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expanded as to answer the needs of mankind or represent his ideal; that, of all that edifice, not one stone should be left upon another.
Not without pangs was the transition completed. Those who have known what it is to wrestle with doubts and misgivings, who have known what it is to break the ties of love and friendship in order to follow truth and right, can best hear all the pathos of that lamentation that comes across the ages : “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killest the prophets and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and ye would not. Behold your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” The next sentence is significant : “ And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple.” That was just such a heart-broken man abandoning finally and forever the orthodox religion of his time as you, my friend, may have known in your pilgrimage.
Possibly also his mind passed through several phases of belief concerning his being the Messiah of the Jewish hope. From time to time after the Maccabean war, agitators had appeared, assumed to be the Messiah, raised revolts, and perished. As in modern times it has been the characteristic of religious radicals – Fox, Wesley, Swedenborg, Channing - eagerly to declare their faith to be the most genuine Christianity, so then was it felt necessary that a Jewish innovator should prove that he was setting up the only true and genuine Messiahship. This expected kingdom might be conceived variously, but it always involved the supremacy of the Jews over all other nations. Possibly a suggestion of claiming the Messiahship was thrust upon Christ by his friends, and afterward the Messianic idea was gradually translated into the larger spirit of his mind, and merged in his final conception of a regenerate humanity.- Moncure D. Conway (Idols and Ideals, App. Essay, p. 22, ff.).
The outworn rite, the old abuse,
The pious fraud transparent grown,
Of wrong alone,
Which makes the past time serve to-day ;
From their decay !
A charmed life old goodness hath ;
Is not for death.
His first propulsion from the night;
John G. Whittier.
What Other Explanation of the Fact of Christ's Use of Ap
proximative Language ? ADAPTATION of utterance to his hearers' minds. Every reform imposes upon the reformer certain conditions to success. Christ's practice in this regard has been approved by the wise of all ages. Older than his era is the conservative maxim, not yet obsolete among radicals, politicians, and jurists: “ The beaten path is the safe path ” (Via trita, via tuta). Reforms come not in hurricane downfalls.
Men must be taught as if you taught them not,
And things unknown proposed as things forgot. Dr. Matthew Arnold, in advocating concession to the use of certain expressions in the prayer-books or hymn-books, even when one's belief may not fully assent thereto, cites the practice of Jesus, who, though knowing that his use of the familiar language of his day – the language of poetry would occasionally cause immense misapprehension, yet felt that it was not by'introducing a brand-new religious language and by parting with the old and cherished images that the popular religion could be transformed, but by keeping the old language and images, and as far as possible carrying into them the soul of
When Jesus talked of the Son of Man coming in his glory with the · holy angels, setting the good on his right hand and the bad on his
left and sending away the bad into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels, was he speaking literally? Did Jesus mean that all this would actually happen? Popular religion supposes so. Yet very many religious people even now suppose that Jesus was but using the figures of Messianic judgment familiar to his hearers, in order to impress upon them his main point,- what sort of spirit and of practice did really tend to salvation and what did not. And surely
* As to Christ's allusion to Jonah, see post, chap. xxxiv.
almost every one must perceive that when Jesus spoke to his disciples of their sitting on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel, or of their drinking new wine with him in the kingdom of God, he was adopting their material images and beliefs, and was not speaking literally. Yet their master's thus adopting their material images and beliefs could not but confirm the disciples in them. And so it did, and Christendom, too, after them; yet in this way, apparently, Jesus chose to proceed.
But some one may say that Jesus used this language because he himself shared the materialistic notions of his disciples about the kingdom of God, and thought that coming upon the clouds and sitting upon thrones and drinking wine would really occur in it, and was mistaken in thinking so. Manifestly, his disciples thought - even the wisest of them, and after their master's death as well as before it — that this kingdom was to be a sudden, miraculous, outward transformation of things, which was to come about very soon and in their own lifetime. Nevertheless, they themselves report Jesus as saying what is in direct contradiction to all this. They report him describing the kingdom of God as an inward change requiring to be spread over an immense time, and coming about by natural means and gradual growth, not suddenly, miraculously. Jesus compares it to a grain of mustard-seed or a handful of leaven. The world must first be evangelized,- no work of one generation, but of centuries and centuries; not until then should the end, the new world, come.
True, the disciples also make Jesus speak as if he fancied this end to be as near as they did. But it is quite manifest that Jesus spoke to them at different times of two ends: one, the end of the Jewish state and nation, which any one who could discern the signs of that time might foresee; the other, the end of the world, the instatement of God's kingdom; — and that they confused the two ends together. Undeniably, therefore, Jesus saw things in a way very different from theirs, and much truer. And, if he uses their materializing language and imagery, then it cannot be because he shared their illusions. Nevertheless, he uses it.— Last Essays on Church and Religion, p. 45.
From a portion of this view, another eminent Free Religious writer dissents, deeming it likely that Jesus borrowed from Daniel the idea of a coming in the clouds of heaven; that his favorite designation of himself as the “Son of Man" made this almost inevitable, once he had assumed the rôle of the Messiah:
Only this, however, is certain: that the Messianic self-conscious. ness of Jesus included the anticipation of his return to the earth after his death, to establish the kingdom of heaven. The criticism which endeavors to makc it appear that the conceptions ascribed to Jesus here are entirely thc reflection of the apostolic community is not thoroughly rational. It is necessary to ascribe these conceptions to
Jesus, in order to account for the hold they had upon the primitive Christian community.- John W. Chadwick (The Man Jesus, p. 160).
Still, the Christian, primitive or cultured, in discriminating on means and manners and locating the line of candor close to courtesy, must recognize Paul's idea of Christ's method: “I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.”
It may be a strange, deep question of science how our sun became established in the centre of his system, and reached that grandeur which marks him now,- eight great worlds, such as Earth, Mars, Saturn, Venus, Jupiter, moving ever around him and with him, held into being and harmony by his power, and adorned by his love; but, in spiritual directions, a similar scene appears, that of Christianity advancing and calling to her vast circle certain worlds of charity and brotherhood and purity and hope and beauty. In this large estimate of the scene, many of the variations of theologians, dead or still living, lose all their former significance, and a hundred names of worshippers blend into one worship, and a hundred ways of salvation meet in one path. On such a height, all vain janglings cease; and we see one God, one mediator, one human race, one worship; we hear one prayer, one hymn, and read one sublime creed, — "Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” -David Swing
Where, When, and How were the Principal Discourses of
Jesus delivered ? He availed himself of every occasion that came in his way, especially of the admirable opportunities of the synagogue. His addresses and attached sayings have been preserved, collected, and handed down to us without any strict observance of time and place in their arrangement. The evangelists themselves make very free with the time and place of the discourses in fitting them into their own framework. For instance, in the fifth, sixth, and seventh chapters of Matthew, we possess an inestimable collection of short sayings and more extended discourses, which the first evangelist (or perhaps to a great extent the apostle from whom his Gospel takes its name) had woven together; * but they were really uttered at various times and under various circumstances, and have no connection with each other.
Matthew, however, represents Jesus as having delivered the whole collection at once on a mountain. Hence, the name of “Sermon on the Mount” is given to this precious monument of the teaching of Jesus; and the legend has fixed upon "the Horns of Chattin ” as the place from which the sermon was delivered. Now, the evangelist had a special motive for fixing upon a mountain for this purpose. He intended to represent Jesus laying down the fundamental laws of the kingdom of heaven as the counterpart of Moses, who promulgated the constitution of the Old Covenant from Mount Sinai. Luke, however, on the other hand, not wishing Jesus to be regarded as a second Moses, or another lawgiver, just as deliberately makes the Master deliver this discourse on a plain.
The abruptness of the transitions is a noticeable feature. Probably many sayings which belong to the closing rather than the opening period of the ministry of Jesus have been put too early by the evangelists. ... The Beatitudes may properly stand first as the express
*Matt. v., 1: sermon to the disciples; vii., 28, to multitudes Cochloi]. Perhaps the throng arrived after the disciples.