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The Purpose of Christ's Miracles of Healing.

The Purpose of Christ's Miracles of Healing.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY LEONARD WOOLSEY BACON



— Mark ii. 10.

It is not so easy a matter as it might seem, to explain the
multitude of the miracles that are narrated or referred to in
these gospels which give us all that we know of the life of
Jesus the Messiah. Ttiere are many difficult questions about
the miracles, on w^iich I do not mean to touch at this time ;
but this concerning the multitude of them is a question which
adds difficulty to all the rest.
BY LEONARD WOOLSEY BACON



— Mark ii. 10.

It is not so easy a matter as it might seem, to explain the
multitude of the miracles that are narrated or referred to in
these gospels which give us all that we know of the life of
Jesus the Messiah. Ttiere are many difficult questions about
the miracles, on w^iich I do not mean to touch at this time ;
but this concerning the multitude of them is a question which
adds difficulty to all the rest.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Oct 12, 2013
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09/26/2014

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THE PURPOSE OF CHRIST'S MIRACLES OF HEALIG.BY LEOARD WOOLSEY BACO — Mark ii. 10.It is not so easy a matter as it might seem, to explain themultitude of the miracles that are narrated or referred to inthese gospels which give us all that we know of the life of Jesus the Messiah. Ttiere are many difficult questions aboutthe miracles, on w^iich I do not mean to touch at this time ;but this concerning the multitude of them is a question whichadds difficulty to all the rest. The accounts of them makeup a large part of the four gospels ; and this second gospel of the four, which is a sort of condensed gospel — a gospel intract form, as one might say, for general circulation amongplain people — is made up more largely of detailed accountsof healing than any one of the others. We must rememberthat the least of these gospels is a whole gospel, that it wasmeant to be complete in itself, and sufficient. And when itcomes to presenting the essence of " the Gospel of Jesus Christthe Son of God," in the least possible space, it is interestingand very astonishing to see what is kept and what is left out.I will venture to say that there is not a minister among us allw^ho in preparing a short gospel in sixteen chapters, wouldhave left out the Sermon on the Mount and the parable of the Prodigal Son, or that would have said " whatever else weleave out, we cannot spare the full detail of these acts of heal-ing." I believe that we should have made room for a good9192 THE SIMPLICITY THAT IS I CHRIST.deal more of what we call " fundamental doctrine " by con-densing into one chapter a half dozen chapters containing
 
the details of one case after another of the healing of sick people. Why is it that these three brief years of our Lord'sministry should have been so largely consumed in these hun-dreds, thousands of acts of healing men's bodily ailments andinfirmities and even inconveniences ? And when it comes toputting the substance of " the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Sonof God," into the space of twenty pages, why must a goodhalf of the space, or more, be occupied with telling, over andover again, this story of curing sick men, and feeding hungrymen, and raising dead men ? Take out these and other mira-acles, and what have you left of the Gospel of Mark ? Well,you have four parables, and some brief memoranda of conver-sations, and the story of the trial and crucifixion and resur-rection. But the miracles are more than half the story; sothat evidently, in the mind of the evangelist — shall we not say,in the mind of Christ ? — the miracles were the gospel, in a veryimportant sense. But in what sense are they the gospel, eitherfor us, or for the men of that time ? What was the purjiose,and what was the result, of all these mighty v/orks ?It seems very obvious and easy to say that this work of heal-ing had its object and end in itself — that it brought just so muchof joy and happiness into the world, and diminished by just somuch the gross sum of human misery. It seems a very obviousexplanation ; but the objections to it are quite as obvious, andare overwhelming.1. If the one object of Christ's miracles was directly to reducethe sum of human misery, then they were a failure ; for theirresult was inappreciably small and insignificant. I know itdoes not seem so, as we fix our attention on him from day today of his brief public life, following him as he " goes about do-ing good and healing all that are oppressed of the devil, becauseGod is with him," — as we sit beside him, in the city or thewilderness, and see the countless procession of the wretched draw-PURPOSE OF CHRIST'S MIRACLES OF HEALIG. 93
 
ing near to him, and of the cleansed and healed bounding away,and making the air to ring with praises '' to God who had givensuch power to men." A magnificent display, it seems, of thesupreme bounty of God, that when he bringeth his only-begot-ten into the world, he should send him on such a royal andtriumphal progress.Where'er he went, affliction fled,And sickness reared her tainthig head.Tlie eye that rolled in irksome night,Beheld his face, — for God is light ;The opening ear, the loosened tongue,His precepts heard, his }jraises sung.With bounding steps, the halt and lame,To hail their great deliverer came ;O'er the cold grave he bowed his head.He spake the word, and raised the dead.Despairing madness, dark and wild,In hia inspiring presence smiled ;The storm of horror cobsed to roll,And reason lightened through the soul.But, after all, when we consi^ler it with some regard to per-spective and proportion, what an atom of comfort is this, besidethe huge, mountainous mass of human woe ! AVhat a mere dropof solace in an ocean of agony ! Think how this earth looks, tohim who can look down upon it from the circle of the heavens.P .re ihe little globe is toiling j^ainfully round upon its axis,neaving up into the light, and then bearing down again andburying in the darkness its unspeakable loads of misery cryingincessantly toward God. For these many, many centuries, untilthe hundreds of years begin to be counted up into the thousands,in all the various lands of earth, one generation has been grow-ing up after another, strutting its little hour of pride and folly,feeling the pangs of a myriad of diseases and distresses, and reel-ing, one after the other, down to death. Men have looked inupon the outer edge of the population that swarms and swelters

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