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THE FOURTH OF THE PERÆAN DISCOURSES.

305

XX

xiv. 26

b

vy, 28-30

At the outset we mark, that we are not here told what constituted

CHAP. the true disciple, but what would prevent a man from becoming such. Again, it was now no longer (as in the earlier address to the Twelve), that he who loved the nearest and dearest of earthly kin more than Christ-and hence clave to such rather than to Him—was not worthy of Him; nor that he who did not take his cross and follow after Him was not worthy of the Christ. Since then the enmity had ripened, and discipleship become impossible without actual renunciation of the nearest relationship, and, more than that, of life itself. The term 'hate,' of course, does not imply hatred of parents St. Luke or relatives, or of life, in the ordinary sense. But it points to this, that, as outward separation, consequent upon men's antagonism to Christ, was before them in the near future, so, in the present, inward separation, a renunciation in mind and heart, preparatory to that outwardly, was absolutely necessary. And this immediate call was illustrated in twofold manner. A man who was about to begin building a tower, must count the cost of the whole. It was not sufficient that he was prepared to defray the expense of the foundations; he must look to the cost of the whole. So must they, in becoming disciples, look not on what was involved in the present following of Christ, but remember the cost of the final acknowledgment of Jesus. Again, if a king went to war, common prudence would bid him consider whether his forces were equal to the great contest before him ; else it were far better to withdraw in time, even though discreditably, from what, in view of his weakness, would lead to miserable defeat. So, and much more, must the intending w. 31, 32 disciple make complete inward surrender of all, deliberately counting the cost, and, in view of the coming trial, ask himself whether he had, indeed, sufficient inward strength-the force of love to Christ—to conquer. And thus discipleship, then, and, in measure, to all time, involves the necessity of complete inward surrender of everything for the love of Christ, so that if, and when, the time of outward trial comes, we may be prepared to conquer in the fight. He fights well, who has first fought and conquered within.

Or else, and here Christ breaks once more into that pithy Jewish proverb-only, oh! how aptly, applying it to His disciples— Salt is good ;'ó salt, if it have lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted ?’e We have preferred to quote the proverb in its Jewish form," to show Bechor. 8 6,

d

ver. 33

e vv. 31, 35

lines 14, 13 from bottom

.מילחא כי סרי' [has an evil odour , is spoiled] במאי מלחי לה :In the Talmud י

[blocks in formation]

BOOK

* St. Luke xvii. 1-10

xvii. 1

vv. 1-4,

comp. St.

, comp. St. Matt. xvii. 20

d St. John xi.

e St. Luke xvii. 1, 2 į vy. 3, 4 & ver. 6

its popular origin. Salt in such condition was neither fit to improve the land, nor, on the other hand, to be mixed with the manure. The disciple who had lost his distinctiveness would neither benefit the land, nor was he even fit, as it were, for the dunghill, and could only be cast out. And so, let him that hath ears to hear, hear the warning!

5. We have still to consider the last Discourses of Christ before the raising of Lazarus. These, as addressed to the disciples, we have to connect with the Discourse just commented upon. In point of fact, part of these admonitions had already been spoken on a pre

vious occasion, and that more fully, to the disciples in Galilee. Matt . xviii: Only we must again bear in mind the difference of circumstances.

Here, they immediately precede the raising of Lazarus," and they form the close of Christ's public Ministry in Peræa. Hence they come to us as Christ's parting admonitions to His Peræan followers.

Thus viewed, they are intended to impress on the new disciples these four things: to be careful to give no offence; to be careful to take no offence;' to be simple and earnest in their faith, and absolutely to trust its all-prevailing power ;8 and yet, when they had made experience of it, not to be elated, but to remember their relation to their Master, that all was in His service, and that, after all, when everything had been done, they were but unprofitable servants." In other words, they urged upon the disciples holiness, love, faith, and service of self-surrender and humility.

Most of these points have been already considered, when erplaining the similar admonitions of Christ in Galilee. The four parts of this Discourse are broken by the prayer of the Apostles, who had formerly expressed their difficulty in regard to these very requirements :i • Add unto us faith. It was upon this that the Lord spake to them, for their comfort, of the absolute power of even the smallest faith,k and of the service and humility of faith.m The latter was couched in a Parabolic form, well calculated to impress on them those feelings which would keep them lowly. They were but servants; and, even though they had done their work, the Master expected them to serve Him, before they sat down to their own meal and rest. Yet meal and rest there would be in the end. Only, let there not be self-elation, nor weariness, nor impatience; but let the Master and His service be all in all. Surely, if ever there was em

hvv. 7-10.

See Book IV. chap. iii.

i St. Matt. xviii. 1-6, &c., 21, 22

k St. Luke xvii. 6

m vy, 7-10

CLOSING ADMONITION OF THE PER.EAN DISCOURSES.

307

CHAP.
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phatic protest against the fundamental idea of Pharisaism, as claiming merit and reward, it was in the closing admonition of Christ's public Ministry in Peræa: “When ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which was our duty to do.'

And with these parting words did He most effectually and for ever separate, in heart and spirit, the Church from the Synagogue.

CHAPTER XXI.

THE DEATH AND THE RAISING OF LAZARUS—THE QUESTION OF MIRACLES

AND OF THIS MIRACLE OF MIRACLES-VIEWS OF NEGATIVE CRITICISM ON
THIS HISTORY-JEWISH BURYING-RITES AND SEPULCHRES.

(St. John xi. 1-54.)

BOOK

IV

one.

From listening to the teaching of Christ, we turn once more to follow His working. It will be remembered, that the visit to Bethany divides the period from the Feast of the Dedication to the last Paschal week into two parts. It also forms the prelude and preparation for the awful events of the End. For, it was on that occasion that the members of the Sanhedrin formally resolved on His Death. It now only remained to settle and carry out the plans for giving effect to their

purpose. This is one aspect of it. There is yet another and more solemn

The raising of Lazarus marks the highest point (not in the Manifestation, but) in the Ministry of our Lord; it is the climax in a history where all is miraculous—the Person, the Life, the Words, the Work. As regards Himself, we have here the fullest evidence alike of His Divinity and Humanity; as regards those who witnessed it, the highest manifestation of faith and of unbelief. Here, on this height, the two ways finally meet and part. And from this high point--not only from the resolution of the Sanhedrists, but from the raising of Lazarus, we have our first clear outlook on the Death and Resurrection of Christ, of which the raising of Lazarus was the typical prelude. From this height, also, have we an outlook upon the gathering of the Church at His empty Tomb, where the precious words spoken at the grave of Lazarus received their full meaning-till Death shall be no more. But chiefly do we now think of it as the Miracle of Miracles in the history of the Christ. He had, indeed, before this raised the dead; but it had been in far-off Galilee, and in circumstances essentially different. But now it would be one so well known as Lazarus, at the very gates of Jerusalem, in the sight of all men, and amidst surroundings which admitted

CONSIDERATIONS IN REGARD TO THE RAISING OF LAZARUS.

309

CHAP.
XXI

not of mistake or doubt. If this Miracle be true, we instinctively feel all is true; and Spinoza was right in saying,' that if he could believe the raising of Lazarus, he would tear to shreds his system, and humbly accept the creed of Christians.

But is it true? We have reached a stage in this history when such a question, always most painful, might seem almost needless. For, gradually and with increasing clearness, we have learned the trustworthiness of the Evangelic records; and, as we have followed Him, the conviction has deepened into joyous assurance, that He, Who spake, lived, and wrought as none other, is in very deed the Christ of God. And yet we ask ourselves here this question again, on account of its absolute and infinite importance; because this may be regarded as the highest and decisive moment in this History; because, in truth, it is to the historical faith of the Church what the great Confession of Peter was to that of the disciples. And, although such an inquiry may seem like the jarring of a discord in Heaven's own melody, we pursue it, feeling that, in so doing, we are not discussing what is doubtful, but rather setting forth the evidence of what is certain, for the confirmation of the faith of our hearts, and, as we humbly trust, for the establishment of the faith as it is in Jesus.

At the outset, we must here once more meet, however briefly, the preliminary difficulty in regard to Miracles, of which the raising of Lazarus is, we shall not say, the greatest—for comparison is not possible on such a point-but the most notable. Undoubtedly, a Miracle runs counter, not only to our experience, but to the facts on which our experience is grounded ; and can only be accounted for by a direct Divine interposition, which also runs counter to our experience, although it cannot logically be said to run counter to the facts on which that experience is grounded. Beyond this it is impossible to go, since the argument on other grounds than of experience-be it phenomenal [observation and historical information] or real [knowledge of laws and principles]—would necessitate knowledge alike of all the laws of Nature and of all the secrets of Heaven.

On the other hand (as indicated in a previous part 2), to argue this point only on the ground of experience (phenomenal or real), were not only reasoning à priori, but in a vicious circle. It would really amount to this: A thing has not been, because it cannot be ; and it cannot be, because, so far as I know, it is not and has not been. But, to deny on such à priori prejudgment the possibility As quoted by Godet (ad loc.).

? See vol. i. p. 559.

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