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and augury that they had done their work, when he was come, in whom the highest gifts of God to men were given. The very fact that he was trusted with the highest, involved his power over all lower forms of teaching. Christ is “the end of the law,”—is every way the end, as that to which it pointed, as that in which it is swallowed up; being him. self living law, not therefore in any true sense the destroyer of the law, as the adversaries charged him with being, but its transformer and glorifier, changing it from law into liberty, from shadow to substance, from letter to spirit.* To this our Lord's clearing of his disciples, or rather of himself in his disciples, (for the accusation was truly against him.) the healing of the man with a withered hand is attached immediately, as we have seen, by St. Matthew, although St. Luke shows that it did not find place till the following Sabbath. Like another healing, very similar in its circumstances, that of the woman with the spirit of infirmity, (Luke xiii. 11.) like that too of the demoniac at Capernaum, (Mark i. 2, 3,) it was wrought in a synagogue. There, on the ensuing Sabbath, in “their synagogue,” the synagogue of those with whom he had thus disputed, he encountered “a man who had his hand withered.” St. Luke tells us that it was his “right hand” which was thus affected. The disease under which this man labored, and which probably extended throughout the whole arm, was one occasioned by a deficient absorption of nutriment in the limb; it was in fact a partial atrophy, showing itself in a gradual wasting of the size of the limb, with a loss of its powers of motion, and ending with its total death. When once thoroughly established, it is incurable by any art of man.* The apparent variation in the different records of this miracle, that in St. Matthew the question proceeds from the Pharisees, in St. Mark and Luke from the Lord, is no real one; the reconciliation of the two accounts is easy. The Pharisees first ask him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath day ?” He answers this question as was his wont, (see Matt. xxi. 24,) by another question. That this is such another counterquestion comes out most plainly in St. Luke: “I will ask you one thing. Is it lawful on the Sabbath days to do good or to do evil? to save life or destroy it o’’ Our Lord with the same infinite wisdom which we admire in his answer to the question of the lawyer, “Who is my neighbor " (Luke x. 29) shifts the whole argument and lifts it altogether into a higher region, where at once it is seen on which side is the right and the truth. They had put the alternatives of doing or not doing; here there might be a question. But he shows that the alternatives are, doing good or failing to do good, which last he puts as identical with doing evil, the neglecting to save as equivalent with destroying. Here there could be no question: this under no circumstances could be right; it could never be good to sin. Therefore it is not merely allowable, but a duty, to do some things on the Sabbath.” “Yea,” he says, “and things much less important and earnest than that which I am about to do, you would not leave undone. Which of you would not draw your sheep from the pit into which it had fallen on the Sabbath; and shall I, the true shepherd, not rescue a sheep of my fold, a man, that is far better than a sheep? Your own consciences tell you that that were a true Sabbath work; and how much worthier this ' You have asked me, Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath? I answer, It is lawful to do well on that day, and therefore to heal.” They can answer him nothing further, —“they held their peace.” “Then,” that is, as St. Mark tells us, “when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts,
* Augustine (Serm. 136, 3): Dominus Sabbatum solvebat: sed non ideo reus. Quid est quod dixi, Sabbatum solvebat? Lux ipse venerat, umbras removebatSabbatum enim a Domino Deo praeceptum est, ab ipso Christo praeceptum, qui cum Patre erat, quando lex illa dabatur: ab ipso praeceptum est, sed in umbră futuri.
+ See WINER's Real Wörterbuch, v.1, p. 796. In the apocryphal “Gospel according to the Hebrews,” in use among the Nazarenes and Ebionites, which consisted probably of our St. Matthew, with some extraneous additions, this man appeared as a mason, and is introduced as thus addressing the Lord: Coementarius eram, manibus victum quaeritans: precor te, Jesu, ut mihi restituas sanitatem, ne turpiter mendicem cibos. The reipa orov impáv is equivalent to the T) v reipa dépavi); ov of Philostratus, (Vita Apollon., l. 3, c. 39,) whom the Indian sages heal.
* Danzius (in MEUsches's N. T. ex Talm. illustr., p. 585): Immutat ergo beneficus Servator omnem controversiae statum, ac longé eundem rectius, quám fraudis isti artifices, proponit. The object of the interesting and learned Essay, Christi Curatio Sabbathica vindicata ea legibus Judaicis, from which the above quotation is made, is to prove by extracts from their own books that the Jews were not at all so strict, as now, when they wanted to find an accusation against the Lord, they professed to be, in the matter of the things permitted or prohibited on the Sabbath. He finds an indication of this (p. 607) in our Saviour's words, “Thou hypocrite,” addressed on one of these occasions to the ruler of the synagogue. (Luke xiii. 15.) Of course the great difficulty in judging whether he has made out his point, is to know how far the extracts in proof, confessedly from works of a later, often a far later date, than the time of Christ, do fairly represent the earlier Jewish canons. The fixity of Jewish tradition is much in favor of the supposition that they do; but there always remains something in these proofs, which causes them to fail absolutely to prove. In the apocryphal gospels, as for instance in the Evangelium Nicodemi, (see THILo's Codex Apocryphus, pp. 502, 558) it is very observable how prominent a place among the accusations brought against Christ on his trial, are the healings wrought upon the
saith he to the man, Stretch forth thy hand.” The existence of grief and anger together in the same heart is no contradiction: indeed, with him who was at once perfect love and perfect holiness, grief for the sinner must ever have gone hand in hand with anger against the sin; and this anger, which with us is ever in danger of becoming a turbid thing, of passing into anger against the man, who is God's creature, instead of being anger against the sin, which is the devil's corruption of God's creature-with him was perfectly pure; for it is not the agitation of the waters, but the sediment at the bottom, which troubles and defiles them, and where no sediment is, no impurity will follow on their agitation. The man obeyed the word, which was a word of power; he stretched forth his hand, “and it was restored whole like as the other.” The madness of Christ's enemies rises to the highest pitch; he had not merely broken their traditions, but he had put them to silence and to shame before all the people. Wounded pride, rancorous hate, were mingled with and exasperated their other feelings of evil will to him: “They were filled with madness;” (Luke vi. 11;) and in their blind hate they snatch at any weapon whereby they may hope to destroy him. They do not shrink from joining league with the Herodians, the Romanizing party in the land,-attached to Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee, who was only kept on his throne by Roman influence,—if between them they may bring to nothing this new power which seems equally to threaten both. So, on a later occasion, (Matt. xxii. 16.) the same parties combine together to ensnare him. For thus it is with the world: it lays aside for the moment its mutual jealousies and enmities, to join in a common conspiracy against the truth. It is no longer a kingdom divided againstitself, when the kingdom of light is to be opposed. Herod and Pilate can be friends together, if it be for the destroying of the Christ. (Luke xxii. 12.) He meanwhile, aware of their machinations, withdraws himself from their malice to the neighborhood of the sea of Galilee.
THE WOMAN WITH A SPIRIT OF INFIRMITY.
WE have here another of our Lord's cures which, being accomplished on the Sabbath, awoke the indignation of the chief teachers of the Jewish Church; cures, of which many, though not all, are recorded chiefly for the sake of showing how the Lord dealt with these cavillers; and what he himself contemplated as the true hallowing of that day. This being the main point which the Evangelist has in his eye, every thing else falls into the background. We know not where this healing took place; we are merely told that it was “in one of their synagogues.” While there was but one temple in the land, and indeed but one for all the Jews in all the world, there were synagogues in every place: and in one of these Christ, as was often his wont, was teaching upon the Sabbath. Among those present there was a woman that was bent double, that had, in the words of St. Luke, “a spirit of infirmity,” which showed itself in this permanent and unnatural contraction of her body. Had we only these words, “spirit of infirmity,” we might be doubtful whether St. Luke meant to trace up her complaint to any other cause beyond the natural causes, whence flow the weaknesses and sufferings which afflict our race. But our Lord's later words concerning this woman,—“whom Satan hath bound,”—are more explicit, and leave no doubt of his meaning. Her calamity had a deeper root; she should be classed with those possessed by evil spirits, though the type of her possession was infinitely milder than that of most, as is shown by her permitted presence at the public worship of God. Her sickness, having its first seat in her spirit, had brought her into a moody melancholic state, of which the outward contraction of the muscles of her body, the inability to lift herself, was but the sign and the consequence.*
* This woman is often contemplated as the symbol of all those whom the poet addresses—
Our Lord did not here wait till his aid was sought, though it may be that her presence in that place was, on her part, a tacit seeking of his help, as, indeed, seems implied in the words of the ruler of the synagogue, bidding the multitude upon other days than the Sabbath to “come and be healed.” Seeing her, he himself “called her to him, and laid his hands on her,”—those hands being here the channel by which the streams of his truer life, which was to dissolve those bonds, spiritual and bodily, whereby she was held, should flow into her—saying at the same time, (for though recorded, as was necessary, one after another, we are to assume the words and imposition of hands as identical in time,) “Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.” And the effect followed the words and the hands laid on: “immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.” She glorified, too, no doubt, the author of her salvation, and this was what the ruler of the synagogue could not bear, (cf. Matt. xxi. 15, 16,)—a “hypocrite,” as the Lord calls him, zeal for
Oh curvae in terras animae :
For the erect countenance of man, in contrast with that downward bent of all other creatures, is the symbol impressed upon his outward frame, of his nobler destiny, of a heavenly hope with which they have nothing in common; which the poet, describing the gifts which God gave to man at his creation, has well expressed:
Os homini sublime dedit, coelumque tueri
and Juvenal, Sat.15, 142—147, in a yet nobler strain: compare PLATO's Timaeus, Stallbaum's ed., p. 360, and the derivation of divoporoc, namely, the upward looking, which some have suggested, is well known. On the other hand, the looks ever bent upon the ground are a natural symbol of a heart and soul turned earthward altogether, and wholly forgetful of their true home, and of man's good, which is not below but above him. Milton's fine use of this symbol in his description of Mammon (Par. Lost, b. 1) will readily occur: