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it was a faith in his Messiahship, his Christhood, his power from God to heal.'
Christ preached the kingdom of heaven, the entering therein even now, to the end of life therein forever. Better enter the kingdom maimed or halt, than not at all; better still that the whole man ity of Christ. enter in, bring every element of life within the dominant purpose of serving God, and perfect his entire The life and teaching which, for all men forever, should set forth that purpose and exemplify its scope, must touch the possibilities of every life. Christ's life and teaching, Christianity, would fail in universal application if a human life should ever pass beyond, or need for its perfecting aught outside the purpose-scope of life set forth by Christ. Christianity must offer scope for every element of life, and found itself upon the whole of man, nor fail to recognize life's limitations, or it could be no universal religion for mankind.
There was significance in the initial fact that Christ's disciples were ordinary elemental men and women. At its start Christianity was even by the conditions of its existence opposed to the class exclusiveness of Scribes and Pharisees, and independent of any special mode of living, such as that which the Essenes looked on as allimportant. Likewise, as afterwards appeared, it was opposed to the aristocracy of knowledge of the Hellenic world. Jesus moving among all kinds of people, conversing with publicans and sinners, made natural opportunity for teachings which should touch all sides of human nature, and rest on fundamental human traits. His own life set forth beneficence to all; he heals multitudes, all the sick. No one was outside the compass of his love; all might come within the range of his restoring power. "Go your way and tell John the things which ye do hear and see; the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, and ' Matt. viii, 5-13; Luke viii, 43, 48; Mark vi, 5.
the dead are raised up, and the poor have good tidings preached to them."''
The absolutely free-gift nature of his love, that it was not extended to the worthy only, that it looked for no direct return, was shown in every act, and in nothing more than in his love for children. He lays his hands on them and blesses: "Suffer little children to come unto me; of such is the kingdom of heaven;"'—the needy trust of childhood, without it no one can come to God. Beware how ye cause one of these little ones to stumble! Christ's love warns evil off, and threatens. He taught his disciples that Christian love is but rudimentary until it reach out to objects from which no return may be expected: if ye love them who love you, what reward have ye? and only the deserving ? Your heavenly Father sendeth rain upon the just and also on the unjust.
Christ's love evoked a love which was new on earth, a passion of devotion. No love is told in all antiquity like that of the woman who bathed his feet with her tears.' Her sins which were many were forgiven her, because she had loved much. What wonder? A new love absolute had met her, from the very heart of man and heart of woman and heart of God, that was in Christ.
And not love alone; in Christ other human emotions converged unto the service of God; human anger was transformed to wrathful denunciation of evil, especially of that lying self-righteousness the hypocrisy of which may cease to be conscious. Christianity was to ignore no emotion of man; if reason should contribute to the Christian structure, that structure should be set on the spontaneities of the human heart, all turned to the full completion of life for the kingdom of God. Jewish selfrighteous formalism stifled such spontaneities just as much as did Hellenic philosophy. The Father had
1 Matt. xi, 4; Luke vii, 22.
Mark x, 13-16; Luke xviii, 16, 17.
See especially Luke's beautiful appreciative narrative, Luke vii, 36–50.
hidden the Gospel from such wise and prudent, had revealed it unto babes,' - unto the native goodness of humanity, when weary and heavy laden, in beggary of spirit, it goes to Christ to take his easy yoke and so pass into peace.' Christ's command of love-love God, love all men-directs itself immediately to the part of man that loves; not to human reason, not to a consideration of the reward. Love is emotion; so Christ recognized, and here as ever set his teachings in reality. He will say in John's Gospel, "We love him because he first loved God's reason is unknown; it is the fact of the divine love that presents itself; man's love turns to that, thinks not of the reward. This is the only way of Christian love, which however fails not in assurance of return.
The Greek conception of fate always included matters which man could not avert, and which seemed unrelated to desert, those hard, residuary, unethical elements of human lot which have no regard for justice, but are in part matters of circumstance, in part matters of mortality. Many an Israel- ses Come. ite had also felt that human lots were not always in accordance with human righteousness. But with the Hebrew, God's plenary power left no place for fate. Whatever came on man came from God; and even less than the Greek, had the Hebrew any questionings as to human freedom of will. If life from without was inexorable, superior to human power, overriding human will, even blind to human righteousness, still it was all the inexorableness of God; and shall not the judge of all the world do right?
Christ's teachings also recognized the hard features of life; its seemingly unethical elements and necessities. If benefactions came to man from the circumstances of his life or the capacities of his nature, may it not also be beyond his power to escape evil? More than once, Christ says, as if in recognition of some principle of life: Unto Els εipnvnv, Mark v, 34; Luke vii, 50.
1 Matt. xi, 25.
him that hath shall be given, and from him that hath not, shall be taken what he hath, or seemeth to have. Such is the answer to the servant who had hid the talent in the earth, knowing his lord to be an austere man.' And so Christ answers the disciples asking why he speaks to the multitude in parables: "Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have abundance.'
He then refers to the multitude's fulfilment of Isaiah's prophecy "Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand," and adds, " Verily I say unto you, that many prophets and righteous men desired to see the things which ye see, and saw them not. Again, as from a vision of the whole of life, he cries: "Woe unto the world because of occasions of stumbling! for it must needs be that the occasions come; but woe to that man through whom the occasion cometh."
Thus Jesus's wisdom recognized those refractory matters which the Greeks perforce grouped under fate. He brought to their solution the inferences which faith draws from its assurance of God's power and love. This solution lies-like all life-within the antithesis of two extreme facts, the absolute holiness of the Creator and the insurmountable creaturehood of man. "Good master ! Why callest thou me good? There is none good but God." That is the extreme fact at one end of the scale. On the other side-" Who is there of you having a bondservant plowing or keeping sheep, that will say unto him, when he is come in from the field, Come straightway and sit down to meat; and will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank the bondservant because he did the things that were commanded ? Even so ye also, when ye shall have done all the things
'Matt. xxv, 14-30; Luke xix, 12-27; cf. Luke vii, 18.
2 Matt. xiii, 10, seq. 3 Matt. xviii, 7; cf. Mat. xxvi, 24; Luke xvii, I.
that are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable bondservants; we have done that which it was our duty to do." Every one with a sense of self and sense of God must recognize that in the sight of God shall no man living be justified. This is the extreme fact at the other end of the scale. The two constitute the setting of the question. The full answer lies hidden in the mind of God. Christ's teachings outline aspects of it suitable to human comprehension and human needs. The faith in which he lived, and which he taught, though it saw the absolute holiness of God, also knew God as our heavenly Father, bountiful and loving, wise with a wisdom which holds all life, and just with a justice wherein shall be measured perfectly those human demerits which human hardness of heart gives him no opportunity to forgive.
ment of Omniscient
It must needs be that offenses come; for men are free, free to err and free to sin, free even to pursue such course of sin as shuts the heart against repentance and the voice of God. But the foolish fearful servant who hid his lord's money in the earth, was not his condemnation hard? How could he do beyond the capacity of his nature? Shall impotence be judged? There are different kinds of impotence: the impotence of finitude; that is merely the condition wherein human power and freedom work. Then there is the impotence of power unused, of freedom unavailed of. This is self-bondage; with each unused opportunity the fetters strengthen and contract. There is no human sin more hopeless, no more complete disloyalty to God. That human impotence, shortcoming,
sin, shall be judged with infinite discrimination; that the Creator's bounty and the Father's love leaps to meet the first stirring of repentance, the first movement of the will to use its freedom, Christ teaches plentifully.
No human intelligence reaches to the adequate judgment of another's smallest act. Christ says, and repeats under different circumstances, as if to point out how men
1 Luke xvii, 7-10.