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Later on we shall come across them as the leaders of the first Christian community. On all the other disciples, on the brothers and sisters who do God's will, Jesus makes no such claim. He presupposes, on the contrary, that they will live in the world amid their usual surroundings. In His words to the twelve, when He sent them forth to preach, Jesus enumerates the duties of the missionaries, whereas the Sermon on the Mount sets forth the will of God for the disciples in the world. If, therefore, the omission of the maxims of civic and industrial ethics in the preaching of Jesus is often noted, the reason of this omission is that they were assumed as a matter of course by Him. As He is not speaking to idlers, He has as little need to tell His hearers how they are to earn their daily bread as any preacher of to-day. He gives them religious principles, words of eternal life, which are to regulate their everyday life in this world, but which in themselves are useless unless applied to the life in the world.

The most important sayings of Jesus are grouped together in the Gospels after a very external fashion. A great variety of Logia are collected together under one or two principal headings. Above all, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is the new lawgiver who proclaims a great number of exalted precepts without any inner connection. But it is only fair to assume that Jesus possessed a definite ideal, and that all His single utterances must be understood with reference to that ideal. He looked at man in the definite relation in which he stands to the three great realities—himself, his neighbour, and God—and that in the presence of eternity, of the kingdom, and the

judgment. That which does not touch, or only remotely touches, these three realities is no concern of His. He has nothing to say about it. Whatever, on the other hand, either furthers or hinders them, He takes up as the subject of His enquiry and determines according to the ideal.

The end which each man should place before himself is self-mastery and freedom from the world. It is only when he has attained to this goal that he can appear at any moment before God, and will not be surprised by the sudden approach of the day of judgment. Self-mastery is to extend to the inner life of man-Jesus laid great stress upon this—to the words,

— the thoughts, the heart from which they come forth. Hence the importance of keeping words and thoughts under strict control, of mastering every evil look and every idle word. The feelings of personal honour and vengeance must in like manner be suppressed, for they deprive the soul of its freedom. The disciple is to sit in judgment upon himself, and strive after sincerity and loyal singleness of heart. Nor is he to shrink from any hardship or privation when the need arises. Jesus insists upon the strictest temperance which never rocks itself to sleep in a fancied security; upon watchfulness and prayer, and the constant struggle against temptation. Cut off hand and foot, tear out the eye if they cause thee to offend. It is only by means of this stern self-discipline that it becomes possible for man to be able to appear at any moment before God.

Freedom from the world and indifference to its attractions, its riches and its pleasures, as well as its cares and its sorrows, are a part of this self-discipline. Hence Jesus passed terribly severe judgment upon the servants of mammon, more than upon all others. For mammon's aim is to become master of the soul. He would take it captive and drag it down so that it forgets the eternal. Therefore he is our chiefest foe, of whom everyone should beware. Jesus discovers the danger that threatens from this quarter in a great number of sayings and parables. But He laid down no universally applicable law of renunciation. He demands that the soul should be inwardly free from mammon, and should be prepared for an entire sacrifice of all outward belongings as soon as God should call for it.

Another great enemy is the family. True, it is a divine institution, but it binds the heart to the world with a hundred chains, and tames the conscience and the earnest zeal of the individual. Amongst the Jews, family affection was the be-all and end-all of life. Jesus utters words which attack this affection with terrible severity and call for the severance even of the dearest ties. Let the dead bury their dead. His own mission is the destruction of that affection which makes a slave of conscience.

Again, another foe is that anxious care for food and clothing which imprisons men in a narrow cell whence they have no longer any free outlook on the eternal tasks and objects of life. Such conduct, says Jesus, is heathen. Take care, He says, of the great things,

, and God will take care of the little things. Neither, however, does He spare the exact opposite of this anxious life, the superficial life of routine and custom, the life that most people lead without virtue and without vice, and that enthralls them. He would


not have the individual be the blind slave of public opinion. Let him, on the contrary, recognize the critical nature of the times, and the serious earnestness of his own life, and go forward to meet eternity.

In all these demands, therefore, Jesus' object is one and the same: the rousing of the conscience in presence of eternity. He gives us no rules of life, no laws whatever in detail.

With other times come other dangers and other duties. While Jesus rends family ties asunder, St Paul binds them up and strengthens them, and rightly so, for the heathen world presented a new situation. The key to the understanding of Jesus is to keep His aim in view and to recognize that the way that leads thereto is the awakening of the conscience.

The aim of Jesus stands out in the sharpest contrast to the modern ideal of culture, the free and full development of the individual personality such as we associate—whether rightly or wrongly—with the name of Goethe.

We of to-day count sin as a part of our development, and delight therein if it has made us richer. Jesus demands poverty and a severe discipline. Better enter into the kingdom of heaven with only one eye than keep both eyes and be thrown into the fiery pit. This one saying is surely sufficient. By this contrast to the modern ideal Jesus approaches very closely to pietism, which at all events has understood the seriousness of the Gospel in the face of eternity. There is in the ethics of Jesus a kernel of severity and renunciation, nor is this unnatural when hell and perdition are realities. But, on the other hand, Jesus separates Himself from much that

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is called pietism. He emphasizes the need of the greatest purity, and He does not burden the conscience with petty and artificial regulations. It is noteworthy that He never opposed popular custom. Straightforwardness, uprightness, and unaffectedness, are to be among the marks of the disciple of Jesus.

As regards duties to one's neighbour Jesus simply formulated His demands in the words of God already contained in the Old Testament, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” But the old commandment receives a new and exceedingly rich application at the hands of Jesus : it is flooded by a mighty stream of enthusiastic love which bursts the national boundaries and spreads over, to the benefit of mankind.

Love is to govern all the relations of the individual to his surroundings. To the poor and needy it is to appear as liberality, a royal bounteous munificence free from all solicitude. As we ourselves receive all our good gifts from God, so the giving of them in our turn is to be a matter of course to us. Give to those that ask of thee. Blessed are the merciful. I must be ready to pardon the brother that wrongs me and that breaks the peace, without setting any limits or imposing any conditions, even till seventy times

We ourselves only live through God's pardoning love. Were it not for this love we must all of us needs perish, even the holiest of men. God's pardon is only limited by man's inability to forgive. To our friend and companion we must show humility and readiness to help and to serve, and to take the lower place even if we are the greater. He that will be great, let him make himself small and of no reputa


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