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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*. Nor was this all; for these three raisings from the dead were often contemplated not apart, not as each pourtraying exactly the same truth, but in their connexion 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 casy 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 thencet: even this he rolls away, and bids them to
* See, for instance, AUGUSTINE, Quaest. 83, qu. 65; BERNARI, De Assum., Serm. t.
+ Gregory the Great (Jloral., 1. 22, c. 15): Veni foras; ut nimirum homo in peccato suo mortuus, et per molem malæ consuetudinis jam sepultus,
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 odour of the grave, but where the whole house is full of the sweet fragrance of the ointment of Christ f. (John xii. 1-3.)
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,
Postquam clamas; Exi foras. * Sometimes Augustine makes the stone to be the Law. Thus In Ev. Joh., Tract. 49 : Quid est ergo, Lapidem removete? .... Littera occidens, quasi lapis est premens. Removete, inquit, lapidem. Removete Legis pondus, Gratiam prædicate. 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 Judæa,) 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. (MUN, TER, 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 woren on their garments. “Ilere 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.” Ilow close on the edge of not unlike superstitions do we find ourselves at this day,
30. 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 neighbourhood 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 anything 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 t. Nor have I any doubt that Bengel, with his usual happy tact, has selected the right reconciliation of the difficulty I ; namely, that one cried to him as he drew near to the city S, but that he did not cure him then, but on the
* Augustine, (De Cons. Erany., l. 2, c. 65): Procul dubio itaque Bartimæus iste Timæi filius ex aliquâ magnà felicitate dejectus, notissimæ et famosissimæ miseriæ fuit, quòd non solùm cæcus, verùm etiam mendicus sedebat. Hinc est ergo quod ipsum solùm voluit commemorare Marcus, cujus illuminatio tam claram famam huic miraculo comparavit, quàm erat illius nota calamitas. Cf. Quæst. Evang. 1. 2, c. 48.
† Some, indeed, equally in old times and in modern, have seen themselves bound in to such a conclusion :thus Augustine (De Cons. Evang., 1. 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 Bartimæum, insigniorem, (x. 40,) eundemque Lucas (xviii. 35) innuit, qui transponendæ historiæ occasionem exinde habuit, quod cæcorum alter, Jesu Ilierichuntem intrante, in via notitiam divini hujus medici acquisivit. Salvator dum apud Zacchæunn pranderet, vel pernoctaret potius, Bartimæo cæcorum alter, quem Matthæus adjungit, interim associatus est. I observe Maldonatus had already fallen upon the same.
§ The explanation of Grotius is, that iv to éyričew of Luke does not necessarily mean, and does not here mean, When he was drawing near to, but, When he was in the neighbourhood of,and that this nearness to the city might equally have been, and in this case was, the nearness of one who
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 introduces it, rather than, by cutting it in two halves, preserve indeed a more painful accuracy, yet lose the total effect which the whole narrative related at a breath would possess.
The cry with which these blind men sought to attract the pity of Christ was on their part a recognition of his dignity as the Messiah ; for this name, Son of David," was the popular designation of the Messiah. There was therefore upon their part a double confession of faith, first that he could heal them, and secondly, not merely as a prophet from God, but as the Prophet, as the one who should come, according to the words of Isaialı, to give sight to the blind. In the case of the man blind from his birth, (John ix.) we have the same confessions, but following, and not preceding, the cure, and with intervals between; so that first he acknowledges him as a prophet, (ver. 17,) and only later as the Messialı. (ver. 38.)
And here the explanation has been sometimes found of the rebukes which they met from the multitude, who would fain have had tliem to hold their peace. These, it has been said, desired to hinder their crying, because they grudged to hear given unto Jesus this title of honour, which they were not themselves prepared to accord him*. This passage will then be very much a parallel to Luke xix. 39; only that there the Pharisees would have Christ himself to rebuke those that were glorifying him and giving him honour, while here
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 eloc owv,) is wholly against the supposition that St. Luke means to signify by those words that the Lord was now leuring Jericho.
* Hilary (Comm. in Matth., in loc.): Denique eos turba objurgat, quia acerbè à cæcis audiunt quod negabant, Dominum esse David Filium.