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Here again, then we find an unusual rhythm in the language and a decidedly marked Hebrew Parallelism.
The twelve are divided into three sets of four each as indicated by the semicolons.
The charge is divided into three main divisions, and each main division naturally falls into three stanzas.
The center group of stanzas, as once before intimated, shows the usual custom of a higher development, or more perfect parallelism than the rest. That is, in this case, the main central stanza is preceded by a shorter introductory stanza and followed by a short conclusion, while it, itself, is not only line after line a perfect example of the lower parallelism, but also of the higher. For instance, notice the refrain just like the one in the fourth main division of the Sermon on the Mount. Do not be anxious, Do not be afraid of them, Do not be afraid.
The third or final main division of the charge is divided as already intimated, into three stanzas and is marked by most perfect rhythm and parallelism, a striking and fitting climax to the whole.
10: 9, 10. Do not provide either gold, or silver, brass, in your purses.
Experience has led the Church to look on these commands as binding only during this mission on which the Twelve were at that time sent. It is impossible not to admire the enthusiasm which showed itself in the literal adoption of these rules by the followers of Francis of Assisi, and, to some extent, by those of Wiclif. But the history of the Mendicant Orders, and other like fraternities forms part of that teaching of history which has led men to feel that in the long run, the beggar's life will bring the beggar's vices. Yet here, as in the Sermon on the Mount, the spirit of these directions is binding still, though ad
herence to the letter of them may have become inexpedient.
The mission work of the Church has always prospered in proportion as this spirit has pervaded it.
It is a singular instance of the varied application of the same truth, that the expression “ The workman is worthy of his food ”—which our Lord makes the ground of his command that the Twelve should make no provision for their journey—is quoted by S. Paul (I Timothy, 5:18), as a plea for an organized system for the maintainance of the ministers of the Church.
The same law fulfills itself in many ways, now by helping to pay the hire of the laborer, now by instilling in the hearts of men the full confidence that its payment may be left to God alone without any organized attempt to collect it.
See also notes on 5:42 ; 6:19–21, and S. Luke 12:33; 17:19-19.
10:12. “As you go into the house salute it.”
This desire of peace is the usual salutation of the East. The guest in these regions is always received with courtesy and respect. Admitted to the table and fireside, he finds in such intimate intercourse, if he is an Apostle, every facility for converting those that surround them.
“ Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. The serpent usually appears in Scripture as the representative of an evil wisdom to be avoided or fought against. Here, however, we learn that even the serpent's sinuous craft presents something we may well learn to reproduce.
When S. Paul“caught men with guile" (2 Cor. 11-16), becoming “all things to all men (1 Cor. 9–22), he was
acting in the spirit of his Master's counsels as here expressed. Would that we all could act them out in our lives as well!
In the exhortation here given to imitate the character of the dove the original indicates more than simple harmless
It rather refers to a character in which there is no alloy of baser motives. The followers of Christ are to become at once supremely guileful and absolutely guileless. Our Lord's reference to the symbolism of the dove in this place gains a fresh significance when we remember he had seen the heavens opened and the Spirit of God descending“ like a dove” upon himself.
In and by that Spirit the two qualities here exhorted to find their unity and reconciliation.
“ For it is not you who are speaking." It would obviously be beside the drift of our Lord's discourse to make this promise of special aid in moments of danger, the groundwork of a theory of inspiration affecting the written records of his work and of that of the Apostles. 10:23.
“ Flee into the next." If evil days come upon us, we are to remember that they came upon our Master as well. In all our sufferings we are but following in his footsteps. Nothing can befall us that has not already befallen him. If the Captain of our salvation was made perfect through suffering we are not to think it strange if in his wisdom our heavenly Father with a like end in view, allows some fiery trial to try us also, that we may become perfect in every good word and work. II:4.
“ Go tell John.” The answer of Jesus to John's disciples and the com
ments on John which follow are most musically rhythmic and abound in melodious cadences delightful to the ear.
In his comment again we find a refrain, What did you go out into the wilaerness to look at? But what did you go out to see ? But what did you go out to see?
It is quite remarkable, again, that the answer and the comments naturally divide themselves into three stanzas of highly wrought parallelism.
“ The poor have the Good News preached to them." In this enumeration which passes from the sick cured to the dead raised up, there is a kind of ascending gradation. Now, human selfishness, social selfishness, was such that Jesus gives as a sign more divine still than the resurrection of the dead, this simple fact : The
have the Good News proclaimed to them.” Oh! how well has some one spoken when painting the destitution of the people he cried : “ Lord! Lord! the poor have been abandoned to thee!”
“ He who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he.”
The least of Christ's disciples, rejoicing in his presence, delighting in his communion, taking solace in his revelation of the Father, though less than John Baptist in fame, in work, in the rigor of ascetic holiness, is yet greater than he in the knowledge of divine truth and so in the fulness of blessedness and joy.
II:13 “ All the prophets and the law prophesied till John."
The English word to prophesy, cannot be applied very well to the law, while in Hebrew, the equivalent term, meaning at once to predict and to prefigure, can be applied to things as well as to persons. The thought of the text
is as follows : “Everything has been prophesied and typified up to the time of John's coming. From John's time on, we have the present history and realization of what has been thus prophesied or typified.” We have what Saint Luke explains much more clearly in this way: “ Until John, the Law and the Prophets, since John, the Good News of the Kingdom of God ****.” John completed the old epoch and opened the door of the
“ To what shall I compare this generation ?” Worldly wisdom keeps its thoughts fixed only on results. It is for this reason it lacks all true prophetic insight into things. It is for this reason it lacks the very power of all others it would have. By keeping its mind exclusively on results alone it, by this very fact, incapacitates itself to rightly plan for or to predict the results desired. For it is continually misled by present appearances into false and injurious judgments.
True wisdom, on the other hand, is never guided in its judgments solely by results. It looks into the heart of things. It always recognizes in sincere conviction expressed in conduct the forth putting of divine power, and it pays homage to it irrespective of consequences.
It is in such a spirit every truly wise person judges all things. It is in such a spirit he himself always acts. He shows his wisdom, not by calculating consequences, but by being faithful in word and deed to the best impulses within. Such men and women make the heroes of life.
Worldly wise men, on the contrary, always burdened with over anxiety to please, always on the outlook to obviate immediate difficulties, always ready to gain temporary advantages, stifle conviction, chill enthusiasm and so cut themselves off entirely from the possibility of a