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UR LORD

THE

MIRACLES OF OUR LORD

COLL. CHRIST!. REGIS, BIB. MAJ.

TORONTO

THE

MIRACLES OF OUR LORD

GEORGE MAC DONALD,


AUTHOR OF
"

LL.D.
IN

UNSPOKEN

"

SERMONS,"

A BOOK OF STRIFE,
SOUL,"

THE FORM

OF THE DIARY OF AN OLD

ETC.

SsS
NE W EDITION

LONGMANS, GREEN, AND


LONDON,

CO.

NEW

YORK, AND BOMBAY


1896

All rights reserved.

37V oo

By

the

Same Author.

Unspoken Sermons. Two


3-r.

Series.

Crown

Svo.

6d. each.

The Miracles
3-y.

of

Our

Lord.

Crown

8vo,

6d.

A Book

of

Strife,

IN

THE FORM OF THE


:

DIARY OF AN OLD SOUL


Hamlet.
Of 1623.

Poems.

12010,

6.?.

Study with the Text of the Folio


SVO, I2S.

LONDON

LONGMANS, GREEN, AND

CO.

Printed

l>y

BALLANTYNE, HANSON
the Battantyne Press

Co

At

TO
F.

D.

MAURICE

HONOURED OF GOD
I

HUMBLY OFFER THIS BOOK

CONTENTS.

I,

INTRODUCTION,

1C.

THE BEGINNING OF MIRACLES,


THE CURE OF SIMON
S

III.

WIFE S MOTHER,

25

IV.

MIRACLES OF HEALING UNSOLICITED,


MIRACLES OF HEALING SOLICITED BY THE
SUFFERERS, MIRACLES GRANTED TO THE PRAYER OF
.
. .

39

V.

-73
.Il6 .156 .184
.

VI.

FRIENDS,
VII.
VIII.

THE CASTING OUT OF DEVILS, THE RAISING OF THE DEAD,

IX.

THE GOVERNMENT OF NATURE,


MIRACLES OF DESTRUCTION,
.

223

X.

.251
260

XL
XII.

THE RESURRECTION,

THE TRANSFIGURATION,

.272

INTRODUCTION.
T

HAVE
Lord
s

been requested
miracles.

to write

some papers on out


attempt in the belie!

I venture the

that, seeing

they -are one of the modes in which his un

seen

life

found expression, we are bound through them to

arrive at

some knowledge of that


of God, that

life.

For he has come,


:

The Word

we may know God

every word
is

of his then, as needful to the knowing of himself, needful to the knowing of God, and
as far as

we must understand,

we may, every one

of his words and every one

of his actions, which, with him, were only another form of word.
tion.

I believe this the

immediate end of our crea


length result in the

And

I believe that this will at

unravelling for us of what must now,

more or

less,

ap

pear to every
universe.

man

the knotted

and twisted

coil

of the

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

It

seems

to

me

that

it

needs no great power of


is

faith

to believe in the miracles- -for true faith

a power, not a

mere

yielding.

There are

far

harder things to believe


is

than the miracles.


in

For a man

not required to believe


If a

them save
is

as believing in Jesus.

man can

believe

that there

a God, he

may well

believe that, having

made
he
in

creatures capable of hungering

and

thirsting for him,

must be capable of speaking a word


their feeling after him.

to guide

them

And

if

he

is

a grand God, a

God
may

worthy of being God, yea

(his

metaphysics

even

show the
he
will

seeker), if

he

is

God

capable of being God,

word of speak the clearest grandest


utter intelligible to his creatures.
all

guidance

which he can
that

For

us,

word must simply be the gathering of

the expres
face,

sions of his visible works into an infinite


lighted

human
it,

up by an

infinite

human
if I

soul behind

namely,

that potential essence of

man,

may

use a word of
If

my

own, which was in the beginning with God.

God

should thus hear the cry of the noblest of his creatures,


for

such are

all

they

who do

in very cry after him, and

INTRODUCTION.

deed show them


the deeds of

his face,

it is

but natural to expect that

the great messenger should


in
it

be just the
to reveal

works of the Father done


his Father in miniature,, as

little.

If he

came

were

(for in these

unspeak

able things

we can but

use figures, and the homeliest

may

be the

holiest), to tone

down
aright,

his great voice, which, too

loud for
as
as

men

to hear

it

could but sound to them


still

an

inarticulate

thundering, into such a

small voice

might enter their

human

ears in

welcome human speech,

then the works that his Father does so widely, so grandly


that they transcend the vision of
briefly

men, the Son must do

and sharply before


is

their very eyes.

This, I think,
,

the

true nature of the miracles, an

epitome of

God s

processes in nature beheld in

imme
lost to

diate connection with their source

a source as yet

the eyes

and too often

to the hearts of

men

in the far-

receding gradations of cuntii nous law.


see the will of

That men might


works of
his

God

at work, Jesus did the

Father thus.

Here

will

suppose some honest, and therefore hon-

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

ourable, reader objecting

But do you not thus place the

miracles in dignity below the ordinary processes of na


ture ?
I

answer

The

miracles are mightier far than any

goings on of nature as beheld by


ing
less

common

eyes, dissociat

them from a

living Will

but the miracles are surely

than those mighty goings on of nature with

God be

held at their heart.


to say
"

In the name of him who delighted


is

My

Father

greater than

I,"

I will

say that his

miracles in bread and in wine were far less grand and less
beautiful than the
in

works of the Father they represented,


to

making the corn

grow

in the valleys,
hill-sides

and the grapes

to drink the sunlight


all their

on the

of the world, with

infinitudes of tender gradation

and

delicate

mys

tery of birth.
as
it

But the Son of the Father be praised, who, ^


let

were, condensed these mysteries before us, and


gifts

us see the precious

coming

at

once from gracious

hands

hands that love could

kiss

and

nails

could

wound.

There are some,

I think,

who would perhaps

find
if

it

more possible

to accept the

New

Testament story

the

INTRODUCTION.

miracles did not stand in the way.

But perhaps, again,

it

would be

easier for

them

to accept both if they could

once

look into the true heart of these miracles.


they regard only the surface of them, they
likely, see in

So long as
will,

most
:

them only a

violation of the laws of nature

when they behold

the heart of them, they will recognize

there at least a possible fulfilment of her deepest laws.

With such, however,

is

not

my

main business now, any


believe in a
is

more than with those who cannot


and
therefore to

God
I

at

all,

whom

a miracle

an absurdity.

may,

however, just
latter

make

this
it is

one remark with respect to the


better they should believe in

that perhaps

no

God

than believe in such a

God

as they have yet

been

able to imagine.
faith

Perhaps thus they are nearer to a true

except indeed they prefer the notion of the

Un

conscious generating the Conscious, to that of a self-ex


istent

Love, creative in virtue of

its

being love.

Such

have never loved

woman

or child save after a fashion


that death should seize

which has

left

them content

on

the beloved

and bear them back

to the maternal dust.

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

But I doubt

if

there can be any

who

thus would choose

a sleep-walking Pan before a wakeful Father.


they cannot

At

least,

know

the Father and choose the Pan.

Let us then recognize the works of the Father as


epitomized in the miracles of the Son.

What

in

the

hands of the Father are the mighty motions and pro


gresses

and conquests of
I

life,

in the

hands of the Son are


that he valued the

miracles.

do not myself believe

working of these miracles as he valued the utterance of


tne trutn in words
obedience, in
is
;

but

all

that

he did had the one


tree.

root,

which alone can any son be


?

And what

the highest obedience

Simply a following of the

Father

a doing of what the Father does.

Every true
in his

father wills that his child should


love, in his highest hope.

be as he

is

deepest
of his Father.

All that Jesus does

is

Father.

What we

see in the

Son

is

of

the

What

his

works mean concerning him, they mean con

cerning the Father.

Much
out of

as I shrink from the notion of a formal shaping

design in any great

life,

so unlike

the endU-ss

INTRODUCTION.

freedom and spontaneity of nature (and


of nature).
I

He is the Nature
first

cannot help observing that his


at least, is to
for

miracle

was one of creation

our eyes more like

creation than almost any other

who can

say that

it

was creation, not knowing

in the least

what creation

is,

or what was the process in this miracle?

II.

THE BEGINNING OF MIRACLES.


A LREADY
Jesus had his
.disciples,

although as yet he
for

had done no mighty works.


himself and for his mighty words.

They followed him


With
at a
his

mother they

accompanied him

to a

merry-making

wedding.

With

no

retiring regard, with

no introverted look of

self-con

sciousness or self-withdrawal, but

more human than any

of the company, he regarded their rejoicings with perfect

sympathy,

for,

whatever

suffering

might follow, none

knew

so well as he that
"there is

one
every
song."

Who

makes the joy the

last in

The

assertion

in the

old legendary description of his

person and habits, that he was never


regard as an utter falsehood, for to

known
it

to smile, I

me

is

incredible

almost as a geometrical absurdity.

In that glad company

THE BEGINNING OF MIRACLES.

the eyes of a divine

artist,

following the spiritual lines of

the group, would have soon settled on his face as the


centre

whence radiated
he

all

the gladness, where, as I seem


his mother.

to see him,

sat in the

background beside

Even
full

the sunny face of the bridegroom would appear less


his.

of light than

But something

is

at

hand which
if

will

change

his

mood.

For no

true

man had he been

his

mood had

never changed.

His high, holy, obedient

will, his

tender, pure, strong heart never changed, but his

mood,
and
in

his feeling did change.

For the mood must


the

often,

many cases ought to be

human reflex

of changing

circumstance.

The change comes from

his

mother.

She whispers to him that they have no more wine.


bridegroom
s liberality

The

had reached the

limit of his

means,

for, like his guests,

he was, most probably, of a humble


say, or

calling,

a craftsman,

a fisherman.

It

must have
fact
j

been a painful
I

little trial

to

him

if

he knew the
it

but

doubt

if

he heard of the want before


in this

was supplied.

There was nothing


in

however

to cause the cliange


It

our Lord

mood

of which I have spoken.

was no

10

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

serious catastrophe, at least to him, that the wine shoi^d


fail.

His mother had but told him the


in every

fact

only there

is

more than words


It

commonest speech

that passes.

was not

his

mother s words, but the tone and the look

with which they were interwoven that wrought the change.

She knew

that her son

was no common man, and she


faith.

believed in him, with an unripe, unfeatured


faith,

This
to

working with her ignorance and her fancy, led her

expect the great things of the world from him. a faith which must
fail

This was

that

it

might grow.

Imperfection
It is well
it

must
for

fail

that strength

may come

in its place.
fail

the

weak

that

their faith should

them, for

may

at the

moment be

resting

its

wings upon the twig

of some
of
life.

brittle

fancy instead of on a branch of the tree

But, again, what was


that should

it

in his

mother

look and tone

work the change

in our

Lord

mood

The

request implied in her words could give


for

him no

offence,

he granted that request

and he never would have


his very

done a thing he did not approve, should

mothei

THE BEGINNING OF MIRACLES.

II

ask him.

The

thoughts of the mother lay not in her

words, but in the expression that accompanied them, and


it

was

to those thoughts that our

Lord

replied.

Hence

his answer,
is

which has

little

to

do with

lier
his.

spoken request,
If

the key both to her thoughts and to

we do not

understand his reply, we


certainly

may misunderstand

the miracle

we

are in danger of grievously misunderstanding


evil.

him

a far worse

How many

children are troubled


his

in heart that Jesus should

have spoken to

mother as
!

our translation compels them to suppose he did speak


"

Woman, what have


come."

I to

do with thee ?
for

Mine hour

is

not yet

His hour
it
;

working the miracle had


if

come,

for

he wrought
all,

and

he had to do with one


his mother.
ears.

human

soul at
too,

that soul

must be

The
last,

"woman,"

sounds strange in our


:

This

however,

is

our fault

we allow words to sink from

their

high rank, and then put them to degraded uses.

What

word so

full

of grace and tender imagings to any true

man

as

that

one word

The

Saviour did use

it

to his

mother; and when he called her woman, the good custom

12

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

of the country and the time was glorified in the word as


it

came from

his lips fulfilled of

humanity
full

for

those

lips

were the open gates of a heart

of infinite

mean
of the

ings.

Hence whatever word he used had more


in
it

human

than that word had ever held before.


did say was this
"

What he

Woman, what
is

is

there

common
What
!

to thee

and me?
their

My

hour

not yet
to

come."

was not

humanity

common

them

Had
Was

she not been

fit,

therefore chosen, to bear


?

him

she not his mothei

But

his

words had no reference to


they only referred to the

the relation between

them

present condition of her mind, or rather the nature of the

thought and expectation which

now occupied
;

it.

Her

hope and

his intent

were

at variance

there was
it

no har
to that

mony between

his thought

and hers

and

was

thought and that hope of hers that his words were


addressed.

now

To

paraphrase the words

and

if

do so
is

with reverence and for the sake of the


higher than the word, I think I
"

spirit

which

am

allowed to do so

Woman, what

is

there in your thoughts

now

that

is

in

THE BEGINNING OF MIRACLES.

sympathy with mine


pecting
is

Also the hour that you are ex

not

come

yet."

What, then, was


in his

in our

Lord s thoughts ? and what was


?

mother

thoughts to call forth his words


for

She
his

was thinking the time had come

making a show of
for

power

for revealing

what a great man he was


which was,

be

ginning to

let that glory shine,

in her notion,

to culminate in the grandeur of a righteous

monarch

a
the

second Solomon, forsooth, who should

set

down

mighty in the dust, and exalt them of low degree.

Here

was the opportunity

for

working

like a

prophet of old,

and revealing of what a mighty son she was the favoured


mother.

And
eyes,
"

of what did the glow of her face, the light in her

and the tone with which she uttered the words,


wine,"

They have no

make Jesus

think

Perhaps of
Jerusalem
}

the decease

which he must accomplish

at

perhaps of a throne of glory betwixt the two thieves


certainly of a

kingdom of heaven not such

as filled hef

imagination, even although her heaven^descended

Son was

14

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

the king thereof.

A
still

kingdom of
less

exulting obedience, not

of acquiescence,
his

of compulsion, lay germed in


laid in the grave ere that
air

bosom, and he must be


its first

germ could send up

green lobes into the

of the

human
for

world.
!

No

throne, therefore, of earthly grandeur


for his blessed

him

no triumph
!

mother such as she


in their visioned
to Jesus,

dreamed
ends.

There was nothing

common

Hence came

the change of

mood

and

hence the words that sound


to

at first so strange,

seeming

have so

little

to

do with the words of

his mother.

But no change of mood could change a mother or


friends.

feeling towards
ill

The

former, although she could

understand what he meant, never fancied in his words any

unkindness to her.
to read
;

She, too, had the face of the speaker


that face

and from

came such answer

to her

prayer for her friends, that she awaited no confirming words, but in the confidence of a mother
child, said at

who knew

her

once
it."

to the servants,

"

Whatsoever he

saith

unto you, do
If

any one object that

have here imagined too much.

THE BEGINNING OF MIRACLES.

would remark,

first,

that the records in the Gospel are


;

very brief and condensed


true intelligence

second, that the germs of a


in
it

must

lie

this small

seed,

and our

hearts are the soil in which


tnat

must unfold

itself; third,

we

are

bound

to understand the story,

and

that the

foregoing are the suppositions on which I

am
I

able to un

derstand

it

in a

manner worthy of what


I

have learned

concerning Him.
tion that

am bound

to refuse every interpreta

seems to

me unworthy

of

Him,

for to accept

such would be to sin against the Holy Ghost.

If I

am

wrong
that
I

in

my

idea either of that which I receive or of

which

I reject, as

soon as the

fact is revealed to

me

must cast the one away and do


this interpretation
s

justice to the other.

Meantime
our Lord
with even
St

seems to

me

to

account

for

words

in a

manner he

will

not be displeased
fact.

if it fail

to reach the

mark

of the

That

John saw, and might expect such an


in the story, barely as
if

interpretation to
it,

be found

he has told

will

be

rendered the more probable


similar condition

we remember

his

own

and experience when he and

his brother

16

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

James prayed the Lord

for the highest

rank in his king

dom, and received an answer which evidently flowed


from the same feeling to which
I

have attributed that

given on this occasion to his mother*


"

Fill the water-pots

with water.

And

they

filled

them up

to the brim.

Draw

out now, and bear unto

the governor of the feast/

And
now.

they bare
"

it.

Thou

hast kept the

good wine

until

It is

such a thing
it

of course that,

when our Lord gave them


it

wine,

would

be of the

best, that

seems almost absurd to remark

upon
and

it.

What

the Father would

make and

will

make,

that towards

which he

is

ever working,

is

the Best;

and when our Lord turns the water


very good.
It is like his Father, too,

into wine

it

must be

not to withhold good wine


is

because

men

abuse

it.

Enforced virtue
rise

unworthy of
it is

the name,

That men may

above temptation,

needful that they should have temptation.


of

It is the will

him who makes the grapes and the wine.


call

Men

will

even

Jesus himself a wine-bibber.

What

matters

it.

THE BEGINNING OF MIRACLES

-so -long as

he works

as the Father works,

and

lives as the

Father

wills ?

I dare

not here be misunderstood.


tried,

God

chooses that
of tempting

men

should be

but

let

man beware

his neighbour.

God knows how and how much, and


:

where and when

man

is

his brother s keeper,

and must

keep him according

to

his

knowledge.

A man

may

work the

will

of

God

for

others,

and be condemned
will

therein because he sought his

own

and not God s.

That our Lord gave


that

this

company

wine, does not prove

he would have given any company wine.

To some

he refused even the bread they requested

at his hands.
shall

Because he gave wine to the wedding-guests,


dig a pit at the corner of every
fall

man may
not

street, that

the poor
is

therein,

spending their money for that which

bread, and their labour for that which satisfieth not ?


the poor man be tempted as
is

Let

God

wills, for

the end of
is

God
his

victory; let not


s fall,

man tempt

him, for his end


it

neighbour
gain,

or at best he heeds

not for the sake of

and he

shall receive

according to his works.

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

To him who
wine, there
is

can thank

God

with free heart for his good

a glad significance in the fact that our

Lord s
It is

first

miracle was this turning of water into wine.

a true symbol of what he has done for the world in

glorifying all things.

With

his divine

alchemy he turns
into radiant

not only water into wine, but


mysteries, yea, every

common things
eucharist,

meal into a

and the jaws of


that

the sepulchre into an outgoing gate.

do not mean

he makes any change in the things or ways of God, but


a mighty change in the hearts and eyes of men, so that

God s

facts

and God s -meanings become

their faiths

and

their hopes.

The
is

destroying

spirit,

who works

in the

commonplace,
high.

ever covering the deep


listen

and clouding the

lor those who


Such are

to that spirit great things

camiot be.

there, but they

cannot see them,

for in themselves they

do not

aspire.

They

believe, per

haps, in the truth

and grace of

their first

child

when

they have spoiled him, they laugh at the praises of childhqod.

From

all

that

is

thus low and wretched, incapable

and
j

fearful,

he who made the water into wine delivers

THE BEGINNING OF MIRACLES.

men, revealing heaven around them, God


truth in every instinct, evil withering

in

all

things,

and hope springing

even in the path of the destroyer.

That the wine should be

his first miracle,

and

that the

feeding of the multitudes should be the only other crea


tive miracle, will also suggest

many

thoughts in connec

tion with the

symbol he has

left

us of his relation to his

brethren.

In the wine and the bread of the eucharist,


is

he reminds us how utterly he has given,


for the gladness

giving, himself
s

and the strength of


he
is

his

Father

children.

Yea more
glory, this

for in that

the radiation of the Father s the symbol of

bread and wine

is

how

utterly

the Father gives himself to his children,

how

earnestly he
If Jesus

would have them partakers of


was the son of the Father,
should give
It

his

own

being.

is it

hard to believe that he


?

men
his

bread and wine

was not

power, however, but his glory, that Jesus

showed

forth in the miracle.


it

His power could not be


his glory.

hidden, but

was a poor thing beside


is

Yea,

power

in itself

a poor thing.

If

it

could stand alone,

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

which

it

cannot,

it

would be a

horror.

No amount

of

lonely power could create.

It is the love that is at the

root

of power, the power of power, which alone can

create.

What

then was this his glory


It

What was

it

that

made him

glorious ?

was

that,

like

his Father,

he

ministered to the wants of men.

Had

they not needed

the wine, not for the sake of whatever show of his power

would he have made

it.

The concurrence

of

man s need

and

his love

made

it

possible for that glory to shine forth.

It is for this glory


is

most that we worship him.


try to

But power
worship
it

no object of adoration, and they who


Their worship
at the
is

are slaves.

no

real worship.

Those

who trembled

thunder from the mountain went and


calf;

worshipped a golden

but Moses went into the thick

darkness to find his God.

How far

the expectation of the mother

Mary

that her

son would, by majesty of might, appeal to the wedding


guests,

and arouse
s

their enthusiasm for himself,

was from

our Lord

thoughts,

may be

well seen in the fact that the

miracle was not beheld even

by the

ruler of the feast;

THE BEGINNING OF MIRACLES.

21

while the repbrt of

it

would probably receive


of those
it

little

credit

from
wine.

at least

many

who partook

of the good

So quietly was

done, so entirely without pre-init

timation of- his intent, so stolenly, as

were, in the two

simple ordered
water,

acts,

the

filling
it

of the water-pots with

and the drawing of


it

out again, as to

make

it

manifest that

was done

for the ministration.

He

did

not do

it

even for the show of

his goodness, but to be good.


It

This alone could show his Father s goodness.

was

done because here was an opportunity

in

which

all cir

cumstances combined with the bodily presence of the


powerful and the prayer of his mother, to render
it fit

that

the love of his heart should go forth in giving his merry

making brothers and


drink.

sisters

more and

better wine to

And

herein

we

find another point in

which

this miracle

of Jesus resembles the working of his Father.


ministers to us so gently, so stolenly, as
it

For God

were, with such

quiet, tender, loving

absence of display, that

men

often

drink of his wine, as these wedding guests drank, without

22

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

knowing whence
giver
will
is

it

comes

without thinking that the

beside them, yea, in their very hearts.

For God

not compel the adoration of

men

it

would be but a

pagan worship that would bring to


rouse in

his altars.
shall

He

will

men

a sense of need, which


;

grow

at length

into a longing
their search

he

will

make them
to

feel after

him, until by

becoming able

behold him, he

may

at

Father. length reveal to them the glory of their


silently

He works

keeps quiet behind his works, as

it

were, that he

may

in the right time. truly reveal himself

With

this in

tent also,
rise

when men
for

find his

wine good and yet do not

and search

the giver, he will plague

them with
not be to
evil thing.
is

sore plagues, that the

good wine of

life

may

an them, and therefore to him and the universe,


It

would seem

that the correlative of creation

search

that as

God

has made us,


reflect his
all

we must fnd him


;

that thus

our action must

that thus

he
is

glorifies

us with

a share in the end of

things,

which

that the Father

and and

his children
intent, in

may be one

in thought, judgment, feeling,

a word, that they

may mean

the

same

thing.

THE BEGINNING OF MIRACLES.

23

St

John says

that

Jesus

thus

"manifested

forth
if

his

glory,

and

his disciples believed

on

him."

doubt

any

but his disciples knew of the miracle

or of those others

who might
of
it
;

see or hear of

it,

if

any believed on him because

it.

It is possible to see

a miracle, and not believe in


miracle of our Lord

while

many

of those

who saw a

believed in the miracle, and yet did not believe in him.


I

wonder how many

Christians

there

are

who

so

thoroughly believe

God made them


that

that they can laugh in

God s name
and gave
it

who understand
to his children.

God

invented laughter

Such

belief

would add a

keenness to the zest in their enjoyment, and slay that sneer


ing laughter of which a

man grimaces to

the fiends, as well

as that feeble laughter in which neither heart nor intellect

has a share.

It

would help them

also to understand the

depth of

this miracle.

The Lord

of gladness delights in the

laughter of a merry heart.

These wedding guests could

have done without wine, surely without more wine and


better wine.

But the Father looks with no esteem upon


is

a bare existence, and

ever working, even by suffering,

24

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

to render

life

more

rich

and
;

plentiful.

His

gifts are

to

the overflowing of the cup


flow,

but when the cup would over


its

he deepens
is

its

hollow, and widens

brim.

Our
stern

Lord
est

profuse like his Father, yea,

will, at his

own

cost,

be lavish

to his brethren.

He

will give

them

wine indeed.

But even they who know whence the good wine comes,

and joyously thank the

giver, shall

one day cry

out, like
it

the praiseful ruler of the feast to


"

him who gave


now."

not,

Thou

hast kept the

good wine

until

TIT.

THE CURE OF SIMON S WIFE S MOTHER,


TN
respect
little

of the purpose I have in view,

it

is

of
I

consequence in what order

I take the miracles.

choose
Peter
it

for

my

second chapter the story of the cure of St


Bare as the narrative
is,

mother-in-law.

the event

records has elements which might have been moulded


artistic effect

with

on the one side the

woman

tossing in

the folds of the fever, on the other the entering Life.


it is

But

not from

this side that I care to


it

view

it.

Neither do I wish to look at


of the bystanders, although
the testimony of three of
it

from the point of view


that

would appear
in the three

we had

them

Gospels which

contain the story.

We

might almost determine the posi

tion in the group about the


tiiree,

bed occupied by each of the

from the differences between their testimonies.

One

26

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

says Jesus stood over her

another, he touched her


:

hand

the third, he lifted her


her,

up

they agree that the fever left

and she ministered

to them.

In the present case, as

in others behind, I

mean

to icgard the miracle from the

point of view of the person healed.


Pain, sickness, delirium, madness, as great infringements

of the laws of nature as the miracles themselves, are such


veritable presences to the

human

experience, that what

bears no relation to their existence, cannot be the


the

God

of

human

race.

And

the

man who
than he

cannot find his

God

in the fog of suffering,

no

less

who

forgets his

God

in the sunshine of health, has learned

little

either of St

Paul or St John.

The

religion

whose

light renders

no

dimmest glow across

this evil air,

cannot be more than a


will

dim
but?

reflex of the true.

And who

mourn

to find this

There

are, perhaps,

some so anxious about them


"

selves that, rather than say,

have

it

not

it is

a better
"

thing than I have ever

possessed,"

they would say,


trial it is

have the precious thing, but in the hour of


little
avail."

of

Let us rejoice that the glory

is

great,

even

THE, CURE OF SIMON

WIFE

MOTHER.

27

if

we dare not

say, It is mine.

Then
it.

shall

we

try the

more

earnestly to lay hold


as

upon

So long

men must
"

toss in
it

weary fancies

all

the dark
it

night, crying,

Would God
it

were
little

morning,"

to find,

may

be,

when

arrives,

but

comfort in the grey


as

dawn, so long must we regard


believed in
flats

God

one

to
all

be seen or
the dreary

cried unto at least

across

of distress or dark mountains of pain,

and therefore

those

who would
it

help their fellows must sometimes look

for him, as

were, through the eyes of those

who

suffer,

and
their

try to help

them

to think, not from ours, but from


I shall therefore

own

point of vision.

now

write

almost entirely for those to


at least well

whom
first

suffering is familiar, or
I

known.
is

And

would remind them

that all suffering

against the ideal order of things.


It is

No

man can
thing.
tal

love pain.

an unlovely, an ugly, abhorrent


delicate the bodily
it

The more

true

and

and men

constitution, the

more must

recoil

from pain.

No

one, I think, could dislike pain so

much
it.

as the Saviour

must have disliked

it.

God

dislikes

He

is

then on

28

.ON

THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

CUT side in the matter.

.He knows

it

is

grievous to be

borne, a thing he would cast out of his blessed universe,

save for reasons.

But one will say

How can this

help

me when the agony

racks me, and the weariness rests on

me

like a grave
that,

stone

Is
is

it

nothing, I answer,
its

to

be reminded
it is

suffering
first

in

nature transitory
of God
that
it is

that

against the

and

final will
it

a means only, not an


it

end ?

Is

nothing to be told that

will pass

away ?

Is not that

what you would?

God made man


free winds,

for lordly

skies, great sunshine,

gay colours,

and

delicate
for the

odours

and however the fogs may be needful

soul, right gladly

does he send them away, and cause the

dayspring from on high to revisit his children.


suffer

While they

he

is

brooding over them an eternal day, suffering

with them, but rejoicing in their future.

He

is

the

God

of the individual man, or he could be no


race.
,

God

of the

I believe
it

it

is

possible

and

that

some have achieved

so to believe jn and rest

upon the immutable Health

THE CURE OP SIMON

\VlfE

MOTHER.

29

so to regard one

own

sickness as a kind of passing


is

aberration, that the soul

thereby sustained, even as

sometimes
telling

in

a weary dream the


it is

man

is

comforted by
is

himself

but a dream, and that waking

sure.
effort

God would have

us reasonable and strong.

Every

of his children to rise above the invasion of evil in


or in

body

mind
;

is

a pleasure to him.
is

Few,

I suppose, attain
trust,

to this
is

but there
to say,
let

a better thing which to many, I


will

easier

Thy

be done.

But now

us look at the miracle as received by the

woman.
She had
"

a great

fever."

She was tossing from side to

side in vain attempts to ease a nameless misery.

Her

head ached, and forms dreary, even


rising before her in miserable
less

in their terror, kept


;

and aimless dreams


till

sense

words went on repeating themselves


;

her very brain

was sick of them

she was destitute,


for

afflicted,

tormented

now

the

centre

the

convergence of innumerable
;

atoms,

now

driven along in an uproar of hideous globes

faces grinned

and mocked

at

her

her mind ever strove

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

to recover

itself,

and was ever borne away


j

in the rush of

invading fancies
unrest, not

but through

it

all

was the nameless


stinging, but

an aching, nor a burning, nor a


dark, drear,

a bodily

grief,

and nameless.

How
?

could

they have borne such before

He

had come

sudden ceasing of motions uncontrolled


;

a coolness

gliding through the burning skin

a sense of waking into

repose

a consciousness of all-pervading well-being, of

strength conquering weakness, of light displacing dark


ness, of urging
sitting
life

at the

heart; and

behold! she

is

up

in her bed, a

hand clasping

hers, a face looking


it

in hers.

He

has judged the evil thing, and

is

gone.

He

has saved her out of her distresses.


off her like the
all

They
She
is

fold

away

from

cerements of death.

new-born

new-made

things are new-born with her

and he

who makes all

things

new is

there.

From

him, she knows,


life

has the healing flowed.

He

has given of his

to her.

Away,

afar

behind her
forgets
it

floats the

cloud of her suffering.

She almost
now.

in her grateful joy.


is

She

is

herself

She

rises.

The sun

shining.

It

had been shining

THE CURE OF SIMON

WIFE

MOTHER.

3!

all

the time

waiting for her.

The

lake of Galilee

is

glittering joyously.

That too
is

sets forth the

law of

life.

But the
isters.

fulfilling

of the law

love

she rises and min

am

tempted to remark

in passing, although I shall


in

have better opportunity of dealing with the matter


volved, that there
is

no

sign of those

whom

our Lord

cures desiring to retain the privileges of the invalid.

The

joy of health

is

labour.

He who

is

restored must be
lifted

fellow-worker with God.

This woman,
set

out of the

whelming sand of the fever and


to her ministrations.
It is all right

upon her

feet,

hastens

She has been used


it

to

hard work.

now

she must to

again.

But who was he who had thus


a young

lifted

her up

She saw

man by her

side.

Is

it

the yoUng man, Jesus, of


is

whom

she has heard? for Capernaum

not

far

from

Nazareth, and the report of his wisdom and goodness

must have spread,


as well as with

for

he had grown
Is
it

in favour with

man

God.
is it

he, to

whom God

has given

such power, or

John, of

whom

she has also heard ?

32

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD*

Whether he was a prophet or a son of the prophets


whether he was Jesus or John, she waits not to question
for
.

here are guests

here

is

something to be done.
It

Ques
is

tions will

keep; work must be despatched.


is

the

day,

and the night

at hand.

She rose and ministered

unto them.

But

if

we ask who he
to

is,

this is the

answer

He

is

the

Son of God come


then,
is

do the works of his Father.

Where,

the healing of the Father?

All the world over,


in every

in every

man s

life

and knowledge, almost


it

man s
as

personal experience, although


such.

may be unrecognized

For

just as in certain

moods of

selfishness our

hearts are insensible to the tenderest love of our surround

ing families, so the degrading spirit of the


enables us to live in

commonplace

the midst of ministrations, so far


it

from knowing them as such, that


believe that the very heart of

is

hard for us to
care to

God would
is

do that

which
I

his

hand alone can do and

doing every moment.


it

remind

my

reader that I have taken


is

for granted that

iw*

confesses there

a God, or at least hopes there

may

THE CURE OF SIMON

WIFE

MOTHER.

33

lie

a God.

If

any one interposes, saying that science


not permit him to believe in such a being,

nowadays
I

will

answer

it is

not for him I

am now

writing, but for such

as have

gone through a
his.

different course of thought


I

and

experience from

To him
I

may be honoured

to say

a word some day.


the reader of

do not think of him now.

But

to

my

choice I do say that I see no middle

course between believing that every alleviation of pain,

every dawning of hope across the troubled atmosphere of


the
spirit,

every case of growing well again,


is

is

the doing
at least in

of God, or that there

no God

at all

none

whom /
in

could believe.

Had

Christians been believing

God

better,

more grandly, the present phase of unbe


is

lief,

which no doubt
s

needful,

and must appear some


in

time in the world

history,
it

would not have appeared

our day.
vanish
to

No
it

doubt

has

come when

it

must, and will

when
for

must

but those

who do

believe are

more

blame

it,

I think,

than those

who do

not believe.

The rommon kind


Half
to

of belief in

God

is

rationally untenable.
is

an insensate nature, half to a living God,

34

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

worship that cannot stand.


at
all.

God

is all

in

all,

or

no God

The man who goes

to church every Sunday,


is

and

yet trembles before chance,


Christ has claimed

a Christian only because

him

is

not a Christian as having

believed in Him.

would not be hard.


!

There are so

many
track,

degrees in faith

A man

may

be on the right

may be
But
I

learning of Christ, and be very poor and

weak.

say there

is

no standing room, no

reality

of reason, between absolute faith and absolute unbelief.


Either not a sparrow
there
is

falls

to the

ground without Him, or

no God, and we are


to live in such a

fatherless children.

Those

who attempt

limbo as

lies

between the

two, are cnly driven of the wind

and

tossed.

Has my

reader ever

known

the weariness of suffering,

the clouding of the inner sky, the haunting of spectral


shapes, the misery of disordered laws,

when nature

is

wrong within him, and her music


harsh,
pains,
v/orld,

is

out of tune and

when he
and
it

is

shot through with varied griefs and


life

seems as there were no


cf misery
"

more
for

in the

save

pain,

pain

ever,

ever

"

THE CURE OF SIMON

WIFE

MOTHER.

35

Then,

surely,

he has also known the turn of the

tide,
falls

when
upon

the pain begins to abate,


soul

when

the sweet sleep

and body, when a


!

faint

hope doubtfully glim


the sudden

mers across the gloom

Or has he known

waking from sleep and from fever


ness that
life is life,

at once, the conscious

that

life is

the law of things, the cool

ness and the gladness,


like that fabled

when

the garments of pain which,

garment of Dejanira, enwrapped and ate


have folded back from head and heart,
It is

into his being,

and he looks out again once more new-born ?


This
is

God.

his will, his

law of

life

conquering the law of


if I

death.

Tell

me

not of natural laws, as

were ignorant
is

of them, or meant to deny them.

The

question

whether

these laws go wheeling on of themselves in a

symmetry

of mathematical shapes, or whether their perfect order,


their

unbroken certainty of movement,

is

not the expres


perfect heart.
it

sion of a perfect intellect informed

by a

Law

is

truth

has

it

a soul of thought, or has

not

If

not, then farewell

hope and love and possible


hope

perfection.

Bat

for

me

I will

on, strive on, fight with

the in-

36

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

vading unbelief; for the horror of being the sport of in


sensate law, the

more

perfect the

more

terrible, is hell

and

utter perdition.
is

If a

man

tells

me

that science says

God

not a likely being, I answer, Probably not

such

as yon,

who have

given your keen, admirable, enviable

powers to the observation of outer things only, are ca


pable of supposing him
;

but that the

God

mean may

not be the very heart of the lovely order you see so


better than
I,

much

you have given

me no

reason to
in all that.
all

fear.

My

God may be above and beyond and


In
this

matter of healing, then, as in

the miracles,

we

find Jesus
:

doing the works of the Father.


the Son of

God

is

our Saviour

God comes

healing the sick

doing
for his

that, I repeat, before

our eyes, which the Father,


I

own

reasons,

some of which
veil

think I can see well


its

enough, does from behind the


laws.

of his creation and

The

cure comes by law, comes

by the physician
lo
!

who
it

brings the law to bear

upon us

we awake, and
is

is

God

the Saviour.

Every recovery
;

as

much

his

work

as the birth of a child

as

much

the work of the

THE CURE OF SIMON

WIFE

MOTHER.

37

Father as

if it

had been wrought by the word of the Son

before the eyes of the multitude.

Need

I,

to

combat again the vulgar notion


lies

that the

essence of the miracles


this

in their power, dwell

upon

miracle further?

Surely,

no one who honours the


him, as he entered the
to

Saviour will for a

moment imagine

chamber where the woman lay tormented, saying


"

him

self,

Here
"

is

an opportunity of showing how mighty

my

Father
ing.
.

is

No.
I
I

There was

suffering

here was heal

What
Here

could imagine him saying to himself would

"

be,

can help

Here

my

Father

will let

me

put

forth

my

healing,

and give her back

to

her

people."

What should we

think of a rich man, who, suddenly

brought into contact with the starving upon his


estate,

own

should think within himself,


!

"

Here
rich I

is

a chance
"

for

me

Now

can

let

them see how

am

and

so plunge his hands in his pockets and lay gold

upon the
;

bare table
the

The

receivers might well

be

grateful

but

arm of

the poor neighbour put under the head of the

dying man, would gather a deeper gratitude, a return of

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

tenderer love.
It is the love of

It is

heart alone that can satisfy heart.

God

alone that can gather to

itself

the
is

love of his children.

To
God

believe in an almighty being


at
all.

hardly to believe in a

To

believe in a being
if

who, in

his

weakness and poverty,

such could be,

would die
indeed.

for his creatures,

would be

to believe in a

God

IV.

MIRACLES OF HEALING UNSOLICITED.


T N my
last

chapter I took the healing of Simon


all

wife

mother as a type of

such miracles, viewed from


In the multitude
that there

the consciousness of the person healed.

of cases

for

it

must not be forgotten

was a
the

multitude of which

we have no

individual record

experience must have been very similar.


the antagonist of their
selves that they
life,

The

evil thing,

departed
;

they

knew

in

them

were healed

they beheld before them

the face and form


forth,

whence the healing power had gone


in the

and they believed

man.

What

they believed

about him, farther than that he had healed them and was

good, I cannot pretend to say.


thing,
self.

Some

said he
in the

was one

some another, but they believed

man him
binding

They

felt

henceforth the strongest of


life.

ties

his life to their

He

was now the central thought of

40

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

their being.

Their minds lay open to

all his

influences,

operating in time and by holy gradations.


life

The

well ot

was henceforth

to

them an unsealed
life

fountain,

and
it

endless currents of essential

began to flow from

through their existence.

High love urging


intenser
life
;

gratitude

awoke the conscience


began to
recoil

to
evil

and the healed


thoughts as

from

deeds and

vile

jarring with the

new

friendship.

Mere acquaintance with


evil
;

a good

man

is

a powerful antidote to

but the

know

ledge of such a man, as those healed by him

knew him,

was the mightiest of divine

influences.

In these miracles of healing our Lord must have laid

one of the

largest of the foundation-stones of his church.

The healed knew him

henceforth, not

by comprehension,
life

but with their whole being.


him.
afresh.

Their very

acknowledged

They
I

returned to their

homes

to recall

and love
like.

wonder what
it

their talk

about him was

What an
to

insight

would give into our common nature,

know how

these
!

men and women

thought and spoke


the>

concerning him

But the time soon arrived when

MIRACLES OF HEALING UNSOLICITED.

4!

iiaci

to be public martyrs
it

that

is,

witnesses to what they


s

knew, come of

what might. After our Lord

departure

came

the necessity for those

who

loved him to gather

together, thus bearing their testimony at once.


his

Next

to

immediate

disciples, those

whom

he had cured must Imagine

have been the very heart of the young church.


the living strength of such a heart

personal love to the


it.

personal helper the very core of

The church had

begun with the

first

gush of affection in the heart of the


"

mother Mary, and now


that
"

great was the


to

company of those
the

published

the good news

world.

The

works of the Father had drawn the hearts of the children,

and they spake of the Elder Brother who had brought


those works
to
their

doors.

The

thoughtful
;

remem

brances of those

who had heard him speak

the grateful
;

convictions of those

whom

he had healed

the tender

memories of those
Dlessed

whom

he had taken

in his

arms and

these were the fine fibrous multitudinous roots

which were to the church existence, growth, and con


tinuance, for these were they which sucked in the

dews

42

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD

and

rains of that descending Spirit

which was the


of the church.

life

of

the tree.

Individual
:

life is

the

life

But one may say


sick in Judaea
?

Why

then did he not cure


all

all

the

Simply because

were not ready to be


if

cured.

Many would
Their

not have believed in him

he had
work,
;

cured them.

illness

had not yet wrought

its

had not yet ripened them


cure would have
"

to the possibility of faith

his

left

them deeper

in evil than before.

He

did not

many mighty works


will cure

there because of their


will give

unbelief."

God

a man,

him a

fresh

start

of health and hope, and the

man

will

be the better
;

for

it,

even without having yet learned to thank him

but

to behold the healer

and acknowledge the outstretched


to believe in the healer,
I
is

hand of help, yet not


thing for the

terrible

man

and

think the
it

Lord kept
at

his per

sonal healing for such as

would bring

once into

some

relation of heart

and

will with himself;

whence

arose his frequent

demand
to
:

of faith

demand

apparently
belief,

always responded
the smoking

at the

word, the flickering


is,

flax, burst into a flame. Evil, that

physical

MIRACLES OF HEALING UNSOLICITED.

43

evil,

is

a moral good

a mighty means to a lofty end.


it

Pain

is

an

evil

but a good as well, which

would be a

great injury to take from the


its

man

before

it

had wrought
pass.

end.
I

Then

it

becomes
to a

all evil,

and must

now proceed

group of individual cases in which,


the narratives, our

as far as

we can judge from

Lord gave
in

the

gift

of restoration unsolicited. of the same, but they


fall

There are other


into other

stances

groups,

gathered because of other features.

The
"

first

is

that,

recorded by St Luke alone, of the

woman which had

spirit

of infirmity eighteen years,


in

and was bowed


herself."

together,

and could

no wise

lift

up

It

may be

that this belongs


well,

to the class of

demoniacal possession as
here
;

but

prefer to take

it

for I

am
"

in very doubtful whether the expression

the narrative
that of our

spirit

of

infirmity,"

even coupled with

Lord

in defending her

and himself from the


"

ruler of the synagogue, hypocritical attack of the

this

woman
to regard

whom
it

Satan hath

bound,"

renders

it

necessary

as one of the latter kind.

This

is,

however,

44

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

a matter of small importance


point of view.

at least

from our present

Bowed

earthwards, the necessary blank of her eye the

ground and not the horizon, the form divine deformed


towards that of the four-footed animals,
this

woman had
it

been
one
s

in

bondage eighteen

years.

Necessary as
fitted

is

to

faith to believe

every trouble

for the

being

who has
result of

to bear

it,

every physical evil not merely the

moral

evil,

but antidotal thereto, no one ought

to dare judge of the relation

between moral condition

and physical

suffering in individual cases.


that.

Our Lord has

warned us from
truth

But

in

proportion as love and

prevail in

the hearts

of men, physical evil will


righteousness of his descend

vanish from the earth.

The

ants will destroy the disease which the unrighteousness of


their ancestor

has transmitted to them.

But, I repeat, to
its

destroy this physical evil save by the destruction of


cause,
evil,

by the redemption of the human nature from moral


to ruin the world.
it

would be

What

in this

woman
bonds

it

was that made

right she should bear these

for

MIRACLES OF HEALING UNSOLICITED.

4$

eighteen years,

who can

tell ?

Certainly
it

it

was not

that

God had
from, one

forgotten her.

What

may have

preserved her

may perhaps

conjecture, but can hardly have a

right to utter.

Neither can
;

we

tell

how

she had borne

the sad affliction

whether

in the lovely patience


affliction,

common

amongst the daughters of


repining of one

or with the natural

made

to behold the sun,

and doomed
trod.
in

ever to regard the ground

upon which she


glorious

While
cure,

patience would have


it

its

reward

the

is

possible that even

the repinings of prideful pain

might be destroyed by the grand deliverance, that gra


titude

might beget sorrow

for

vanished impatience.

Anyfly

now

the right hour

had come wnen the darkness must

away.
Supported,
I

presume, by the

staff

which yet more

assimilated her to the lower animals, she had crept to the

synagogue
not
its

a good sign surely, for the synagogue was

ruier.

There

is

no appearance from the


to seek Jesus, or

story,

that she
in his

had come there

even that when

presence she

saw him before the word of her

46

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

deliverance had gone forth.


together, she heard

Most

likely,

being bowed

him before she saw him.

But he saw
him.
I

her.

Our

translation says

he called her to
word,

do not think
it

this is correct.

I think the

although

might mean

that,

does mean simply that he


I

addressed her.
"

Going

to

her,

think,

and
"

saying,

Woman, thou
hands on
glorified

art loosed

from thy

infirmity,"

he

laid

his

her,

and immediately she was made

straight,
all

and
that

God."

What an
human

uplifting

a type of

God works

in his

beings.
is

The
;

head, downthe grovel


is

bent with

sin, care,
its

sorrow, pain,

uplifted
;

ling will sends

gaze heavenward

the earth

no more

the one object of the aspiring spirit;

we

lift

our eyes to

God

we bend no
up towards
that will

longer even to his

will,

but raise our

selves
will,

his will, for his will has

become our

and

is

our sanctification.
did not beg the Son to cure her,

Although the
she

woman

may have prayed


was ready
God.

the Father much.

Anyhow

proof

that she
glorified

for the miracle is

not wanting.

She

It is

enough.

She not merely thanked

MIRACLES OF HEALING UNSOLICITED.

47

the

man who had wrought


;

the cure, for of this

we cannot

doubt

but she glorified the

known
gift

Saviour, God, from

whom cometh down


gift.

every good

and every

perfect

She had her share


perfect bounty,

in the miracle I think too, as, in his

God

gives a share to every one in what


I

work

He

does for him.


lift

mean,

that,

with the given


faith is the

power, she had to

herself up.

Such active

needful response in order that a

man may be

a child of
his

God, and not the mere instrument upon which


plays a soulless tune.

power

In
the

this

preventing of prayer, in this answering before


in this

call,

bringing of the blessing to


this

the door,

according to which I have grouped


miracles, Jesus did as his Father
is

with the following

doing every day.


If

He
help,

was doing the works of his Father.

men had no

no deliverance from the


those which they bring

ills

which come upon them, even


as

upon themselves, except such


salvation descended from
for,

came

at their cry

if

no

God.

except such as they prayed

where would the world

48

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

be?

in

what case would the generations of men


?

find

themselves
setting

But the help of God


free

is

ever coming, ever


;

them

whom

Satan hath bound

ever giving

them a

fresh occasion

and a

fresh impulse to glorify the

God

of their salvation.

For with everv such recovery the


new-born
for

child in the

man
;

is

some precious mo
a wonder at the

ments

at

least

a gentleness of

spirit,

an openness world, a sense of the blessedness of being,


to

calm yet rousing influences, appear

in the

man.

These

are the descending angels of God.

The
the

passion that had


of the world

blotted out the child will revive


will

strife

renew wrath and hate

ambition and greed will blot


;

out the beauty of the earth

envy of others
;

will blind

the

man
in

to his
all

own

blessedness

and

self-conceit will revive


lies in his

him

those prejudices whose very strength


;

weakness
to gain

but the

man

has had a glimpse of the peace

which he must
felt

fight with himself;


if

he has
in

for

one

moment
the
A.S

what he might be
of
it

he trusted

God

and

memory
the

may

return in the hour of temptation.

commonest

things in nature are the

most

lovely,

MIRACLES OF HEALING UNSOLICITED.

4$

so

me commonest

agencies in humanity are the most

powerful.

Sickness and recovery therefrom have a larger

share in tne divine order of things for the deliverance of

men
in

than can show


the

itself

to the keenest eyes.

Isolated

individuals,

facts

are

unknown

or,

slow and

obscure in their operation, are forgotten by the time


their eftects appear.

Many

things

combine

to render

an

enlarged view of the moral influences of sickness and

recovery impossible.
ooservation,

The kingdom cometh not


its

with

and tne working of the leaven of

approach
itself, it

must be
works
"

chiefly unseen.

Like the creative energy


far

in secret

shadow,

from

all

men s

sight."

The

teaching of our Lord which immediately follows

concerning the small beginnings of his kingdom, symbol


ized in the grain of mustard seed
think,

and the leaven, may,


to

have immediate reference

the

cure

of

this

woman, and show


for

that he regarded her glorifying of

God

her recovery as one of those beginnings of a mighty

growth.

We

do

find the

same
St

similes in a different
if

con

nection in bt

Matthew and

Mark but even


;

we had no

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

instances of

fact, it

would be

rational to suppose that the

Lord, in the varieties of place, audience, and occasion, in


the dullness likewise of his disciples, and the perfection

of the similes he chose, would again and again


of the same,
I

make use

now come

to the
all

second miracle of the group, namely


the Evangelists except St John, of

that,

recorded by

the cure of the

man

with the withered hand.

This, like

the preceding, was done in the synagogue.

And

may

remark,

in passing, that all of this group, with the

execu

tion of the last

-one of

very peculiar circumstance


rise to

were performed upon the Sabbath, and each gave


discussion concerning the

lawfulness of the deed.

St

Mark

says they watched Jesus to see whether he

would

neal the

man on

the Sabbath-day

St

Luke adds

that he

knew

their

thoughts,
its

and
;

therefore

met them with the


says

question of

lawfulness

St

Matthew

they chal
it

lenged him to the deed by asking him whether


lawful.

was

The mere watching could

hardly have

taken

place without the

man s

perceiving something in motion

MIRACLES OF HEALING UNSOLICITED.

5?

which had to do with him.


a request.

But there

is

no

indication of

There cannot surely be many who have reached half


the average
the
life

of

man
in

without at some time having

felt

body a burden
it

some way, and regarded a

possible

deliverance from

as an enfranchisement.

If the spirit

of

man were

fulfilled

of the Spirit of God, the body would


yes,

simply be a living house, an obedient servant

humble mediator, by the

senses,

between

his thoughts
it

and

God s

thoughts
for

but when every breath has, as

were, to

be sent

and brought hither with much labour and small

consolation

when pain

turns faith into a

mere shadow

of

hope

when

the withered limb hangs irresponsive, lost


inert

and cumbersome, an
lifeless to

simulacrum of power, swinging

and

fro

then even the physical

man under

stands his share in the groaning of the creation after the


sonship.

When,

at a

word

issuing from such a

mouth

as

that of Jesus of Nazareth, the poor, withered, distorted,

contemptible hand obeyed and, responsive to the


within, spread forth
its

spirit

fingers,

filled

with

its

old

human

C2

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

might,

became capable once more of the grasp of

friend

of love, of the labour for the ship, of the caress


sustains the
life, little

bread that

would the man care

that other

men

even

rulers of synagogues,

even Scribes and Pharisees,

should question the rectitude of him

who had healed

him.

The power which

restored the

gift

of

God and completed

humanity, must be of God.

Argument upon argument

old customs and learned might follow from old books and
interpretations, wherein
different

man

set forth the will of

God

as

from the laws of

his world,

but the

man whose
fitting that

hand was restored whole


his

as the other,

knew

it

hands should match.

They might

talk;

he would

thank

God

for the

crooked made

straight.

Bewilder his

judgment they might with

their glosses

upon command
his heart

ment and observance, but they could not keep


from gladness
but
;

and, being glad,

whom

should he praise

God ?

If there

was another giver of good things he

knew nothing
meant
it

of him.

The hand was now

as

God had

to be.

Nor could he behold

the face of Jesus,

and doubt

that such a

man would do

only that which

MIRACLES OF HEALING UNSOLICITED.

53

tvas right.
free.

It

was not Satan, but God that had

set

him

Here, plainly by the record, our Lord gave the


share, not of

man

his

mere acquiescence, but of

active will, in the

miracle.
in the

If

man

is

the child of God, he must have a share

works of the Father.


faith gives, cure will
hand,"

Without such share

in the

work as

be of
;

"

little avail.

Stretch

forth thine
effort

said the Healer

and the man made the

and the withered hand obeyed, and was no more


In the act came the
cure, without

withered.
act

which the

had been confined

to the will,
It is the

and had never taken

form

in the outstretching.

same

in all spiritual

redemption.

Think
employ
be God

for a

moment

with what delight the


right

man would

his
s

new hand. This

hand would henceforth


s

hand.
as

But was not the other hand God


as this ?

too

God s

much

Had

not the power of

God

been always present


life

in that left hand,

whose unwithered

had ministered
life

to

him

all

these years ?

Was
?

it

not
the

the

of

God

that inspired his

whole frame

By

54

ON THF MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

loss

and

restoration in

one

part,

he would understand pos

session in the whole.

But as the withered and restored limb


the

to the

man, so

is

maimed and healed man

to his brethren.

In every
is

man
the

the power

by which he does the commonest things

power of God.
it
;

The power

is

not of us.

Our power does


it is,

but

we do not make

the power.

This, plain as

remains, however, the hardest lesson for a

man

to learn
it

with conviction and thanksgiving.


were, put us just so far

For God

has, as

away from
our

Him

that

we can ex

ercise the divine thing in us,

own

will,

in returning

towards our source.

Then we
great

shall learn the fact that

we

are infinitely

more

and blessed

in

being the out

come of a

perfect self-constituting will, than

we could be
origin

by the conversion of any imagined independence of


into fact for us
truly

a truth no

man

can understand,

feel,

or

acknowledge, save in proportion as he has become


his perfect origin, the will of

one with

God.

While oppo

sition exists

between the thing made and the maker, there


in the

can be but discord and confusion

judgment of the

MIRACLES OF HEALING UNSOLICITED.

55

creature.

No

true felicitous vision of the facts of the


his

relation

between

God and him

no perception of the

mighty liberty constituted by the holy dependence wherein


the will of

God

is

the absolutely free choice of the

man

no perception of a unity such


dependent
wills,

as cannot exist between in

but only in unspeakable love and tender


will,

ness between the causing Will and the caused


yet have place.
will

can

Those who cannot see how the human

should be free in dependence upon the will of God,


will of

have not realized that the

God made

the will of

man

that,
is

when most

it

pants for freedom, the will of

man

the child of the will of God, and therefore that

there can be

no natural opposition or strife between them.

Nay, more, the whole labour of

God
free

is

that the will of


in the

man

should be free as his will


is

is

same way

that his will

free
true,

by the

perfect love of the

man

for

that

which
"

is

harmonious, lawful, creative.


will

If a
will

man

say,

But might not the

of

God make my
"

with the intent of over-riding and enslaving

it ?

I answer,
it

such a Will could not create, could not be God, for

in-

56

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

volves the false and contrarious.

That would be
will.

to

make

a will in order that

it

might be no

To

create in

order to imcreate

is

something else than divine.

But a
but

free will is not the liberty to

do whatever one
to

likes,

the

power of doing whatever one sees ought

be done,

even in the very face of otherwise overwhelming impulse.

There
I

lies

freedom indeed.
to the case of the

come now

man who had been


There
is

paralysed for eight-and-thirty years.


in the story.

great pathos

For many,

at least, of these years, the

man

had haunted the borders of legendary magic,

for I regard

the statement about the angel troubling the pool as only

the expression of a current superstition. Oh,

how

different

from the healing of our Lord

What he had

to

bestow

was

free to

all.

The

cure of no

man by

his

hand weak

ened that hand


that one

for the cure of the rest.


rich.

None were poorer

was made

But

this

legend of the troubling

of the pool fostered the evil passion of emulation, and


that
in

a most
is

selfish

kind.

Nowhere
s loss.

in

the divine
it

arrangements

my

gain another

If

be said

MIRACLES OF HEALING UNSOLICITED.

57

that this
\vas to

was the mode


I

in

which

God

determined which
necessary was

be healed,
all

answer that the

effort

contrary to

we admire most

in humanity.

According

to this rule, Sir Philip Sidney ought to

have drunk the

water which he handed to the soldier instead.


doctrine of Christ, and

Does the
interpret

by

that I insist

we must

the ways of God, countenance a

man s

hurrying to be

before the

rest,

and gain the boon


it,

in virtue of having

the least need of

inasmuch as he was the ablest to run


eddies
left

and plunge
angel
?

first

into the

by the

fantastic

Or

if

the triumph were to be gained

by the help

of friends, surely he was in most need of the cure


like this

who

man

man

such as

we hope
him

there are

few-

had no

friends either to plunge

in the waters of

fabled hope, or to comfort

him

in the seasons of dis

appointment which alone divided the weary months of a


life

passed in empty expectation.

But the Master comes near.


rests as in
"

In him the power of


its

life

its

own calm home,

crystal

shrine,"

and

he that believeth in him shall not need to

make

haste.

58

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

He knew

it

was time

this

man

should be healed, and did

not wait to be asked.

Indeed the man did not know


his

him; did not even know

name.

"Wilt

thou be
is

made whole

"

"

Sir, I

have no man, when the water


:

troubled, to put

me

into the pool

but while
"

am coming,
up thy

another steppeth
bed, and
walk."

down

before

me."

Rise, take

Our Lord
speech.

with delays the cure in this case

no

further

The man knows nothing about

him, and he

makes no demand upon

his faith, except that of obedience.

He

gives

him something
by.

to

do

at once.

He
up

will find

him again by and


and walks.

The man

obeys, takes

his bed,

He

sets

an open path before us

we must walk
is

in

it

More, we must be willing to believe that the path


that

open,
glides

we have

strength to walk in
It is

it.

God s

gift

into

man s

choice.

needful that

we should

follow

with our effort in the track of his foregoing power.


refuse
3
is

To

to destroy the

gift.

His cure

is

not for such


willing to be

choose to be invalids.

They must be

MIRACLES OF HEALING UNSOLICITED.

59

made whole, even


beds and walking.

if it

should involve the carrying of their


in

Some keep

bed who have strength


is

enough

to get

up and walk.

There

a self-care and a

self-pity,

a laziness and

conceit

of incapacity,

which

are as unhealing for the

body

as they are unhealthy in the


all

mind, corrupting

all

dignity

and destroying

sympathy.

Who

but invalids need like miracles wrought in them?


will

Yet some invalids are not cured because they


healed.

not be

They
;

will

not stretch out the hand


;

they will

not rise

they will not walk

above
it

all

things, they will

not work.
so detested

Yet
is

for their illness

may be

that the

work

the only cure, or

if

no cure yet the best


an
evil like the sick

amelioration.

Labour is not

in itself

ness, but often a divine, a blissful

remedy.

Nor

is

the
to

duty or the advantage confined to those


labour for their

who ought

own

support.

No amount
in

of wealth sets

one

free

from the obligation to work


is

a world the

God

of which

ever working.

He who

works not has

not yet discovered what

God made him

for,

and

is

a false

note in the orchestra of the universe.

The

possession of

60

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

wealth
tion of

is

as

it

were pre-payment, and involves an obliga

honour to the doing of correspondent work.


not

He

who does

know what

to

do has never

seriously

asked himself what he ought to do.

But there
these,

is

a class of persons, the very opposite of


fall

who, as extremes -meet,


will

into a similar fault.


will

They

not be healed

either.

They

not take the

repose in which

God

giveth to his beloved.


rest,

Some

sick

nesses are to be cured with


right
it

others with labour.


as

The

way

is all

to

meet the sickness

God would have

met, to submit or to resist according to the conditions


is

of cure. Whatsoever
will

not of

faith is sin

and she who


is

not go to her couch and rest in the Lord,

to

blame

even as she

who

will

not

rise

and go

to her work.

There

is

reason to suppose that this

man had

brought

his infirmity

upon himself

do not mean by the mere

the doing of what he neglect of physical laws, but by

knew

to

be wrong.

For the Lord, although he allowed


full

the gladness of the deliverance

sway

at

first,

when he

found him afterwards did not leave him without the lesson

MIRACLES OF HEALING UNSOLICITED.

6l

that
"

all

health

and well-being depend upon

purity of
lest

life

Behold, thou art

made whole

sin

no more

a worse

thing

come unto

thee."

It is the

only case of recorded

cure in which Jesus gives a warning of the kind.


fore I think the probability
is

There

as I have stated

it.

Hence,

the fact that


ings
is

we may be

ourselves to blame for our sufferto

no reason why we should not go


David the king knew
poem, the loyth Psalm.

God
and

to deliver
it

us from them.

this,

set

forth

that grand

In the very next case we find that Jesus


cause of the

will

not admit the

man

condition, blindness from his birth, to

be the

sin either of the

man

himself, or of his parents.

The

from their behaviour in probability seems, to judge

the persecution that followed, that both the

man and

his

and honourable parents were people of character, thought,


prudence.

He

was born

blind, Jesus

said,

"that

the

works of God should be made manifest


works, then
?

in

him."

What

The work

of creation for one. rather than


suffered nothing in

the work of healing.

The man had

being born

blind.

God had made him

only not ac

t)2

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

blessed as his fellows, with the intent of giving him equal


faculty

and even greater enjoyment afterwards, with the


for the revelation of his

honour of being employed


to

works
eyes.

men.

In him Jesus created sight before


first

men s

For, as at the

God
still

"

said,

Let there be

light,"

so

the

work of God

is

to give light

to the world,

and

Jesus must work his work, and be the light of the world
light in
all
its

degrees and kinds, reaching into every

corner where work

may be
eyes.

done, arousing sleepy hearts,

and opening blind

Jesus saw the man, the disciples asked their question,

and he had no sooner answered


ground,

it,

than

"

he spat on the

made

clay of the spittle,

and anointed the eyes

of the blind

man

with the

clay."

Why

this

mediating

clay?

Why

the spittle

and the touch ?

Because the

man who

could not see him must yet be brought into

sensible contact with

him

must know that the healing


him.

came from pams about

the
it

man who touched


because the

Our Lord took

man was

oiind.

And

for the

man

share in the miracle, having blinded

him a second

MIRACLES OF HEALING UNSOLICITED.

time as

it

were with
:

clay,

he sends him to the pool to

wash

it

away

clay

and blindness should depart together


faith.

by the
"

act of the
:

man s

It

was as

if

the

Lord

said,

blinded thee

now, go and

see."

Here, then, are the


to

links of the chain

by which the Lord bound the man


if

himself.

The

voice,

heard by the man, which defended


his disciples
;

him and

his parents

from the judgment of

the assertion that he was the light of the world

some
as

thing which others had and the blind

man

only

knew

not possessed by him

the sound of the spitting on the


s

ground

the touch of the speaker


;

fingers

the clay on
;

his eyes

the

command
;

to

wash

the journey to the pool


"

the laving water

the astonished sight.

He

went

his

way, therefore, and washed, and came

seeing."

But who can imagine, save

in a

conception only

less

dim than the man him when,

blindness, the glory which burst

upon

as the restoring clay left his eyes, the light of


?

the world invaded his astonished soul

The

very idea

may

well

make one

tremble.

Blackness of darkness

not an invading stranger, but the home-companion always

64

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

the negation never understood because the asser


tion

was unknown

creation not erased


to his eyes uncreated

and treasured
1

in

the

memory, but
!

Blackness of
!

darkness

The

glory of the celestial blue

The
!

towers of the great Jerusalem dwelling in the awful space

The room

The

life

The

tenfold-glorified being

Any

wonder might follow on such a wonder.


vision

And

the whole

was as

fresh as

if

he had that moment been created,

the

first

of men.

But the best remained behind.

A man
!

had

"

said,

am

the light of the

world,"

and

lo

here was the light of


as a dark form

the world.

The words had been vague

in darkness, but

now

the

thing itself had invaded his


this

innermost

soul.

But the face of the man who was

light of the

world he had not seen.

The

creator of his
in

vision
for

he had not yet beheld.

But he believed

him,

he defended him from the same charge of wickedness


"

from which Jesus had defended him.


praise,"

Give
is

God
a

the

they said

"

we know

that this

man
"

sinner."

"

God

heareth not

sinners,"

he replied

and

this

man

MIRACLES OF HEALING UNSOLICITED.

hath opened

my

eyes."

It is
"

no wonder that when Jesus


Dost thou believe on the

found him and asked him,

Son of God

?"

he should reply,
him?"

Who

is

he, Lord, that I

might believe on
to

He

was ready.

He

had only

know which was

he, that

he might worship him. Here


the

at length

was the Light of the world before him


"

man who had

said,

am

the light of the

world,"

and

straightway the world burst


this

upon him

in light

Would

man
of

ever need further proof that there was indeed a


I suspect

God
of

men ?

he had a grander idea of the Son


yet.

God

than any of his disciples as


"

The would-be
was

refutations of experience, for


it

since the world began

not heard that any


"

man opened

the eyes of one that

was born blind


"

the objections of the religious author


is

ities,

This

man

not of God, because he keepeth not


endless possible perplexities of the

the Sabbath day

"

understanding, and questions of the

how and

the whv.

could never touch that


Mricnce
"

man

to the shaking of his con*

One

thing I know, that whereas I was blind,


riot

now

see."

The man could

convince the Tews that

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

Jesus must be a good


himself,

man

neither could he doubt


spirit,

it

whose very being, body and soul and


glorified

had

been enlightened and

by him.

With

light in the

eyes, in the brain, in the heart, light permeating

and

unify

ing his physical and moral

nature, asserting itself in

show
!

ing the

man

to himself

one whole

how could he doubt

The

miracles were for the persons on

whom they passed.


it

To

the spectators they were something,


to,

is

true

but

they were of unspeakable value

and of endless influence


in

upon

their subjects.

The

true

mode

which they reached

others was

through the healed themselves.


far

And

the

testimony of their lives would go


of their tongues.
fact
}

beyond the testimony


a.

Their tongues could but witness to

their lives could witness to a truth.


this miracle as in all the rest,

In
great
to

Jesus did in

little

the

work of the Father

for

how many more

are they

whom God
whom

has given the marvel of vision than those

blind

the

Lord enlightened
to the

The remark

will

sound feeble and far-fetched


spirit
is

man whose

familiar

that Mephistopheles of the

commonplace.

lie

MIRACLES OF HEALING UNSOLICITED.

bj

\vho uses his vision only for the care of his

body or the

indulgence of his mind


gift

how
?

should he understand the

of

God

in its

marvel

But the

man upon whose

soul

the grandeur

and glory of the heavens and the earth and

the sea and the fountains of waters have once arisen will

understand what a divine invention, what a mighty

gift

of

God

is this

very

common

thing

these eyes to see with


this sight

that light

which enlightens the world,

which

is

the result of both. the

He

will

understand what a believer

man born

blind must have become, yea,

how

the

rnighty inburst of splendour might render

him so capable

of believing that nothing should be too grand and good


for

him

to believe thereafter

not even the doctrine hard


natural
that the

est to

commonplace humanity, though the most


to
is

and reasonable

those

who have beheld

it

God

of the light

a faithful, loving, upright, honest,

and

self-denying being, yea utterly devoted to the uttermost

good of those
Such
is

whom

he has made.

the Father of lights

who
it.

enlightens the world

arid every

man

that

cometh

into

Every pulsation of

68

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

light

on every brain
is

is

from him.

Every feeling of law


right,

and order

from him.

Every hint of

every desire

after the true,

whatever we

call aspiration, all


is

longing for
that that

the

light,

every perception that this


is

true,
lights.

ought to be done,
finite

from the Father of

His
for

in

and varied

light

gathered into one point

how
in

shall

we speak

at all of these things if

we do not speak

figures?

concentrated and embodied in Jesus, became

the light of the world.


diffused, but in
it
flows."

For the
"

light is

no longer only

him man
is

beholds the light and whence


our chamber enlightened, but

Not merely

we

see the lamp.


lights,

And

so

we

turn again to God, the

Father of

yea even of The Light of the World.


all

Henceforth we know that


has
its

the light wherever diffused

centre in God, as the light that enlightened the

blind

man

flowed from

its

centre in Jesus.
faint,

In other

words,

we have a glimmering,

human
is

perception of
in recognizing

the absolute glory.

We know

what God

him

as our

God.

Jesus did the works of the Father.

MIRACLES OF HEALING UNSOLICITED.

69

The next
cure of the

miracle

recorded by St Luke alone

is

the

man

with the dropsy, wrought also upon the

Sabbath, but in the house of one of the chief of the


Pharisees.

Thither our Lord had gone to an entertain


is

ment, apparently large, for the following parable


"

spoken

to those

which were bidden, when he marked how they


rooms."*

chose out the chief


least
is

Hence

the possibility at

suggested, that the


their

man was one

of the guests.

No
and
in,

doubt
it

houses were more accessible than ours,

was not

difficult for

one uninvited

to

make

his

way
I

especially upon occasion of such a gathering.

But

think the word tianslated before


at the table
;

him means
not too

opposite to
ill

him

and

that the
"

man was

to appear
let

as a guest.
go,"

The

took him and healed him and


is

him

of our translation,
its

against the notion rather, but

merely from
that he sent

indefiniteness being capable of


;

meaning

him away

but such

is

not the meaning of

the original.
to

That merely implies


laid his
*

that he took him,

went

him and

hands upon him, thus connecting the


but reclining places at the table.

Not

roo}ttst

70

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

cure with himself, and then released him, set him

free,

took his hands off him, turning at once to the other


guests

and

justifying himself

by appealing

to their

own

righteous conduct towards the ass and the ox.

I think

the

man remained

reclining at the table, to

enjoy the

appetite of health at a

good meal

if,

indeed, the gladness

of the relieved breath, the sense of lightness and strength,


the consciousness of a restored obedience of body, not to

speak of the presence of him who had cured him, did not

make him
I

too happy to care about his dinner.


to the last of the group, exceptional in
it

come now

its

nature,

inasmuch as

was not the curing of a disease or

natural defect, but the reparation of an injury, or hurt at


least, inflicted

by one of his own

followers.

This miracle

also

is

recorded by St Luke alone.

The

other evangelists
the miracle
I

relate the occasion of the miracle, but not


itself
;

they record the blow, but not the touch.

shall

not, therefore,

compare

their accounts,

which have con


I
shall confine

siderable variety, but

no inconsistency.

myself to the story as told by St Luke.

MIRACLES OF HEALING UNSOLICITED.

71

Peter,

intending, doubtless, to cleave the head of a

servant of the high priest


Jesus, with

who had come

out to take

unaccustomed hand, probably trembling with

his well-meant aim, rage and perhaps with fear, missed

and only cut


thus
far."

off the

man

ear.

esus said,

"

Suffer ye

think the words should have a point of

interrogation after them, to


"

mean,

"Is

it

thus far ye
"

"

suffer ?

Is this the limit of

your patience
"he

but

do

not know. healed


sting of
him."

With the words,

touched his ear and

Hardly had the wound reached the true

its

pain, before the gentle

hand of him

whom

the

servant had

come

to drag to the torture, dismissed the

agony as

if it

had never been.


it

Whether he restored the

ear, or left

the loss of

for a

reminder to the

man

of the

part he

had taken against

his Lord,

and the return the


Neither do

Lord had made him, we do not know.

we

know whether he
that in his

turned back ashamed and contrite,


felt

now

own person he had

the

life

that dwelt in

the capture to the end. Jesus, or followed out


the

Possibly

blow of Peter was the form which the favour of God

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

took, preparing
birth, for

the way,

like

the

blindness

from the

the glory that was to be manifested in him.


in

But the Lord would countenance no violence done


his defence.

They might do

to

him

as they would.

If

his

Father would not defend him, neither would he

defend himself.

Within sight of the


heart was no whit

fearful

death that awaited him, his

hardened to the pain of another.


difference that
it

Neither did

it

make any

was the pain of

an enemy
cross.

even an enemy who was taking him to the


suffering;

There was
to
to

here

was

healing.

He
did
the

came
good

do the works of him them


that

that sent him.

He
is

hated him, for his Father


"

Saviour of men, saving

them out of

their

distresses."

V.

MIRACLES OF HEALING SOLICITED BY THE


SUFFERERS.
T

COME

now

to the

second group of miracles, those


sufferers.

granted to the prayers of the

But before

make any

general remarks on the speciality of these, I


to lie

must speak of one case which appears


preceding group and
this.

between the

It is that of the

woman who

came behind Jesus


difficulties, in

in the

crowd

and involves peculiar


its

connection with the facts which render

classification uncertain.

At Capernaum, apparently, our Lord was upon


with Jairus to
visit his

his

way

daughter, accompanied by a crowd


the request of the ruler of the
ill

of people

who had heard

synagogue.

A woman

who had been


the

for twelve years,

came behind him and touched


This we

hem

of his garment.

may

regard as a prayer in so far as she

came

to

74

ON THE MIRACLES OP OUR LORD.

<:

him, saying

within

herself,

If

may

but touch his


it

garment, I shall be

whole."

But, on the other hand,

was no true prayer

in as far as she

expected to be healed

without the knowledge and will of the healer.


she

Although

came

to him, she did not ask

him

to heal her.

She

thought with innocent theft to steal from him a cure.

What

follows according

to

St

Matthew

account, oc

casions

me no

difficulty.

He
;

does not say that the

woman was

cured by the touch

he says nothing of her


her,

cure until Jesus

had turned and seen


"

and spoken the


the

word

to her,

whereupon he adds
that
hour."

And

woman was

made whole from


represent that the
that the cure

But St Mark and St Luke


cured upon the touch, and

woman was

was only confirmed afterwards by the words

of our Lord.

They

likewise represent Jesus as ignorant

of what had taken place, except in so far as he

knew

that,

without his volition, some cure had been wrought by


contact with his person, of which he was aware by the

passing from him of a saving influence.


heart of a

By

this, in

the

crowd which pressed upon him so

that

many

MIRACLES SOLICITED BY THE SUFFERERS.

75

must have come into bodily contact with him, he knew


that

some one had touched him with

special intent.

No

perplexity arises
counts, for there

from the difference between the ac


is

only difference, not incongruity


j

the

two

tell

more than the one


that

it is

from the nature of the


circum

added circumstances

it

springs, for those

stances necessarily involve inquiries of the most difficult


nature.

Nor can

I in the least

pretend to have
first

satisfied

myself concerning them.

In the

place comes the


sight (dissociated,

mode

of the cure, which seems at

first

observe, from the will of the healer) to partake of the

nature of magic

an influence without a
I

sufficient origin.

Not

for

moment would

therefore yield to an inclina


I

tion to reject the testimony.


for
it

have no right to do

so,

deals
is

with
all

circumstances concerning which


I

my

ignorance

but complete.

cannot

rest,

however,

without seeking to
the narrative, that

come
is,

into

some some

with spiritual relation


credible supposition
lustre of the

to find

upon which, without derogating from the

object of the whole history, the thing might take place.

76

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

The

difficulty,

repeat,

is,

that the

woman

could be

cured by the garment of Jesus, without (not against) the


will

of Jesus.

think

that the

whole

difficulty

arises

from our ignorance


tions of thought

a helpless ignorance
matter.
I use the

of the rela

and

word thought
spirit

rather than
is

spirit,

because in reflecting upon

(which

thought), people generally represent to themselves a

vague form of matter.


belief or instinct
result of
call
it

All religion

is

founded on the
is

what we

will

that matter
relation

the

mind,

spirit,

thought.

The

between

them

is

therefore simply too close, too near for us to

understand.

Here

is

what

am

able to suggest concern

ing the account of the miracle as given by St


St Luke.
If even in

Mark and

what we

Call

inanimate things there


kinds
;

lies

healing power in various


there

if,

as

is

not absurd,
existing in

may

lie

in

the world

absolute

cure

analysis, that is parted into

a thousand kinds and forms,


lie

who can

tell

what cure may

in a perfect
spirit ?

body, in

formed, yea, caused, by a perfect

If stones

and

MIRACLES SOLICITED BY THE SUFFERERS.

7?

plants can heal

by the

will

of

God

in them,

might there

not dwell in the perfect health of a body, in which dwelt


the

Son of God, a necessarily healing power?


that in the fact of the

It

may
him,

seem

many crowding about

concerning

whom we

have no testimony of influence

received, there lies a refutation of this supposition.

But

who can

tell

what he may have done even


it

for

them with
?

out their recognizing


Besides, those

save

in

conscious well-being

who crowded

nearest

him would mostly be


need of a physician,
that bare

of the strongest

who were

least in

and

in

whose being consequently there lay not


for

open channel hungering

the

precious

life-current.

And who

can

tell

how

the faith of the heart, calming or

arousing the whole nature,

may have rendered


fit

the very

person of the
in

woman more

than the persons of others

the

crowd to receive the sacred influence?

For

although she did not pray, she had the faith as alive

though as small as the mustard seed.

Why

might not

health from the fountain of health flow then into the

y channel of the

woman

weakness

It

may have

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

been

so.

shrink from the subject, I confess, because

of the vulgar forms such speculations have assumed in

our days, especially in the hands of those

who

savour

unspeakably more of the charlatan than the prophet.


Still,

one must be honest and


to distinguish, as

truthful

even in regard to

what he has
impossible.

he can, into probable and

Fact
If

is

not the sole legitimate object of


were, farewell to
farewell to
lies at
all

human
and
to

inquiry.

it

that elevates
religion,

glorifies
!

human

nature

God, to

hope

It is that

which

the root of fact, yea, at


soul hungers

the root of law, after which the


longs.

human

and

In the preceding remarks


to

have anticipated a chapter

follow

chapter of speculation,
right.

which may God

make humble and


here.

But some remark was needful

What must be

to

some a
It
is

far greater difficulty

has

yet

to
s

be considered.

the representation of the

Lord
his

ignorance of the cure, save from the reaction upon


of the influence which went out from him
suffering

own person
fill

to

that

vacuum of

which the divine nature

MIRACLES SOLICITED

-BY

THE SUFFERERS.

79

abhors

he did not know that his body was about

to

radiate health.

But

this

gives

me no

concern.

Our

Lord himself

tells

us in one case, at least, that he did not

know, that only

his

Father knew.

He

could discern a

or the necessary result in the future, but not the day

hour

thereof.

Omniscience

is

a consequence, not

an

essential of the divine nature.


creates.

God knows

because he

The Father knows because he

orders.

The
of the

Son knows because he obeys.


Father must be perfect
;

The knowledge

such knowledge the Son neither


is

needs nor
Father.

desires.

His sole care


lies

to

do the

will of the

Herein

his

essential

divinity.

Although

he knew that one of

his apostles should betray him., I

doubt much whether, when he chose Judas, he knew that


he was that one.

We

must take

his

own words

as true.

Not only does he not claim


disclaims
it.

but he perfect knowledge,


least,

He

speaks once, at

to his Father

with an if it be possible.

Those who believe omniscience


be driven to say that
their

essential to divinity, will therefore

Christ was not divine.

This

will

be

punishment

for

b>0

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

placing knowledge on a level with love.

No
can

one who
lift

does so can worship in

spirit

and
will

in truth,

up

his

heart in pure adoration.


his

He

suppose he does, but

heaven

will

be

in the clouds, not in the sky.

But now we come to the holy of holies of the story


the divinest of
its

divinity.

Jesus could not leave the


gift.

woman

with the half of a

He

could not
:

let

her

away so poor.
the other half
is,

She had stolen the half


-come and take
it

she must fetch

from his hand.


her.

That

she must

know who had healed


;

Her

will

and
his,

his

must come together

and

for this

her eyes and

her voice and his ears, her ears and his voice must meet.
It is the It

only case recorded in which he says Daughter.

could not have been because she was younger than


there

himself;

could not have been

much

difference

between
lies in

their ages in that direction.

Let us see what

the word.
to her as a

With the modesty belonging


tensified

woman,
its

in

by the

painful shrinking which

had

origin in

the peculiar nature of her suffering, she dared not presenf

MIRACLES SOLICITED BY THE SUFFERERS.

gt

herself to the eyes of the Lord, but thought merely to

gather from under his table a crumb unseen.

And

do

not believe that our Lord in calling her had anv desire to

make her
It

tell

her tale of

e^rief*

and, in her

eyes.,

of shame.

would have been enough

to

him

if

she had

come and
to

stood before him, and said nothing.

Nor had she

appear before his face with only that poor remnant of


strength which
his

had

sufficed to bring her to the


;

hem

of

garment behind him

for

now

she

knew

in herself

that she

was healed of her plague, and the consciousness


strength.

must have been


came.
Filled

Yet she trembled when she

with awe and gratitude, she could not


;

stand before him

she

fell

down

at

his

feet.

There,

hiding her face in her hands, I presume, she forgot the

surrounding .multitude, and was alone in the chamber of


her consciousness with the Son of Man.
gratitude, her holy
all.

Her

love, her
tell

awe unite

in

an impulse to

him

When

the lower approaches the higher in love, even


is

between men, the longing


*

to

be known
s

the prayer
"

is

Know

me."

This was David

prayer to God,

Search
If

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

me and know
ment.

me."

There should be no more conceal


it

Besides, painful as

was
it

to her to speak,

he had

a right to

Know

all,

and know

he should.

It

was her
all

sacrifice offered

unto the Lord.

She told him

the

truth.

To

conceal anything iroin him


tell all,

now would be
concealed would

greater pain than to

for the thing

be as a barrier between him and her; she would be


simple him.
I

onefold

her whole being should

lie

open before

do not

for a

moment mean

that such thoughts,


;

not to say words, took shape in her mind


times

but some

we can
it

represent a single consciousness only by

analysing
offering.

into twenty thoughts.


let

And
tell all.

he accepted the

He
was

her speak, and

But

it

painful.

He

understood

it

well.

His heart

yearned towards the


innocent shame, to

woman
as

to shield her
it

from her own

make

were a heaven about her


it
"by

whose radiance should render

clarity

invisible."

Her

story appealed to

all

that

was tenderest

in

humanity

for the secret

which her modesty had hidden, her con


Therefore the tenderest word

science had spoken aloud.

MIRACLES SOLICITED BY THE SUFFERERS.

that the language could afford


ter,"

must be

hers.

"

Daugh

he

said.

It

was the

fullest

reward, the richest ac

knowledgment he could

find of the

honour

in

which he

held her, his satisfaction with her conduct, and the perfect
love he bore her.

The degrading
of the

spirit

of which I have

spoken, the

spirit

commonplace, which lowers


its

everything to the level of

own

capacity of belief, will


in

say that the word was an eastern

mode

more common

use than with us.

say that whatever Jesus did or said,

he did and said


other

like other

men

he did and said as no


it

man

did or said.

If

he said Daughter,
it
;

meant

what any man would mean by


could

it

meant what no man

mean by

it

what no man was good enough, great

enough, loving enough to

mean by

it.

In him the Father


his relation to all

spoke to

this

one the eternal truth of

his daughters, to all the

women he

has made, though indi

vidually
filial

it

can be heard only by those


filial

who

lift

up the

eyes, lay bare the

heart.

He

did the works, he

him. spoke the words of him that sent

Well might

this

woman,

if

she dared not

lift

the downcast eye befoie the

&4

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

men

present, yet depart in shameless peace

he who had

healed her had called her Daughter.


is

Everything on earth
gift

paltry before such a word.

It

was the deepest

of

the divine nature

the recognition of the eternal in her


it.

by him who had made

Between the
is

true father

and

the true daughter nothing

painful.

I think also that

very possibly some compunction arose in her mind, the

moment

she

knew

herself healed, at the

mode
the

in

which
called

she had gained her cure.

Hence when

Lord

her she

may have
it.

thought he was offended with her


little fault,

because of
if fault

Possibly her contrition for the


it

indeed

was,

may have

increased the agony of

feeling with

which she forced rather than poured out her


But he soothes her with gentle, consoling,
"

confession.

restoring words

Be of good
"

comfort."

He

heals the

shy suffering
did
remain."

spirit,

wherein old dints of deep wounds

He

confirms the cure she feared perhaps


"

might be taken from her again.

Go

in peace,

and be

whole of thy
to

plague."

Nay, more, he attributes her cure

her

own

"

faith.

Thy

faith

hath

made

thee

whole."

MIRACLES SOLICITED BY THE SUFFERERS.

85

What wealth
ignorance to

of

tenderness

She must not be

left in

her

the danger of associating power with the


divine.

mere garment of the

She must be brought face

to face with her healer.

She must not be left kneeling on She must be taken


to re

the outer threshold of the temple.


the heart of the Saviour,

and so redeemed, then only


is

deemed

utterly.

There

no word, no backward look of


If
it

reproach upon the thing she had condemned.


evil
it

was

it

was gone from between them

for ever.

Confessed,

vanished.

Her

faith

was an ignorant
it

faith, but,

how

ever obscured in her consciousness,

was a

true faith.

She believed

in the

man, and our Lord loved the modesty


It

that kept her from pressing into his presence.

may

indeed have been the very strength of her


in her ignorance that

faith

working

caused her to extend his power even

to the skirts of his garments.

And

there he

met the

ig

norance, not with rebuke, but with the more grace.

If

even her ignorance was so

full

of
!

faith,

of what mighty
the skirt of his
It

confidence was she not capable

Even

garment would minister

to such a faith.

should be as

86

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

she would.

Through the garment of

his Son, the

Father

would cure her who believed enough

to put forth her

hand and touch


that
it

it.

The

kernel-faith

was none the worse


ignorance and

was closed

in the

uncomely
satisfied

shell of

mistake.

The Lord was

with

it.

When

did he

ever quench the smoking flax ?

See

how he
first

praises her.

He

is

never slow to commend.


is

The

quiver of the
sign,

upturning eyelid

to
it

him

faith.

He

welcomes the

and acknowledges

commends
it

the feeblest faith in the

ignorant soul, rebukes

as

little

only in apostolic souls


"

where
thee."

it

ought to be greater.
it

Thy

faith

hath saved
for that.
is

However poor

was,

it

was enough
life

Between death and the

least

movement of

there

gulf wider than that fixed between the gates of heaven

and the depths of


I

hell.

He

said

"Daughter."

come now

to the
fell

first

instance of plain request

that

of the leper
if

who

down

before him, saying,


clean
"

"

Lord,

thou

wilt,

thou canst

make me

a prayer lovely

in the simplicity of its

human

pleading

an appeal to the
:

power which lay

in the

man

to

whom

he spoke

his

power

MIRACLES SOLICITED BY THE SUFFERERS.

87

was the man

claim
that

the relation between

them was of

the strongest

between plenty and need, between


poor

strength

and weakness, between health and disease


for

bonds comparatively between man and man,


plenty,
strength,

man s

and health can only supplement, not


;

satisfy the

need
;

support the weakness, not change

it

into strength
it

mitigate the disease of his fellow, not slay


life
;

with invading
is

but in regard to God,

all

whose
a per

power
fect

creative,

any necessity of
;

his creatures

is

bond between them and him

his magnificence

must

flow into the channels of the indigence he has created.

Observe how Jesus responds in the terms of the man


request.
it

The woman found

the healing where she sought

in the

hem
"

of his garment.

One man
says,

"

says,
"

Come
not

with

me

the
roof,

Lord
I

goes.

Another
"

Come

under

my
the

am

not worthy

the Lord remains.


the

Here
"

man

says,

"If

thou

wilt;"

Lord answers,
s

I
1

will."

But he goes

far

beyond the man

request.

need say nothing of the grievous complaint under


It

which he laboured.

was sore

to the

mind

as well as

S3

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

the body, for

it

made

of the

man an
lest

outcast and ashamed.

No

one would come near him

he should share
it

his

condemnation.
surface in him.

Physical evil had, as

were,

come

to the

He

was

"

full

of

leprosy."

Men

shrink

more from

skin-diseases than from

any other.*

Jesus

could have cured him with a word.

There was no need


I

he should touch him.


every need.
healthy

No

need did
else

say

There was

For no one

would touch him.

The

human hand, always more

or less healing, was


It

never laid on him; he was despised and rejected.

was a poor thing

for the

Lord

to cure his

body ; he must

comfort and cure his sore heart.


I

Of

all

men

a leper,

say,

needed
"

to

be touched with the hand of love.


hands."

Spenser says,

Entire affection hateth nicer

It

was

not for our master, our brother, our ideal man, to draw

around him the

skirts

of his garments and speak a lofty

And

they are amongst the hardest to cure


is

just as the skin-diseases of tha

soul linger long after the heart

greatly cured.

Witness the petulance,

fastidi

ousness, censoriousness, social self-assertion, general disagreeableness of so

many
;

good people I do not say

all in

the moral skin

repulsive exceedingly.

say good people

-very good,

nor do I say Christ-//^, for that they are not.

MIRACLES SOLICITED BY THE SUFFERERS.

89

word of

healing, that

the

man might

at least

be clean
and

before he touched him.

The man was

his brother,

an

evil

disease cleaved fast unto him.

Out went the

loving hand to the ugly skin, and there was his brother
as

he should be

with the flesh of a child.

thank

God

that the touch


it

went before the word.

Nor do

I think
It

was the touch of a

finger, or of the finger-tips.


its

was

a kindly healing touch in


blessed leper
!

nature as in

its

power.

Oh

thou knowest henceforth what kind of a


not the

God
a

there

is

in the earth

God

of the priests, but

God

such as himself only can reveal to the hearts of

his

own.

That touch was more than the

healing.
to the

It

was

to the leper

what the word Daughter was

woman
in

in the crowd,

what the Neither do


the sign of

I was

to the

woman

the temple

the
:

perfect

presence.

Outer
is

and inner are one with him

the outermost sign

the

revelation of the innermost heart.

Let

me

linger

one moment upon

this

coming together

of creative health and destroying disease.

The
:

nealth

must flow

forth

the disease could not enter

Jesus was

90

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

not defiled by the touch.

Not

that even

if

he would
;

have been, he would have shrunk and refrained


spected the

he re

human body
it

in

most

evil case,

and thus he
call

acknowledged

his

own.

But
only
I

my

reader must

up

for himself the analogies

cannot admit that they

are

mere analogies

between the cure of the body and


:

the cure of the soul


act, for that

here they were combined in one

touch went to the


here.

man s
is

heart.

can only

hint at

them

Hand
;

to

hand

enough

for the cure


visit
lifts

of the bodily disease


the
to

but heart to heart will Jesus

man who

in deepest defilement of evil habits, yet


cry.

him a despairing

The

healthful heart of the


:

Lord

will cure the heart spotted

with the plague

it

will

come

again as the heart of a child.


save by prayer

Only

this

kindgoeth not out

and abstinence.
to

The Lord gave him something


thing not to do.
his tongue.

do

at once,

and some
to

He

was

to

go

to the priest,

and
;

hold

It is easier to

do than

to abstain

he went

to the priest

he did not hold his tongue.


to the priest requires

That the Lord should send him

MIRACLES SOLICITED BY THE SUFFERERS.

Ql

no explanation.
Lord
saw
in his
in

The

sacred customs of his country our


constantly recognized.
priests themselves

own person

That he
was no

them more than the

reason for passing them by.

The testimony which he


him
lay in the offering

wished the
of the
gift

man

to bear concerning

which Moses had commanded.


all

His healing
;

was
for
it

in

harmony with
the

the forms of the ancient law


source,

came from

same

and would

in the lapse

of ages complete what the law had but begun.

This the

man was

to manifest for him.

The only

other thing he
not, at least

required of

him

silence

the

man would
is

did not, yield.


junction for his
that
life

The own

probability

that

he needed the in
s

sake more than for the master

sake;

he was a

talkative, demonstrative

man, whose better


;

was ever

in

danger of evaporating in words

and

that

the

Lord required

silence of him, that he might think,


to root itself well before
it

and give the seed time

shot
in

its

leaves out into the world.

Are there not some

our

own

day, who, having

had a glimpse of

truth across the

darkness of a moral leprosy, instantly begin to blaze

92

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

abroad the matter, as


to their fellows,
twilight, in

if it

were their part at once to

call

and teach them out of an

intellectual

which they can as yet see

men

only as trees

walking, instead of retiring into the wilderness, for a time


at least, to

commune
well,

with their
is
it

own

hearts,

and be

still

But he meant

nor

any wonder that such a man


sacrifice.
all

should be incapable of such a

The Lord had


commotion with
His tongue

touched him.
gratitude.

His nature was

in

His

self-conceit swelled

high.

would not be

still.

Perhaps he judged himself a leper

favoured above his fellow-lepers.

Nothing would more


selfish mistake.

tend to talkativeness than such a

He

would be
his will.

grateful.

He would
for

befriend his healer against

He

would work
;

him

alas

only to impede
his popularity
"

the labours of the Wise

for the

Lord found

a great obstacle to the only success he sought.

He

went out and began


that Jesus could

to blaze

abroad the matter, insomuch


into the
city."

no more openly enter

His

nature could not yet understand the

kingdom

that

cometh

not with observation, arid from presumption mingled with

MIRACLES SOLICITED BY THE SUFFERERS.

93

affection,

he would serve the Lord


ot

after

a better fashion
his reward.

than

that

doing his

will.

And he had

He

had

his share in bringing his healer to the cross.


is

Obedience

the only service,

take

now

the cure of the ten lepers,

done apparently

in a village of Galilee towards Samaria.


off in a group,

They stood

afar

probably afraid of offending him by any


"

nearer approach, and cried aloud,

Jesus, Master, have

mercy on

us."

Instead of at once uttering their cure, he

desired them to go and

show themselves

to the priests.

This

may have been

partly for the sake of the priests,

partly perhaps for the justification of his

own

mission,

but more certainly for the sake of the


that

men

themselves,

he might,

in

accordance with his frequent practice,


to

give

them something wherein

be obedient.

It

served

also, as the sequel

shows, to individualize their relation to

him.

The

relation as a

group was not


it

sufficient for the

men. Between him and them


to man.

must be the
it

relation of man

Individual faith must, as

were, break up the

94

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

group

to favour a far

deeper reunion.
;

Its

bond was
to a

now a common

suffering

it

must be changed

com
in

mon
them

faith in the healer of

it.

His intention wrought


result.

at

first

with but small apparent


priests,

They

obeyed, and went to go to the

probably wondering

whether they would be healed or not, for the beginnings of


faith are so small that they

can hardly be recognized as

such.

Going, they found themselves cured.


their way, obedient
;

Nine of

them held on
getting for the

while the tenth, for

moment

in his gratitude the


fell

word of the
moral mar
"

Master, turned back and


tinet,

at his

feet.

a scribe, or a Pharisee, might have said


right, the

The nine

were

tenth was wrong

he ought to have kept

to the letter of the command."

Not

so the Master
infinite

he

accepted the gratitude as the germ of an


ence.

obedi

Real love
s

is

obedience and
that

all

things beside.

The
letter
it

Lord

own devotion was


fire

which burns up the


fulfilling

with the consuming


aside.

of love,

and
it.

setting

High love needs no


is all

letter to

guide

Doubtless
it is.

the letter

that

weak

faith is

capable

of,

and

well

MIRACLES SOLICITED BY THE SUFFERERS.

95

for those

who keep

it

But

it

is ill

for those

who do not
it.

outgrow and forget

it

Forget
for

it,

I say,

by outgrowing
of his

The Lord cared


mands
This
;

little

the

letter

own com
life.

he cared

all for

the

spirit, for

that

was

man was

a stranger, as the Jews called him, a


fol

Samaritan.
lowers.
It

Therefore the Lord praised him to his

was as

if

he had

"

said,

See, Jews,
!

who

think

yourselves the great praisers of

God
?

here are ten lepers


to

cleansed
glorify
"

where are the nine


a Samaritan
"

One comes back


the

God
Arise,

To

man

himself he

says,
whole."

go thy way
this

thy faith hath

made

thee
faith
!

Again

commending

of individual

"

Was

it

not the faith of the others too that had healed


Doubtless.
If they told

them ?

"

had had enough them

to bring

them back, he would have


saved them.

that their faith


to

had

But they were content


which
is

be healed, and
brought them to
for praise.
s

until their love,

the deeper

faith,

the Master

feet,

their faith

was not ripe


it

But

it

was not

for their

blame,

was

for the

Samaritan
faith

praise that

he spoke.

Probably

this

man s

hart

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

caused the cry of


of the
little

all

the ten; probably he was the salt the tenth, the righteous
time, with

group of outcasts

man.

Hence they were


:

contented, for the

their cure

he forgot the cure

itself in his gratitude.

moment more, and


them on
I

with obedient feet he would overtake


to the priest.

their

way

may

not find a better place for remarking on the

variety of our
that
cure.
is,

Lord

treatment of those

whom

he cured

the variety of the form in which he conveyed the

In the record

do not think we
There
is

find

two cases

treated in the

same manner.

no massing of the

people with him.

In his behaviour to men, just as in

their relation to his Father, every

man

is

alone with him.

In

this case of the ten, as

have

said, I think

he sent

them away,

partly, that this individuality


itself.

might have an
afar
off,

opportunity of asserting

They had stood

therefore he could not lay the

hand of love on each.


his gratitude to

But now one


the Master

left

the group

and brought

s feet,

and with a loud voice

glorified

God

the

Healer.

MIRACLES SOLICITED BY THE SUFFERERS.

97

In reflecting then on the details of the various cures

we must seek

the causes of their diversity mainly in the

individual differences of the persons cured, not forget


ting, at the

same

time, that
is

all

the accounts are brief, and

that our capacity

poor

for the task.

The whole

divine

treatment of

man

is

that of a father to his children

only
be.
if

a father infinitely more a father than any


Before him stands each, as
there were
singleness.

man can

much an
The

individual child as
is

no one but him.

relation

awful in

its

Even when God


is

deals with a nation as a


is

nation,

it

only as by this dealing the individual

aroused to a sense of his


stand

own wrong,

that

lie

can under

how

the nation has sinned, or can turn himself to

work a change.

The
;

nation cannot change save as

its

members change

and the few who begin the change are

the elect of that nation,

Ten
to

righteous individuals would


life

have been just enough


masses of
life

restore

to the festering

Sodom

festering

masses because individual

had ceased, and the nation or community was no

where.

Even nine could not do

it

Sodom must

perish.

98

OM THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

The

individuals

must perish now; the nation had perished

long since.
individual

All communities are for the divine sake of


for the

life,

sake of the love and truth that


not cumulative
that
is

is

in each heart,

and
But

is

cannot be

in

two

as

one

result.

all

precious in the individual


relation the individual

heart depends for existence

on the
:

bears

to

other
is

individuals
his truth ?

alone
It is for

how can he

love

alone

where

and by the individ


is

uals that the individual lives.

community
Its

the true

development of individual
lies

relations.
its

very possibility

in the conscience of

men and women.

No

set

ting right can

be done

in the mass.

There are no masses

save in corruption.
individualities

Vital organizations result alone from


necessities,

and consequent

which

fitting

the one into the other, and working for each other,

make Then
on

combination not only possible but unavoidable.


the truth which has informed in the

community

reacts

the individual to perfect his individuality.

In a word,

the man, in virtue of standing alone in God, stands with


his
fellows,

and

receives

from

them divine

influences

MIRACLES SOLICITED BY THE SUFFERERS.

99

without which he cannot be


of the

made
its

perfect.

It is in virtue

living consciences of
is

individuals that a

com

mon
I

conscience

possible to a nation.
this

cannot work

out here, but I would avoid being


I say,

misunderstood.
in

Although

every

man
in

stands alone

God,

I yet

say two or

many can meet


;

God God

as they

cannot meet save in


or

God

nay, that only in

can two

many

truly

meet

only as they recognize their oneness

with

God

can they become one with each other.

In the variety then of his individual treatment of the


sick,

Jesus did the works of his Father as his Father

does them.
the man,
for

For the

Spirit of

God

speaks to the

spirit of

and the Providence of God arranges everything

the best

good of the individual

counting the very


his

hairs of his head.

Every man had a cure of


a cure of her

own

every

woman had
in principle,

own

all

one and the

same

each individual in the application of

the principle. This was the foundation of the true church.

And

yet the

members of

that church will try to separate


differences
!

upon individual and unavoidable

100

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

But once more the question recurs


that this

Why

say so often
?

and

that

one

faith

had saved him


?

Was

it

not enough that he had saved them


knit the

-Our Lord would

bond between him and each man by arousing the


which
is,

man s

individuality,

in

deepest

fact,

his

con

science.

The

cure of a

man depended upon no


the feelings of Jesus.

uncertain

or arbitrary

movement of

He

was

always ready to heal.

No

one was ever refused who

asked him.
not have
his door.
its

It rested

with the
in,

man

the healing could

way and

enter
for

save the
if

man would open


it,

It

was there

him

he would take
it.

or

rather

when he would

allow him to bestow

Hence
There

the question and the praise of the patient

s faith.

was no danger then of that diseased self-consciousness


which nowadays
"

"

is

always asking,

Have

I faith?

Have

faith ?

searching, in fact, for grounds of self-confid


in the search

ence,

and turning away the eyes

from the

only source whence confidence can flow


of

the natal

home

power and

love.

How

shall faith

be born but of the

beholding of the

faithful ?

This diseased self-contempla-

MIRACLES SOLICITED BY THE SUFFERERS.

IOI

tion

was not indeed a Jewish complaint


presence of the Master.
faith

at

all,

nor possible
the praise

in the bodily

Hence
;

given to a

man s

could not hurt him


still.

it

only

made

him glad and more

faithful

This disease
all

itself is in

more need of

his curing

hand than

the leprosies of

Judaea and Samaria.

The

cases which remain of this group are of blind


the
first,

men
who

that recorded
"

by St Matthew of the two

followed Jesus, crying,


us."

Thou Son
if

of David, have

mercy on
was able

He

asked them

they believed that he

to

do the thing

for them, drawing, I say, the

bond between them


believe
it,

closer thereby.

They

said they did

and

at

once he touched

their eyes

again the
already

bodily contact, as in the case of the blind

man

considered

especially needful in the case of the blind,

to associate the healing with the healer.

But there are

differences

between the

cases.
it

The man who had not

asked to be healed was as


process of cure
I

were put through a longer

think that his faith and his will might


;

be called into exercise

and the bodily contact was made

IO2

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

closer to help the

development of
it

his faith

and

will

lie

made

clay

and put

on

his eyes,

and the man had

to

go

and wash.

Where

the prayer

and the confession of

faith
is

reveal the spiritual contact already effected, the cure

immediate.
"

"According

to your

faith,"

the

Lord

said,

be

it

unto

you."

On

these men, as on the leper, he laid the charge of

silence,

by them,

as

by him, sadly disregarded.

The

fact

that

he went into the house, and allowed them to follow


there before he cured them, also shows that he desired
case,

him

in their

doubtless

because of circumstances,
foiled.

to

avoid publicity, a desire which they


ness overcame,
that
is if

Their glad

not their gratitude, yet the higher faith

one with obedience.

When
it

the other leper turned

back

to speak his gratitude,


in

was but the delay of a

moment

the

fulfilling

of

the

command.

But the

gratitude that disobeys an injunction, that does what the

man
able,

is

told not to do,

and so plunges

into the irretriev

is

a virtue that needs a development amounting

almost to a metamorphosis.

?vtIRACLES SOLICITED BY

THE SUFFERERS.

ICT]

In the one remaining case there


in the records.

is

a slight confusion

St

Luke

says that

it

was performed as
says
it

St Jesus entered into Jericho;

Mark

was as he

went out of Jericho, and gives the name and parentage


of the blind beggar
;

indeed his account


St

is

considerably

more

minute than that of the others.

Matthew agrees
two

with St

Mark

as to the occasion, but says there were


shall follow the

blind men.

We

account of St Mark.

Bartimaeus, having learned the cause of the tumult

uous passing of

feet, calls, like

those former two blind


to

men, upon the Son of David

have mercy on him.*


I

The

multitude finds fault with his crying and calling.


in his eagerness after his
it

presume he was noisy


vision,

vanished

and the multitude considered

indecorous.

Or

perhaps the rebuke arose from that


of a crowd against any one

common

resentment

who makes

himself what they

consider unreasonably conspicuous, claiming a share in


*

In these two cases, the cry


to

is

upon the Son of David:

wonder

if this

had

Come

be considered by the blind the correct formula of address to the new prophet. But the cases are almost too few to justify even a passing conjecture at
generalization.

JC-4

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

the attention of the potentate to which they cannot


selves pretend.
call the

them
to

But the Lord

stops,

and

tells

them

man

and some of them,

either being his friends,

or changing their tone

when

the great

man

takes notice of

him, begin to congratulate and comfort him.

He, casting

away

his

garment

in

his

eagerness,

rises,

and

is

led

through the yielding crowd to the presence of the Lord.

To
the

enter in

some degree

into the personal

knowledge of

man

before curing him,

and

to consolidate his faith,


life

Jesus, the tones of

whose

voice, full of the

of God,
best able

the cultivated hearing of a blind


to interpret,
"

man would be
with him.

began

to talk a
I

little

What

wilt

thou that
I

should do unto thee

"

"

Lord, that

might receive
thy faith

my

sight."

"

Go

thy way;

hath

made

thee

whole."

Immediately he saw;
his sight

and the

first

use he
it.

made

of

was

to follow

him who had given


St

Neither St

Mark nor

Luke, whose accounts are

almost exactly the same, says that he touched the


eyes.

man

St

Matthew

says he touched the eyes of the iw&

MIRACLES SOLICITED BY THE SUFFERERS.

105

blind
tical

men whom

his

account places

in

otherwise iden

circumstances.

With a surrounding crowd who


touching was less necessary than

knew them,
in private
;

I think the

but there

is

no need

to inquire

which

is

the

more

correct
fact,

account.
or St

The former two

may have

omitted a

Matthew may have combined the

story with that of the two blind

men
in

already noticed, of

which he
I think,

is

the sole narrator.

But

any case there

are,

but two recorded instances of the blind praying

for

cure.

Most

likely there

were more, perhaps there

were many such.


I

have now to consider, as suggested by the idea of


the question of prayer generally; for Jesus

this group,

did the works of him

who

sent

him

as Jesus did so

God
I

does.

have not seen an argument against what

is

called

the efficacy of prayer which appears to


force but

me

to

have any

what

is

derived from some narrow conception


If there

of the divine nature.

be a God

at

all,

it

is

absurd to suppose that his ways of working should be

I06

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

such as to destroy his side of the highest relation that can


exist

between him and those


destroy,
I

whom

he has cared

to

make
the

to

mean, the relation of the

will of

creator to the individual will of his creature.

That God

should bind himself in an iron net of his


that his laws should bind
just
his

own

laws

him
is

in

any way, seeing they are


absurd
;

nature in action

sufficiently

but

that such laws should interfere with his deepest relation to


his creatures, should

be inconsistent with the highest con

sequences of that creation which alone gives occasion for


those laws
strife

that, in fact, the will

of

God

should be at

with the foregoing action of God, not to say with


of

the very nature

God

that

he should, with an un
effects,

changeable order of material causes and


for ever the

cage in

winged aspirations of the human


in the

will

which
its

he has made

image of

his

own

will,

towards

natural air of freedom in His will,

would be pronounced

inconceivable, were
uttered
to

it

not that

it

has been conceived and

conceived and uttered, however, only by minds


fact of this relation was, if at all present,

which the

MIRACLES SOLICITED BY THE SUFFERERS.

IO7

then only in

the

vaguest and most incomplete

form.
to

That he should not leave himself any willing room


wards those to
will

whom

he gave need, room to go wrong,


is

to turn

and look up and pray and hope,


It is
far easier to

to

me

grotesquely absurd.

believe that as

both

the laws of nature, namely, and the

human will-

proceed from the same eternally harmonious thought, they


too are so in harmony, that for the perfect operation of
either

no infringement upon the other

is

needful

and
it

that

what seems to be such infringement would show

self to

a deeper knowledge of both as a perfectly har

monious co-operation.
so
little,

Nor would

it

matter that

we know

were

it

not that with each fresh discovery we are

so ready to fancy

anew

that now, at last,

we know
to

all

about

it.

We

have neither humility enough


to

be

faithful,

nor

faith

enough

be humble.

Unfit to grasp any whole,

to be yet with an inborn idea of wholeness which ought

our safety in urging us ever on towards the Unity,


constantly calling each

we

are

new

part the whole, saying

we

have found the idea, and casting ourselves on the cou :k

108

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

of self-glorification.

Thus

the very need of unity

is

by

our pride perverted to our ruin.


it,

We

say

we have found
becomes easy

when we have

it

not.

Hence,

also,

it

to refuse certain considerations, yea, certain facts, a place


in our
all

system

for the

system

will

cease to be a system at

the

moment

they are acknowledged.


life

They may have


;

in
if

them the very germ of

and

truth

but what
built ?

is

that,

they destroy this Babylon that

we have

Are not
statelier

its

forms stately and fair?


fairer?

Yea, can there be

and

The main
well for

point

is

simply

this,

that

what

it

would not be
for
it,

God

to give before a

man had asked

it

may

be not only
I

well, but best, to give when he has asked.*


first

believe that the

half of our training

is

up

to the

asking point

after that the

treatment has a grand


is

new

element in
fit

it.

For God can give when a man


it,

in the

condition to receive

what he cannot give before


it.

because the
in

man cannot receive

How
to a

give instruction

the
*

harmony of colours or tones


WW/and

man who
acts.

cannot

Best must be the same thing with

God when he

MIRACLES SOLICITED BY THE SUFFERERS.

109

yet distinguish

between shade and shade or tone and tone,

upon which

distinction all

harmony depends?
will give
; ;

man

cannot receive except another

no more can a
offer.

man

give

if

another will not receive

he can only

Doubtless,

God works on
at all
;

every man, else he could have


there

no divine tendency

would be no

thither for

him

to turn his face towards

there could be at best but


in

a sense of want.
to

But the moment the man has given

God

to use a

homely phrase
all

the spirit for which he


hirn,

prays can work in him

with

not

now
at all

(as

it

ap

peared then) against him.


the relation must

Every parent

worthy of

know

that occasions occur in

which the

asking of the child makes the giving of the parent the


natural correlative.

In a way

infinitely higher,

yet the

same
the

at the root, for all is of

God,

He

can give when

man

asks what he could not give without, because

in the latter case the

man would

take only the husk of

the

gift,

and

cast the

kernel away

a husk poisonous

without the kernel, although wholesome and comforting


with
it.

XIO

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

But some
shall not

will

"

say,

We may

ask, but
for."

it is

certain

we

have everything we ask


;

No, thank God, certainly not


which

we

shall

have nothing
judging

we

ourselves,

when
its

capable

of

and

choosing with open eyes to

true relation to ourselves, If

would not wish and choose


otherwise,
it

to have.

God

should give

must be as a healing punishment of inor


hurtful
desire.

dinate

and

The

parable of the father

must dividing his living at the prayer of the younger son,


be true of

God s

individual sons, else

it

could not have

been true of the Jews on the one hand and the Gentiles on the
other.

He

will grant

some such prayers because


their

he knows that the swine and


his son

husks

will

send back
If

with quite another prayer on his


"

lips.
is

my

supposed interlocutor answers,


of praying,
if it is

What then

the
"

good
I

not to go by what I want


to learn,

can

"

only answer,
road."

You have

and

it

may be by

a hard

In the kinds of things which

men

desire, there
is

are essential differences.


a divine good.

In physical well-being, there


is

In sufficient food and raiment, there

MIRACLES SOLICITED BY THE SUFFERERS.

Ill

divine fitness,

In wealth, as such, there

is

none.

A man

may

pray for

money

to

pay

his debts, for healing of the

sickness which incapacitates


for just

him

for labour or

good work,
an

judgment

in the eyes of his fellow-men, with

altogether different confidence from that with which he

could pray for wealth, or for bodily might to surpass his


fellows, or for

vengeance upon those whose judgment


from
his

of

his merits differed

own

although even then the


"

divine soul will with his Saviour say,

If

it

be possible
that

Not my

will

but

thine,"

For he

will

know

God

gives only the best.


"

But God does not even cure every one who asks him.
so with the other things you say are

And
for."

good

to pray

Jesus did not cure

all

the

ills

in Judaea.

But those he

did cure were at least real

ills

and

real needs.
fitness

There
favoured

was a

fitness in the condition of

some, a

by

his

own

bodily presence amongst them, which met the

virtue ready to
sent,

go out from him.

But God

is

ever pre
for

and

have yet to learn that any

man prayed

112

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

money

to

be honest with and

to
ot

meet the

necessities ot

his family,

and did the work

him who had

called

him

from the market-place of the nation, who did not receive


his

penny

a-day.

If to

any one

it

seems otherwise,

believe the apparent contradiction will one day be cleared

up

to his satisfaction.

God

has not to satisfy the judg

ment of men

as they are, but as they will be

and must

be,

having learned the high and perfectly honest and grand

way of
just

things which

is

his will.

For God

to give

men man

what they want would often be the same

as for a
it

to give gin to the night-wanderer

whom
work

he had

in his

power

to take

home and
many

set to

for wages.

But

must believe
plain

that

of the

ills

of which

men com

would be speedily cured


If the

if

they would work in the

strength of prayer.

man had

not taken up his bed

when

Christ bade him,

he would have been a great

authority with the scribes

and chief

priests

against the
is

divine mission of Jesus.


gift

The power

to

work

a diviner
affairs

than a great legacy.

But these are individual

to

be settled individually between

God and

his child,

MIRACLES SOLICITED BY THE SUFFERERS.

They cannot be pronounced upon


individual differences.

generally because of
there,
"

But here as

now
can

as then,
I

the lack
faith?"

is

faith.

A man may
"How

say,

How

have

answer,

can you indeed, who do the


not to do, and have not begun
to

thing you
to

know you ought

do the thing you know you ought


faith ?
It is

do

How

should

you have
yet.
"ould

not well that you should be cured


to cure

It

would have hurt these men

them

if

they

not ask.

And you do
is,

not

pray."

The man who

has prayed most

I suspect,

the least doubtful whether


it

God

hears prayer
is

now
we
I

as Jesus heard

then.

That we

doubt
simple

well,

for

are

not yet in the empyrean of

faith.

But

think the

man who

believes

and

prays now, has answers to his prayers even better than those which

came

to the sick in Judasa

for although the

bodily presence of Jesus


I

made a

difference in their favour,

do believe that the

Spirit of

God,

after

widening

its

channels for nearly nineteen hundred years, can flow in


greater plenty

and richness now.

Hence

the answers to

prayer must not only not be of quite the same character

THK MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

as then, but they

must be

better,

coming yet
as such

closer to the

heart of the need, whether


prays, or not.

known

by him who
of re

But the change

lies in

man s power

ception, for

God

is

always

the

same

to his children.
for

Only, being

infinite,

he must speak to them and act


their

them

in

the endless diversity which

growth and
receive of

change render necessary.


his fulness

Thus only they can


and unchangeable.
faith

who

is all

in all

In our imperfect condition both of


standing, the

and of under

whole question of asking and receiving

must necessarily be surrounded with mist and the possi


bility

of mistake.

It

can be successfully encountered

only by the

man who

for himself asks

and hopes.

It lies

in too lofty regions

and involves too many unknown con


;

ditions to be reduced to formulas of ours

for

God must

do only the

best,

and man

is

greater and

more needy

than himself can know.

Yet he who asks shall receive

of the very best.


it

One
in

and only one, because promise without reserve,


clude?
all,

remains

the promise of the

Holy

Spirit to

MIRACLES SOLICITED BY THE SUFFERERS.

them who ask

it.

He who

has the Spirit of God,

God

the final himself, in him, has the Life in him, possesses

cure of
prayer.

all

ill,

has in himself the answer to

ail

possible

VI.

MIRACLES GRANTED TO THE PRAYER OF


FRIENDS.

TF

we

allow that prayer


himself,
It
it

may

in

any case be heard


it

for

the
for

man

almost follows that

must be heard

others.

cannot well be in accordance with the

spirit

of Christianity,
its

whose

essential

expression

lies

in

the sacrifice of

founder, that a

man

should be heard

only

when he

prays for himself.

The

fact that in cases of

the preceding group faith was required

on the part of

the person healed as essential to his cure, represents no


different principle

from that

whkn

operates in the cases


is

of the present group.

True, in these the condition


of"

not faith on the part


the part of

the person cured, but faith on


for his cure.

him who asky

But the possession

of faith by the patient was not in the least essential, as


far as the

power of Jesus was concerned,

to his bodily cure,

MIRACLES GRANTED TO FRIENDS.

although no doubt favourable thereto

it

was necessary

only to that spiritual healing, that higher cure, for the sake of which chiefly the Master brought about the lower.

In both cases, the requisition of


those
it

faith is for the

sake of

who

ask

whether
It is

for themselves or for their friends,

matters not.

a breath to blow the smoking flax

into a flame
himself.

a word to draw into closer contact with

He
is

cured

many

without such demand, as his

Father

ever curing without prayer.


faith.

Cure

itself shall

sometimes generate prayer and

Well, therefore,

might the cure of others be sometimes granted to prayer.

Beyond
thing.

this,

however, there

is

a great fitness in the

For so are men bound together, that no good


all

can come to one but

must share

in

it.

The

children

suffer for the father, the father

suffers for the children,

and they are

also blessed together.

If a spiritual

good

descend uDon the heart of a leader of the nation, the

whole people might rejoice

for themselves, for they


gift.

must

be partakers of the unspeakable


faith

To

increase the

of the father

may be more

for the faith of the child,

Il8

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

healed in answer to his prayer, than anything done tor


the child himself.
It is

an enlarging of one
gifts

of the

many

channels in which the divinest


gifts chiefly, at first,

flow.

For those

flow to

men

through the hearts and


are nearer the Father

souls of those of their fellows

who

than they, until at length they are thus brought themselves


to speak to

God

face to face.

Lonely as every
vision,

man

in his highest

moments

of spiritual

yea in his simplest consciousness of duty, turns


the

his

face towards

one Father,
his life
;

his

own

individual

maker and necessity of


feel that the best

painfully as he

may men

beloved understands not as he under


is

stands, feels

not as he feels; he

yet,

in

his

most

isolated adoration of the Father of his spirit, nearer every

one of the beloved than when eye meets


responsive to heart, and the poor
varied pressure to
the soul, with
its

eye, heart beats

dumb hand

seeks by

tell

the emotion within.

Often then
itself

many

organs of utterance, leeis

but a songless bird, whose broken twitter hardens into a cage around
it
;

but even with

all

those organs of utter-

MIRACLES GRANTED TO FRIENDS.

ance in
than

full

play,
is

he

is

yet farther from his fellow-man

when he

praying to the Father in a desert place


prays, in proportion to the purity
spiritual

apart.

The man who

of his prayer,

becomes a

power, a nerve from the

divine brain, yea, perhaps a ganglion as

we

call

it,

whence
a redis-

power anew goes


tributor,

forth

upon

his fellows.

He

is

as

it

were, of the divine blessing; not in the

exercise of his

own

will

that

is

the cesspool towards

which

all

notions of priestly mediation naturally sink

but as the self-forgetting, God-loving brother of his kind,

who would be

in the

world as Christ was in the world.

When

man

prays for his fellow-man, for wife or child,

mother or
tion

father, sister or brother or friend, the


is

connec

between the two

so close in God, that the blessing

begged may well flow to the end of the prayer.


one then
is,

Such a

in his poor, far-off way,

an advocate with the

Father, like his master, Jesus Christ,

The

Righteous.
if

He

takes his friend into the presence with him, or


the presence, he leaves

not into

him with but


veil.

the veil between

them, and they touch through the

120

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

The

first

instance

we have

in this kind,
first

occurred at
miracle was
s

where the Cana, in the centre of Galilee,


wrought.
It is
the.

second miracle in St John

record,

and

is

recorded by him only.

Doubtless these two had


the turning of water into

his nature especially attracted

of a son to his father. wine, and the restoration

The

Fatherhood of God created the fatherhood


love
is

in

man God s
;

man s

love.

And what

shall

he do to
?

whom

a son

given

whom

yet he cannot keep

The

divine love in
is

his heart cleaves to the child,

and the child

vanishing

What can

this

nobleman do but seek the man of


?

whom

such wondrous rumours have reached his ears

Between Cana and


father
miles.
"

Tiberias,

from which came the

with his prayer,

was somewhere about twenty

He

is

at the point of

death,"

said the father.


will

"

Except ye see signs and wonders ye

not believe/

said Jesus.
"

Sir,
"

come down

ere

my

child

die."

Go

thy way, thy son

liveth."

MIRACLES GRANTED TO FRIENDS.

121

If the

nobleman might have understood the remark


in

the

Lord made, he was

no mood

for principles,
for

and

respectfully

he expostulates with our Lord

spending
of

time in words
his
life

when

the need was so urgent.

The sun

was going down into the darkness.


its

He

might
"

deserve reproof, but even reproof has

season.

Sir,

come down

ere

my

child

die."

Whatever the Lord no


farther.

meant by the words he urged

it

He

sends

him home with the assurance of


ing

the

boy s recovery, show

him none of the

signs or

wonders of which he had


of unbelieving kind he
all

spoken.

Had

the

man been

would, when he returned and found that


in the

had occurred had there


his old

most natural

fashion, that neither here

been sign or wonder, have gradually reverted to


carelessness as to a nigher will

and

its

ordering of things
that the

below.

But instead of

this,

when he heard

boy

began

to get better the very

hour when Jesus spoke the

word

a fact quite easy to set

down
all

as a remarkable

coincidence

he believed, and

his

people witn him.


his house.

Probably he was in ideal

reality the

head of

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

the

main source of household influences


of
faith, for,

if

such, then a

man

where a man does not himself look up

to the higher,

the lower will hardly look faithfully


fit

up

to

him
his

surely a

man

to intercede for his son, with all


It
it

house ready to believe with him.


such as

may be
not

said they

too shared in the evidence

was

much

of

a sign or wonder to them.

True; but people are not

are pre ready to believe the best evidence except they

disposed in the direction of that evidence.


"

If

it

be

said,

they should have thought for

themselves," I

answer

To

think with their head was no bad sign that they did

think for themselves.

A great deal
it

of what

is

called free

dom

of thought
itself

is

merely the self-assertion which would

persuade

of a freedom

would possess but cannot


self-in

without an effort too painful for ignorance and


dulgence.

The man would


one
s

feel free without being free.


is

To
free

assert
it

individuality

not necessarily to be

may indeed be but

the

outcome of absolute

slavery.

But

if this

nobleman was a

faithful

man, whence our

MIRACLES GRANTED TO FRIENDS.

12?

Lord
not

"

word,

Except ye see signs and wonders ye


I

will

believe"?

am

not sure.

It

may have been

as a
is

rebuke to those about him.


said,

This
court

man

perhaps, as

a nobleman of

Herod

may not have been


s

pure-bred Jew, and hence our Lord

remark would bear


in the

an import such as he uttered more plainly


cases following, that of the Greek

two

woman, and

that of the

Roman
will

centurion
;

"

Except ye see signs and wonders ye

not believe

but this

man

."

With

this
it

meaning

should probably have been content, were

not that the

words were plainly addressed


this

to the

man.

do not think

would destroy the

interpretation, for the

Lord may

have wished to draw the

man

out,

and make him, a


;

Gentile or doubtful kind of Jew, rebuke the disciples

only the

man s

love for his son stood in the

way

he
;

could think of nothing, speak of nothing save his son

but

it

makes

it

unsatisfactory.

And

indeed I prefer the


the other
is

following interpretation, because

we have
this

mean

ing in other places


application,

also

because

of universal

and

to us of these clays appears to

me

of

124

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

special significance

and

value, applying to the

men

of

science on the one hand, and the


the other.

men

of superstition on

My

impression

is,

that our Lord, seeing the great faith

of the nobleman, grounded on what he had heard of the

Master from others, chiefly of


in
this

his signs

and wonders, did


faith
still.

remark require of him a higher

It

sounds to
the best

me

an expostulation with him.


feeling concerning
it,

To
I

express in
to

way my

would dare
:

imagine our Lord speaking in


"Why

this fashion

did you not pray the Father?


to see
?

Why

do you

want always
since ever
signs

The door

of prayer has been open

God made man

in his

own image

why

are

and wonders necessary

to your faith ?
if

But

I will

do

just as

my

Father would have done


I

you had asked

him.

Only when

do

it,

it is

a sign and a wonder that

you may believe; and


it.

wish you could believe without

But believe then

for the very

work s

sake,
s

if

you can

not believe for the word and the truth

sake.

Go

thy

way, thy son

liveth."

MIRACLES GRANTED TO FRIENDS,

12$

would not be understood

to say that the

Lord blamed
:

him, or otners in him, for needing signs and wonders

it

was

rather, I think, that the

Lord spoke out of the

fulness

of his knowledge to awake in them

some

infant sense of

what constituted

all

his life

-the

presence of

God

just

as the hngers of the light

go searching

in the dark

mould

for the sleeping seeds, to

touch and awake them.


life,

The

order of creation, the goings on of

were ceaselessly
:

flowing from the very heart of the Father

why

should

they seek signs and wonders differing from only in being


difference.

common things

uncommon

In essence there was no


is

Uncommonness
is

not excellence, even as

commonness

not inferiority.

The

sign, the

wonder

is,

in fact, the lower thing, granted only

because of

men s

hardness of heart and slowness to believe


inferior nature to

in itself of
if

God s chosen

way.

Yet,

signs

and
for
life

wonders could help them, have them they should,


neither were they at variance with the holy laws of

and

faithfulness
"

they were but less usual utterances of


thy

tne same.

Go

way

thy son

liveth."

The man,

126

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

noble-man certainly
ence
justify

in this,

obeyed, and found his obedi

his faith.

But

his

son would have to work out his belief upon

from those his father had. grounds differing

In himself

he could but recognize the resumption of the natural sway


of
life.

He

would not necessarily know


For the cause of
it

that

it

was God

working in him.
hear the story of

his cure,

he would only
but
as his

from his father

good evidence

he himself had not seen the face of the Holy


father had.
find him.
its

One

In one sense or another, he must seek and

Every generation must do

its

own

seeking and
is

own

finding.

The

fault of the fathers often

that they
s

stand in place of their children expect their finding to

seeking

receive that which has expect the children to

satisfied the

need of

their fathers

upon
is

their testimony

whereas
children

rightly, their
s

testimony

not ground for their


s

belief,

only for their children bud.

search.

That
till

search

is

faith in the

No man
is

can be sure

he

has found for himself.


nature
is

All that

required of the faithful

a willingness to seek.

He

cannot even know

MIRACLES GRANTED TO FRIENDS.

127

the true nature of the thing he wants until he has found


it
;

he has but a dim notion of

it,

a faint star to guide

him

eastward to the sunrise. Hopefully, the belief of tbe father has the heart in
it

which
this

will satisfy the

need of the child


the father s

but the doubt of

in the child,

is

first

ground

for

hoping that the child with

his

new needs

will
it

find for himself the

same well of
it

life

to

draw from

with a

new

bucket,
:

may

be, because the old will hold

water no longer
are
it

its

staves

may be

good, but

its

hoops

worn asunder

or, rather, it will

be but a new rope

needs, which he has to twist from the

hemp growing

in

his

own

garden.

The son who was healed might have

many

questions to ask which the father could not answer,


of.

had never thought

He

had heard of the miracle of


:

Cana

he had heard of many things done since

he be

lieved that the

man

could cure his son, and he had cured


"

him. of him

"

Yes,"

the son might say,

but

must know more

for, if

what

hear

now be

true, I

must cast

all

at

his feet.

He

cannot be a healer only


it

he must be the

very Lord of Life

may be

of the LTni verse."

His

128

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

simple

human

presence had

in
it

it

something against

the supposition

contained in
for

what must have ap


conclusion from
his

peared reason

doubting

this

deeds, especially to one

who had

not seen his

divine

countenance.
great
Spirit,

But
his

to

one

at length enlightened of the

humanity would contain the


in

highest
it

ground

for believing

his divinity, for


loftier

what

meant

would come out ever and ever

and grander.

The

Lord who had made

the

Universe

how

should he

show

it

but as the Healer did?

He

could not

make
If

the universe over again in the eyes of every man.

he did, the heart of the

man

could not hold the


the

sight.

He
who

must reveal himself as the curing God


set

God

things which

had gone wrong,

right

again:

that could be

done

in the eyes of each individual man.

This

man may be

he

the

Messiah

Immanuel, God

with-us.

We

can imagine such the further thoughts of the son


first

possibly of the father


ttie

only he had been so

full

of
"lie

answer

to his prayer,

of the cure of his son, that

MIRACLES GRANTED TO FRIENDS.

couid not

all

at

once follow things towards

their

grand

conclusions,

In

this case, as in the


I

two which

follow, the

Lord heals
this.

from a distance.

have not much to remark upon


for
it
;

There were reasons

one perhaps the necessity of

an immediate answer to the prayer; another probably


lay in
its

fitness to the faith of the supplicants.

For

to

heal thus, although less of a sign or a


believing,
faith

wonder

to the

un

had

in

it

an element of

finer

power upon the


wonder, but

of such as

came not

for the sign or the


;

for the cure of the

beloved

for

he who loves can believe


;

what he who loves not cannot believe

and he who loves


these cures were

most can believe most.


like the healing

In

this respect,

granted to prayer in
for

all

ages

not that
than his

God

is

afar

off,

he

is

closer to
to his

every

man

own conscious being


that

is

unconscious being

but
there

we

receive the aid from the Unseen.


it

Though
it

be no distance with God,

looks like

to

men

and

when Jesus cured

thus,

he cured with the same appears

ances which attended

God

ordinary healing.

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

The

next case

take up

is

similar.

It

belongs to

another of
is little

my

classes,

but as a case of possession there


it,

distinctive about

while as the record of the

devotion of a mother to her daughter

a devotion quick

ening in her faith so rare and lovely as to delight the very


heart of Jesus with
its

humble

intensity

it

is

one of ihe

most beautiful of

all

the stories of healing.


the training

The woman was a Greek, and had not had


of the

Jew

for a belief in the Messiah.

Her misconcep

tions concerning the healer of

whom

she had heard must

have been
race.

full

of fancies derived from the legends of her


believe, for her
for the

But she had yet been trained to

mighty love of her own child was the best power

development of the

child-like in herself.

No woman
own

can understand the possible depths of her


I

affection for her daughter.


is

say daughter, not child,


it

because although love

the

same everywhere,

is

nowhere the same.

No

two loves of individuals

in the

same
n

correlation are the same.


for her

Much more

the love of

woman

daughter

differs

from the love of a father

MIRACLES GRANTED TO FRIENDS.

for his

son
is

differs as the

woman

differs

from the man.

There

in

it

a peculiar tenderness from the sense of


in

the same

womanly consciousness

both of undefendeda modesty, in this

ness and self-accountable modesty


case,

how

terribly tortured

in

the

mother by the wild

behaviour of the daughter under the impulses of the un


clean spirit
!

Surely

if

ever there was a misery to drive a

woman

to the Healer in
it

an agony of

rightful claim

and

prostrate entreaty,

was the misery of a mother whose

daughter was thus possessed.

The

divine nature of her


its

motherhood, of her womanhood, drew her back to


source to find help for one
in

who

shared in the same, but

whom

its

waters were sorely troubled and grievously

defiled.

She came crying


ciples,

to him.

About him stood


For
their sakes this

his dis

proud of being Jews.

chosen

Gentile must be pained a

little further,

must bear with her

Saviour her part of suffering for the redemption even of


his

chosen apostles.

They counted themselves

the child

ren,

and such

as she the dogs.

He

must show them the

132

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

divine nature dwelling in her.

For the sake of

this revel

ation he must try her sorely, but not for long.


"

Have mercy on
;

me,"

she cried,

"

Lord, thou son


devil."

of David

my

daughter

is

grievously vexed with a


lips

But not a word of reply came from the


Healer.

of the

His disciples must speak

first.

They must sup


arouse in them

plicate for their Gentile sister.

He would

the disapproval of their

own

exclusiveness,
it

by putting

it

on

for a

moment

that they might see

apart from

them

selves.

Their hearts were moved


"

for the

woman.
"

Send her
"

away,"

they said, meaning,

Give her what

she wants

but to

move

the heart of love to grant the

prayer, they
to justify the

poor intercessors

added a

selfish

reason

deed of goodness,

either that they

would

avoid being supposed to

acknowledge her claim on a

level with that of a Jewess,

and would make of


call
"

it

what

both Puritans and priests would


mercy,"

an unco venan ted


it

or that they actually thought

would help
Possibly
it

to

overcome the scruples of the Master.

was

MIRACLES GRANTED TO FRIENDS.

133

both.
is

"

She

crieth after

us,"

they said

"

meaning,
give as the

She

troublesome."

They would have him

un

generous and the unjust give to the importunate.

But no healing could be granted on such a ground


not even to the prayer of an apostle.
self
"

The woman

her

must give a
I

better.

am

not

sent,"

he

"

said,

but unto the lost sheep of

the house of

Israel."

They understood
did

the words falsely.

We

know

that

he
to

come

for the Gentiles,

and he was

training

them

see what they were so slow to understand, that he had

other sheep which were not of this fold.


to begin with
his latest,

He

had need

them thus

early.

Most of

the troubles of

perhaps greatest apostle, came from the indig

nation of Jewish Christians that he preached the good

news

to the Gentiles as

if it

had been

originally

meant
its

for them.

They would have had them


by the gates of Judaism.

enter into

privileges

What

they did at length understand by these words

is

expressed in the additional word of our Lord given by

134

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

St

Mark

"

Let the children

first

be

filled."

But even

this

until afterwards. they could not understand


it

They

could not see that

was

for the sake of the Gentiles as

much

as the

Jews that Jesus came

to the

Jews

first.

For

whatever glorious exceptions there were amongst the Gen


tiles,

the Jews surpassing even similar amongst

and what

ever the wide-spread refusal

of the Jewish itation, he

could not have been received amongst the Gentiles as

amongst the Jews.

In Judaea alone could the leaven


fitting

work; there alone could the mustard-seed take


root.

Once rooted and

up,

it

would become a great


nestle in
its

tree,

and the birds of the world would


It

branches.

was not that God loved the Jews more than the Gen
that

tiles

he chose them
:

first,

but that he must begin

somewhere

why,

God

himself knows, and perhaps has

given us glimmerings.

Upheld by her God-given

love,

not yet would

the

woman

turn away.

Even such hard words

as these could

not repulse her.

She came now and

fell

at his feet.

It is as the

Masi er

MIRACLES GRANTED TO FRIENDS.

would have

it

she presses only the nearer, she insists


for the devil has a
is

only the more


"

hold of her daughter.


for the trouble
"

Lord, help

me,"

her cry

of her

daughter

is

her own.

The

"

Help me

is

far

more pro

found and pathetic than the most vivid blazon of the


daughter
s sufferings.

But he answered and


"

said,
s

It is

not meet to take the ch .Idren

bread,

and

to cast

it

to

dogs."

Terrible words

more dreadful

far

than any he ever


!

spoke besides

Surely

now

she will depart in despair


in

But the Lord did not mean

them

to speak his
;

mind
only

concerning the relation of Jew and Gentile

for not

do the

future of his church


it
:

and the teaching of


said,

his Spirit

contradict

but

if

he did mean what he

then he

acted as was unmeet, for he did cast a child s bread to a


dog.

No.

He

spoke as a Jew

felt,

that the elect

Jews
is

about him might begin to understand that in him


neither

Jew nor

Gentile, but all are brethren.

And

he has gained his point.

The

spirit in the

woman

136

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

has been divinely goaded into utterance, and out


the glorious words of her love

come

and

faith,

casting aside

even insult

itself as if

it

had never been


it is

all for

the sake
it.

of a Daughter.
"

Now,
;

indeed,

as he

would have

Yes, Lord

of the yet the dogs under the table eat

children

s crumbs."

Or, as St
"

Matthew
:

gives

it

Truth, Lord

yet the dogs eat of the


table."

crumbs which

fall

from

their masters

A
and

retort quite
its

Greek
it

in

its

readiness,

its

symmetry,

point

But

was not the

intellectual merit of

the answer that pleased the Master.


It is the faith

Cleverness

is

cheap.

he praises,* which was precious as rare


it

unspeakably precious even when

shall

be the com

monest thing
first fruits

in

the universe, but precious

now
as

as the

of a world

redeemed

precious

now

coming

tellect itself.

Far more precious than any show of the intellect, even in regard of the in The quickness of her answer was the scintillation of her intellect
affection.

under the glow of her


Faith in
w.hools.

Love

is

the quickening nurse of the whole nature.

Gcd

will

do more

for the intellect at length than all the training of tuc

It will

make

the best that can be

made

of the whole man.

MIRACLES GRANTED TO FRIENDS.

137

from the

lips

of a Gentile

more precious

as

coming from

the lips of a
"

human mother
great
is

pleading for her daughter.


:

woman,

thy faith

be

it

unto thee even as

thou

wilt."

Or, as St

Mark

gives

it,

for

we cannot

afford to lose a

varying word,
"

For

this saying,

go thy way

the devil

is

gone out of

thy

daughter."

The
devil.

loving

mother has conquered the tormenting


in the

She has called

mighty aid of the original


it

love.

Through the channel of her love


"

flows,

newthat

creating,

and her daughter was made whole from

very

hour."

Where,

disciples, are

your children and your dogs

now ?

Is not the wall of partition henceforth destroyed ?

No

you too have

to

be made whole of a worse


pride, before
is

devil,

that of personal
stand.

and national

you under
for you,

But the day of the Lord

coming

not

withstanding ye are so incapable of knowing the signs

and

signals of

its

approach

that,

although

its

banners are

138

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

spread across the flaming sky,

it

must come upon you as

a thief in the night.

For the woman, we may well leave her


of her daughter.
endless

to the

embraces

They

are

enough

for her

now.

But

more

will follow, for

God

is

exhaustless in giving

where the human receiving holds


that there are such

out.

God be
!

praised

embraces

in the

world

that there are


!

mothers who are the salvation of their children

We now

complete a

little

family group, as

it

were,

with the story of another foreigner, a

Roman

officer,

who

besought the Lord for his servant.

This captain was at

Capernaum

at the time,

where

presume he had heard

of the cure which Jesus had granted to the nobleman for


his son.
It

seems almost clear from the quality of

his

faith,

however, that he must have heard

much

besides of
for

Jesus

enough

to give

him matter of pondering

some

time, for I

do not think such humble confidence


s

as his

could be, like Jonah

gourd, the growth of a night.

He

was evidently a
of lording
it

man

of noble and large nature.

Instead

over the subject Jews of Capernaum, he haj

MIRACLES GRANTED TO FRIENDS.

T33

built
is

them a synagogue

and

his

behaviour to our Lord

marked by

that respect which,

shown

to

any human

to a person of lower social condition, being, but especially


is

one of the surest marks of a

finely

wrought moral tem

perament.

Such a nature may be


training, in

beautifully developed

by a military
go together
;

which obedience and command


faith

and the excellence of

and

its

instant

be more readily understood by response in action, would


the thoughtful officer of a well-disciplined

army than by

any one

to

whom

organization was unknown.

Hence

arose the parallel the centurion draws between his

own

and the Master s


its

position,

which so pleased the Lord by


I

direct simplicity.
if

But humble as the man was,

doubt

of anything less than some spiritual perception

the nobility of the character of Jesus,


that

some perception of

which was altogether beyond even the power of


could have generated such perfect reverence,
his.

healing,

such childlike confidence as

It

is

no wonder the
must be

Lord was pleased with


just

it,

for that kind of thing

what

his

Father loves.

I4O

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

According to St Luke, the

Roman

captain considered
s

himself so unworthy of notice from the carpenter

son
his

they of Capernaum, which was

"

his

own

city,"

knew

reputed parentage well enough


the Jews to go

that

he got the elders of he would come and


to
his

and beg

for

him

that

heal his

servant.

They bore testimony


first

worth,

specifying that which would always be

in the eyes of

such as they, that he loved their nation, and had built

them a synagogue.
was about
its

Little they

thought
all

how

the Lord

to

honour him above

their nation
at once.

and

all

synagogues.

He

went with them

But before they reached the house, the centurion had

had a

fresh inroad of that divine disease, humility,*

and

had sent other


"

friends to say,
I

Lord, trouble not thyself, for

am

not worthy that

thou shouldest enter under


thought
I

my

roof.

Wherefore, neither
;

myself worthy to come unto thee

but say in a
I also

word, and

my

servant shall be healed.

For

am

In him
it

it

was almost morbid, one might be tempted


such mighty
faith.

to say,

were

it

not that

was own

sister to

MIRACLES GRANTED TO FRIENDS.

man

set

under authority, having under

me

soldiers,

and

say unto one, Go, and he goeth

and

to another,

Come,
and he

and he cometh
doeth
it."

and

to

my

servant,

Do

this,

This
to

man was

a philosopher

he ascended from that

which he was accustomed to that to which he was not

accustomed.

Nor did

his

divine logic

fail

him.

He
states

begins with acknowledging his


his

own
it

subjection,

and
to

own

authority

then leaves

to our

Lord

under
all,

stand that he recognizes in him an authority beyond

expecting the powers of nature to obey their Master, just


as his soldiers or his servants

obey him.

How

grandly

he must have believed

in

him

But beyond suspicion of


the

flattery,

he avoids the face of

man whom
press

in heart

he worships.

How

unlike those
!

who
"

into

the

presence of a phantom-greatness

poor creature

like

me go and
"

talk to

him
will

"

the

Roman
from
afar

captain would exclaim.


off."

No,

worship

And

it is

to

be well heeded that the Lord

went no further

turned at once.

With the tax-gatherer

142

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

Zacchaeus he would go home,

if

but to deliver him fiom


;

the hopelessness of his self-contempt

but what occasion

was there here?

It

was

all

right here.

The

centurion

was one who needed but

to

go on.

In heart and soul he


disciples

was nearer the Lord now than any of the


followed him.
Surely

who

some one among

the elders of the

Jews, his friends, would carry him the report of what the

Master

said.

It

would not hurt him.


it

The
fall

praise of the
it

truly great will

do no harm, save
little.

where

ought
never

not,
.falls

on the heart of the

The

praise of

God

wrong, therefore never does any one harm.


to seek
it.

The

Lord even implies we ought

His praise would

but glorify the humility and the faith of this

Roman by
There
is

making both of them deeper and nobler


something very grand in the Lord
the house of the
s

still.

turning away from

man who had


;

greater faith than any he

had found
to those

in Israti

for

such were the words he spoke

who

followed him, of

whom

in all likelihood the

messenger elders were nearest.

Having turned
his way.

to say

them he turned not again but went

St Luke,

MIRACLES GRANTED TO FRIENDS.

143

whose narrative

is

in other respects

much

fuller

than St

Matthew
Jesus,

(who says

that the centurion himself


elders),

came

to

and makes no mention of the

does not

represent the Master as uttering a single word of cure,

but implies that he just went away marvelling at him


while
"

they that were sent, returning to the house, found


sick."

the servant whole that had been

If

any one ask

how

Jesus could marvel,

answer, Jesus could do more

things than

we can

well understand.
faith,

The

fact that
is

he

marvelled at the great


prised at the
little,

shows that he
is

not sur

and therefore

able to

make

all

needful and just, yea, and tender allowance.

Here

cannot do better for

my readers

than give them


to

four lines, dear to me, but probably

unknown

most

of

them, written,

must

tell

them, for the sake of their

loving catholicity, by an English Jesuit of the seventeenth


century.

They touch

the very heart of the relation be:

tween Jesus and the centurion


Thy God was making
Thy

haste into thy roof

hun.ble faith and fear keeps

Him

aloof:

Ti<

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

He be thy guest because He may not He ll come into thy house? No, into
ll
;

be,

the<;.

As

I said,

we

thus complete a kind of family group, for


is

surely the true servant

one of the family

we have

the

prayer of a father for a son, of a mother for a daughter,


of a master for a servant.
latter

Alas

the clearness of this

bond

is

not

now known

as once.

There never was

a rooted institution in parting with which something good

was not

lost for

a time, however necessary

its

destruction

might be

for the welfare of the race.

There are fewer


I

free servants

love their masters and mistresses now,

fear,

than there were


theirs.

Roman bondsmen and bondswomen


And, on the other hand, very few

who loved

masters and mistresses regard the bond between them

and

their servants with half the respect

and tenderness
it.

with which
is

many among

the

Romans regarded

Slavery

a bad thing and of the

devil, yet

mutual jealousy and


will yet

contempt are worse.


servant will serve
for

But the time


love as
a

come when a
;

more than wages

and

when

the master of such

servant will honour

him even

MIRACLES GRANTED TO FRIENDS.

145

to the

making him

sit

down

to meat,

and coming

forth

and serving him.

The next

is

the case of the palsied man, so graphically

given both by St

Mark and

St Luke,

and with

less of

circumstance by St

Matthew.
his

This miracle also was

done

in

Capernaum, called

own

city.

Pharisees and

doctors of the law from every town in the country, hear


ing of his arrival, had gathered to him, and were sitting
listening to his

teaching.

There was no
sick

possibility of

getting near him,

and the

man s

friends

had carried

him up

to the roof, taken off the tiles,


It

and

let

him down
poor

into the presence.

should not be their


"

fault if the

fellow

was not cured.


their faith

Jesus seeing their faith

When
he

Jesus saw

And when

he saw

their faith,

said unto the sick of the palsy, Son,

be of good cheer-

Son
of the

Man, thy

sins are forgiven


is

thee."

The

forgiveness

man

sins

by

all

of the narrators connected

with the faith of his friends.

This

is

very remarkable.

The only
corded,
is

other instance in which similar words are re*


that of the

woman who came

to

him

in

Simon K

146

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

house, concerning

whom

he showed

first,

that her love

was a sign
greater

that her sins were already forgiven.

What

honour could he honour

their faith withal than

the grant in their name, unasked,

one mighty boon?


to

They had brought


his sins.

the

man

to

him

them he forgave

He

looked into his heart, and probably saw, as

in the case of the

man whom he

cured by the pool of

that his Bethesda, telling him to go and sin no more,


sins

own

had brought upon him

this suffering,

a supposition

which aids considerably to the understanding of the con


sequent conversation;
saw, at
all

events,

that the as

surance of forgiveness was what he most needed, whether

because his conscience was oppressed with a sense of


guilt,

or that he must be brought to think


;

more of the

sin

than of the suffering


the man,
if

for

it

involved an awful rebuke to


still

he required

it

that the

Lord should,
forgiveness.
his

when he came

for healing, present


it

him with

Nor

did he follow

at

once with the cure of


probably for the

body,
sake,

but delayed that for a

little,

man s

as probably for the sake of those present,

whom

he had

MIRACLES GRANTED TO FRIEM.S.

147

been teaching

for

some

time,

and

in

whose

hearts he

would now

fix

the lesson concerning the divine forgive


it

ness which he had preached to them in bestowing

upon the

sick

man.

For

his

words meant nothing, except

they meant that


right

God

forgave the man.

The

scribes were

when they
that
is,

said that

none could

forgive sins but


is

God
still

in the full

sense in which forgiveness


all his

needed by every human being, should

fellows

whom

he has injured have forgiven him already.


said in their hearts,
"

They

He

is

blasphemer."

This

was what he had expected.


"

Why
is,

do you think
of me
that

evil

in

your hearts

"

he

said,

that

evil

I am

a blasphemer.
;

He

would now show them that he was no blasphemer

that he

had the power

to forgive, that

it

was

the will of
sins.

God

that

he should preach the remission of


it

How

could he show

them

In one way only

by dismissing

the consequence, the punishment of those sins, sealing


thus in the individual case the general truth,
co-ild say to a

He who

man, by the eternal law suffering the con-

148

ON THE MIRACLES OP OUR LORD.

sequences of sin
more,"

"

Be whole,
right to

well,

strong

suffer

no
;

must have the

pronounce

his forgiveness

else there

was another than God who had

to cure with a If there

word the man


\vere

whom

his

Maker had

afflicted.

such another, the kingdom of


fall,

God must be

trembling
its

to

its

for a stronger

had invaded and reversed

decrees.
its

Power does not

give the right to pardon, but


"

possession
to say,

may prove
sins

the right.

Whether

is

easier

Thy
"

be forgiven thee, or

to say, Rise

up

and walk ?

If only

God

can do

either,

he who can do

the one must be able to


"

do the
that the

other.

That ye may know

Son of man hath powel


and take up thy bed,

upon

earth to forgive sins


into thine

Arise,
house."

and go thy way

Up

rose the man, took

up
in

that

whereon he had

lain,

and went away, knowing

himself that his sins were

God. forgiven him, for he was able to glorify


ft

seems to

me

against our

Lord

usual custom with


as

the scribes and Pharisees to grant


this.

them such proof

Certainly, to judge

by those recorded, the whole

MIRACLES GRANTED TO FRIENDS.

149

miracle was in aspect and order


I think the

somewhat unusual.

But

men

here assembled were either better than

the most of their class, or in a better


for St

mood

than

common,

Luke

says of

them

that the

power of the Lord was

present to heal them.

To

such therefore proof might be

accorded which was denied to others.

That he might

heal these learned doctors around him, he forgave the


sins first

and then cured the palsy of the man before him.


he performed the miracle
for
thus.

For

their sakes

Then,
were

like priests,

like people ;

where

their

leaders

listening, the

people broke open the roof to get the help

less into his presence.


"

They marvelled and


such power unto
this
fashion.""

glorified

God which had

given
it

men

"

Saying,
filled

We
with

never saw
fear,

on

They were

saying,

We

have seen strange things

to-day."

And

yet

Capernaum had
tell

to

be brought down to
it

hell,

and no man can

the place where

stood.

Two more
aione.

cases

remain, both

related

by

St

Mark

150

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

They brought him

man

partially
:

deaf and dumb.

He

led

him aside from the people

he would be alone

with him, that he might

come

the better into relation


is

with that individuality which, until molten from within,


so hard to touch.
this

Possibly had the


less

man come
;

of himself,

might have been

necessary

but I repeat there

must have been

in every case reason for the individual

treatment in the character and condition of the patient.

These were patent only

to the Healer.

In

this case the

closeness of the personal contact, as in those cases of the


blind,
is

likewise remarkable.

"

He

put his fingers into


tongue."

his ears,

he

spit

and touched

his

Always in

present disease, bodily contact

in defects of the senses,

sometimes of a closer kind.


faith in himself as the healer.

He

would generate assured


is

But there
far as

another re

markable particular here, which, as


ber,

can

remem
develop

would be alone
it

in its

kind but

for

fuller

ment of

at the raising of Lazarus.

"And

looking up

to heaven,

he
it

sighed."

What

did

mean ?

What

first

of

all

was

it ?

MIRACLES GRANTED TO FRIENDS.

That look, was That


sigh,

it

not a look up to his

own Father

was

it

not the unarticulated prayer tp the


stood beside him
?

Father of the

man who
as
if

But did kc

need to look up

God was

in the sky, seeing that

God was

in him, in his very deepest,

inmost being, in

fulness of presence,

and receiving conscious response,


not from the

such as he could not find -anywhere else

whole gathered universe


like
his

Why

should he send a sigh,

a David

dove, to carry the thought of his heart to

Father?

True,

if all

the words of

human language

had been blended into one glorious majesty of speech,

and the Lord had sought therein

to utter the love

he

bore his Father, his voice must needs have sunk into the
last inarticulate

resource

the poor sigh, in which ever

more speech

dies

helplessly triumphant

appealing

t.o

the Hearer to supply the lack, saying

cannot, but

thoi*,

knowest
the

confessing defeat, but claiming victory.


talk to his

Jiut

Lord could

Father evermore in the forms

of which words are but the shadows, nay, infinitely more,


?/ithout forms at
all,

in the thoughts

which are the souls

152

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

of the forms.

Why

then needs he look up and sigh


faith

That the man, whose

was

in

the merest nascent

condition, might believe that whatever cure

came

to

him

from the hand of the healer, came from the hand of God.
Jesus did not care to be believed in as the doer of the deed, save the deed
of the Father.
itself

were recognized as given him

If they

saw him only, and not the Father


little

through him, there was

gained indeed.

The upward

look and the sigh were surely the outward expression of


the infrangible link which

bound both

the
lift

Lord and the


the

man
up
gift

to the Father of

all.

He
gift.

would

man s

heart

to the source of every

No

cure would be worthy-

without that
last

it

might be an

injury.

The

case

is

that of the blind

man

of Bethsaida,

whom

likewise he led apart, out of the town,

and whose

dull organs

he likewise touched with

his spittle.
at

Then
j

comes a

difference.
laid his

The deaf man was

once cured

when he had
was but

hands on the blind man,


"

his vision
?

half-restored.

He

asked him
I

if

he saw ought

And he

looked up and

said,

see the

men

for like

MIRACLES GRANTED TO FRIENDS.

153

trees* 1 see

them walking
not
trees,

about."

He

could

teli

they

were

men and
his

only by their motion.


his eyes,
clearly.

The
and

Master laid

hands once more upon


again,

when he looked up

he saw every

man

In thus graduating the process, our Lord, I think,

drew

forth,

encouraged, enticed into strength the feeble

faith of the

man.

He
He

brooded over him with


gave the
faith

his holy

presence of love.

time to grow.

He
it

cared more for his faith than his


were, watch him, feel

sight.

He

let

him, as

him doing
is

it,

that

he might know
resemblance to

and

believe.

There

in this a peculiar

the ordinary

modes God

takes in healing men.


full

These

last

miracles are especially

of symbolism
I

and analogy.

But

in considering

any of the miracles,

do not care

to dwell

upon
all

this

aspect of them, for in this

they are only like

the rest of the doings of God.

Nature

is

brimful of symbolic and analogical parallels to

the goings

and comings, the growth and the changes


"

of

Could
"?

it

be translated,

As

well as

(ths.t

is

besides) trees, I see walker,

ahout

154

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

the highest nature in man.

It

could not be otherwise.

For not only did they issue from the same thought, but
the one
is

made

for

the other.

Nature as an outer

garment
live in.

for

man, or a

living house, rather, for


all

man

to

So likewise must

the works of

him who did

the works of the Father bear the


original of
all.

same mark of the

The one
nearer the

practical lesson contained in this

group

is

human

fact

and the human need than any


it

symbolic meaning, grand as


likewise contain
;

must

be,

which they may

nearer also to the constitution of things,


is

inasmuch as what a man must do


to his

more

to the

man and

Maker than what he can only think; inasmuch,


commonest
things are the best,

also, as the

and any man

can do

right,

although he

may be unable
:

to tell the dif


it is

ference between a symbol and a sign


there was a

that if ever

Man

such as

we read about

here, then
I

he

who

God. prays for his friends shall be heard of


for.

do

not say he shall have whatever he asks

God

forbid.

But he

shall

be heard.

And

the

man who does

not see

MIRACLES GRANTED TO FRIENDS.

155

the

good of

that,

knows nothing of

the

good of prayer

ran, I fear, as yet, only pray for himself,

when most he
when

fancies

he

is

praying for his friend.

Often, indeed,

men suppose

they are concerned for the well-beloved,

they are only concerned about what they shall do without

them.
will

Let them pray for themselves instead, for that


I repeat, all
is it

be the truer prayer.


:

prayer

is

assuredly

heard

what

evil

matter

that

it

should be answered

only in the right time and right


argues a need
that

way?

The

prayer
is

need

will

be supplied.

One day

with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years


as

one day.
say

All

who have prayed


is

shall

one day

justify

God and

Thy answer

beyond

my

prayer, as thy

thoughts and thy ways are beyond


vvays.

my

thoughts and

my

VIL

THE CASTING OUT OF


ID EFORE attempting
this

DEVILS.

to say the
I

little I

can concerning

group of miracles,

would protect myself against

possible misapprehension.

The

question concerning the

nature of what
to

is

called possession has nothing whatever

do with

that concerning the existence or nonexistence


evil,

of a personal and conscious power of

the one great


called

adversary of the kingdom of heaven,


Satan, or the devil.
tions,

commonly

I say

they are two distinct ques


that the

and have so

little

in

common

one may be

argued without even an allusion to the other.

Many

think that in the cases recorded

we have but

t.he

symptoms of well-known

diseases, which,

from their ex
of reason,

ceptionally painful character, involving loss

involuntary or convulsive motions, and other abnormal

phenomena, the imaginative and

unscientific

Easterns

THE CASTING OUT OF DEVILS.

157

attributed, as the easiest

mode

of accounting for them, to

a foreign power taking possession of the body and mind


of the man.
resort to

They

say there

is

no occasion whatever

to

an explanation involving an agency of which we


experience of our
to rectify

know nothing from any


our Lord did not

own

that, as

come

men s

psychological or

physiological theories, he adopted the

mode

of speech
evil
spirits

common amongst
simply by
fluences.

them, but cast out the


diseases
attributed

healing the

to

their

in

There seems
pretation.

to

me

nothing unchristian in

this inter

All diseases that trouble humanity


evil

may

well

be regarded as inroads of the

powers upon the palaces


Spirit

and temples of God, where only the Koly


right to dwell
;

has a

and

to cast out such,

is

a marvel altoge

ther as great as to expel the intruding forces to which the

Jews attributed some of them.

Certainly also our

Lord

must have used multitudes of human expressions which


did not more than adumbrate his

own knowledge.
all

And

yet I cannot admit that the solution meets

the appear-

158

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

ances of the

difficulty.

I say appearances,
if I

because
too

could

not be dogmatic here


stand too
little,

would.

know

little,

under

to dare give

such an opinion as possesses


All I have to
to
little.

even the authority of personal conviction.


say on the subject must therefore

come

Per

haps

if

the marvellous, as such, were to

me more

difficult
it

of belief, anything I might have to say on the side of

would have greater weight.


is

But to
always

me

the marvellous
that
I

not

therefore

incredible,

provided

in

itself

the

marvellous

thing

appears worthy.

have

no

difficulty in receiving the old


;

Jewish belief concerning

possession

and

think

it

better explains the

phenomena
;

recorded than the growing modern opinion


action of matter

while the

upon mind may

well be regarded as in

volving greater mystery than the action of one spiritual


nature upon another.

That a man should rave

in

mad

ness because some


his brain
is

little cell

or two in the grey matter of


surely

out of order,
s

is

no more within the

compass of man
Mi
evil
spirit,

understanding than the supposition that

getting close to the fountain of a

man

THE CASTING OUT OF DEVILS.

physical

life,

should disturb

ail

the goings on of that

life,

even to the production of the most appalling moral phe

nomena.

In either case

it

is

not the

man

himself

who

originates the resulting actions, but an external

power

operating on the man.


"

But we do not even know that there are such


that a diseased brain
is

spirits,

and we do know

sufficient to ac
"

count for the worst of the phenomena recorded.


insist

I will

not

on the
is

fact that

we do

not

know

that the diseased

brain

enough
it

to

account for the phenomena, that we

only

know

as in

many

cases a concomitant of such


so much,
fit

phenomena

I will grant

and yet

insist that,

as the explanation does not

the statements of the re

cord,

and

as

we know

so

little

of what

is,

any hint of un

known

possibilities falling

from unknown regions, should,

even as a stranger, receive the welcome of contemplation

and conjecture, so long


contradiction.

as in itself
will

it

involves no moral
all,

The man who

not speculate at

can make no progress.


is

The

thinking about the possible


as edifying

as genuine, as lawful,

and perhaps

an

ex-

l6o

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

ercise of the
still

mind

as the severest induction.


itself

Better

lies

beyond.

Experiment
;

must follow

in the track
is

of sober conjecture

for if

we know

already, where

the

good of experiment ?
There seems
to

me

nothing unreasonable in the sup

position of the existence of spirits who, having once

had

bodies such as ours, and having abused the privileges of

embodiment, are condemned


bodiless, ever

for

a season to roam about

mourning the

loss of their capacity for the

only pleasures they care


their imaginations.

for,

and craving

after

them

in

Such, either in selfish hate of those


lost,

who have what they have

or from eagerness to

come

as near the possession of a corporeal form as they may,

might well seek to inter

into

a man.

The

supposition at

least is perfectly consistent with the facts recorded.

Pos
of
al

sibly also

it

may be

consistent with the

phenomena

some of
though

the forms of the madness of our

own

day,

all its

forms are alike regarded as resulting from

physical causes alone.

The

first

act of dispossession recorded

is

that told by

THE CASTING OUT OF

L>jfeVILa\

l6l

St

Mark and

St Luke, as taking place at

Capernaum,

amongst

his earliest miracles,

and preceding the cure of


in the

Simon

mother-in-law.

He was

synagogue on the

Sabbath day, teaching the congregation, when a


sent,

man

pre

who had an unclean

spirit)

cried out.

If I accept

the narrative, I find this cry far

more

intelligible

on the old

than on the new theory,

The

speaker,
all,

no doubt using

the organs of the man, brain


nizes a presence
to

and

for utterance, recog=-

him

the cause of terror

which he

addresses as the Holy

One

of God.

This holy one he


flattering

would propitiate by entreaty and the


ledgment of
left

acknow

his divine mission, with the


in the usurpation

hope of being
by which

unmolested

and

cruelty

he ministered
anything be

to his

own shadowy

self-indulgences.

Could
other
peace,

more consistently diabolic?


such than,
"

What

word could

Jestis address to
"

Hold thy

and come out of him

being in such a condition


;

could not be uermitted to hold converse with the Saviour


for

he recognized no salvation but what lay

in the

con

tinuance of his

own

another. pleasures at the expense of

162

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

The form
the

of the rebuke plainly assumes that

it

was not
;

man

but some one in the

man who had spoken


when

and

the narrative goes on to say that

the devil had

with a loud thrown him down and torn him and cried
voice
its

his rage

and disappointment,

presume finding
he

last futile

utterance in the torture of his captive


left

came out of him and

him

unhurt.

Thereupon the
saying,
"What

themselves people questioned amongst


thing
is

this ?

It is

a teaching new, and with authority


spirits,

he commanded! even the unclean


him;"*

and they obey

the un thus connecting at once his power over

clean spirits with the doctrine

he taught, just as our

Lord

in

an after-instance associates power over demons


It

with spiritual condition.

was the truth

in

him

that

made him

of untruth. strong against the powers

Many

such cures were performed, but the individual

instances recorded are few.

The next

is

that of the

man

dumb, according

to

St Luke, both blind

and dumb,
as soon

according to St Matthew
St Mark,
i.

who spake and saw

27.

Alford. Authorized Version revised by Dean

THE CASTING OUT OF DEVILS.

as the devil

was cast out of him.

With unerring

instinct

the people concluded that he

who

did such deeds must

be the Son of David


St

the devils themselves, according to

Mark, were wont

to

acknowledge him the Son of God

the Scribes and Pharisees,

the would-be guides of the

people, alone refused the witness,


becility of unbelief,

and

in the very

im

eager after any theory that might

seem

to cover the facts without

acknowledging a divine
their authority,

mission in one

who would not admit

attributed to Beelzebub himself the deliverance of dis

tressed mortals from the powers of evil.

Regarding the

kingdom of

God

as a thing of externals, they were fortified

against recognizing in Jesus himself or in his doctrine

any sign that he was the enemy of Satan, and might even
persuade themselves that such a cure was only one of
Satan
the
s

tricks for the

advancement of

his

kingdom with

many by

a partial emancipation of the individual.


attributes this false conclusion to
its

But our Lord


cause
to

true

no incapacity or mistake of judgment

to

no

over-refining about the possible chicaneries of Beelzebub;

164

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

but to a preference for any evil which would support

them

in their authority with the

people

in itself

an

evil.

Careless altogether about truth

itself,

they would not give


it

moment s

quarter to any individual utterance of


their

which

tended to destroy

honourable position in the nation.

Each man

to himself

was

his

own

god.

The

Spirit of

God

they shut out.


the

To them

forgiveness was not offered.

They must pay

uttermost farthing

whatever that
be.

may mean

and

frightful as the

doom must

That he

spoke thus against them was but a further carrying out


of his mission, a further inroad

upon

the

kingdom of

that

Beelzebub.

And yet they wei e


;

the accredited authorities in


realize this,
fight for the

the church of that day

and he who does not

does not understand the battle our Lord had to


emancipation of the people.
It

was

for the sake of the

people that he called the Pharisees hypocrites, and not for


their

own

sakes, for

how

should he argue with


?

men who

taught religion for their


It is to

own aggrandizement

be noted that our Lord recognizes the power of


"

others besides himself to cast out devils,

By whom do

THE CASTING OUT OF DEVILS.

your children cast them


it

out?"

Did you
it

ever say of them

was by Beelzebub

V/hy say

of me

What he

claims

he freely allows.

The

Saviour had no tinge


as
if

of that

jealousy of rival teaching

truth could

be two, and
his

could avoid being one

which makes so many of

followers grasp at any waif of false argument.


that all

He knew
All were

good

is

of God, and not of the devil.


the power of the devil.

with him

who destroyed

They who were

cured, and they in

whom

self-worship

was not blinding the judgment, had no doubt that he was


fighting Satan

on

his

usurped ground.

Torture was what

might be expected of Satan; healing what might be


expected of God.
of the

The

reality of the healing, the loss

man,

morally as well as

physically,

to

the

kingdom of
lowed.

evil,

was witnessed
rests

in all the signs that fol


fact that

Our Lord

his

argument on the

Satan had lost these men.

We

hear next, from St Luke, of certain

women who

followed him. having been healed of evil spirits and in


firmities,

amongst

whom

is

mentioned

"

Mary, called

f66

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

Magdalene, out of
der a

whom went

seven

devils."

No won

woman

thus delivered should devote her restored

self to the service

of him

who had

recreated her.

We

hear nothing of the circumstances of the cure, only the


result in her constant ministration.

Hers

is

a curious
it

instance of the worthlessness of what

some think

a mark

of high-mindedness to regard alone

the opinion, namely,


this

of posterity.

Without a fragment of evidence,

woman
But

has been

all

but universally regarded as impure.


to her
!

what a

trifle

Down

in this

squabbling nursery of

the race, the

name

of

Mary Magdalene may be degraded


;

even to a subject

for pictorial sentimentalities

but the

woman

herself

is

with that Jesus

who

set her free.


:

To
to

the end of time they

may

call

her what they please

her

it is

worth but a smile of holy amusement.


is

And

just

as worthy

the applause of posterity associated with a

name.

To God

alone

we

live or die.

Let us

fall,

as,

thank him, we must, into his hands.


Posterity judge.

Let him judge


is

us.

may be

wiser than

we

but posterity

not our

THE CASTING OUT OF DEVILS.

167

We come now
marvellous than

to a narrative containing

more of the

all

the rest.

The

miracle was wrought


St

on the south-eastern

side of the lake

Matthew

says,

upon two demoniacs


tion only of one.

St

Mark and

St

Luke make men


the
latter

The accounts given by

Evangelists are

much more

circumstantial than that

by

the former.
ter.

It

was a case of peculiarly

frightful charac

The man, possessed

of many demons, was ferocious,

and of marvellous and untameable.

strength, breaking chains


It is

and

fetters,

impossible to analyse the pheno

mena, saying which were the actions of the man, and

which those of the possessing demons.


were the

Externally

all

man s, done by the man finally, some


own poor withered
will,

part, I pre

sume, from his

far the greater

from the urging of the demons.

Even
it is

in the case of a

man

driven by appetite or passion,


is

impossible to say

how much how much


keep

to

be attributed

to the

man

himself,

and
to

to that lower nature in

him which he ought

in subjection, but which,

having been allowed to get

the upper hand, has

become a possessing demon.

He

l68

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

met the Lord worshipping, and,

as in a former instance,

praying for such clemency as devils can value.


the devils, then, that urged the the Lord
?

Was

it

man

into the presence of


spirit,

Was

it

not rather the other

the spirit

of

life,

which not the presence of a legion of the wicked


?

ones could drive from him

Was

it

not the

spirit

of the

Father in him which brought him, ignorant, fearing, yet


vaguely hoping perhaps, to the feet of the Son not
?

He knew

why he came; but he came

drawn or driven; he

could not keep away.

When

he came, however, the

words
"

at least of his prayer

were moulded by the devils

adjure thee by

God

that thou torment

me

not."

Think

of the man, tortured by such awful presences, praying to


the healer not to torment

him

The

prayer was

com
They

pelled into this shape by the indwelling demons.

would have him pray

for indulgence for them.

But the

Lord heard the deeper

prayer, that

is,

the need cry

and misery

of the man, the horror that

made him

and cut himself


spirit to

with stones

and commanded the unclean


Thereupon, St Mark
"

come

out of him.

says,

he besought him

THE CASTING OUT OF DEVILS.

much

that

he would not send them out of the

country."

Probably the country was one the condition of whose


habitants afforded the
their coveted

in

demons unusual
St

opportunities for
"

pseudo-embodiment.
that he

Luke

says,

They
go out

besought him
into the

would not command them

to

deep"

to such beings awful, chiefly because there


all its

they must be alone, afar from matter and

forms.

In

such loneliness the good

man would be
God
;

filled

with the

eternal presence of the living

but they would be


desires without

aware only of their greedy, hungry selves


objects.

No.

Here were

swine.

"

Send us

into the

swine, that

we may

enter into

them."

Deprived of the

abode they preferred, debarred from men, swine would


serve their turn.

But even the swine

animals created

to look unclean, for a type to

humanity of the very form

and fashion of

its

greed

could not endure their presence.


;

The man had

cut himself with stones in his misery

the

swine in theirs rushed into the waters of the lake and

were drowned.
further leave,

The
to

evil

spirits, I

presume, having no
after
all.

had

go to

their

deep

IJO

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

The

destruction of the swine

must not be regarded as

miraculous.

But there must have been a special reason

in the character

and condition of the people of Gadara


I

for his allowing this destruction of their property.

sup
first,

pose that although


it

it

worked vexation and dismay

at

prepared the way for some after-reception of the gospel.


seeing

Now,

him who had been a raving maniac,

sitting at

the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind,

and hear
with
fear,

ing what had

come

to the swine, they

were

filled

and prayed the healer to depart from them. But who can imagine the delight of the man when that
wild troop of maddening and defiling demons, which

had

possessed him with

all

uncleanness, vanished

Scarce had

he time to
loving

know

that

he was naked, before the hands of

human

beings, in

whom

the

good

Spirit

ruled,

were taking

off their

own

garments, and putting them

upon him.
with

He was
faces,

man once

more, and amongst

men

human
own
set

human
that

hearts,

human

ways.

He was

with his

and

supreme form and face of the man


all

who had

him

free

was binding them

into

one holy

THE CASTING OUT OF

I>EVILS.

171

family.

Now he

could pray of himself the true prayer of


it

a soul which knew what


meant.

wanted, and could say what

it

He

sat

down
;

like a child at the feet of the

man

who had cured him


desire of those

and when, yielding

at

once to the

who would be

rid of his presence, Jesus

went down

to the boat,
;

he followed, praying that he might

be with him
that

for

what could he desire but to be near


his divine self,

power which had restored him


his

and

the consciousness thereof

own

true existence, that of

which God was thinking when he made him ?

But he would be

still

nearer the Lord in doing his work


It is

than in following him about.

remarkable that while


to

more than once our Lord charged the healed


he leaves
this

be

silent,

man

as his apostle

his witness with those

who had banished him from

their coasts.

Something may
;

be attributed to the different natures of the individuals

some

in preaching

him would
this

also preach themselves,

and

so hurt both.

But

man was
prayer.

not of such.

To be
fit

with the Lord was

all his

Therefore he was

to

be without him, and to aid his work apart.

But

I thinl?

172

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

it

more

likely that the reason lay in the condition of the

people.

Judaea was in a state of excitement about him

that excitement

had unhealthy elements, and must not be

fanned.
all.

In some places the Lord would not speak at

Through some he would pass unknown.


was
different.

But here
;

all

He

had destroyed
;

their swine

they

had prayed him

to depart

if

he took from them


is,

this

one

sign of his real presence, that

of the love which heals,


it

not the power which destroys,


them.

would be

to

abandon

But

it

is

very noteworthy that he sent the

man

to his

own
open
lips

house, to his
to such a

own

friends.

They must be
and from such

the most
lips

message as
flesh

his,

the

of their

own

and blood.

He

had been raving


;

in

tombs and

deserts,

tormented with a legion of devils

now he was one

of themselves again, with love in his eyes,

adoration in the very tones of his voice, and help in his

hands

reason once more supreme on the throne of his

humanity.

He

obeyed, and published in Gadara,

and

the rest of the cities of Decapolis, the great tilings, as

THE CASTING OUT OF DEVIL3.

Jesus hmiseii called them, which

God had done

for him.

For

it

was God who had done them.


his Father.

He

was doing the

works of

One more

instance remains, having likewise peculiar

points of difficulty,

and therefore of

interest.

When
dumb,

Jesus was on the

mount

of transfiguration, a
his

epileptic,

and lunatic boy was brought by

father to those disciples

who were

awaiting his return.

But they could do nothing.

To

their disappointment,

and probably

to their chagrin,
spirit.

they found themselves


Jesus appeared, the

powerless over the evil


father

When

begged of him the aid which


"

his disciples could

not

give

Master, I beseech thee, look upon


child."

my

son, for

he

is

mine only

Whoever has held

in his

arms

his child in delirium,


far,

calling to his father for aid as if

he were distant

and

able beating the air in wild and aimless defence, will be


to enter a little into the trouble of this

man s
in

soul.

To

have the

child,

and yet see him tormented

some region

inaccessible

to hold

him

to the heart

and yet be unable

174

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

to reach the thick-coming fancies

which

distract

him

to

find himself with a great abyss

between him and

his child,

across which the cry of the child comes, but back across

which no answering voice can reach the consciousness of


the sufferer
-is

terror

and misery indeed.

But imagine
the stupidity,

in the case before us the intervals as well

the vacant gaze, the hanging

lip,

the pale flaccid coun

tenance and bloodshot eyes, idiocy alternated with


ness

mad

no voice of human speech, only the animal babble

of the uneducated

dumb
fire,

the misery of his falling

down

anywhere,

now in

the

now in the water, and

the divine

shines out as nowhere else


child even to agony.

for the father loves his only

What was

there in such a child to


there, else

love?

Everything: the

human was

whence
the

the torture of that which was not

human? whence
s

pathos of those eyes, hardly up to the dog


yet omnipotent over the father
s

in intelligence,

heart

God was
too.

there.

The misery was


came

that the devil


"

was there

Thence
;

the crying and tears.

Rescue the divine

send

THE CASTING OUT OF DEVILS.

175

the devil to the


father s soul.

deep."

was the unformed prayer

in the

Before replying
that could not have as he

to

his prayer,

Jesus uttered words


to the father,

been addressed

inasmuch

was neither

faithless

nor perverse.

Which then of
of them
?

those present did he address thus?

To which

did he say,

"

How
suffer

long shall
"

be with you have


thought

How
it

long
the

shall

you

I
?

was

bystanders

but

why

they

They had not


I
it

surely
it

reached the point of such rebuke.

have thought

was the

disciples,

because perhaps

was

their pride that

rendered them unable to cast out the demon, seeing they


tried
it

without faith enough in God.

But the form of


:

address does not seem to belong to them


eration could not well apply to those

the

word gen
chosen

whom he had

out of that generation.


I

have thought, and gladly would


could honestly, that the words

continue to think,

if I

were intended

for the devils

who tormented
for St

his country

men and

friends

and but

Mark s

story, I

mi^nt

I7&

ON THE MIRACLES OP OUR LORD*

have held to
neither St

it.

He, however, gives us one point which


St

Matthew nor

Luke mention

that

"

when

he came to his disciples he saw a great multitude about


them, and the scribes questioning with
the multitude were greatly
them."

He

says

amazed when they saw him


it

why,

do not know, except

be that he came just

at the

point where his presence was needful to give the one

answer to the scribes pressing hard upon his disciples


because they could not cast out
these
this devil.

These

scribes,

men

of accredited education, who, from their posi

tion as students of the law

and the

interpretations thereof,

arrogated to themselves a mastery over the faith of the


people, but were themselves so careless about the truth as
to

be utterly opaque to
say,
I

its

illuminating

power

these

scribes, I

do think

it

was

whom

our Lord ad

dressed as

"faithless

and perverse

generation."

The im

mediately following request to


"

the father

of the boy,
their

Bring him unto

me,"

was

the

one answer to

arguments.

fresh

paroxysm was the

first

result.

But repressing

THE CASTING OUT OF DEVILS.

177

all

haste, the

Lord
will
is it

will care for the father as

much

as for

the child.
"

He
long

help his growing

faith.

How
From
fire,

ago since

this

hath
it

come unto him ?

"

"

a child.

And

ofttimes

hath cast him into

the

and

into the waters, to destroy

him

but

if

thou
*

canst do anything, have compassion on us, and help us.


"

If thou canst ?f

All things are possible to

him

that

belie veth."
"

Lord,

I believe

help thou mine unbelief/


Jesus,
"him

Whether the words of


meant himself

that

believeth,"

as believing in the Father,

and

therefore

gifted with all power, or the

man

as believing in him.

and

therefore capable of being the recipient of the effects of


that power, I

am

not sure.
for

I incline to the former.

The

result is the same,

the
:

man

resolves the question


in

practically

and personally
"I

what was needful


;

him

should be in him.
*
t

believe

help thou mine

unbelief."

A gain the us

so full of pathos.

The

oldest manuscripts.

(Dean Alford*}

"

If thou canst have faith


Mark."

All

thing*."

&c.

("New

Translation of the Gospel of St

Rev. J. H. God*

tttfi.

i;8

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

In the honesty of his heart,

lest

he should be saying
certain that

more than was

true

for
?

how could he be
or

Jesus would cure his son


estimate his
for
"

how could he measure and

own

faith ?

he appeals to the Lord of Truth

all

that he ought to be,


unbelief."

and

think,

and

believe.

Help thou mine

It is the

very triumph of

faith.

The

unbelief itself cast like any other care


is

upon

him who

careth for us,

the highest exercise of belief.

It is the greatest effort lying in the

power of the man.

No man

can help doubt.

The

true

man

alone, that

is,

the faithful man, can appeal to the Truth to


to believe

enable him
false.

what

is

true,

and
our

refuse

what

is

How

this applies especially to

own time and

the

need of
it is

the living generations,

is

easy to see.

Of

all

prayers

the one for us.

Possibly our Lord might have held a

little

farther talk
"

with him, but the people

came crowding
unto him,

about.

He

rebuked the
deaf
spirit, I

foul spirit, saying

Thou dumb and

charge thee,

come out

of him, and enter no

more

into him.

And

the spirit cried

and rent him

sore,

THE CASTING OUT OF DEVILS.

179

and came out of him

and he was
is

as one

dead

inso

much

that

many

said,

He

dead.

But Jesus took him


arose."

by the hand, and


"

lifted

him up j and he
cast

Why

could not

we

him out ?

"

asked

his disciples

as soon as they were alone.


"

This kind can come forth by nothing but by prayer


fasting."

and

What does
must
clearly

this

answer imply ?

The

prayer and fasting


heal.

be on the part of those who would

They cannot be
If

required of one possessed with a demon.

he could

fast

and

pray, the

demon would be gone

already.
It implies that a great purity of soul is needful in

him
and

who would master

the powers of

evil.

I take prayer

of fasting to indicate a condition

mind

elevated above

the cares of the world and the pleasures of the senses, in


close

communion with

the

God

of

life

therefore

by
a

its

the unclean very purity an awe and terror to

spirits,

fit

cloud whence the thunder of the word might issue against


them.

The

to be the result of expulsion would appear

l8o

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

moral, and hence natural, superiority

command

rest

ing

upon oneness with the ultimate manner


as

will of the

Supreme,
in the

in like

an

evil

man

is

sometimes cowed
disciples

presence of a good man.

The

had not attained

this lofty condition of faith.

From
"

this I learn to think that the

words of our Lord


"

All things are possible to

him

that believeth

apply

to our
child
"All
:

Lord
"

himself.

The

disciples could not help the


anything,"

If

thou canst do

said

the father.
says our
faith

things are possible to

him

that
it

believeth,"

Lord.

He can

help him.

That

was the lack of

in the disciples

which rendered the thing impossible


explicitly, for

for

them, St Matthew informs us


reply of our

he gives the
"

Lord more
he
said,

fully

than the rest

Because of
assertion

your

unbelief,"

and followed with the

that faith could

remove mountains.
"This
kind"

But the words had


its

suggest that the case

peculiarities.

It

would appear
that

although

am

not certain of this interpretation


spirits

some kinds of
some cases

required for their expulsion, or at least

THE CASTING OUT OF DEVILS.

l8l

of possession required for their cure, more than others of


the presence of

God

in the

healer.

do not care

to

dwell upon this farther than to say that there are points
in the narrative

which seem

to indicate that

it

was an

unusually bad case.

The Lord asked how long he had


from childhood.

been

ill,

and was

told,

The demon

to

use the language of our ignorance

had had time and

opportunity, in his undeveloped condition, to lay thorough

hold upon him

and when he did


left

yield to the superior


as

command

of the Lord, he

him

dead

so close

had

been the possession, that

for a time the natural

powers

could not operate when deprived of the presence of a


force

which had so long usurped, maltreated, and ex

hausted, while falsely sustaining them.

The

disciples,

although they had already the power to cast out demons,

could not cast


so.

this

one
to

out,

and were surprised


absurdity,
if

to find

it

There appears
at
all,

me no

we admit

the

demons

in admitting also that


it

some had

greater

force than others, be

regarded as courage or obstinacy,

or merely as grasp

upon the captive mortal.

I2

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

In

all

these stones there

is

much

of comfort both to

the friends of those

who

are insane,

and

to those

who

are themselves aware of their


insanity.

own

partial or occasional

For such sorrow

as that of Charles

and Mary

Lamb, walking
hour had come

together towards the asylum,


for her

when

the

to repair thither,
It

is

there not

some assuagement here ?


no ground
but
like
if

may be answered
I think

We

have
j

to

hope

for

such cure now.


far,

we have

our faith will not reach so

we may

at least,

Athanasius, recognize the friendship of Death, for


is

death

the divine cure of


all

many

ills.

But we

need

like healing.

No man who

does not

yet love the truth with his whole being,

who does not

love

God

with

all

his heart

and soul and strength and


is

mind, and his neighbour as himself,

in his

sound mind,
less

or can act as a rational being, save


proximately.

more or

ap
if

This

is

as true as

it

would be of us

possessed by other
unkindness,

spirits

than our own.


!

Every word of

God

help us

every unfair hard judgment,

every trembling regard of the outward and fearless disre-

THE CASTING OUT OF DEVILS.

183

gard of the inward

life, is

a siding with the

spirit

of evil

against the spirit of good, with our lower


selves, against

and accidental

our higher and essential

our true selves.


all

These the

spirit

of good would set free from


is

possession
too,

but his own, for that

their original

life.

Out of us,

the evil spirits can go

by

that prayer alone in

which a

man draws

nigh to the Holy.

Nor can we have any


except in proportion
of ourselves.

power over the


as

evil spirit in others

by such prayer we cast the

evil spirit out

VIII.

THE RAISING OF THE


T LINGER
temple of

DEx\D.

on the threshold.
this

How

shall I enter the


all

wonder ?

Through

ages

men

of

all

degrees and forms of religion have hoped at least for a

continuance of

life

beyond

its

seeming extinction.

With

out such a hope,


existence they

how

could they have endured the

had?

True, there are in our day

men

who

profess unbelief in that future, and yet lead an en


life,

joyable
drink,

nor even say to themselves,

"

Let us eat and

for

to-morrow we
"

die;"

but say instead, with


for there are

nobleness,

Let us do what good we may,


after
us."

men

to

come

Of

all

things let

him who would


every class of

be a Christian be

fair to

every

man and

men.

Before, however, I could be satisfied that I under

stood the mental condition of such, I should require a

deeper insight than

I possess in respect

of other men.

THE RAISING OF THE DEAD.

185

These, however numerous they seem in our day, would

appear to be exceptions to the race.

No

doubt there
in

have alwavs
present
future,
it.

been those who from absorption


its

the

and

pleasures,

have not cared about

the

have not troubled themselves with the thought of


of them would rather not think of
it,

Some

because

if

there be such a future, they cannot

be easy concerning
occupied with
if it

their part in it; while others are simply

the poor present

a present grand indeed

be the
stand
is

part of an endless whole, but poor indeed


alone.

if it

But here are thoughtful men, who


Let us make the best of
this."

"

say,

There
is

no more.

Nor

their

notion of best contemptible, although in the eyes of some


of us, to

whom

the only worth of being


at

lies in

the hope of

becoming that which,


must take ages
to

the rate
it

of present progress,
poor.
I will

be

realized,

is

venture

one or two words on the matter.


Their ideal does not approach the ideal of Christianity
for this life even.

Before I can

tell

whether

their

words are a true repre-

186

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

sentation of themselves, in relation to this future, I

must

know both
wonder
I

their conscious

and unconscious

being.

No

should be loath to judge them.


far as I

No

poet of high rank, as

know, ever disbelieved


;

in the future.

He

might fear that there was none

but

that very fear

is faith.

The

greatest poet of the present


it

day believes with ardour.


intellect,

That
But

is

not proven to the

I heartily admit.
intellect

if it

were

true,

it

were

such as the

could not grasp, for the understand


life

ing must be the offspring of the

in itself essential.
its

How

should the intellect understand


?

own

origin
;

and

nature

It is too

poor to grasp

this question

for the

continuity of existence depends on the nature of exist


ence, not

upon

external relations.
live,

If after

death

we

should be conscious that we yet


I think,

we

shall

even then,

be no more able
than

to prove a further continuance

of

life,

we can now prove our


that will

present being.
all.

It

may be

easier to believe

be

But we con
if

stantly act

upon grounds which we cannot prove, and


feel

we cannot

so sure of

life

beyond the grave

as of

THE RAISING OF THE DEAD.

187

common

least the want of proof every-day things, at


it,

our hope concerning ought neither to destroy vent the action

nor pre

demanded by
this,

its

bare possibility.

But

last,

do say

that those
live

men, who, disbe


to the conscience

lieving in a future state,

do yet

up

within them, however


that conscience

much

lower the requirements of

may be

than those of a conscience which


"

believes itself enlightened from


spirit,"

the Lord,

who

is

that

shall enter the other life in

an immeasurably more

enviable relation thereto than those

who

say Lord, Lont,

and do not the things he says


It

to them.

may seem
to

strange that our


as

Lord says so

little

about
is

the
life

life

come

we

call it

though in truth

it

one
are

with the present


life.

as the leaf

and the blossom

one

Even

in

he sup argument with the Sadducees

ports his side

and upon upon words accepted by them,

from the nature of God, but says nothing of the question


a

human
it

point of regard.
for

He

seems always to have

taken

granted,

ever

turning the

minds

of

his
its

scholars towards that which was deeper

and

lay at

188

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

root

the

life itself

the oneness with

God and

his will,
fol

upon which the continuance of our conscious being


lows of a necessity, and without which
possible,
it

if

the latter were


evil.

would be

for

human

beings an utter
it

When

he speaks of the world beyond,

is

as his
there.

Father s house.

He

says there are


to explain.

many mansions

He

attempts in no

way

Man s own

imagina

tion enlightened of the spirit of truth,


his experience

and working with


guide than

and

affections,

was a

far safer

his intellect with the best schooling

which even our Lord


of the poorest

could have given

it.

The memory

home

of a fisherman on the shore of the Galilean lake, where

he as a child had spent

his years of divine carelessness ID

his father s house, would, at the

words of our Lord

my

Father s house, convey to Peter or James or John more


truth concerning the
their
intellect,

many mansions than


it

a revelation to

had

been possible, as clear as the

Apocalypse

itself is
"

obscure.

When

he said

have overcome the


all

world"

he had

overcome the cause of

doubt, the belief in the outside

THE RAISING OF THE DEAD.

189

appearances and not in the living truth


followers to say, from their
thing, not

he

left

it

to his

own

experience knowing the


"

merely from the belief of his resurrection,

He
is

has conquered death and the grave.


thv sting
?

Death, where
"

Grave, where

is

thy victory ?

It

is

the in

ward

life

of truth that conquers the outward death of ap


;

pearance

and nothing
it.

else,

no revelation from without,

could conquer

These miracles of our Lord are the nearest we come

to

news of any kind concerning


other world.
rection.
I

cannot say from


s

the
resur

except of course our Lord


I

own

Of
it

that

shall

yet speak as a miracle, for

miracle

was, as certainly as any of our

Lord

s,

whatever
I say the

interpretation be put
nearest to

upon the word.

And

news we

come, because not


at least

one of those raised

from the dead gives us


Is
it

an atom of information.

possible they
filtered

may have
down

told their friends something

which has
I

to us in

any shape

turn to the cases on record.


after

They

are only three.


at

The day

he cured the servant of the centurion

190

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

Capernaum, Jesus went


the gate

to Nain,

and

as they

approached

but

cannot part the story from the lovely


it

words

in

which

is

told

by

St

Luke

"

There was a

dead man carried


she was a
her.

out, the only

son of his mother, and


city

widow

and much people of the


the

was with

And when
and

Lord saw

her,

he had compassion

on

her,

said unto her,


;

Weep

not.

And

he came and
still.

touched the bier

and they

that bare

him stood

And he

said,

Young man,
sat up,

I say

unto thee, Arise.


to speak.

And
he

he that was dead


delivered
hir.-)

and began

And

to his

mother."

In each of the cases there


miracle.

is

an especial

fitness in the

This youth was the only son of a widow


"

the

daughter of Jairus was his

one only daughter \


sisters.

"

Lazarus

was the brother of two orphan


I
will

not attempt by any lingering over the simple

details

to

render the record more impressive.

That

lingering ought to be narrative


itself.

on the part of the reader of the


the

Friends crowded around a loss

centre

of the gathering that which

was

not

the sole

THE RAISING OF THE DEAD.

191

presence the hopeless sign of a vanished treasure

an

open

gulf, as it

were,

down which
in

love and tears and sad


:

memories went plunging


weeping mother
the

a soundless cataract
in the midst.

the

dead man borne

They

were going to the house of death, but Life was between

them and

it

was walking

to

meet them, although they

knew

it

not.
Slie

face of tender pity looks

down on

the

mother.

heeds him not.


it.

He

goes up to the

bier,

and
and

lays his stand.

hand on

The

bearers recognize authority,


sits

A word,
is

and the dead


arms of

up.

A
O

moment
mother
!

more, and he

in the

his mother.

mother

wast thou more favoured than other mothers


it

Or was
thyself,

that, for the

sake of

all

mothers as well as

thou wast

made

the type of the universal mother

with the dead son

the raising of

him but a

foretaste of
?

the one universal bliss of mothers with dead sons

That
for

thou wert an exception would have

ill

met thy need,

thy motherhood could not be justified in thyself alone.


It

could not have

its

rights save

on grounds
thy

universal.

Thy motherhood was common

to all

sisters.

To

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

Have helped thee by exceptional favour would not have

been to acknowledge thy motherhood.

That must go
its

mourning

still,

even with thy restored son in

bosom,

for its claims are universal or they are not.

Thou wast
all

indeed a chosen one, but that thou mightest show to


the last fate of the mourning mother
ings there are
;

for in

God s

deal
as

no exceptions.

His laws are universal

he

is

infinite.

Jesus wrought no

new

thing
it

only the

works of the Father.

What
if

matters
to

that the

dead

come not back


it t

to us,

we go

them ?
Dear

What
as

matters
is,

said 1

It is tenfold better.

home

he
is

who

loves

it

best must
is

know

that

what he
is

calls

home

not home,

but a shadow of home,


all

but the open

porch of home, where


turns,

the winds of the world rave

by

and the glowing

fire

of the true

home

casts lovely

gleams from within.


Certainly this mother did not thus lose her son again.

Doubtless next she died


she had only to wait.

first,

knowing then

at last that

The dead must have

their

sonow

THE RAISING OF THE DEAD.

193

too, but

when they

find

it is

well with them, they can

sit

and wait by the mouth of the coming stream better than


those can wait

who

see the going stream bear their loves

down

to the

ocean of the unknown.

The dead

sit

by
its

the river-mouths of

Time

the living

mourn upon

higher banks,

But

for the joy of the mother,


lost

we cannot conceive

it,

No

mother even who has

her son, and hopes one


again, can conceive her
?

blessed eternal day to find


gladness.

him

Had

it

been

all

a dream

dream

surely in

this sense, that thefaia/,

which alone,

in the full sense, is

God

s will,

must ever

cast the look of a

dream over

all

that has

gone before.

When we

last

awake, we shall

know

that

we dreamed,

Even every honest judgment,


itself

feeling,

hope, desire, will show

a dream

with this
is

difference from

some dreams,
is lost,

that the

waking

the

more

lovelv, that nothing


full

but everything gained, in the

blaze of restored completeness.


this

How
!

triumphant

would

mother

die,

\vhen her turn came

And how

;^4

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

calmly would the restored son go about the duties


world.*

of the

He

sat

up and began

to speak.

It is

vain to look into that which


it is

God
left

has hidden

for

surely
"

by no chance
to
speak."

that

we

are

thus in the dark.

He

began

Why

does not the Evangelist go


?

on

to give us

some

hint of what he said

Would not

the hearts of mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, wives,


children,

husbands

who

shall say

where the divine

mad

ness of love will cease?

grandfathers, grandmothers

themselves

with

flickering
loss

flame

yes,

grandchildren,

weeping over the


tremulously
blessed
gentle
for St

of the

beloved gray head and


not
all

voice

would

these

have

God
said
?

Luke

record of what the son of the

widow

For

my

part, I

thank

God he was

silent.

When

think of the pictures of heaven drawn from the


its

attempt of prophecy to utter


of the glory of earth,
*

visions in the poor forms

I see

it

better that

we should walk
will

well to study Robert

ihose who can take the trouble, and are capable of understandin_ Browning s Epistle of an Arab Physician."
"

it,

da

IIE

RAISING OF THE DEAD.

by

faith,

and not by a fancied


is

sight.

judge that the

region beyond

so different from ours, so comprising in


all

one surpassing excellence

the goods of ours, that any


it,

attempt of the had-been-dead to describe

would have
Such

resulted in the most wretched of misconceptions.

might please the lower conditions of Christian develop

ment
struct

but so
its

much

the worse, for they could not


It
is

fail

to

ob
;

further growth.

well that St

Luke

is

silent

or that the mother and the friends

who stood by

the bier,

heard the words of the returning

spirit

only as the babble

of a child from which they could draw no definite


ing,

mean

and

to

which they could respond only by


is

caresses.

The

story of the daughter of Jairus


fully

recorded briefly
fully

by St Matthew, more
Mark.
falls at

by St Luke, most

by St

One

of the rulers of the synagogue at


little

Capernaum
daughter
is

the feet of our Lord, saying his

at the

point of death.

She was about twelve years of

age.

He
live.

begs the Lord to lay his hands on her that she

may

Our Lord goes with him, followed by many

people.

On

his

way

to restore the child

he

is

arrested

J06

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUB LORD.

by a touch.

He

makes no haste

to outstrip death.

A\ a

can imagine the impatience of the father when the Lord


siood and asked
ter?
his

who touched

him.

What

did that mat


wait.

daughter was dying;


s

Death would not

But the woman

heart and soul must not be passed by.

The

father with the only daughter


will of

must wait yet a

little.

The
"

God

cannot be outstripped.
ruler of the
is

While he yet spake, there came from the


s

synagogue

house certain which


troublest
!

said,

Thy daughter
?

dead
"

why
I
"

thou the

Master any further


is
!

Ah
!

thought so

There

it

Death has won the


bitterly within

race

we may suppose

the father to say


tried
its

himself.

But Jesus, while he


it

the faith of men,

never tried
trial

without feeding

strength.

With the
soon as
it

he always gives the way of escape.


"

"As

Jesus heard the word that was spoken


to

not leaving
saith

work

its

agony of despair
synagogue,

"

first

he
;

unto the
believe."

ruler of the

Be not

afraid

only

They

are such simple words

commonplace
often

in the ears

of those

who have heard them

and heeded tnem

THE RAISING OF THE DEAD.

197

little

but containing more for this

man s
all

peace than

all

the consolations of philosophy, than

the enforcements

of morality
itself.

yea, even than the raising of his daughter

To

arouse the higher, the hopeful, the trusting

nature of a

man

to cause

him

to look

up

into the

un
so

known
poorly

region of mysterious

possibilities

the

God

known

is

to

do

infinitely

more

for a

man
it.

than to
I will

remove the pressure of the


go further
:

direst evil without

To

arouse the hope that there

may be

God

with a heart like our

own

is

more

for the

humanity

in us
is

than to produce the absolute conviction that there

being

who made

the heaven and the earth and the sea


waters.

and the fountains of


of

Jesus

is

the express image

God s

substance,

and

in

him we know the heart of

God.

To

nourish faith in himself was the best thing he

could do for the man.

We

hear of no word from the ruler further.


it

If

he

Answered not our Lord in words,

is

no wonder.

The

compressed

lip

and the

uplifted eye

would say more than

any words to the heart of the Saviour.

198

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

Now
would

it

would appear

that

he stopped the crowd and

let

them go no

farther.

They could not


It

all

see,
for

and he did not wish them

to see.

was not good

men
eyes,

to see too

many

miracles.

They would
or think.

feast their

and then cease


all,

to

wonder

The

miracle,
religion,

which would be
with

and quite dissociated from

many

of them, would cease to be wonderful,


thing with most.
it

would

become a common
cease to believe that

Yea, some would

had been.

They would say she

did sleep after

all

she was not dead.


;

wonder

is

poor thing

for faith after all

and the miracle could be

those only a wonder in the eyes of


for
it,

who had not prayed


;

and could not give thanks


it

for

it

who

did not feel

that in

of God. they were partakers of the love

like display. Jesus must have hated anything

God s
in

greatest
closets
;

work has never been done

in crowds, but
it

and when

it

works out from thence,


individuals.
Its
is

is

not

upon crowds, but upon


divine thing.
It
is

crowd

is

not a

not a body.

atoms are not

mem

bers one of another.

crowd

a chaos over which the

THE RAISING OF THE DEAD.

199

Spirit

of

God

has yet to move, ere each retires to his


all

place to begin his harmonious work, and unite with


the rest in the organized chorus of the

human

creation.

The crowd must be


formed.

dispersed that the church

may be

The

relation of the

crowd

to the miracle

is

rightly re

flected in

what came

to the friends of the house.

To

them,

weeping and
he
said

wailing greatly, after the Eastern


"

fashion,
this

when he

entered,
is

Why make He

ye

ado, and weep?

The damsel

not dead, but

sleepeth."

They laughed him

to scorn.

put them

all out.

But what did our Lord mean by those words


damsel
as
is

"

The

not dead, but sleepeth

"

Not

certainly that,

we

regard the difference between death and sleep, his


literally
;

words were to be taken


in a state of

not that she was only


it

coma

or lethargy

not even that


;

was a case
whole

of suspended animation as in catalepsy

for the

narrative evidently intends us to believe that she was


after the fashion

dead
be

we

call death.

That

this

was not

to

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

dead

after the fashion


fact.

our Lord called death,

is

a blessed

and lovely

Neither can
in that

it

mean, that she was not dead as


to

others,

he was going
that,

wake her
it

so soon ; for they did

not

know

and therefore
"

could give no ground for

the expostulation,

Why make
come

ye

this ado,

and weep ?

"

Nor

yet could

it

only from the fact that to his

eyes death and sleep were so alike, the one needing the

power of God

for

awaking just as much as the


alike in his eyes than

other.

True they must be more


eyes of the

even in the

many
;

poets
"

who have

written of

"

Death and

his brother Sleep


less clearly,

but he sees the differences none the


to us,

and how they look


for

and

his

knowledge

could be no reason

reproaching our ignorance.

The

explanation seems to

me large and

simple.

These

people professed to believe in the resurrection of the dead,

and did believe

after

some

feeble fashion.

They were

not Sadducees, for they were the friends of a ruler of the


synagogue.

Our Lord did not bring


:

the news of resur


in varying

rection to the world

that

had been believed,

THE RAISING OF THE DEAD.

2O1

degrees,

by

all

peoples and nations from the

first

tht

resurrection he taught
rection from

was a

far

deeper thing
living

the resur
true

dead works to serve the

and

God.

But as with the greater number even of Christians,


although
it

was part of

their creed,

and had some

influ

ence upon their moral and spiritual condition, their prac


tical

faith in

the resurrection of the

body was a poor


grief,

affair.

In the

moment
They

of loss and

they thought

little

about

it.

lived then in the present almost

alone;

they were not saved by hope.

The reproach

therefore of our

Lord was simply

that they did not take If the

from their own creed the consolation they ought.


child

was

to

be one day restored

to them, then she

was

not dead as their tears and lamentations would imply.

Any one
prophets,

of themselves

who

believed in

God and
"

the

might have stood up and said

Foolish

mourners,

why make such ado ?

The maid

is

not dead,

but sleepeth.

You
fear

shall again clasp her to

your bosom.

Hope, and

not

only

believe."

It

was

in

tins

sense, I think, that our

Lord spoke.

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

But

it

may

not at

first

appear

how much grander

tlie

miracle itself appears in the light of this simple interpret


ation of the Master
s

words.

The
if

sequel stands in the

same

relation to the

words as

turning into the death

chamber, and bringing the maid out by the hand

he

had
but

said to

them

"

See

I told

you she was not dead


to
all

sleeping."

The words apply


which

death,

just as

much

as to that in

this girl lay.

The Lord

brings
to

his assurance, his

knowledge of what
faith.

we do not know,

feed our feeble

It is

as

if

he told us that our


is

notion of death
as

is all

wrong, that there

no such thing
the truth
call
if

we

think
it

it

that

we should be nearer
and gave
it is

we

denied
the

altogether,

to

what we now

death

name

of sleep, for

but a passing appearance, and

no

right cause of such misery as


I think
it

we

manifest in

its

pre

sence.

was from

this

word of our Lord, and

from the same utterance

in the case of Lazarus, that St


sleep for die

Paul so often uses the word

and

for death.

Indeed the notion of death, as we


vanished entirely from St Paul
s

feel

it,

seems to have
he speaks
of

mind

THE RAISING OF THE DEAD.

203

things so in a continuity, not even referring to the change

not even saying before death or after death as


,

if

death

made no atom

of

difference

in

the progress of holy

events, the divine history of the individual

and of the

race together.

In a word, when he raised the dead, the


less

Son did neither more nor


the Father

nor other than the work of


;

what he
little

is

always doing

he only made

it

manifest a

sooner to the eyes and hearts of men.

But they

to

whom
was

he spoke laughed him


dead,

to scorn.

They knew

she

and

their

unfaithfulness
unfit

blinded their hearts to what he meant.


to
in

They were
Such as

behold the proof of what he had


such mood, could gather from
is
it

said.

they,

no

benefit.

faithful

heart alone

capable of understanding the proof of the


It is faith

truest things.

towards

God which
is

alone can
fitness.

lay hold of

any of

his facts/
all out.

There

a foregoing
father

Therefore he put them

But the

and mother,
persuaded

whose love and sorrow made them more

easily

of mighty things, more accessible to holy influences, and


the three disciples,

whose

faith

rendered them

fit

to be-

2O4

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

hold otherwise dangerous wonders, he took with him into


the chamber where the damsel lay
sleeping toward God.
"Damsel,

dead toward men

Dead

as she was, she only slept.


arise."

say unto thee,


"and

"And

her

spirit

came

again,"

straightway the damsel

arose and

walked/

"and

he commanded to give her meat."

For

in

the joy of her restoration, they might forget

that the

more complete the health of a worn and exhausted body,


the

more needful was food

food which, in
;

all its

com-

monness, might well support the miracle


it

for

not only did

follow

by the next word


it

to that

which had wrought the

miracle, but

worked

in perfect

harmony with the law


and
in its relations

which took shape


to the
in

in this resurrection,

human being

involved no whit less marvel than lay

the miracle

itself.

The

raising of the

dead and the


there

feeding of the living are both and equally divine


fore in utter

harmony.

And we do

not any more under


itself that

stand the power in the body which takes to


food, tnan
to

we understand

the

power going out from Jesus


of again employing
its

make

this girl s

body capable

THE RAISING OF THE DEAD.

205

ministrations.
ill

They

are both of one

and must be

pert ect

harmony, the one as much the outcome of law as the

other.

He
sake,

charges the parents to be

silent, it

may be

for his

who

did not want to be

made a mere wonder

of,

but more probably for their sakes, that the holy thing

might not evaporate in speech, or be defiled with


talk

foolish

and the

glorification of self-importance in those for


;

whom

a mighty wonder had been done

but that in

silence the seed might take root in their hearts


forth living fruit in humility,

and bring
faith.

and uprightness, and

And now
miracle
friend
s

for the

wonderful story of Lazarus.

In
for

this

one might think the desire of Jesus


presence through his
it

his

own coming

trouble,

might

have had a share, were

not that

we never

find

him

working a miracle

for himself.
left
all

He knew

the perfect will

of the Father, and

to him.
for

Those who cannot


it,

know

that will

and do not care

have to

fall

into

trouble that they

may know God

as the Saviour from their


all

own doings

as the

fountain of

their

well-being.

200

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

This Jesus had not to learn, and therefore could need no


miracle wrought for him.
for

Even

his resurrection

was

all

others.

That miracle was wrought

in him, not for

him.

He knew
was and
let

Lazarus was dying.

He

abode where he

him

die.

For a hard and therefore precious


friends lay in that death,

lesson for sisters

and

and the
the

more the love the more precious the lesson


that lies in every death
;

same

and the end the same


raising of Lazarus

for all
is

who

love

resurrection.
all

The

the type

of the raising of

the dead.
"

Of

Lazarus, as of the
;

daughter of Jairus, he said

he sleepeth

but

go that

may awake him

out of

sleep."

He

slept as every

dead

man

sleeps.

Read
disciples

the story.
felt,

Try

to

think

not

only what the


;

but what Jesus was thinking


side>

how

he,

who

saw the other


destroy.
"

regarded the death he was about to

Lord,

if

thou hadst been


died."

here,"

said

Martha,

"

my

brother had not

THE RAISING OF THE DEAD.

Did she mean


to ask
"

to hint

what she had not

faith

enough

Thy

brother shall rise


faith

again,"

said the Lord.


little

But her

was so weak that she took


Alas
!

comtort

from the assurance.

she

knew what

it

meant.

She

knew

all

about

it.

He

spoke of the general


little

far-off resur
It

rection,

which
rise

to her

was a very
;

thing.

was true

he should

again

but what was that to the present

consuming

grief?
to

A
who

thousand years might be to

God

as

one day, but


It
is

Martha the one day was a thousand


entirely believes in
also.

years.

only to him

God

that the

thousand years become one day


lieves shares in the vision
It
is

For he

that

be

of

him

in

whom

he believes.
far

through such

faith that

Jesus would help her

beyond the present awful need.

He

seeks to raise her

confidence in himself by the strongest assertions of the

might that was


life
:

in him.

"

am

the resurrection and the

he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet he


"

shall

live

The death
is

of not believing in

God

the
is

God

revealed in Jesus

the only death.

The

othei

208

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

nowhere but
whosoever

in the fears

and

fancies of unbelief.

"

And
die."

liveth

and

belie veth in
to

me

shall

never

There
is

is

for

him nothing
looks to us,

be called death

nothing that

what death
"

Believest thou this

"

Martha was an honest woman.


derstand what he meant.

She did not

fully

un

She could not,

therefore,
in ////,

do

more than assent


that
"

to

it.

But she believed

and

much

she could
:

tell

him

plainly.

Yea, Lord

I believe that

thou art the Christ, the


into the
world."

Son of God, which should come

And

that

hope with the confession arose


:

in her heart,

she gave the loveliest sign


sister.

she went and called her


faith

But even

in the

profounder Mary
sister
:

reached

only to the words of her


"

Lord,
died.

if

thou hadst been here,

my

brother had not

When
her,

he saw her trouble, and that of the Jews with

he was troubled likewise.

But why?

The

purest

sympathy with what was

about to vanish would no:

THE RAISING OF THE DEAD.

surely

make him groan


Lord
s

in his spirit.
?

Why,

then,

this

trouble in our
duty, to
I

heart

We

have a

right, yea,
it.

understand
it

it if

we

can, for he

showed

think

was caused by an invading sense of the

general misery of poor humanity from the lack of that


faith in the

Father without which he, the Son, could do,


If the Father ceased the

or endure, nothing.
cease.
It

Son must
his crea

was the darkness between God and

tures that gave

room

for

and was

filled

with their weeping

and wailing over

their dead.

To them
evil.

death must appear

an unmitigated and irremediable


teel as

How
saw
it

frightful to
!

they

felt

to see death as they

Nothing

could help their misery but that faith in the

infinite love
it

which he had come


to persuade

to bring

them
it
1

but

how hard

was

them

to receive

And how many weeping


!

generations of loving hearts must follow

His Father

was indeed with them

all,

but

how

slowly and painfully


!

would each learn the one precious


"

fact

Where have ye

laid

him

"

lie

asked.

"Lord,

come

and

see,"

they

answered,

in

such

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

mournful accents of
them.

human

misery that he wept with

They come
"

to the grave.

Take ye away

the

stone."

"

Lord, by this time he stinketh, for he hath been dead


days,"

four

said she

who believed

in the Resurrection
I

and

the Life

They

are the saddest of sad words.

hardly

know how

to utter the feeling they raise.

In

all

the rela

tions of mortality to immortality, of

body

to soul, there

are painful

and even ugly

things,

things to which, by
dire necessity,
in

common

consent,

we

refer only

upon

and
the

with a sense

of shame.

Happy
!

they

whom
its

mortal has put on immortality

Decay and

accom

paniments,
ances of

all

that

makes the most beloved of

the appear

God s

creation a terror, compelling us to call to

the earth for succour, and pray her to take our dead out

of our sight, to receive her

own back

into her

bosom, and

unmake

in secret darkness that


this

which was the glory of the

light in our eyes


in the

was uppermost with Martha, even

presence of him to

whom Death

was but a slave

to

THE RAISING OF THE DEAD.

211

come and go
shock to

at his will.

Careful of his feelings, of the

his senses, she

would oppose

his will.

For the

dead brother s sake


oured in

also, that

he should not be dishon


that stone

his privacy, she

would not have had

removed.

But had

it

been as Martha

feared,

who

so so

tender with feeble flesh as the Son of

Man

Who
?

unready to impute the shame


less fastidious

it

could not help

Who

over the painful working of the laws of his

own world

Entire affection hateth nicer hands.

And
recall

at the worst,

what was decay

to him,

who

could

the disuniting
life ?

atoms under the restored law of

imperial
"

Said I not unto thee, that

if

thou wouldest believe,


"

thou shouldest see the glory of

God ?

Again

I say the essential glory of

God who

raises all the

dead, not merely an exceptional glory of


this

God

in raising

one dead man.


see not corruption but glory.

They should

No

evil

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

odour of dissolution should

assail

them, but glowing


;

life

should spring from the place of the dead

light

should be

born from the very bosom of the darkness.

They took away

the friendly stone.

Then

Jesus spoke,

not to the dead man, but to the living Father.

The men

and women about him must know


"

it

as the Father s work.

And

I thank Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father,

thee that thou hast heard me.


nearest

And

knew

that thou

me

always
it,

but because of the people which

stand by I said
sent
me."

that they

may

believe that thou hast

So might they believe


will of will

that the

work was God

s,

that he

was doing the

God, and that they might


this.

trust in the

God whose

was such as

He

claimed

the presence of

God

in

what he

did, that
it

by the open

claim and the mighty deed following

they might see that

the Father justified what the Son said, and might receive

him and

all

that

he did as the manifestation of the Father.

And now
"

Lazarus,

come

forth."

Slow

toiling,

with hand and foot

bound

in the

grave

THE RAISING OF THE DEAD.

clothes,

he that had been dead struggled forth to the


awful

light.

What an

moment

When

did ever corruption and

glory meet and

embrace as now!
to

Oh! what
were

ready

hands, eager

almost
the

helplessness,

stretched

trembling towards

feeble

man

returning from his


into the

strange journey, to seize


their

and carry him

day

poor day, which they thought

all the day, forgetful


left

of that higher day which for their sakes he had


behind,

content to walk in moonlight a


his sisters,

little

longer,

gladdened by the embraces of


I

and

perhaps

do not know

comforting their hearts with news of the


!

heavenly regions

Joy of

all

joys
this

The dead come back


Mary should spend

Is

it

any

wonder

that

three

hundred

pence on an ointment

for the feet of the Raiser of the

Dead?
I

doubt

if

he told them anything


his

do not think he
of

could

make even

own

flesh

and blood

woman

kind, quick to understand

know

the things he had seen

and heard and

felt.

All that can be said concerning this,

214

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

is

thus said

by our beloved brother Tennyson


:

in his

"book

Jn

Memoriam
"

Where wert
There

them, brother, those four days

lives

no record of reply,

Which

telling

what

it is

to die,

Had

surely

added

praise to praise.

Behold a man raised up by Christ

The

rest

remaineth unrevealed
not
;

He
The

told
lips

it

or something sealed

of that Evangelist.

Why

are

we

left in

such ignorance

Without the raising of the dead, without the

rising of

the Saviour himself, Christianity would not have given

what

it

could of hope for the future.


is

Hope

is

not

faith,

but neither

faith sight

and

if

we have hope we

are not

miserable men.

But Christianity must

not, could not in

terfere with the discipline needful for its

own

fulfilment,

could not depose the schoolmaster that leads unto Christ.

One main doubt and


the revelation in Jesus,
shall

terror
is this

which drives

men

towards

strange thing Death.

How

any

man

imagine he

is

complete in himself, and can

do without a Father

in heaven,

when he knows

that he

THE RAISING OF THE DEAD.

knows neither the mystery whence he sprung by


nor the mystery to which
given us
says
:

birth,

c goes by death
as

God

has

room away from himself

Robert Browning

"God,

whose pleasure brought


away,
off, to

Man
As
it

into being, stands

were, an hand-breadth

give

Room for the newly-made to live, And look at Him from a place apart, And use His gifts of brain and heart

"

and

this

room, in

its

time-symbol,

is

bounded by darkness
other.

on the one hand, and darkness on the

Whence

came and whither


without the
refuge

go are dark
ordered
it

how can
thus ?

I live in
is

peace
only

God who

Faith

my

an

absolute belief in

a being so

much beyond

myself, that he can

do

all for this

me with

utter satisfaction

to this me, protecting all

its

rights, jealously as his

own
one
his

from which they spring, that he may make


with himself

me

at last

who

is

my
my

deeper
life.

self,

inasmuch as

thought

of

me

is

And

not to

know

him,
is

even

if I

could go on living and happy without him,

death.

2l6

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

It

may be

"

said,

Why

all this ?

Why

not go on like a

brave

man
"

to

meet your

fate,

careless of

what that

fate

may be ?
"

But what

if this fate
"

should depend on myself?


I answer.

Am

I to
"

be careless then

The

fate

is

so

uncertain

If

it

be annihilation,
is

why

quail before it?

Cowardice

at least

contempt

ible."

"

Is not

indifference

more contemptible
care to go

That one
to think ?
Is
life

who has once thought should not


That
this glory

on

should perish
pain
?

is it

no

grief?

not

a good with

all its

Ought one
to

to

be willing to part
fast

with a good

Ought he not

cleave

thereto ?

Have you never grudged


must cease

the coming sleep, because you

for the time to be so

much

as

you were before?

For

my

part, I think the

man who

can go to sleep with


is.

out faith in

God

has yet to learn what being

He who
to lose in

knows not God cannot, however, have much


losing being.

And

yet

and yet

did he never

love

man

or

woman

or child ?

Is he content that there should

THE RAISING OF THE DEAD

21J

be no more of

it

Above

all, is

he content to go on with

man and woman and


love
is

child now, careless of whether the


?

a perishable thing
it

If
lie

it

be,

why does he not

kill

himself, seeing

is

all

a false appearance of a

thing too

glorious to be fact,

but for which our best


it ?

nature calls aloud

and cannot have


was no
life

If
this, this,

one knew
then the

for certain that there

beyond

noble thing would be to

make

the best of

yea even

then to try after such things as are written in the Gospel


as
of,

we

call

it

for they are the noblest.


I

That

am

sure

whatever

may

doubt.
it

But not
to

to

be sure of anni
if it

hilation,
true,

and yet choose

be

true,

and act as

were

seems to

me

to indicate a nature at strife with


for the dust

im

mortality
earth,

bound

by

its

own

choice

of the

and returning
will say,

to the
"

dust."

The man
us eat

That

is

yielding everything.

Let

and

drink, for to-morrow

we

die.

am

of the

dust, for I believe in nothing


"

beyond."

No,"

I return.

"

recognize another law in myself

which seems

to

me

infinitely higher.

And

think that

2lS

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

law

is

in

you

also,

although you aje at

strife

with

it.

and

will revive in

you

to your blessed discontent.

By

that I
strive

will walk,

and not by yours


I

a law which bids a law in

me

after

what

am

not but

may become

me

striving

against the law of sin and down-dragging decay

a law
things

which

is

one with
at last.

my

will,

and,

if true,

must of

all

make one

If I

am made

to live I ought not to

be
all,

\villing to cease.

This unwillingness to cease


cease to love

above

this unwillingness to

my
me

own, the fore-front


the sign,

to

me

of

my

all

men

may be

in

may

well
to

be in
pass

me

the sign that I

am made

to live.

Above

all

away without the

possibility of

making reparation

to

those

whom

have wronged, with no chance of saying


?

am

sorry

what shall I do for you

Grant me some means


seems to
!

of delivering myself from this burden of wrong

me

frightful.

No God

to help
is

one

to

be good now
!

no
t

God who
then one

cares whether one

good or not

if

God

who

will
if

not give his creature time enough to

crow good, even

he
!

is

growing

better,

but will blot him


if

put like a rain-drop

Great God, forbid

thou

art.

THE RAISING OF THE DEAD.

219

If thou art not, then this, like al

other prayers, goes echo

ing through the soulless vaults of a waste universe, from the thought of which
then,
Life
is
is

its

peoples recoil in horror.

Death,
;

genial,

soul-begetting,

and love-creating

and

nowhere, save in the imaginations of the children

of the grave.
their

Whence,
?

then,

oh

whence came those

imaginations

Death, thou art not

my

father

Grave, thou art not

my

mother

come
me."

of another

kind, nor shall ye usurp dominion over

What

better sign of immortality than the raising of the


?

dead could God give


raising the

He

cannot, however, be always


;

dead before our eyes


failure.

for then the holiness of

death
shall

ends would be a

We

need death

only

it

be undone once and again


it is

for a time, that


us. I

we may

know

not what

it

seems to

have already said

that probably

we

are not capable of being told in words


is.

what the other world

But even the very report through

the ages that the dead

came back,

as their friends

had

known them, with


the

the old love unlost in the grave, with


smile and bless,
is

same

face to

precious indeed.

220

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

That they remain the same


is

in all that

made them
in

lovely,
it

the one priceless fact

if

we may but hope


and
clasp,

as a

fact.

That we

shall behold,

and love them

again follows of simple necessity.


the report as
if it

We

cannot be sure of

were done before our own eyes, yet

what a hope
faith

it

gives even to

him whose honesty and

his

together

make him,

like

Martha, refrain speech, not


is

daring to say

I believe of all

that

reported

think such

a one will one day be able to believe more than he even

knows how
up

to desire.

For

faith in

Jesus will well

make

for the lack of the sight of the miracle.

Does God,

then,

make death look what


it

it

is

not?

Why

not

let it

appear what
it ?

is,

and prevent us from

forming
It is

false

judgments of

our low faithlessness that makes us misjudge


faith

it,

and nothing but

could

make

us judge

it

aright.

And
it,

that, while in faithlessness,

we should
it is

thus misjudge

is

well.

In what

it

appears to us,
is

a type of what
in
it.

we

are

without God.

But there
to the dust.

no falsehood

The

dust

must go back

He who

believes in the

body

THE RAISING OF THE DEAD.

221

more than

in the soul, cleaves to this aspect of death

he

who

believes in thought, in mind, in love, in truth, can

see the other side

can rejoice over the bursting shell


to

which allows the young oak


prison.

creep from

its

kernel-

The lower
"

is

true,

but the higher overcomes and


is

absorbs
that
spirit

it.

When

that

which

perfect

is

come, then

which

is

in part shall
is

be done

away."

When

the

of death

seen, the

body of death vanishes from

us.

Death

is

God s

angel of birth.

We

fear him.

The

dying stretches out loving hands of hope towards him.


I

do not believe
it

that death

is

to the dying the dreadful


I

thing

looks to the beholders.


spirit

think

it

is

more
its

like

what the

may

then be able to remember of

own

birth as a child into this lower world, this porch of the

heavenly.

How
in her,
!

will

he love

his

mother then
her,

and

all

humanity

and God who gave

and God who

gives her back

The

future lies dark before us, with an infinite

hope

in

the darkness.

To be

at

peace concerning

it

on any other
loss.

an absolute ground than the love of God, would be

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

Better fear and hope and prayer, than knowledge and

peace without the prayer.

To sum up
probably be

An

express revelation in words would

little

intelligible.

In Christ we have an ever

growing revelation.

He

is

the resurrection
future.

and the

life.

As we know him we know our


In our ignorance
towards God.
lies

a force of need, compelling us

In our ignorance likewise

lies

the

room

for the

develop
for

ment of the simple


arousing
faith.
it.

will,

as well as

the necessity

Hence

this

ignorance

is

but the shell of

In

this, as in

all

his miracles,
is

our Lord shows in one


it.

instance what his Father

ever doing without showing


is

Even

the report of this


as

the best
call
it.

news we can have

from the other world

we

IX

THE GOVERNMENT OF NATURK

HTHE
1.

miracles
:

include in

this

class

are

the

fol

lowing

The

turning of water into wine, already treated

of,

given by
2.

St John.

The draught

of fishes, given by St Luke.

3.

The draught The

of fishes, given by St John.


the
four thousand,

4.

feeding of
St Mark.

given by

St

Matthew and
5.

The

feeding of the five thousand, recorded by

all

the Evangelists.
6.

The walking on

the sea, given

by St Matthew,

St

Mark, and St John.


7.

The

stilling

of the storm, given by St Matthew, St

Mark, and St Luke.


8.

The

fish

bringing the piece of money, told by St

Matthew

alone.

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

These

miracles, in

common

with those already con


of

sidered, have for their

ena the help or deliverance


in

man.

They

differ

from those, however,

operating

mediately, through a change upon external things, and not


at

once on

their

human

objects.

But besides the


call nature,

fact that they

have to do with what we

they would form a class on another ground.

In those cases of disease, the miracles are for the setting


right of

what has gone wrong, the restoration of the order


namely, of the original condition of humanity.
it is

of things,

No

doubt

a law of nature that where there


j

is

sin there

should be suffering

but even
is

its

cure helps to restore that

righteousness which
suffering
suffering.

highest

nature;

for the cure of

must not be confounded with the absence


But the miracles of which
as interfering with
I

of

have

now

to speak,
call the

show themselves

what we may

righteous laws of nature.

Water should wet the


tread
last,
its

foot,

should ingulf him


should
Jbisnes

who would
the

surface.

Bread
first.

come from
should be

oven

from the

field

now

here

now

there, according to laws

THE GOVERNMENT OF NATURE.

2:>5

ill

understood

of

men

nay,

possibly

according to

piscine choice quite

unknown
and
in

of men.

Wine should
In
I
all

take
these
the

ripening
cases
it

in
is

the grape
otherwise.

the bottle.
in

Yet even

these,

think,

restoration of an original law

the supremacy of righteous


his

man,

is

foreshown.

While a man cannot order


is

own

house as he would, something


fore in his house.
I think

wrong

in him,

and there

a true

man

should be able to

rule

winds and waters and loaves and

fishes, for

he comes
Jesus

of the Father

who made

the house for him.

Had

not been capable of these things, he might have been


the

best of men, but either he

could not have been a


if

perfect man, or the perfect

God,

such there were, was

not in harmony with the perfect man.


in

Man

is

not master

his

own house because he


is

is

not master
himself
exists.
is

in himself,

because he

not a law

unto

not

himself
that

obedient to the law by which he


is

Harmony,

law, alone

is

power.

Discord

is

weakness.

God

alone

is

perfect, living, self-existent law,

I will try, in a

few words, to give the ground on which

THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

I find
it

it

miracles. possible to accept these

cannot lay
at

down

as for

any other man.

do not wonder

most
1

of those to

whom

the miracles are a stumbling-block.


at those

do a

little

wonder

who can

believe in Christ

and

yet find

them a stumbling-block.
creates,

How God
made
in

no man can

tell.

But as man

is

God s

image, he

may

think about

God s

work,
of his

and dim analogies may


nature which have

arise out of

the depth

some resemblance

to the

way

in

which

God

works.

I say then, that, as

we

are the oflspring of

God
in

the children of his will, like as the thoughts

move

man s mind, we

live

in

God s
is.

mind.

When God
it is

thinks anything, then that thing


its life.

His thought of
thinks
it

Everything

is

because

God

into being.

^an

it

then be very hard to believe that he should alter


?

of things about us by a thought any form or appearance


"

It is inconsistent to

work otherwise than by


little

law."

True

but we
is

know

so

of this law that

we cannot
far irre

say what

essential in

it,

and what only the so

condition of those for gular consequence of the unnatural

111K

GOVERNMENT OF NATURE.

2JJ

whom

it

was made, but who have not yet willed God

,5

harmony.
tainly say

We know

so

little

of law that

we cannot

cer

what would be an infringement of

this or that

law.

That which

at first sight appears as such,

may be

but the operating of a higher law which rightly dominates


the other.
fall

It is the law, as

we

call

it,

that a stone should

to the ground.

A man
if his

may

place his hand beneath


strong enough,
it is

the stone,

and then,

hand be
fall

the

law that the stone shall not

to the ground.
its

The law
full

has been lawfully prevented from working

end.

In similar ways,

God might

law stop the working of one

by the intervention of another.


understood by
us,

Such intervention,
call

if

not

would be what we

miracle.

the earth, producible Possibly a different condition of


to according to law, might cause everything
its

fly off
is

from

surface instead of seeking

it.

The

question

whether

or not

we can

believe that the usual laws might be set aside

and wider operations. by laws including higher principles


All I have to answer
is

Give

me good

reason, and I can.

A man may

say"

What seems good

reason to you, does

228

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

not to
being,

me."

"

answer,

We

are both accountable to that

if

such there be,

who
alone
right,

has lighted in us the candle

of judgment.

To him
way of

we

stand or

fall.

But there

must be a
heart
is

final

towards which every willing


find
is

led,

and which no one can

who does not

seek

it."

All I want to

show

here,

a conceivable re

gion in which a miracle might take place without any


violence done to the order of things.

Our power of belief


in

depends greatly on our power of imagining a region

which the things might

be.

do not see how some

people could believe what to others


culty.

may

offer small diffi


faith

Let us beware

lest

what we

call

be but

the so

mere assent of a mind which has cared and thought


about the objects of
difficulties
its

little

so-called faith, that

it

has

never seen the

they involve.

Some such be
the children

lievers are the worst antagonists of true faith

of the Pharisees of old.


If

any one say we ought


;

to receive nothing of
is

which

we have no experience
sity,

answer, there
all

in

me

a neces

a desire before which

my

experience shrivels into

THE GOVERNMENT OF NATURE.

229

mockery.

Its

complement must

lie

beyond.

We ought,
thank

I grant, to accept

nothing for which we cannot see the


sufficient reason,

probability of

some

but

God

that this sufficient reason is not for

me

limited to the
it

realm of experience.

To
life

suppose that
that might

was, would

change the hope of a

be an ever-burning

sacrifice of thanksgiving, into

a poor struggle with events

and things and chances

to

doom

the Psyche to per


I desire the higher
;

petual imprisonment in the worm.


I

care not to live for the lower.

The one would make


from a
self

me
I

despise

my

fellows

and

recoil with disgust


fills

cannot annihilate

the other the

me

with humility,

hope, and love.


the

Is

preference for the one

over

other foolish

then

even to the

meanest

judg

ment ?

higher condition of harmony with law,

may one day


inter

enable us to do things which must


ruption of law.
I believe
it

now appear an

is

in virtue of the absolute

harmony
create at

in him, his perfect righteousness, that


all.

God

can

If

man were

in

harmony with

this, if

he too

230

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

were righteous, he would inherit of his Father a something


in his degree correspondent to the creative

power

in

Him.

and the world he


his

inhabits,

which

is

but an extension of

him in body, would, I think, be subject to


it

away

sur

of dominion, for passing his wildest dreams the perfect dominion of holy law

would be

a virtue flowing to and


I
set

from him through the channel of a perfect obedience.


suspect that our Lord in
forth only the
all his

dominion over nature,

complete

man

man

as

God means him


know where
at his will ?

one day to
fishes

be.

Why

should he not

the

were

or even

make them come

Why
?

should not that will be potent as impulse in them

If

we admit what
which
alone
I

I hail as the only

fundamental idea upon


facts,

can speculate harmoniously with


regions

and as
are

disclosing

wherein

contradictions
I

soluble,

and doubts previsions of


of the

loftier truth

mean

the

doctrine

Incarnation;

or

if

even we ad

mit that Jesus was good beyond any other goodness

we know, why should

it

not seem possible that


things

the
sub-

whole region of inferior

might be

more

THE GOVERNMENT OF NATURE.

ject to

him than

to us ?

And

if

more,

why not

altoge

ther?

I believe that

some of these miracles were

the

natural result of a physical nature perfect from the in

with the Life of dwelling of a perfect soul, whose unity


all

things

and

in all things

was absolute

in a word,

whose

sonship was perfect.


If in the

human form God

thus visited his people, he


their

would naturally show himself Lord over


stances.

circum

He
is

will

not lord

it

over their minds, for such


:

lordship

to

him abhorrent

they themselves must see

and

rejoice in acknowledging the lordship


free.

which makes

them

There was no grand

display, only the simple

doing of what at the time was needful.

Some

say

it is

as higher thing to believe of him that he took things just

they were, and led the revealing

life

without the aid of

wonders.
as his
to

On
life

any theory

this is just

what he did as

far

own

was concerned.

But he had no ambition

show himself the best of men.

He

comes

to reveal

the Father.

He

will

work even wonders

to that end, for

the sake of those

who could

not believe as he did and had

232

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

to

be taught

it.

No

miracle was needful for himself: he

saw the root of the matterthe care of God.

But he

revealed this root in a few rare and hastened flowers to


the eyes that could not see to the root.

There

is

perfect

submission to lower law for himself, but revelation of the

Father to them by the introduction of higher laws oper


ating in the upper regions

bordering upon ours,

not

separated from ours by any impassable gulf

rather con

nected by gently ascending


tions

stairs,

many

of whose grada
revealed the

he could blend in one descent.

He

Father as being under no law, but as law


cause of the laws

itself,

and the

we know

the cause of

all

harmony be

cause himself the harmony.

Men had

to be delivered

not only from the fear of suffering and death, but from
the fear, which
herself
is

a kind of worship, of nature.


to the Father

Nature
to

must be shown subject


the Father had sent.

and

him

whom

Men

must believe
little

in the

great works of the Father through the

works of the

Son

all

that
to

he showed was

little

to

what God was doing.


it

They had

be helped to see that

was God who did

THE GOVERNMENT OF NATURE.

such things as often as they were done.


causes the corn to grow for man.

He

it

is

who

He

gives every fish that

man

eats.

Even

if

things are terrible yet they are


still

God s, and

the Lord will


as a

the storm for their faith in

Him
for his

tame a storm,

man might tame

a wild beast

Father measures the waters in the hollow of his

hand, and
self,

men

are miserable not to

know

it.

For him
his pillow

I repeat, his faith is

enough

he sleeps on

nor dreams of perishing.

On
much

the individual miracles of this class, I have not


to
say.

The

first

of them was wrought in the

animal kingdom

He
the

was

teaching

on

the

shore of the lake, and

people crowded him.

That he might speak with


into

more freedom, he stepped


ing prayed

an empty boat, and hav


it,

Simon the owner of


it

who was washing


sat

his

nets near by, to thrust

little

from the shore,

down,
his

and no longer incommoded by the eagerness of


audience, taught
ciuled he told

them from the


to

boat.

When

he had
let

Simon

launch out into the deep, and

234

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

down

his nets for

a draught.

Simon had hule hope


fish

of

success, for there

had been no

there

all

night

but

he obeyed, and caught such a multitude of


net broke.

fishes that the

They .had
to sink
it

to call another boat to their aid,

and both began

from the overload of

fishes.

But

the great marvel of

wrought on the mind of Simon as

every wonder tends to operate on the

mind

of an honest

man

it

brought his sinfulness before him.


fell

In self-abase

ment he

down

at Jesus knees.

Whether he thought
tell
;

of any individual sins at the

moment, we cannot

but

he was painfully

dissatisfied with himself.


I

He knew

he

was not what he ought to be.


believe that such a

am

unwilling however to
it

man

desired, save,

may

be, as a

result of distress, to be rid of the holy passing involuntary

presence.

like that of judge rather that his feeling was

the centurion

that

he

felt

himself unworthy to have tne

Lord

in his boat.

He may

have feared that the Lord

took him for a good man, and his honesty could not

endure such a mistake


sinful

"

Depart from me,

for

am

man,

Lord."

THE GOVERNMENT OF NATURE.

The Lord accepted


his prayer.
"

the

spirit,

therefore not the

word of

Fear

not

from

henceforth

thou

slialt

catch

men."

His sense of

sinfulness, so far

from driving the Lord


to him.

from him, should draw other


that cry broke from his lips,
fisher

men

As soon
fit

as

he had become
to

to

be a

of men.

He

had begun

abjure that which

separated

man from man.


tells

After his resurrection, St John

us the

Lord appeared
dis

one morning, on the shore of the


ciples,

lake, to
all

some of his

who had

again been toiling

night in vain.

He

told

them once more how to


it

cast their net,

and they were

not able to draw


"

for the multitude of fishes.

It is the

Lord,"

said St John, purer-hearted, perhaps

therefore keener-eyed, than the rest.

Since th

same thing had occurred


fisher

before,

Simon had

become the

of men, but had

sinned grievously
better
of

against his Lord.

He knew

that

Lord so much
it

QOW, however, that when he heard

was he, instead

236

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

crying Depart

from

me, he cast himself into the sea to

go

to him.
I take

next the feeding of the four thousand with the


little fishes,

seven loaves and the few


the
five

and the feeding of

thousand with the

five

loaves

and the two

fishes.

Concerning these miracles,


almost
all

think I have already said

have to

say.

If he

was the Son of God, the

bread might as well grow in his hands as the corn in the


fields.

It

is,

I repeat, only

a doing in condensed form,

nence one more


that

easily associated with its real source, of


for ever

which

God

is

doing more widely, more slowly,

and with more

detail

both of fundamental wonder and of

circumstantial loveliness.

Whence more

fittingly

might

food come than from the hands of such an elder brother ?

No

doubt there

will

always be

men who

cannot believe
reason,

it

happy

are they

who demand a good


!

and yet

can believe a wonder

Associated with words which

appeared to
tent, I

me

foolish, untrue, or
it.

even poor in their con

should not believe

Associated with such things

T1JE

GOVKRNMF.NT O^ NATURE.

23"

as

he spoke,

ran receive

it

with ease, and

cherish

it

with rejoicing.
It

must be noted

in respect of the feeding of the five

thousand, that while the other evangelists merely relate


the

deed as done

for the necessities of the multitude, St

John records
It

also the use our

Lord made of the

miracle.

was the outcome of

his essential relation to humanity.

Of humanity he was
ity

ever the sustaining food.


in

To human

he was about to give himself

an act of such utter

devotion as could only be shadowed

now

in the spoken,

afterwards in the acted symbol of the eucharist.

The

miracle was a type of his


sign that from

life

as the

life

of the world, a

him
eat
is

flows

all

the weal of his creatures.

The bread we
is

but

its

outer husk

the true bread


is

the

Lord

himself, to

have

whom

in us

eternal

life.

"

Except ye eat the


blood ye have no

flesh of the
life

Son of man and drink

his

in

you."

He knew that the grand

figure

would disclose

to the meditation of the loving heart

infinitely

more of

the truth of the matter than any possible

amount of

definition

and explanation, and yet must ever

THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

remain

far short of setting forth the

holy fact to the

and humblest mind.

But

lest

they should start upon a


it,

wrong track

for the interpretation of

he says to his dis

ciples afterwards, that this

body of

his should return to


it

God

that

what he had said concerning the eating of


"

had a

spiritual sense

It is the spirit that giveth life


"

the flesh profiteth nothing


tradicts to

for that.

In words he con

what he said before, that they might see the words


infinitely

have meant
;

more than

as

words they were

able lo express
their souls

that not their bodies


live

on

his

body, but

must

on

his soul,

by a union and commu

nion of which the eating of his flesh and the drinking of


his

blood was,

after

all,

but a poor and faint

figure.

In

this miracle, for the souls as for the

bodies of men, he did

and revealed the work of the Father.


understood the meaning of Christ
s

He who
in

has once

words

connection

with this miracle, can never be content they should be


less

than true concerning his Father in heaven.


perfect Father,

Whoever

would have a

must believe that he bestows


his creatures.

his very being for the daily food ot

He

1HK GOVERNMENT OF NATURE.

who
word

loves the glory of


that

God

will

be very jealous of any

would enhance

his greatness

by representing
has taken and

him incapable of
will ever take

suffering.

Verily

God

and endure

his share, his largest share of

that suffering in

and through which the whole creation

groans for the sonship.

Follows at once the equally wonderful story of

his

walking on the sea to the help of his disciples.


tormer miracle, the multitude would have
lorce to

After the
"

1
>v

make him

their king.

Any

kind
cfor.

would readily give him except that


truth
s

sake which was


into a

all

he cared

He ^^-^^
to pray to his

and went away


Father.
spirit for

mountain alone

Likely he was weary in body, and also worn in


lack of that finer sympathy which his disciples
yet.

could not give him being very earthly


loves his fellows

He who
ill

and labours among those who can

understand him
1

will best

know what

this

weariness of our

,ord

must have been

like.

He

had

to endure the worldall


its

pressure of surrounding humanity in

ungodlike

*4

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.,

phases.

Hence even
it

he,

the

everlasting

Son of tho

Father, found

needful to retire for silence and

room
would

and comfort
be
free,

into solitary places.

There

his senses

and

his soul could the better his

commune

with the

Father.

The mountain-top was


its

chamber, the solitude

around him
its

closed door, the evening sky over his head

open window.

There he gathered strength from the

will of the

Father for what yet remained to be done for


s

the world
low,

redemption*

How

little

could the

men be

who would have taken him by

force
!

and made him a


Yet every one of

king, understand of such

communion

them must go hungering and


vain, until the

thirsting

and grasping

in
for

door of that communion was opened


:

him.

They would have made him a king


in spirit,

he would

make them poor


and
priests

mighty

in aspiration, all kings

unto God*
his prayer,

But amidst

amidst the eternal cairn of his

rapturous communion, he saw his disciples thwarted by a

wind stronger than


hi!!

all

their

rowing

he descended the

and walked

forth

on the water

to their help.

THE GOVERNMENT OF NATURE.

241

If ignorant yet

devout speculation

may be borne

with

here. I venture to say that I think the change of

some

kind that was necessary somehow before the body of the

Son of Man could,

like the Spirit of old,

move upon
water, but,
his
in

the

face of the waters, passed, not

upon the
upon
this

by

the will of the


I shall

Son of

Man

himself,

own body.
a following
yet, or

have more to say concerning

chapter

now

merely add that we

know nothing

next to nothing, of the relation between a right soul and

a healthy body.
healthy

To some no doubt

the notion of a

body implies
which
is,

chiefly a perfection of all the animal

functions,

on the supposition, a matter

of

course

but what

should

mean by an

absolutely healthy
spirit,

body

is,

one entirely under the indwelling


all

and

re

sponsive immediately to

the laws of

its

supremacy,

whatever those laws

may be

in the divine ideal of a

man.

As we

are now,

we

find the diseased


:

body tyrannizing

over the almost helpless mind

the healthy

body would
his

be the absolutely obedient body.

What power over


fresh

own dwelling a Saviour coming

from the closes!

2$2

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

speech with him

who made
tell
!

that

body

for holy subjection,

might have, who can

If I hear of

any reasonable
it

wonder
lieve,

resulting therefrom, I shall not find


shall

hard to be

and

be willing

to wait until

I,

pure, inhabit an
is

obedient house, to understand the plain thing which

now

a mystery.

Meantime

can honour the laws


tell

do

know, and which honest men

me

they have dis

covered, no less than those honest

men who

without

my

impulse,

it

may
I

be, to speculate in this direction


in

think such as

foolish

employing the constructive

faculty with regard to these things.

But where,

pray

them,

lies

any field so absolutely


to

its

region as the

unknown

which yet the heart yearns


the unknowable.

know?

Such cannot be

It is endless

comfort to think of some


the essence of whatever

thing that might be true.

And

seems

to a

human

heart to be true, I expect to find true


i)d without the degrading accidents
it

in greater forms,

which so ofter accompany


thinker.
tion in

in the brain of the purest

Why

should I not speculate in the only direc


to

which things

me

worthy of speculation appeal

THE GOVERNMENT OF NATURE.

243

likely to lie ?

There

is

a wide

may

be

around us

and

every true speculation widens the probability of changing


the

may

be into the

is.

The
are

laws that are


all lights

known and

the

laws that shall be


lights
:

known

from the Father of


such
will

he who reverently searches

for

not long

mistake a flash in his

own

brain for the candle of the Lord.


will

But

if

he should mistake, he
is

be

little

the worse, so
;

long as he
while, if

humble, and ready to acknowledge error


right,

he should be

he

will

be none the worse

for

having seen the glimmer of the truth from afar


deed,

may, in
in

come

to gather a

little

honour from those who,

the experimental verification of an idea,


forget that, without

do not altogether

some foregone

speculation, the very

idea on which they have initiated their experiment, and


are

now expending

their

most valued labour, would never

have appeared in their firmament to guide them to new


facts

and
or

realities.

JN"

would

it

be impossible

to

imagine

how

St Peter

might come within the sphere of the holy influence, so


that he, too, for a

moment should walk on

the water,

2.J4

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

Faith will yet prove

itself as

mighty a power as

it

is

re

words of the Lord which are at pre presented by certain


sent a stumbling-block even to devout Christians,
are able to accept

who

them only by putting explanations


his utterance.

of upon them which render them unworthy

When

I say

a power,

do not mean

in itself, but as

con

as uniting the empty necting the helpless with the helpful,

need with the


which
ing
it is

full

supply, as being the conduit through


for the

right

and possible

power of the

creat

God

to flow to the created necessity.

When
"

the

Lord got

into the boat, the


"

wind ceased,

and

immediately,"

says St John,

the ship was at the

land whither they

went."

As

to whether the ceasing of

the wind was by the ordinary laws of nature, or

some

higher law

first

setting such in operation,

no one who has


that I

followed the

spirit
:

of

my

remarks
all

will

wonder

do

not care to inquire

they are

of one.

Nor, in regard

to their finding themselves so quickly at the

end of

their
just

voyage, will they wonder

if I

think that

we may have

one instance of space

itself

being subject to the obedient

THE GOVERNMENT OF NATURE.

245

God, and

that his wearied disciples, having toiled


for so long,

and

rowed hard
their desired their boat.

might well find themselves at

haven as soon as they received him into


Either
is

God

is

all

in

all,

or he

is

nothing.

Either Jesus
miracle.
faith

the

Son of the Father, or he did no


fact,

Either the miracles are

or I lose

not

my

in this

man

but certain outward signs of truths

which these very signs have aided


understand and see in themselves.

me

to discover

and

The

miracle of the stilling of the storm naturally

fol

lows here.

Why

should not he,

who

taught his disciples that

God
his

numbered the very


Father
is

hairs of their heads,


still

do what

constantly doing
?

storms

bring peace out


stilled, it

of uproar

Of

course,

if

the storm was


that
is,

came
still

about by natural causes


storm.

by such

as could

That anything should be done by unnatural


is,

causes, that

causes not of the nature of the things con

cerned,

is

absurd.

The

sole question

is

whether Nature

works alone, as some speculators think, or whether there

246

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

is

a soul in her, namely, an intent

whether these things

are the result of thought, or whether they spring from a

dead heart

unconscious, yet productive of conscious

a con beings, to think, yea, speculate eagerly concerning


scious

harmony hinted
;

at in their

broken music and con

scious discord

beings who, although thus born of un


all

of an thinking matter, invent the notion


fect,

lovely, per

self-denying being,
life

whose thought gives form


to

to

matter,

to nature,

and thought

man

subjecting

himself for their sakes to the troubles their waywardness


has brought

upon them,
good

that they too

may

at length

be

hold a
his

final

may

see the

Holy
!

face to face

think

thoughts and will his wisdom

That things should go by a law which does not recog


nize the loftiest in him, a

man

feels

to

be a mockery of
such a condi

him.

There

lies little

more

satisfaction in

tion of things than

if

the whole were the fortuitous result

of ever conflicting, never combining forces.


individual
in,

Wherever

and various

necessity, choice,

and

prayer,

come
fit

there must be the present God, able and ready to

THE GOVERNMENT OF NATURE.

247

circumstances to the varying need of the thinking, will-ing


being he has created.
fect as
it

Machinery

will

not do here

per
to

may

be.

That God might make a world

go
I

on with absolute physical perfection


could easily believe
the fitness,
if
;

to all eternity,
?

but where the gain

nay, where

he would

train thinking beings to his

own

freedom

For such he must be ever present, ever have

room

to order things for their growth

and change and

discipline

and enlightenment.
is

The

present living idea


all

informing the cosmos,


tion

nobler than

forsaken perfec

nobler, as a living

man

is

nobler than an auto

maton.
If one should say
"

The
:

laws of

God ought

to admit

of no

change,"

answer

The same working

of unalter

able laws might under

new

circumstances look a breach

of those laws.

That God

will

never alter his laws, I

fully

admit and uphold, for they are the outcome of his truth

and

fact

but that he might not act in ways unrecog


as consistent with those laws, I have yet to

nizable

by us

see reason ere I believe.

Why

should his perfect

will

be

248

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

limited

by our understanding of

that will ?

Should he be

paralyzed because

we

are blind ?

That he should ever


I

require us to believe of

him what we think wrong,


to our vision

do

not believe

that

he should present

what

may be

inconsistent with our half-digested


I

and constantly
if

changing theories,
to

can well believe.

Why not

only
call

keep us from petrifying an imperfect notion, and


it

ing

an Idea

What

would believe

is,

that a present

God manages

the direction of those laws, even as a man,

in his inferior way,

works out his own


laws.

will in the

midst
that

and by means of those


which
shall fetter

Shall

God

create

and

limit

and enslave himself?

What

should his laws, as


in

known

to us,

be but the active mode


that

which he embodies certain truths


his

mode

also the

outcome of

own

nature

If so, they
if

must be always

capable of falling in with any,


expression of his
will.

not of effecting every,

There remains but one miracle of

this class to

consider

one to some minds involving greater


all

difficulties

than

the rest.

They

say the story of the fish with a piece

THE GOVERNMENT OF NATURE.

249

of

money

in

its

mouth

is

more

like

one of the

tales of

eastern fiction than a sober narrative of the quiet-toned


gospel.
I

acknowledge a likeness

why might

there not

be some likeness between what God does and what man


invents ?
is

But there

is

one noticeable difference

there
great

nothing of colour in the style of the story.

No

roc,
is

no

alley of

diamonds, no earthly grandeur whatever


tale.

hinted at in the poor bare

Peter had to do with


fish,

fishes every

day of

his

life

an ordinary

taken with

the hook, was here the servant of the Lord

and why

should not the poor


the Master ?

fish

have
it

its

share in the service of


itself

Why

should

not show for

and

its

kind that they were utterly his?

that along with the


lifteth

waters in which they dwelt, and the wind which

up

the waves thereof, they were his creatures, and gladly

under his dominion?

What

the scaly minister brought

was no

ring,

no

rich jewel, but a simple piece of

money,

just enough, I presume, to

meet the demand


legal claim, our

of those

whom, although they had no


not offend by a refusal
;

Lord would

for

he never cared to stand

2$0

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

upon

his rights, or treat that as a principle

which might
I

be waived without

loss

of righteousness.

take for
for those

other granted that there was no

way

at

hand

poor

men

to supply the

sum

required of them.

X.

MIRACLES OF DESTRUCTION.
T F we regard
the miracles of our

Lord

as an epitome of

the works of his Father, there must be

room

for

what

we

call destruction.
is

In the grand process of existence, destruction


the

one of

phases of creation

for the inferior


:

must ever be
the husk must

giving

way

for the

growth of the superior

crumble and decay, that the seed


appear.

may

germinate and

As

the whole creation passes


its

on towards the

sonship, death must ever be doing

sacred work about

the lower regions, that


its

life

may

ever arise triumphant, in

ascent towards the will of the Father.


I

cannot therefore see good reason

why

the almost

solitary act of destruction

recorded in the story should

seem unlike the Master.


other class in this, that
it

True

this

kind

is

unlike the

has only an

all

but solitary

2$2

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

instance

he did not come

for the manifestation of such


it

power.

Bat why, when occasion appeared, should


place?

not

have

its

Why

might not the Lord, consistently

with his help and his healing, do that in one instance

which

his

Father

is

doing every day?

refer

now, of

course, to the withering of the fig-tree.

In the midst of

the freshest greenery of summer, you

may

see the

wan

branches of the lightning-struck


his

tree.

As a poet drawing
that
is

pen through

syllable

or

word

mars

his clear

utterance or musical comment, such the Maker.


It is the

the destruction of

indrawn sigh of the creating Breath.


fig-

Our Lord had


tree that bore

already spoken the parable of the


fruit.

no

This miracle was but the acted


into visible form that

parable.
fore he

Here he puts
had embodied

which be

in words.

All shapes of argument

must be employed

to arouse the slumbering will of

men.

Even
first

the obedience that

comes of the lowest

fear is a

condition than that step towards an infinitely higher


sin.

of the most perfect nature created incapable of

The

right interpretation of the external circumstances,

MIRACLES OF DESTRUCTION.

25J

however,
miracle.

is

of course necessary to

the

truth
I

of the

It

seems to
I

me

to

be the following,
it.

do not

know

to

whom

am

primarily indebted for


figs

The

time of the gathering of


:

was near, but had


one might hope to
eatable.

not yet arrived


find a few ripe

upon any
figs,

fruitful tree

and more that were

The

Lord was hungry

as

he went to Jerusalem from Bethany,


tree with all the promise that a

and saw on the way a

perfect foliage could give.

He

went up

to

"

it,

if

haply
all
;

he might find anything


fruit

thereon,"

The
;

leaves were

there was
:

none

in

any stage

the tree
it

was a pre
sent.

tence

it

fulfilled

not that for which


in their very

was

Here

was an opportunity
visible

path of enforcing, by a

sign proceeding from himself,

one of the most

important truths he had striven to teach them.

What he
:

had been saying was

in

him a
in

living truth

he con
it

demned
was
in

the tree to
fact

become

appearance that which


:

a useless
it

thing

when they passed

the

following morning,

had withered away, was dried up

trom the

roots.

He

did not urge in words the lesson of

354

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

the miracle-parable

he

left

that to

work when the

fate

of fruitless Jerusalem should also have


the present the marvel of the reading of
its
it

become

fact.

For
for

possessed them too

much

lesson

therefore, perhaps, our

Lord

makes
faith
;

little

of the marvel and

much
to

of the power of

assuring

them of answers

their prayers,

but

adding, according to St Mark, that forgiveness of others


is

the indispensable condition of their


lesson surely to

own acceptance

fit

hang on

that withered tree.

After

all,

the thing destroyed was only a tree.


is

In

respect of humanity there

but one distant, and


!

how

distant approach to anything similar

In the pseudonot one in

evangels there are several tales of vengeance


these books.
St

The
It

fact to

which

I refer is
"

recorded by

John

alone.

is,

that

when

the

band of men and


"

officers

from the chief priests and Pharisees


"

came

to

take him, and

Jesus went forth and said unto them,

Whom

seek ye

"

and

in reply to theirs,
fell

had

said

"

am

he, they

went backward and

to the
in

ground."

There are one or two

facts

connection with the

MIRACLES OF DESTRUCTION.

record of this incident, which although not belonging


quite

immediately to

my

present design,

would yet

note, with the questions they suggest.

The

the Judas-kiss synoptical Gospels record

St

John

does not.
St

John alone records the going backward and


ground
also,

falling
"

to the

prefacing the fact with the words,


them."

And

Judas

which betrayed him, stood with

Had
kiss

not the presence of Judas, then-

perhaps his

something to do with the discomfiture of these


?

men
it

If so

and

it

seems to

me

probable
St

how comes
re

that St

John alone omits the


?

kiss

John alone
had
to

cords the recoil


the recoil
as

repeat

if

the kiss

do with

would seem from mystical considerations


artistic

most probable, from


divided
?

most

suitable

why

are they

think just because those

who

saw, saw each

part,

and record only what they saw or had testimony

concerning.

Had

St

John seen the

kiss,

he

who was
trie

so

of capable of understanding the mystical fitness

con

nection of such a kiss with such a recoil, could hardly

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

have omitted

it,

especially seeing he

makes such a point

of the presence of Judas.

Had

he been an inventor
;

here

is

just such a thing as


is

he would have invented

and
bare

just here his record

barer than that of the rest

of the one incident which would have best helped out


his

own

idea of the

story>

The

consideration

is

sug

gestive.

But why

this exercise

of at least repellent, which


s

is
-

half-destructive force, reminding us of Milton

words

Vet half his strength he put not

forth,

but checked

His thunder

in

mid volley

It

may have had


It

to

do with the repentance of Judas


to

which followed.

may have had

do with the

future

history of the Jewish


I

men who composed

that band.

But

suspect the more immediate object of our Lord was the

safety of his disciples.

As soon

as

the

men who had

gone backward and

fallen to the

ground, had risen and


"

again advanced, he repeated the question


"

Whom
"

seek
he,"

"

ye

Jesus of

Nazareth,"

they replied.

am

MIRACLES OF DESTRUCTION.

257

said the
his

Lord
"

again, but added,

now

that they

had

felt

power
St

If therefore ye seek me, let these go their


s

way."

John

reference in respect of these words to a

former saying of the Lord, strengthens this conclusion.

And

there was

no attempt even

to lay

hands on them.
to gain of

He

had astonished and


his sole request
for

terrified his captors

them

that his friends should

go unhurt.

There was work

them

to

do

in the world

and he

knew

besides that they were not yet capable of enduring

for his sake.

At

all

events

it

was neither

for

vengeance

nor for self-preservation that


tion

this gentlest
it

form of destruc

was manifested.

I suspect

was but another shape

of the virtue that went forth to heal.

few

men

fell

to

the ground that his disciples might have time to


apostles,

grow

and redeem the world with the news of him and


For the sake of humanity the
fig-tree

his Father.

with
:

ered

for the resurrection of the world, his captors fell

small hurt and mighty healing.

Daring to interpret the work of the Father from the


vrork of the Son, I

would humbly believe that

all

destruo

258

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

tion

is

for creation

that, that,

even

for

this,

death alone

is

absolutely destroyed

namely, which stands in the


s will,

way of
pleting

the outgoing of the Father


its

then only

com

creation

when men
;

are

made

holy.

God
that
it

does destroy

but not

life.

Its outer

forms yield

may

into higher embodi grow, and growing pass


it

ments, in which

can grow yet more.

That alone
in itself

will

be destroyed which has the law of death


sin.

namely,

Sin

is

death, and death must be swallowed

up of

hell.

Life, that is

God,

is

the heart of things, and de

struction

must be destroyed.
life

For

this

victory endless
life

forms of

must yield

even the form of the


yield

of the

Son of God himself must


life

upon the
;

cross, that the

might

arise a life-giving spirit


"

that his

own words
Comforter

might be
will

fulfilled

For

if

I depart not, the

not

come unto
;

you."

All spirit must rise victorious


lest
it

over form

and the form must die


life.

harden to stone
or can be great

around the growing

No

form

is

enough

to contain the truth

which

is its

soul

for all truth

is infinite,

God. being a thought of

It is

only in virtus

MIRACLES OF DESTRUCTION.

259

of the flowing

away of the form,

that

is

death,
is

and the

ever gathering of

new form behind,


is

that

birth or

em
what

bodiment, that any true revelation

possible.
finite

On

other terms shall the infinite embrace the

but the

terms of an endless change, an enduring growth, a recog


nition of the divine as for ever

above and beyond, a

forgetting of that

which

is

behind, a reaching unto that


itself is holy.

which
is

is

before

Therefore destruction
"

It

as

if

the Eternal said,

I will in

show myself; but think


I

not to hold
is

me
The

in

any form

which
is

come.

The form

not.

I."

still

small voice

ever reminding us that

the
the

Lord
fire
;

is

neither in the earthquake nor the wind nor

but in the lowly heart that finds him everywhere.

The

material can cope witn the eternal only in virtue of

everlasting evanescence.

XL

THE RESURRECTION.

HPHE works of the


him
of the

Lord he himself represents


it

as given

Father:

matters

little

whether we

as a miracle wrought by himself, speak of his resurrection

or wrought in

him by the Father.

If

he was one with the

that Jesus Father, the question cannot be argued, seeing

apart from the Father

is

not a conceivable idea.


to call

It is

vnly natural that he

who had power

from the grave


should have
to take

the

body which had

lain there for four days,

power over the body he had himself


it

laid

down,

again with reanimating possession.

For

distinctly

do

hold that he took again the same body in which he had

walked about on the


death.

earth, suffered,

and yielded unto

In the same body

not merely the same form, in


to his dis-

which he had taught them, he appeared again

THE RESURRECTION.

ciples, to give

them the

final consolations of

a visible pre

sence, before departing for the sake of a yet higher pre

sence in the

spirit

of truth, a presence no longer limited


truth.

by even the highest forms of the


It is

not surprising that the records of such a marvel,

and women be grounded upon the testimony of men


wildered
first

with

grief,

and next

all

but distracted with

the sudden inburst of a gladness too great for that equa

nimity which

is

indispensable

to

perfect

observation,
detail.

should not altogether correspond in the minutiae of


All

knew

that the

Lord had

risen indeed

what matter

whether some of them saw one or two angels in the

tomb ?

The

first

who came saw one

angel outside and


at a different time

another inside the sepulchre.

One

saw two

inside.

What wonder
all,

then that one of the re

cords should say of them


I

that they

saw two angels

do not care

to set myself to the reconciliation of the

differing

reports.

Their
its

trifling

disagreement

is

to

me

even valuable from


care to

truth to our

human

nature.

All I

do

is

to suggest to

any one anxious

to understand

2 62

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

the records the following arrangement of facts.

When

Mary Magdalene found

the

tomb empty, not

seeing, or

and heedless of the angel, she forsook her companions,


of this ran to the chief of the disciples to share the agony
final
loss.

be done to Perhaps something might yet


it

rescue the precious form, and lay

aside with

all

futile

honours.

With Peter and John she returned

to

the

in the grave, whence,

mean

time, her former companions,

with the angel outside and having seen and conversed


the

angel inside, had

friends. departed to find their

Peter and John,

having,

the

one entered, the other

looked into the tomb, and seen only the folded garments
of desertion, returned home, but

Mary

lingered weeping

beloved,

not now even the grave of the by the place which was had not only he but the signs of him SD
utterly

vanished.
sepulchre.

As she
There

wept,

she

stooped

down

into

the

sat the angels in holy contemplation,

one

at the head, the other at the feet


lain.

where the body of


:

Jesus had eyes of

Peter nor John had beheld them

to the

Mary

as of the other

women, they were manifest

THE RESURRECTION.

263

II is

a lovely story that follows,


it

full

of marvel, as

how

should
"

not be

?
"

Woman, why weepest

thou

said the angels.

"

Because they have taken away


they have laid
him,"

my

Lord, and I

know

not where
turning
thought.
"

answered Mary, and


as

away, tear-blinded,

saw the gardener,

she

Woman, why weepest thou ?


seekest thou
"

"

repeats the gardener.

"

Whom

Hopelessness had dulled every sense


at the
"

not even a start

sound of
if

his voice

Sir,

thou have borne him hence,


will take

tell

me

where

thou hast laid him, and I


"
"

him

away."

Mary

"

Master

"

"Touch

me

not; for

am

not yet ascended to

my
I

Father; but go to

my

brethren,

and say unto them,


;

ascend unto

my

Father and your Father

and

to

my God

and your

God."

She had the

first

sight of him.

It

would almost seeiu

264

ON

HE MIRACLES OF

OUR. LORD.

that, arrested

by her misery, he had delayed

his ascent,
"

and shown himself sooner than

his first intent.

Touch
to

me

not, for I

am

not yet

ascended."

She was about


:

grasp him with the eager hands of reverent love

why did

he refuse the touch

Doubtless the tone of the words deprived them of any


sting.

Doubtless the self-respect of the


recoil.

woman was
For the
rest,

in

no way wounded by the master s

we

know

so

little

of the
ours

new

conditions of his bodily nature,


It

that nothing

is

beyond conjecture.

may

be, for

anything I know, that there were even physical reasons

why

she should not yet touch him

but

my

impression

is

that, after the

hard work accomplished, and the form in

which he had wrought and suffered resumed, he must


have the Father
s

embrace
first

first,

as after a long absence

any man would seek


It

the arms of his dearest friend.

may

well be objected to this notion, that he

had never
at

been absent from

God

that in his heart

he was

home

with him continually.

And

yet the

body with

all its limit

ations, with all its partition-walls of separation,

is

God

s,

THE RESURRECTION.

and there must be some way


into a willed relation with

in

which even
to

it

can come

him

whom

it is

nearer even
will,

than to ourselves, for

it is

the offspring of his the

or as

the prophets of old would say

work of

his hands.
its

That which God has invented and made, which has


very origin in the depth of his thought, can surely

come

nigh to God.

Therefore I think that in some way which

we cannot

understand, Jesus would


;

now

seek the pre

sence of the Father

would, having done the work which


first

he had given him to do, desire

of

all

to return in the

body

to

him who had

sent

him by giving him a body.


his return at the

Hence although he might delay


of the

sound

woman s
If

grief,

he would rather she did not touch


this

him

first.

any one thinks

founded on too human


I suspect in

a notion of the Saviour, I would only reply that

a great part of our irreligion springs from our disbelief


the humanity of God.
treasures of grace.

There

lie

endless undiscovered

After he had once ascended to the


his

Father,

he not only appeared to

disciples

again

and

again, but their

hands handled the word of

life,

and

266

ON THE. MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

he ate in their presence.

He

had been

to his Father,
lifted

and had returned


the grave

that they might


that region in

know him

above
;

and

all

which death has power

that as the elder brother, free of the oppressions of

hu

manity, but

fulfilled

of

its

tenderness, he might

show him
in

self captain of their salvation.

Upon

the

body he

habited, death could

no longer

lay his hands,

and from

the vantage-ground he thus held, he could stretch the

down

arm of

salvation to each

and

all.

For

in regard of this glorified


it

body of

Jesus,

we must

note that

appeared and disappeared


it

at the will of its

owner

and
it

would seem
yes,

also that other matter yielded


itself

and gave

way ;

even that space


it.

was

in

some degree subjected


record
is clear.

to

Upon

the

first

of these, the
it,

If

any

man

say he cannot believe

my

only answer

is

that I can.

If

he ask how
is

it

could be, the

nearest I can approach to an answer

to indicate the

region in which

it

may be

possible
is

the border-land where


all

thought and matter meet

the region where

marvels

and miracles are generated.

The wisdom

of this world

THE RESURRECTION.

267

can believe that matter generates mind

what seems to

me

the

wisdom from above can believe


that matter
is

that

mind gener

ates matter

but the manifest mind.

On
;

this

supposition matter

may

well be subject to

mind

much

more,

if

Jesus be the Son of God, his


will.

own body must be


if

subject to his

doubt, indeed,

the condition of
inhabits
is

any man

is

perfect before the

body he

alto

gether obedient to his will

before, through his

own ab own
rule

solute obedience to the Father, the realm of his


is

put under him perfectly.


It

may be

objected that although this might be credible

of the glorified

body of even the human

resurrection,

it is

hard to believe that the body which suffered and died on


the cross could

become
But
I

thus plastic to the will of the in

dwelling

spirit.

do not

see

why

that

which was

born of the

spirit

of the Father, should not be so inter


spirit

penetrated and possessed by the

of the Son, that,


it

without the loss of one of

its

former

faculties,

should be
;

endowed with many added

gifts

of obedience

amongst

the rest such as are indicated in the narrative before us.

26S

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

Why

was

this

miracle needful

Perhaps, for one thing, that


or themselves in him, to the

men

should not limit him,


;

known forms of humanity

and
of a

for another, that the best


life

hope might be given them

beyond the grave

that their instinctive desires


infinitely
it

in that direction

might thus be

developed and

assured.

I suspect,

however, that

followed just as the

natural consequence of all that preceded.


If Christ

be

risen,

then

is

the grave of humanity itself

empty.
forth

We

have risen with him, and death has hence


us.

no dominion over
it

Of
she

every dead
is

man and
is

woman
risen

may be

said

He

not here, but

and gone before

us.
it

Ever since the Lord lay down

in the

tomb, and behold

was but a couch whence he


:

arose refreshed,

we may

say of every brother


too
is

He

is

not

dead but
his sleep.

sleepeth.

He

alive

and

shall arise

from

The way
but

to the

tomb may be

hard, as

it

was

for

him

we who look

on, see the hardness

and not the help


:

we

see the suffering but not the sustaining

that

is

known

THE RESURRECTION.

269

and God. only to the dying


this,

They can

tell

us

little

of

and nothing of the glad

safety beyond.
resurrection,

With any theory of the conditions of our


I

have scarcely here to do.

It

is

to

me

a matter of

positively

no

interest

whether or not. in any sense, the


It is

matter of our bodies shall be raised from the earth.

enough

that

we

shall possess

forms capable of revealing

ourselves and of bringing us into contact with

God s

other

works

forms in which the idea, so blurred and broken

in these, shall

be carried out

remaining so

like,

that

friends shall

doubt not a moment of the

identity,

be
all

coming so

shall unlike, that the tears of recognition

be

for the joy of the gain

and the gratitude of the

loss.

No*

to believe in
far

mutual recognition beyond, seems to

me

more reprehensible unbelief than


itself.

that in the resurrec

tion

can well understand


life

how

man

should

not believe in any

after death.
for

I will confess that al


it.

though probabilities are

it,

appearances are against

But that a man,

still

more a woman, should


same body of

believe in the

resurrection of the very

Jesus,

who took

2)

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

pains that his friends should recognize

him

therein

that

as their one ground they should regard his resurrection


for the

hope of

their

own

uprising,
in

and yet not believe


the mansions pre

that

friend

shall
is

embrace friend
to
I

pared for them, resumption of

me

astounding.

Such a shadowy

life

should count unworthy of the

name

of resurrection.

Then indeed would

the grave be vic


all

torious, not alone over the

body, not alone over

which

made

the

life

of this world precious and by which

we

arose towards the divine


soul that henceforth
in virtue of loveliest
it

but so

far victorious

over the

should be blind and deaf to what

memories would have added a new

love song to the praises of the Father, a new glow to the


that
I

had wanted but that


of even
it

to

make

it

perfect.

In truth

am ashamed
Were

combating such an essential

falsehood.
soul
is

not that here and there a weak


lie,

the monstrous paralysed by the presence of


to

and we dare not allow sympathy

be swallowed up of

even righteous disdain, a contemptuous denial would be


enough.

THE RESURRECTION,

271

What seemed
pointment and

to the disciples the final

acme of
body

disap

grief,

the vanishing of his

itself,

was

reality the first sign of the

dawn

of an illimitable joy.

He

was not there because he had


v

risen.

XII.

THE TRANSFIGURATION.
T

HAVE judged
tions with

it

fitting to close this series

of medita

some thoughts on the


be as
it

Transfiguration, be

lieving the

story to

were a window through

which we gain a momentary glimpse of the region whence


all

miracles appear

a glimpse vague and dark for


for

all

the

transfiguring light,
clarity
invisible."

God

himself

is

"by

abundant

In the story
miracle,

we

find a marvellous
itself

change,

a lovely

pass
as

upon the form


if

whence the miracles flowed,


wrought mightily upon
tained
.it.

the

pent-up grace

the

earthen vessel which con

Our Lord would seem


hill at

to

have repeatedly sought some

eventide for the solitude such a place alone could

THE TRANSFIGURATION.

afford him.
to find

It

must often have been impossible


in

for

him

any other chamber

which

to hold

communion

with his Father undisturbed.

This, I think, was one of

such occasions.

He

took with him the favoured three,


rest in the

whom

also

he took apart from the


to retire

garden of
that

Gethsemane,

even from them a

little,

he
his

might be alone with the Father, yet know that


brothers were near

him

the ocean of

human need

thus

drawn upwards

in

an apex of perfect prayer towards the

throne of the Father.


1 think this, his

one only material show,

if

we except

the entry into Jerusalem


night.

upon the

ass,

took place in the


carpenter was

Then

the

son of Joseph the

crowned, not his head only with a crown placed thereon

from without, but his whole person with a crown of born


in

light

him and passing out from him.


the mountain to pray,

According to St
"

Luke he went up

but Peter and


St

they that were with him were heavy with


also says that
"

sleep."

Luke

on the next day, when they were come


mountain,"

down from

the

that miracle

was performed

274

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

which St Matthew and St Mark represent as done imme


diately

on the descent.

From

this

it

appears more than

likely that the night

was spent upon the mountain.


"

St

Luke

says that

the fashion of his countenance was

altered,

and

his raiment
"

was white and

glistering."

St
his

Matthew

says,

His face did shine


light."

as the sun,

and
"

raiment was white as the

St

Mark

says,

His

raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow, so as

no

fuller

on earth can white


it

them."

St

Luke

is

alone in

telling us that

was while he prayed that

this

change

passed upon him.

He became

outwardly glorious from

inward communion with his Father.


attain to the

But we

shall

not

might of the meaning,

if

we do not
his prayer.

see what
It
is,

was the more immediate subject of

think, indicated in the fact, also recorded

by St Luke,

that the talk of his heavenly visitors

was

"

of his decease

which he should accomplish at

Jerusalem."

Associate

with this the fact that his talk with his disciples, as they

came down
and
that
all

the mountain, pointed in the

same
to

direction,

open report of the vision was

be with-

THE TRANSFIGURATION.

275

held until he should have risen from the dead, and


will

it

appear most likely that the master, oppressed with

the thought of that which

now drew

very nigh, sought the

comfort and sympathy of his Father, praying in the pro


spect of his decease.

Let us observe then how, in heav

ing off the weight of this awful

shadow by
if

prayer,

he did

not grow calm and resigned alone,

he were ever other

than such, but his faith broke forth so triumphant over


the fear? that
it

shone from him in physical

light.

Every

cloud of sorrow or dread, touched with such a power of


illumination,
is itself

changed into a

glory.

The

radiance

goes hand in hand with the coming decay and the three

days victory of death.


rection,

It is as

a foretaste of his resur


glorified

a putting on of his

new

body

for

moment

while he was yet in the old


It

body and the awful


something like
this

shadow yet between.


as

may be men
not
all

to

taking

place in other
"

that

the apostle refers

when he
be

says

We

shall

sleep,

but we shall

all

changed."

That coming death was

to

be but as the

overshadowing cloud, from which the glory should break

7,76

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD.

anew and

for

ever.

The

transfiguration then

was the

divine defiance of the coming darkness.

Let us now speculate

for a

moment upon

the relation
it.

of the spiritual and physical manifested in

He

be

came,

I repeat,

outwardly glorious from inward

commu

nion with his Father.

In like circumstance, the face of

Moses shone
should
the

marvellously.

And what wonder?


if

What

make a man s
if

face shine,

not the presence of


the

Holy?

not

communion with

Father of his
have, I think,

spirit ?

In the transfiguration of Jesus

we

just the perfect

outcome of those natural


signs in

results of
full

which

we have
which

the

first

Moses
as the

the

daylight, of

his shining face

was
it

dawn.

Thus, like the

other miracles, I regard

as simply a rare manifestation

of the perfect working of nature.


in

Who

knows not
is

that

moments

of lofty emotion, in which self

for the time

forgotten, the eyes shine,

and the
it

face

is

so transfigured

that

we

are doubtful whether


!

be not

in a degree

abso

lutely

luminous

I say
all

once more, in the Lord we find

the perfecting of

the dull hints of precious things

THE TRANSFIGURATION.

277

which

common humanity

affords us.

If so,

what a glory

must await every

lowliest believer, since the

communion

of our elder brother with his Father and our Father, a

communion

for

whose perfecting

in us he

came, caused

not only his face to shine, but the dull garments he wore
to

become white

as

snow through the potency of


from his whole person
!

the per

meating

light issuing

The

outer

man shone

with the delight of the inner

man

for his

Father was with him


in the glory.
will

so that even his garments shared


is

Such

what the presence of the Father

do

for every

man.
is

May

not add that the shining

of the garments
thing

a type of the glorification of every


into
its

human when brought

true relations

by and

with the present

God ?
I turn
is

Keeping the same point of view,

now

to the re

surrection with which the whole fact

so closely associ

ated

think the virtue of divine presence which thus


light

broke in

from the body of Jesus,

is

the

same by

which his risen body, half molten in power, was rendered


plastic to the will of the indwelling spirit.

What

if this

278

ON THE MIRACLES OF OUR LORD,

light

were the healing agent of the bodies of men. as the


light

deeper other

from which
?

it

sprung

is

the healing

agent of themselves

Are not the most powerful of the

to our vision ? rays of light invisible

Some
and

will object that this is

a too material view of


is

life

its facts.

answer that the question

whether

use the material to interpret the


or to account for
it,

spiritual, as I I

think I do,

as I

know

do

not.

In

my

theory,

the spiritual both explains and accounts for the material.


If the notions
light

we have

of what

we may

call

material

render

it

the only fitting image to express the in

visible Truth, the

some being of God, there must be


not of connection only, but of

closest tie
unity.

between them
fitness

Such a

could not exist without such con


there were

nection;

except, indeed,

one god of the

Natural and another of the Supernatural,


brothers,

who

yet were

and thought

in similar

modes, and the one had

to

supplement the work of the other.

The

essential

truth of

God

it

must be that creates

its

own

visual

image
is

in the sun that enlightens the world

when man wno

the image of

God

is

filled

with the presence of the

THE TRANSFIGURATION.

279

eternal,

he too, in virtue of his divine nature thus for the


ripened to glory, radiates light from his
very

moment
person.

Where, when, or how the inner

spiritual light

passes into or generates outward physical light,


tell ?

who can
we
call

This border-land,
matter,
is

this

touching of what

mind and
creation, I

the region of miracles


said,

of material
I

might have

which

is

the great

sus

pect, the only miracle.


spirit,

But

if

matter be the outcome of


then,
if

and body and soul be one man,

the soul be

radiant of truth, what can the

body do but shine ?


which
is

I conjecture then, that truth,

light in the soul,

might not only cast out disease, which

is

darkness in the

body, but change that body even, without the interven


tion of death, into the likeness of the

body of
it.

Jesus,

capable of
violence I
died.

all

that could

be demanded of

Except by

do not think the body of Jesus could have


physiologist can
tell

No

why man should

die.

I
its

think a perfect

soul

would be capable of keeping


fill it

body

alive.

An

imperfect one cannot

with light in

every part
with
life.

-cannot thoroughly inform the brute matter

The

transfiguration of Jesus

was but the

visible

230

ON THE MIRACLES

Oil

OUR LORD.

outbreak of a
storing.

life

so strong as to be life-giving, life-re


it

The

flesh

could melt away and evermore re

new.
waters.

Such a body might well walk upon the stormiest

A body thus
is

responsive to and interpenetrative


life,

of light, which of death in


it.

the visible

could have no sentence


died.
I

It

would never have

But

I find

myself in regions where

dare tread no

further for the darkness of ignorance.

I see

many

glim

mers

they are too formless and uncertain.


or

When

how
is

the light died away,


that
it

we

are not told.


all

My own
the night

fancy

went on shining but paling


to vanish in the

upon the lonely mount,


day.

dawn

of the

new

When

he came down from the

moun
in

tain the virtue that dwelt in


light to the eyes,

him went

forth

no more

but in healing to the poor torn frame

of the epileptic boy.

So he vanished

at last

from the

eyes of his friends, only to draw nearer


intense

with a more
hearts

and healing presence

to

their

and

minds.

Even

so come,

Lord Jesus.