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-MATT. XVII. 14, ETC.; MARK IX. 14;

We make use of the expression used above, only because it is once introduced, without on that account wishing to consider the suffering before us in the sense of the modern usage. The designation in the text has no further support, than that the father of the sick child (Matt. xvii. 15) explains that 'my son is a lunatic, and sore vexed.' He might have observed that the paroxysms were accustomed to appear at the changes of the moon,-an observation, however, also made in other, in fact in natural illnesses; for those which were lunatic,' which are introduced in Matt. iv. 24, in especial distinction from those 'possessed with devils,' have evidently only suffered a natural disturbance of the bodily organism. In the present case we lay so much the less value on the expression, as neither Mark nor even Luke (notwithstanding the latter's inclination for technical designations) use it. The former speaks of a 'dumb spirit' (in ver. 25 he uses also the expression 'foul'); in the latter we hear only of a 'spirit.' All the evangelists give the event one and the same very definite position, that is, immediately after the transfiguration of Jesus. Our Lord had taken with Him up the mountain His three favourite disciples, and there occurred the 'vision.' Descending with them, He speaks of the part which John the Baptist had taken, and of the similar fate which would overtake Himself in this world. But all these pictures of the future, with its terrors, and with its splendour, suddenly make room for the immediate duty of the present. Near to the place where He had left behind the nine, Jesus remarks, according to the complete account of Mark, a

confusion among them, a dispute between them and the scribes. He asks the people, who, amazed,1 saw Him coming, and drew near to Him with respectful homage, as to the cause. We consider the question spoken with emotion, though it is not so stated in the text, because it was not directed to the disciples themselves, but to those whom His voice could at once reach. 'What are you doing with my disciples?' thus demands He, who wished to give an account also of these nine,— ἐφύλαξα αὐτούς in the tone and in the haste of careful love. And there came forth a man, who shows the cause, and the further development of the present dispute. 'I have a son, an only son (Luke ix. 38); him have I desired to bring before you, in order that you might take a glance into his misery (èπißλéyai, vid. Acts iv. 29, čπide). But Thy disciples have not been able to put an end to this suffering.'

This is the point on which Strauss thinks he has discovered the motive for the invention of the narrative. He seeks to show (p. 451, Eng. transl. ii. 187) that its object is to bring to light the strength of the miraculous power of Jesus; the disciples seem unskilful to help what He Himself effected at once with ease. Such a mode of measuring the Master with His disciples was involved in the nature of the Hebrew legend.' Even Elisha once saved from death, by means of his superior power, the son of his Shunammitish hostess, whom his servant Gehazi had in vain attempted to wake up (2 Kings iv. 8 and foll.). But this issue does not seem to have really satisfied the

1 Mark's representation (ix. 15), ‘Straightway all the people, when they beheld him, außnon,' describes the people as perplexed' by the sudden presence of our Lord, by no means merely surprised, least of all as joyfully surprised by His somewhat unexpected appearance. The ground of this perplexity lies in the expressions which may have been used in the dispute between the scribes and the disciples about the absent Jesus, that is, about His power to drive out devils.

critic himself.

He indeed felt that he must use the history of Elisha for his purpose, only to such an extent as would bring his theory into credit. While he therefore passes over the fact, that now and again Jesus had been able to accomplish what was impossible to His disciples, he has himself thrown away the key to the explanation which he had but just discovered; and that in relation to an incident which had for its result the amazement of those witnessing it, 'at the mighty power of God' (Luke ix. 43).

We now turn to the description of the illness before


The spirit was called aλanov, that is, the boy was under the power of a devil, who deprived him of speech. The stress, however, does not lie on this, but on other appearances. The presence of the devil did not assert itself constantly, but in fitful paroxysms (oπov av αὐτὸν καταλάβῃ; that the periodicity is explained by the juvenile age is only provisionally used as a conjecture); but these were then of the most terrible nature. 'He suddenly crieth out' (Luke ix. 39),— the child suddenly raiseth an unnatural cry,-' and it teareth him that he foameth again;' that is, the spirit (the change of subject has been shown in the case at Gadara as a conceivable characteristic of demoniacs) tears him, he stirs up such convulsions that the boy appears as foaming; and when he unwillingly leaves him, it is only with wounds, σντρîßov; this boy bears traces of the wounds, hurts,— not like the Gadarene who cut himself with stones, but from a fall or thrust. Similar, and still more evident is the description in Mark, 'He foameth and gnasheth with his teeth;' kaì Enpaíverai, 'he pineth' visibly, is sick near to death. The complaint of the father (which is connected with this description of his grief), that the disciples, notwithstanding their willingness to help, were unable to cure him, is satisfactorily

accounted for in the representation of the second evangelist.

When our Lord gave the order, 'Bring the child unto me,' the 'spirit' seized him with special force, so that he fell on the ground, and wallowed, foaming.' Thus it probably happened when the disciples had made their attempts to cure. This frightful outbreak will have affected them in such a degree, that they lost their presence of mind, that psychical excitement repressed the power of their minds; in the face of such forces they mistrusted their power, and became disheartened and dispirited. This could only injure our Lord's cause before the people, and a gain would arise therefrom to the scribes. 'It is manifest from this that the evil spirits do not always depart at the name of Jesus.' Hence His regret. The words of Mark ix. 19, ‘O faithless generation,' relate specially to the disciples. It is not to be denied that our Lord expressed His grief at the general unbelief in an unconstrained manner, so that the Pharisees also, and even the father himself, is included in His reproof; but this is only in general; the point of the complaint of Jesus is turned against the 'want of faith of the nine.' 'How long shall I be with you, that ye may learn to believe; how long shall I suffer you, have patience with your weakness of faith?' The reproof was well deserved. Our Lord had given His disciples power over evil spirits; they could have used it in faith, and therefore with success, so that they would have been able to rejoice thankfully 'that even the devils are subject to us in Thy name.' But in the present case they had not preserved their faith; they had thereby shown themselves as faithless, in that they had allowed themselves to be imposed upon by appearances, and had forgotten their gift. They showed themselves to be the same as they were before, at the storm on the

sea. The sight of the rising billows, of the unchained powers of nature, had produced on them the same impression as in this case, the picture of nature disfigured and distorted by the demon; therefore in both cases they experience the same reproach. How is it that ye have no faith?' is our Lord's question on the sea; and here He complains of their faithlessness.' The later conversation of Jesus with His disciples thoroughly justifies this view. There they ask Him how it was that they were not able to overcome the devils, and He replies, 'Because of your unbelief." 'ATTIOτía means unbelief, not of little faith; yea, even 'the faith as a grain of mustard seed was awanting in them.'

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At the same time, our Lord does not at all intend to identify them with those who faithlessly oppose Him, and who refused to acknowledge His name. Their 'unbelief' was expressly confined to the case before us. But in this they really acted as the restless, weak children of this world, who have forgotten their Lord, and the armour they had received from Him. This comes out in a still stronger light by means of the supplementary saying of Jesus: 'Howbeit this kind (that is, of devils) goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.' Strauss does not think that this explanation is in unison with the reproof before it. The semblance of a contradiction appears, however, only if the conception is understood merely superficially. It must be understood in the sense of the výpew, γρηγορεῖν, προσεύχεσθαι, as used by the apostles (1 Pet. iv. 7: 'Be sober, and watch unto prayer;' and chap. v. 8: 'Be sober, be vigilant'). It is sobriety in the disciple of Jesus that he should not allow himself to be prejudiced and intoxicated by the appearances opposing him; for as soon as he thinks on what he is or on what he has, they fail any longer to impose on


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