By a strange perversity of the human mind, the tender invitation of Christ Jesus, — "Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven," — has generally been taken to mean that the children must die in order to go to Christ and the kingdom of heaven. These words have therefore come to have a melancholy meaning to mothers and fathers, many of whom have never stopped to think what the Saviour's invitation meant at the time it was uttered. One of the first recorded cases of healing by the Master was that of a child, the nobleman's son, a remarkable story which is briefly given in the fourth chapter of John's Gospel. The nobleman very likely presumed upon his high station when he asked Jesus to come and heal his child, his request being in marked contrast to that of the Roman centurion, who, realizing that it was not necessary for Jesus to come to his house, said, "Speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed." The servant was healed, and Jesus said that he had not found "so great faith, no, not in Israel."

Christ Jesus surely had a right to look for faith in Israel! Had not Elijah raised the widow's child from death, and Elisha the Shunammite woman's son? Had not the psalmist declared that God "healeth all thy diseases"? Why had not this people, to whom the oracles of Truth had been committed, themselves grasped the truth which makes free from all evil? Perhaps this flashed across the thought of the distressed father, as the Master rebuked in him the general desire for material evidence, but he could only say, "Sir, come down ere my child die." To this the Master replied, "Go thy way; thy son liveth." This mode of cure effectually disposes of the assumption that Jesus healed by any personal or magnetic influence. The dying child was twenty miles distant, but we read that he was healed at once, and without any personal contact with his healer. The father, too, was healed of his want of faith, for we find that he accepted unquestioningly the assurance given, and did not even return to his home until the following day; then with his whole household he accepted the truth which had saved his child from death.

March 21, 1908

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