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divulger of the miracle, and that the woman, hearing the question, and drawing near, might testify the singular benefit she had received, and that, in consequence of her declaration, she might presently hear from His lips, that her faith had saved her; and that, by this means, others might be excited to come and be healed of their disorders.' *
(29.) The cursing of the barren fig-tree, Mark xi. 13, 14, 20. “And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it. And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots." The declaration, "for the time of figs was not yet," as Dr. Campbell observes, cannot be the reason why there was nothing but leaves on the tree; for the fig is of that class of vegetables wherein the fruit appears before the leaf. But if the words be read as a parenthesis, the aforesaid declaration will be the reason of what immediately preceded, that is, of our Lord's looking for fruit on the tree. The leaves shewed that the figs should not only be formed but well advanced; and the season of reaping being not yet come, removed all suspicion that they had been gathered." St. Matthew informs us that this tree grew by the way-side; and was therefore not private, but public property; so that the destruction of it really injured no one.- Our Lord was pleased to make use of this miracle to prefigure the speedy ruin of the Jewish nation on account of its unfruitfulness under greater advantages than any other people enjoyed at that day; and, like all the rest of his miracles, it was done with a gracious intention-to alarm his countrymen, and induce them to repent.*
(30.) The healing the dumb dæmoniac, Matt. ix. 32, 33. "As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel." It seems evident that this man was dumb, not from any natural defect, but from the power of an evil spirit; for when the evil spirit was expelled, he was immediately capable of speaking. The spectators were justly surprised at these multiplied and astonishing miracles; for in one afternoon our Lord had raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead, healed a woman with an issue of blood, restored two blind men to sight, and cured this dumb dæmoniac; and all this in Capernaum.*
(31.) The healing of great multitudes of maimed, &c. Matt. xvi. 30, 31. "And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus' feet; and he healed them: insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel." The word maimed, кvλλovç, properly denotes those who had lost a hand,
arm, foot, &c. 'It is reasonable to suppose, that among the many maimed, who were brought on these occasions, there were some whose limbs had been cut off; and I think, hardly any of the miracles of our Lord were more illustrious and amazing than the recovery of such.' Dr. Doddridge.* (32.) The healing of a lunatic, Matt. xvii. 14—18. "And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him and the child was cured from that very hour." The word lunatic, σεληνιαζεται, from σεληνη, the moon, denotes one who was affected with his disorder at the change and full of the moon. This is the case in some kinds of madness and epilepsy. This youth was no doubt epileptic; but it was evidently either produced, or taken advantage of, by a dæmon, or evil spirit; for though these symptoms accord very much with those of epileptic persons, and some have ventured to assert that it was no real possession, yet the Evangelist expressly affirms, that he had a dumb spirit,' which tare him, and that our Lord charged him to come out of him, &c. If this had been only a natural disease, as some have contended, could our Lord with any propriety have thus addressed it? If the dæmoniacal possession had been false, or merely a vulgar error, would our Lord, the Revealer of truth, have thus established falsehood, sanctioned error, or encouraged deception, by teaching men to ascribe effects to the malice and power of evil spirits, which they had no agency in producing? Impossible! Such conduct is utterly unworthy the sacred character of the Redeemer.‡
(33.) The healing of two men possessed of a legion of devils. Mark v. 1-16. That these wretched men were not merely mad, as some suppose, but really possessed of evil spirits, appears clearly, from the language employed, as well as from the narrative itself. St. Matthew expressly affirms, that they were 'possessed with devils,' or demoniacs, dapoviloμevoi; St. Mark says, he had an unclean spirit,' i. e. a fallen spirit; and St. Luke asserts that he had devils (or dæmons) a long time,' and was called Legion, because many devils were entered into him.' With supernatural strength the dæmons burst asunder the chains and fetters with which he was bound; they address Christ as the Son of the most high God ;' they beseech him to suffer them to enter into the swine; and when he had given them leave, they went out and entered into the swine,' &c.* These swine were in all probability Jewish property, and kept and used in express violation of the law of God; and, therefore, their destruction was no
* Comprehensive Bible, Note in loco.
+ Idem,. Note on Mark 9. 18.
Idem, Note on Mark 9. 25.
more than a proper manifestation of the justice of God. By this was fully evinced the sovereign power of our Lord, and the reality of diabolical agency; for, says Dr. Doddridge, 'it was self evident that a herd of swine could not be confederates in any fraud: their death, therefore, in this instructive circumstance, was ten thousand times a greater blessing to mankind, than if they had been slain for food, as was intended.'+ Had there been no reality in dæmoniacal possessions, as some have supposed, our Lord would scarcely have appealed to a case of this kind in Matt. xii. 43, &c. to point out the real state of the Jewish people, and their approaching desolation. Had this only been a vulgar error, of the nonsense of which the learned scribes and wise Pharisees must have been convinced, the case not being in point, because not true, must have been treated with contempt by the very people for whose conviction it was designed. Add to which, that in Luke vii. 21.-" And in the same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits," evil spirits, TVεvμarа πоvпра, are clearly distinguished from bodily disorders.*
(34.) The healing of a deaf and dumb man, Mark vii. 32-45. “And they bring unto him one that was deaf and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him. And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; and looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain." This was clearly a symbolical action; for these remedies evidently could not, by their natural efficacy, avail to produce so wonderful an effect. As the ears of the deaf appear closed, he applies his fingers to intimate that he would open them; and as the tongue of the dumb seems to be tied, or to cleave to the palate, he touches it, to intimate he would give loose and free motion to it. He accommodated himself to the weakness of those who might not indeed doubt his power, but fancy some external sign was requisite to healing. It was also thus made manifest, that this salutiferous power came from Himself, and that He who by one word, ɛppala, had healed the man, must be Divine.*
(35.) The feeding of four thousand with seven loaves, and a few small fishes, Mark viii. 6-9. "And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people. And they had a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them. So they did eat, and were filled : and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets. And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and he sent them away." This was another incontestable miracle-four thousand men, besides women and children (Matt. 15. 28,) fed with seven loaves, (or rather cakes,)
and a few small fishes!
Here there must have been a manifest creation
of substance-for they all ate and were filled.*
(36.) The feeding of five thousand with five loaves and two fishes, John vi. 8-13. "One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, saith unto him, There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes but what are they among so many? And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves: and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten." It is scarcely possible to imagine a more wonderful proof of the creative power of Christ, than was here displayed. The loaves were of the small kind, common in the country; and the fishes were small, probably the sort called, by the Jews; and yet, after the five thousand were fed, twelve times as much, at least, remained, as they at first sat down to! * (37.) The calming of the tempest, Luke viii. 23, 24. "But as they sailed he fell asleep and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm." As the agitation of the sea was merely the effect of the wind, it was necessary to remove the cause of the commotion before the effect would cease. But who, by simply saying, Peace, Be still, (Mark 8. 39,) could do this but God? One word of our Lord can change the face of nature, and calm the troubled ocean, as well as restore peace to the disconsolate soul.*
(38.) The miraculous cures at the pool of Bethesda, John v. 2-4. "Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water; whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had." The sanative property of this pool has been supposed by some to have been communicated by the blood of the sacrifices, and others have referred it to the mineral properties of the waters. But, 1. The beasts for sacrifice were not washed here, but in a laver in the temple. 2. No natural property could cure all manner of diseases. 3. The cure only extended to the first who entered. 4. It took place only at one particular time. 5. As the healing was effected by immersion, it must have been instantaneous;
Comprehensive Bible, Note in loco.
and it was never-failing in its effects. All which, not being observed in medicinal waters, determine the cures to have been miraculous, as expressly stated in the text.*
(39.) The raising of Lazarus from the dead.—John xi. 1—44. The raising of Lazarus from the dead, being a work of Christ beyond measure great, the most stupendous of all he had hitherto performed, and beyond all others calculated to evince his divine majesty, was therefore purposely recorded by the Evangelist John; while it was omitted by the other Evangelists, probably, as Grotius supposes, because they wrote their histories during the life of Lazarus; and they did not mention him for fear of exciting the malice of the Jews against him; as we find from ch. 12. 10, that they sought to put him to death, that our Lord might not have such a monument of his power and goodness remaining in the land.*—“ And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go." Bound hand and foot with graveclothes' denotes, Swathed about with rollers,' or bandages, KeρIAIS, long strips of linen, a few inches in breadth, brought round the σivdwv, or sheet of linen in which the corpse was involved, and by which the apwμara, or spices were kept in contact with the flesh. In reply to sceptical objections, it is sufficient to observe, that he who could raise Lazarus from the dead, could, with a much less exertion of power, have so loosened, or removed, the bandages of his feet and legs, as to have rendered it practicable for him to come forth. Tittman well observes, that Lazarus was restored not only to life, but also to health, as appears from the alacrity of his motion; and this would constitute a new miracle.*
(40.) The restoring to sight one born blind.-John ix. 1—34. as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth."— "When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, and said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.""Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind." That there are cases in which a person born blind may be restored to sight by surgical means, we know; but it is perfectly evident that no such means were used by our Lord. And it is worthy of remark, that, from the foundation of the world, no person born blind had been restored to sight, even by surgical operation, till about the year 1728; when the celebrated Dr. Cheselden, by couching the eyes of a young man, 14 years of age, restored them to perfect vision. This was