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the departed, the image it may be of years long before, reappears in perfect calmness and in almost ideal beauty. Which things being so, we shall at once recognise in the quickening of him that had been four days dead, a yet mightier wonder than in the raising of the young man who was borne out to his burial; since that burial, according to Jewish custom, would have followed death by an interval, at most, of a single day; and again in that miracle a mightier outcoming of Christ's power than in the present, wherein life's flame, like some newly-extinguished taper, was still more easily re-enkindled again, being brought in contact with him in whom was the fountain-flame of all life. Mightier also than any of these wonders, will be the wonder of that hour, when all the dead of old, that have lain, some of them for so many thousand years, in the dust of death, shall be summoned from and shall leave their graves at the same quickening voice.
7. THE WOMAN WITH AN ISSUE OF
In all three accounts which we have of this miracle, it is intertwined with that other of the raising of Jairus' daughter. As the Prince of life was on his road to the accomplishing that other, he accomplished this, as by the way. It is to St. Mark and Luke that we owe the more detailed accounts, which bring out its distinctive features. St. Matthew relates it more briefly: so that, if we had not the parallel narrations, we should be in danger of missing much of the instruction which is here contained for us.
As the crowd followed Jesus, curious to witness what the issue would be, and whether he would indeed raise the dead or dying daughter of Jairus, which by his consenting to accompany him home he seemed to have undertaken to do,as this crowd pressed upon him, there came one, who, not out of curiosity, nor at all as that unmannered multitude, touched him from behind. This was a woman * that had
* A sermon, wrongly attributed to St. Ambrose, makes this woman to have been Martha, the sister of Lazarus. Another legend, that of the gospel of Nicodemus, (see Tuo's Cod. Apocryph., v. 1, p. 562,) makes her to have been Veronica. There is a strange story, full of inexplicable difficulties, told by Eusebius, (Hist. Eccl., 1. 7, c. 18,) of a statue, or rather two statues, in brass, one of Christ, another of this woman kneeling to him, which existed in his time at Cæsarea Paneas, having been raised by her in thankful commemoration of her healing. See the 10th excursus in the Annotations (Oxford, 1842,) to Dr. Burton's Eusebius. The belief that these statues did refer to this event was so widely spread as to cause Julian, in his hatred against all memorials of Christianity, or according to others, Maximinus, to destroy it. There can be no doubt that a group, capable of being made to signify this event, was there, for Eusebius speaks as having himself seen it, but the correctness of the application is far more questionable. Justin Martyr's mistaking of a statue erected at Rome to a Sabine deity, (Semoni Sanco,) for one erected in honour of Simon Magus, shows how little critical the early Christians sometimes were in matters of this kind. (See DEYLING's Obss. Sac., v. 1, p. 279.)
laboured long, for no less than twelve years, under a disease from which she found no healing from the physicians, but rather she had suffered many aggravations of her disease, from the painfulness of their attempted remedies *, the costliness of which, with the expenses that had attended her long sickness, had brought her to poverty. “All that she had” had been ineffectually wasted in seeking for restoration, and withal she “ was nothing bettered, but rather grew worset." The faith that brought her to touch the hem of the Lord's garment was a most real faith, (see ver. 22, “ Thy faith hath saved thee,") yet was it not altogether unmingled with error in regard to the manner in which the healing power of Christ presented itself to her mind as working. It would appear as though she did not conceive of the Lord as healing by the power of his holy will, but rather imagined a certain magical influence and virtue diffused through his person and round about him, with which if she could put herself in relation, she would obtain that which she desired : “ If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole f.” And it is probable that she touched the hem of his garment, not merely as their extremest part, and therefore that which she, timidly drawing near, could most easily reach, but attributing to it a peculiar virtue. For this hem or blue fringe on the borders of the garment was put there by divine command, and was to remind the Jews that they were God's people. (Num. xv. 37-40; Deut. xxii. 12.) It had thus acquired so peculiar a significance, that those who wished to be esteemed eminently religious were wont to make broad, or to “enlarge
the borders of their garments.” (Matt. xxiii. 5.) But her faith, though thus imperfect in its form, and though it did not bear her like a triumphant flood-tide, over the peculiar difficulties which beset her, a woman coming to make known what manner of need was hers, was yet most true in its essence. That faith, therefore, was not disappointed, but was the channel to her of the blessing which she sought; no sooner had she touched the hem of his robe than “she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague*.”
But although the Evangelists fall in so far with the current of her thoughts as to use language that would be appropriate to it, and to say, “ Jesus immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him," yet we cannot for an instant suppose that this healing power went forth without the full consent of his will t, that we have here, on his part, an unconscious healing, any more than on another occasion, when we read that “the whole multitude sought to touch him, for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all.” (Luke vi. 19.) For we should lose the ethical, which is ever the most important, element of the miracle, if we could suppose that power went forth from him to heal, without reference, on his part, to the spiritual condition of the person upon whom it went forth. He who with the eye of his spirit saw Nathanael under the fig-tree, who needed not that any should testify, for he knew what was in man, must have known of this woman both her bodily and spiritual state,-how sorely as to the one she needed his help, and how as regarded the other she possessed that faith which was the one necessary condition of healing, the one channel of communication between him and any human need.
-----------* 'ATÒ Tils ucotiyos, scil. Ocvū, since disease must ever be regarded as the scourge of God, not always of the individual's sin, but ever of the sin which the individual has in common with the race. Cf. 2 Macc. ix. 11, feia má otit, and Sirac. xl. 9. So Eschylus, (Sept. ado. Theb.,) angeis θεού μάστιγι.
† Chrysostom: llap' ċkóvtos ēdaße tiiv owtipiav, kai ou papákoutos, ήδει γαρ την άψαμένην.
The only argument which could at all be adduced to favour the notion of an unconscious going forth of his power, would be that drawn from the question which he asked, when he “ turned about him in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes ?” This might be construed as implying that he was ignorant of the person who had done it, and only uncertainly apprehended that something had taken place. If he knew, it might be argued, to what purpose the question ? But, as the sequel of the history will abundantly prove, there was a purpose; since if she had been allowed to carry away her blessing in secret as she proposed, it would not have been at all the blessing to her, and to her whole after spiritual life, that it now was, when she was obliged by this repeated question of the Lord, to own that she had come to seek, and had found, health from him. And the other objection is easily dissolved, namely, that it would not have been perfectly consistent with truth to have asked as not knowing, when indeed he knew all the while, who had done that, concerning which he inquired. But a father when he comes among his children, and says, Who committed this fault? himself conscious, even while he asks, but at the same time willing to bring the cul. prit to a free confession, and so to put him in a pardonable state, can he be said in any way to violate the laws of the highest truth? The same offence might be found in Elisha’s “Whence comest thou, Gehazi ?” (2 Kin. v. 25,) when his heart went with him all the way that he had gone; and even in the question of God himself to Adam, “Where art thou ?” In each of those cases, as here, there is a moral purpose in the question,-an opportunity given even at the latest moment for undoing at least a part of the fault by its unreserved confession, an opportunity which they whose examples have been here adduced, suffered to escape ; but which she, who it needs not to say had a fault of infinitely a slighter nature to acknowledge, had ultimately grace given her to use.
But this question itself, “Who touched me?” when indeed the whole multitude was rudely pressing upon and crowding