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claims, “ Was not that a master-stroke? she snares Christ in his own words.” And oftentimes he sets this Canaanitish woman before each troubled and fainting heart, that it may learn from her how to wring a Yea from God's Nay; or rather, how to hear the deep-hidden Yea, which many times lies in his seeming Nay. "Like her, thou must give God right in all he says against thee, and yet must not stand off from praying, till thou overcomest as she overcame, till thou hast turned the very charges made against thee into arguments and proofs of thy need, -till thou too hast taken Christ in his own words.”
Our translation of the woman's answer is not, however, altogether satisfactory. For indeed she consents to Christ's declaration, not immediately to make exception against the conclusion which she draws from it, but to show how in that very declaration is involved the granting of her petition.* “Saidest thou dogs ? it is well; I accept the title and the place: for the dogs have a portion of the meal,—not the first, not the children's portion, but a portion still,—the crumbs which fall from the table. In this very statement of the case thou bringest us heathen, thou bringest me, within the circle of the blessings which God, the great householder, is ever dispensing to his family. We also belong to his household, though we occupy but the lowest place in it. According to thine own showing, I am not wholly an alien, and therefore I will abide by this name, and will claim from thee all its consequences.” By the “masters" she does not mean the Jews, which is Chrysostom's mistake; for thus the whole image would be disturbed; they are " the children :" but by the masters," she would signify God, using the plural on account of the plural “dogs," which Christ had used before; in the same way as Christ himself says, “Then the sons are free,” (Matt. xvii. 29,) having spoken plurally before of the kings of the earth," while yet it is only the
* There is nothing adversative in kaì yup = etenim (see Passow), which would justify the "yet” of our version, or the “nevertheless" of Tyndale's. Wiclifs, Cranmer's, the Genevese, and Rhemish versions have the right translations: thus the Genevese, “ Truth, Lord, for indeed the whelps eat of the crumbs ;" in this following the Vulgate, Etiam, Domine, nain et catelli edunt. So De Wette: Ya, Herr! denn es essen ya die Hunde. Maldonatus, always acute, and whose merits as an interpreter, setting apart his bitter polemical spirit, deserve the highest recognition, has exactly caught the meaning of her reply: Hoc est quod volo, me esse canem, nam et catelli comedunt de micis quæ cadunt de mensâ dominorum suorum. The “ crumbs" here alluded to are something more than that which should accidentally fall from the table; for it was the custom during eating to use, instead of a napkin, the soft white part of the bread (utopaydaría), which, having thus used, they threw to the dogs. Eustathius, Είς και τας χείρας αποματτόμενοι, είτα κυσίν έβαλλον. (See BECKER'a Charikles, v. 1, p. 431.)
one Son, the only begotten of the Father, whom he has in his eye.* He, the great Master and Lord, spreads a table, and all that depend on him, in their place and order are satisfied from it--the children at the table, the dogs beneath the table. There is in her statement something like the Prodigal's petition, “Make me as one of thy hired servants,”cognition of diverse relations, some closer, some more distant, in which divers persons stand to God,—yet all blest, who, whether in a nearer or remoter station, are satisfied from his hands.
And now she has conquered. She who before heard only those words of a seeming contempt, now hears words of a most gracious commendation, -words of which the like are recorded as spoken but to one other in all the Gospel history : “ O woman, great is thy faith !" He who at first seemed as though he would have denied her the smallest boon, now opens to her the full treasure-house of his grace, and bids her to help herself, to carry away what she will : " Be it unto thee even as thou wilt." He had shown to her for a while, like Joseph to his brethren, the aspect of severity; but, like Joseph, he could not maintain it long, -or rather he would not maintain it an instant longer than it was needful, and after that word of hers, that mighty word of an undaunted faith, it was needful no more: in the words of St. Mark, “For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter."
Like the centurion at Capernaum, like the nobleman at Cana, she made proof that his word was potent, whether spoken far off or near. Her child, indeed, was at a distance; but she offered in her faith a channel of communication between it and Christ. With one hand of that faith she had held on to that Lord in whom all healing grace was stored, with the other to her suffering child,—thus herself a living conductor by which the power of Christ might run like an electric flash from him to her beloved. “ And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed,” weak and exhausted as it would appear from the paroxysms of the spirit's going out; or, the circumstance which last is mentioned may indicate only that she was now taking that quiet rest, which hitherto the evil spirit had not allowed. It will answer so to the “clothed and in his right mind,” (Luke viii. 30,) of another who had been tormented in the same way.
But the interesting question remains, Why this bitterness was not spared her, why the Lord should have presented himself under so different an aspect to her, and to most other suppliants ? Sometimes he an
* Maldonatus: Loquitur pluraliter propter canes, quorum suum quisque dominum babet.
ticipated their needs, “Wilt thou be made whole ?" (John v. 6,) or if not so, he who was waiting to be gracious required not to be twice asked for his blessings. Why was it that in this case, to use the words of an old divine, Christ“ stayed long, wrestling with her faith, and shaking and trying whether it were fast-rooted” or no? Doubtless because he knew that it was a faith which would stand the proof, and that she would come out victorious from this sore trial; and not only so, but with a stronger, higher, purer faith than if she had bome away her blessing at once. Now she has learned, as then she never could have learned, that men ought always to pray and not to faint; that, with God, to delay a boon is not therefore to deny it. She had learned the lesson which Moses must have learned, when “the Lord met him, and sought to kill him,” (Exod. vi. 24;) she won the strength which Jacob had won before, from his night-long struggle with the Angel. There is, indeed, a remarkable analogy between this history and that last. (Gen. xxxii. 24—32.) There as here, there is the same persevering struggle on the one side, and the same persevering refusal on the other; there, as here, the stronger is at last overcome by the weaker. God himself yields to the might of faith and prayer; for a later prophet, interpreting that mysterious struggle, tells us the weapons which the patriarch wielded : “He wept and made supplication unto him," connecting witb this the fact that “he had power over the angel and prevailed.” (Hos. xii. 3, 4.) The two histories, indeed, only stand out in their full re semblance, when we keep in mind that the angel there, the Angel of the covenant, was no other than that Word, who, now incarnate, * “ blest" this woman at last, as he had blest at length Jacob at Peniel,—in each case rewarding thus a faith which had said, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me."
Yet, when we thus speak of man overcoming God, we must never, of course, for an instant lose sight of this, that the power whereby he overcomes the resistance of God, is itself a power supplied by God. All that is man’s is the faith or the emptiness of self, which enables him to appropriate and make so largely his own the fulness and power of God; so that here also that word comes true, “ Blessed are the poor
in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Thus when St. Paul (Col. i. 29) speaks of himself under an image which rested originally on Jacob's struggle, if there was not a direct allusion to it in the apostle's mind, as striving for the Colossians, striving, that is, with God in prayer, (see iv.
* This has been doubted by some; but see the younger VITRINGA's Diss. De Inecta Jacobi, p. 18, seq., in his Diss. Sac., and Deyling's Obss. Sac., p. 827, seq.
+ 'Aywvıcóuevos. Cf. Col. ii. 1, where Grotius says rightly: Per dywva intelligit non sollicitudinem tantùm, sed preces assiduas.
12,) he immediately adds, “ according to his working which worketh in me mightily.”
We may observe, in conclusion, that we have three ascending degrees of faith, as it manifests itself in the breaking through of hinderances which would keep from Christ, in the paralytic, (Mark ii. 4;) the blind man at Jericho, (Mark x. 48 ;) and this woman of Canaan. The paralytic broke through the outward hinderances, the obstacles of things external; blind Bartimæus through the hinderances opposed by his fellow-men ; but this woman, more heroically than all, through apparent hinderances even from Christ himself. These, in their seeming weakness, were the three mighty ones, not of David, but of David's Son, that broke through opposing hosts, until they could draw living water from wells of salvation. (2 Sam. xxiii. 16.)
THE HEALING OF ONE DEAF AND DUMB.
MARK vii. 31-37.
Sr. Matthew tells us in general terms how when the Lord had returned from those coasts of Tyre and Sidon unto the sea of Galilee, “great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed,* and many others, and cast them down at Jesus' feet, and he healed them;" (xv. 30;) but out of this multitude of cures St. Mark selects one to relate more in detail, and this, no doubt, because it was signalized by some circumstances not usual in other like cases of healing. It was that of a man deaf and having an impediment in his speech, one who, if he was not altogether dumb, was yet probably incapable of making any articulate sounds. His case differs, apparently,
* Kvadós, properly, crippled or maimed in the hand, as Jerome (in loc.) observes: Quomodo claudus dicitur, qui uno claudicat pede, sic kvalòs appellatur, qui unam manum debilem habet. Nos proprietatem hujus verbi non habemus. We are equally without a single word which is its equivalent. At Matthew xviii. 8, it is evidently maimed of the hand. Yet here there may well be a question whether it means so much, for though, of course, it lay in the power of Christ to supply a lost limb, yet we do where read in detail of any miracle of this kind, and such a one seems contrary to the analogy of his whole work of healing: for he was come now, a Redeemer, that is, a setter free of man in his body and in his soul from the alien power which held him in bondage—a Redeemer, but not a Creator: even in his miracles which approach nearest to creation, he ever assumes a substratum on which to work; water, to turn into wine; bread to multiply by his power; and in man's case we may presume the
It is no limitation of this divine power of Christ, to suppose that it had thus its law, according to which it wrought, and beyond which it did not extend. For this law is only the law of infinite fitness, which is received from itself.
Some make joylaáhos here to signify mute, chiefly on account of the drámovc of ver. 37; and they refer to Isai. XXXV. 6, (LXX.,) tpavi de total yawaoa yoyihahwv, in proof; as also to Exod. iv. 11, where, though not the Septuagint, yet the three other