Luke 8:43
In introduction, point out that the form of the approach of this woman, her own idea of doing nothing beyond touching the hem of a person's garment, and her fright when she had been discovered as doing even that, were presumably due just to the fact that her disease was one that rendered her ceremonially unclean, and which forbade her to touch another person. She thought she saw her way possibly out of this by touching only the hem of only a garment. Notice -

I. THE ILLUSTRATION HERE AFFORDED OF HOW THE SOUL, DRIVEN BY WANT, BY WOE, BY SIN, NEED NOT BE DRIVEN WITHAL TO RECKLESSNESS, BUT CANNOT DO BETTER TITAN UTILIZE ITS DRIVENNESS OF STATE IN THE DIRECTION OF THE QUEST OF HELP BY METHODS EVEN THE MOST UNUSUAL.

II. THE ILLUSTRATION HERE AFFORDED THAT WHERE EVERY LOOPHOLE, EVERY AVENUE, MAY SEEM CLOSED, IT MAY BE SAID TO BE ALWAYS TRUE THAT THERE IS ONE LEFT - THAT ONE THE RIGHT ONE, AS THE ONLY ONE - IT NEEDS TO BE SOUGHT, AND IT IS THEN TO BE FOUND.

III. THE ILLUSTRATION HERE AFFORDED OF THE SUPREME EASE WITH WHICH THE OVERFLOWING GRACE OF CHRIST LENDS ITSELF TO THE SLIGHTEST CONTACT OF FAITHs, WITH THE RESULT OF INSTANTANEOUS CREATION OF LIFE - OTHER CONTACT UNFRUITFUL.

IV. THE ILLUSTRATION HERE AFFORDED OF THE PRACTICALLY ASSURED VERDICT OF CHRIST, THAT HIS GRANDEST ACHIEVEMENT IN SAYING A BODY IS INCOMPLETE ESSENTIALLY WITHOUT THE SOUL SAVED ALSO.

V. THE ILLUSTRATION HERE GIVEN OF CHRIST'S EARTHLY BENEDICTION UPON SUCH BODY AND SOUL TOGETHER MADE NEW. - B.







Came behind Him, and touched the border of His garment.
We believe in the progressive character of the Christian life. It is like the increasing light, which comes to us first as the dim dawn, then as the grey morning, and afterwards as the noon-day brightness. This progress is connected with, indeed is essential to, our highest well-being. It is a progress from good to better, and from better to best. Let us devoutly think of our life in its relation to Christ.

I. THE FIRST STAGE IS LIFE BEHIND CHRIST. And what a picture this woman presents, as she quietly presses her way through the thronging crowd, as if by stealth, to take away the needed boon. She had tried life away from Christ; and that had proved a failure. Now she tries life in contact with Christ; this proves an immediate success. When it is asked, What brought her to Christ at all? we can only answer, She was driven by her sense of need, and drawn by her faith in Christ. Driven and drawn. This, more or less, is the experience of all who come to Christ. A sense of their need drives them; a knowledge of His character draws them.

II. THE SECOND STAGE IS LIFE BEFORE CHRIST. Had this woman gone away as stealthily as she came, she would have gone away but half-blessed; she would have touched His garment and been healed; she would not have tasted His love and been made happy.

1. Life before Christ is life revealing itself to Him. And what a wonderful saying that is: "She told Him all the truth!" "All the truth" about what she had suffered; and that was a mournful tale. And we have not risen to the glory of life before Christ if we are not accustomed to go and tell Him every phase of our experience, all the truth about our sins and our sorrows, our hopes and our fears. There may be phases of experience which we have never breathed into any human ear; but we can whisper all in His ear, confident that He will neither betray our trust nor withhold His sympathy. It takes a great many keys to unlock all the rooms of a great house; but the owner carries a master-key that unlocks them every one. There are rooms in the house of the heart into which few, if any, of our friends are admitted; but the master-key is in the hands of Christ, and He can come and bring all heaven in His train.

2. Life before Christ is life working beneath His eye. The saintly Payson speaks of three classes of Christian workers, and represents them as occupying three circles around Christ. In the outer circle there are those who take rare side-glances at Christ; in the inner circle there are those who occasionally look up to catch His smile; and in the innermost circle there are those who bring all their work and do it beneath His eye. These last, in the truest, fullest, gladdest sense, stand in the presence of Christ, and have life before Christ.

3. Life before Christ is life blessed with His friendship. He is my physician, and I am grateful to Him; but He is my friend, and I am happy in Him. Oh 1 what a glory comes into the experience of him whose life is blessed with the friendship of Christ! Others may doubt; he has the witness in himself. Tell him that Christ is only a mythical character. You might as well tell him that the flowers that are breathing their sweetness in his presence are only painted flowers, that the sun which is pouring brightness into his chamber is only an imaginary sun. He perceives the sweetness, he enjoys the brightness that come from Christ into his very soul; and with a confidence that no sophistry can shake, with a love that no power can quench, he tells every assailant, You may as soon reason me out of the consciousness that I am alive, as out of the better and more blessed consciousness that I have the very life of God in my soul.

(R. P. Macmaster.)

When a lone woman came up in a crowd to steal something, as it were, some healing power out of His person, or out of the hem of His garment, He would not let her off in that impersonal way. He compelled her to show herself, and to confess her name, and sent her away with His personal blessing. He pours out everywhere a particular sympathy on every particular child of sorrow. We have seen that He can love as a man loves another, and that such is the way of His love. He has tasted death, we say, not for all men only, but for every man. We even dare to say for me; who "loved me, and gave Himself for me." Nay, He goes even further than this Himself, calling us friends, and claiming that dear relationship with us. "The servant knoweth not what his lord doeth; but I have called you friends." He even goes beyond this, promising a friendship so particular and personal that it shall be a kind of secret or cipher of mutual understanding open to no other — a new white stone given by his King, "and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it."

(H. Bushnell, D. D.)

How many feel the reality of a personal relation to Jesus? How many consciously recognize that their lives are implicated with His life?

1. Of some, of many, it may be said that they touch Jesus with their respect. No doubt the religion of Christ is respected. Christianity is at least a respectable institution, Nevertheless, all this respect is not like that touch which was given in the earnest purpose of faith and need.

II. There are those who touch Jesus with their opinions. But, held as mere opinions, their intellectual validity gives us no real contact with the Saviour. We may actually be what we claim to be, exclusive possessors and vigilant guardians of orthodoxy, and yet be far from Him. The essential thing is not what we think about Him, but what He Himself, in His personal relations, in His healing, life-giving power, is to us.

III. Again, there are those who seek to touch Jesus through sacraments and ceremonies. The idea of the woman appears to have been of this kind. She thought, "If I may but touch His garment, I shall be whole"; whereas we know that the virtue went out of Him.

IV. There are those who touch Jesus timidly and fitfully. Their communion with Him is felt only in impulses of intermittent enthusiasm or seasons of excitement, or it is held as a secret of which they are ashamed. We must, indeed, respect the modesty of sincere faith, the sacred reticence that guards the deepest and truest feelings of the heart. We know that religious emotion may evaporate in words, and that sterling principle may be less demonstrative than the noisy ring of cant. But, notwithstanding all imperfections, he who has really touched Jesus will in memo way make the secret manifest, not in the mere profession of the lips, but in the confession of the life.

(E. H. Chapin, D. D.)

I. THERE IS GREAT DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THRONGING AND PRESSING CHRIST, AND TOUCHING HIM, WITH FAITH.

II. SIMPLE FAITH IN CHRIST IS ALL WHICH IS NECESSARY TO SALVATION.

III. THERE ARE PREPARATIVES FOR FAITH. It may be said, "If believing in Christ be such a simple and easy thing, why can I not believe at once, and be saved? I have tried to believe in Christ, but hitherto without success." There are preparatives for faith. Yes, as there are preparatives for cure, and healing, and rescue, so there are preparatives for faith. Preparatives for cure and healing are being sick, or wounded, and feeling the need of remedies. So the woman in the text had preparatives for faith in Christ by twelve years' experience of fruitless help from physicians, Hope deferred had made her heart sick; she saw her property melt away; one new physician had encouraged her to expect from Him a cure; and she was sinking into the grave. These were the preparatives with her for saving faith. So that we may say, in general, that the preparatives for faith are, a deep conviction that Christ alone can help us, and a persuasion that He must save us or we perish.

IV. THIS WOMAN AFFORDS US A STRIKING ILLUSTRATION OF OUR DUTY TO COME TO CHRIST, WITHOUT WAITING FOR HIM TO COME TO US.

V. SALVATION FOLLOWS INSTANTANEOUSLY UPON BELIEVING IN CHRIST.

VI. THERE IS NOTHING WHICH CHRIST SEEMS TO LOVE SO MUCH AS FAITH IN HIM.

(N. Adams, D. D.)

The woman reached out her hand and touched the Saviour's garment. What was it that moved her hand? She believed. But in what did she believe? Not in herself, not in the motion of her arm, not that she was doing anything that was an equivalent for the cure, or would purchase it; nor yet did she believe that by standing aloof and waiting awhile till she was partly restored, made stronger or more presentable, by some skill of her own, she should be more likely to get the benefit desired; nor had she any theory whatever about the method in which the curative power was to take effect. You do not find in her clear and urgent sense of need that strange inverting of all reason that we so often see in men when they hesitate about coming to seek heavenly grace in Christ's Church, pleading that they are "not good enough," not strong enough, healthful enough, to be blessed by it. The soldier, after the battle, wounded and sick, bloodstained and feverish, creeps along the hot and dusty road, longing only to die under the old home-tree, and under the breath of a mother's lips. He comes to a hospital, and sees it written over the door, "Whosoever will, let him come." Does he creep back, pleading that he is not well enough to go in and be healed? What, then, did the woman believe? She believed that she was to receive something, a real blessing, from Christ. This was what distinguished her, in her humility and obscurity, from the sentimental crowd around her. This was that in her which was not in them. Most graphic history of how many hearts l She believed that she could have that new life by a touch. The reaching oat of her hand was an expression of that faith. Another signal might probably have done just as well. In other cases a prayer was as effectual. But there must have been two things: the faith that she should receive the benefit, and some act to embody that faith and bring the benefit home. With faith, action.

(Bp. F. D. Huntington.)

1. There is the unbeliever s touch, like the impious touch of the unhallowed hands of the soldiers who nailed the Saviour to the cross of Calvary. How many there are that rudely and profanely handle the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ: they cannot leave Him alone: yet even while they "touch" Him, they only so "touch" Him as to bring judgment and condemnation upon their own souls, because the "touch" is the sacrilegious touch of unbelief. The Philistines were bold enough to touch the ark, but they found there was death in the touch.

2. Then again, there is the cold "touch" of the critic. He is not profane: he is not irreverent: he is simply critical. The character of Christ is the object in which they are performing their experiments.

3. Then again, there is the fashionable "touch," which is much more common. Those who give this "touch" to our Lord are to be found in all our churches and places of worship, not unfrequently, probably once in a week; they have got their tribute to pay, and they pay it. Society expects it of them.

4. Then there is the formalists' "touch," where the "touch" is everything, but the Touched nothing! What is the most proper way of saluting Him whom you recognize as your Saviour? How are you best to arrest His attention? Form, form, form, from beginning to end.

5. There is one way in which s larger number of persons seem to "touch" Him Without receiving any help than in any other. It is the "touch" of indifference. There are many people who are no critics: they won't give themselves the trouble for that. They will not be unbelievers: they will not be at the pains to be infidels. These, then, my dear friends, are some of the different ways in which we may "touch" Christ, and yet get no healing benefit. We should ask ourselves, How are we to "touch" with good effect? Again, there may be difficulties in our way: but few of us have such difficulties as that poor woman. The very nature of her disease was one which made her shrink back from anything like publicity. She might have waited until He was not surrounded by a crowd — waited for a more favourable opportunity. She says to herself, "I am going to be healed;" she does not say, "I am going to try." How often do we hear that word "try." There are two little words beginning with "TR" the one is "TRUST," and the other is "TRY." I wish we were a little tender of the first, and less of the second. So, through the crowd she makes her way, draws near, stretches out her hand, and "she touched Him." And now we have a blessed opening up of the inner life of Christ, which seems to bring Him wondrously near to us. It is this: amidst all the subjects that occupied His mind, there cannot proceed from Him the very slenderest favour to any of the creatures whom He has made, but He is sensible of it. The reception of grace shall be a mutual thing — a thing involving reciprocal consciousness, consciousness on our part of our approach; consciousness on His part that we are approaching: consciousness on our part of our stretching out the hand of faith; consciousness on His part of the flowing of the current of His own Divine healing. There shall be no blessing stolen from an unconscious God. We shall not get it from Him when He is asleep. We will not get it from Him when His attention is fixed upon anything else. It is when His own blessed God-consciousness comes into contact with our human sense of need that she miracle of grace shall be performed. Is it not a wonderful thing He can think of us! — that, while He is giving us blessings every moment, He nevertheless gives every blessing consciously? How near this brings God to us!

(W. H. Aitken, M. A.)

I. Look at THE PATIENT.

1. Her courage. She was a woman who had suffered from a very grievous malady, which had drained away her life. Her constitution had been sapped and undermined, and her very existence had become one of constant suffering and weakness; and yet what courage and spirit she displayed. She was ready to go through fire and through water to obtain health.

2. Note also her resolute determination. She would die hard, if die she must. She would not resign herself to the inevitable till she had used every effort to preserve life and to regain health. It is a hopeful sign, a gracious token, when there is a determination wrought in men that, if saved they can be, saved they will be.

3. I admire also this woman's marvellous hopefulness. She still believes that she can be cured. She ought to bare given up the idea long ago according to the ordinary processes of reasoning; for generally we put several instances together, and from these several instances we deduce a certain inference. Now, she might have put the many physicians together, and their many failures, and have rationally inferred that her case was past hope.

II. THE DIFFICULTIES OF THIS WOMAN'S FAITH They must be weighed in order to show its strength. The difficulties of her faith must have been as follows:

1. She could hardly forget that the disease was in itself incurable, and that she had long suffered from it.

2. And then again she had endured frequent disappointments; and all these must have supplied her with terrible reasons for doubting. Yet she was not dismayed: her faith rose superior to her bitter experience, and she believed in the Lord.

3. There was also another difficulty in her way, and that was, her vivid sense of her own unworthiness.

4. I do not know whether the other difficulty did occur to her at all, but it would to me, namely, that She had now no money.

5. Perhaps the worst difficulty of all was her extreme sickness at that time. We read that she was nothing better, but rather grew the worse.

III. THE VANISHING POINT OF ALL HER DIFFICULTIES. We read of her first that she had heard of Jesus. It is Mark who tells us that, "When she had heard of Jesus." "Faith cometh by hearing." The point to notice most distinctly is this. The poor woman believed that the faintest contact with Christ would heal her. Notice the words of my text: "If I may touch but His clothes." It is not, "If I may but touch His clothes" — no, the point does not lie in the touch; it lies in what was touched. Splendid faith I It was not more than Christ deserved, but yet it was remarkable. It was a kind of faith which I desire to possess abundantly. The slenderest contact with Christ healed the body, and will heal the soul; ay, the faintest communication. Do but become united to Jesus, and the blessed work is done.

IV. HER GRAND SUCCESS. Let me remind you again, however, of how she gained her end. She gave to the Lord Jesus an intentional and voluntary touch. Yet note that she was not healed by a contact with the Lord or with His garment against her will: she was not pushed against Him accidentally, but the touch was active and not merely passive. And now see her grand success; she no sooner touched than she was healed; in a moment, swift as electricity, the touch was given, the contact was made, the fountain of her blood was dried up, and health beamed in her face immediately. Immediate salvation! I heard a person say the other day that he had heard of immediate conversion, but he did not know what to make of it. Now, herein is a marvellous thing, for such cases are common enough among us. In every case spiritual quickening must be instantaneous. However long the preparatory process may be, there must be a time in which the dead soul begins to live. There may be cases in which a blessing comes to a man and he is scarcely aware of it, but this woman knew that she was saved; she felt in herself that she was whole of her plague. She had next the assurance from Christ Himself that it was so, but she did not obtain that assurance till she had made an open confession.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. CONSIDER WHAT THIS SUFFERER SAID WITHIN HERSELF (Matthew 9:21).

1. As displaying ignorance of the true nature of Christ. Impossible then to have the clear and distinct ideas that we may now.

2. As displaying not only ignorance, but error, along with truth.

3. Was her faith, then, a foolish credulity? Not at all. She knew the wonders He had wrought on others, and responded to the goodness and truth His language and demeanour expressed; and on this convincing evidence she trusted Jesus, and was healed.

II. CONSIDER THIS FEELING TOWARDS CHRIST AS FINDING RECOGNITION WIDER THAN THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH. The world finds healing in the slightest contact with Christ. How vast the number, outside avowed followers of Christ, who crowd Christian sanctuaries Sunday after Sunday, with a more or less explicit conviction that it is good to be there.

III. REMEMBER THAT CHRIST CALLS US, BEYOND SLIGHT CONTACT, TO THE CLOSEST UNION WITH HIMSELF. This turning of humanity to Christ is like the turning of flowers towards the sun, their life-giver. It exhibits a true and healthy impulse; but how many forget that it is but the first step of what should be a close and continual approach to Him! There is healing in His slightest touch, but what in a living union with Him who died that we might live for ever!

(T. M. Herbert, M. A.)

Preachers' Treasury.
1. A disorder which was endured.

(1)The disorder was unavoidably marked by much and painful privation.

(2)The disorder was long-continued and inveterate.

(3)The disorder had been aggravated by bitter disappointment.

2. The remedy which was resorted to.

(1)Observe the Being to whom the application was made.

(2)The spirit by which the application was distinguished.

(a)There was a display of confidence.

(b)There was the spirit of humility.

3. The blessing which was obtained.

(1)The communication of the blessing of healing was immediate.

(2)The communication of the blessing was free.

(3)The communication of the blessing was kind.

(Preachers' Treasury.)

I. Consider, therefore, concerning this woman, WHAT SHE HAD DONE. She had been literally dying for twelve years.

1. She had resolved not to die if a cure could be had. She was evidently a woman of great determination and hopefulness. Insensibility has seized upon many, and a proud conceit: they are full of sin, and yet they talk of self-righteousness. No doubt some are held back from such action by the freezing power of despair. They have reached the conclusion that there is no hope for them. Alas l many have never come to this gracious resolution, because they cherish a vain hope, and are misled by an idle dream. They fancy that salvation will come to them without their seeking it.

2. Let us next note, that this woman, having made her resolve, adopted the likeliest means she could think of. Physicians are men set apart on purpose to deal with human maladies; therefore she went to the physicians. No doubt she met with some who boasted that they could heal her complaint at once. They began by saying, "You have tried So-and-so, but he is a mere quack; mine is a scientific remedy." Many pretenders to new revelations are abroad, but they are physicians of no value.

3. This woman, in the next place, having resolved not to die if cure could be had, and having adopted the likeliest means, persevered in the use of those means. Have you been to Doctor Ceremony? He is, at this time, the fashionable doctor.

4. But this woman not only thus tried the most likely means, and persevered in the use of them, but she also spent all her substance over it. Thus do men waste their thought, their care, their prayer, their agony, over that which is as nothing: they spend their money for that which is not bread. The price of wisdom is above rubies. If we had mines of gold, we might profitably barter them for the salvation of our souls.

II. We have seen what the woman had done; now let us think of WHAT HAD COME OF IT. We are told that she had suffered many things of many physicians.

1. That was her sole reward for trusting and spending: she had not been relieved, much less healed; but she had suffered. She had endured much additional suffering through seeking a cure. Efforts after salvation made in your own strength act like the struggles of a drowning man, which sink the more surely.

2. There has been this peculiarly poignant pang about it all, that you are nothing bettered.

3. We read of this woman, that though she suffered much, she was nothing better, but rather grew worse. You are becoming more careless, more dubious than you once were. You have lost much of your former sensitiveness. You are doing certain things now that would have startled you years ago, and you are leaving certain matters undone which once you would have thought essential.

4. This is a sad, sad case l As a climax of it all, the heroine of our story had now spent all that she had. Welcome, brother! Now you are ready for Jesus. When all your own virtue has gone out of you, then shall you seek and find that virtue which goeth out of Him.

III. This brings to our notice, in the third place, WHAT THIS WOMAN DID AT LAST.

1. Note well she resolved to trust in Jesus in sheer despair of doing anything else.

2. After all, this was the simplest and easiest thing that she could do. Touch Jesus.

3. Not only was this the simplest and easiest thing for the poor afflicted one, but certainly it was the freest and most gracious. There was not a penny to pay.

4. This was the quietest thing for her to do. She said nothing. She did not cry aloud like the blind men.

5. This is the only effectual thing. Touch Jesus, and salvation is yours at once. Simple as faith is, it is never-failing.

IV. And now, poor convicted sinner I here comes the driving home of the nail. DO THOU AS THIS WOMAN DID.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. MEN'S FAILURES. Human physicians could not heal. Sin incurable by self.

II. A SUPERSTITIOUS FAITH. Faith may grow in strange places.

III. AN ACTUAL TOUCH. We want the same living connection with Christ, and it is possible still.

IV. IMMEDIATE HELP. No need to wait long; prayer answered often sooner than we expect.

V. A TREMBLER IN HIDING. Glad to have blessing from Christ, but fearing to reveal how obtained.

VI. PUBLIC ACKNOWLEDGMENT. Christ requires this. We must bear witness, &c. Free men.

VII. INDIVIDUAL RECOGNITION. Christ will not pass us in a crowd.

VIII. GENEROUS ENCOURAGEMENT. He might have called her "rude" or "foolish." Not so. He calls her "daughter."

IX. SPIRITUAL ENLIGHTENMENT. It was not any power lying in the touching of My garment; it was thy faith that saved thee. Conclusion: The only one in the crowd blessed. Why? Lack of faith, not lack of need. How near we may be to Christ, and yet not find true spiritual healing or renewal.

(T. Sherlock, B. A.)

Who is this wan, feeble woman that struggles through the swaying crowd, and watches her opportunity to stoop and lay her hand on the Healer's garment? This, say the Evangelists, is a poor woman afflicted for twelve years with a disorder, a haemorrhage, which was then held to warrant divorce — a disorder which rendered her" unclean "in the eyes of the law, so that she could neither enter temple nor synagogue. This, says Eusebius, was Veronica, a woman of wealth and repute, who dwelt in Casarea Philippi, at the northernmost extremity of the Holy Land, hard by the main source of the river Jordan, in a lonely valley at the foot of Hermon. "I, Eusebius, have seen her house in that city. And to this day [some three centuries after the miracle], before the gate of her house, on a lofty block of stone, there stands a brazen sculpture; on the one side, a woman drops on her bended knees, with hands outstretched as in supplication; and, opposite to her, stands a man, erect and tall, becomingly clad in a mantle, who extends His hand to the suppliant. At her feet there springs a certain strange plant, which rises as high as the hem of her garment; it is held to be an antidote to all forms of disease. This they say, is a statue of Jesus Christ." Eusebius goes on to argue the probability that Veronica caused it to be erected, since it was a custom of the Gentiles to erect statues to those who had healed them; and Caesarea Philippi being, not a Jewish, but a Phoenician city, mainly inhabited by Greeks, we have every reason to believe that Veronica herself was a Gentile. But whoever she was, and whencesoever she came, she had heard of Jesus, and conceived a hope that He would heal her. A woman who had spent all that she had, only to suffer more from her doctors than from her disease, in her despair would be very apt to betake herself to One who at least demanded no fee, and who was reported to have wrought many marvellous cures .... But why does she select the hem, or border, of His garment? Perhaps because in her diffidence she thought herself unworthy to do more. Perhaps because in her faith she thought even this would be enough. Perhaps simply because she thought the border of His garment might be most easily touched without attracting attention Beyond a doubt, her faith, though genuine, was darkened by superstition. In His grace the Lord Jesus corrects and enlarges her conception; He disentangles the truth in it from the error. But mark how He does it, how patiently, how gradually. At first it is her superstition, rather than her faith, which is confirmed But why did He not let the poor woman creep quietly away with her boon? Why compel her to tell her sad story of womanly pain and suffering in so many ears? Simply because He loves her too well to let her go away with half a blessing. Simply that He may teach her that it is her faith, and not, as she thought, her mere touch, which has saved her. It is a pathetic story, a story —

1. Full of hope and gracious incentive for all who believe, however weak their faith may be.

2. Conveying also a lesson of warning. Many thronged and pressed upon Christ; many touched His clothes; yet only one touched Him.

3. Teaching also a lesson of invitation. According to the Hebrew law she was impure, and made all she touched impure; but she ventured to touch Jesus, and, instead of making Him unclean, He makes her clean and whole. Now, whatever our sins may have been, we can hardly be farther from hope than she. And however faintly we may turn to Christ, however ignorantly, we can hardly do less than she who hid herself in the darkness and the crowd, and laid trembling fingers on the edge of His garment, to see what would come of that. Jesus did not know her or her story — did not know even that it was she who had touched Him. Yet she was healed. Why? Because His will is always for the health and salvation of men. Virtue is stored up in Him, and flows forth from Him at every touch of faith.

(S. Cox, D. D.)

THE WOMAN WHO CAME BEHIND HIM IN THE CROWD.

Near Him she stole, rank after rank;

She feared approach too loud;

She touched His garments' hem, and shrank

Back in the sheltering crowd.

A shame-faced gladness thrills her frame:

Her twelve years' fainting prayer

Is heard at last; she is the same

As other women there.

She hears His voice; He looks about;

Ah! is it kind or good

To drag her secret sorrow out

Before that multitude?

The eyes of men she dares not meet —

On her they straight must fall:

Forward she sped, and at His feet

Fell down, and told Him all.

His presence makes a holy place;

No alien eyes are there;

Her shrinking shame finds god-like grace,

The covert of its care.

"Daughter," He said, "be of good cheer;

Thy faith hath made thee whole";

With plenteous love, not healing mere,

He would content her soul.

(G. MacDonald.)

I. THE SENSITIVENESS OF CHRIST. "Who touched Me?" Ruskin has said truly, "We are only human in so far as we are sensitive."

II. THE YEARNING OF CHRIST FOR NEARER PERSONAL FELLOWSHIP WITH MEN. The question must be interpreted by the result. Evidently what He desired was to bring the woman nearer, and to establish more direct and abiding relationship between her and Himself.

III. THE JOY OF CHRIST IN CONFERRING BENEFITS UPON HUMAN SOULS. Mark —

1. The loving address — "daughter."

2. The comfortable words — "Thy faith hath made thee whole."

3. The gracious dismissal — "Go in peace."Learn —

1. That we should come to Christ in our need.

2. That we should commune with Him with the greatest freedom and openness.

3. That we should confess gladly and gratefully before men all the good we have received at His hands.

4. That we should comply with all His solicitings, and ever seek nearer and. dearer fellowship with Him as our Saviour and our God.

(W. Forsyth, M. A.)

We have to trace the history of a touch. Let us inquire —

I. WHY THIS TOUCH ATTRACTED THE PARTICULAR ATTENTION OF THE SAVIOUR?

1. It was the touch of a sufferer whose case before that touch had been desperate.

2. It was the touch of faith.

3. It was a touch that wrought an instant and perfect cure.

II. WHY DID THE SAVIOUR ASK THE QUESTION, "Who touched Me?" This excited the wonder of the disciples.

1. Not from ignorance.

2. Not from exhaustion.

3. Not from displeasure. But

(1)To show that He marks the difference between thronging and touching Him. ("Many," says , "press upon Christ, in outward ordinances, but believers touch Him; it is by faith that He is touched, so as to have virtue from Him.")

(2)To enlighten and invigorate the faith of her who touched Him.

(3)To assert His right to be glorified for what He has done.

4. That the interview might issue in the bestowment of His benediction.

(C. Stanford, D. D.)

Oh, dost Thou ask who touched Thy garment? Oh,

Sweet Master, hast Thou not turned back and viewed

How round Thee throng and press the multitude?

"Not all who throng and press for Mine I know;

But trembling, falling, one now Mine draws near,?

To tell of garment touched and ended woe,

The things she sought not, nor has heard, to hear;

Things present, things to come, her deeds revealing,

The fount of sin whose flowing none may stay,

Till breaks on Calvary the Fount of Healing,

All wounds to staunch, all tears to wipe away.

This Flesh, My garment, feels but faith's right hand;

All: many near Its hem, unhealed will stand!"

(A. M. Morgan.)

Virtue at one time meant strength, Now it is used to denote purity. Jesus meant that power had gone out from Him. It is worth while to note that virtue cannot leave one and pass to another without a loss to the giver. There can be little doubt that the sacred body of Jesus had to suffer for being the medium of healing, and that very costly was the honour of being the shrine of Divinity.

I. Virtue is gone out of Me to ONE WHO FAILED TO GET HELP ELSEWHERE. As a last resource, she came and tried Jesus. Is she not a picture of many among us, who try everything but the right thing, and also go anywhere rather than to the Saviour? There is Dr. Merryman. He has a very large practice. He is the most popular of all the soul doctors, and has an amazingly large connection among young people. If some one goes to him complaining of a sad heart, he will prescribe a change, lively society, the theatre, dancing, &c. There is another of these impudent quacks. I mean Dr. Devotee, who, like the famous Dr. Merryman, has a large number of patients, but they are generally rather older; indeed, many of them have been under Merryman till they were tired out; then they have gone over to the other side of the way .to try if Devotee could help them. If you go into his waiting room, you will see some who have had disappointments, blighted affections, &c. When you are shown into his room, you notice how very grave he is — none of the flippancy of the other. He does not approve of Merryman's prescriptions. Fasting and prayer and seclusion are his remedies. There is yet another of these medical gentlemen you must look in upon. This is where Dr. Apathy lives. He is the favourite doctor among men of business and commerce. They will tell you, "Merry-man is all very well for the youngsters, and Devotee suits the women, but for a sensible practical man, commend me to Apathy. Bless you, what I suffered before I went to him! I could not sleep at nights for thinking I might lose my soul. Really business began to suffer; so I went to him, and he seen put me to rights. When I told him my symptoms, he said, 'I understand you, my dear fellow, you need a sedative. Stick to your newspaper, and give up all that nonsense about family prayer.'"

II. Virtue has gone out of Me to ONE WHO HAS OVERCOME GREAT DIFFICULTIES. This poor woman must have found it very difficult to come to Christ, for at least two reasons.

1. She was ceremoniously unclean. And so are we. Yet we should not let this deter us.

2. There was the difficulty of the crowd. The people thronged Him; and no wonder, for He was on His way to heal the ruler's daughter. The crowd was between her and the Lord.

III. Virtue has gone out of Me to ONE WHO HAS FAITH. DO not wait till you have altered this, or improved that; all that can be done afterwards.

IV. Virtue is gone out of Me to one WHO MUST CONFESS THE TRUTH.

(J. Champness.)

I. IN NATURE, WE HAVE WHAT HAS LATELY BEEN TERMED THE PERSISTENCE, OR CONSERVATION OF FORCE.

II. THIS LAW OF COST IS ALSO ECONOMIC LAW. In agriculture, what we call the bounty of nature, the gift outright, comes a long way short of what is needed even for merest comfort. The spontaneous products of nature are scanty. So of all industry and useful art. To begin with, there is the cost of raw material, come whence it may, from earth, or sea, or air. Houses, and their furnishing, tax the quarries, the clay-yards and the forests. Our wardrobes suggest cotton-fields, flax-fields, silkworms, flocks of sheep, herds of cattle, birds of the air, wild animals of sea and land, from pole to pole. Even wigwams and bearskins are no gratuities. Every coarsest want supplied, every adornment, every luxury, means work. Good things, fine things, cost.

III. THIS LAW OF COST IS ALSO MENTAL LAW. Mind is very much more than mere passive capacity; it is vital, organizing force. Learning, rightly apprehended, is not mere passive reception, as of water into a cistern, bringing with it all the accidents and impurities of roof or aqueduct. It is water in oak, or elm, making its way up through living tissue, filtered as it ascends, shaking out its leafy banner, hardening into toughest fibre.

IV. BUT THIS LAW OF COST IS PRE-EMINENTLY SPIRITUAL LAW. The so-called passive virtues either are not virtues, or are not passive. Humility, patience, self-denial, and the forgiveness of injuries, are battles and victories. So it has been, and so it shall be, in essence, to the end. Redemption cost infinitely in eternity, and must cost in time. Human history almost began with martyrdom. The blood of righteous Abel inaugurated the stern economy. Scarcely a people have ever been evangelized without the baptism of blood. Scarcely a man has ever been signally useful without the baptism of some great sorrow. We learn in suffering what we teach in song.

(R. D. Hitchcock, D. D.)

I. First, then, IN THE USE OF ALL MEANS AND ORDINANCES LET IT BE OUR CHIEF AIM AND OBJECT TO COME INTO PERSONAL CONTACT WITH THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.

1. Note, first, she felt that it was of no use being in the crowd, of no use to be in the same street with Christ, or near to the place where Christ was, but she must get at Him; she must touch Him. She touched Him, you will notice, under many difficulties. There was a great crowd. It is very easy to kneel down to pray, but not so easy to reach Christ in prayer.

2. Observe, again, that this woman touched Jesus very secretly. Beloved, that is not always the nearest fellowship with Christ of which we talk the most. Deep waters are still. Nathaniel retired to the shade that no one might see him, but Jesus saw him and marked his prayer, and He will see thee in the crowd and in the dark, and not withhold His blessing.

3. This woman also came into contact with Christ under a very deep sense of unworthiness.

4. Notice, once again, that this woman touched the Master very tremblingly, and it was only a hurried touch, but still it was the touch of faith.

II. THE WOMAN IN THE CROWD DID TOUCH JESUS, AND, HAVING DONE SO, SHE RECEIVED VIRTUE FROM HIM. In Christ there is healing for all spiritual diseases. There is a speedy healing. There is in Christ a sufficient healing, though your diseases should be multiplied beyond all bounds.

III. And now the last point is — and I will not detain you longer upon it — IF SOMEBODY SHALL TOUCH JESUS, THE LORD WILL KNOW IT. NOW, as Jesus knows of your salvation, He wishes other people to know it.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. First, then, we say concerning this woman, that HER HIDING SEEMED VERY EXCUSABLE. I have already said that if, in any instance, a cure might have been concealed, this was one; and it was so for many reasons.

1. Because of this woman's natural timidity, and because of the nature of her malady.

2. In addition to this, remember that the Saviour did not court publicity. He laid no injunction upon those whom He healed that they should tell every one of the marvel.

3. There was another reason why she might have thought she need not make a public confession, and that was, that the Saviour was at that time exceedingly occupied.

4. Excuse might also have been found for the healed woman in the fact, that her cure would make itself known by its results. When she reached home everybody would see that she was quite another person; and when they asked how it came to pass, she could tell them all about

5. Another pretext might have served this woman, if she desired an excuse. She might truthfully have said, "It is evident that an open confession is not essential to my cure, for I am cured."

II. Secondly, HER HIDING WAS NOT PERMITTED BY THE SAVIOUR. Her being brought out had the best of consequences.

1. For, first, an open confession on her part was needful in reference to the Lord's glory. Beloved, the miracles of Christ were the seals which God gave to His mission. If the wonders which He wrought were not made known, the seals of His mission would have been concealed, and so would have lost much of their effect. If this woman concealed her cure others might do the same; and if they all did it, then Christ's commission would have no visible endorsement from the Lord God.

2. Further, remember that our Lord's miracles were illustrative of His teaching.

3. But the confession had to be made for the sake of others. Do any of you wish to live unto yourselves? If you do, you need saving from selfishness.

4. Do you not think that her public declaration was required for the good of our Lord's disciples? When they heard her story, did they not treasure it up, and speak of it to one another in after days, and thereby strengthen each other's faith?

5. But especially she had to do this for her own good. The Saviour had designs of love in bringing this poor trembler forward before all the people. By this He saved her from a host of fears which would have haunted her. She had been a very timid and trembling woman, but now she would shake off all improper timidity. I have known many persons cured of timidity by coming forward to confess Christ. Our Lord also gave her an increased blessing after her confession. He gave her clearly to know her relationship to Him. He said, "Daughter!" Next notice that He gave a commendation to her faith — "Thy faith hath made thee whole." Then the Lord gave her a word of precious quieting. He said, "Go in peace." As much as to say: Do not stop in this crowd, to be pushed about or stared at, but go home in quiet.

III. Thus I have already reached my last point: YOUR HIDING OUGHT TO BE ENDED.

1. Do you not think you owe something to the Church of God, which kept the gospel alive in the world for you to hear?

2. May I be permitted also to say, I think you owe something to the minister who led you to Jesus?

3. Besides, you owe it to yourselves. Are you going to be mere pats, fluttering out when none will observe you, and hiding from the light? Are you going to be like mice, which only come out at night to nibble in the pantry? Quit yourselves like men!

4. You owe it to your family. You should tell your household what grace has done for you.

5. Do you not think you owe it to your neighbours to show your colours?

6. Now let me hear some of your objections, and answer them. I hope I have been answering them all through my sermon. Here is one. "Well, you know, I am such an insignificant person. It cannot make any difference what I do." Yes, and this woman was a very insignificant person — only a woman! God thinks much of the lowly: you must not talk so. Do not excuse yourselves through pretended humility. "But coming out and joining a Church, and all that, is such an ordeal." So it may be. In this woman's case, it was a far greater ordeal than it can be to you. Jesus does not excuse one of his healed ones from owning the work of His grace. A dear lady, who has long since gone to glory, was once an honoured member of this Church: it was Lady Burgoyne, and when she wished to unite with us she said to me, "Dear sir, I cannot go before the Church. It is more than I can manage to make a confession of Christ before the members." I told her that we could make no exception for anybody, and especially not for her, who was so well established in the faith that she could surely answer a few questions before those who were brethren and sisters in the Lord. She came bravely, and spoke most sweetly for her Lord. Some of you may remember her, with her sweet countenance, and venerable bearing. When she had owned her Lord, she put both her hands on mine, and said emphatically, "With all my heart I thank you for this; I shall never be ashamed of Christ now. When aristocratic friends call upon me I will speak to them of my Lord." She did so constantly. You never found her slow to introduce the gospel, whoever might be with her. She frequently said to me, "Oh, what a training that was for me! I might have been a timid one all my days if I had not made that confession before the Church." Now I say to you, if it be an ordeal, undergo it for Christ's sake. "Alas!" says one, "I could not tell of what the Lord has done for me, because mine is such a sorrowful story." Was it not so with this woman? "I have so little to tell," says one. That is a good reason why you should tell it, for it will be all the easier for you to do so. He that has little to tell should tell it straight away. "But perhaps people may not believe me." Did I tell you that you were to make them believe you? Is that your business? "Ah!" says one, " but suppose after I had confessed Christ I should become as bad as ever." Suppose that this woman had supposed such a sad thing, and had said, "O Lord, I cannot confess that Thou hast healed me, for I do not know how I may be in six months' time." She was not so mistrustful.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Dr. Simpson on his death-bed told a friend that he awaited his great change with the contented confidence of a little child. As another friend said to him that he might as John at the last supper, lean his head on the breast of Christ, the doctor made answer, "I fear I cannot do that, but I think I have grasped hold of the hem of His garment."

(Dr. Koenig's Life of Dr. Simpson.)

Methodist Times.
— A lady was being shown through a corn mill, worked by a river which ran close by the walls. But all the wheels were in silent inaction. "Where is the power?" she asked. She was shown a handle, and told to press upon it. She did, and the mighty force was instantly turned on, the wheels moved, and the place was alive with activity. The power of God moves in upon us at the touch of faith.

(Methodist Times.)

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