Aquinas (Summ. Theol., 2* 2°, qu. 104, art. 4): Dominus cascis dixit ut miraculum occultarent, non quasi intendens eos per virtutem divini praecepti obligare; sed sicut Gregorius dicit 19 Moral, servis suisse sequentibus exemplum dedit, utipsi quidem virtutes suas occultare desiderent, et tamen, ut alii eorum exemplo proficiant, prodantur inviti. Cf. MALDoNATUs in loc.

« PoprzedniaDalej »