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supposed, but the atoning death of Christ was that which should bind together all men into one fellowship: “I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” The law was rather a wall of separation; it was only that death which could knit together. We may compare Ephes. ii. 13–22, as the great commentary of St. Paul on these words of St. John.” The term “children of God,” is probably applied here by anticipation,-those that, through obeying his call when it reached them, should become hereafter his children. Exactly in the same way, and in a parallel passage, Christ says, “Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold,” (John x. 16.) others that should be his sheep. There is perhaps a subordinate sense in which they might be termed the children of God already-they were the nobler natures, although now run wild, among the heathen, the “sons of peace” that should receive the message of peace; (Luke x. 6;) in a sense, “of the truth,” even while they were sharing much of the falsehood round them, so “of the truth” that, when the King of truth came and lifted up his banner in the world, they gladly ranged themselves under it. (John xviii. 37; cf. Luke viii. 15; John iii. 19—21.)
It had now come to a solemn decree on the part of the Sanhedrim, that Jesus should be put to death, and from that day forth there were continual counsels among them how his death might be brought about: but he, whose hour was not yet come, withdrew himself awhile from their malice to the neighborhood of the desert country lying northward of Jerusalem, there to abide, till the approach of the Passover should bring him back to the city, to supply at length the true Paschal Lamb.
In the ancient Church there was ever found, besides the literal, an allegorical interpretation of this and the two other miracles of the like kind. As Christ raises those that are naturally dead, so also does he quicken them that are spiritually dead; and the history of this miracle, as it abounds the most in details, so was it the most fruitful field on which the allegorists exercised their skill. Here they found the whole process of the sinner's restoration from the death of sin to a perfect spiritual life shadowed forth; and these allegories are often rich in manifold adaptations of the history, as beautiful as they are ingenious, to that which it is made to set out.f Nor was this all; for these three
* It is notable that the word £600; is here more than once used for the Jewish nation. In general this is the word used for the Gentiles, and “the people” are honored with the title of Aačc, as at Luke ii. 32. Bengel thinks it not accidental: Johannes non jam appellat Aaov populum, politia exspirante.
ł See, for instance, August.INE, Quaest. 83, qu.65; BERNARD, De Assum, Serm. 4
raisings from the dead were often contemplated not apart, not as each portraying exactly the same truth, but in their connection with one another; as setting forth one and the same truth under different and successive aspects. It was observed how we have the record of three persons that were restored to life, one, the daughter of Jairus, being raised from the bed; another, the son of the widow, from the bier; and lastly, Lazarus, from the grave. And it is even thus, men said, that Christ raises to newness of life sinners of all degrees; not only those who have just fallen away from truth and holiness, like the maiden who had just expired, and in whom, as with a taper just extinguished, it was by comparison easy to kindle a vital flame anew;-but he raises also them who, like the young man borne out to his burial, have been some little while dead in their trespasses. Nor has he even yet exhausted his power; for he quickens them also who, like Lazarus, have lain long festering in their sins, as in the corruption of the grave, who were not merely dead, but buried, with the stone of evil customs and evil habits laid to the entrance of their tomb, and seeming to forbid all egress thence:* even this he rolls away, and bids them to come forth, loosing the bands of their sins; so that anon we see them sitting down with the Lord at his table, there where there is not the foul odor of the grave, but where the whole house is full of the sweet fragrance of the ointment of Christ. (John xii. 1–3.)
* Gregory the Great (Moral., l. 22, c. 15): Veni foras; ut nimirum homo in
peccato suo mortuus, et per molem malae consuetudinis jam sepultus, quia intra conscientiam suam absconsus jacet per nequitiam, à semetipso foras exeat per confessionem. Mortuo enim, Veni foras, dicitur, ut ab excusatione atque occultatione peccati ad accusationem suam ore proprio exire provocetur. And he refers to 2 Sam. xii. 13. Thus, too, the Christian poet:
Extra portam jam delatum,
Jam foetentem, tumulatum,
Vitta ligat, lapis urget;
Sed si jubes, hic resurget.
Jube, lapis revolvetur,
Jube, vitta dirumpetur,
Exiturus nescit moras,
Postguam clamas; Exi foras.
+ Sometimes Augustine makes the stone to be the Law. Thus In Ev. Joh, Tract. 49: Quid est ergo, Lapidem removete 7....Littera occidens, quasi lapis est premens. Removete, inquit, lapidem. Removete Legis pondus, Gratiam praedicate. And, “Loose him and let him go,” is sometimes referred to the release from Church censures. It was Christ's word which quickened the dead; yet afterwards he used men for the restoring entire freedom of action to him whom he had quickened. Thus AugustiNE, Enarr. in Ps. ci. 21; and Serm. 98, c. 6: Ille suscitavit mortuum, illi solverunt ligatum.
# We nowhere find the other raisings from the dead as affording subjects for early Christian Art; but this most frequently, and in all its stages. Sometimes it is Martha kneeling at the feet of Jesus; sometimes the Lord is touching with his wonder-staff the head of Lazarus, who is placed upright, (which is a mistake, and a transfer of Egyptian customs to Judaea,) and rolled up as a mummy, (which was nearly correct,) in a niche of the grotto; sometimes he is coming forth from thence at the word of the Lord. (MUENTER, Sinnbilden d. alt. Christ, v.2, p. 98.) From a sermon of Asterius we learn that it was a custom in his time, and Chrysostom tells us it was the same among the wealthy Byzantines, to have this and many other miracles of our Lord woven on their garments. “Here mayest thou see,” says Asterius, “the marriage in Galilee and the waterpots, the impotent man that carried his bed on his shoulders, the blind man that was healed with clay, the woman that had an issue of blood and touched the hem of his garment, the awakened Lazarus; and with this they count themselves pious, and to wear garments well-pleasing to God.” How closo on the edge of not unlike superstitions do we find ourselves at this day.
THE OPENING THE EYES OF TWO BLIND MEN NEAR JERICHO,
This is one of the events in the life of our Lord which has put the ingenuity of Scripture harmonists to the stretch. The apparent discrepancies which it is their task to reconcile are these. St. Matthew makes our Lord to have restored sight to two blind men, and this as he was going out of Jericho. St. Luke appears at first sight to contradict both these facts, for he makes the cure to have taken place at his coming nigh to the city, and the healed to have been but one; while St. Mark seems to stand between them, holding in part to one of his fellow Evangelists, in part to the other. He with St. Luke names but one whose eyes were opened, but consents with St. Matthew in placing the miracle, not at the entering into, but the going out from, Jericho, so that the narratives curiously cross and interlace one another. To escape all difficulties of this kind there is of course the ready expedient always at hand, that the sacred historians are recording different events, and that therefore there is nothing to reconcile, although oftentimes this is an escape from difficulties of one kind, which only really involves in far greater embarrassments of another. Thus, accepting this solution, we must believe that twice, or even thrice, in the immediate neighborhood of Jericho, our Lord was besought in almost the same words by blind beggars on the wayside for mercy;-that on every occasion there was a multitude accompanying him, who sought to silence the vociferations of the claimants, but did only cause them to cry the more;—that in each case Jesus stood still and demanded what they wanted;—that in each case they made the same reply in very nearly the same words;–and a great deal more. All this is so unnatural, so improbable, so unlike any thing of actual life, so unlike the infinite variety which the Gospel incidents present, that any solution seems preferable to this. There are three apparently discordant accounts, none of them entirely agreeing with any other: but they can at once be reduced to two by that rule, which in all reconciliations of parallel histories must be held fast, namely, that the silence of one narrator is not to be assumed as the contradiction of the statement of another; thus St. Mark” and St. Luke, making especial mention of one blind man, do not contradict St. Matthew, who mentions two. There remains only the difficulty that by one Evangelist the healing is placed at the Lord's entering into the city, by the others at his going out. This is not, I think, sufficient to justify a duplication of the fact.f Nor have I any doubt that Bengel, with his usual happy tact, has selected the right reconciliation of the difficulty;f namely, that one cried to him as he drew near the city, Ś but that he did not cure him then, but on the morrow at his going out of the city cured him together with the other, to whom in the meanwhile he had joined himself—the Evangelist relating by prolepsis, as is so common with all historians, the whole of the event where he first intro
* Augustine (De Cons. Evang, l. 2, c. 65): Procul dubio itaque Bartimaeus iste Timaei filius ex aliquá magnâ felicitate dejectus, notissimae et famosissimae miseriae fuit, quod non solilm caecus, verúm etiam mendicus sedebat. Hinc est ergo quod ipsum solum voluit commemorare Marcus, cujus illuminatio tam claram famam huic miraculo comparavit, quam erat illius nota calamitas. Cf. Quaest. Evang. l. 2, c. 48. + Some, indeed, equally in old times and in modern, have seen themselves bound m to such a conclusion:-thus Augustine (De Cons. Evang, l.2, c. 65), who expresses himself strongly on the matter; Lightfoot (Harmony of the N. T., sect. 69); and, in our own time, Mr Greswell. On the other hand, Theophylact, Chrysostom, Maldonatus, Grotius, have with more or less confidence maintained that we have here but one and the same event. + Bengel: Marcus unum commemorat Bartimaeum, insigniorem, (x. 46,) eundemaue Lucas (xviii. 35) innuit, qui transponendae historiae occasionem exinde habuit, quod cacorum alter, Jesu Hierichuntem intrante, in vià notitiam divini hujus medici acquisivit. Salvator dum apud Zacchaeum pranderet, vel pernoctaret potius, Bartimaeo cacorum alter, quem Matthaeus adjungit, interim associatus est. I observe Maldonatus had already fallen upon the same. § The explanation of Grotius is, that ēv rift ty)isew of Luke does not necessarily mean, and does not here mean, When he was drawing near to, but, When he was in the neighborhood of and that this nearness to the city might equally have been, and in this case was, the nearness of one who had just departed from the city, and not that of one who was now advancing to the city. But, to set aside whether the words can mean this, the narrative, which follows, of Zaccheus, (introduced with a kai elaežňáv,) is wholly against the supposition that St. Luke means to signify by those words that the Lord was now leaving Jericho.