Зображення сторінки
[merged small][ocr errors]

We now take the result gained previously, that the words "Peace, be still' had been spoken for the sake of the disciples. Let us then place it together with the shown import of the rebuke. What is then the sum ? No other than this : That they are safe for His sake; and if they had maintained faith in Him, they would have also felt safe for His sake, so that they, not even in imminent dangers, could ever become the prey of cowardice.

The question as to the motive to this miracle can now be no more doubtful. From a certain point of view the wonder would arise why our Lord did not make use of a mere exhortation, — Fear not: all the hairs of your head are numbered; the waves raise their noise; but God is greater in the height. Thus in fact a mere teacher would have acted; and after the danger was past, the disciples would have been somewhat ashamed of their timidity. But the Son of God wishes to procure a firmer confidence in the future organs of His kingdom, than that which rests on the foundation of a general trust in God. They needed such a one. The Apostle Paul in 2 Cor. xi. sketches a picture of the dangers with which he had been surrounded in his assiduousness in his calling. "Thrice I have suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep' of the sea, ‘in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers,' of Jews and of Gentiles, “in the city, in the wilderness, and among false brethren.'

But on what ground said he, 'in all of them do we overcome ?? Because he knew that he was in Christ; in the name of Jesus the apostles felt themselves safe, inviolable among all 52). After describing the later stormy sea voyage, after delineating the • trouble, the amazement, the wonderment on the part of the disciples,' he writes with regard to the preceding unfolding of the power of Jesus in the miraculous feeding : 'For they considered not the miracle of the loaves ; for their heart was hardened.'


[ocr errors]

dangers ;—they have learnt this by the prophetic act
of their Lord.

At this view of the narrative we stop, without
overstepping the boundary we have drawn. The
history has been made to show, that the Jesus who
here commands the storm and the sea is also in a
position to soothe the waves of an excited mind, and
conduct it to peace. It may be an admissible applica-
tion, but it is quite an erroneous view, that our Lord
really intended to bring to light His power over the
heart's disquietude by this miracle. This is not the
place to bring to remembrance, that Scripture has
used the wave tossed by the tempest as the symbol
of a tottering, disquieted mind. The stormy sea was
the cause of the anxious care of the disciples; but the
cause of an anxiety cannot possibly be its symbol.
By commanding the storm, our Lord takes away the
ground for this disquietude; His deed, therefore, cannot
signify what He is able to do in another sphere; it can
only prophesy of what the disciples have to provide
against in the same sphere during the whole course of
their activity. The exposition has thus attained its

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]


VI. 32, ETC.; LUKE IX. 10, ETC.; JOHN VI. 1, ETC.);
MATT. XV. 32, ETC. (MARK VIII. 1, ETC.).

[ocr errors]

The history of the miraculous satisfying of thousands with a few loaves, is the only one which all the evangelists (even the fourth) have reported in common. It is true that John and Luke only relate one of these feedings, while Matthew and Mark give the details of two (separated from one another by no considerable interval of time). The duplicate occurrence of the

ecause of Ja MODI

Zisera Teszt: loarea

event has, in fact, been doubted, on the ground that the disciples, with all their experience of the first case, showed again the same restlessness in the second. But the argument loses its significance in face of the fact, that they a third time, after they had been witnesses of both miracles, appeared no less dismayed, and experienced the rebuke of our Lord for their foolish thoughts (see Mark viii. 17-21)."

On these narratives Schleiermacher has expressed the opinion, that circumstances meet together in them which make every view of the case impossible, and justify an hypothesis. In this case Strauss also raises a claim for his view, that he should not be confined to one conjecture only. He seeks the root of the 'myth' in the 107th Psalm ("They wandered in the wilderness, hungry and thirsty, that their soul fainted in them; they cried unto the Lord in their trouble,– and He satisfied the longing soul, and filled the hungry one with goodness'), and in the historical facts of the feeding of Israel in the desert, as well as the mitigation of famine by the miraculous hands of Elijah and

1 The recognition of the instructive connection in which these feedings are related by Matthew, leads us to a firm conviction that the cases are different. The first, related immediately after the account of the death of the Baptist, pursues the same interest, full of instruction, which lies unrecognisable in the Johannine narrative. A new epoch in the activity of Jesus commences, -an epoch which John marks by placing us suddenly in a time far distant from the preceeding fifth chapter ; Matthew, however, makes the epoch special, separating as he does the life of Jesus in its several divisions (compare chap. iv. 12 with chap, xiv. 13). On the other hand, the thread of the narrative in the second case is quite a different one. Matthew had narrated the history of the Canaanitish woman. Our Lord says there, “ First let the children be filled.' And now follows immediately (chap. xv. 29–31) the account of how Jesus had showered on these children His benefits with full hands and regi óvsidi(ww; then (ver. 32) the incident, that He without being asked sets a table for them, so that they eat and were all filled, and there still remained over quantities of fragments,—of crumbs, one of which the Canaanitish woman had first received at her urgent request. In fact, we have indeed in the first Gospel something more than a mere chaotic aggregation of single narratives.

[ocr errors]

Elisha. Hence they also expected from the Messiah a miraculous increasing of the means of nourishment at hand.' But that the myth' should receive the very form selected, that it should appear as a distribution of bread, rests on the rite of breaking of bread in the ancient Church. “The history of the feeding of the multitude contains no feature which could not be derived on the one side from the Mosaic prophetical type, and on the other from the antitype of the Christian Lord's Supper.' Thus the desert in which Jesus accomplished the feedings answers to the Mosaic type, while the late even-time points to the festival of the Lord's Supper. Further, the embarrassment of the disciples at the thought of making provision for so numerous a multitude, calls to mind the reflection of Moses (Num. xi. 21), and the helplessness of the prophet's servant (2 Kings iv. 43); while the way and manner in which the conduct of Jesus is depicted (Matt. xiv. 19), appears perfectly conformable partly to the institution of the Lord's Supper, partly to the ancient Christian rite as Justin has depicted it. The wine was certainly wanting; but the early Christian festival of the Lord's Supper was often designated only as the breaking of bread (the bread being the substance of the matter. The collecting of the crumbs that remained over was, lastly, on one hand, a reminiscence of the history of the manna; on the other, a reference to the abhorrence of the early Church to destroy anything of the elements of the Lord's Supper).

We must in this critical attempt acknowledge some skill in the arrangement of facts and drawing inferences from them, although it is far behind the clever mastery with which Strauss has brought his arguments to bear on the account of the resurrection of Lazarus. There we expressed the fear that ignorant

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

man. De

UTS is

2) the rest

2: thepatit fragment

receitai ati

spel som

people might allow themselves to be befooled by the blinding representation ; in the present case we have not the least ground for a similar fear. The fact that the critic makes a double course flow together to the genesis of the “myth,' is in itself a considerable stumbling-block to the reader's consent. The circumspect estimate in the conception which would have been presupposed, contrasts very strangely with the natural dress in which the narrative appears, and the simplicity with which the occurrence is reported. To this may be added, that many single features in the mythical construction will not suit, and that the violence with which this construction is sought places the gravity of the reader in a very trying position. The manner in which the critic endeavours at one time to put out of sight the fish which were used with the bread in feeding the multitude, and at another time to bring them into notice, can only produce either indignation or a mocking laugh.

The proof of the historical reality of the narratives also, in this case, hangs on the question as to the motive out of which, and as to the end for which, our Lord did these works. A double answer has been given, each of which is founded on very probable grounds. Some adopt the one, that Jesus resolved out of compassion to the hungering people to make the miraculous feeding. The express words of the text point to this. For although in the passage, Matt. xiv. 14, “He had compassion towards them,' the healing of the weak was the principal motive, this compassion still manifestly appears in the immediate satisfying of the famishing ones. At any rate, the view aimed at in Mark (viii. 2) is not at all to be mistaken: The multitude being very great,

He saith, I have compassion on the multitude, because they have nothing to eat.' But, granted that our


« НазадПродовжити »