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though we, who are free from the national and religious prejudices of the Jews, cannot possibly imagine Jesus making the admission of the heathen dependent upon any outward form; though we consequently regard the Heathen-Christian preachers as absolutely in the right on this point, - yet we can partly understand how the Twelve, and all the Jewish-Christians with them, could appeal in complete good faith to the fact that Jesus had never expressly declared that heathen or any others were absolved from circumcision and obedience to the Law; and, consequently, when a number of Jews were converted soon after the Master's death, it might be supposed that his threats against his people had been to a great extent averted ; that Israel would still retain the place of honor in the kingdom of God, and that the believing heathen would be allowed to take the lower place assigned to them only on condition of their submitting in whole or in part to the Law.?
Now the Gospels are full of stories and expressions which refer to these very points; but though they profess to be passages in the life of Jesus, or sayings uttered by him, they really sprang up in the midst of the subsequent conflict of parties, and indeed were produced by it. We called attention at the beginning of this chapter to several of these say, ings, which will find their true place in the history of the apostolic period; and here, by way of conclusion, we will give a single specimen of the work of each of the three schools, -the orthodox, the mediating, and the liberal.
At the close of the parable of the royal wedding feast Matthew sketches this additional scene :
When the feast was at its height the king himself came in, that the guests might have the honor and pleasure of his illustrious presence. As he passed along the colonnades and among the couches, surveying and accosting his guests, he perceived a man without a wedding garment! In mingled anger and surprise he cried, “Friend ! how did you gain admission here without a wedding garment?” The insolent intruder had not a word to say. “ Bind him hand and foot,” said the prince to the attendants, “and cast him into the darkness without. There shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth." For many are called but few chosen.
This last aphorism was undoubtedly uttered by Jesus, though we cannot say on what occasion. It means : Those who are invited into the kingdom of God are many, but those 1 Compare Jeremiah xviii. 7, 8, et seq.
2 Compare p. 232.
who show themselves fit and worthy to enter it are few. In this connection, however, it is entirely out of place, for here we read of only a single member of the whole company being cast out; or even if we include the discourteous guests or the murderers, at any rate the festive hall was full. Setting this aside, we turn to the guest without a wedding garment. That a man picked up hap-hazard on the highway should not be provided with such a robe is far from surprising; and the appeal to an imaginary Oriental custom of the host furnishing his guests with suitable apparel quite breaks down. But it is needless to dwell upon this matter, or to ask how this intruder had forced his way into the hall without a proper robe, for it is perfectly obvious that the whole scene is entirely ont of place in the parable of the wedding feast. Whatever its meaning may be, it is quite foreign to the purpose of the story into which it is inserted. If it is authentic, it must be a fragment of some story the rest of which has been lost. It has been conjectured that it was a warning either to Judas, or more generally to all slovenly, ill-accoutred guests of the approaching kingdom of heaven. But the probability is that it is not an authentic utterance of Jesus at all; and, in its present connection at any rate, it is certainly intended to indicate that heathen who vainly imagined they could enter the Messianic kingdom just as they were, without the necessary festal garment of righteousness according to the Law, would be miserably rejected at the great judgment.
We will now take another story, and this time it shall be the work of the conciliatory school : When Jesus had returned to Capernaum, after pronouncing the Sermon on the Mount,” an officer of the garrison came to him, and said: “ Lord ! my servant is lying in bed at home, disabled, and in extremity of pain !” “I will come and heal him then," said Jesus readily: " No, Lord !” said the heathen, “ I am not worthy to receive you under my roof. Only say the word of might, and my servant will be well. I understand these things; for I myself bave my superiors and my subordinates, and I say to one soldier, ‘Go!' and he goes; and to another, • ('ome!' and he comes ; and to this servant of mine, · Do this !' and he does it. In the same way you have the spirits of sickness under your authority.” Jesus listened in surprise and delight, and then turning to his followers, he cried: “I tell you I have not met with such great faith even in Israe!
| Compare, for example, Acts xv. ) and Revelation iii. 4, 5, 18, xix. 7-9. ? See p. 141.
Thereupon he dismissed the officer, with the assurance, “ It shall be to you according to your faith! Anu at that moment his servant recovered.
So Matthew tells the story; but Luke heightens the coloring by making the sick man lie " at the point of death,” and still more by exaggerating the officer's humility. He thinks himself unworthy of approaching Jesus in person, and makes use of the friendly offices of some Jewish elders, who earnestly plead his cause with Jesus: “He deserves this boon, for he loves our nation, and it was he who built us a synagogue.” It matters little that this trait introduces a further improbability and contradiction, for in its literal acceptation the story is hopeless at best. Would Jesus really have been pleased with such gross superstition, were it conceivable? And is it not absolutely impossible that he could have healed the sick man from a distance? The only essential point, and the only one to which we need attend, is the indirect commendation of Israel, in which Jesus had found great faith, and the direct praise of the heathen, who had shown still greater faith. The conciliatory spirit of the story is obvious at once. The hint that the heathen when converted to Christianity love Israel, and are ready in case of need to support it with their gifts, is by no means without significance. It also deserves notice that the only two narratives which the Gospels contain of miracles worked in favor of heathen, in consideration of their great faith, also furnish the solitary examples of miracles performed from a distance. This feature is a striking indication at once of their originally symbolic character and of their remarkable fidelity to the truth they shadowed forth ; for personally or hand to hand Jesus labored only for the preservation of his own countrymen, but from a distance, that is to say, from heaven, and by means of his envoy's, - he also toiled to deliver the heathen.
Lastly, we will give an example of the work of the liberal school. The third Evangelist differs from the first and second in making Samaria the scene of a considerable part of the labors of Jesus. In describing the memorable journey to Jerusalem he begins by completely departing from Matthew and Mark, and making Jesus pass through Samaria and spend some time in it.2 An elaborate narrative intervenes before Luke joins the other two Evangelists again, and it would seem that the scene is throughout laid either in whole or in
1 Luke vii. 6 ff.; and compare verse 3 with verse 6.
part in Samaria.' But on this point the Evangelist's expres. sions are not free from ambiguity. Now this independent narrative is the longest section of Luke's whole work, and records a number of parables, sayings, and events which do not occur in the other Gospels. It begins with an unhistorical account of a rebuke administered to the sons of Zebedee for reciprocating the sectarian hatred of the Samaritans, and it goes on to describe how Jesus appointed seventy other disciples and sent them out, two and two, to visit every town or village to which he himself was intending to come. But the whole of this journey through Samaria is incredible. The oldest accounts represent Jesus as going through Peræa, and Luke himself involuntarily contirms them by making him pass through Jericho to the capital. Nor did the journey occupy so long a time as would appear from the account of it given by Luke, who disguises it almost beyond recognition, and transforms it into a very extensive missionary undertaking, which was to include at least five-and-thirty separate places. Nor is the narrative consistent with itself, for the Evangelist constantly forgets that Jesus is not in Galilee, and most of the occurrences he describes could not possibly have taken place in Samaria. But however incredible Luke's account inay be, its purpose is obvious enough. In laying the scene of an important part of the Master's labors outside the land of the Jews, he intends to represent the problem of heathen conversions as already solved by the facts.
The same purpose may be discerned in the following story. It is an unsuccessful imitation of the account we have already examined of the healing of a leper. It is absolutely unhistorical, and does not make the least addition to our knowledge of the life or character of Jesus. It is simply intended to show that, while those who are and those who are not Jews are alike leprous and unclean, labor is far more likely to be repaid among the latter than among the former :
On his journey to Jerusalem, through Samaria and Galilee, Jesus was just entering a certain village when ten lepers, standing at a distance as their unclean disease required, besought him aloud, “ Jesus! Master! take pity on us!” Their appeal was not in vain. • Go your ways,” he replied,
i Luke ix. 51-xviii. 14.
2 See p. 192. 8 For instance, Luke xii. 10, 31, x. 25, xi. 37, 45, 53, xiv. 1, xv. 2, xvi. 14 xvii. 20.
+ See pp. 202, 203 ; compare 2 Kings v. and vol. ii. chap. xiii. pp. 157-159.
filling their hearts with joyful hope, “and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went their fearful malady forsook them. Now one of them, seeing that he was healed, went back to his benefactor glorifying God, and bowed down before him with fervent gratitude. This man was a Samaritan. Jesus not unnaturally said, “ Were there not ten lepers bealed? Then where are the other nine? Is this stranger the only one who returns to give thanks to God?” Then he looked approvingly upon the man, who was still kneeling at his feet, and said, “Rise up and go your way; your faith has saved you."
Strangers received the help of Israel's deliverer with gratitude. His gospel purified the heathen world from its deep corruption, and was recognized by it as the source of light and strength, the fountain of new life.
Jesus, to his eternal glory, retained his hope unshaken through all the sad experiences of his own people's want of faith ; and that hope was nobly justified by the result.
JESUS THE MESSIAH.
MARK VIII. 27-30; MATTHEW IV. 1-11.1
(ESUS had withdrawn from the scene of conflict. He had
neighborhood of Magdala, where his opponents were harass-
1 Matthew xvi. 13-20; Luke ix. 18-21, iv. 1-13; Mark i. 12, 13.