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iself in solemne legislators propely everythin
which bears on the face of it tokens of its belonging to One who spake as none other man could speak. The Beatitudes, with which His Sermon opens, are an instance of this incommunicable style, which befitted, as far as human words could befit, God Incarnate.
“ Nor is this style peculiar to the Sermon on the Mount. All through the Gospels it is discernible, distinct from any other part of Scripture, showing itself in solemn declarations, canons, sentences, or sayings, such as legislators propound, and scribes and lawyers comment on. Surely everything our Saviour did and said is characterized by mingled simplicity and mystery. His emblematical actions, o His typical miracles, His parables, His replies, His censures, all are evidences of a legislature in germ, afterwards to be developed, a code of divine truth which was ever to be before men's eyes, to be the subject of investigation and interpretation, and the guide in controversy. Verily, verily, I say unto you,'_'But, I say unto you,' —are the tokens of a supreme Teacher and Prophet. .“ And thus the Fathers speak of His teaching.
His sayings,' observes St. Justin, 'were short and concise; for He was no rhetorician, but His word was the power of God.' And St. Basil, in like manner, ‘Every deed and every word of our Saviour Jesus Christ is a crown of piety and virtue. When then thou hearest word or deed of His, do not hear it as by the way, or after a simple and carnal manner, but enter into the depth of His contemplations, become a communicant in truths mystically delivered to thee.'
“As instances in point, I would refer, first, to His discourse with Nicodemus. We can hardly conceive but He must have spoken during His visit much more than is told us in St. John's Gospel; but so much is preserved as bears that peculiar character which became a Divine Lawgiver, and was
intended for perpetual use in the Church. It consists of concise and pregnant enunciations, on which volumes of instructive comment might be written. Every verse is a canon of Divine Truth.
“ His discourse to the Jews, in the fifth chapter of St. John's Gospel, is perhaps a still more striking instance.
“ Again, observe how the Evangelists heap His words together, though unconnected with each other, as if under a divine intimation, and with the consciousness that they were providing a code of doctrine and precept for the Church. St. Luke, for instance, at the end of his ninth chapter," &c. . . Here are six solemn declarations made one after another, with little or no connexion.
“ The twenty-second chapter of St. Matthew would supply a similar series of sacred maxims; or, again, the eighteenth, in which the separate verses, though succeeding one the other with somewhat more of connexion, are yet complete each in itself and very momentous.
“No one can doubt, indeed, that as the narratives of His miracles are brought together in one as divine signs, so His sayings are accumulated as lessons.
“ Or take, again, the very commencement of His prophetical ministrations, and observe how His words run. He opens His mouth with accents of grace, and still they fall into short and expressive sentences. The first: 'How is it that ye sought Me? wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business?' The second : ‘Suffer it to be so now, for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. The third : • Woman, what am I to thee? Mine hour is not yet come.' The fourth: 'Take these things hence; make not My Father's house a house of merchandize.' The fifth: ‘Repent ye, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.
“The same peculiarity shows itself in His conflict with Satan. He strikes and overthrows him, as
David slew the Giant, with a sling and with a stone, with three words selected out of the Old Testament: Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word which proceedeth out of the mouth of God Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.' • Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.'
"In like manner, what He uttered from time to time at His crucifixion even goes by the name of His seven last words.
“Again: His parables, and often His actions, as His washing His disciples' feet and paying the tribute, are instances of a similar peculiarity.”1.
Moreover, while it is certain that developments of Revelation proceeded all through the Old Dispensation down to the very end of our Lord's ministry, on the other hand, if we turn our attention to the o beginnings of apostolical teaching after His ascension, we shall find ourselves unable to fix an historical point at which the growth of doctrine ceased, and the rule of faith was once for all settled. Not on the day of Pentecost, for St. Peter had still to learn at Joppa about the baptism of Cornelius; not at Joppa and Cæsarea, for St. Paul had to write his Epistles; not on the death of the last Apostle, for St. Ignatius had to establish the doctrine of Episcopacy; not then, nor for many years after, for the Canon of the New Testament was still undetermined. Not in the Creed, which is no collection of definitions, but a summary of certain credenda, an incomplete summary, and, like the Lord's Prayer or the Decalogue, a mere sample of divine truths, especially of the more elementary. No one doctrine can be named which starts omnibus numeris at first, and gains nothing from the investigations of faith and the attacks of heresy. The Church went forth from the world in haste, as the Israelites from Egypt “with their dough before it was leavened,
| Proph. Office, pp. 356–361.
their kneading troughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders.”
Moreover, the political developments contained in the historical parts of Scripture are as striking as the prophetical and the doctrinal. Can any history wear a more human appearance than that of the rise and growth of the chosen people to which I have just alluded? What had been determined in the counsels of the Lord of heaven and earth from the beginning, what was immutable, what was announced to Moses in the burning bush, is afterwards represented as the growth of an idea under successive emergences. The Divine Voice in the bush announced the Exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt and their entrance into Canaan; and added, as a token of the certainty of His purpose, “When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.” Now this sacrifice or festival, which was but incidental and secondary in the great deliverance, is for a while the ultimate scope of the demands which Moses makes upon Pharaoh. - Thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the King of Egypt, and you shall say unto him, The Lord God of the Hebrews hath met with us, and now let us go, we beseech thee, three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.” It was added that Pharaoh would first refuse their request, but that after miracles he would let them go altogether, nay with “jewels of silver and gold, and raiment.” Accordingly the first request of Moses was, “Let us go, we pray thee, three days' journey into the desert, and sacrifice unto the Lord our God.” Before the plague of frogs the warning is repeated, “Let My people go that they may serve Me; and after it Pharaoh says, “I will let the people go, that they may do sacrifice unto the Lord.” It occurs again before the plague of flies; and after it Pharaoh offers to let the Israel
ites sacrifice in Egypt, which Moses refuses on the ground that they will have to “sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes.” “We will go three days' journey into the wildorness," he proceeds, “and sacrifice to the Lord our God;" and Pharaoh then concedes their sacrificing in the wilderness, “ only,” he says, “You shall not go very far away.” The demand is repeated separately before the plagues of murrain, hail, and locusts, no mention being yet made of anything beyond a service or sacrifice in the wilderness. On the last of these interviews, Pharaoh asks an explanation, and Moses extends his claim: “We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we go, for we must hold a feast unto the Lord.” That it was an extension seems plain from Pharaoh's reply: “Go now ye that are men and serve the Lord, for that ye did desire." Upon the plague of darkness Pharaoh concedes the extended demand, excepting the flocks and herds; but Moses reminds him that they were implied, though not expressed in the original wording :.“ Thou must give us also sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice unto the Lord our God.” Even to the last, there was no intimation of their leaving Egypt for good; the issue was left to be wrought out by the Egyptiansssue mas tians. “All these thy servants,” says Moses, “shall come down unto me, and bow down themselves unto me, saying, Get thee out, and all the people that follow thee, and after that I will go out;" and accordingly, after the judgment on the first-born, they were thrust out at midnight, with their flocks and herds, their kneading troughs and their dough, laden, too, with the spoils of Egypt, as had been fore-ordained, yet apparently by a combination of circumstances, or the complication of a crisis. Yet Moses knew that their departure from Egypt was final, for he took the bones of Joseph with him; and
these thyhe wrought!Egypt