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“They said, He casteth out devils by the power of Beel-Zebul,”* (i.e., the Lord of the dwelling—the prince of the power of the air) which is the chief of the devils. It is not the reality of Christ's supernatural power, which is questioned, but its moral character. Consequently, the charge cannot be rebutted by greater and more stupendous deeds of might so speedily and effectually, as by argument of moral reasoning; and in this manner our Lord takes it up. He appeals to the object and effect of his miracles. They destroy the works of the devil, and thus, at one and the same moment, prove him contrary and superior to Beelzebul. At that season certain of the Pharisees sought from him a farther and convincing token of his Divine mission. He gave them one, then future, which should be to them at once a conclusive proof that his claims were just, and a sign of solemn warning. The messengers who bore to the Sanhedrim tidings of his resurrection might have awakened their apprehensions that, as the sign confirming Jonah's Divine mission was fulfilled in him whom they had slain, so Jonah's heavy burden of woe hung over their impenitent city. Forty true days of the earth, with spring, summer, autumn, and winter, marking its real course round the sun, as morning, noon-tide, evening, and night mark the progress of the sun's apparent revolution about the earth, passed, and the inhabitants of that city still repented not. The doom of Zion is executed, and confirming the truth of Christ's mission from above, it warns the earth, neglecting Him, of the approaching judgment.
If it be inquired why the Lord chose to give under the old dispensation the more colossal and impressive exhibitions of his almighty control over this world and its inhabitants, and to reserve for the coming of Christ miracles of apparently inferior power, the answer is to be found in the redemptive character of the Saviour's mighty deeds. In the earlier miracles, the Giver of revelation showed himself God, ruling over all, and put his sovereignty of power out of all dispute or doubt. In the latter he manifested his application of this power to the work of redemption. The question was no longer, in Israel at least, whether he was the only true God, but whether he was the Lord mighty to redeem from sin and death. And considered in their reference to this thesis, the miracles of Christ are the most
της ευχης σωμα τε γινεται και τω πριν ευχεσθαι ομοιον: και κατελθων επι της γης την προς nuces Toon ouvoudiav. Jamblichus laughs at their credulity, but gives them proofs of his divinity, some of which are recorded, and others, as παρα-δοξοτερα και τερατωOsotiga," are omitted by his heathen panegyrist. See Eunapius de vitis Plilosophorum-Jamblichus.
• Not Beelzebub, the Zsus-&T opening of Ekron.
fit and conclusive demonstration of its truth. The repetition of the most awful displays of uncontrolled power in wielding the elements, as these now are, could not prove the possession of power to redeem man and nature from the bondage of corruption; but to those beholding the bitter and well-known fruits of that accursed thing, which with giant roots pervades and firmly grasps in its deathful embrace our wretched earth, invariably and instantaneously disappearing at the simple word of Jesus, the conclusion must have been irresistibly presented that he had power to take away sin itself. His spoken commentary on one miracle was the lesson taught by all performed before the multitude, “Ye may know that the Son of man hath authority upon the earth to remit sins." While conscience remains active in their bosoms, men cannot but believe that sin and suffering are connected as cause and effect. By constantly removing, at his word, the outward effect, our Lord showed his ability and his willingness to deliver from the inward cause. His deeds of pure power, such as walking on the sea, stilling the winds and the waves, controlling the movements of the finny inhabitants of the waters, had the disciples alone for their witnesses. His works before the people invariably set him forth to their view as the promised Redeemer, confirming his claim of power to take away sin by removing its visible consequences. And certainly it is from their establishing and commending our Lord's power and will to subdue sin and death under his feet, that the mighty works of Christ are valued by Christians. “Each one of them is in small, and upon one side or another, a partial realisation of the work which He came to accomplish in the end perfectly and for ever. They are all pledges and first-fruits of His power; in each of them the word of salvation is accompanied with a work of salvation; only when regarded in this light do they appear not only as illustrious examples of his might but also as glorious manifestations of his holy love. *" It is good to take the outward physical deliverance for a sign and pledge of the inward spiritual healing most urgently required by us; for except we receive that gift priceless and incorruptible, we have neither part nor lot with the Beloved. But it is not to be forgotten that in the works of power and grace done by the Son of God in the days of his humiliation, we have offered to us not merely a pledge of love to our diseased spiritual nature, but an assurance that he will destroy the works of the devil in their whole extent. When looked at together, the miracles of our Lord will be found pointing forward to the abolition of the curse in all its parts, and giving a presage of the arrival, through
. P. 29.
him, of that happy hour for which the whole creation groaneth and travaileth together in pain even until now. When He who is our life shall appear, then most clearly shall it be seen how each“ redemptive act” was but “a sign in small” of those blessings purchased for his people by Him who made atonement. From the evident fondness with which the beloved disciple dwells on the narrative of the first miracle, and from the emphasis with which he terms it the beginning of miracles and a manifestation of glory, we think it plain that he took the work at Cana as a pledge of the glory that shall be revealed in the kingdom of God.
Apart from all that is local and temporary, this miracle may be taken as the sign and symbol of all which Christ is evermore doing in the world, ennobling all he touches, making saints out of sinners, angels out of men, and in the end heaven out of earth, a new paradise of God out of the old wilderness of the world. For the prophecy of the world's regeneration, of the day in which his disciples shall drink of the fruit of the vine new in his kingdom is eminently here-in this humble feast the rudiments of the great
festival which shall be at the open setting up of his kingdomthat marriage festival in which he shall be himself the bridegroom and his church the bride-that season when his hour shall be indeed come.' Pp. 113, 14.
The exposition of the miracles, one by one, which fills the latter and the larger portion of Mr Trench's book, is by much a more valuable gift to the students of the sacred volume than his preliminary dissertation. The work is strictly expository, fixing the attention of the reader on what was done by Christ, omitting no circumstance of detail noticed by the evangelists, and educing the import and value of all. Practical reflections are rather suggested to the reader than pressed upon him. We could have desired that the writer had treated his themes less in the spirit of one viewing the miracles as past events, and with a more visible, if not a more firm, impress and predominant feeling in his mind that the Redeemer is now nigh to quicken the dead in sin, to open their eyes, and to heal all their diseases. This allimportant truth is, we know, loved and reverenced by Mr Trench, and it is dwelt on in the book before us, but more ab extra and historically than in the manner of one ever desiring to have the quickening, healing, and enlightening power of Christ constantly working in himself and in bis readers. This, we believe, is his fervent prayer; although his temperament causes him to pen up its expression within his own closet. Yet is the work one to feed and enlarge the devotional spirit of every converted and reflecting reader. The simple exhibition of the truth is perhaps the most effectual and impressive manner of awakening the desires of
a contemplative soul for fulfilment of the truth to itself." F
Few indeed are the works of modern authorship from which more happyexpressions of pure exegesis could selected than from 1 the book before us. A certain degree of looseness and occasional inaccuracy in the structure of its sentences; the absence of all attempt to captivate the ear bytsweet sounding cadence, or to delight the fancy by brilliant description of eastern scenery, or by skilful exhibition of contending human emotions and the resting content with barely indicating lines of thought which the reader is bound to follow out for himself, all combine to produce a feeling of disappointment on the first perusal of these Notes, tempting the reader to say that “there is little in them." Only on a second or a third looking into them does he become fully aware of the astonishing condensation of thought, original and derived to be found in this book. It isba treasure-house into which the laborious author has brought gold from various unfrequented sources; or, more fitly still, the work may be termed a granary, full of seed-like" thoughts which cannot but yield large increase of good and wholesome fruit in every devout an
and intelligent mind where they fall. Our
space will not allow us to extract from these admirable “ Notes
more than two passages for the consideration of our readers. One of these is selected rather for its subject than as affording a favourable specimen of the author's manner. It is on the withering of the barren fig-tree.tu (TUJ 37 ju bezroqdir. 4:fT 9., “ At that early period of the year neither leaves nor fruit were naturally to be looked for on a fig-tree, nor in ordinary circumstances would any one have sought them there. But that tree, by setting forth leaves, made pretension to be somewhat more than the others to have fruit upon it, seeing that in the fig tree the fruit appears before the leaves. And this will then answer exactly to the sin of Israel, which under this tree was symbolized their sin being not so much that they were without fruit as that they boasted, of so much. Their true fruit, the fruit of any people before the incarnation, would have been to own that they had no fruitthat without Christ, without the incarnate, Son of God, they could do nothing-to have presented themselves before God bare and naked and altogether empty, Bnt this was exactly what Israel refused to do. Other nations had nothing to boast of, but they by their own showing had much. Yet, on closer inspection the reality of righteousness was as much wanting on their part as any, where else. s And
how could it have been otherwise, for the time of figs was not yet? - the time for the bare stock of humanity to arrayı itself in bud and blossom had not come till its engrafting on the nobler stock of the free man,
19881977 The attentive study of the Enistle to the Romans supplies, the true key to the right sönd evil seefis, we feus, in Mir t. 's mind,
ad und § 7 10 2001TD 76 amem
nepusmal regeneration, (pp. 58, 253,) the very mustard seda of Tractarianism.603 ota:
Pri korgar sa mas To Top
understanding of this miracle-such passages especially as ji. 3, 17-27; x. 3, 4, 21; xi. 7, 10. Nor should that remarkable parallel, Ezek. xvii. 13, And all the trees of the field shall know that I the Lord . . . have dried the green tree and made the dry tree to fourish,' be left out of account. And then the sentence, no man eat fruit of thee, henceforth, for ever,' will be just the reversal of the blessing that in them all the nations of the earth shall be blessed. Henceforth the Jewish synagogue is stricken with a perpetual barrenness; it was every thing, but now it is nothing to the world; it stands apart like a thing forbidden ; what little it has it communicates to none; the curse has come on it that no man eat fruit of it henceforward for ever. And yet this for ever has its merciful limitation when we come to transfer it from the tree to that of which the tree was a living parable ; a limitation which the word itself favours and allows; which lies hidden in it to be revealed in due time. None shall eat fruit of that tree to the end of the present æon, not until these times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. A day indeed will come when Israel, who now says, I am a dry tree,' will consent unto that word of its true Lord, which of old it denied, · From me is thy fruit found,' and shall be arrayed in the richest foliage and fruit of all the trees of the field. Our Lord, in his great discourse upon the last things, implies this when he gives the commencing conversion of the Jews under the image of the reclothing of the bare and wither d fig-tree with leaf and bud as the sign of the breaking in of the new aeon ; as he does, saying, “ Now learn ye a parable of the fig-tree: when his branch is yet (or rather now Mon) tender and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh, so likewise ye, when ye shall see all those things, know that it is near, even at the door.” Pp. 434-39.
The other and more unbroken extract which we lay before our readers, it will be seen, refers to the second miraculous draught of fishes.
“ Here Christ is speaking to us by his acts. Nor can I doubt that Augustine has rightly attributed, in more places than one, a symbolical meaning to this miracle ; and that whether or not one may consent to every detail of his interpretation, yet in the outline and main features he has given us the true one. He brings this miraculous draught of fishes in comparison with the other which the Lord brought about before his resurrection, and sees in that, first the figure of the church as it now gathers its numbers from the world, in this the figure of the true church, as it shall be after the resurrection, with the great incoming the seaharvest of souls which then shall find place. Then, the apostles were not particularly bidden to cast the net to the right hand or the left, for had he said to the right, which would have implied that none should be taken but the good, if to the left only the bad, while yet in the present condition of the church both good and bad are inclosed in the nets : but now he says, ' Cast the net to the right hand of the ship, implying that all that were taken should be good. Then, the nets were broken, so that all were not secured which once were within them, and what are the schisms and divisions of the church but rents and holes through which many that impatiently have to be restrained in the net break away from it? but now, in the end of time, for all that there were so many yet
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