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way?' But they held their peace; for they were greatly taken aback by this question, because by the way they had disputed among themselves who should be the greatest. And He sat down, and called the Twelve around Him, like a prince, who places himself on his throne, and assembles his great men about him. He then said, “If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.' And He took a child, and set him in the midst of them: so that thus the exalted group must assume the most childlike, most familiar character. And when He had taken him, even into His arms, He said unto them, “Whosoever shall receive one of such children in My name, receiveth Me; and whosoever shall receive Me, receiveth not Me—not Me alone, as I now appear, but Him that sent Me."

Thus He places the world of divine reality, of essential substance, over against that world of symbolical relations, in which they were still at home with their wishes and fancies, and in which they even now moved with peculiar excitement of spirit. Whoso thus seeks for or receives a poor child in the love of Christ, and with an eye to his destination in Christ, the same is great in the kingdom of God, as a prince to whom Christ, nay, the Father Himself, enters in. The child in its destination represents Christ; in Christ appears the Father Himself.

The disciples now knew that the true greatness of the disciple should consist in his receiving men in the name of Christ, or generally in his labouring in Christ's name. This communication occasioned John to give expression to the thought, that there must be decision in confessing the Lord as His followerthat one must enter into a decisive outward connection with Him, if one would possess the right to labour in His name. • Master,' he said, referring to the last word of Christ, 'we saw one casting out devils in Thy name, and he followeth not us. And we forbade him, because he followeth not us.' This statement gave occasion to a very earnest discourse. "Forbid (it) him not,' said Jesus; ‘for there is no man who would perform an act of power (exhibit a display of original power) in My name, and then could lightly again speak evil of Me.' In these words a psychological impossibility is expressed, and indeed a psychological law, according to which, one must assume that all who

1 How Gfrörer makes the Evangelist patch together the narrative, chap. ix. 33 et seq., from Matthew and Luke, see as above, p. 170.

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labour with power in the name of Christ are on the way towards Him, and cannot therefore so easily speak against Him. This the Lord now states in the form of an axiom : "For he that is not against you is for you.” He then shows them that they must set a high value upon even the slightest expression of friendship for them or for Him: ‘For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in My name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward. Thus Christ demands, for the security of His work, that His people shall regard as very precious and holy even the faintest traces of attachment to Him, the tenderest germs of faith in men's hearts. That this, however, may take place, He sees Himself compelled to forbid in the most stringent terms all harshness, and all hierarchical or fanatical sternness in His people. Therefore, He continues, "Whosoever shall offend one of the little ones that believe in Me, it were better for him that a mill-stone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.? But when the ministers of Christ offend a pupil of the Church, a catechumen, it proceeds from this, that they have allowed themselves to be offended through some perverted impulse or other in their own inward life. Against this danger, the Lord now warns the disciples in deeply impressive terms :

*If thy hand offend thee, cut it off : it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched; where “their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched” (Isa. lxvi. 24).

And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off : it is better for thee to enter into life halt, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched; where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

And if thine eye offend thee, cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye,

than having two eyes to be cast into hell-fire; where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.'

This exhortation is the divinely authoritative, so to speak, liturgically ordained, word of the Chief Shepherd of the Church,

1 Another reading : for us, against us. But here, as in Luke ix. 4, the testimonies for the reading accepted by us preponderate. Regarding the contrast which this maxim forms to the other : He that is not for Me, etc.; see above, iii. 358.

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in which He binds His servants by the holiest obligations to keep themselves pure from all fanatical, heretical, and proselytizing practices, which tend to their own destruction, and through them to the destruction of the world. (See above, vol. iii. p. 363.)

This self-denial which the Lord has enjoined on His disciples, will certainly also cause them great struggles and sufferings. It is impossible, once and for all, that they escape the fire. If they would escape the fire of hell, they must calmly submit to the fire of self-renunciation, of inward purification, which, as a rule, is accompanied by the fires of outward tribulation. This truth the Lord brings home to their hearts in the words : 'For every one shall be salted with fire.' A fire that seems to annihilate him, must rescue or preserve him ; so that it appears as the salt which serves for the preservation of life. A fire of death, of apparent annihilation, must be to him a salt of restoration and preservation unto eternal life.

But the flames, into which they must needs be cast, shall be to them as holy sacrificial flames; therefore the Lord further adds, 'And every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. So are they now, through the salt of the word, which He communicates to them, salted and prepared, in order that in the future they may enter the sacrificial fire, as true offerings unto God, and in it obtain the true preservation unto life eternal. Still they must not regard themselves secured alone by the circumstance that the word has been communicated to them. 'Salt is good, He continues; but if the salt have lost its saltness, wherewith shall itself be seasoned ?? Have then salt in yourselves—by appropriating to yourselves the word, and assimilating it into your life; be like to a salt-spring, and let yourselves be purified and your youth restored by this salt-and have peace one with another.'3

The salt of the word cannot separate the disciples : if it be preserved in strength, it will assure their peace.

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1 See Weisse, i. 558.

? Saunier (114) thinks, without sufficient ground, that Christ cannot have spoken this concerning salt on three different occasions, viz., in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. v. 13), at the feast in the Pharisee's house (Luke xiv. 34), and here.

3 Weisse thinks he finds ver. 50, as also ver. 38, the connection of the lexicon.'

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This whole address of Christ to His own people sounds like a voice of thunder, but it is so vehement only on behalf of the gentleness which He desires to see exercised by His servants in the Church, especially by the powerful, towards the least of His disciples in the world. He speaks with the holy zeal and sorrow of prophetic love, against the false zeal which should appear in His Church.

NOTES.

1. Here also it is Mark who has preserved the strongest terms in which the Lord rebukes and warns His disciples (here especially John).

2. The Evangelist, like Matthew, makes the last return but one of Jesus to Galilee from Cæsarea Philippi coincide with the last from Jerusalem, thus passing over the journey of Jesus to the feast of Tabernacles.

3. The expression of Mark, Traperopeúovto, ver. 30, is here of incalculable value. It communicates a remarkable feature in the life of Jesus, which would otherwise have remained unknown to us. See vol. iii. p 271. The occasion of the conversation of Jesus with the disciples about the question, which of them should be the greatest, is described with the greatest precision by Mark. Likewise, also, the conduct of Jesus in answering this question. The clause oùdels ráp éotiv, etc., ver. 39, is found in Mark only. Finally, he has the warning address of Christ to the disciples in its most detailed form. He alone has the concluding words, vers. 49, 50.

SECTION XIII.

THE SOJOURN OF JESUS IN PEREA.

(Chap. x. 2–31.)

The time was now come that Jesus should take His departure, and bend His course towards Jerusalem. On this journey He came as far as the frontiers of Judea, through the region on VOL. VI.

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the farther side of the Jordan (Perea). Here again the people resorted to Him in multitudes; and, as He was wont, He taught them. But in Perea also were Pharisees, as elsewhere. They came to Him, and asked Him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife?' In this their purpose was to tempt Him. And He answered them, “What did Moses command you' (regarding this matter)? They said, “Moses permitted to write a bill of divorcement, and, so, put her away. To this Jesus

' replied, 'On account of the hardness of your heart, he wrote you this precept; but from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh. So then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, man shall not put asunder. And in the house His disciples asked Him again about the same matter. And He said unto them, 'Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery on her in the connection with her). And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery'

And they brought little children to Him, that He should touch them. But the disciples rebuked those that brought them-forbade them with threats. When Jesus saw it, He was much displeased, and said unto them, “Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.' And He took them in His arms, put His hands upon them, and blessed them.

When Jesus was already on the way to leave Perea, there came one running to Him, and, throwing himself on his knees, he asked Him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?' And Jesus said unto him, 'Why callest thou me good ? there is none good but one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. And he answered and said unto Him, Master, all these I have observed from my youth.' Jesus regarded him with looks of love, and said unto him, 'One thing thou lackest : go thy way, sell what thou hast, and give

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