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unwonted was her cure, that “immediately she arose and ministered unto them,” was able to provide for them what was necessary for their entertainment; a pattern, as has been often observed, in this to every one that has been restored to spiritual health, that he should use this strength in ministering to Christ and to his people.* *
The fame of this miracle and that which immediately preceded it on the same day, spread so rapidly, that “when the even was come,” or as St. Mark has it, “when the sun did set,” they brought to him many more that were variously afflicted. There are two explanations of this little circumstance, which all three Evangelists are careful to record, that it was not till the sun was setting or had actually set, that they brought these sick to Jesus;—either, as Hammond and Olshausen suggest, that they waited till the heat of the middle day, which these sick and suffering were ill able to bear, was past, and brought them in the cool of the evening; or else to say that this day being the Sabbath, (cf. Mark i. 21, 29, 32.) they were unwilling to violate the sacred rest of the day, which they counted they would have done by bringing their sick to be healed; and so, ere they would do this, waited till the Sabbath was ended. It did end, as is well known, at sunset. Thus Chrysostom in one place, although in another he sees in it more generally a sign of the faith and eagerness of the people, who even when the day was spent, still came streaming to Christ, and laying their sick at his feet.
The quotation which St. Matthew makes from Isaiah, after he has recorded the numerous healings which Christ upon that day effected, is not without difficulties; “that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.”f The difficulty does not lie in the fact that St. Peter (1 Pet. ii. 24) quotes the same verse rather as setting forth the Messiah as the bearer of the sins than the healer of the sicknesses of his people. As far as the words go, St. Matthew is nearer to the original, which declares he came under our sicknesses and our sorrows, the penal consequences of our sins. And any apparent difference between the two sacred writers of the New Testament vanishes when we keep in mind the intimate
* Gerhard (Harm. Evang., c. 88): Simul veró docemur, quando spiritualitursa. nati sumus, ut membra nostra praebeamus arma justitiae Dei [Deo?] et ipsi serviamus in justitia et sanctitate coram ipso, inservientes proximo, et membris Christi, sicut haec muliercula Christo et discipulis ministrat.
+ In CRAMER's Catena, v.1, p. 278.
# St. Matthew here forsakes the Septuagint, which would not have answered his purpose, (obroc túc duapriac huāv opet, kal trepi huòv bövvārat) and gives an independent translation.
connection which in Scripture ever appears between moral and physical suffering; and not in Scriptnre only; for many, probably all, languages have a word answering to our “evil,” which bears in its double meaning of sin and of calamity, the deepest witness—for no witness is so deep as the involuntary witness of language—to this connection. But the application of the verse is more embarrassing. Those who have best right to be heard on the matter, deny that “bore” can mean “bore away,” or that “took” can be accepted in the sense of “removed,” and affirm that the words must mean a taking upon himself the sufferings and sorrows from which he delivered his people. But in what sense did our Lord take upon himself the sicknesses which he healed 2 Does it not seem rather that he abolished them, and removed them altogether out of the way It is no doubt a perfectly Scriptural thought, that Christ is the xáSappa, the piaculum, who is to draw to himself all the evils of the world, in whom all are to centre, that in him all may be abolished and done away;-yet he did not become this through the healing of diseases, any more than through any other isolated acts of his life and conversation. He was not more this piacular expiation after he had healed these sicknesses than before. We can under stand his being said in his death and in his passion to come himself under the burden of those sufferings and pains from which he released others; but how can this be affirmed of him when he was engaged in works of beneficent activity? Then he was rather chasing away diseases and pains altogether, than himself undertaking them.* An explanation, which has found favor with many, has been suggested by those words which we have already noticed, that his labors were not ended with the day, but protracted far into the evening-so that he removed indeed sicknesses from others, but with painfulness to himself, and with the weariness attendant upon labors unseasonably drawn out; and thus may not unfitly be said to have taken those sicknesses on himselff Olshausen, though in a somewhat more spiritual
* Some have been tempted to make here Aaps3ávetv and Baaráčew = døaipeiv. (So Tertullian, Adv. Marc., l. 3, c. 17: abstulit.) But this plainly will not suit with the original, where Messias is described not as the physician of, but the sufferer for, men; or at least only the first through being the second.
+ So Woltzogen, whom, despite his Socinian tendencies, here Witsius (Meletem. Leidens., p. 402) quotes with approbation: Adeo ut locus hic prophetae bis fuerit adimpletus; semel cum Christus corporis morbos abstulit ab hominibus non sine summâ molestià ac defatigatione, dum ad vesperam usque circa aegrorum curationem occupatus, quodammodo ipsas hominum aegritudines in se recipiebat.....Altera vice, cüm suis perpessionibus ac morte spiritualiter morbos nostrorum peccatorum a nobis sustulit. Cf. Grotius in loc. Theophylact had led the way to this explanation, finding an emphasis in the fact that the sick were brought to Jesus in the evening, out of manner, gives the same explanation. He says, the obscurity of the passage only disappears when we learn to think more really of the healing activity of Christ, as an actual outstreaming and outbreaking of the fulness of his inner life. As therefore physical exertion physically wearied him, (John iv. 6,) so did spiritual activity long drawn out spiritually exhaust him, and this exhaustion, as all other forms of suffering, he underwent for our sakes. A statement questionable in its doctrine: moreover, I cannot believe that the Evangelist meant to lay any such stress upon the unusual or prolonged labors of this day, or that he would not as willingly have quoted these words in relating any other cure or cures which the Lord performed. Not this day only, even had it been a day of especial weariness, but every day of his earthly life was a coming under, upon his part, of the evils which he removed from others. For that which is the law of all true helping, namely, that the burden which you would lift, you must yourself stoop to and come under, (Gal. vi. 2) the grief which you would console, you must your. self feel with, a law which we witness to as often as we use the words “sympathy” and “compassion,”—was, of course, eminently true in him upon whom the help of all was laid.” Not in this single aspect of his life, namely, that he was a healer of sicknesses, were these words of the prophet fulfilled, but rather in the life itself, which brought him in contact with these sicknesses and these discords of man's inner being, every one of which as a real consequence of sin, and as being at every moment contemplated by him as such, did press with a living pang into the holy soul of the Lord. Not so much the healing of these sicknesses was Christ's bearing of them; but his burden was that there were these sicknesses to heal. He “bore” them, inasmuch as he bore the mortal suffering life, in which alone he could bring them to an end, and at length swallow up death in victory.
season, (trapa kapov,) though he does not bring that circumstance into connection with these words of Isaiah.
* Hilary (in loc.): Passione corporis sui infirmitates humanac imbecillitatis absorbens. In Schoettgen's Hor. Heb. (in loc.), there is a remarkable quotation to the aame effect from the book Sohar.
THE RAISING OF THE WIDOW'S SON.
LUKE vii. 11–16.
The city whither our Lord was bound, and at the gate of which this great miracle was wrought, is not mentioned elsewhere in Scripture. It lay upon the southern border of Galilee, and on the road to Jerusalem, whither our Lord was probably mow going to keep the second passover of his new ministry. That our Lord should meet the funeral at the gate of the city, while it belonged no doubt to the wonder-works of God's grace, while it was one of those marvellous coincidences which, seeming accidental, are yet deep laid in the councils of his wisdom and of his love, is at the same time a natural circumstance, to be explained by the fact that the Jews did not suffer the interring of the dead in towns, but had their burial-places without the walls. Probably there was very much in the circumstances of the sad procession which he now met, to arouse the compassion even of them who were not touched with so lively a feeling for human sorrows as was the compassionate Saviour of men; and it was this which had brought that “much people” to accompany the bier. Indeed, there could little be added to the words of the Evangelist, whose whole narrative here, apart from its deeper interest, is a master-work for its perfect beauty—there could be little added to it to make the picture of desolation more complete—“There was a dead man carried out,” the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.” The bitterness of the mourning for an only son had passed into a proverb; thus, Jer. vi. 26, “Make thee mourning as for an only son, most bitter lamentations;” and Zech. xii. 10, “They shall mourn for him as one mourneth for his only son;” Amos viii. 10, “I will make it as the mourning of an only son.”
“And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.” How different this “Weep not,” from the “Weep not” which often proceeds from the lips of earthly comforters, who, even while they speak the words, give no reason why the mourner should cease from weeping; but he that is come that he may one day make good that word, “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain,” (Rev. xxi. 4) does show now some effectual glimpses of his power, wiping away, though not yet for ever, the tears from the weeping eyes of that desolate mother. Yet, as Olshausen has observed, it would be an error to suppose that compassion for the mother was the determining motive for this mighty spiritual act on the part of Christ: for, in that case, had the joy of the mother been the only object which he had in view, the young man who was raised would have been used merely as a means, which yet no man can ever be. That joy of the mother was indeed the nearest consequence of the act, but not the final cause;—that, though at present hidden, was, no doubt, the spiritual awakening of the young man for a higher life, through which, indeed, alone the joy of the mother became a true and an abiding joy.
The drawing nigh and touching the bier was meant as an intimation to the bearers that they should arrest their steps, and one which they understood, for immediately “they that bare him stood still.” Then follows the word of power, and spoken, as ever, in his own name, “Young man, I say unto thee, Arise;”—I, that am the Resurrection and the Life, quickening “the dead, and calling those things which be not, as though they were.” And that word was heard, for “he that was dead sat up, and began to speak.” Christ rouses from the bier as easily as another would rouse from the bed,”—different in this even from his own messengers and ministers in the Old Covenant; for they, not without an effort, not without a long and earnest wrestling with God, won back its prey from the jaws of death; and this, because there dwelt not the fulness of power in them, who were but as servants in the house of another, not as a son in his own house.}
* Augustine (Serm. 98, c. 2): Nemo tam facile excitat in lecto, quâm facile Christus in sepulcro.
# See what has been said already, p. 33. Thus too Massillon, in a sermon Sur la Divinité de Jésus-Christ, has these eloquent remarks: Elie ressuseite des morts, il est vrai; mais il est obligé de se coucher plusieurs fois sur le corps de l'enfant qu'il ressuscite: il souffle, il se retrécit, il s'agite: on voit bien qu'il invoque une puissance étrangère: qu'il rappelle de l'empire de la mortune âme qui n'est pas soumise à sa voix: et qu'il n'est parlui-même le maitre de la mort et de la vie. Jésus-Christ