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PART II-THE NEW TESTAMENT
THE THERAPEUTIC RECORDS OF THE GOSPELS
We are ready now to turn to the records of Christian history; and first of all let us try to estimate the healing work of our Lord as it is told in the Gospels. If we had never seen the Gospels, and were to read them now for the first time, we should not expect to find anything about healing in them, for it has not been part of our popular or our academic Christianity. An enquirer from Japan who had not read the New Testament, but had gained his idea of our religion by a study of our sermons, hymns, and theological literature, would certainly be surprised to find a new element in those sacred books which we profess to follow — on almost every page, and in almost every chapter, healing -- the miraculous, or rather
, the spiritual healing of the sick. It is not a matter of chance allusions here and there — though they would be enormously important — but it is a matter
a of our Lord's whole character and life. If we sit down and read through one of the Synoptists (marking, it may be, the text as we read), we find ourselves committed through and through to that mastery of spirit over body which cures sickness.
The life we read about is the life of One who spent his days in teaching and healing, and who commissioned his disciples to go out in the same way as ministers both to the spirits and the bodies of the people — “He sent them forth to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick."
How completely modern Christianity in England reversed all this, ignoring the sacramentalism of the body, is familiar to us all. We find it, for instance, in our popular hymns, which always afford a convenient unconscious reflexion of popular theology. How different they are from the New Testament in this as in other matters? We do find a few hymns which refer to the healing works of Christ, but only to point the moral that people ought to give liberally on Hospital Sunday — an admirable and necessary corollary from our Lord's care for the body, but certainly not the first or the only inference from it. Only one popular hymn professes to deal with the healing miracles apart from this connection, to wit, “ At even ere the sun was set"; and it is instructive to notice how the author unconsciously slides away from the healing of the body, and makes us ask to be healed not from sickness, but from sin.
We may contrast with this silence such a hymn as Whittier's “Immortal love for ever full ” which was not sung in the English Church during the nineteenth century; and the contrast may help us to realise our past lack of Evangelical Christianity
But warm, sweet, tender, even yet
A present help is he;
1 Luke 92. See pp. 188-90.
And faith has still its Olivet,
And love its Galilee.
The healing of his seamless dress
Is by our beds of pain;
And we are whole again. Let us now proceed to set out in order what the Evangelical teaching precisely is about the relation of Body and Soul, giving first a complete list of the occasions in which healing works are mentioned by the four Evangelists.
We may, perhaps, most conveniently begin by summarising the works of healing recounted in St. Mark's Gospel, which, as the earliest, is the best Gospel for this purpose.
It is clear from the summary, which follows, that it would be vain to attempt an estimate of the number of people who were healed by our Lord. But it is clear also from the general references to the healing of many persons (here printed in italics) that the number referred to in this Gospel alone must have been exceedingly large; and yet these are only a collection of typical instances, chosen out of the miracles that form so considerable a part of the works “which Jesus did, the which if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that should be written.”
St. MARK. I
The Man with the Unclean Spirit at Caper
naum. I 30 Peter's Wife's Mother, 1 John 21 26
I 40 23
All that were sick, and them that were de
moniac." ; 4 I 39
“Preaching and casting out demons." 5
The Leper. 6
The Man Sick of the Palsy. 7 31 The Man with a Withered Hand. 8 31
“He had healed many.” In St. Matt. (1215)
many followed; and he healed them all.” 9 51 The Gerasene Dæmoniac. St. Matthew (828)
mentions two dæmoniacs: St. Mark and St.
Luke (826) one only. IO 5 Jairus' Daughter. 5
The Woman with the Issue. 12 “No mighty work
a few sick folk.” 13 6 55 As many as touched him were made whole.”
Over the “whole region" of Gennesaret, "villages," " cities," and "the country."
“. 14 7 24 The Daughter of the Syrophenician Woman. 15 7
The Man Deaf and Dumb. 8 22 The Blind Man at Bethsaida. 17 9 The Lunatic Child. 18
Without overweighting our survey with the discussion of disputed points, let us proceed to set down the additions supplied by the other Evangelists.
St. MATTHEW. St. Matthew repeats most of St. Mark's individual cases, and only adds two that he gives in common with St. Luke (Nos. 19; 22) and two (Nos. 20, 21) that are peculiar to his own Gospel :19
85 The Centurion's Servant.
92 The Two Blind Men in the House. 1 General works of healing, as distinct from individual cases, are printed in italics.
2 Some, for instance, think that the Centurion's servant (No. 19) was the same as the Nobleman's Son (No. 38), though most commentators hold decisively that they are different cases. There is also some doubt as to whether Lk. II 14 refers to No. 21 or 22.
A Dumb Dæmoniac.
This is apparently the same as Luke 11 14 St.
Mark (322) also mentions the accusation about Beelzebub but omits the exorcism (which caused it.
Though St. Matthew thus gives only two individual cases peculiar to himself, he adds considerably to our sense of the number healed (the "great multitudes" of Matt. 1529, and 19); for of the eleven general occasions which he mentions, no less than seven are additional to those in St. Mark. The general occasions which are also in St. Mark are — 8 16 = Mk. I = Mk. 3
· Mk. 65, and 14 34 = Mk. 655. The general occasions which St. Matthew adds to those already mentioned in St. Mark are as follows
10, and 13
4 23 "In all Galilee, teaching preaching
the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of disease and all manner of sick
ness among the people.” St. Mark mentions only the teaching (1 21) on
this occasion, and one special instance of the Man with the Unclean spirit, No. 1 (1 23). We now find that this case was but one out
of a great number. 985 “All the cities and the villages, teaching
and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of diseases and
all manner of sickness.' St. Mark here (66) mentions only the teach
ing. “Teil John the things which ye do hear and
see: the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good tidings preached to them.”