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of God. Over against them stood the laity, the “ multitude that knew not the law," the unenlightened and immature.

A perverted distinction, for, in the sight of God, it is the learned who are the laity rather than the others. These Scribes were ingenious, and had a good memoryother gifts they had none. The people were under the impression that they laid upon their shoulders a number of grievous ordinances with which they likewise burdened themselves, and that they endeavoured to close the kingdom of heaven to those that sought to enter therein. Jesus deposed the Scribes. He refused to acknowledge their gift of revelation. They did not know God.

The conclusion to be drawn from this is, however, not that the laity are no longer babes in spiritual things or that no mediator is any longer necessary—which is the fancy of a fantastic liberalism—but that He is the one mediator. No man

No man-no layman even—hath known the Father but the Son, to whom all-i.e. in this case, all knowledge—hath been committed, and who can reveal God to whomsoever He will. Thus, then, Jesus brings redemption as the revealer of God in place of the Scribes. Herewith the old religion of the prophets has come to life again. God's word is no longer contained in a book : it is living. He speaks to the world, not through oracles and wonders, but through Jesus' words. Since, however, the Son Himself is no theologian, but-in learning—a layman, so God is by Him revealed to the childlike and simple. Every child can understand Jesus. For He brings nothing but what is obvious to every conscience. He places each single


person in the presence of reality and eternity. So Jesus can call the multitude to Him : “ Come unto

“ Me, all

ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” His “revelation’ implies the great simplification of religion, the emphasizing of the essential, of the really important. It implies the end of theology. Christianity is in its essence a layman's religion, for its prophet was Jesus, a layman. But even the rise of the Pauline theology brought about the great change, though Paul himself still knew what Jesus meant. As for Christian dogma with its revelation of a body of doctrine, it is the veriest caricature of the Gospel. Jesus redeemed the people from the Scribes, and by the Scribes He was put to death. The two events are related as cause and effect. The evangelist, St Mark, has seized


this connection very admirably when he portrays Jesus as one who did not preach like the Scribes, but finally comes to His end by them. In his book the lay character of the Gospel once more finds utterance.

Next to this, and as an immediate consequence of this redemption from the theologians, comes the redemption from the Jewish Church. It is in reality already contained in the fact that the individual who was aroused by Jesus' call was made dependent simply upon himself and his conscience. Wherever men realize their individuality and individual responsibility, there the authority of the Church ceases. When Jesus claimed the personal allegiance of His followers, He was taking a step that was entirely hostile to every ecclesiastical organization and was aiming directly at separation.


Jesus finally demanded of His disciples that they should place His person above everything else, and should for His sake be prepared to endure the breach with their people and the rulers. It would seem that in His last speeches He directly foretold the conflict with the Jewish monarchy, and demanded of them in this case the completest freedom and constancy. It was indeed an immense demand to make of His disciples, laymen of Galilee, brought up to feel the deepest reverence for Jerusalem, the Temple and the Sanhedrim. But for all that they did not belie His expectations. Jesus really trained a company of martyrs, men who did not fear the council, and obeyed God rather than men. These disciples possessed richly all those virtues which the Christians in later times lost in their own Church.

Jesus' aim, however, was never merely negative. Side by side with the separation from the Jewish Church went the foundation of the new Christian fellowship - a fellowship, not a

Why should Jesus have founded a Church, filled as He was with the expectation of the near approach of the kingdom, which was to put an end to all human forms? The great interest felt in the Church is a product of later times, when the expectation of the kingdom no longer occupied men's minds in the first instance. In Jesus' teaching there is as yet no mention of any external organization, nor does He therefore say anything of the founding of sacraments, the outward signs of membership in the fellowship. He does not even, in any of His recorded sayings, exhort the brethren to foster the growth of the fellowship. But nevertheless He did found a fellowship

not a Church.

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through Himself and the Apostles. Whoever is faithful to Him, whoever receives Him and His messengers, whoever keeps His commandments and professes His cause before men, he belongs as a matter of course to the company of those that acknowledge the same Lord and Master. So then Jesus could from time to time speak of His family '-that is, all the brothers and sisters that do God's will. It appears also that He said that whoever forsook his home and his family for His sake should be recompensed a hundredfold, even in this present time—i.e. in the community of those who were of like mind with Himself. Jesus set up the keeping of the commandments, the fruits,' as the criterion by which men's fidelity to His fellowship was to be judged. By these the sheep were to be distinguished from the wolf, and the brethren that were to be recognized by these tokens were exhorted to lay to heart, as their first and foremost duty, the rendering of mutual service and assistance. In proportion as all these commandments are conceived of as purely spiritual precepts without any legal addition, the deeper, the more heartfelt, is the obligation incurred. Hence, and hence alone, it came about that within so very short a time after the first dispersion of the disciples, a new fellowship could be formed, and in this case as an external organization.

The full scope of the redemptive activity of Jesus was only attained in this fellowship of the disciples, when the new life that was in Him was transmitted to receptive hearts and minds.

All that was peculiarly His own in His piety and devotion was transplanted and became the germ of the piety of the new community. All that is rightly called Christianity is, directly or indirectly, the after effect of the new life in Jesus, and must be guided by Him. The first striking characteristic of the piety of Jesus is the hitherto unexampled concentration and exclusiveness of the religious relation. God was one and all for Him, and the service of God the sum of His life. There was no distinction here between Sunday and week-day, between sacred and profane. Eating and drinking and sleeping, joy and anger, were all under God's eyes. He combined an entirely open mind towards the whole wealth of existence that was accessible to Him with a complete subordination of all things to God. Of all later writings it is perhaps only Luther's “ Table Talk” that reveals a similar combination. A being so completely united with God always exercises an influence upon his surroundings. Henceforth religion is placed in the centre of life, and becomes the dominant power. The enthusiasm of the disciples that found vent a little later in the speaking with tongues, and in the joy with which they embraced martyrdom, is a proof of this. These men were really able to offer up everything to God.

The next characteristic of the piety of Jesus is a combination of opposites which is quite peculiar to it-the union of the blithesomeness and innocence of childhood with the courage and the serious earnestness of manhood. This cannot, of course, be imitated in its perfection by any one, but its effect nevertheless is that the predominance of the one quality always tends to be mitigated by the joint action of the other. It is probably impossible for anyone to form a con

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