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AND TOUCHED HIS GARMENT.

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ed me, for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.' And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came, trembling, and, falling down before him, she declared before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was immediately healed. And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.""

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Now, although we perceive in these three accounts such variations as we commonly find and naturally expect in the different statements of honest and independent narrators, relating the same event, yet they all agree in one thing. They all tell us that when the woman came forward, Jesus addressed her in a cheering tone, assuring her that her faith had cured her. By this assurance, as I conceive, he intended to correct the impression she had evidently entertained, that there was a miraculous power of healing in his very garments. It was through the power of her own faiththe influence of her own mind, that so instantaneous a cure had been effected. It was not, as she had evidently surmised, through any medical virtue in his clothes, but through the energy of her own conviction, that she had been made whole. This seems to be the natural and obvious meaning of the few words he addressed to her.

But, and here is the point to which I wish to direct the attention of the reader, he does not appear to have been understood by at least two of the narrators. For Mark says that Jesus discovered that some one had touched him, by the departure of a healing virtue from his person. And Luke represents Jesus as declaring in so many words that he had felt a miraculous virtue go out of him. That he really made any such declaration, his assurance to the woman that her faith had made her whole, forbids me to believe. It is much

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NO DESIGN IN THE GOSPELS

more natural to suppose that it was purely the inference of the historians that Jesus ascertained that some one had touched him, by the departure of a medical virtue from his body. They concluded that this was the way in which he found out that he had been touched: and one of them (Luke) has represented him as expressing himself to this effect. If these remarks are correct, then it follows that the narrators did not reach the true import of the words of Jesus, when he said to the woman, "Thy faith hath made thee whole." His representation of the case was more simple and spiritual than they supposed. I mean to say, in short, that they undertake to account for his knowing that some one had touched him, in a way which he evidently intended to disallow, when he bade the woman consider her own faith as the cause of her cure.

It is natural to suppose that the woman, agitated by the most powerful emotions, did not merely touch his garments, but seized them with a quick, convulsive grasp, and so he felt something peculiar and significant in the movement, and, surmising the truth, was induced to turn round and ask who it was.

If the account given above of this incident is admitted, how decisive, by the way, is the proof that the incident must actually have taken place.* The narrators could

It is curious to remark, and it tends to corroborate the view here taken of the three passages that relate this incident,

1. That the comparative authority of the three narrators corresponds with the variations in their several accounts. According to the mode above proposed of regarding these passages, the simplest statement is Matthew's, and he was 、 a personal disciple. The next in order of simplicity is Mark's, who was not a personal disciple, but the friend and relative of one, the Apostle Peter. The third, and least simple is Luke's, who was neither a personal disciple, nor the associate of a personal disciple, but the friend of the Apostle Paul. This coincidence may be merely accidental, still it is worth noting.

2. Adopting this account, we have in these three passages a very natural illustration of the manner in which, without any ill design, facts come to be

TO PUT THINGS IN A STRIKING LIGHT.

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not have recorded what they did not understand, if it were not real.

I beg the reader not to permit the miraculous character of this occurrence to prevent his surrendering his mind to a full and candid consideration of the case. Upon the miraculous nature of many of the things related in these books, I propose to remark at length in the sequel. In the meanwhile, the reader is at liberty to regard this incident as furnishing one of the cases, by no means rare, in which an immediate and extraordinary effect has been produced upon the physical frame, through the power of a strong mental impression.

Whether the view I have taken of this case be correct or not, or whether there are any other instances in which the historians have fallen short of understanding the words and conduct of Jesus, in their real greatness and simplicity-one thing is plain enough. They evince no disposition to magnify him. They do not show him off. They make no comments, suggest no explanations, calculated to place what he said and did in a striking light. In their simple and brief sketches they appear oftentimes to have omitted the mention of important

related in different forms. Matthew relates the incident just as it occurred. How natural it is that some of those who were present, should infer that Jesus knew that some one had touched him by feeling the healing virtue go out of him, and should state what appeared to them an inevitable inference as a fact! Thus arose the account as it stands in Mark. When the event had been related in this shape, it is equally natural that some of those who heard it told in this way, should receive the impression that Jesus had said that he felt the virtue go out of him. And so we have Luke's account.

Luke mentions at the commencement of his gospel, that numerous accounts of the life of Jesus, gospels, more or less brief, more or less correct, were then in circulation. And the structure of his work gives us strong reasons to believe that he availed himself of these publications. Having had the best means of information, by personal intercourse with the friends of Jesus, he selected such as he knew to be authentic.

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circumstances illustrative of his words and works. They seem to have been so fully possessed with the reality of the things they relate, that the idea of their ever being disproved never crossed their minds. They show not the slightest misgiving, lest others may fail to see and understand what is as clear to them as the sun at noonday. They betray no apprehension that the truth will not speak for itself, or that it needs any pains on their part to make it manifest. Hence the artless and careless brevity of their narrations.

At one time, as they tell us, an individual said to Jesus, "Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest." Jesus replied, "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head." Again, another offered to join Jesus, but begged permission first to go and bury his father. To him the reply was, "Let the dead bury their dead." On these occasions Jesus is represented as using a roughness inconsistent with his usual mildness and consideration. We may suppose that the individual first mentioned was actuated by a mercenary feeling in offering to follow Jesus, that he hoped for some worldly advantage, and that Jesus, seeing or fearing that such was his motive, gave him timely warning not to expect any thing of a worldly nature from him. With regard to the other, who desired first to be permitted to go and bury his father, we may with great probability conjecture that he made his filial duty a mere pretence for temporizing. He was not perfectly sure that Jesus was the expected Messiah; and while he wished to wait awhile until the true character of Jesus should be more satisfactorily ascertained, he desired to secure the advantage of an early profession. His father, we may even suppose, was not yet dead, but only very aged and infirm, and the request was in effect,

THE SNEERS OF THE ENEMIES OF JESUS.

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“Let me first discharge my duty to my father, and then I will come and be your disciple." To him, therefore, the reply of Jesus was most appropriate, "Let the dead bury their dead," that is, let those, and they are numerous enough, who are dead-insensible to the claims of truth-to the import of what I say and do, perform the necessary offices for the dead. Such are the explanations of which these passages are susceptible. They certainly appear natural and probable. But observe, they are not hinted at by the narrators; they are only indirectly, undesignedly suggested by the general tenor of their stories. They take no pains to guard against misapprehension, or to place the conduct of Jesus in the best light. Here I behold the boundless confidence of truth.

There are even more striking instances of the entire absence of any disposition to exaggerate the things recorded in these books. Circumstances are related with the utmost brevity, and without any indication of fear, which seem to be palpably inconsistent with the greatness and power ascribed to Jesus. We are told, for example, with an all-unconscious frankness, of the powerful appeals made to him by his enemies after he was fastened to the cross. They shook their heads at him, and cried, "If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. He saved others, himself he cannot save. If he be the king of Israel, let him now come down from the cross and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him, for he said I am the son of God." Who has ever paused over these words for the first time, without feeling that they contained a bitter force-without secretly saying to himself, O why did he not come down! If he had power to heal the sick and raise the dead, why did he not descend then from the cross and

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