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tion, cut her off from the public services of religion, and which was wasting her body, and would soon have brought her to the grave: when, however, we consider all the favourable features in her case, and especially the way in which Christ addressed her, we cannot but trust that a greater deliverance still was conferred on her-that through faith she was delivered from the spiritual pollution of sin, and introduced into a state of acceptance, and peace with God.
Before leaving this miracle, let us consider some of the lessons which it reads to us. We may observe, then, that the afflicted state of this poor, diseased woman, should remind us that we are all individually exposed to various painful, and fatal bodily disorders, because of our departure from God. Let the consideration of this fact make us humble and serious; and let it, especially, lead us so to view, and to improve the scriptural representation of the cause of our exposed condition, as that we may return to the Lord.
Let us also, from this case, be reminded of the distinction between the province of the physician and the province of God. This woman was not to be blamed for applying to physicians for aid; nay, she would have been to blame, if she had neglected this; but she was blamable, if, as seems to have been the case, she resorted to physicians, with excessive anxiety, and to the exclusion of a proper regard to the providence and power of the Most High. It is this which is marked against Asa,* when it is said: "Asa was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he sought not to the Lord, but to the physicians." Let us ever look to God, then, even for bodily healing; and let this history teach us that, as in other things, so in the cure of diseases, what is impossible with man is possible with God.
But let us also improve this miracle figuratively and spiritually. More dreadful and more defiling than any disease to the body, is sin to the soul. Under the influence of this disease all men are born, and with some it is of long standing. As ceremonial uncleanness cut off Jews from the services of the temple, and from free intercourse with men; so this abominable thing separates from the enjoyment of God, and from the fellowship of the saints. When under its power, men may, indeed, be now bodily present in the house of God, but their souls can hold no communion with him. This disease impairs, and if not checked, must destroy, the whole man.
Again, we are reminded, that when the existence of this
*2 Chron. xvi. 12.
spiritual disease forces itself on men's notice, they are too apt to have recourse to inadequate means of cure. They are ready to mistake the means altogether; or to rest in the proper means, to the neglect of the great Agent. It is astonishing, and melancholy, to think of the aversion many discover to the true method of salvation. In order to allay their fears, some have recourse to amusements, others to engrossing worldly cares, and others to intemperance; but all in vain, for their fears soon return with double strength. Others, with some appearance of attention to the true way of life and peace, have recourse to good resolutions, to external duties, to mortifications, and to various forms of self-righteousness. Yet, all these persons, notwithstanding all these expedients, are spiritually nothing bettered, but rather worse. They will do any thing rather than apply to Christ; and it is only when all other trials fail that they will try him. All other medicines but the blood of Christ, however, and all other spiritual physicians but Christ himself, are medicines and physicians "of no value.”
But, further, this case shows that no sinner, however inveterate his case may be, need despair of a cure, if he will apply to Christ, in faith. "He is able to save to the uttermost all who come unto God by him."—" His blood cleanses from all sin;" and he is "set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood."
Consider these things well, all of you. Consider these things, you who have no suitable concern about your spiritually diseased state, and no suitable desire for deliverance from it. When your bodies are sick, how anxious do you become! what pains and expense do you undergo to obtain relief! If nothing else would do, you would give up any thing for recovery. "Skin upon skin," one piece of valuable property after another, "nay, all that you have, would you give for your life." And yet then your recovery would be uncertain; for you might become worse and worse, and die after all. Here, however, the disease is far more dreadful; and a cure, a certain cure, may be had, without money and without price. Be no longer, then, so infatuated as to remain insensible to the disease which is preying on you; but come, as perishing sinners, to the great Physician of souls. We are borne out by the spirit of this passage in saying to you: Come, come now; come as you are; come with all your uncleanness and all your weakness; come any way, rather than not come at all.
And now, the pleasing idea presents itself, that in the crowd, who have come hither to see Jesus, so to speak, and who are thronging around, there may be some individual who is groaning under the burden of spiritual disease, and anxious to approach Christ, that he may take it away. A welcome to thee, thou heavy laden soul! a welcome, in the name of Him who healed and saved this poor woman. Thy case may not be thought of by those around thee, and no human being may be aware of the thoughts which are passing in thy mind, or of the object thou hast in view. But adhere to thy purpose, and hesitate not to put it into execution, Come now, approach, and touch the Saviour. Art thou ready to say, "I know that if I but touch the hem of his garment, I shall be made whole; and if I could only see him, and get near him, quickly and gladly would I stretch out my trembling hand: but I see him not-I see him not as once he appeared in Capernaum's synagogue, or passed along its streets, surrounded by the admiring throng-I see not his flowing robe with the border, nor his fringe with the ribband of blue?"-Nay, but say not so, for thou thyself knowest better. It is the bringing of thy mind in contact, by faith, with gospel truth as it is in Christ, of which we are speaking; and this is as practicable now as ever. Jesus is not visible in our assembly, or on our streets; but his glorious character and finished work are described in his Word, and published in his preached Gospel. Take, then, for true the declarations of the God of truth. Rely on the grace of the Saviour. Touch his garment thus, and virtue will go forth from him to heal thee. “The word is nigh
thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach); "that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."
For the encouragement and direction of believers, the following things may be merely noticed, as suggested by this miracle. There is virtue in every thing that relates to Christ; there is an efficacy in every part of his character; it being with him as it was with Aaron, of whom it is said, that the sacred oil poured on his head descended even to the skirts of his garment. We learn, too, here, that while there are different degrees of faith, and Christ is most honoured by the strongest, yet he does not reject the weakest. Again, we see that from whatever cause trembling may come
on believers, they cannot do better than cast themselves at his feet, and tell him the whole truth. It is surely pleasant, also, to think that all his believing people, whatever be their progress, are regarded by him as his sons and daughters. And finally, they are here reminded that they ought not to seek to conceal their obligations to his grace, but are called on so to speak and act, that it may be seen that virtue has proceeded from him to heal them, and that men may “take knowledge of them that they have been with Jesus."
But let us proceed to the sequel of the other miracle, for this passage is a complication of wonders. The miracle performed on this poor woman, though it may have delayed our Lord in his progress for a short time, must have had an animating effect on the expectations of Jairus, in reference to his daughter. But while Jesus was thus speaking to the woman, "there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue's house, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master"-for so they respectfully styled our Lord. Whether this intelligence altogether destroyed the hope of Jairus, or not, does not certainly appear, though fear was arising in his mind; it is manifest, however, that this messenger, and those who accompanied him (for there appear, from Mark, to have been others with him), however they might have supposed that Christ might have prevented the death of the girl, had he arrived in time, had no idea of his restoring her to life, and therefore considered that to have asked him to go to the house now would have been to put him to useless trouble. "But when Jesus heard it, he answered him," that is, he replied to what was passing in Jairus' mind," saying, Fear not"-notwithstanding this intelligence, be not discouraged; "believe only"-believe in the miraculous power which I exercise-" and she shall be made whole"-she shall yet be restored, not only to life, but to perfect health. You must have observed that this kind of faith, or, more correctly, the belief of this kind of truth, the belief that Christ could and would perform the miracle, was generally required, on the part of the person to be wrought on, or of the person applying for another; and this seems to have been required, though not as absolutely necessary in the nature of things to a bodily cure, yet as a proper feeling and acknowledgment of our Lord's divine character.
Jesus now proceeded to Jairus' house; and, in doing so, he dismissed the crowd. "And when he came into the
house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden." Jairus, the father, was with him, as we have seen; and it would seem, from the statement of the circumstance of the mother going in with them, that she had met them near the house. Our Lord took a competent number of witnesses with him; and yet not so many as might be inconvenient in the house, or have the appearance of ostentation. The three disciples here mentioned had a similar distinction conferred on them, when they only, of all the twelve, were taken to be witnesses of our Lord's transfiguration and agony.
Verse 52: "And all wept and bewailed her." According to Mark, when our Lord went in, “he saw the tumult, and them that wept, and wailed greatly;" and, according to Matthew," he saw the minstrels," that is, musicians, or, still more literally, flute-players, "and the people making a noise." When death happened in a Jewish family, they were usually visited by their acquaintances, who came to condole with them; and they were also accustomed to send for persons who were professional mourners, and who being hired for the purpose, exerted themselves to express and excite grief. Of these, some set up dismal wailings with their voices. and others played melancholy airs on musical instruments. This practice prevailed so much among them at times, as to partake rather of heathenish than of truly religious manners. Various references to the employments of such hired mourners and musicians, on melancholy occasions, occur in Scripture. Thus in Jer. ix. 17: " Call for the mourning women, that they may come; and send for the cunning women, that they may come; and let them make haste, and take up a wailing for us, that our eyes may run down with tears, and our eyelids gush out with waters."
When our Lord saw and heard all this dismal mourning, he said, "Weep not ;" or, as in Mark, "Why make ye this ado, and weep?" Heavy as was the affliction, and even though the girl was supposed to have been irrecoverably gone, such abandoned and noisy grief was altogether unbecoming in those who professed to know the true God, and to entertain the hope of immortality. Especially in this case, when an almighty Deliverer stood by, and help might have been expected, and was coming, such conduct
*The Greeks made a great noise with brazen vessels. The Romans made a prodigious noise with the voice (Conclamatio) for eight days; at the end of which period the phrase was used, Conclamatum est-It is all over.