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THE SAME SUBJECT—continued.
St. Luke xix. 15–28.
And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities. And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin : for I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow. And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury? And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds. (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.) For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him. But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me. And when he had thus spoken, he went before, ascending up to Jerusalem.
On his return, having succeeded notwithstanding the opposition, the nobleman summons his servants to receive their accounts. The first, who has turned the silver intrusted to him to the very best account, states the fact of the
1 So in the original.
increase, modestly attributing it rather to what had been put into his hands (without which indeed he could have done nothing) than to any fidelity of his own. His lord however does not fail to give him that credit he had not claimed for himself; and he gives him a reward' to which his services bore no proportion beyond a proportion of number. "The rewards are royal."2 For what were ten minæ compared to ten cities? So too with the second, whose success however had been but half as much, in the same proportion. A wicked servant now comes forward, with the assurance of such, justifying himself, taking credit to himself that, though he had made no good use of it, he had not lost his master's money. But the consciousness of his misconduct now beginning to dawn upon him, he lays the blame of his indolence. at his master's door, ascribing his inaction to fear, and overboldly asserting that any gains would not equitably have been his lord's; whom he unwarrantably likens to "one who should claim to reap the field which he has not sown, or to take up the pledge which he did not deposit." His lord however, giving him his true title, exposes the shallowness of his excuses. Omitting all other arguments, he convicts. him by the very thing alleged. Had he been such as his servant asserted, was not this a reason for all the more activity? Had he been able to do no more, he might at least have put the money into the bank, so as to bring some interest, instead of letting it lie idle in a napkin. And to the by-standers, who express surprise at reward heaped upon reward, He declares that law of His kingdom (which our Lord has before laid down 5) that, to him who has made a good use of what has been committed unto him, shall more be given; while from the slothful, even that original grace shall be taken away. And now turning to the rest, whom our Lord in His parable also had in view, He describes the doom which, long delayed, shall at length overtake those
who, forgetting their allegiance as citizens, revolted and became enemies.' Very graphic, and most impressive, is this concluding sentence in which the Evangelist describes how our Lord now led the way to Jerusalem.
THE CRY OF THE BLIND.
St. Mark x. 46-52.
And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimæus, the son of Timæus, sat by the highway side begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me. And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee. And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.
This blind man, it would seem, was well known in Jericho. The tradition of his cure, we may not doubt, long lingered there. "Hearing the multitude," which escorted the Lord
"This . . . is borrowed from the life, and is what often must have happened. We may compare the conduct of Alexander, rewarding and punishing after his return from his long Indian expedition, from which so many in Western Asia had believed that he never would come back."-Abp. Trench.
2 Comparing the other two accounts VOL. II.
(St. Matt. xx. 29 f. and St. Luke xviii. 35 ff.) which beyond a doubt refer to the same event, the solution of the apparent discrepancies seems to be this:-St. Mark mentions the arrival at Jericho, when the Lord saw one of the two blind men whom St. Matthew records as having been healed. He did not however heal them till His departure from Jericho,
out of the town, "pass by, he asked what it meant. And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by."1 He however, with evident faith, addressed Him as "Son of David." He acknowledges Him as the Messiah, one mark of whose mission it was to open the blind eyes.2 He began and continued to cry to Him. He prayed in earnest. He persevered in prayer. Many in the advanced guard of that multitude which accompanied our Lord (we do not know their motive) bade him hold his peace. But their opposition only stimulates his earnestness. So conscious is he of his calamity, so convinced that the Healer is at hand. He will not be baulked of the benefit which others, as he had doubtless heard, had obtained. This blind man prayed; and the people tried to restrain him from prayer; but he prayed the more. What a picture we have here of a man in earnest, restrained by those who are not in earnest! of one who would be a real Christian, hindered by those who are little more than nominal Christians! The opposition in our day is not. from the professed pagan, but from the professing Christian; not from the pronounced enemies of the Cross of Christ, but from those who, with this multitude, claim to be with Christ and on His side. But no sooner does the Saviour stand still, and command this persevering petitioner to be brought unto Him, than the same men who had before rebuked him, now with officious zeal address to him words of encouragement."
by which time the other companion in calamity had joined himself to the better known blind man, of whom St. Mark and St. Luke both speak; the former indeed mentioning him by name. St. Mark, mentioning both the arrival at Jericho and the departure from it, allows for the interval during which those events occurred which St. Luke (xix. 1-28) relates. The latter Evangelist, as his manner is, (see ch. iii. 19, 20,) relates the miracle, by anticipation, at once. St. Matthew (ix. 27-30) has before told us of another pair of blind men healed in like manner in the neighbourhood of Nazareth.
As in the saying, "Nothing succeeds like success." let us cry to Him. Let our life itself be one long cry to Christ. Let not the crowd rebuke the cryers. Now we see blind Bartimæus, (so graphically our Evangelist tells the tale,) casting aside the entangling garments of the East; teaching us too to lay aside every impediment, and the sin that doth so easily beset us.2 How forcibly the Lord by His question confirms the faith of His petitioner! Full of compassion, He touched his eyes, so another Evangelist tells us.3 He pronounced that word which was with power, "Receive thy sight." He bids him go; but he is fain to follow. Nor does he fail to give thanks for the blessing he had prayed for. The people also are moved at the sight of that miracle to give praise unto God."
THE JEWS' PASSOVER.
St. John xi. 55-57.
And the Jews' passover was nigh at hand: and many went out of the country up to Jerusalem before the passover, to purify themselves. Then sought they for Jesus, and spake among themselves, as they stood in the temple, What think ye, that he will not come to the feast? Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a commandment, that, if any man knew where he were, he should shew it, that they might take him.
And now draws on the Jews' Passover, soon to give place to the Christian Eucharist; that festival which was peculiar to the Jews, but which foreshadowed a sacrifice which should avail for both Jews and Gentiles; that special celebration of it which should be memorable above all others; when the
1 Aug. Ser. cccxlix. 5. See also, in addition to the citations in Abp. Trench, Ser. lxxxviii. 12.
2 Heb. xii. 1.
3 St. Matt. xx. 34.
St. Luke xviii. 42. In the ori
ginal it is very graphic. St. Mark reports the exact Syriac word Rabboni, a more honourable title even than Rabbi.
5 St. Luke xviii. 43.