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§ 134. Raising of Jairus’s Daughter.—And of the Widow’s Son at Nain.

In the mean time a message came from the house of Jairus that his daughter was dead, and that, as nothing could be done, the Master need be troubled no further.332332   The discrepancy between Luke’s account (viii., 49) and Matthew’s (ix., 18, seq.) has been made a ground of objection. It has been supposed that the second message is a mere filling up of Luke’s. A similar discrepancy, as to the sending of a message, occurs in the case of the centurion, Matt., viii., 5-10; Luke, vii., 6. Grant that the two cases were entirely alike, it would not follow that there had been an intentional invention. But the dissimilarity of the two is greater than their similarity. In both cases, indeed, the message is, that Christ need not come; but the reason assigned in the one is, that he can help without coming, and in the other, that it is too late for him to help at all. What, then, is unlikely in either? especially as Luke’s statements, derived from eye-witnesses, are full, while those of Matthew are abridged reports. But Christ, not hindered by the news, said to the father, “Be not afraid; only believe, and she shall be made whole.”

What right had he to hold out this hope to the parent, and in what sense did he do it? Did he know, from the reported symptoms, that the death was only apparent, and that he was going to cure a fainting-fit by remedies in his possession? Had this been the case, he surely would have guarded against exciting hopes that might be disappointed; he would have said, in words, that his expectations were founded only on the supposition that the girl was in a trance; and as natural signs alone could give no unerring certainty of cure, he would, in mere prudence, have spoken conditionally, telling the father, perhaps, to trust in God, but yet, at the same time, to resign himself to the Divine will. In a word, he could only have spoken as he did, from a Divine confidence that he could, by the power of God within him, restore life to the dead body.

At the door of the house the mother comes to meet them. A throng of curious persons at the door desire to enter, but he admits only the parents, with three of his most intimate disciples. In the chamber of death he finds already gathered the minstrels and mourners. “Weep not,” said he to them; “she is not dead, but sleepeth.”

These words might have been used, it is true, if he meant (as some suppose) to state her condition according to the symptoms, and to make this a ground of consolation; as if he had said, “she is only in a trance resembling sleep.” But they were equally appropriate, if, without 197any reference to natural symptoms and consequences, he meant only to say that this condition would be, for her, only sleep, as he was able to raise her out of it. The character in which Christ acted, as well as the whole connexion of the narrative, compel the conclusion that he spoke with reference to the result rather than to the nature of the condition in which the maiden lay; even though the circumstances might make it probable that this condition was a trance.

[“And he put them all out.”] In stillness must such a work be wrought!

When the noisy mourners were gone, and he was alone with the few that had accompanied him into the chamber of death, he spoke to the maiden the life-inspiring words. He then “charged them to tell no man what had been done.” It has been said that he did this to prevent their giving him the false reputation of having done a miracle in the case; false, because he had restored the maiden, in an entirely natural way, from a death that was only apparent. Had this been the case, he certainly would have explained himself more definitely. He would have told them, in that case, how to report the matter; not that they should not report it at all. But he could not have wished that the event should be otherwise regarded than as a work of Divine power; and the prohibition was doubtless made in view of circumstances, especially in view of the dispositions of the people.

To this period of Christ’s ministry, probably, belongs also a miracle akin to the raising of Jairus’s daughter, which is reported only by Luke.333333   Luke, vii., 11.

On a journey, accompanied by his disciples, and by many others who had joined him on the road, he arrives before the little town of Nain,334334   Now a little village, Nein, inhabited by a few families.—Robinson, iii., 460 [Am. ed., iii., 218, 226]. in the vicinity of Mount Tabor, and not far from the well-known Endor. Near the gate he meets a funeral procession; and in the sad line a widow, mourning for her only son. In compassion335335   Olshausen thinks that, although Christ only made his compassion for the mother prominent in this miracle, he still had regard to the salvation of the son; for, as he well remarks. the life of one human being cannot be used merely as means for another’s peace or welfare. But, although we cannot decide that Christ had reference at the time to the manner in which the youth’s resurrection would tend to his personal welfare, he must have been satisfied that, in the wisdom of God, it was destined to secure it. As the organ of God, he must have been conscious of a harmony between—not merely his whole manifestation, but also—all his individual actions and the Divine plan for the government of the world. A physician may save a man’s life by natural means without knowing, at the time, what use the man will make of it; but, if he is a believer, he must be satisfied that God would not allow it, if the restoration were not for the best, in regard to his individual well-being. The same relation would subsist if the means employed were supernatural. to her grief, he 198exclaims, “Weep not.” Had he not been conscious of power to remove the cause of grief, by giving back her son, he would have tried to soothe her sorrow, instead of exciting a vain hope, only to plunge her deeper into anguish.

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