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Lady Ron, a second by Lady Bloomfield at Claridge's Hotel, and a third by His Holiness the Khalifat al Massiah at the Ritz Hotel. There were speeches of welcome full of friendly sincerity, and we realized what a varied company we were. Hindus, Buddhists, Samijis were there in goodly numbers; there were Chinese, Japanese, Syrians, Jews, Indians, Arabian African and European Moslems, a group of Persian Shi'i and a fine body of Baha'is, Parsees. Negroes, and Egyptians drifted in. Of religionists we had all sorts: Anglicans, Roman and Old Catholics, Wesleyans, Congregationalists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Theosophists, Theists, Quakers, Ethicists, Rationalists, and probably disbelievers of various types. There were French and German visitors also.
With the minimum of ceremony, Sir Denison Ross presided over our final farewell session which was memorable for its impressiveness and enthusiasm. Two speeches from Mrs. Branford and the Rev. Tyssul Davis, five religious recitations, and a benediction from the Khalifat sent us away thankful for "something attempted” and rather more than "something done."
JESUS AS A MENTAL THERAPEUTIST
BY REV. EDWARD DAY
ANY during recent times have come to feel that the narratives
pels, are not to be taken literally, that wonderful as he was as a man, highly endowed as he seems to have been, he could not have walked on the water of a lake, could not have stilled a tempest, could not have satisfied thousands with a few small loaves, could not have turned water into wine and fermented wine at that, and certainly could not have raised the dead. They call attention to the fact that narratives of his most stupendous marvels are found in that last late fabrication, known to us more correctly as the Fourth Gospel, which manifestly was written by one who revealed no wish or effort to reproduce the actual life and thought of the Master; and they ask if it is not evident that with the passing of the years, ere the synoptic gospels reached their final phase, there was a growing disposition to attribute to him marvels of this character and if the narratives of these nature miracles do not belong to a period long subsequent to the date of his benign ministry and in consequence are purely imaginative? At the same time they remind us that most of the works of healing with which Jesus was cred'ted in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are such as are wrought by mental therapeutics in our time and that in consequence they are not to be classed in the same category as the supposed miracles because they reveal no supernatural influence. Even Schmiedel in his article on the Gospels, Encyc. Biblica, col. 1884, in speaking of miracles which he is unwilling to believe were ever wrought by Jesus says: "This power (manifested in miracles of healing) is so strongly attested throughout the first and second centuries that, in view of the spiritual greatness of Jesus and the imposing character of his personality, it would indeed be difficult to deny it to him."
Hence it seems that a more careful study of everything which throws light upon the narratives of Jesus' works of healing is demanded in the interests of sane thought in this time of exhaustive and searching criticism. It is possible, so chary have most scholars been in their handling of the biblical sources of the life of Jesus, that the full significance of certain gospel statements has been overlooked ; so that we who are less hesitant and are possessed of a wider knowledge of the claims and achievements of the men'al therapeutists of today are able to understand and elucidate them and in so doing may serve the cause of truth, and in serving it may reverently render the Christ himself a real service.
It appears, so we must conclude, that Jesus, much as he accomplished in this direction, was unable at times to heal the unfortunate among whom he moved. In at least three directions h's work was circumscribed. This statement need surprise none save those readers of the gospels who have failed to give them the serious thought which they deserve and demand. Failing here, and taking certain general statements concerning his works of mercy to which he gave but fragments of his time not needed for his more important work as a propagandist of the glad tidings, they have thought of him as one who devoted himself almost wholly to the healing of the sick and the restoration of the maimed. So to conceive of him is to grasp very imperfectly his prophetic evangel and to give scant credit to the intelligence, common sense, and spiritual appreciation of the crowds who thronged him.
It should be evident that unless Tesus could evoke faith on the part of those who came, or those who were brought to him, or those whom he encountered as he got about he could do nothing for them. Often, if not always, faith on the part of the one in distress was manifested or was evoked. Upon one of his visits to his home town he was able, we are told, to heal but a few sick because of the want of faith on the part of his old neighbors and friends. Their want of faith in him appears to have been shared by most of the sick and the maimed themselves. As Gould in his commentary on Mark (1. C. C., p. 105), says in this connection : "Jesus requird faith for the performance of his miracles, and that was wanting here: nay, there was positive disbelief, no mere doubt. He found elsewhere a poor wavering faith, but not enough to hinder his work of physical healing. though it kept him out of men's souls. But here the general unbelief of the nation reached its climax and prevented even this one good that his countrymen generally permitted him to do them."
Some came to Jesus so confidently, with such absolute faith in his power to heal and in his grace and willingness, that there was immediate and glad response on his part. There was no period of probation as there was no effort to increase confidence or to seem to make sure that the one benefited would become in turn a benefactor of others. In the case of a certain blind man who lustily besought Jesus as he was entering Jericho to have mercy upon him and who in answer to the Master's query as to what he wanted replied : “Sir, I want my sight,” there was the happy response, “See, your faith has healed you,” followed by the immediate restoration of the man's sight. When an individual loper came confidently to him, saying, "If you will, you can cleanse me,” Jesus we are told stretched forth his hand and touched him, saying, "I do will it; be cleansed.” Here it would seem the faith of the man was sufficient, the stretching forth of the hand and the touching of the unclean leper being in the nature of a mere act of friendliness and comnassion. The woman with the hemorrage, in the plenitude of her faith in Jesus sought only to touch his clothes, for she said, "If I can touch even his clothes, I shall be healed.” Having touched and knowing "in her body that she was healed of her infliction." she scarcely needed the assurance of Jesus that by reason of her faith she was made well, “Daughter, your faith has healed you."
References to the diseased as crowding about him and touching him or the fringe of his garment and being made whole muist be taken as evidence of unquestioned faith on their part. When, however, the faith was wanting, or lay dormant, Jesus seems, if he found the unfortunate worthy, to have put forth effort to evoke faith. In restoring Peter's mother-in-law Jesus is said to have taken her by the hand and lifted her up, whereupon the fever left her and she ministered unto them. In healing the man with the withered hand in the synagogue there was the command to the unfortunate. "Stand up in the center," which was calculated to create a state of expectancy: then there was the question addressed to the hostile sabbatarians who were watching him, a question which secured no response on the part of the hardened Pharisees, and the further command to stretch forth the hand ere a cure was wrought. Even greater care was exercised to evoke faith on the part of the deaf and stammering man who had been brought to him. Taking him aside from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers in his ears, touched his tongue with spit; and looked up to heaven and sighed before he cried. Ephphatha (be opened), all extremely suggestive and all done apparently with the purpose of evoking faith on the part of the poor unfortunate. Quite as painstaking were his efforts to bring the blind man of Bethsaida to the point where he could heal him. In this instance he led the unfortunate outside the village and after spitting in his eyes and laying his hands on him he asked him, “Do you see anything?" Then after his reply that he saw men as trees walking, he put his hands on his eyes ere he restored him. The ten lepers who appealed to him were told to go to the priests, presumably that if they thought they had been healed they might be examined and certified to as sound of skin. It was not until they in obedience to his charge had started that they discovered they had been freed from their leprosy.
1 Here and elsewhere in this paper the author follows in the main the translations of Dr. W. G. Ballantine's Riverside New Testament (HoughtonMifflin Co). He does so not only because of the scholarly character of the volume, despite its modernness of phrase. but also because, being true to the original, it strongly reinforces the conclusions of this study.
In a number of instances it would seem to have been the faith of those who stood in a paternal attitude toward the unfortunate that moved Jesus to acts of healing, though we cannot be sure that the child or servant for whom healing was sought was not in an attitude of expectancy which was favorable to restoration to soundness. However that may be, it was the faith of the one appealing to Jesus that at times seems to have greatly pleased him, as in the case of the Syrophoenician woman who came to him and begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter and in the case of the Roman centurion whose bondservant, dear unto him, was sick. In these and kindred cases it would seem, such is the character of the narratives, so fragmentary are they and so wanting in exact physiological data, that we cannot safely say that the ones restored were themselves without faith in the Master. Even the daughter of Jairus may have known why her father had left home and may have fallen into a sweet, trance-like sleep in the full confidence that the dear Teacher and wonderful Healer would soon stand by her cot.
Again it should be evident that Tesus must have conditions fairly favorable or he could not, or would not, heal such sick and maimed as came, or were brought, to him. In Nazareth upon occasion, as we have seen, he healed but a few. The very atmosphere of his native village was hostile to him. Those whom he did heal may have appealed to him because their faith rose so superior to their environment. His heart was touched. In the home of Jairus he would do nothing until the noisy hired mourners who wailed and beat their breasts were gotten rid of. Here one of the world's greatest exegetes simply notes that Jesus was irritated by this clamor and