Bs THE GUIDANCE
I OF JESUS
CECIL JOHN CADOUX
Register No. -I
THE GUIDANCE OF
JESUS FOR TO-DAY
THE GUIDANCE OF
JESUS FOR TO-DAY:
BEING AN ACCOUNT OF THE
TEACHING OF JESUS FROM
THE STANDPOINT OF MODERN
PERSONAL AND SOCIAL NEED By
CECIL JOHN CADOUX, M.A..D.D.
AUTHOR OF " THE EARLY CHRISTIAN ATTITUDE TO WAR"
LONDON: GEORGE ALLEN & UN WIN LTD.
RUSKIN HOUSE, 40 MUSEUM STREET, W.C. i
First published in 1920
(All rights reserved)
FRATRI ET AMIGO
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. THE BEING AND GOODNESS OF GOD . . . 23-43
1. The existence of God 23
2. The Fatherhood of God 23
3. Other beliefs about Him 24
4. God s good gifts 25
5. God provides for the bodily needs . . . . 25
6. God supplies the needs of the moral and spiritual life 27
7. God s responsiveness to prayer 31
8. God " will endlessly and untiringly forgive " . 33
9. The Kingdom of God as a gift .... 36
10. God promises help, protection, and guidance in
11. God as the Giver of Rewards 40
II. THE PERSON AND WORK OF JESUS . . . 44-70
1. The consciousness of Jesus 44
2. His Divinity 43
3. The greatness and wonder of the facts ... 49
4. His mission 51
5. His services to men 51
6. The performance of cures 52
7. Guide and teacher in spiritual and moral matters . 54
8. His prayers on behalf of men .... . 55
9. His forgiveness of sins 56
10. The connection between Jesus death and the for
giveness of sins 58
11. The inaugurator of the Kingdom of God . . 67
8 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
III. HUMAN DUTY 71-174
A. DUTY IN GENERAL ?i~73
1. Religion as duty . 71
2. The leading characteristics of duty . . 72
B. THE OBSERVANCES OF RELIGION .... 74-77
1. The ceremonial expression of religion . . 74
2. The stuff and substance of religion . . 75
3. The Sabbath 76
C. OUR DUTY TO GOD 78-95
1. Repentance 78
2. Love 82
3. Different aspects of love for God ... 84
4. Obedience to God 85
5. The imitation of His perfect Goodness . . 86
6. The doing of God s Will 86
7. The Kingdom of God 88
8. Faith . 89
9. Prayer 90
D. OUR DUTY TO JESUS 96-118
1. Jesus has for men the religious value of God 96
2. Acceptance of Jesus 97
3. Faith in Him 99
4. Love and reverence for Him .... 102
5. Listening Intelligently to Him . . . 103
6. Following Him 107
7. Obedience to Him 109
8. Reliable, industrious, and efficient service . in
9. The endurance of hardship and persecution . 114
10. Mystical union with Christ . . . . 115
E. OUR DUTY TO OTHERS GENERALLY . . . 119-129
1. " Thou shalt love thy neighbour as (thou
lovest) thyself" 119
2. What is love ? 120
3. The four general principles involved in love . 122
4. Mercy (or kindness) . . . . . 122
5. Wisdom 123
6. Truthfulness 124
7. Humility 127
F. OUR DUTY IN DOMESTIC AND FINANCIAL MATTERS 130-139
1. The relations of the sexes . . . . 130
2. The inherent sanctity of family ties . . 130
3. The sacrifice of family obligations to the
obligations of the Kingdom . . . . 131
4. Celibacy 132
5. Property 133
6. Jesus deprecates the keen pursuit of wealth . 134
7. Difficulty of the problem of personal property 135
8. A popular fallacy 138
G. OUR DUTY TO WRONGDOERS .... 140-146
1. The treatment of wrongdoers . . . . 140
2. How far are we capable of discerning wrong
3. Overcoming evil with good . . . . 141
4. Definite precepts positive and negative . 142
5. Forgiveness 142
6. Rebuke and remonstrance . . . . 143
| Concealment 144
7. J Caution 145
I Withdrawal 145
H. OUR DUTY TO OTHERS POLITICALLY . . 147-174
1. Social and political responsibility . . . 147
2. Simplicity and complexity of the problem . 148
3. What is the State ? 148
4. What the principles of Jesus amount to . 149
i. Obedience to government-orders . . 150
ii. Payment of taxes 150
iii. Submission to unjust treatment . . 151
iv. Co-operation 152
5. An important proviso in regard to obedience
and co-operation 152
6. Divergence from the State in regard to coercion . 155
7. Jesus precepts exclude coercion and injury 156
10 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
8. Coercive violence necessary, in a sense, to the
9. Rejection of unsatisfactory solutions of the
i. Only in a perfect state of society . . 161
ii. Not the letter, but the spirit . . 161
iii. Only in private life, not in public or
civic affairs 161
iv. The defence of others . . . . 162
v. Jesus and the traders in the Temple-
vi. The chastisement of children . . 163
vii. The restraint of lunatics . . . 163
viii. God s punishment of sinners . . . 164
ix. War as an illustration of Christian life 164
x. Wars and rumours of wars . . 164
ro. Three neglected facts 165
i. Relativity of non-resistance to Christian
ii. The positive counterpart of non-
resistance 1 66
iii. The extension of non-resistance neces
sarily gradual 166
n. The resultant attitude of the modern Christian
to the modern State 167
The meaning of compromise . . . 168
i. The payment of taxes . . . . 169
ii. Voting 170
iii, Obedience to, service of, and co-opera
tion with the government . . . 170
12. Practical developments we may look for . 171
INDEX OF NEW TESTAMENT PASSAGES REFERRED TO . 175
" Theologians of a certain school have almost resented the
attempt to present Christ the Teacher, as if it were better for
Christian thought to be busied with His work than with His words.
But what without His teaching would His Person and death
signify ? Are they not mutally necessary, reciprocally explicative ?
Would not His teaching be aimless without His death ? Does
not His death grow luminous only as He Himself is made its inter
preter ? His words have been a sort of infinite wonder to the
world, a kind of Divine heart and conscience to it. They are but
few ; we can read in an hour all of His thought that survives in
the forms human art has created to clothe and immortalize the
human spirit. Nor was He careful to preserve them, wrote no
word, commanded no word to be written ; spoke, as it were, into
the listening air the words it was to hear and preserve for all time.
And the speech thus spoken into the air has been like a sweet and
subtle Divine essence in the heart of humanity."
A. M. FAIRBAIRN, Studies in the Life of Christ, p. 189.
ONE does not need to be a Jeremiah in order to
feel oppressed and distressed by the general con
ditions of human life to-day. Look where we will,
it is hard to find much solid ground for cheerfulness
and optimism. The Great War, which was to have
ended war and ushered in the Kingdom of God,
has bequeathed to us a heritage of suffering and
confusion and embitterment, which will take us a
century at least to remove, and which threatens to
involve us in several wars long before that century
elapses. Our Achan has gone, but the accursed
thing remains. Everywhere there is unrest and
dissatisfaction and mutual recrimination over poli
tical and industrial grievances. The Press records
its full daily toll of private folly and iniquity. The
Christian Church, the body to which belongs of
natural right the task of moral inspiration and
leadership, is coming to realize more acutely than
ever her powerlessness to deal adequately with the
enormous problems that face her. It is not true,
indeed, as some would have us believe, that the
churches are dead. There is very much in their
life and work to be proud of and thankful for : and
it may be that much of the feeling of depression
prevalent in Christian circles to-day is due to the
natural tendency of all idealists to exaggerate their
14 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
own shortcomings. As Coventry Pat more said :
" Christianity has always appeared to her contem
poraries to be in a state of decay. 1 But when
every allowance for such self-depreciation has been
made, the recent discovery that not more than
twenty per cent, of the manhood of the country have
any real attachment to, knowledge of, or contact
with, organized Christianity, 1 cannot but be felt as
1 It had long been known that the number of professed Christians
- or at least, of church-going Christians in this country was a
good deal smaller than it ought to be and than it formerly had
been. But we have recently had fresh light thrown on the actual
condition of things in the shape of a thorough investigation into
the state of religion in the British Army engaged in the recent
war. The enquiry was undertaken by a large and representative
committee of religious leaders ; and the reports thus collected
are quoted and summarized on behalf of this committee by Dr.
D. S. Cairns, in The Army and Religion (Macmillan, 1919). A
number of passages from this book will be seen to bear out the
statement in the text.
First, in regard to the extent to which the Army is representative
in religious matters of the population as a whole. " It may be
well maintained that the attitude of the Army to-day towards
religion is fairly indicative of the normal attitude of the British
people as a whole toward religion" (p. 24). "In all this the
Army is simply a reflex of average opinion at home, as everyone
who is acquainted with average public opinion is well aware. The
Christian ideal and interpretation of national life are simply not
in possession " (p. 337). " Nothing can surely be clearer than
that the great world of to-day is not governed by Christian stand
ards, and for the want of them has come, for the time, to con
fusion " (p. 324).
Next, in regard to the actual conditions in the Army, I have
noted some thirty odd passages (of various lengths) in the book,
testifying to the poverty of religious knowledge and attainment
among the soldiers. See pp. 10 (" The religion of ninety per cent,
of the men at the front is not distinctively Christian "), 24 (" To
a very large proportion of the men God Himself means little or
nothing "), 34 (" Jesus Christ is, in my opinion, not present to
their consciousness, either as an idea or example. They do not
think about Him at all, I believe "), 46 f (similar statement by
Dr. Cairns in regard to over four-fifths of the men), 60 (Dr. Cairns :
a reproach, or at least as a very grave challenge,
to the Church. When we add to this the shame
" The answers . . . are all to the effect that the vast majority
are in a condition of ignorance about the Christian religion "),
62 (" The majority have not the foggiest notion of what Christianity
is all about "), 69 (similar), 70 (" The great majority had never
found themselves compelled to reckon with religion at all "),
78 (" The majority of men think very little about religion "),
80 ("I am convinced that the attitude of these men before
the war was pagan "), 95 (" . . . the mass of men, hitherto out
of touch with the Churches "), 108-123 (many similar testimonies,
e.g. " the ignorance of the Army in religious matters is colossal " ;
" that four out of every five should be lost to the Church is a
startling fact "), 144 f (pagan opinion in the Army as to impurity),
177 (the men in the Army " do not seem to know anything about "
the Kingdom of God), 189 ff (Dr. Cairns : " It is safe to say that
these papers convey the overwhelming conviction that the very
large preponderance of the men in the armies have no really living
touch with any Church. On this, indeed, there is practical
unanimity. . . . What percentage of the men, would you say,
are in vital relationship with any of the Churches ? . . . About
four-fifths of all the numerical estimates made in reply to the
above question give twenty per cent, and under. . . . We do
not base our view of the whole situation on these necessarily
imperfect inductions, but on the general cumulative effect of the
whole mass of evidence, which certainly bears out the impression
that these estimates convey, that three-fourths or four-fifths of
the men from England are outside living relationship " (i.e. with
the Church), " and that while the situation in Scotland is some
what better, it is very grave "), 203, 205 (" I should say that
loper cent, are vitally related to the Church, and 10 per cent, semi-
attached "), 209, 217, 221, 223-226, 229, 234, 240, 448 (" Every
one must be struck with the appalling ignorance of the simplest
religious truths. Probably 80 per cent, of these men from the
Midlands have never heard of the Sacraments. . . . Nor must
it be assumed that this ignorance is confined to men who have
passed through the elementary schools. The same verdict is
recorded upon those who have been educated in our public schools "),
452 (" the 80 per cent, of the manhood of the country at present
unreached by any form of organised Christianity ").
I owe my readers an apology for the inordinate length of this
note : but I thought it best to let the various witnesses speak
for themselves, so that the cumulative effect of their independent
testimony might not be missed. As will have been seen, it would
16 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
of our disunion, 1 the insufficiency everywhere of the
spirit of fellowship, the diminution of our numbers,
and the chaotic confusion of our thinking, it is hard
to repress feelings of the most serious discontent and
the most poignant sorrow. Men everywhere to-day
are in the same pitiable state as were the crowds
upon whom Jesus had compassion, " because they
were worried and bewildered, like sheep without a
But man s extremity is God s opportunity. Nothing
disposes men more to listen to God s voice and to
seek to know His Will, than does the discovery of
their own utter need and their inability to meet it
out of their own resources. The crying necessity
of to-day is a re-discovery of God s Will for the
conduct of human life. A time of general discontent
is a time for everyone to push his own pet corrective
for human ills. Many of the correctives that are
being so warmly commended to us in these days
may be of very great value : but how can one be
sure that any one of them really touches the centre
of the problem ? At any rate we need some un
mistakably radical policy, which clearly goes to the
heart of the matter and which will serve as a test
to measure the worthiness and promise of every
proposed reform. Nothing less than a re-discovery
have been easy to swell the size of the note still further by quoting
other passages verbatim ; but what has been quoted will suffice
to make it clear that, whatever allowance has to be made for the
impossibility of obtaining exact statistics, for the larger number
of women than of men in the Church, etc, the society in which
we live is predominantly unchristian, so far as any conscious
profession of Christianity goes.
1 On the scandal caused to religiously minded outsiders by
the divisions of the Church, see The Army and Religion, pp. 212-219,
of God s Will for human life will satisfy these con
ditions. And when once that is admitted, the next
step is not difficult. What means have we of know
ing God s Will ? God has not left Himself without
witnesses. Guided by the promptings of His Spirit
within us, we recognize the expression of His purposes
in the world of nature, and in every good life, past
and present. But there is One in whom, by the
consensus of orthodox and heterodox alike,
The Great Invisible, by symbols seen,
Shines with peculiar and concentred light.
In Jesus we have the fullest revelation of that
Divine Love and that Divine Law which are less
perfectly charactered for us in all human goodness
and in all natural beauty. But much as we can
learn from these latter, we cannot afford to ignore
God s special and unspeakable gift. Our need is
so urgent that we dare not give other than the first
place in the counsels of our life to Jesus. His touch
has still its ancient power. 1 Dean Inge has truly
said : " Since there never has been a time when the
character of Christ and the ethics which he taught
have been held in higher honour than the present,
there is every reason to expect that the next Age
of Faith/ when it comes, will be of a more genuinely
Christian type than the last." * We say of Jesus
what our evangelical fathers said with a somewhat
? " The real miracle, which only escapes our notice because it
is so familiar, is the irresistible vitality of the ethical teaching of
the Gospel " (F. C. Burkitt, The Gospel History and its Transmission,
p. 27). " History itself has shown that in the main it " (the teach
ing of Jesus) "... is as fresh at the end of eighteen centuries
as when first it was delivered " (W. Sanday, in Hastings Dictionary
of the Bible, ii. p. 6iyA). Outspoken Essays, p. 171.
18 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
different reference from theirs, no doubt, but with
no less conviction and fervour : " There is salvation
in none other : for there is no other name under
heaven given among men whereby we must be
saved," and therefore, " how shall we escape, if
we neglect so great salvation ? " J
In face of the magnitude of the issue and of the
task it involves, the contribution offered by this
little book is a very small and modest one. It is
simply an account of the content of Jesus teaching
framed, not on the plan that would commend itself
most readily to the scientific critic, but with an
eye to the personal needs and duties of the modern
Christian disciple, and furnished with such brief
comments and elucidations as will, it is hoped, help
to make the bearing of this teaching on modern
problems somewhat clearer. "It is one of the
highest tasks," said Benjamin Jowett, " on which
the labour of a life can be spent, to bring the words
of Christ a little nearer the heart of man." 2 And
it is with the object of doing something towards
the fulfilment of that task that the following pages
are offered to the public. The substance of them
was first put together and delivered in the form of
lectures at the invitation of the Ministry Committee
of the Society of Friends at York in November and
December, 1919. It has however been largely recast
and rewritten for publication.
Before, however, we proceed to the details of
1 Cf Oscar Holtzmann, Life of Jesus (ET), p. 527 : " That
ecclesiastical community will, we cannot doubt, be able to claim
a pre-eminence over all others which guides its members nearest
to a historical understanding of primitive Christianity, with a
view to renewing within itself the primitive Christian ideal of life."
* Essays and Revieivs, p. 380.
our subject, something further must be said in
regard to the general relation of Jesus teaching
to modern Christian life. Three views of that
relationship are possible : first, that we ought to
obey completely and literally all that Jesus said,
because he said it ; secondly, that we do not need
to obey any of it literally, either because we are
not under law but under grace, or because, having
the Risen Christ within us, we do not need the
detailed guidance of the historical Jesus, or for
some other reason ; and thirdly, that we ought
indeed to obey it, but that our obedience is limited
in some way. The first of these positions is wrong,
because it would give us no right to judge one pre
cept more important than another, to say for instance
that it is more important to love God than to cross
the Sea of Galilee, for to do so would be to appeal
to an authority more fundamental than that of the
teaching itself. The second, though held in high
quarters, is wrong, because it does not do justice
to the immense stress which Jesus laid on men s
obedience to his teaching, because it presupposes
that the Inner Light dispenses with the necessity
for all external guidance, and because, if admitted,
the worst acts of unchristian cruelty can be justified. 1
1 Compare, e.g. J. F. Bethune-Baker, The Influenca of Christi
anity on War (1888), pp. nf: "Christ never seems to wish so
much to assert a new truth, or a new law, as to impress upon His
hearers the spiritual significance of some old truth or law ; to raise
them altogether out of the sphere of petty detail into the life of all-
embracing principles ; to show them how all depends upon the
spirit and the motive of their actions, how they may do all things
to the glory of God. . . . The theory upon which the Inquisition
acted, that physical sufferings are of no moment in comparison
with the supreme importance of the spiritual welfare, is quite
consonant with the tone of Christ s commands and teaching "
20 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
The third also is wrong, if the limits set to our
obedience are an arbitrary selection of ill-thought-
out claims, such as those of denominational loyalty,
fashion, personal convenience, business, patriotism,
or obedience to the powers that be. The truth of
the matter is surely this : that Divine guidance is
a compound of two elements : firstly, an internal
and subjective stimulus and check, the testimonium
Spiritus Sancti within us, the indwelling Christ
of Paul, the Inner Light of the Quaker, the con
science of the ordinary man, which prompts us to
seek God s Will and which, however imperfect may
be the use we are able to make of it, is yet our
ultimate and most fundamental authority in religious
and moral matters, because it is the only point
where God and ourselves come into immediate contact
and the only means we have of recognizing the
Divine Truth and the Divine Will when they are
externally presented to us ; and secondly, the
external embodiments of the Divine Truth and Will
in nature, reason, human goodness, and in Jesus-
embodiments which are subject indeed to the certi
fication and the check of the Inner Light, but with
which the Inner Light, for all its ultimacy and
fundamentality, cannot dispense. The teaching of
Jesus has therefore got to be both criticized and
obeyed, both sifted and reverently observed : and
just as the obligation to obey does not cancel the
need for criticism and interpretation, neither ought
(italics mine). For the plea that the apparently mistaken views
of Jesus as to the Last Things invalidate his teaching and destroy
his infallibility as a guide for modern life, cf Herrmann in The
Social Gospel, pp. 176-225, and K. Lake, The Stewardship of Faith,
pp. 43 ff.
the ability to sift and criticize and the duty of doing
so to be taken as exempting us from the obligation
to obey. As men under authority, it is our business
not only to interpret our instructions, but also to
carry them out.
For the purpose in hand we confine ourselves
mainly to the Synoptic Gospels not because the
Fourth Gospel is a romance, but because the dis
courses it attributes to Jesus are to a large extent
framed in a manner which the literary ethics of
the time freely permitted with an eye rather to
doctrinal interests than to historical truth, and it
therefore adds but little to our knowledge of what
Jesus himself taught. The sayings in the Synoptic
Gospels, it is true, are not based on verbatim reports,
and they need a good deal of careful examination
and criticism. Here and there we have to reject a
saying on the ground either of its internal improba
bility or of its divergence from an apparently more
trustworthy parallel. 1 But on the whole the Synoptic
sayings go back to reliable personal reminiscence
and tradition. Up and down early Christian litera
ture we find a number of sayings ascribed to Jesus
which do not occur in our Gospels. These are of
all degrees of historical probability, from virtual
certainty 2 down to virtual impossibility. 3 We shall
have occasion now and then to quote some of these.
This presentation of Jesus teaching aims at
completeness, but only in a certain sense. The
1 E.g. Mt xii. 40 (see below, p. 145 n i), and Lc vi. 36, xi. 13 b
(compared with Mt v. 48, vii. nb).
2 E.g. Acts xx. 35.
3 See J. H. Ropes article Agrapha in Hastings DB v, pp.
343-352, where the literature on the subject is catalogued. Cf
also E. Preuschen, Antilegomena, pp. 26-31.
22 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
reader will not necessarily find every saying that
is attributed to him, quoted or discussed or even
referred to in these pages. At the same time he
has a right to assume that the whole of the material
has been examined and that due account has been
taken of everything significant for our purpose. 1
1 I might explain at this point that words bracketed in a trans
lated passage are those required to make the translation read
smoothly, though they have nothing corresponding to them in
the original : that the sign |j or [Js means the parallel passage or
passages in the other Gospels : and that the letters f, ff, mean
and the following verse (s), page(s), etc.
The Guidance of Jesus for
THE BEING AND GOODNESS OF GOD
i. JESUS takes the existence of God for granted, for
the simple reason that none of his contemporaries
were concerned to deny it. This fact might seem
at the outset a serious defect so far as the modern
usefulness of his message is concerned : but it is
less so than it seems, for modern doubts about the
being of God can be removed, if at all, not by reasons
in support of it one questions whether any agnostic
or atheist has ever been helped to believe by the
so-called philosophical proofs of God s existence
but by a spiritual experience, which is in essence
not intellectual, but ethical and personal. Jesus
contribution to this section of Christian evidences
consists, not in any reasons or arguments he ad
vanced, but in the whole impact of his life, words,
and death upon the mind and heart of man.
2. The Fatherhood of God is the core of Jesus
message and of the Christian Gospel, and the clue
that best helps us to unravel the most baffling
24 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
problems of human life. 1 The true import of the
Divine Fatherhood has been somewhat obscured by
the doctrine of the Trinity, which presents " God
the Father " to us as primarily the Father, not of
His children, but of " God the Son." a The modern
emphasis on personality and personal relationships
is bringing back the message of Jesus to its rights.
With the waif in Bleak House we confess : " Our
Father 1 yes, that s wery good, sir."
3. This conception of God as Father crowned and
glorified all those other beliefs about Him which Jesus
learnt from the faith of his people and embraced
as the verdict of his own judgment and experience.
That faith, in opposition to paganism, declared God
to be one, not many, 3 and to be morally perfect,
not subject to human faultiness.4 According to the
simple cosmology of the time, it described Him as
heavenly or dwelling in heaven 5 a thought which
modern science has deprived of all but a poetical
value for us. It was conscious of the unsearchable
mystery of the Divine Being 6 : Jesus called God
" the Father who is in secret." 7 In keeping with
the natural tendency of the Semitic mind to express
its sense of the greatness of God by means of a sort
1 On contemporary Jewish belief in the Fatherhood of God,
see O. Holtzmann, Life of Jesus (ET), pp. 99 f, 262, and G. Dalman,
The Words of Jesus (ET), pp. 184-189. Dalman shows that the Jews
of Jesus day were familiar with the idea of God being the Father,
not of the Chosen Race only, but of the individual member of it.
a J. Martineau, Essays, Reviews, and Addresses, ii, pp. 530-532.
3 Deut vi. 4 ; Me xii. 29 ; Mt xxiii. 9.
4 Zeph iii. 5, etc ; Mt v. 48 ; Me x. 18 ||s.
5 Ps cxv. 1 6 ; Isa Ixvi. i, etc ; Mt v. 34, vi. 9, xxiii. 9, etc. For
heaven as a reverent synonym for God, see Dan iv. 26 ; Lc xv.
1 8, 21; Me xi. 30 ||s. Cf Dalman, op cit, pp. 92 f, 206, 217 ff.
6 Deut xxix. 29 ; Job v. 9, xi. 7 ; Ps cxlv. 3.
7 Mt vi. 6, 1 8.
The Being and Goodness of God 25
of religious determinism, it ascribed almightiness to
Him in such terms as seem to us to exclude all
human initiative and even responsibility. 1 Thus
Jesus declares all things to be possible to God, 2
and applies the doctrine, as we shall see, with great
frankness and in ways that cause considerable per
plexity to a modern Christian s mind.
4. Waiving for the moment this philosophical
difficulty, we can see how excellent a ground the
doctrine of the Divine Fatherhood proved for what
Jesus had to teach men respecting God s good gifts.
V is the fulcrum that gives him his great leverage,
.ilong with its implication of the sameness of right -
- eousness in God and in men, it often furnishes him
with a basis for a form of argument, of which he
was extremely fond the argument a fortiori/ the
deduction, that is, of a truth from something still
less obvious than itself, but yet capable of demon
stration, the argument for instance that what is
greater than the whole is therefore greater than
the part. On the strength therefore of God s fatherly
goodness, Jesus specifies a number of gifts and
blessings that He confers on men. The terms he
uses for them do not give us a set of strictly co
ordinate and distinct favours ; but they serve
none the less as a rough working classification.
5. In the first place, then, God provides for the
bodily needs of His children. " He raises His sun
upon evil and good (men alike), and rains upon
(the) righteous and unrighteous." 3 " Therefore, I
1 Gen xviii. 14 ; Exod iv. 21, etc ; Job xlii. 2 ; Mai i. 2-3 ; Rom ix.
10-26. 2 Me x. 27 b ||s, xiv. 36.
3 Mt v. 45 ; cf Me ii. 27 : " The Sabbath came into being for
man s sake."
26 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
say to you, do not be anxious for your life, (as to)
what ye will (have to) eat or what to drink, nor
for your body, what ye will (have to) wear. Is not
the life more (important) than the food, and the
body than the clothing ? l Look at the birds of
the heaven, how they sow not nor reap nor gather
into barns, and (yet) your heavenly Father feeds
them. Do ye not far surpass them ? . . . And why
are ye anxious about clothing ? Consider the lilies
of the field, how they grow. They toil not, neither
do they spin : but I tell you that not even Solomon
in all his glory was clad like one of these. But if
God so clothes the grass of the field, which is (growing)
to-day and to-morrow is thrown into (the) oven,
will He not much more (clothe) you, (ye men) of
small faith ? Do not therefore be anxious saying,
What shall we eat ? or What shall we drink ?
or What shall we wear ? for all these things the
Gentiles seek for for your heavenly Father knows
that ye need all these things. But seek first His
Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things
will be given you in addition." 2 There is nothing
here to justify the common idea that Jesus dis
couraged industry and forethought in the business
affairs of life. The Authorized Version, with its
archaic rendering, Take no thought/ obscures the
main point of the passage from the eyes of a modern
1 Here is an implicit argument a fortiori : " i.e. God who has
already given the one, can surely give the other " (J. H. Oldham,
Studies on the Teaching of Jesus, p. 60).
Mt vi. 25-33=Lc xii. 22-31. Cf the saying ascribed to Jesus
by Clemens of Alexandria and Origenes : " Ask for the great things
and the little things will be added unto you ; and ask for the
heavenly things, and the earthly things will be added unto you "
(Ropes, in Hastings DB v, p. 349 b).
The Being and Goodness of God 27
reader. The appeal to the birds and lilies is easily
misunderstood : the argument implied is not, These
creatures do not work, so you need not/ but : If
God supplies their need, though they cannot toil
like you, how much more (again the argument a
fortiori) will He supply the needs of you men, whom
He has equipped with energy and intelligence and
so enabled to avail yourselves the more fully of His
gifts in Nature ? When therefore we pray : " Give
us to-day our bread for the morrow," * we do not
ask to be relieved of the necessity of work ; we
ask that we may be helped to work so intelligently
and efficiently, and with minds so untrammelled
by worry, that our labours may secure to us the
things we need. That qualification which Jesus
introduces " Seek ye first His Kingdom " and all
the hard facts of human mismanagement, poverty,
starvation, luxury, and profiteering, do not avail to
cancel the truth of God s giving. " God is the
strong unresting Servant of His Universe. He
reigns by serving . . . God has ever been the Super-
drudge of His creation. . . . His activity is every
6. But God supplies the needs of the moral and
spiritual life, as well as of the physical. He feeds
men with every word that issues from His mouth 3 :
He fills those that hunger and thirst for righteous
ness 4 : the plants that He plants will never, like the
Pharisees, be uprooted 5 : He has sent men Moses
Mt vi. n ||.
1 J. A. Robertson, The Spiritual Pilgrimage oj Jesus, p. 179.
The question of the many apparent exceptions to God s universal
bounty is linked up with the general question of God s attitude to
human suffering. This question is briefly discussed below, pp. 38-40.
3 Mt iv. 4 ||. 4 Mt v. 6. s Mt xv. 13.
28 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
and the Prophets, to move them to repentance x :
He wanted His house to be called a house of prayer
for all the nations 2 : He grants a vision of Himself
to the pure in heart 3 : He reveals things that flesh
and blood cannot reveal, and He reveals them,
not to the wise and clever, but to the simple and
childlike, such as Simon Bar-jona 4 : He is to be
asked not to lead us into temptation, but to rescue
us from the evil one. 5
It is not difficult for a modern Christian to believe
in a general way that God assists him in his moral
and spiritual life } but if the question be asked,
Are the plants to blame if the Heavenly Father
did not plant them ? or, Will God lead us into
temptation, unless we ask Him not to ? the answer
is not easy to give. The difficulty lies partly in
the natural Calvinism of the Jewish, or rather the
Semitic, mind. No skill on the part of modern
commentators can eliminate the element of deter
minism from some of these words of Jesus. But
such determinism came naturally to the Jew. It
seemed to him to follow from the supreme sover
eignty of God. God was in His world what Joseph
was in the Egyptian s house : " Whatsoever they
did there, He was the doer of it." Hence the idea
of God hardening Pharaoh s heart, loving Jacob and
hating Esau, and so on. How this belief in the
universal agency of God was to be reconciled with
a belief in man s responsibility for his sins or with
the freedom of man s will, was a question that did
not trouble the Jew. He simply believed that both
sides of the discrepancy were true. Thus it is that
1 Mt xxiii. 34 || ; Lc xvi. 29-31. * Me xi. 17 ||s.
3 Mt v. 8. 4 Mt xi. 25 f ||, xvi. 17. 5 Mt vi. 13 ||.
The Being and Goodness of God 29
Jesus phrases the prayer for Divine help in such
a way as to suggest to us that, if the help is not
given, God and not ourselves will be responsible for
We must not, however, be tempted to discard this
teaching on the score of what we to-day may feel
to be its obviously difficult presentation. It is
easier for us to see the philosophical difficulty than
to solve it. Not only the Jew but every man-
tends to be an unconscious Calvinist when he prays.
Here for instance we are told of Brother Lawrence :
" That when he had failed in his duty, he simply
confessed his fault, saying to GOD, I shall never do
otherwise, if Thou leavest me to myself ; tis Thou
must hinder my falling, and mend what is amiss. That
after this, he gave himself no farther uneasiness
about it." J It is all very well to say that human
goodness is the work neither of man alone, nor of
God alone, but of the two in co-operation. That
may be true, but it does not solve the difficulty.
For the question remains, who is to take the first
step in the process ? If God has to take it, then
man s real freedom and responsibility are under
mined : if man has to take it, then God s almighti-
ness is denied. This last might not seem a very
serious objection. Some modern Christian thinkers
are quite ready to sacrifice the Divine omnipotence.
Thus Canon Streeter writes : The facts of this
world form a Procrustean bed from which there is
no escape. . . . We say that there is in God a prin
ciple of self-limitation whereby, though He has
unlimited coercive power, yet He is prevented
from using it ; or else that omnipotence is a vague
1 The Practice of the Presence of God, p. 13.
30 The Guidance of Jesus for To- day
term ; or else that the whole thing is beyond the
range of our feeble minds. Anything, in fact, rather
than give up the notion finally, completely, and
absolutely. And yet this is what must be done.
The conception of a Being who possesses infinite
coercive power in addition to infinite moral goodness
will not through any human ingenuity fit the un
compromising bed. But there is another conception
which will fit into it exactly. It is that of a Being
whose omnipotence consists in His moral goodness and
in nothing else. If God s power is itself nothing else
than love, then all becomes clear and intelligible." *
Similarly, Dr. John Oman has done great service
in urging that grace is not omnipotence working
irresistibly in a straight line, and intelligible through
mechanical categories, but " a gracious personal
relationship," compelled to pursue its educative
course by many devious paths.* All this is sug
gestive and helpful ; but the substitution of love
for coercion and of personal for mechanical categories
does not solve the question, Who initiates the
process ? If we are compelled to answer, Man/
then what becomes we will not say of our belief
in God s almightiness but of our assurance of His
ultimate triumph ?
But fortunately for us, experience is in large
measure independent of philosophical completeness
and consistency : and we can therefore in the mean
time rest content with the knowledge that God s
help is necessary for us, and available for us if we
truly desire it. When Horace Bushnell was travel
ling in Western America, he was struck by the
1 Hibbert Journal, April 1914, pp. 609 f.
1 Grace and Personality, Part I (pp. 1-75).
The Being and Goodness of God 31
Artesian wells, which were to him " a charming
symbol of the beauty of God, who is ever a grand
water-store under this desert of life and sin, ready
to well up in freshness when the conduits of the
heart are opened to its flow." * The Father who is
in secret is always waiting His opportunity, and
taking it. " That same heart of the father, which
in its hunger of love is so exacting, will, out of the
same hunger, never despair, and never forsake : it
will never cease from the pursuit of that responsive
trust which it desires i it will make allowances, it
will permit delays, it will weave excuses, it will
endure rebuffs, it will condescend to persuasion, it
will forget all provocations, it will wait, it will plead,
it will repeat its pleas, it will take no refusal, it will
overleap all obstacles, it will run risks, it will end
lessly and untiringly forgive, if only, at the last, the
stubborn child-heart yield, and the tender response
of faith be won." *
7. One feature of this aggressive generosity of
God is His responsiveness to prayer. Probably Jesus
hearers never questioned in the abstract the fact
that God hears and answers prayer ; but evidently
they placed less practical reliance on it than they
might have done. It is on this point that Jesus
use of the analogy of human particularly parental
goodness is most forcible. Those parables of the
man wanting to borrow three loaves from his friend
at midnight, and of the unjust judge being pestered
by the widow, put the issue clearly. 3 Can we believe
that, if persistent petition is effective with a neigh-
1 Life and Letters, p. 376.
3 H. Scott Holland, in Lux Mundi, p. 14.
3 Lc xi. 5-8, xviii. 1-8.
32 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
bour who does not want to be bothered, and with
a judge who neither fears God nor has respect for
man, it will not be all the more effective with God
who loves us as His own children ? " Ask," says
Jesus therefore, " and it will be given you ; seek,
and ye will find ; knock, and (the door) will be
opened to you. For everyone that asks receives,
and he that seeks finds, and to him that knocks
(the door) is opened. Or what man is there of you,
who, if his son asks him for a loaf, will give him a
stone ? or (who), if he asks for a fish, will give him
a snake ? or (who), if he asks for an egg, will give
him a scorpion ? If ye then, evil though you are,
know (how) to give good gifts to your children, how
much more will your Father in heaven give good
things to those that ask Him ? " z " Have faith in
God ! Truly I tell you, if ye have faith as a grain
of mustard-seed, ye will (be able to) say to this
mountain, Be lifted up and thrown into the sea/
and it will happen (so). Wherefore I say to you, all
things whatsoever ye pray and ask for, believe that
ye have received them, and ye will have them." a
In order to get the true meaning out of this oriental
hyperbole, we shall have to bear in mind continually
the conditions Jesus lays down for successful prayer,
viz : persistence and faith. The former of these
disguised by the picturesque reference to the moun
tain moving at a word of command means that
we can lay down no definite time-limit within which
we can be sure that our prayers will be granted.
The second means that the thing must be asked
for from the purest motive, and because it is believed
1 Mt vii. 7-11 ||.
* Me xi. 22-24; Mt xvii - 20 xxi - 21 f; Lc xvii. 6.
The Being and Goodness of God 33
to be God s will, not because, like the wrecks
which the Heligolanders used to pray for in their
churches, it conforms to any selfish or base desire
of our own. If these two conditions are satisfied
there is nothing incredible in Jesus promises. The
substance of them is not so alien to the thought
of to-day as we might be tempted to think. We
find it re-echoed, for instance, in a somewhat un
expected quarter the pages of a popular modern
novelist. " If you ve only got the grit to go on
praying, praying hard, even against your own con
victions, you ll get it sooner or later. You are
bound to get it. ... If you want it hard enough,
and keep on clamouring for it, it becomes the very
thing of all others you need the great essential.
And you ll get it for that very reason." l And the
great affirmation of the so-called New Thought
school, that whatever a man wants he will get if
he wants it hard enough and long enough, what is
it but the declaration of Jesus that God gives us
whatever we ask for persistently and in faith ?
8. God " will endlessly and untiringly forgive " :
but His forgiveness is not the mere remission of a
penalty it may or may not include that : it is
the formation or restoration of family fellowship, as
we see it for instance in the reconciliation between
the prodigal son and his father. We must leave
over to a later stage our consideration of Jesus
teaching about the atonement, as this involves his
view of his own death. But it will be useful at
this point to note certain facts about his view of
forgiveness. We find, for instance, no trace in
Jesus thought of the theological distinction between
* Ethel M, Dell, The Way of an Eagle ch. xxiv,
34 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
God s righteousness (or justice x ) and His love.
" His justice is his forgiveness ; his forgiveness is
his justice. His righteousness is his love : his love
is his righteousness. There is no conceivability of
conflict between them." * And whatever be the
true relation of Jesus death to the Divine forgive
ness, there is no sanction for the idea implicit in so
many doctrines of the atonement, that God never
really forgave sin until Jesus died 3 the idea that
caused Dante to represent John the Baptist as
spending two years in hell, the two that elapsed
between his own death and that of Jesus, before he
could be taken up to heaven. 4 That God could and
did forgive sin altogether independently of Jesus
death is proved by Jesus own references to Divine
forgiveness as an already existing thing before that
death was accomplished. The parables of the man
going in quest of his straying sheep and rejoicing
when he finds it, of the woman ransacking the house
for a lost coin, and of the father making merry on
the prodigal s return, depict God as normally eager
to forgive from sheer natural affection. 5 The parable
of the Rich Man and Lazarus represents attention
to Moses and the prophets as a sufficient safeguard
against punishment in the next life. 6 Convincing
evidence of the experience of Divine forgiveness,
1 The Latin word justitia/ whence our justice, is the equiva
lent of the Greek IIKCUOOVVTI, which is the word translated righteous
ness in the New Testament.
2 C. G. Montefiore, in Hibbert Journal, July 1916, p. 780.
3 Cf Lux Mundi, pp. 154, 223.
4 Paradiso, xxxii, stanzas 8 f, with Gary s note.
s Lc xv. 1-32 ; Mt xviii. 12-14. Cf also the daily petition
for pardon enjoined in the Lord s prayer. Did Jesus not mean
this prayer to be offered until after the Crucifixion ?
6 Lc xvi. 27-31.
The Being and Goodness of God 35
before and independently of the work of Jesus, is
found in the words of the Psalmist : "As far as the
east is from the west, so far hath He removed our
transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth
His children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear
Him. For He knoweth our frame ; He remembereth
that we are dust." x
The one great condition of Divine pardon, so far
as man is concerned, is genuine repentance or
change of heart and mind. If forgiveness is rightly
described as reconciliation, the necessity of such a
repentance is obvious. Hence the need of the
daily prayer " Forgive us our debts." 2 It is true
that Jesus seems to have in mind a second condition,
on which he insists frequently and with great
emphasis viz : the forgiveness by the sinner of
those who have wronged him. Without this, says
Jesus, God will not forgive him. 3 But this condition
is probably no more than an important corollary of
true repentance a corollary the absence of which
would show that the professed repentance was not
genuine. While it is true that full forgiveness, in
the sense of reconciliation, depends on man s
repentance, it is also true that there is a sense
in which God forgives sin before it is repented
of. So Jesus prays Him to forgive his murderers
even while they were in the act of murdering
The statement of Jesus that blasphemy against
the Holy Spirit would never be forgiven 5 remains
1 Ps ciii. 12-14. * Mt vi. 12 ||.
3 Mt vi. 12 ||, 14 f, xviii. 21-35 Me xi. 25 (26).
4 Lc xxiii. 34.
5 Me iii, 28 f ; Mt xii. 31 f ; Lc xii ? 10.
36 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
an unsolved enigma. We can hardly question the
truth of the record of this statement : but what
the statement means, and whether it is true, we
cannot tell. The whole conception of God which we
derive from Jesus seems to negative the idea. "There
is no sin, and there can be no sin on all the earth,
which the Lord will not forgive to the truly repentant !
Man cannot commit a sin so great as to exhaust the
infinite love of God. Can there be a sin which could
exceed the love of God ? " J " There is no sin, no
state that, being regretted and repented of, can
stand between God and man." 2 So we learn from
Jesus to speak and think of God. Unless Jesus is
speaking of something altogether out of the range
of human moral experience and that is hardly
likely it is very difficult to follow him. It is no
explanation to point to the extreme seriousness and
heinousness of the sin referred to ; for we know
that God pardons serious and heinous sin. Can it
be that, in the heat of controversy and in a moment
of righteous indignation, Jesus framed his words in
accordance with the sterner side of that Jewish
conception of God in which he had been educated,
rather than according to his own personal experience
and knowledge of God ?
9. Jesus sometimes speaks of the Kingdom of
God as a gift. " Fear not, little flock," he says
to the disciples, " for your Father is pleased to give
you the Kingdom." 3 " The Kingdom of God will
be taken away from you," he says to the Chief Priests
and Pharisees, " and will be given to a nation pro-
1 Dostoievsky, The Brothers Karamazov (ET), p. 48.
2 H. G. Wells, God the Invisible King, p. 184,
3 Lc xii. 32,
The Being and Goodness of God 37
during its (the Kingdom s) fruits." * The news of
its nearness he describes as good news. 2 We are
to pray God that it may come. 3 It is like a buried
treasure, which a man rejoices to find. It is like
a precious pearl, to procure which a merchant sells
all that he possesses. 4 It belongs to the childlike,5
the poor in spirit, 6 and those who have been perse
cuted for righteousness sake. 7 Jesus conception of
the Kingdom is many-sided ; but the one element
essential to every aspect of it is this : the filial sub
mission of man to God as his King and Father. Not
only therefore is it the social ideal suggested (how
ever imperfectly) by Jewish eschatology, the good
time coming in the near future, 8 but also and we
may add, as a pre-requisite and means to that future
and social ideal it is a present and personal ideal.
The word translated Kingdom means sover
eignty, kingship/ as well as realm : even the
Rabbis seem to have recognized this meaning, 9 as
Jesus certainly did when he said : " The Kingdom
of God is within you." I0 Not only is it a gift of
1 Mt xxi. 43, 45 : the words were a sequel to the parable of
the vineyard which had been let out (lit given out ) to vine
dressers and, when these proved disloyal, was taken away and
given to others (Mt xxi. 33, 41 ||s).
a Me i. 15 ||. 3 Mt vi. 10 ||. 4 Mt xiii. 44-46.
5 Me x. 14 f ; Mt xviii. 3, xix. 14 ; Lc xviii. 16 f.
6 Mt v. 3 (cf Lc vi. 20). 7 Mt v. 10.
8 As, e.g., in Mt viii. n f (cf Lc xiii. 28 f).
9 " The Rabbis used the term " Kingdom of Heaven " sometimes
with an inward reference, to denote the abstract supremacy of
the Law of God in the heart. Whoever undertook to keep the
Law of God was in that sense said to accept the yoke of " the King
dom of Heaven " " (Manson, Christ s View of the Kingdom of God,
p. 69 ; cf Dalman, The Words of Jesus (ET), pp. 92, 94, 96 ff.
10 Lc xvii. 21. The following are the other passages depicting
the Kingdom more or less clearly as present : Mt v. 3, 10, vi. 33,
38 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
true bliss J ; it is also as we shall see the most
strenuous of tasks. 3
10. Life in the Kingdom involves persecution and
distress, but the Kingdom is none the less a rich
gift for that, for God promises help, protection, and
guidance in the midst of trouble. " Are not two
sparrows sold for a farthing ? And (yet) not one of
them will fall to the ground without your Father
(? knowing it). But as for you, even the hairs of
(your) head are all numbered. Fear not therefore ;
ye far surpass sparrows (in value)." 3 " Not a hair
of your head shall perish." *
And yet the sparrows do fall, and the martyrs
die, and the innocent suffer at the hands of the
guilty. What does Jesus mean by saying that not
a hair of our heads will perish ? His words seem
vii. 13!, xi. ii f (=Lc xvi. 16), xii. 28 (Lc xi. 20), xiii. 24 ff,
3 I- 33> 38, xviii. 3 f, xxi. 31, xxiii. 13 (cf Lc xi. 52) ; Me x. 15 ||s
(Gk), xii. 34 ; Lc x. 17-20. Cf Stevens, The Theology of the New
Testament, pp. 37 f ; W. Sanday, in Hastings DB ii. p. 620 ;
B. H. Streeter in Oxford Studies in the Synoptic Problem, pp. 432 f ;
J. Moffatt, Theology of the Gospels, pp. 49-57.
1 Mt v. 3-12, etc. * Mt vii. 13 f, xi. 12 |j ; Lcix. 62.
3 Mt x. 29-31 ; Lc xii. 6 f. Cf Me iv. 40 || (lack of faith in God
during a storm).
4 Lc xxi. 1 8. We must remember that the ordinary un-Grecized
Jew of Palestine had no idea of a future life of the soul only, apart
from the body. That is the fact underlying the language of Mt v
29 f, xviii. 8 f ||. It may also explain the mention of the hair
in this passage, i.e. (Lc xxi. 18, cf xii. 7 || ) the purport of which
clearly is that the resurrection-life in all its fulness will be secured
to the martyr. The passage in Me xiii. 19 f ]|, about God shorten
ing the days of affliction for the sake of His elect, occurs in a con
text that lies under some suspicion of coming from a small early
Christian apocalypse, rather than from the lips of Jesus himself :
see Moffatt, Introduction to the Literature of the New Testament,
pp. 207-209. Similarly the promise of vengeance in Lc xviii. 7 f,
as Montefiore (Synoptic Gospels, p. 1020) says, " seems to reflect
a time of persecution, and to be therefore later than Jesus."
The Being and Goodness of God 39
to flout us. We are told that one great obstacle to
a real belief in God in the army was the obvious
fact that God was not really shielding men from the
constant danger of death. 1 People to-day are im
patient of being told that God will protect them
and their dear ones : such a statement is so patently
out of keeping with the facts of life. 3 All the same,
the confident assurances of Jesus, even though they
pay no heed to the inexorability of natural law, yet
enshrine a truth independent of all physical disaster,
not excluding even the war. Physical danger is
inevitable in a rational world such as men need to
live in and to exploit : and God could not abolish
it without stultifying His own laws and destroying
that regularity of nature so indispensable to human
life and intelligence. But when we realize that
physical safety, though a great boon, is not one of
the ultimate values, we can see that it is possible
for God to help us to preserve those values, even
though life and limb be endangered. " We tend
unconsciously to assume that God will not let tragedy
touch us. It is an assumption for which the facts
of life provide no warrant. But while this is the
case, all that we can reasonably demand is fulfilled,
if we can prove that God comes to us in every
happening, and through every circumstance, and
1 The Army and Religion, pp. 23-30, 162 f, 166.
2 See the incisive denial of H. G. Wells, in God the Invisible
Kins,, pp. 46 f (" . . . He will not even mind your innocent
children for you if you leave them before an unguarded fire. Cherish
no delusions ; . . ."), and compare Tennyson s bitter lines in In
Memoriam (vi.) :
" O mother, praying God will save
Thy sailor, while thy head is bow d,
His heavy-shotted hammock-shroud
Drops in his vast and wandering grave."
40 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
that to find Him in them is to transmute them into
a good. This is assuredly the case. Like every
wise father, God is concerned not so much with
what happens to us, but with what we are as we
meet life s circumstances." 1 Many a father has
learnt, while longing for his son s safety in danger,
to prefer that the danger should prove fatal rather
than that the son should act dishonourably. In
somewhat the same way God is more concerned
over our fellowship with Him and the way we behave
than over our physical safety. That is why Jesus
tells the disciples, not that God will prevent them
suffering persecution, but that He will help them to
do the right thing under persecution. Whenever
they carry you off and hand (you) over, do not be
anxious beforehand (about) what ye will say ; but
whatever is given to you at that hour, say that.
For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your
Father that speaketh in you." 3
ii. This leads us on to the conception of God as
the Giver of Rewards. In recognition not only of
the brave endurance of suffering for the Kingdom s
sake, but also of faithful everyday service, God
rewards men. The word translated reward/ which
Jesus uses of God s response to genuine almsgiving,
prayer, and fasting, means simply pay or wages. 3
What reward, he asks, do people get who love
only those that love them ? 4 Those who are hospit-
1 W. F. Halliday, Reconciliation and Reality, p. 107. Cf Wells,
I.e. : " He will be with you as you face death ; . . . He will come
so close to you that . . . the present death will be swallowed up
in his victory."
2 Me xiii. ii ; Mt x. 19 f : cf Lc xii. n f, xxi. 14 f.
3 Mt vi. i, 2 (cf 4), 5 (cf 6), 16 (cf 18).
4 Mt v. 46 : cf Lc vi. 32-34.
The Being and Goodness of God 41
able to a prophet or a righteous man will get a
prophet s or a righteous man s reward. He who
gives a cup of water to a disciple will by no means
lose his reward. 1 One of the parables of the King
dom describes the dealings of a householder with
hired day-labourers : all who serve receive the just
payment promised to them, although, owing to lack
of opportunity, some have done less work than
others.- In another passage Jesus specifies the
rewards as being " in heaven." When persecuted,
" rejoice and exult, for great (is) your reward in
heaven." 3 " Store up for yourselves treasures in
heaven, where neither moth nor rust corrodes, and
where thieves do not dig through or steal ; for where
thy treasure is, there also will be thy heart." 4 :< Re
joice not over this that the spirits are submissive
to you, but rejoice because your names have been
written in heaven." 5 The use of the word heaven
in this connection shows that Jesus is thinking of
God and His Kingdom. The reward is in fact the
Kingdom, looked at in the light of the happiness
bestowed upon those who enter it. In the Synoptic
Gospels as we have them, this reward figures most
explicitly in connection with the future, viz : the
age to come/ and the life after death. Thus Jesus
says that whoever has suffered loss for his sake or
for the sake of the good news, will receive a hundred
fold even in this season, and in the age that is coming
eternal life. 6 Thus too he refutes the Sadducees
disbelief in the life after death by an appeal to the
1 Mt x. 41 f ; Me ix. 41. 3 Mt xx. 1-15. 3 Mt v. 12.
4 Mt vi. 20 f : cf Lc xii. 33 f. 5 Lc x. 20.
6 Me x. 29-31 ||s. A comparison of Lc x. 25, 28 with Me xii.
34 shows the identity of the Kingdom of God with eternal life.
42 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
Scriptures and the power of God. If God is ever
the God of anyone, i.e. if there is any real fellowship
between God and men, that relation must be inde
pendent of physical death : " when (people) rise
from the dead, they . . . are like angels in heaven." *
Our belief in the future life may find valuable con
firmation in the results of psychical research, and
spiritually-minded people are ill-advised to ignore
or despise these investigations ; but there can be
no doubt that the real foundation of the belief is
where Jesus found it in the experience and know
ledge which man has of God.
I cannot doubt that they whom you deplore
Are glorified ; or, if they sleep, shall wake
From sleep, and dwell with God in endless love.
Hope, below this, consists not with belief
In mercy, carried infinite degrees
Beyond the tenderness of human hearts. 2
But the glories of the coming age and the life beyond
the grave are only special aspects of that larger
conception of reward which makes it, like the King
dom itself, a present reality, as well as a blessing
stored up for the future. Much of Jesus language
in the Synoptics lends itself readily to this inter
pretation. 3 It is the peculiar merit of the author
of the Fourth Gospel that he has extracted from
the Master s words and brought into prominence
the tremendous truth that eternal life the life
1 Me xii. 24-27 ; Mt xxii. 29-32. Lc (xx. 34-38) has several
* Wordsworth, The Excursion, iv. (p. 335 of 1860 edn of his
3 See the passages quoted on pp. 37 f n 10, indicating a present
Kingdom. We might add other promises couched in the inde
finite future, like the Beatitudes promising comfort to the mourners
and mercy to the merciful (Mt v. 4, 7 ; Lc vi. 21).
The Being and Goodness of God 43
that is life indeed is a present and eternally abiding
We shall have to consider later the bearing of this
doctrine of rewards on Jesus conception of human
duty. Here we have simply to note the candour
and simplicity with which it is set forth in his
1 John v. 24, vi. 47, x. 28.
THE PERSON AND WORK OF JESUS
i. THE consciousness of Jesus, as revealed to us
in the records of his life and words, is that of
a man who feels himself to be God s beloved Son,
in whom his Father is well pleased, 1 who is fully
known by no one except the Father, and who alone
fully knows the Father so as to be able to reveal
Him to others. 2 He claims to hold a large and special
commission from God to his fellow-men. 3 " All
things have been handed over to me by my Father." 4
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He
has anointed me." 5 Accordingly he describes him
self as greater than Solomon, greater than Jonah, 6
greater than the Temple,? as master of the Sabbath, 8
as the chief corner-stone which has come from the
1 Me i. ii ||s ; Mt xvii. 5 ||s. a Mt xi. 27 ||.
3 In the Parable of the Vineyard (Me xii. 1-12 ||s), Jesus con
trasts himself and the Prophets under the figures of the beloved
son and the servants.
4 Mt xi. 27 ||. O. Holtzmann argues very plausibly that the
all things handed over to Jesus by his Father does not mean
the world, but refers to these things of Mt xi. 25, namely,
the truths about God and himself that Jesus was teaching (Life
of Jesus, ET, pp. 283-287).
5 Lc iv. 1 8. 6 Mt xii. 41 f ||. 7 Mt xii. 6,
8 Me ii. 28 ||s, though the context makes it possible that Son
of Man here has merely the sense of roan. (K. Lake, Steward
ship of Faith, pp. 47 f).
The Person and Work of Jesus 45
Lord and is marvellous in men s eyes. 1 He teaches
with authority. 2 He claims the right to forgive
sins. 3 He accepts the plaudits of the crowd as
being no more than his due. 4 He cures illnesses
by a touch or a word. 5 He claims to have over
powered Satan in his own headquarters, and so to
be able to expel Satan s emissaries, the evil spirits,
by a simple word of command, uttered in the Spirit of
God. 6 This special commission of his he identifies
though reticently with the Messiahship foreshadowed
by the Prophets and expected by his fellow-country
men. 7 He avows to Kaiaphas that he is the
Messiah, 8 and to Pilate that he is the King of the
2. These extraordinary claims, and the way in
which Jesus vindicated them during his earthly life
and later in Christian experience, led the early Church
1 Me xii. 10 f ||s. In the Hebrew of Ps cxviii. 22 f, from which
Jesus would naturally quote, it is not quite clear whether it is
the stone or its elevation that is marvellous.
1 Me i. 22 ; Mt vii. 28 f ; Lc iv. 32.
3 Me ii. 5-11 ||s ; Lc vii. 36-50 : see below, p. 58.
4 Mt xxi. 1-17 ||s (esp. Lc xix. 39 f).
5 The so-called nature-miracles (Me iv. 39-41, vi. 35 ff, viii.
i ff, xi. 14, 20 f ||s) should probably be regarded as legendary per
versions or exaggerations, springing from a desire to heighten
Jesus miraculous power. See below, p. 53 n 8.
6 Mt xii. 25-29 ||s.
7 See Mt xvi. 13-20 ||s for the private confession of his Messiah-
ship by the disciples.
8 Me xiv. 61 f ||s.
9 Me xv. 2 ||s. In Mt xxvi. 53 Jesus is stated to have said that
his Father would send him more than twelve legions of angels
if he asked for them. In Me xii. 35-37 ||s, Jesus argues that
Messiahship is at least independent of, if not incompatible with,
Davidic descent. The natural, though perhaps not inevitable,
inference is that he did not regard himself as descended from
David : see O. Holtzmann, Life of Jesus (ET), pp. 82-84.
46 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
to ascribe Divinity to him in so absolute a sense
that the only escape from the reproach of worship
ping two Gods lay in the development of the doctrine
of the Trinity and the consequent doctrine of the
two natures divine and human united in the
one person of Christ. These doctrines are embodied
in the historic creeds of the Church. Apart altogether
from the question as to whether the acceptance of
a credal statement is a satisfactory test of a man s
right to membership in the Christian Church, there
is the question as to what place can be given to
these particular creeds in the general body of
Christian teaching to-day. The fact that the men
who drew them up had no more ability to frame
infallible doctrinal statements than any other set
of sincere and intelligent followers of Jesus of those
times or of these, robs the creeds of any claim to be
accepted simply on authority by virtue of a
sort of argumentum ad verecundiam. They have
got to be examined on their merits as philosophical
statements, put forward to explain Christian history
and experience. On examining them from this
point of view, while we may venerate and largely
share the convictions of their authors, we cannot
but reject them as unenlightening. The dual nature
which they assert of Jesus is unintelligible from the
point of view of modern psychology. They profess
to rest on history, 1 but they do scant justice to the
facts of Jesus humanity. They draw their informa
tion as to his consciousness e.g. of pre-existence
in the main from the admittedly doubtful sayings
1 " Councils, we admit, and Creeds, cannot go behind, but must
wholly rest upon the history of our Lord Jesus Christ " (Moberly
in Lux Mundi, p. 177).
The Person and Work of Jesus 47
in the Fourth Gospel. 1 They cannot be really
harmonized with the human limitations of Jesus.
It is, in fact, now generally recognized that, however
the creeds are to be interpreted, Jesus was not
omniscient. 3 He had no knowledge of the facts
revealed by modern critical study in regard to the
authorship of the Old Testament Scriptures. He
stated plainly that he did not know the day or hour
of his own future coming. 3 He asked questions in
a way that showed that he desired information of
which he was not already in possession. 4 He admitted
that he had no authority to give away the places
on his right and left hand in his Kingdom. 5 It is
often said that, though Jesus called God the Father
of men and also his own Father, he refrained from
saying Our Father/ thus implying a distinction
between his sonship and theirs. 6 But what force
is left to this distinction in view of the fact that he
referred to his followers as his brothers ? 7 Apologists
for the creeds confidently assert that Jesus was
sinless in the most absolute sense, despite the fact
1 Often obviously misinterpreting even them. It is clear, for
instance, from the context of Jn x. 30 (cf 36), xvii. n, that the
oneness with the Father, of which the Johannine Jesus speaks,
is something quite different from the metaphysical oneness asserted
in the creeds.
a See Temple, in Foundations, p. 213. 3 Me xiii. 32 ||.
4 The clearest case is that of Me v. 30-34 ||s, for kindness and
delicacy would surely have prevented Jesus pressing his question
in public, had he known the circumstances.
5 Me x. 40 ; Mt xx. 23.
6 So, e.g. Rush Rhees, Life of Jesus, p. 262 ; W. E. Orchard,
The Necessity of Christ, p. 87.
7 Me iii. 33-35 ||s ; Mt xxv. 40, xxviii. 10 ; Jn xx. 17. Even
if the last two are not ipsissima verba, they yet represent the im
pression Jesus left, Cf on this point Lake, Stewardship of Faith,
pp. 146 f,
48 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
that we know too little of his life or of the psychology
of sin * to be able to insist dogmatically on sweeping
conclusions in regard to such a point, and to
build doctrines upon them : nor do they adequately
explain why Jesus submitted to a baptism of
repentance, 2 or why he objected to being addressed
as Good master, on the ground that " (there is)
none good save one, (namely) God," 3 or why the
author of Hebrews described him as " learning
obedience by the things that he suffered." 4 We
should never suspect from the prayers which Jesus
uttered that he knew himself to be the Second
Person of the Trinity. It is simply not true to
history to say that the New Testament witnesses
" testify unhesitatingly . . . that His life and death
were penetrated by the consciousness of His own
Godhead ; and by the deliberate purpose ... of
convincing the whole world in the end of His God
head." 5 Modern attempts to restate the doctrine
1 See below, pp. 79-82.
1 The colloquy of Mt iii. 14 f one of those explanations that
explain nothing was clearly an early Christian attempt to meet
the difficulty. We are on safer historical ground with the frag
ment of the Gospel according to the Hebrews, in which Jesus
replies to the suggestion of his family that they should all go and
be baptized by John : " What sin have I committed that I should
go and be baptized by him ? unless perchance this very thing
that I have said is ignorance " (Hastings DB v. p. 341 b ;
Preuschen, Antilegomena, p. 4).
3 Me x. 1 8 ; Lc xviii. 19. Cf the deliberate alteration of this
in Mt xix. 17. There have been of course many attempts to get
out of the difficulty (e.g. Pressens6, Jesus Christ, book IV, ch. iv ;
Dalman, The Words of Jesus (ET), pp. 337 f ; Rhees, op cit, p. 266)
but I have never yet seen one that did justice to the record without
imperilling the traditional view of Jesus sinlessness.
4 Heb v. 8.
5 Moberly in Lux Mundi, p. 173. Cf the exaggerated statement
on the same page that Jesus own companions " taught and be
lieved, without shadow of hesitation, that He was very God/
The Person and Work of Jesus 49
generally treat the historical facts with more respect ;
but for that very reason they fall short of establishing
the position laid down with such intolerant certainty
in the creeds. The creeds in fact are to-day more
unintelligible than the facts they try to explain
they run so counter to the intelligible as to be
almost meaningless. 1 Well might Augustine dream
of the Child Jesus trying to empty the ocean into
a hole in the sands in order to rebuke the saint s
attempts to fathom the mystery of the Trinity ! 3
Well might Melancthon say that we should know
how the two natures were united in Christ, when
we reach the future life ! 3 Well may Rauschen-
busch ask what Jesus would have said to the symbol
of Chalcedon or to the Athanasian Creed, if they
had been read to him ! 4
3. But the repudiation of the creeds is not to
be taken as a denial of the greatness and wonder of
the facts they were meant to explain. It simply
means a rejection of those particular explanations
of them as not useful. The abysmal deeps of per
sonality in God, in Jesus, and in ourselves still
yawn before us, unfathomed and uncharted. The
thoughtful Christian of to-day is less ambitious
than the fathers of Nicaea and Chalcedon. He does
not attempt with the aid of crude and almost mechani
cal categories of substance, person, and the like,
to dogmatize as they did about the most wondrous
of all mysteries. He is content to operate with the
more familiar conceptions of moral personality and
1 Cf Temple, op cit, p. 230 : " The formula of Chalcedon is,
in fact, a confession of the bankruptcy of Greek Patristic Theology."
* Farrar, Lives of the Fathers, ii. p. 606.
3 Milner, History of the Church, vi. p. 407.
A Theology for the Social Gospel, p. 25.
50 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
moral value. Not that he is the first to think
along these lines. The Adoptionists of the early
Church virtually occupied this standpoint. It is
also in part at least that of Milton :
Thou . . . hast been found
By merit more than birthright Son of God,
Found worthiest to be so by being good,
Far more than great or high ; because in thee
Love hath abounded more than glory abounds. r
But we have had to wait almost until to-day to
hear Christian thinkers of unquestionably orthodox
connections speak frankly in the same strain.
" Unlike ancient attempts to meet the Evangelic
facts," say Drs. Bartlet and Carlyle, " by a theory
of concealment or voluntary holding in abeyance
of full Divinity actually present in Christ s self-
consciousness, 3 most agree that the limitations to
be accounted for were real and not merely apparent.
Thereby the likeness of the Saviour to His breth
ren whom He sanctifies and brings to the glory
of their true destiny, the image of God/ is made
more real and the moral power of His sinless example
enhanced. The human in Him is divine. When
He is most truly human (Son of Man), then He is
most truly God. This would have seemed to the
fourth and fifth centuries sheer paradox. 3 But most
1 Paradise Lost, lii. 308-312.
a This is a reference to the theory of kenosis, which, on the
basis of Phil ii. 6 f, regards the human Jesus as possessed of all
the attributes of Deity, but as temporarily abstaining from the
exercise of them. An excellent account of ancient and modern
interpretations of this passage is given by Loofs in Hastings
Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, vii. pp. 680-687 (C.J.C.).
s We might go further, and say it would have seemed sheer
The Person and Work of Jesus 51
moderns could accept, as far as it goes, this concep
tion of the homogeneity of personality in God and
man. At the same time the idea of the Holy Spirit
as real medium of the Divine both in the man
Christ Jesus and in Christians in their case under
forms determined by His historic manifestation as
Son of Man and Son of God is coming to its full
rights." * " Those things which are looked upon
as human/ says Rev. W. F. Halliday, " His meek
and lowly and pure heartedness, are infinitely more
divine than mere knowledge or power." a The
divinity of Christ," says Dean Inge, " implies one
might almost say it means the eternal supremacy
of those moral qualities which He exhibited in their
4. The way in which Jesus conceived of Ms mission
was determined by his fellowship on the one hand
with God and on the other with men. The former
issued in moral purity and inward peace : the latter
issued in compassion on the multitudes. 4 Yet the
two motives were not disconnected ; for moral
purity meant love for his fellows, and compassion
meant a desire that they should share his own
Divine Sonship. And so he came, not to be served,
but to serve. 5
5. Many indeed were the forms in which he offered
Ms services to men. He came to seek and to save
that which was lost, 6 in particular the lost sheep
of the house of Israel,? to bring salvation to the
1 Bartlet and Carlyle, Christianity in History, pp. 602 f.
1 Reconciliation and Reality, p. 63.
3 Outspoken Essays, p. 135.
4 Me vi. 34 ||s, viii. 2 ||. For other references to Jesus com
passion, see Me i. 41 ; Lc vii. 13 ; Mt xx. 34.
5 Me x. 45 ||. 6 Lc xix. 10. 7 Mt x. 5 f, xv. 24-26 ||.
52 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
sons of Abraham l salvation being in essence
the fulfilment of God s purpose for men s lives,
just as its opposite (loss, or destruction, or perdition)
means the defeat not necessarily final of that
purpose. 2 He came to proclaim release to captives,
and to set the oppressed at liberty 3 : he invited
the toiling and burdened to come and find rest
with him, for he was gentle and lowly of heart 4 :
he often wanted to gather the children of Jerusalem
together as a hen gathers her chickens together
under her wings 5 : the season of his coming was
the season of God s visitation, and what he was
bringing were the things that made for their peace. 6
He bade men be of good courage, and fear not :
it is thus he speaks to the sinful and helpless para
lytic,? to the shrinking woman who had touched
his garment, 8 to Jairus anxiously trembling on the
brink of bereavement, 9 to Peter aghast at the near
presence of Divine power and holiness, 10 and to the
disciples when tossing on the stormy lake, 11 when
overawed at the Transfiguration," and when faced
with the prospect of hardship and persecution.^
6. A large part of his early ministry consisted of
the performance of cures of all kinds. Jesus certainly
regarded insanity," M and very probably illness in
general, *5 as being the work of Satan and his
1 Lc xix. 9. 3 Cf Mt xviii. 14. 3 Lc iv. 18.
4 Mt xi. 28-30 : cf Me vi. 31. 5 Mt xxiii. 37 ||.
6 Lc xix. 42, 44. 7 Mt ix. 2. 8 Mt ix. 22.
9 Me v. 36 ||. 10 Lc v. 10. Me vi. 50 ||.
Mt xvii. 7. *3 Mt x. 26, 28, 31 ; Lc xii. 4, 7, 32.
*4 Mt xii. 24-29 ||s.
T 5 Lc iv. 39, xiii. n, 16. The faith of the centurion based on
his own military power in Jesus ability to cure paralysis by a
word of command implies a sort of personification of the illness
itself (Mt viii. 5-10 ||). See below, p. 100 n i.
The Person and Work of Jesus 53
servants work which it was part of his mission to
undo. Having overpowered Satan himself, he was
now at liberty to plunder his goods. 1 His miracles
were acts of human pity, 2 and at the same time
signs of his Divine commission. 3 While the Gospels
often give us the impression that the cures were
wrought by the almost casual utterance of a word
of command or by a simple touch, yet we see clearly
that this was by no means always the case. That
they often involved the expenditure of time, effort,
and energy, appears from Jesus occasional use of
clay and saliva, 4 from his cure of a certain blind
man not all at once, but by stages, 5 from his use
of prayer and perhaps also fasting in dealing with
stubborn cases, 6 and from his sense that power had
gone out of him, when a sufferer touched his clothes
and was relieved. 7 Yet his willingness to cure seems
to have been limited only by his desire to safeguard
the still more essential forms of his ministry. 8
1 Me iii. 27 ||s.
1 Me i. 41 ; Lc vii. 13 ; Mt xx. 34 : cf O. Holtzmann, Life of
Jesus (ET), pp. 191 ff; Montefiore, Synoptic Gospels, p. 66; and
D. S. Cairns, The Army and Religion, p 386.
3 Mt xi. 2-6, 20-24 II-
4 Me vii. 33, viii. 23 ; Jn ix. 6. 5 Me viii. 22-25.
6 Me vii. 34 (" looking up to heaven "), ix. 28 f : cf Jn xi. 33,
38, 41 f. 7 Me v. 30 ; Lc viii. 46.
8 The nature-miracles have already been referred to (p. 45 n 5).
The two stories in Me of the feeding of a crowd are probably
doublets of the same original. The fact that the incident is nar
rated in all four gospels does not establish its literal historicity ;
for Mc s Gospel the earliest of the four was probably not written
until 35 years after Jesus death an ample interval for legendary
enlargements to establish themselves. The narratives probably
arose from some actual exhibition of hospitality or generosity on
Jesus part, combined with a parabolic expression of his being
the giver of spiritual food. (See Dr. G. W. Wade s useful remarks
in The Hibbert Journal for January 1920, pp. 327 f, where he sug-
54 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
7. For Jesus did not confine his ministrations to
alleviating the physical ills of men : he claimed to
be regarded as their guide and teacher in spiritual
and moral matters. Throughout the whole of his
ministry he was always busy teaching somebody ;
now it was a crowd, now a little group of friends or
opponents, now an individual : sometimes he spoke
in parables, sometimes without : he taught in the
synagogues, in the Temple, in his friends houses,
on the seashore, in the fields, on the road, on the
mountain-top always teaching. Proclaiming the
good news of the Kingdom to the poor went hand-
in-hand with the curing of illnesses and the expulsion
of evil spirits. 1 He called the toiling and burdened
to learn from him and to take upon themselves his
kindly yoke and that light burden which was so
different from the heavy load that the Scribes and
Pharisees put upon men s shoulders. 2 He spoke
to men as one who had an independent authority
from God to do so. 3 He was the friend of tax-
collectors and sinners. 4 He called those who
gests that the story of Elisha feeding 100 men with 20 loaves
(2 Kings iv. 42-44) may have had something to do with the story
of Jesus feeding the crowd.) Cf the saying ascribed to Jesus by
Origenes (Comm. in Mt xiii. 2) : " For the sake of the weak I
became weak, and for the sake of the hungry I hungered, and
for the sake of the thirsty I thirsted " (Preuschen, Antilegomena,
1 Mt iv. 23, xi. 5 y ; Lc iv. 18. Mt xl. 28-30, xxiii. 4 [j.
3 Me i. 22, 27 ; Mt vii. 28 f ; Lc Iv. 32 : and compare the tone
of Mt v. 21 f, 27 f, 33 f, 38 f, 43 f. On Jesus as a thinker, cf R.
Rhees, Life of Jesus of Nazareth, pp. 229 (" The freshness of his
ideas is proof that he was not lacking in thorough and orderly
thinking," etc), 235 (" He was as worthy to be Master of his dis
ciples thinking as he was to be Lord of their hearts "), 238 ; O.
Holtzmann, Life of Jesus (ET), p. 463 (" The victorious clearness
of his intellect"). 4 Mt xi. 19 jj.
The Person and Work of Jesus 55
accepted his message his brothers and sisters, 1 and
spoke of them collectively as a temple of God made
without hands. 3 The thought that, under the
physical conditions of his ministry, he could reach
and influence in this personal way so small a number
of people, lay like a weight on his heart. In order
to reach a larger number he trained the Twelve
and sent them out to do the same sort of work as
himself : they were to come after him, and he would
make them, like himself, fishers of men. 3 Yet even
so, the need was greater than the means of coping
with it. The harvest was plenteous, but the reapers
were few : they must pray to the great Owner of
the harvest to send out more reapers. 4 Such was
his passion to reveal the Father to men 5 and to
impart to them an understanding of His will and
a desire to do it.
8. The ministry of teaching and healing bestowed
by Jesus on men was reinforced by his prayers on
their behalf. He looks up to heaven and prays
before saying to the blind man, " Open." 6 He
knew of evil spirits that could not be expelled without
prayer. 7 Women brought their little children to
him for him to put his hands on them and pray ;
and he put his arms round them and invoked on
them God s blessing. 8 He prayed for Simon that
his faith might not fail. 9 But not only does Jesus
pray for his followers ; he also assists at their
Me lii. 33-35 Os.
a Me xiv. 58 ; Mt xxvi. 61 ; Jn li. 19 (the explanation in Jn ii.
21 f, applying the words to the resurrection, is incorrect : see J.
M. Thompson in Th Expositor for Sept. 1917, pp. 218-220).
J Me i. 17 ||s. 4 Mt ix. 371 1|. 5 Mt xi. 27.
6 Me vii. 34. 7 See above, p. 53 n 6.
8 Me x. 13-16 ||s. 9 Lc xxii. 32.
56 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
prayers. He says that where two or three are
gathered together in his name, he is there in the
midst of them, and that therefore whatever prayers
they offer in accord with one another will be granted. 1
This idea of the unseen presence of Jesus everywhere
with his disciples was brought later into prominence
by Paul and the author of the Johannine writings ;
and some of the sayings about it ascribed to Jesus may
be a reading-back of later Christian experience into
the story of his life-time. So probably we should have
to regard the post-resurrection saying : " Behold, I
am with you all the days until the consummation
of the age." 2 At the same time, the very prominence
of this idea later on is best explained by the supposi
tion that the historical Jesus had suggested it himself.
This probability must be borne in mind in appraising
the genuineness of sayings like that about the two
or three gathered together, supported as it is by
other utterances in which Jesus identifies himself
with the little child received in his name, 3 with the
travelling missionaries sent forth by him, 4 and with
his hungry and needy brethren every where. 5 Among
the Agrapha is a saying to this effect : Wherever
there is one alone, I am with him : raise the stone,
and there thou shalt find me ; cleave the wood,
and I am there." 6
9. One of the intercessory prayers of Jesus that
for the men who were crucifying him 7 leads us
on to yet another Divine blessing made available
1 Mt xviii. 19 f. a Mt xxviii. 20.
3 Me ix. 37=Mt xviii. 5=Lc ix. 48.
4 Mt x. 40; Lc x. 16. 5 Mt xxv. 40, 45.
6 Ropes, in Hastings Dictionary of the Bible, v, p. 347 a : cf
Preuschen, Antilegomena, pp. 22, 31, O. Holtzmann, Life of Jesus
(ET), p. 61. 7 Lc xxiii. 34.
The Person and Work of Jesus 57
by him the forgiveness of sin. Something has
already been said about Jesus representation of
God as ready to forgive sin when it is sincerely
repented of. 1 We have now to study the problem a
little more closely, as it engaged Jesus himself.
His view of sin is not a morbid view. " Endless
talk about sin and forgiveness exercises ... a nar
cotic influence. To say the least of it, ethical
education must move to and fro between reflection
on the past (with its faults and moral bondage)
and the prospects of a future (with its goal of
aspiration and the exertion of all one s powers)." 2
Such a condition is amply satisfied by the method
Jesus pursued. At the same time, he viewed sin
as a reality, and forgiveness therefore as a necessity.
Hence his repeated call for repentance, 3 and his
inculcation of a daily prayer for pardon. We have
already seen that Jesus often speaks of the Divine
pardon with as much personal detachment as any
prophet or teacher might display, and intimates
that the one essential condition of it is sincere repent
ance. But there were other occasions on which he
himself claimed to play a part in the work of for
giveness. When he was reproached with receiving
sinners, he spoke the two parables of the shepherd
pursuing the lost sheep and the woman seeking for
the lost coin ; and we cannot tell whether he meant
the shepherd and the woman to represent himself
or God. 4 This very ambiguity is significant for
1 See above, pp. 33 ff.
z Harnack, Mission and Expansion of Christianity (ET), vol. i.
3 Me i. 15 || ; Lc v. 31 f ||s. The last two words in Lc are prob
ably an addition of his own, but they correctly represent Jesus
meaning, 4 Lc xv. i-io ; cf Mt xviii. 12-14.
58 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
the point before us. At another time he claimed
in so many words to have authority to forgive sins. 1
It is in the light of this claim that we have to read
the story of the penitent prostitute, who bathed
his feet with tears and perfume a : having been
forgiven much, she loved much ; and inasmuch as
her love was lavished on Jesus himself, we may
presume that she thought of him as the author of
10. But a stiffer problem still awaits us. There is
nothing in what has been quoted hitherto to suggest
any connection between Jesus own death and the
forgiveness of sins. There is, in fact, only one
passage in the Synoptic Gospels where that connection
is plainly stated ; and that is in a somewhat doubtful
clause found in the Matthsean account of the Last
Supper. Jesus says : This (cup) is my blood of
the covenant, which is poured out on behalf of many
for remission of sins." 3 There is, however, another
passage which, while not explicitly mentioning
forgiveness, yet almost unmistakably implies it.
It is that in which Jesus says : " The Son of Man
came, not to be served, but to serve, and to give
his life (as) a ransom for many." 4 There is strong
ground for believing that this saying was a reminis
cence of the prophecy about the Suffering Servant
* Me ii. 5, 8-1 1 Us. I agree with Mr. J. A. Robertson (Spiritual
Pilgrimage, pp. 227-230) that we have here a real claim on Jesus
part to forgive, not simply to inform the sinner as any of us might
do that he was forgiven. The context does not suggest that Son
of Man here means simply man (so Lake, Stewardship of Faith,
p. 48) nearly so strongly as it does in Me ii. 28 (see above, p. 44 n 8).
3 Lc vii. 36-50.
3 Mt xxvi. 28. The doubt lies in the fact that the words " for
remission of sins " occur in Mt only.
J Me x. 45 ; Mt xx, 28.
The Person and Work of Jesus 59
of God in Isaiah liii. We know that the early
Christians applied this and other Deutero-Isaianic
Servant-prophecies to Jesus l ; and it is clear
that their warrant for doing so lay in the conscious
ness and the words of Jesus himself. The heavenly
voice that spoke to him at his baptism and at his
transfiguration re-echoed more than one of these
prophecies 2 : and at the Last Supper he actually
quoted Isaiah liii. 12: "He was reckoned among
the transgressors," and applied the passage to
himself. 3 The words spoken on the same occasion :
" The Son of Man departs, just as it has been written
of him/ are probably a reference to the same
chapter. 4 Now there are grounds for thinking that
the words about humble service and the ransom
for many were uttered, not at the time at which
Mark places them, but during the Last Supper. 5
If so, there is additional reason to believe, what the
content of the ransom-passage in itself makes very
probable, that it is yet another allusion to the
Suffering Servant. 6 Now of this Servant it was
Yea, for our transgressions was he pierced :
For our iniquities was lie bruised :
The chastisement that brought us peace fell on him ;
And with his stripes we have been healed.
1 Mt viii. 17, xii. 17-21 ; Lc ii. 32 (cf Isa xlii. 6, xlix. 6) ; Jn i.
29 (cf Is liii. 4, 7).
3 Me i. n, ix. 7 [js : cf Isa xlii. i, xliv. 2 (Ixli. 4).
s Lc xxii. 37. 4 Me xiv. 21 |js.
5 Lc, who rarely departs from Mc s chronology without some
special reason, places the words about humility at the Supper,
though he omits the ransom passage (xxii. 24-27). Cf Burkitt.
The Gospel History and its Transmission, pp. 135, 140, and A. T.
Cadoux, in The Expositor, January, 1918, p. 71.
6 Cf Moffatt, Theology of the Gospels, pp. 139-149, and Sanday.
in Hastings DB ii. p. 623.
60 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
We had all strayed like sheep ;
We had turned everyone to his own way ;
And the Lord laid on him
The penalty of us all. 1
If, therefore, Jesus had this passage in mind, when
he said that he came to give his life as a ransom
for many, he must have in some way connected
his own death very closely with the forgiveness of
men s sins. This identification of himself with the
Suffering Servant accounts for the fact that,
when the hostility of the Jews put the national
acceptance he had hoped for out of the question,
Jesus, though he did not conceal his own anguish
and horror, 2 his sense of the wickedness of his enemies, 3
and his certainty of the calamity they were drawing
upon themselves, 4 yet willingly embraced the pros
pect of death as part of the Divine plan, 5 pre-deter-
mined by prophecy 6 and necessary for the accomplish
ment of his own triumph. So when Peter tried to
draw him away from the idea of martyrdom, he
called him a hindrance, and told him that he looked
at things only in man s way, not in God s. 7
But in what did the triumph of the Suffering
Servant consist ?
Yahweh s desire will prosper in his hand :
In consequence of his soul s travail, he will see (it prosper
ing, and) will be satisfied :
By his knowledge will my servant make the many righteous. 8
1 Isa liii. 5 f.
* Me ii. 19 f ||s ; Lc xii. 49 f ; Me xiv. 33 ff ||s.
3 Me xiv. 41 ||s.
4 Me xii. 9, xiv. 21 |js ; Lc xii. 54-xiii. 9, xix. 41-44, xxiii. 28-31.
5 Cf Me x. 38 f, xiv. 36 ff ||s.
6 Me ix. 12 f ; Mt xxvi. 54, 56 || : cf Lc xiii. 33.
7 Me viii. 31-33 ||.
8 Isa liii, 10 f ; see Skinner s notes in Camb. Bible,
The Person and Work of Jesus 61
In other words, the triumph of Jesus meant the
salvation of men ; and inasmuch as salvation involved
forgiveness, it followed that his death would be a
means of forgiveness. And yet elsewhere Jesus
depicts God as so loving that the only condition
of obtaining His forgiveness is genuine repentance
on man s part. We are therefore driven to conclude
that Jesus death brings about men s forgiveness by
first bringing about their repentance. This repentance,
it is true, changes God in so far as it enables Him
to be reconciled to men, whereas otherwise He could
not be : but to argue, as has so often been done,
that Jesus death alters God s attitude to sinners
in any other sense, 1 is neither required by men s
experience of His forgiveness, nor admissible in
face of Jesus own words concerning Him. Amid the
bewildering variety of doctrines of the Atonement,
the great fact stands out that the death of Jesus
makes itself felt, in him who surveys it in a teachable
spirit, as an immense inward enlightenment and
stimulus, convincing him that here is a revelation
of the Father s love and of his own sinfulness,
showing him in the sufferings of Jesus what that
sinfulness costs God, moving him penitently to ask
for God s pardon, 2 kindling in him a passion for
obedience and service, implanting in him a love for
1 Cf A. Lyttleton in Lux Mundi, p. 211 : " The reconciliation
to be effected is not merely the reconciliation of man to God by
the change wrought in man s rebellious nature, but it is also the
propitiation of God Himself, whose wrath unappeased and whose
justice unsatisfied are the barriers thrown across the sinner s path
2 As Clemens of Rome says : " The blood of Christ . . ., being
poured out for the sake of our salvation, offered to the whole
world the grace of repentance " (Ep. to Corinth., vii. 4).
62 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
his fellows, and prompting him to seek and find
the Divine fellowship.
Gazing thus, our sin we see,
Learn Thy love while gazing thus
Sin which laid the cross on Thee,
Love which bore the cross for us.
Here we learn to serve and give,
And, rejoicing, self deny ;
Here we gather love to live,
Here we gather faith to die.
Some of the theological and devotional language of
the evangelicalism of the past may need in these
days to be discarded, or at least modified : but
most of it does justice in a rough way to these central
facts of experience.
Traditional theories of the Atonement, from Paul
downwards, have had the effect, not only of obscuring
the simple psychological facts of the case, but of intro
ducing a too absolute cleavage between the sufferings
of Jesus and the sufferings of others in the cause
of righteousness. Theology has disguised the fact
that the death of Jesus could have become the
power it has become in human life only by being
in the first place a supremely right and noble moral
act. Neander truly says : There must be a right
conception of Christ s self-sacrifice as a moral act,
in connection with his whole calling, in order to
any just doctrinal view of his sufferings." * But
this is just what, in the Christian theologies on the
subject, has been conspicuously lacking. Orthodox
theorists have objected to describing the death
of Jesus as what in its historical conditions it
clearly was, viz: a martyrdom brought about like
1 Life of Jesus Christ (ET, 1880), p. 380.
The Person and Work of Jesus 63
other martyrdoms. 1 And when once the modus
operandi of the Divine grace bestowed upon us in
the shed blood of Jesus is clearly discerned, we see
how exactly identical it is with the modus operandi
of the grace bestowed upon us through the sufferings
of all good people. The saving death of Jesus
differs from that of other martyrs only in primacy
and in degree of effectiveness, not in method of
operation. Their deaths, like his, come about in
the plain performance of duty ; like his, theirs
reveal the Divine Love and stir the consciousness
of sin and the passion for righteousness. But neither
his nor theirs makes God more loving and forgiving
than He was before ; and neither his nor theirs
overrides the free will of the sinner or does away
with the need for moral response on his part. When
Jesus called on his followers to take up the cross
and follow him,* he clearly implied that what he was
going to do by his death, they also were to do, each
in his own measure, by their deaths. The best
comment on his words is the repeated testimony of
early Christian authors that martyrdom under
persecution invariably attracted new converts : i.e.
it brought sinners to God. It was the great merit
of Origenes that, despite the trammels of the
imperfect theology of his day, he boldly ascribed to
the deaths of the martyrs a measure of that saving
efficacy which all Christians ascribe to the death
of Jesus. " As those," he says, " who attended at
the altar (erected) according to the law of Moses
1 See, for instance, the remarks of Farrar, Lives of the Fathers,
i. p. 86 n 3 and 328 n i ; Fairbairn, Studies in the Life of Christ,
pp. 259 f ; Dale, The Atonement, pp. 57-60, 78.
* Mt x. 38, xvi. 24 ||s.
64 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
were thought to administer to them forgiveness of
sins by means of the blood of bulls and goats, so the
souls of those who have been beheaded on account
of the testimony (they bore) to Jesus, attending to
good purpose at the altar in heaven, administer
forgiveness of sins to those who pray. 1 And besides
that, we know that, just as Jesus Christ, the High
Priest, offered himself up (as) a sacrifice, so the
priests, whose High Priest he is, offer up themselves
(as) a sacrifice. 3 . . . Perhaps also, just as we have
been purchased by the precious blood of Jesus,
... so, by the precious blood of the martyrs
will some be purchased, (the martyrs) themselves
being more exalted than those who have become
righteous, but have not been martyrs. For it is
reasonable that death by martyrdom should be
called exaltation in a special sense, as (is) clear
from the (words) : If I am exalted from the earth,
I will draw all men to myself/ " 3 And again :
If the lamb, which is given (up) for the purification
of the people, is referred to the person of our Lord
and Saviour, it seems consistent that the other
animals also, which are assigned to the same purifi
catory uses, ought similarly to be referred to some
persons who 4 confer something of purification on
the human race " ; and more to the same effect. 5
Nor do we need to limit this fellowship in the re-
* The words might also be translated : " serve (or help) those
who pray for forgiveness of sins," but the wording of the previous
clause makes this rendering less likely. The reference is to Rev vi.
9 (xx. 4).
* Origenes, Exhort, to Martyrdom, 30 (Lommatzsch, xx. 274 f).
3 ibid 50 (Lomm. xx. 314!).
4 At this point some MSS insert per meritum sanguims Chris ti
almost certainly a gloss inserted by translator or copyist.
s Origenes, Homilies on Numbers, xxiv. i. (Lomm. x. 292 f.)
The Person and Work of Jesus 65
demptive work of Jesus to martyrs in the strict sense.
We know that all human goodness, and especially
that exercised at the cost of any kind of suffering
or self-sacrifice, does something to reveal God to us
and to draw us nearer to Him, and so administers
to us in some measure that same inward cleansing
which is administered by the death of a martyr
and pre-eminently by the death of Jesus. 1 " Why
suffering should in this way be essential to life,"
says Kirsopp Lake, "we do not know, but whereas
the figure of the suffering God in a suffering world
may prove ... to be irreconcilable with the tradi
tional conception of omnipotence, it does not outrage
the sense of justice. . . . The doctrine of the Atone
ment . . . has its permanent place in human thought,
but the churches will retain the privilege of being
its exponents only if they prove equal to the task
of beginning its explanation with the facts of living
experience, and place the suffering of Jesus within
and not without the ever-widening circle of suffering
yet redeeming and triumphant life. If the churches
prove unequal to their task, and sacrifice the truth
of experience to the tradition of expression, the
world will pass them by and listen by preference to
men and societies who are more alive to the necessi
ties of the present." 2 We cannot but believe that
God Himself feels all the suffering of His children ;
.and thus the chastening and uplifting vision of
1 " Death has a strange power over the human imagination
and memory. ... If a significant death is added to a brave and
self-sacrificing life, the effect is great " (Rauschenbusch, A Theology
for the Social Gospel, p. 270). " But how did the suffering of the
innocent avail to save the guilty ? It saved them by opening their
eyes " (Dr. Orchard, quoted in The Crusader, May 28, 1920, p. 9).
Stewardship of Faith, p. 165 f.
66 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
His fatherly love and patience and sorrow and hope
is granted to us in some measure in every spectacle
of human goodness that meets us. We see it in the
gentle mother s toil for her little ones : we see it
in the patient ministry of father or friend : we see
it in all faithful and conscientious daily work, in
every unselfish service, in every gallant act of
rescue, in all painstaking search for truth, in all
brave adherence to high principle, in all endurance
of suffering in the cause of righteousness.
Yet thou more bright than all that Angel Blaze,
Despis6d Galilaean I Man of Woes 1
For chiefly in the oppressed Good Man s face
The Great Invisible (by symbols seen)
Shines with peculiar and concentred light,
When all of Self regardless the scourg d Saint
Mourns for th oppressor. O thou meekest Man !
Meek Man and lowliest of the Sons of Men !
Who thee beheld thy imag d Father saw. 1
1 Coleridge, Religious Musings. Mr. H. G. Wells (God the In
visible King, pp. 118-123) repudiates on behalf of the modern
man both the Cross and its counterpart, the doctrine of non-resist
ance, because he does not understand either of them. That is not
altogether his fault, for Christian teaching on these matters has
not hitherto been a model of lucidity. At the same time, it is
not hard to see where he has gone astray. In his scale of values
the picture of God as a courageous militant being, incapable of
gentleness or sorrow, and anxious only to conquer His enemies,
stands higher than the picture of God as an eternally loving and
patient Father anxious only to be reconciled with His children.
It is of course quite permissible to conceive of the Father s work
of reconciliation under the figure of a courageous fight : but with
Mr. Wells this simile so fills the canvas that no room is left for
the truth of which it is only the illustration. Consequently he
does not see that the Cross, with its revelation of God s infinite
love and patience and willingness to suffer for us, is but the leading
type of that weapon with which He is eternally fighting against
the selfishness and waywardness of man. Neither does he see
that non-resistance, which he obviously equates with languor
and helplessness and inactivity, is but one side of a mode of fighting
wherein we " smite the foe with Christ s all-conquering kiss."
The Person and Work of Jesus 67
ii. It is a commonplace of Gospel-study that
Jesus depicted himself as the inaugurator of the
Kingdom of God that reign of God which was going
to supervene upon all the iniquities and miseries of
human society. The constant burden of his preaching
as well as that of his apostles, was the imminence of
the Kingdom. 1 His exorcisms were evidence that
it had already come. 2 His personal instructions
were its mysteries. 3 Whoever was far from him
was far from it. 4 In the parables of the Kingdom,
his own work figures as the sowing of seed and the
use of leaven. Peter gets the keys of the Kingdom
given him, immediately on recognizing Jesus Messiah-
ship. 5 The Kingdom of God was Jesus favourite
summary for all that he stood for. Our examination
of the various aspects of his ministry has shown us
in what large measure that ministry is still a living
reality available for us to-day. It is when we come
to the way in which Jesus conceived of the manner
and form of his triumph that a modern disciple
has to make the biggest discount on the score of
differences between that age and this. For there
seems no doubt that Jesus expected to return to
earth probably in visible bodily form within a
very short time of his decease. The third day on
which he said he would rise from the dead 6 probably
meant simply a short indefinite period, the exact
length of which is not known as it often did in
1 Me i. 15 || ; Mt x. 7 ; Lc x. 9-11.
Mt xii. 28 ||.
3 Mt xiii. 1 1 ff ||s.
4 Agraphon : see Hastings DB v. 349 f (No. 62).
5 Mt xvi. 16-19.
6 Me viii. 31, ix. 31, x 34 ||s : Mt xxvii. 63 JJ.
68 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
Jewish speech I ; and the resurrection he foretold
was probably identical in his mind with his coming
on the clouds of heaven with great power and glory. 2
The day and hour of that coming none knew but
1 2 Kings xx. 8 ; Hosea vi. if; Lc xiii. 32 f ; Mt xxvi. 61,
xxvii. 40 ||s ; Jn ii. 19 f ; Me xiii. 2 (Codex D) ; (? add Acts ix. 9,
xxviii. 7, 12, 17, Jn ii. i).
* The main ground for this identification is that it is hard to
account for the language of Jesus when he clearly has the Parousia
in mind (e.g. in his numerous comparisons of his disciples to servants
working in the temporary absence of their master, and still more
in his farewell words at the Last Supper Me xiv. 25 ||s) on the
assumption that he knew all the time that the interval of absence
between Death and Parousia would be broken by a period of inter
course with the disciples, commencing actually two days after
his death and lasting forty days. The fact that certain appear
ances did commence on what was literally the third day (as then
reckoned) would easily account for the difference in the way in
which prophesies in regard to Resurrection and Parousia are re
corded, and for the insertion of Me xiv. 28, which is out of keeping
with the implications of verse 25 and is omitted by Lc.
It is not usually realized that the words addressed by Jesus
to the penitent robber : " To-day thou shalt be with me in Paradise "
(Lc xxiii. 43) are irreconcilable with the usual idea of the resurrec
tion and still more so with the belief that Jesus went and visited
the spirits in Hades. The traditional idea of a bodily Ascension,
which has no support in Me (i.e. in what we have of him for the
original ending of his Gospel is lost), Mt, Jn (for in John the Ascen
sion takes place before the resurrection-appearances are over :
see xx. 17, cf 27), or Paul, seems to have sprung from a natural
desire to provide a fitting termination to the resurrection-appear
ances. It need hardly be said that to regard the resurrection-
appearances as psychical phenomena, not involving the presence
of Jesus physical body, does not by any means rob them of their
reality, objectivity, or religious value. At most it demands modi
fications in some details of the narratives. Lastly, two important
facts must not be overlooked : (i) the ordinary Jew, unlike the
Platonic Greek and the modern Christian, was psychologically
incapable of believing in a life after death without an accompanying
bodily resurrection ; (2) Paul evidently regarded the appearance
of the Risen Christ to himself on the road to Damascus as in all
respects similar to his appearances to the other disciples (i Cor xv.
The Person and Work of Jesus 69
the Father 1 : but Jesus was sure it would occur
within that generation. 3 On his arrival he would
call his servants to account, hold a judgment, and
inaugurate his final triumph. 3 To the modern
Christian, all this sounds alien and unreal, almost
as much as it did to the writer of the Fourth Gospel.
Allowance has to be made for the fact that the scien
tific and cosmological ideas of the Jewish people
of that day were as much part of the habit of Jesus
mind, as the clothes he wore were the habit of his
body. In adapting our Lord s eschatology to the
needs of our own minds, we are bound to substitute
inward spiritual fellowship with him for his return
on the clouds of heaven, the silent operation of
God s laws for the great Day of Judgment, the future
life of the individual after death and the gradual
spread of the Kingdom on earth (" the Logos ever
taking possession of more (and more) souls " 4) for
the sudden erection of the Kingdom by a cataclysmic,
Divine intervention. But these are all modifications
of the form, not of the substance. We share our
Master s invincible certainty of triumph, based on
his invincible confidence in God.
O glorious Will of God, unfold
The splendour of Thy Way,
And all shall love as they behold
And loving shall obey,
Consumed each meaner care and claim
In the new passion s holy flame.
1 Me xiii. 32 ||. Me ix. I, xiii. 30 f ||s.
3 Me viii. 35, 38; Mt x. 32 f, xiii. 41-43, 49 f, xx. 21-23, xxii.
1-14, xxv ||s : also the many words about watchful servants (see
below, p. 114).
Origenes, Contra Celsum, viii. 68 fin.
70 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
O speed the hours when o er the world
The vision s fire shall run ;
Night from his ancient throne is hurled.
Uprisen is Christ the Sun ;
Through human wills by Thee controlled,
Spreads o er the earth the Age of Gold.
A. DUTY IN GENERAL
i. A RECENT writer, in contrasting Jesus view of
religion with that of the Pharisees, tells us that the
" reckoning of religion as duty, and nothing else,
Jesus says is an abomination to God." x This state
ment is true only if the meaning of the word duty
be confined to the external acts of the body. It is
usual to assume that the Pharisees of Jesus day
regularly limited the idea in this superficial way,
though it may be questioned whether the assumption
is altogether fair. It is not, however, our present
purpose to discuss exactly what the Pharisees were
guilty of : but it is important for us to avoid an
error to which the age-long polemic against Jewish
legalism had made us particularly susceptible.
When we give the word duty its true meaning
and realize that it covers the whole of life, the mind
and spirit as well as the body, faith and prayer and
fellowship with God and sincerity of purpose as well
as outward conduct, the danger incident to regarding
it as co-extensive with religion disappears. How
wide a scope Jesus gave to the idea is seen in his
parable of the slave, whose whole time belongs to
1 J. H. Robertson, Spiritual Pilgrimage, p. 97 (italics mine).
72 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
his Master, and who has, strictly speaking, no time
he can call his own. " So likewise ye," says Jesus,
" when ye have done all the things that are com
manded you, say : We are (merely) slaves : we
have (simply) done what we ought to have done/ " I
When we realize that the things that are com
manded by Jesus cover the whole of the inner as
well as the outer life, the motive as well as the act,
we see what a much wider scope Jesus gave to the
concept of duty than Protestant apologists have
generally admitted. The mature child of God,
even when he has fulfilled the whole of Jesus
ideal of perfection, is still to say, like Sir Richard
Grenville, " I have only done my duty as a man
is bound to do."
2. What, then, are the leading characteristics of
duty as Jesus conceives it ? It is that for which we
must be as solicitous as we are for food and drink. 2
It is primarily concerned with the inward life as
the basis and source of the outer 3 : the heart must
be pure, 4 the eye single 5 : the heart will be where
its treasures are, and these must be stored up in
heaven 6 : the tree itself must be made good, in
1 Lc xvii. 7-10. The insertion of the word unprofitable
(absent from the Sinaitic Syriac) obscures the point of the parable,
gives the phrase unprofitable slave quite a different meaning
from what it has in Mt xxv. 30 (the other only place where it occurs),
and suggests a distinction between duty and the quest for per
fection, which is quite foreign to the teaching of Jesus (Mt v. 48 ;
the phrase in Mt xix. 21 If thou wouldst be perfect is absent
from Me and Lc, and seems to be a modification due to the com
piler of the Gospel), though it survives in the Catholic doctrine
of works of supererogation. A denial of this doctrine does not,
of course, imply that the same form of perfection is within the
reach of all at any given time.
Mt v. 6. 3 Mt v. 21 f, 27 f, etc. 4 Mt v. 8.
5 Mt vi. 22 f ||. 6 Mt vi. 19-21 ||.
Duty in General 73
order that the fruit may be good for out of the
abundance of the heart the mouth speaks I : it is
from within, out of the heart of man, that proceed
all the evil designs that defile him. 1 So far is duty
from consisting only in restraints and prohibitions,
that the position of a man whose mind is empty of
a positive purpose having the expulsive power of
a new affection/ is one of extreme danger. 3 It
involves difficulty and self-sacrifice : " Enter through
the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad the
road that leads to perdition, and there are many
who enter through it : but narrow is the gate and
cramped the road that leads to life, and few there
are who find it." 4 Jesus speaks pictorially of our
having to cut off a hand or a foot or pluck out an
eye, if it cause us to stumble and so threaten to
exclude us from the Kingdom. 5 At the same time,
Jesus calls his yoke kindly and his burden light/ 6
because alongside of the pain of sacrifice, there is
the great reward in heaven ; the joy of fellowship
and co-operation with Him we love and serve.
At the very forefront on the Sermon on the Mount
stand the Beatitudes, declaring the bliss of those who
enter the Kingdom. " How happily the working
days in this dear service fly ! " This is the spirit of
Dickens Esther Summerson : Once more, duty,
duty, Esther/ said I ; and if you are not overjoyed
to do it, more than cheerfully and contentedly,
through anything and everything, you ought to be.
That s all I have to say to you, my dear/ " 7
1 Mt xii. 33-36 ; Lc vi. 43-45. Me vii. 14 f, 18-23 IN
3 So perhaps we may paraphrase Mt xii. 43-45 ||.
4 Mt vii. isf ||. 5 Mt v. 29 f, xviii. 8 f ||.
6 Mt xi. 30. 7 Bleak House, ch. 38.
B. THE OBSERVANCES OF RELIGION
i. To the Jew the connexion between the essence
of religion and its ceremonial expression was very
close so close that the natural tendency with many
was to identify the two, and even to regard the
ceremonial side as virtually the whole of religion.
That the experiences and activities of the religious
spirit need to be expressed in appropriate religious
observances, in order that they may be kept clear
and lively, ought to be obvious to us from the need
of such external expressions in other departments
of life. A religion altogether without observances
would be like a friendship without handshakes and
letters, or an engagement without kisses. The Jews
of Jesus day had an elaborate and venerable system
of religious observances those enjoined by the
so-called Law of Moses and we find Jesus paying
a good deal of respect to that system. At the early
age of twelve, he feels the need of being in his
Father s house the Temple at Jerusalem. 1 Later
in life he wears on his garment the fringe prescribed
by the Law,* bids the cured lepers show themselves
to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses
commanded,3 pays the Temple-tax in order not to
scandalize the authorities^ bids the disciples obey
1 Lc ii. 49.
a Mt ix. 20, xiv. 36 || s (Greek) : cf Numb xv. 38 ; Deut xxii. 12 ;
Mt xxiii. 5.
3 Me i. 44 |js ; Lc xvii. 14. 4 Mt xvii. 24-27.
The Observances of Religion 75
the Pharisees because they sit in Moses seat, and
declares that he has not come to abrogate the Law
but to fulfil it. 1 He says explicitly that men ought
not to neglect even the less weighty matters of
the Law. 3
2. At the same time Jesus was aware of the subtle
danger of regarding these observances as if they
formed the stuff and substance of religion. Though
we need not suppose that every Pharisee and religious
Jew was a humbug with no sense of the demands
of true morality, there is no doubt that many were
in danger of dropping into this attitude. To counter
act and correct the distorted view that made the
danger so real was Jesus constant effort. More
than once he referred his critics to God s prophetic
utterance : " I desire mercy, and not sacrifice." 3
He insisted that a man was defiled, not by eating
with dirty hands, or by anything that entered him
from without, but by the immoral designs that
issue from his own heart. 4 If the usual interpreta
tion of the words about the new patch on the old
garment and the new wine in the old bottles 5 be
correct, he was conscious of a certain incongruity
between his own teaching and the Jewish system.
He condemned in unsparing terms the public and
ostentatious performance of religious duty, like
1 Mt xxiii. 2 f, v. 17 f [j. The exact meaning, and even the
genuineness, of these two passages, is somewhat doubtful.
2 Mt xxiii. 23 |1. But see below, note 4.
3 Mt ix. 13, xii. 7.
* Mt. xv. 10-20 ||. Jesus argument that a man is not denied
by what he eats is hardly in keeping with the dietary laws in the
Pentateuch, though how the disregard of these was to be har
monized with that deference for the Law which Jesus elsewhere
professed (see notes i and 2 above), it is hard to say.
5 Me ii. 21 f Us.
76 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
prayer, almsgiving, and fasting, with the object of
winning a reputation for piety. 1 He blamed the
Scribes for loading men s shoulders with burdens
heavy and hard to bear. 3 He condemned the
scrupulous care bestowed on tithing herbs, when
the weightier matters of the Law justice, mercy,
and faith were being neglected. 3 A worshipper
who has wronged his neighbour ought to leave his
sacrifice at the altar and go and make amends, and
come back to sacrifice only after the reconciliation
has been effected. 4
3. The one religious observance which Jesus
discussed in any detail was the Sabbath ; and his
attitude towards it is a good illustration of his atti
tude towards the ceremonial side of religion in
general. There is no reason to suppose that he
wished to abolish Sabbath-observance. As a day
for the general cessation of ordinary work, and for
the cultivation of the inward life, it was a blessing
which men ought not to deny themselves. " The
Sabbath came into being," he said, " for man s
sake." 5 At the same time, he would not have the
demands of brotherly love and service subordinated
to those of Sabbath-observance. He set the seal
of his approval on that natural instinct that bids
us relieve the suffering and supply the needs of
ourselves and of others Sabbath or no Sabbath,
and he desired that instinct to be carried to its
logical conclusion. 6 Had Jesus been asked by a
* Mt vi. 1-6, 1 6-1 8.
3 Mt xxiii. 4=Lc xi. 46 : cf Ac xv. 10.
3 Mt xxiii. 23 f ; Lc xi. 42. Cf his similar complaint of the lack
of a sense of proportion in the matter of swearing oaths in Mt xxiii.
16-22. 4 Mt v. 23 f. 5 Me ii. 27.
6 Me ii. 23-iii. 5 ||s ; Lc xiii. 10-17, xiv - 1-6.
The Observances of Religion 77
modern Christian whether he approved of Sunday
tennis and Sunday golf, I am sure he would at once
have carried the question to a higher level, and asked
the questioner whether he was conscientiously
making the best use of the opportunities Sunday
gave him for resting his body and exercising his
soul. An old narrative tells- us that he once saw a
man working on the Sabbath, and said to him :
" (My) man, if thou knowest what thou art doing,
happy art thou ; but if thou knowest not, thou
art accursed and a transgressor of the Law." J
That is to say, the precepts of the ceremonial law
are binding, but only in so far as they do not traverse
some requirement that commends itself to our best
judgment as being more in accordance with the
1 The words are found only in Codex Bezae (at Cambridge)
at Lc vi. 4. They probably reflect a true tradition.
C. OUR DUTY TO GOD
i. TURNING now to the more essential and funda
mental duties owed to God, we see that Jesus puts
in the foremost place the act which is represented
in our English translation as repentance, but which
is more correctly described by some such term as
change of mind or change of heart/ We scarcely
need to be reminded how frequently Jesus demands
it. He opens his ministry with a general call to
repentance on account of the nearness of God s
Kingdom * ; he said that the purpose of his coming
was to call sinners to repentance 2 ; he was grieved
and surprised that the cities in which he worked
repented not surely Tyre and Sidon and Nineveh
would have done so 3 ; he told the disciples to pray
daily for the forgiveness of their sins 4 ; he warned
men that, unless they repented, they would perish 5 ;
but told them that there was joy in heaven over
even one repentant sinner. 6
But if repentance really means a change of mind,
clearly we are in need of some details as to the nature
of the change. What sort of change is indicated by
repentance ? One thing is clear : it is a change
1 Me i. 15 ; Mt iv. 17. * See p. 57 n 3.
3 Mt xi. 21, xii. 41 ||s.
4 Mt vi. 9, 12 ||. Cf Lc xviii. 13 f, where the Pharisee s prayer
leads to no justification, because he did not realize any need to
ask for pardon.
5 Lc xiii. 1-9. 6 Lc xv. 7, 10.
Our Duty to God 79
appropriate for sinners ; for in most of the passages
we have quoted, it is sinners who are spoken of as
repenting, or needing to repent. What then is a
sinner ? In order to answer this question, we need
to remember that the Jewish conception of sin
was a good deal wider than that usually held by
the modern Christian.
According to the latter, sin is something for which
the sinner is responsible, is to blame, something he
would be able to avoid were it not for a corrupted
will ; it is the open-eyed and deliberate choice of
wrong, while the right is staring him in the face.
" Video meliora proboque ; deteriora sequor." That
this view covers a certain number of the facts, no
one will deny : we can all look back with shame on
acts and omissions that we can characterize in these
terms. But will anyone maintain that this view
of sin is at all adequate to the problems of man s
moral consciousness ? What about that large crowd
of acts, words, and thoughts, which we sorely regret
and yet never meant to be guilty of, in excuse for
which we could quite fairly plead youth or inexperi
ence or ignorance or oversight or lapse of memory
or haste or illness or human frailty or provocation
or fatigue, but which yet we cannot quite class as
mere accidents over which we had no control things
which seem to be at the same time both inevitable
and optional, the errors without which we cannot
learn, the falls without which, though we have the
best intentions in the world, we can never be taught
to stand upright ? Ignorance and inexperience we
know ; the weakness of the flesh when the spirit
is willing we know ; and wilful wrongdoing we
know. Perhaps we know too that these are not all
80 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
the same. But who can point out to us the dividing
lines between them ? Who can show us where one
begins and the other ends ? The focus is not sharp
enough to enable us to mark outlines. 1
It was with a deep sense of this undefinable and
unaccountable character of sin that the Old Testament
writers thought of it not only as something wilful and
outrageous, but also as something well-nigh as
inseparable from human life as is growth itself.
That sharp division which modern theology tries
to draw between intellectual ignorance and moral
faultiness the Old Testament authors knew perfectly
well could not be drawn. The Hebrew word, like
the Greek word, for sin meant primarily to miss a
mark, goal, or way. The etymology . . . does
not necessarily imply intentional wrongdoing." 2
Atonement for unintentional sin and that not
only in matters of ritual was expressly provided
for in the Priestly Code. 3 The conception of sin
as inseparable from human nature, as incriminating
and yet in a measure inevitable, as bringing a sense
of the need of pardon, and yet as in a measure
beyond man s control, pervades the devotional
literature of the Old Testament. There is no
man that sinneth not." 4 " What is man, that he
should be clean, and he who is born of a woman,
1 Cf the interesting accounts of sin from the modern point of
view in H. G. Wells God the Invisible King, pp. 171 fif ("It is in
the nature of every man to fall short at every point from perfec
tion," etc), and in K. Lake s Stewardship of Faith, pp. 184-186.
We must not assume that Paul s, Augustine s, and Luther s view
of sin is necessarily involved in the normal Christian experience
of it (cf W. R. Inge, Outspoken Essays, p. 214).
z E. R. Bernard in Hastings DB iv. p. 529 a.
3 Lev iv. 2 ff, v. 14-19; Numb xv. 22-31.
4 i Kings viii. 46,
Our Duty to God 81
that he should be righteous ? Behold, He putteth
no trust in His holy ones ; yea, the heavens are not
clean in His sight." 1 " Errors who can understand ?
Cleanse me from hidden (fault) s : keep back thy
servants also from rebellious (act)s ; let them not rule
over me." 3 " Thou hast set our iniquities before Thee,
our secret sins in the light of Thy face. "3 " Sinfulness,"
says Philo, " is congenital to everything born, in
proportion as it has entered into being, even though
it be good." 4
Sin, therefore, according both to the Old Testa
ment and to modern experience, covers the whole
of life s spiritual and moral imperfections and
limitations. And if we remember how thoroughly
scriptural Jesus whole education had been, and
at the same time how deeply rooted in actual human
experience his religious convictions were, and if
we bear in mind that his great ideal for man was
that he should become and should be called a Son
of the Most High, we can with some confidence say
that sin must have meant for him anything that
hinders the realization of this ideal. That being
so, repentance would be the initial change needed
for this realization, i.e. man s discernment of his
true destiny as a prospective child of God and the
surrender of himself to the fulfilment of that destiny
as his life s aim. Repentance therefore is in essence
the catching sight of the goal and the conscious start
towards it. It is not therefore necessarily the
expression of regret for any overt or specific or wilful
1 Job xv. 14 f : cf xxv. 4, xxxiv. 31 f.
3 Ps xix. 12 f. Cheyne s note is : " Lapses, i.e. errors due to
ignorance or inattention, opposed (as in the Levitical Law) to
presumptuous sins " (The Book of Psalms, p. 221).
3 Ps xc. 8. 4 Vita Mosis, 1. Ill, s. 17.
82 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
acts of wrongdoing, though of course it may be
that. 1 Nor is it necessarily to be regarded as a
sudden or momentary or dateable experience ; though
often it is so and, even where it seems to be a long
gradual process, there is probably some specific
time when the true state of things first dawns clearly
on the man s soul. Thus explained, repentance is
obviously a necessity for every man ; and if conver
sion means the same thing, then obviously all men
need to be converted 1 3
2. Repentance then is the yielding to God s call
to live as His child it is the birth (or re-birth 3)
of the filial spirit. Now the first essential to the
filial spirit is the child s love for his father. Hence
we find Jesus saying that the first commandment of
all is : " Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all
thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy
mind and with all thy strength." 4 Among what
Jesus called the weightier matters of the Law, he
names love for God/ and we can see that he reckoned
it the chief of them. 5 Those who are always decrying
the legal aspect of religion, who are never weary
of telling us that we are not under law but under
grace, to whom the bare mention of anything in the
nature of a definite and binding precept seems like a
1 " Repentance is not necessarily equivalent to pain and broken-
heartedness " (O. Holtzmann, Life of Jesus (ET), p. 215).
* Professor Lake (Stewardship of Faith, p. 28) thinks Jesus was
not speaking ironically when he spoke of the righteous who need
no repentance (Lc xv. 7) and the healthy who need no doctor
(Me ii. 17 ||s). But if so, he is referring to those who have repented
already ; and even they have to re-affirm their repentance in the
daily prayer for forgiveness (Mt vi. 9, 12 ||).
3 As in the case of the Prodigal Son (Lc xv. 17-21).
4 Me xii. 28-34 II s -
5 Lc xi. 42 : but cf Mt xxiii. 23.
Our Duty to God 83
lapse from evangelical truth, have never been able
to explain satisfactorily why it is that so inward and
spiritual and apparently involuntary an act as love,
should be made by Jesus the subject of a direct
imperative, that is to say, a law. We do no violation,
however, to Jesus teaching when we say that love
for God is one (and that the chief) of our duties.
If it be true to call love an emotion, then we must
have a psychology of religion that brings the emotions
under the control of the will ; for loving, according
to Jesus, is something we can do as a matter of duty.
What love for God really means is hard to define-
perhaps the best we can do is to avail ourselves of
human analogies. In some respects the experience of
falling in love is closely analogous to the love which
God requires of us : but on the whole the comparison
is not felicitous, as will be seen, for instance, by
the way in which efforts to make suitable people
fall in love with one another as a matter of duty,
invariably come to grief : (well may Hermia protest,
" O hell ! to choose love by another s eyes"). Our
best illustration is, as we might expect, the love
of a little child for a good father or mother.
" Wherefore," as says Paul in the language of
childhood, " we are ambitious, whether at home
or abroad, to be well-pleasing to Him." 1
Another popular fallacy is that we must not love
God for hope of reward.
My God I love thee, not because
I hope for heaven thereby.
The lines recall an utterance of Sancho Panza s in
Don Quixote : " I have heard it preached, quoth
1 2 Cor v. 9.
84 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
Sancho, that God is to be loved with this kind of
love, for Himself alone, without our being moved
to it by hope of reward or fear of punishment ;
though, for my part, I am inclined to love and serve
Him for what He is able to do for me. " * Now,
whether or no we ought to love God for hope of
reward seems to depend entirely on our idea of
reward/ And whether Sancho had a worthy
idea of that, we do not know. But we do know that
most of what Jesus says about the motives that
should guide human duty is in the language of reward
and punishment * ; and if we had worthy thoughts
about the nature of the reward/ the treasure in
heaven/ the things which eye hath not seen and
ear hath not heard, and which have not entered into
the heart of man, whatsoever things God hath
prepared for those that love Him/ 3 we should not
need to seek for any other motive or basis for this
first and greatest of all Christian duties. 4
3. Love for God has many different aspects. It
involves worship, such as can be paid to God alone. 5
It involves fear fear lest we should incur His dis
pleasure, 6 or, to use words more in accordance with
our modern temper, but meaning the same, fear lest
we should grieve Him. It involves reverence
the keeping sacred of God s name 7 ; the refusal to
* Don Quxiote, Part I, bk. iv, ch. 31.
See above, pp. 40-43. s i Cor ii. 9.
4 On the hope of reward as the inducement to right action in
general, cf Isaac Taylor, The Natural History of Enthusiasm (1829),
pp. 173-179, Ottley in Lux Mundi, pp. 352 ff, and a frank paper
by Canon A. C. Deane on The Christian Doctrine of Reward
in The Expositor for December, 1919, pp. 412-418.
5 Mt iv. 10 ||.
6 Mt x. 28 || ; cf Lc xviii. 2, 4. 7 Mt vi. 9 ||.
Our Duty to God 85
swear either by His throne or by His footstool or
by His city J ; the abstention from blasphemy,
particularly against His Holy Spirit. 2
4. Its content can be aptly summed up in two or
three different ways. It involves in the first place
obedience. " Keep the commandments," says Jesus 3 ;
and elsewhere he calls the commandments the word
of God. 4 " Happy (are) those who hear the word of
God, and keep (it). "5 He blames the Jews for neglect
ing the commandments of God out of deference to
human traditions and precepts. 6 Under this heading
perhaps we should place that duty of which Jesus
says a good deal, viz : the duty of accepting God s
prophets. 7 The prophets figure in his Vineyard
Parable as the owner s servants sent to the vine
dressers to collect their master s share of the produce. 8
They figure also in the parable of the Rich Man and
Lazarus as providing sufficient warning for the Rich
Man s five brothers. 9 John the Baptist was a prophet
and yet the religious leaders of the nation had re
jected him. 10 The charge of slaying God s prophets
was a capital item in Jesus indictment of the nation. 11
On the question as to how the false prophet was
to be distinguished from the true, Jesus only says
that they are to be known by their fruits. 1 * Pre
sumably he would have referred the question to the
1 Mt v. 33-35 : cf xxiii. 16-22. Note however that Jesus broke
his silence at his trial and answered the High Priest as soon as
he adjured him in God s Name (Mt xxvi. 62-64 || : cf Levit v. i).
Me iii. 28 f ||s. 3 Mt xix. 17 ||s. 4 Me vii. 6-13 ||.
i Lc xi. 28. 6 See note 4. 7 Mt x. 41.
8 Me xii. 1-5 ||s. 9 Lc xvi. 27-31.
10 Mt xi. 9 ff \\, xxi. 25 f I], 28-32 ; Lc vii. 30.
11 Lc xiii. 33 f |i ; Mt xxii. 6 f, xxiii. 29-37 II; Mc x ii- 3~5 II s -
Mt vii. 15-20 ||.
86 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
questioner s own heart. If we truly love God, we shall
recognize His prophets well enough when we see them.
5. Further, love for God involves the quest for
His righteousness, 1 the due payment of what belongs
to Him,* and especially the imitation of His perfect
goodness. " Love your enemies, and pray for those
who persecute you, in order that ye may become
sons of your Father in heaven, for He raises His
sun on evil and good (alike), and sends rain on (the)
righteous and (the) unrighteous. . . . Ye then shall
be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect." 3
It is worth noticing in passing that, though Jesus
elsewhere represents God as punishing the wicked, 4
yet when he is speaking of our imitating God, he
confines himself to God s beneficence. God has
prerogatives of discipline which His children do
not share and must not try to copy, just as the
children in a family are not allowed to punish one
another. This agrees incidentally with Paul s counsel
at. the end of the twelfth and the beginning of the
thirteenth chapters of Romans but we must leave
over further discussion of the point until a later stage. 5
6. But Jesus favourite formula for summing
up man s duty to God was the doing of God s Will.
We are to pray daily for it to be done on earth. 6
We must do it ourselves,? even if it means draining
the bitter cup of sorrow to the dregs. 8 Only those
that do it can enter the Kingdom of Heaven,9 or
claim to be Jesus true brethren. J God s Will is
Mt vi. 33 y. Me xii. 17 |s ; cf Mt xxi. 41.
3 Mt v. 44 f, 48.
4 Mt xviii. 34 f, xxii. 7, 13 ; Lc xix. 12, 14, 27 ; etc.
5 See below, pp. 164, 168. 6 Mt vi. 10 ||.
7 Mt xxi. 28-32. 8 Mt xxvi. 39,^42 ||s.
9 Mt vii. 21-23. 10 Me iii. 33-35"||s.
Our Duty to God 87
identical with human salvation : it is not His Will
that one even of the humblest folk should perish. 1
But it is all very well to ask men to do God s Will ;
how are they to know what that Will is ? We may
recall the vigorous protest of Browning s Paracelsus :
Now, tis this I most admire
The constant talk men of your stamp keep up
Of God s will, as they style it ; one would swear
Man had but merely to uplift his eye,
And see the will in question charactered
On the heaven s vault . . .
. . . God s intimations rather fail
In clearness than in energy : twere well
Did they but indicate the course to take
Like that to be forsaken.*
Does Jesus show any consciousness of the difficulty ?
There is one passage in which he contemplates the
case of the man whose intentions are right, but
whose knowledge is limited. " That slave, who
knew his master s will and did not make preparation
or act according to his will, will be beaten (with)
many (stroke)s. But he who knew not, and did
things deserving strokes, will be beaten (with) few.
From everyone to whom much has been given,
will much be looked for, and from him to whom they
have entrusted much will they ask the more." 3
It is in the light of this charitable recognition of
varying degrees of knowledge and ignorance that
we have to interpret those incidents in history and
in modern life where we see men and women doing
1 Mt xviii. 14.
1 Browning, Works, pp. 43-45. Cf R. D. Hampden, The Scholastic
Philosophy (Bampton Lectures, 1832), p. 513 : "To argue respect
ing the will of God, as if we had any positive notion of what it
is in God, can lead to no practical truth : for it is to argue from
a mere hypothesis." 3 Lc xii. 47 f.
88 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
what we should judge to be contrary to God s Will,
and doing it in the profound belief that it is in con
formity with that Will. The crowds listening to
the Pope and Peter the Hermit preaching the First
Crusade, and then shouting : " It is the Will of God !
It is the Will of God ! " I the pious Puritan, Colonel
Hutchinson, deciding after long meditation and
prayer to vote for Charles the First s execution,
believing himself to be Divinely guided to that
conclusion 2 Nelson, starting on his last naval
enterprise with the prayer His Will be done, 3
and the youthful Gladstone opposing the admission
of Nonconformists to the Universities with a
special consciousness of Divine help 4 are all
perhaps instances of servants who knew not their
Lord s Will, or who knew it very imperfectly :
and they serve to remind us that it is not given to
any of us to know that Will perfectly, but to know
it only in varying degrees of imperfection. Yet
even the imperfect is binding on us if it is the best
we can get. None of us can do better than a certain
English peer of whom it was said that " he ever
set before him the question What is the will of
God concerning this matter ? And when, often
after much prayer and diligent use of all the means at
his disposal, he had satisfied himself what he ought
to do, he set himself to do it without more ado." 5
7. Like all other topics Jesus handles, this one
too the duty of man to God is related to his
1 Menzel, History of Germany (ET), 1, p. 412 ; David Hume,
quoted in Half Hours of English History, i, p. 296.
* Memoirs of Colonel Hutchinson, ch. 16 fin.
3 Southey, Life of Nelson, ch. 9. 4 Morley, Gladstone, i. p. 84.
5 Character Sketch of the Earl of Carnarvon in The Review of
Reviews, August 1890, p. 126.
Our Duty to God 89
conception of the Kingdom of God. We have to pray
daily for its coming its coming being identical
with the doing of His Will. 1 We have to seek it 2
to accept God s invitation to enter it, but not to
presume that we can enter it without proper pre
paration or equipment. 3 Now that the Kingdom
has drawn near, we have to repent, believe the good
news,4 produce the fruits of the Kingdom, i.e. righte
ousness^ become like little children in our unquestion
ing faith in God our Father 6 ; we have to make the
needful sacrifices, for entering the Kingdom is no
easy task. 7 God s Kingdom is not for the man who
puts his hand to the plough and looks back : 8 it
can be entered only by the most strenuous exertion. 9
8. Bearing in mind all through that the Kingdom
of God means in essence the realization of God s
royal rights, and that God is not only King and
Master, but Father, it follows that His children, as
has just been said, must have faith in Him, if they are
to enter His Kingdom. By faith, Jesus does not
mean the blind acceptance of a creed, but the child s
unquestioning and unquestionable axiom : that his
1 Mt vi. 10 ||, vii. 21. Mt vi. 33.
3 Mt xxii. 1-14. Vv. 11-14 belong to some parable in which
the Kingdom was depicted as a royal feast, but not to that in
vv. i-io ; for the hastily collected guests of 9 f clearly could have
had neither the means nor the time to array themselves suitably,
and the idea that it was the custom for a rich host to provide
raiment for his guests has no foundation (Trench, Parables, pp.
226-228). We are not told here what the real equipment for
entrance into the Kingdom consisted of.
4 Me i. 15 ||. s Mt xxi. 43 : cf v. 3, 6, 20.
6 Me x. 14 f US. i Me x. 23-27 ||s : cf Mt v. 10, Acts xiv. 22.
8 Lc ix. 62.
9 Mt xi. 12 ; Lc xvi. 16. Cf the Agraphon : "An untempted
man will not attain to the Kingdom of Heaven " (Hastings DB
v, p. 347 b).
90 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
father is good, and may be relied upon. 1 This faith
in God s care for us is not to tempt us to take senseless
risks, like flinging oneself from the pinnacle of the
Temple,* nor is it to discourage us from working
intelligently for our living ; but it ought to relieve
us from worry and anxiety over earthly affairs. 3 Nay
more, it ought to enable us to make use of God s
own limitless power, so that we can cast out the
most stubborn of evil spirits,4 and remove the most
mountainous obstacles from our path. 5 Also we must
bear in mind, what is only implicit in the Gospels,
not explicit, 6 that for us Jesus is the author of the
faith which he bids us have. 7 It is only in so far as
we dwell with him in thought, in memory, in will,
in contemplation, that we feel this unquestioning
belief in God s goodness to be within our reach.
9. And now, lastly, a few words on the great
subject of prayer. Jesus own instructions on the
1 Cf the fine statement by Scott Holland in Lux Mundi, pp. 9,
12, 39 : " Faith is the sense in us that we are Another s creature,
Another s making. . . . Faith is the attitude, the temper, of a
son towards a father. . . . Such a relationship as this needs no
justifying sanction beyond itself : it is its own sanction, its own
authority, its own justification. . . . The willing surrender of the
heart is the witness to a fact which is beyond argument, which
accepts no denial. . . . Faith cannot transfer its business into
other hands to do its work for it. It cannot request reason to
take its own place. ... It is by forgetting this that so many
men are to be found . . . still hovering on the brink of faith. . . .
Their suspense would break and pass, if once they remembered
that, to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, they must always be as
little children. They must call upon the child within them. ..."
Mt iv. 7 ||.
3 Mt vi. 25-34 II . Mc iv - 4 II- See above pp. 25-27, 38-40.
4 Me ix. 19, 23 f ||s ; Mt xvii. 19 f.
5 Mt xvii. 20, xxi. 21 ||s.
6 But see Lc xxii. 32 : "I have prayed for thee, that thy faith
fail not." 7 Heb xii. 2.
Our Duty to God 91
matter are fuller and more detailed than on almost
any other single duty : but they lend themselves
easily to recapitulation.
Jesus is down on all prayer for show all prayer
done in public in order to earn the praise of men
all prayer that consists of vain repetition and much
speaking. l Though he speaks of the Temple at Jerusa
lem as being " a house of prayer for all the nations," *
he himself prays anywhere often in the open air
and on the mountain-tops. 3 He contemplates his
disciples praying singly in the secrecy of their
own rooms at home, and also with one another in
little groups. 4 He expected them to pray regularly
every day, as is clear from the prayer for daily bread. 5
The sample prayer that he taught them is remarkable
for its simplicity and brevity. 6 It provides a useful
framework for the study of all that he says about
the content of prayer.
Our prayer is addressed to our Heavenly Father,?
the Lord of the Heaven and the earth, 8 who is great
and good and wonderful beyond our comprehension.
He is the Father who is in secret 9 to whom all
things are possible I0 and whose name is to be held
in reverence. 11
The Lord s Prayer contains no explicit thanks
giving ; but elsewhere we find Jesus thanking God
for food and drink, 13 commending the leper who
gave glory to God for his recovery, J 3 and praising
1 Mt vi. 5-9; Me xii. 38-40 y. Me xi. ij\\s.
3 Me i. 35, vi. 46 ; Lc v. 16, vi. 12, ix. 28 f, etc.
4 Mt vi. 6, 9, xviii. 19 f . 5 Mt vi. 1 1 |j.
6 Mt vi. 9-i3=Lc xi. 2-4. 7 Mt vi. 9.
8 Mt xi. 25 ||. 9 Mt vi. 6. i Me xiv. 36.
11 Mt vi. 9 ||. Me vi. 41, viii. 6 f , xiv. 22 f ||s.
3 Lc xvii. 17 f.
92 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
his Father for graciously revealing His truth to
the simple. 1
Our first petitions are to be, not for the things we
desire most for our personal profit, but for the things
that are nearest to God s own heart for the coming
of His Kingdom, the doing of His Will on earth,
the attainment of His righteousness. 2 Thereby we
begin by subordinating our own will to His ; and our
prayer thus becomes an offer of service, an oath of
allegiance, a declaration of our willingness to do God s
Will and, if need be, to suffer for it. 3
But to pray in these terms is not only an act of
self-dedication ; it is an intercession on behalf of
others. We pray that God s Will may be fulfilled,
not only in ourselves, but in the lives of our fellow-
men. It was thus that Jesus prayed for his mur
derers^ and bade us pray for those who persecute
us, 5 and ask God to send out more labourers into
His harvest. 6 If we must pray for enemies, a
fortiori we must pray for friends, as Jesus prayed
for Simon and for the little children and for the
sufferers whom he cured. 7
Then we are to ask God each day for our bread for
the morrow a prayer which, as already indicated
more than once, does not suggest that we need not
work for our bread. 8
Then we are to pray for the forgiveness of our debts,
thereby reaffirming every day, as our frailty requires
1 Mt xi. 25 f || : cf xxvi. 30 (hymn-singing).
a Mt vi. 10 ||, 33 : also the Agraphon quoted on p. 26 n 2.
s Mt xxvi. 39, 42, 44 ||s.
4 Lc xxiii. 34. S Mt v. 44 ; Lc vi. 28.
6 Mt ix. 37 f ||. 7 See above, p. 55.
8 Mt vi. ii I) : see above, pp. 26 f, 90 : and compare the thanks
givings for food quoted on p. 91 n 12.
Our Duty to God 93
us to do, that repentance or change of heart, whereby
we first acknowledged ourselves to be God s children
and decided accordingly to live in fellowship with
Him. 1 Jesus lays special stress on this prayer as if
he realized how easily men went astray either in
omitting to offer it altogether or in offering it wrongly.
The taxgatherer who strikes his breast and says :
" God be merciful to me a sinner," goes down to
his house justified rather than the Pharisee who
had no sense of his need for pardon. 2 More than
once and with great emphasis Jesus tells men that
their prayer for forgiveness will not be granted unless
they forgive others who have wronged them. 3 It
is not that there are two independent conditions of
obtaining God s pardon repentance and a forgiving
spirit ; but that the unforgiving man is so lacking
in a true sense of his own shortcomings as compared
with those of his neighbour that he cannot be said
to have truly repented himself. 4
When Jesus tells us to pray : " Lead us not into
temptation, but rescue us from the evil one," 5 the
temptation he is apparently thinking of is affliction
and persecution, rather than the mere human tendency
to go wrong. The prayer is consequently analogous
to that offered by Jesus himself in Gethsemane,
viz : that the cup of martyrdom might, if possible,
pass away from him 6 ; also to that enjoined on the
disciples in Gethsemane : " Watch and pray, in
order that ye may not come into temptation"?;
and also to that which he bade his followers offer
1 Mt vi. 12 || : see above, p. 82 n 2. * Lc xviii. 10-14.
3 Mt vi. 14 f, xviii. 21-35; M C xi. 25.
See above, p. 35. 5 Mt vi. 13 ||.
6 See above, p. 92 n 3. 7 Me xiv. 38 ||s.
94 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
when the days of great distress should come : " Pray
that your flight may not occur in the winter, or on
the Sabbath." x Jesus own prayer on the cross,
" My God, my God, why has Thou deserted me ? " 2
of which so much has been made in theories of the
Atonement, 3 is indeed not easy to explain, but is
more probably simply a cry of agony, uttered in the
familiar language of Scripture, 4 than any admission
that the speaker was vicariously guilty and so really
deserted by God. Such a thought is abhorrent
to Jesus conception of God. We get his true feeling
in the other prayer : " Father, into Thy hands I
commit my spirit." 5
Something has already been said 6 on the Calvinistic
tone of the prayer against temptation, of the conse
quent difficulty of defining its exact place in modern
devotions, and of the deeper question to which
this, and in fact all prayer, leads us I mean, how
exactly does prayer operate ? Is it my prayer, or
is it God s prompting me to pray, that is the real
starting-point of that co-operation between God
and myself which is a necessary condition for a
righteous life ? That problem I believe to be I
will not say insoluble but at least unsolved. But
though we may be exercised and rightly exercised
over the philosophical problem, there is no need to
deny ourselves, pending its solution, the enjoyment
of that help and power which prayer brings us.
Of Jesus magnificent dogmatism on the power of
1 Me xiii. 1 8 1J. Me xv. 34 |J.
3 E.g. Dale, The Atonement, pp. 60-63, an d P ref - to 7 th edition,
4. 4 The words occur at the beginning of Ps xxii.
5 Lc xxiii. 46. Cf Fairbairn, Studies in the Life of Christ, pp. 326 f,
Halliday, Reconciliation and Reality, pp. 191-194, and Robertson,
Spiritual Pilgrimage, p. 130. 6 See above, pp. 28-31.
Our Duty to God 95
prayer offered in unquestioning faith, we have
already spoken. 1 And when we have made all
necessary allowances in order to bring the form and
language of our prayer as far as possible up-to-date
and all necessary discount for the absolute and
pictorial and often hyperbolical language of Jesus
as an oriental teacher, prayer will still remain a
natural and indeed inevitable practice for those
who are children of God, needful not only for the
purification and calming and guidance of their own
spirits, but also for the infusion into them of that
power without which they cannot do the Father s
Will. The picture of a man who finds mountains
obstructing him, which are humanly speaking in
surmountable, is not an unfitting illustration of God s
child living in God s own world as it is to-day ; and
it is well for him to learn that the means of remov
ing the obstacle is not only to pray, but also to live,
as one who has faith as a grain of mustard-seed.
1 See above, pp. 31-33, 56.
D. OUR DUTY TO JESUS
I. IT is very significant that the duties which Jesus
claims as due to himself from men correspond very
closely with the duties he asks them to render to
God. With the single exception of worship and
prayer for Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels never
asks the disciples to address their prayers to him
every duty we have to render to God has corres
ponding to it a similar duty owed by us to Jesus
himself. The same is, as we may recollect, broadly
speaking true of the blessings bestowed on men.
Jesus represents himself as conferring on men what
he also represents God as conferring on them
help, forgiveness, rewards, and so on. In other
words, Jesus pictures himself as standing to men in
somewhat the same relation as that in which God
stands to them. As Ritschl put it, Jesus has for men
f the religious value of God. 1 To say this is not to
say that Jesus is God for that, as have been shown
on a previous page, 2 seems to stultify much of the
data with which we have to start. But it does
recognize a certain historical basis in the actual
consciousness of Jesus and in men s experience of
him for the later problem of his Person and the
various theories put forward to settle it. Our task
here is not to enter further upon that problem,
1 Mackintosh, The Person of Jesus Christ, p. 279.
See pp. 45-49-
Our Duty to Jesus 97
but to analyse a little more closely the view which
Jesus took of what was owing to himself, and to
endeavour to see how far that view has significance
for us to-day.
2. The first and most obvious demand which Jesus
made on his fellow-countrymen was that they
should accept him, that they should admit his right
to speak in the name and with the authority of
God. " He who receives me receives Him who sent
me." l " He who rejects me rejects Him who sent
me." 3 When people were not impressed by what
he said to them and what he did before them, he
was amazed and saddened. The great sinful com
munities of past history like Tyre and Sidon and
Sodom would never have displayed such obduracy. 3
The Ninevites had respect to the prophet Jonah,
and the Queen of Sheba took the trouble to make
a long journey to listen to the wise Solomon ; but
when Jesus, who was greater than either Solomon
or Jonah, spoke to men, many of those that heard
either responded with carping criticism, 4 or else forgot
what they heard as soon as it was spoken. 5 His
own kinsfolk and fellow-townsmen, who had the best
opportunities of knowing his true worth, rejected
and dishonoured him. 6 The children of Jerusalem
were unwilling to respond to his call to entrust the
custody and control of their lives to him. 7 Those
over whom he claimed to rule declared : " We do
not want this man to be king over us." 8 His
fellow-countrymen were captious and hard to please.
1 Mt x. 40 ; Me ix. 37 |js. 2 Lc x. 16.
3 Mt xi. 20-24 II- 4 Mt xii. 38-42 ||.
> Me iv. 4, 15 ||s. 6 Me iii. 21, vi. 4 ||.
7 Mt xxiii. 37 |[. 8 Lc xix. 12, 14.
98 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
They rejected John the Baptist because he was an
ascetic : they rejected Jesus because he was not
an ascetic. 1 They tried his patience with their
perpetual criticisms, in which their hostility was
ill disguised under the garb of enquiry. 3 All this
was the reverse of what he had hoped and longed
for. He came to men as friend and helper ; and he
desired to be recognized and welcomed as such.
" Happy is he," he exclaimed, " whosoever is not
repelled by me." 3 Neutrality towards himself he
did not recognize as possible. When once he had
made his claim heard in a man s ears, that man could
no longer adopt a non-committal attitude towards
him. " He who is not with me is against me."
" He who is not against us is on our side." 4
We must not imagine that this demand for recogni
tion and acceptance was a mere arbitrary or dogmatic
claim on Jesus part. He offered credentials. The
nature and value of these credentials are of more
interest to the author of the Fourth Gospel than
to the Synoptists, though by no means ignored
by these latter. His words of truth and love, his
deeds of service, his whole pure and righteous life,
testified to the nature of the Spirit by which he was
actuated. Inasmuch as he not only expelled evil
demons, but did everything else, by the Spirit of
God, he knew his Divine authority would be recog
nized by all who were seeking to trace with the
help of the touchstone of conscience the workings
1 Mt xi. 16-19 ||>
3 Mt xxii. 1 8 ||, etc. And compare the Agraphon quoted by
Ropes in Hastings DB v, 350 a : "I am weary of this generation ;
they proved me ten times, but these twenty and a hundred times."
3 Mt xi. 6 ||. 4 Mt xii. 30 || ; Me ix. 40.
Our Duty to Jesus 99
of the Divine in the lives of those around them.
If therefore men rejected him, or were unimpressed
by him, it showed that they were either thwarting
or ignoring the testimony of God s Holy Spirit in
their own hearts. 1
3. The particular term that Jesus most often used
to define that attitude of acceptance which he desired,
was faith* Faith in Jesus usually means in the
Synoptic Gospels simply belief on the part of sufferers
or sometimes their friends that Jesus is able to
cure them. Faith in this sense was an indispensable
condition of his working the cure. " Believe ye
that I am able to do this ? " " According to your
faith may it be unto you ! " "Thy faith has saved
thee." 3 At Nazareth he could do no works of
power, because of their unbelief. 4 But while this
faith may with many have got no further than
a simple belief in the reality of his healing power,
for the more reflective patients it would involve
some notion of the power in Jesus as a Divine power,
the power of one in league with God. Thus we have
the centurion taking it for granted that Jesus could
as the vice-gerent of God send demons about
their business by a simple word of command, just
as he, the centurion, could order his men about
because he represented to them the majesty and power
1 Me iii. 22-30 ||s.
1 Readers not familiar with the original Greek of the New
Testament may be reminded at this point that the English words
faith and belief/ and their derivatives and compounds, repre
sent not two, but only one, root in the Greek. The distinction
between the different-sounding English words, therefore, should
3 Mt ix. 22 ||s, 28 f, xv. 28 ; Me v. 36, ix. 23, x. 52 ||s ; Lc xvii. 19.
4 Me vi. 5 f ||.
100 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
of Herod Antipas himself. 1 And belief in Jesus
as a divinely commissioned healer was not far removed
from belief in him as a divinely commissioned friend
and teacher and forgiver of sins. So Jesus declares
to men : " The Kingdom of God has drawn near :
repent and believe (or have faith in) the good news," 2
i.e. in what I am preaching to you. So too, when
the paralytic was let down before him, Jesus, " when
he saw their faith, said to the paralytic : Child,
thy sins are forgiven thee. " 3 The story of the
prostitute who anointed Jesus feet is instructive
in this respect. When Jesus said of her : " Her
many sins have been forgiven, for she loved much,"
he did not mean, as we should naturally suppose,
that she first loved, and then, as a consequence,
was forgiven. Natural as that sense is when the
words are taken by themselves, they are in view of
the context impossible. The real meaning is : her
many sins have been forgiven ; and the proof of
it lies in the great love she has shown. This is
clear, not only from the words that immediately
follow : " but he to whom little is forgiven, loves
(only) a little," but also and chiefly from Jesus
1 Mt viii. 5-13 ||. This simple dialogue has been strangely
misunderstood. Seeley (Ecce Homo, pref. to 5th edn) quite wrongly
takes Jesus words as spoken in approval of the centurion s humility,
rather than of his faith. Even Dr. Moffatt misses the point by
translating the centurion s words : "for though I am a man under
authority myself, I have soldiers under me," etc (italics mine).
There is nothing in the original to justify the word though, and
it obscures the meaning. The centurion had power over his men,
because of, not in spite of, the fact that he was under authority
himself : and he thought of Jesus not (as Seeley says) as " im
measurably above himself in that scale " of military rank in which
he himself had a place, but as being, like himself, under the authority
of a powerful superior, and therefore able to get his own orders
carried out. z Me i. 15. 3 Me ii. 5 ||s.
Our Duty to Jesus 101
parting words to the woman : " Thy faith has
saved thee : go in peace." I It was not the woman s
love that had saved her : it was her faith her faith in
Jesus, when he told her of the Divine Father s claim
upon her and of His readiness to forgive and cleanse
her, if she would but turn to Him. She did turn and
was forgiven ; and the experience brought her such
joy that her gratitude overflowed in an act of love
and homage. Here, we may note in passing, is a
typical instance of Jesus having the religious value
of God for men ; probably the woman did not dis
tinguish clearly in her own mind between the heavenly
Father and the gentle human teacher, when she gave
expression to her faith, her penitence, and her love.
When a modern Christian speaks about having
faith in Jesus, clearly he does not refer to the miracu
lous power of Jesus as a healer for that power is
no longer perceptibly at work. Too often the only
content given to the phrase is a vague feeling that
Jesus has somehow or other secured Divine pardon
for us. This has resulted from a too one-sided
study of the Epistles of Paul to the Galatians and the
Romans, and has often led to a highly unethical
conception of the Christian life. That faith should
ever have come to be regarded as a conceivable
alternative to or substitute for works, shows
how lamentably the simple gospel of Jesus can
get lost sight of, in the hurly-burly of religious con
troversy. Of faith, in the ultra-protestant sense
of relying on the merits of Jesus to compensate for
one s own failure or of believing that his sufferings
have made adequate satisfaction for one s own
demerits, the Gospels tell us nothing. Faith as
1 Lc vii. 36-50.
102 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
Jesus uses the word means an acceptance of him
self as the anointed messenger of God and a reliance
on the truth of what he has to tell us of the Divine
Love and the Divine Will.
4. The story of Jesus being anointed by the pros
titute is one of the two places in the Gospels in which
he speaks of being himself loved by some one. The
other place is where he says : "He who loves father
or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and he
who loves son or daughter more than me is not
worthy of me." l By a curious coincidence the similar
story of his being anointed by Mary at Bethany is,
with one exception, the only occasion on which
he explicitly commends the treatment of himself
with reverence. " She has done a good action to
me . . . she has anticipated the embalmment of
my body for burial." * The other occasion was
when he defended those who cheered him on his
triumphal entry into Jerusalem : "I tell you that
if they are silent, the (very) stones will cry out." 3
The rarity of these allusions to the love and reverence
he desired from men may be no more than an accident.
All through his life or at least all through his public
ministry Jesus was being ardently loved and deeply
revered by those most attached to him. We cannot
imagine that he ever disclaimed such tribute. At
the same time it is curious that, in the Synoptic
Gospels at least, Jesus so rarely asks anyone explicitly
to love him or revere him. The reason surely was,
1 Mt x. 37. * Me xiv. 6, 8 || : cf Jn xii. 7.
3 Lc xix. 40. Mt (xxi. 15 f) represents the noisy offenders as
children in the Temple, and Jesus reply as : " Have ye never
read, Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast thou per
fected praise ? "
Our Duty to Jesus 103
not that he did not desire such devotion, but that
he knew that it would follow naturally as soon as
men realized what he was able to do for them and
be to them and as soon as they had faith to accept
him and his gifts. Faith or believing acceptance
was to come first, then repentance or conversion,
then love and reverence.
5. What Jesus insisted on far more emphatically
than professions of personal devotion and allegiance,
was that people should listen to him and listen intelli
gently. How often does he punctuate his discourses
with the half pathetic appeal : " Let him that hath
ears to listen with, listen." * " Hearken," he says,
as he begins a parable. 3 The familiar story of
Martha and Mary 3 shows us, not that Jesus did not
care for attention being paid by his friends to his
bodily needs, but that he valued much more highly
the attention that was paid to the truth he had to
teach. Nor was he content that they should listen
anyhow. He did not want his hearers to be like
the rustic clown Shakespeare tells us of, who, when
asked if he had not heard the royal proclamation,
replied : " I do confess much of the hearing of it, but
little of the marking of it." There were such hearers ;
and Jesus characterized them as seed sown by the
wayside which the birds of the air devour 4 : or, as
we should put it, the words went in at one ear and
out at the other. Hence his repeated insistence on
understanding. " Listen to me all of you, and
understand," he says. 5 " Have ye understood all
this ? " he asked his disciples, after giving them a
* Me iv. 9 US, 23 (vii. 16) ; Mt xi. 15, xiii. 43 ; Lc xiv. 35.
a Me iv. 3 : cf ix. 7 ||s ; Lc x. 16.
3 Lc x. 38-42. 4 Me iv. 4, 15 |]s. 5 Me vii. 14 jj.
104 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
good deal of teaching ; and when they said they
had, he continued : " Therefore every scribe who
has been made a disciple to the Kingdom of Heaven
is like a householder who produces from his store
things new and old." J The scribe, we may remember,
was a man who gave the whole of his time to the
investigation of the meaning of Scripture. On one
occasion we read that Jesus told a scribe that he
was not far from the Kingdom of God, and that
was when he " saw that he had answered intelli
gently." 2 Frequently did Jesus rebuke his disciples
lack of intelligence. " Know ye not this parable ?
How then will ye know all parables ? " 3 " Are ye
too so unintelligent ? Do ye not understand. . . ? " 4
" Do ye not yet understand or comprehend ? Is
your heart (still) hardened ? Having eyes, see
ye not ? And having ears, do ye not hear ; and do
ye not remember ? " 5 He refers men, not to the
technical knowledge of experts, but to their ordinary
human intelligence. He asks them simply to use
their brains. " Whenever ye see a cloud rising in
(the) west, at once ye say : A shower is coming ,
and so it happens. And whenever ye see (the)
south wind blowing, ye say : It will be hot/ and so
it happens. Hypocrites ! ye know (how) to decipher
the face of the earth and the sky : but how (is it) ye
cannot decipher (the meaning of) this season ? Why
do ye not of yourselves judge what is righteous? " 6
" Become qualified bankers/ he says, " rejecting
some things, but clinging to what is good." 7
1 Mt xiii. 51 f. 3 Me xii. 34.
3 Me iv. 13. 4 Me vii. 18 ||.
5 Me viii. 17 ||, cf 21. 6 Lc xii. 54-57.
7 Ropes, in Hasting s DB v, p. 349 b.
Our Duty to Jesus 105
This striking insistence of Jesus on the use of
man s fullest intellectual powers in his religious life
has not as a rule been adequately appreciated and
understood. It has a bearing on the problem of
the relation between knowledge and goodness on
the one hand and between ignorance and sin on the
other. That this relation is a very close one was
clearly the teaching of the Old Testament and the
belief of Jesus ; and our own experience gives
evidence to the same effect. Yet modern Christian
theology with its eye on the well-meaning fool
who sins in ignorance and the clever rogue who is
but the worse for his cleverness tends to draw an
absolute distinction between sin and ignorance and
between knowledge and goodness. The cast-iron
notions of sin and sinlessness that result from this
divorce of the intellectual from the moral may ease
the problem of morality on one side ; but they com
plicate it on others. And in any case, as has been
said, they are not true to our own experience. Not
indeed that we are absolutely to identify knowledge
and goodness or sin and ignorance : but can we
possibly define the limits between them ? Do we
attach no moral worth to tact, sound judgment, the
eager desire for truth, and ability to penetrate its
mazes ? Do we affix no moral stigma to stupidity
or dull indifference to intellectual culture ? Is not
error a name common to what is intellectually
mistaken and to what is morally blameworthy ?
And do not New Testament writers continually
represent the adoption of Christianity as the
highest wisdom ? I
1 Oman rightly speaks of " this close partnership of sin with
unreality " (Grace and Personality, p. 192, first edn).
106 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
The usual modern view-point, which divorces the
intellectual from the moral elements in human
personality because admittedly they cannot be
quite identified, shows itself in a slightly modified
form in the strong modern aversion to theology. 1
Not that this aversion is entirely at fault. In so far
as it represents a revolt from that old-fashioned
view that Christian truth consists entirely of certain
cut-and-dried dogmas which are to be accepted
unquestioningly, and (in olden times at least) en
forced by persecution while ethics have to be rele
gated en bloc to the province of the secular this
aversion from theology is a healthy sign of a return
to reality. But unhappily it is not wholly that. It
represents to a very large extent nothing more digni
fied than the natural disinclination of men to think for
themselves. There are multitudes of people about,
who are kind-hearted enough and in a sense well-
intentioned, but who simply will not be bothered to
think out anything. One of the incidental drawbacks
to having a professional ministry is that it encourages
people of this type in the churches to imagine that
they need never use their own brains in religious
matters, seeing that the parson is paid to do it for
them. As Dr. A. J. Carlyle said a few years ago,
the chief enemy to-day is not the unwillingness of
Christian spirit, but " the unwillingness of Christian
people to think out their own convictions with care
and resolution, to ask themselves what it was exactly
that those convictions meant, to distinguish better
the merely traditional and the essential elements
in Christianity." 3 That such tasks should be under-
1 Moffatt, The Theology of the Gospels, pp. i if.
3 Speech at Recognition of Rev. R. Hobling, Oxford Chronicle,
Our Duty to Jesus 107
taken by the Christian individual as such and not left
to professional ministers is necessary on two grounds
firstly, for the good of the individual s own soul,
for it is bad to be always imbibing even what is true
without making any attempt to criticize, sift, classify,
and apply it ; and secondly, in order that a check
may be kept on the theological and religious experts,
and thus an unhealthy divorce between the theory
and practice of religion (each of which is indispensable
to the other) may be avoided. 1 The modern counter
part of Jesus great summons : " Listen to me all
of you, and understand," is the need to-day of a
new theology, or rather a new philosophy of the
Christian life, based not on the outworn categories
of older thinkers but upon a fresh interpretation
of the message and person of him who alone has been
able to convince mankind that he can impart to
them the truth and the guidance they need.
6. On several occasions Jesus said to certain indivi
duals : " Follow me " ; and each time he meant it
in the literal sense. He said it to Simon and Andrew
and to Jacob and John in their fishing-boats on the
shore of the Sea of Galilee * ; he said it to Matthew
sitting at the receipt of custom 3 ; he probably said
November 9, 1917. "Is the ordinary man anywhere a thoughtful
creature ? I think not " (a chaplain quoted in The Army and
Religion, p. 106, cf p. 101).
1 Mr. G. G. Coulton (in Christ, St. Francis and To-day, pp. i f)
notes that, in the Middle Ages, " the specialist had little chance
of appealing to the man in the street ; and more fatal still
the thoughts of the man in the street were not a constant atmos
phere which the specialist was compelled to breathe whether he
would or would not " : he thinks that, in the modern world, as
in ancient Greece, the crowd and the specialist do " come into
frank and natural contact." Such contact, of course, there is ;
but there is room for more of it.
J Me i. 16-20 ||. 3 Me ii. 14 ||s.
108 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
it though we are not actually told so to each of
the Twelve, as and when he first called them : x he
said it to the man who wanted to go and bury his
father 2 : he said it finally to the rich young ruler
whom he bade sell all that he had and give the proceeds
to the poor. 3 We might fairly argue that all these
were cases where Jesus wanted the personal company
of certain men for special reasons in order that they
might do some special work in connection with his
Palestinian mission. But there are two other passages
in the Synoptic tradition, perhaps doublets of one
another in which Jesus demands this act of following
from all his disciples. One of them reads : "If any
one wishes to come after me, let him deny himself
and take up his cross and follow me. "4 The other
reads : " Whoever does not take his cross and follow
after me, is not worthy of me." 5 There can be little
doubt that literal following and the literal acceptance
of crucifixion are here referred to : for Luke s addition
of the word daily in the former passage is an obvious
accommodation to the everyday needs of his Christian
readers. We can only conclude that there was a
period in Jesus ministry when he really desired all
his sincere adherents to join him in a common act
of sacrifice as the victims of Jewish hostility and as
the martyrs, champions, and heralds of the King
dom. 6 If so, the average modern Christian is not
1 Mc.iii. 13 f ||s: cf Mt xix. 28.
3 Mt viii. 22 ||. 3 Me x. 21 ||s.
4 Me viii. 34 ; Mt xvi. 24 ; Lc ix. 23. Lc adds daily after
s Mt x. 38 ; Lc xiv. 27 ( cannot be my disciple ).
6 This would help to explain Jesus prophecy to Jacob and
John that they should drink his cup and be baptized with his
baptism (Me x. 39 ||).
Our Duty to Jesus 109
called on to follow Jesus in the sense in which
he used the word. It is under other aspects of
discipleship, as Jesus unfolded it, that he will
recognize his obligations to his Master.
7. Of those other aspects, unquestionably the
clearest and most comprehensive is that of obedience. 1
Jesus called for an absolute and complete obedience
to his teaching. He did not philosophize about
the grounds of his obedience : but we can detect
without much difficulty what those grounds were.
This submission of men to himself was not meant
to quench the use of their own independent moral
judgment : on the contrary, as we have seen, Jesus
expected men to think out for themselves the meaning
of what he said : he himself did not provide them
with a complete code covering all the minutiae of
the moral life. Nor was their obedience to be like
that of the subjects of a despotic ruler, who have
to bow to his authority as an established fact, and
who must either obey or else forthwith cease to exist. 2
It is true that Jesus represented the ultimate fruit
of disobedience to himself as utter ruin 3 ; but that
was left to the indefinite future, and in the meantime
no one was to be coerced into obeying against his
will. Jesus called on men to obey him simply on
the ground that what he commanded was right and
good and represented God s Will. It was for that
reason that he taught that ultimate security or
salvation depended on obedience, and that ultimate
perdition would eventually follow upon disobedience.
It was for that reason too, that he could represent
1 Mt vii. 24-27 || ; Lc vi. 46 : cf Me iv. 3, 8, 14, 20 ||s.
3 Me x. 42-45 ||s.
3 Mt vii. 24-27 || ; cf xi. 20-24 ||.
110 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
his own behests with equal suitability either as
commands or as invitations. Besides issuing exacting
orders and calling for unstinted sacrifices, he invited
the toiling and burdened to come to him, to assume
his gracious yoke and shoulder his light burden, and
so to find true rest for themselves. 1 Notice here the
strange paradox of the weary finding rest through
submission to a yoke and the assumption of a burden.
Such a paradox is rendered possible only when the
task and its reward coalesce, because each is identified
with the Will of God. " Happy (are) they," says
Jesus, " who hear the word of God, and keep (it)." 2
The question as to the form and range of the response
due from the modern Christian to this demand of
Jesus for obedience is the question with which the
whole of this book is attempting to deal. We are
endeavouring, under each successive heading, to
extract the eternally valid elements from the record
in which they are enshrined to discover what the
teaching of Jesus means when put in terms of modern
thought and responsibility. But the very effort
to do this in detail presupposes not only our right
to use our own critical faculties but other and still
more fundamental postulates, viz : our belief that
guidance for modern life is obtainable from this
source and our obligation to obey that guidance
when we have discovered it. These are postulates
which few Christians would be found to deny in so
many words ; but the virtual denial of them, or
something very like it, seems certainly to be involved
in the position taken up by some leaders of religious
thought to-day, who, on this plea or that, relegated
the commands of Jesus to a position of virtual irre-
* Mt xi. 28-30. 3 Lc xi. 28.
Our Duty to Jesus 111
levance, so far as modern life is concerned. Either
Jesus was too eschatological to be a safe guide for
us nowadays ; or obedience to his recorded teaching
savours of legalism or literalism ; or else the teaching
applies only to a perfect state of society, or only
to purely private and personal matters ; and so on.
Something has already been said in the Introduction
on this general topic, and something more will have
to be said later on in regard to some of its special
bearings l ; the point that has to be noted here is
the immense stress which Jesus himself laid on the
need for practical and complete obedience. We
may readily grant that times have changed, that
Jesus would say some things very differently if he
were living in our midst to-day, that we must accord
ingly hold ourselves free to criticize and adapt,
that the Person of Jesus is more important than
his words, that the Risen and Indwelling Christ
overrides all merely historical records, and so on
and so on ; yet, notwithstanding every such qualifica
tion, it is clear that we shall be reducing most of
our customary devotional language to a mockery,
we shall be setting an unreal gulf between the Cross
and him who died on it, we shall even be forfeiting
our right to speak of an indwelling Christ at all, if
we are ignoring a responsibility on which Christ
himself laid such constant and tremendous emphasis.
8. Nothing is clearer than that Jesus looked for
reliable, industrious, and efficient service. The attitude
of Browning s Rabbi ben Ezra, who laid most
stress on motive and aspiration and not very much
1 The present writer has attempted a rather fuller treatment
of the question in a paper that appeared in The Expositor, for
February, 1920, on The Place of Jesus Ethical Teaching in
Modern Christian Life.
112 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
on achievement, is not that of Jesus. Jesus indeed
was far from being unconscious of the importance
of motive, as we may see from his Sermon on the
Mount, 1 from his statement that the servant who
knew not his Master s will, and consequently did
things worthy of stripes, would be beaten with only
a few stripes, 2 and from the parable in which the
labourers who had stood idle a long time, because
no man had hired them, were paid a full day s wage. 3
But he did lay stress on results. " They who were
sown on the good ground are those who hear the
word, and receive it, and bear fruit, thirty- and
sixty- and a hundred-fold." 4 In his parable of
the Pounds or Talents, as Luke gives it, the servant
who had traded so well with his one pound as to
convert it into ten, was rewarded with the rule of
ten cities, and similarly he who had produced five
was rewarded with the rule of five cities. 5 In Matthew s
version probably the more original the two good
servants simply double the deposit entrusted to
them of five and two talents respectively, and both
alike are rewarded by being invited to enter the joy
of their Master 6 : whereas the third servant, who in
both versions alike does nothing but keep his money
has to hand it over to the first servant, and is then
expelled in disgrace. 7 There was a third version
of this parable possibly the most original of all
found in the lost Gospel according to the Hebrews :
in this, only the first servant traded and gained
profit ; the second hid his money ; while the third
wasted it in bad company : the first was rewarded,
1 E.g. Mt v. 21 f, 27 f. 2 Lc xii. 47 f. 3 Mt xx. 1-15.
4 Me iv. 20 US. 5 Lc xix. 13-19. 6 Mt xxv. 14-23.
7 Mt xxv. 24-30 : cf Lc xix. 20-26.
Our Duty to Jesus 113
the second censured, and the third imprisoned. 1
All which goes to show that Jesus laid very con
siderable stress on the practical efficiency of men s
service, and sometimes at least took an almost
commercially quantitative view of its value.
So much for efficiency : not for extent. We
have spoken of servants ; we ought rather to
have used the word slaves. Without departing
at all from what he had said about his own mission
to serve men and to give rest to their souls and about
God s tender love for them, Jesus yet chooses the
most rigorous form of human service he knows,
viz : slavery, as a fitting illustration of what men
owe to himself and to God. We must remember that
according to ancient law, " the slave could do no
more than his duty ; the master had a right to exact
all that he could do in his interest, without any need
for gratitude." a And so Jesus says : " Who (is
there) among you, that has a slave ploughing or
tending sheep, who will say to him when he has
come in from the field, Come at once and recline
(at table)/ and will not (rather) say to him, Get
something ready for me to have supper, and gird
thyself, and wait on me, while I eat and drink,
and after that thou shalt eat and drink ? Does
he thank the slave because he did what was com
manded ? (Of course not.) Even so, ye also, when
ye have done all the things that are commanded
you, say, We are (simply) slaves : we have (merely)}
done what we ought to have done. 3 " So absolute
and unlimited is the service Jesus demands of us.
1 See Ropes, in Hastings DB v, p. 345 b.
8 C. Schmidt, The Social Results of Early Christianity (ET),
P- 34 8 - 3 Lc xvii. 7-10. See above, p. 72 n i.
114 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
And this is his gracious yoke and his easy
Besides efficiency and unlimitedness, Jesus requires
that our service shall be faithful. His precepts on
this point nearly all have reference to a particular
eschatological thought different, be it remarked,
from that noticed above, according to which Jesus
asks all his followers to join his ranks and be crucified
with him the thought, namely, of his own temporary
absence, the interval between death and (resurrection
or) return, the vague indefinite three days/ during
which his followers are faithfully to go about their
duties, being always ready for his return, like the
servants of a master absent on a journey or the
maidens waiting to meet a bridegroom. " Happy
are those servants whom the Master when he comes
will find watching/ T The particular eschatological
context in which the numerous sayings of this type
are set, is no longer part of our Christian outlook :
but the religious value of the warning remains, seeing
that for us the uncertainty of the time of our own
death corresponds very closely to what was for the
early Christian the uncertainty of the time of his
Lord s coming.
9. Finally, Jesus required his followers to be
prepared to suffer hardship and persecution, even to
the point of scourging and death, if need be, for his
sake. He warned one who offered to follow him
that the Son of Man had nowhere to lay his head. 3
He forewarned his disciples repeatedly that severe
persecution was bound to come. 3 They were to
1 See above, p. 68 n 2, and cf Me xiii, 33-37 ; Mt xxiv. 42-xxv.
30 ; Lc xii. 35-48, xiii. 23 ff, xxi. 34-36. a Mt viii. 20 ||.
s Mt v. 10-12 ||, x. 16-39 ||s, xvi. 24-27 ||s, xxiv. 9-13 ||s ; Me iv.
5 f , 16 f ||s, ix. 49, x. 38 f ||s ; Lc xiv. 28-33.
Our Duty to Jesus 115
be prudent as serpents, harmless as doves, but above
all, fearless and faithful. 1 The great thing they were
to avoid in time of persecution was being betrayed
into denying their Master. 2 He who held out bravely
to the end, would be saved. 3 And if life itself must
be sacrificed in case of need, so too must all life s
joys including the ties of property and family life.
But every loss thus incurred would be amply com
pensated. 4 Once more, let us notice how, despite
the immense differences between his outlook on the
pagan world and our own, the essence of these demands
of his still remains valid for us. We can make our
own that Lucan adaptation of his saying : "If any
man would come after me, let him take up his cross
daily and follow me. 5 5 Every Christian has his
daily cross of hardship to bear for Jesus ; but for
each of us there always remains at least the risk,
whether near or remote, that the larger and more
tragic sacrifice of liberty, property, and life itself,
may, through some special combination of circum
stances, be demanded of us, for the sake of Jesus
and the Kingdom.
10. No treatment of the subject of our duty to
Jesus would be complete without some notice of
what may be called the doctrine of mystical union
with Christ, of Christ dwelling in us, of our dwelling
in Christ, and so forth. These phrases, it is true,
do not find much basis in the Synoptic Gospels.
We do find there that Jesus promises to be in the
midst of any two or three disciples gathered together
Mt x. 1 6, 26, 28-31 ||.
a Mt x. 32 f ||s : cf Me xiv. 27, 30 f ||s.
3 Mt x. 22, xxiv. 13 ||s.
4 Mt x. 21, 34-37 ||s; Me x. 29-31 ||s.
5 See above, p. 108 n. 4.
116 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
in his name. We find him identifying himself with
his disciples so that he who rejects or receives them
rejects or receives him also with those whom he
calls the least of his brethren. 1 But it is not until
we come to the Epistles of Paul that we find the idea
of the Christ as a Living Presence within his disciple
strongly and clearly expressed. 3 In the Fourth
Gospel, it becomes so prominent and so highly deve
loped that it is made to replace the whole earlier
Synoptic teaching about the return of the Son of
Man. In later times there have been many Christians
whose inner experience has driven them to speak of
personal and living association with Jesus as the lover
of their souls. There are also, however, multitudes
of Christians who have never had any experience of
their own which forces them to the use of this
mystical language ; and to them the use of that
language by others, and still more the attempt to
represent the experience that prompts it as necessary
or even normal for a true Christian, causes difficulty. 3
We are not to imagine that, because Paul or the
author of the Fourth Gospel felt that way, the
majority of their fellow-Christians necessarily did
the same. But it is not our task to enlarge here on
this delicate and sacred theme. Each man must
be left to make what he can of the privileges given
to him. It is worth remembering that those who
1 See the passages quoted above, p. 56.
z " His personal religion was, in essence, a pure mysticism ;
he worships a Christ whom he has experienced as a living presence
in his soul " (Inge, Outspoken Essays, p. 213). " We have also,
fully developed, the mystical doctrine of the Spirit of Christ im
manent in the soul of the believer, a conception which was the
core of St. Paul s personal religion " (ibid. p. 224).
3 Cf Dean Inge s rough characterization of the two types of
mind, in Outspoken Essays, p. 161.
Our Duty to Jesus 117
have most definite experience of the presence of
Christ tell us that they do not distinguish between
that and the presence of God. Thus both Paul and
the author of the Fourth Gospel seem to identify
the Risen Christ with the Holy Spirit r : modern
Christian mystics make the same confession. We
might not unworthily compare Tennyson s con
sciousness of the omipresence of his departed friend :
Thy voice is on the rolling air ;
I hear thee where the waters run ;
Thou standest in the rising sun,
And in the setting thou art fair.
What art thou then ? I cannot guess ;
But tho I seem in star and flower
To feel thee some diffusive power,
I do not therefore love thee less :
My love involves the love before ;
My love is vaster passion now ;
Tho mixed with God and Nature thou,
I seem to love thee more and more.
Far off thou art, but ever nigh ;
I have thee still, and I rejoice ;
I prosper, circled with thy voice ;
I shall not lose thee tho I die. 2
It must also be borne in mind that any modern Chris
tian who has faith in Jesus must believe that
Jesus is still living, for personal immortality was
one of his most fundamental convictions ; and
as he is now untrammelled by the limitations of his
flesh, it would seem to follow that he can be in per
sonal touch with each one of us. And if he is still
1 2 Cor iii. 17, Rom viii. 9-11 (see Denney s note on verse n
in The Expositor s Greek Testament] ; i Cor iii. 16 ; Gal ii. 20 ;
Jn xiv. 3, 1 8, 21, 23, 28, xvi. 16, compared with xiv. 16 f, 26 f,
xv. 26, xvi. 7, 13, etc. z In Memoriam, cxxx.
118 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
the gracious Saviour he was, he will be willing to
keep company with any that seek and need him,
however closely their eyes may be holden so that
they cannot discern him. The prime qualification
is the moral one of personal surrender and practical
obedience. " If any man love me, he will keep my
word : and my Father will love him, and we will
come unto him, and make our abode with him." I
1 Jn xiv. 23.
E. OUR DUTY TO OTHERS GENERALLY
i. " THE first (commandment) is, ... Thou shalt
love the Lord thy God. . . . The second is like
it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as (thou lovest)
thyself. There is no other commandment greater
than these : on these two commandments hangs
the whole Law and the Prophets." * In these words
Jesus puts in a nutshell the whole duty of man.
The whole of Christian ethics consists in the elucida
tion of these tremendous maxims.
The first point which it is important for us to
notice is the universal scope that Jesus gave to the
words enjoining the love of our neighbour. The
word neighbour was one either of limited or else
ambiguous meaning. It seems to have been at
first roughly equivalent to brother ; and brother
meant * fellow- Jew to the exclusion of the Gentile.
In later times neighbour was appropriated to
proselytes, while brother was reserved for fellow-
Jews in the strict sense. 2 The doubt that hung
about the exact meaning of neighbour is revealed
in the sequel added by certain Rabbis to the old
commandment : Thou shalt love thy neighbour,
and hate thine enemy," and in the question once
1 Me xii. 29-31 ; Mt xxii. 37-40 (cf xix. ij-ig\\s) ; Lc x. 27 f.
3 Acts vii. 2, xxiii. i, xxviii. 17, 21 ; Rom ix. 3 f, etc ; Lightfoot,
Hora Hebvaic(B, on Mt v. 22 ; Farrar, in Smith s DE i, p. 230 ;
Streane s note on Lev xix. 18 in Cambridge Bible.
120 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
addressed to Jesus in connection with the same
commandment : Who is my neighbour ? " Jesus
put his own meaning beyond all question when he
definitely enjoined love for enemies, 1 and when he
answered the question, " Who is my neighbour ? "
by telling the parable of the Good Samaritan*
For Jesus then the word neighbour is synonymous
with fellow-man. Gladstone was truly inter
preting this great Christian law when he said : " Re
member that the sanctity of life in the hill villages
of Afghanistan, among the winter snows, is as inviol
able in the eye of Almighty God as can be your own.
Remember that He who has united you as human
beings in the same flesh and blood, has bound you
by the law of mutual love ; that that mutual love
is not limited by the shores of this island, is not
limited by the boundaries of Christian civilization ;
that it passes over the whole surface of the earth,
and embraces the meanest along with the greatest
in its unmeasured scope." 3
2. But now, what is love ? " Love," says Dr.
Oman, " is not kindly emotion, but moral esteem." 4
Love is defined by someone else as " the redeeming
identification of oneself with another," " no flickering
or wayward emotion, but the energy of a steadfast
will bent on creating fellowship." 5 Some of these
modern definitions may be true enough, but they are
not sufficiently simple for the ordinary man. Jesus
himself gives a perfectly simple explanation of what
Mt v. 43 ff ||. Lc x. 25-37.
3 Morley, Gladstone, ii, pp. 451 f. Cf Augustine, De Disc. Christ.
iii (Proximus est omni homini omnis homo).
4 Grace and Personality, p. 261.
5 Two writers quoted by R. Roberts, in Hibbert Journal, July
1919, p. 671.
Our Duty to Others Generally 121
he understands by love. " All things whatsoever
ye wish that men should do to you, so do ye also
to them : for this is the Law and the Prophets." I
The summary character of this precept together
with the reference to the Law and the Prophets
warrants us in regarding the rule as an equivalent
of that which bids us love our neighbour as ourself.
It tells us therefore what Jesus means by love :
he means doing to others not necessarily what
they want you to do but what you yourself would
like them to do to you if you, with your present views
and wishes as a Christian disciple, 2 were in their
position. And the doing, let us remember, covers
speaking to and about men and thinking about them
as well as acting towards them. Love, then, is no
mere involuntary or spontaneous emotion : it is to
be felt and practised as a matter of duty and therefore
as a consequence of effort. It is made the subject
of a direct imperative. Just as we like to be treated,
not exactly according to what we are, but according
to what we are hoping and trying to be,3 so does the
law of Christian love bid us treat our neighbour.
The ethical meaning of love is to treat every man
as an end in himself, reverencing him, not for what
he is, but for what he ought to become." 4
You must love him, ere to you
He will seem worthy of your love.
1 Mt vii. 12 ||.
* This qualification is clearly necessary, as without it the Golden
Rule would amount simply to doing what others want, e.g. giving
the toper his liquor, and so on.
3 Augustine, De Trinitate, i. 10 : Tales nos amat Deus, quales
futuri sumus, non quales sumus.
4 Oman, op cit, p. 284. Cf Fairbairn, Studies in the Life of Christ,
pp. 60 i .
122 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
3. But, even when elucidated in this way by the
Golden Rule, the content of the command to love
our neighbour as ourself is not quite as clear as we
need it to be. For some of us are in need of guidance
as to what we ought to wish men to do to us. Jesus,
therefore, goes a good way beyond these two simple
and bare precepts, and explains in some little detail
how they should work out in actual life. He tells
us in the first place of the main principles that should
guide us in our relations with men generally : then
he adds instructions as to how we should treat wrong
doers of various kinds : then he speaks on such
special aspects as the relations of the sexes, the
obligations of family life, the use of property, and
the relation to the State. Let us proceed to examine
his teaching on these several points.
As regards our relationships with our fellow-men
in general, the great root-principle of love branches
out into four important but derived principles : mercy,
wisdom, truthfulness, and humility.
4. Firstly, Mercy, or, as we should call it, kindness.
" Happy (are) the merciful/ says Jesus, " for they will
receive mercy." I "Go and learn what this means, I
desire mercy, and not sacrifice. " 2 He reckoned
mercy among the weightier matters of the Law. 3
He told his immortal parable of the Good Samaritan
who showed mercy on a foreigner, as a good instance of
what he meant by neighbourly love. 4 " Come,
ye blessed of my Father ; inherit the Kingdom pre
pared for you (ever) since (the) foundation of (the)
world. For I was hungry, and ye gave me (food)
to eat ; I was thirsty, and ye gave me (something)
1 Mt v. 7. 2 Mt ix. 13 ; cf xii. 7.
3 Mt xxiii. 23. 4 Lc x. 25-37.
Our Duty to Others Generally 123
to drink ; I was a stranger, and ye entertained me ;
(I was) naked, and ye clothed me ; I was ill, and ye
looked after me ; I was in prison, and ye came to
(see) me. . . . Inasmuch as ye did (it) to one of the
least of these brothers of mine, ye did (it) to me." *
We need not suppose that mercy is to such an extent
a synonym for almsgiving that it has no place in the
general relationships of ordinary people, who are
economically independent of one another. Anyone
with whom we have any dealings is a fit and proper
subject for kind treatment, i.e. for mercy. Further
more it is fairly obvious that sweating, underpayment,
killing, wounding, asphyxiating and drowning in
war, and starving by means of a hunger-blockade,
or by an iniquitous and vengeful Peace-Treaty,
are not acts of mercy.
5. Secondly, Wisdom. It will be remembered
that Jesus pressingly demanded from men the exercise
of common-sense, thought, understanding, and in
telligence, in the reception they gave to his spoken
message. 2 He was equally insistent on the use of
the same qualities in men s dealings with one another.
He bade his disciples, as they went out into the
world, " become prudent like the snakes." 3 He
included folly among the evil things that come from
within and defile the man. 4 Even the dishonest
steward in the parable is, despite his dishonesty,
praised for his shrewdness : "for the sons of this
age are more prudent than the sons of the light in
(dealing with) their generation." 5 Another of his
parables depicts the faithful and prudent servant,
1 Mt xxv. 34-40 : cf x. 7 f, 40-42, xii. n f, xxvi. n ||s ; Me ix.
37 ||s. z See above, pp. 103-107.
3 Mt x. 1 6. 4 Me vii. 21-23 !! 5 Lc xvi. 8.
124 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
whom the Master puts over his household to distribute
rations to his fellow-servants at the proper time. 1
All this is a commendation of the wise handling of
our fellows, of skill and tact and penetration in dealing
with them, and a condemnation of all clumsiness
and stupidity, all causing of others to stumble. 3
Jesus would not have regarded the wisdom he asked
for as a mere intellectual or non-moral knowledge of
facts : it must be a wisdom born of love ; it must rest
on a basis of sympathy, charity, and reverence for
others. Mere knowledge, as Tennyson says,
... is earthly of the mind,
But Wisdom heavenly of the soul.
O, friend, who earnest to thy goal
So early, leaving me behind,
I would the great world grew like thee,
Who grewest not alone in power
And knowledge, but by year and hour
In reverence and in charity.3
6. Thirdly, Truthfulness. Jesus forbade his fol
lowers to take oaths, on the ground that their word
ought to be as good as their bond. " Let your
speech be yes, yes/ no, no : whatever goes beyond
these comes from the evil one." 4 " Thou shalt not
bear false-witness." 5 False-witness and deceit are
among the evil things that come from within and
defile the man. 6 Hence his unsparing condemnation
of all dishonest pretence in the religion of his day. 7
Coming generations of Christians will read with a smile
the thousand clever explanations by which scholars
1 Mt xxiv. 45 f ||. * Mt xviii. 6 f |]s, xxiii. 13, 15.
3 In Memoriam, cxiv. 4 Mt v. 33-37 ; cf Lc xvi. 10-12.
5 Me x. 19 ||s. 6 Me vii. 21-23 II-
i E.g. Me xii. 40 |1 ; Mt vi. 1-6, 16-18, xxiii. 23-28 J|.
Our Duty to Others Generally 125
and preachers of our own and earlier times have
proved that, when Jesus forbade oaths, of course he
did not mean what he said, or that, even jf he did,
of course his disciples to-day need not be bound by
what he said. 1 But that is not the worst that has
to be said. Not only has Jesus failed to convince
his disciples that they ought not to swear, but he has
not even convinced them that they ought always to
tell the truth. Many Christian people fail to see
any real difference between concealing a private
fact (which every person is perfectly entitled to do
if he wishes) and deliberately uttering a false state
ment with the intention of deceiving (which no
Christian ought to do). And what makes this
obtuseness stranger still is the delightfully incon
sistent way in which Christian judgments on untruth-
fulness are passed. Thus the ardent Protestant
will anathematize the Jesuit who avows that he is
ready to tell a lie in the service of the Holy Church :
and he condemns such falsehood as an application of
" that vile principle which has given birth to the
most destructive deeds recorded in history that
the end sanctifies the means." a On the same ground
a modern writer condemns Bolshevism : " Lenin is
therefore opposed to violence ; but in order to achieve
Communism he admits that violence is necessary.
He here commits himself to the notorious doctrine
that the end justifies the means." 3 And yet it is
hard to find a Protestant who believes that it is never
1 E.g. Rev. G. W. Stewart in Hastings Dictionary of Christ
and the Gospels, ii, pp. 255 f.
2 Neander, Life of Jesus Christ (ET), p. 423. (He is not, how
ever, speaking of that particular use of the principle which we
i> Times Literary Supplement, January 15, 1920, p. 26.
126 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
right to tell a lie in any circumstances, or an anti-
Bolshevist who does not believe that sometimes a
good end, like security, justifies the use of a bad
means, like violence and war. As a matter of
fact, the critic in these cases does not really believe
that bad means, like lies and war, are always wrong ;
he does not believe that the end never justifies the
means : he condemns the Jesuit and the Bolshevist,
not really for believing that the end justifies the
means, but for trying to achieve an end with
which he (the critic) is profoundly out of sympathy.
Cardinal Newman aptly pointed out in his Apologia
that Jeremy Taylor, John Milton, William Paley, and
Samuel Johnson all believed that a lie was permissible
under certain conditions ; and he reasonably pro
tested against Catholics being condemned for fostering
the habit of falsehood, because they believed that a
lie in the service of what was to them the right cause
was permissible. 1 But when brought to the test
of the Golden Rule, how fares this habit of occasional
and tactful lying ? No sensible Christian man ever
wants to be told a lie. He may, under certain cir
cumstances, like to have the truth concealed from
him, but that is another matter. An eminent scientist
once wrote to W. T. Stead : " A doctor rarely if
ever tells the truth to his patient or the patient s
friends. He is quite right not to, as his treatment
and general attitude to the patient requires that he
should keep all doubt to himself. And further, a
patient or his friends are incapable of repeating
1 Newman, Apologia pro Vita Sua, Pt. vii end (pp. 242-249
in Everyman ). Cf Farrar, Lives of the Fathers ii, pp. 335, 6n,
627 for the views of Jerome, Augustine, and Chrysostom on the
Our Duty to Others Generally 127
correctly what a doctor has said about the case." I
But if this is the doctor s avowed practice, who is
going to be foolish enough to believe him, or even
to waste time asking him questions ? A doctor
once told me a lie in an illness, thinking it needful
to do so in order to save my life : but I can never
bring myself to believe that it was really necessary
or that there was no better alternative or to be glad
that he did so : nor indeed should I ever feel quite
satisfied in taking his word again. No Christian
ever wants to be told a lie, and therefore he must
never tell one. If I know a man believes that lying
is sometimes right, then my confidence in him is
seriously shaken, and I shall never be quite sure
he is not deceiving me. And conversely, what a
different world it would be if truthfulness was
universal ! As J. S. Mill said : " The advantage
to mankind of being able to trust one another,
penetrates into every crevice and cranny of human
7. Humility. Jesus described himself as humble
in heart, 3 and commended as happy those that were
poor in spirit. 4 Arrogance, like folly and untruth-
fulness, was among the defiling thoughts that come
from within. 5 He condemned the prostitution of
religious acts like almsgiving, prayer, and fasting,
to a mere desire for human praise, 6 the thrusting
of oneself forward into the chief place. 7 Whoever
uplifts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles
1 Review of Reviews, January 1891, p. 50.
* Principles of Political Economy, I, vii, 5.
3 Mt xi. 29. 4 Mt v. 3.
5 Me vii. 21-23 (the parallel in Mt xv. 19 omits it).
6 Mt vi. 1-6, 16-18. 7 Mt xxiii. 5-10 ||s.
128 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
himself will be uplifted." x " If anyone wishes to
be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all." *
" Whoever . . . humbles himself like this little child,
he is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven." 3
" Ye know that those who are reckoned to rule
over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great
(men) exercise authority over them. But it is not so
among you. But whoever wishes to become great
among you, shall be your servant, and whoever
wishes to become first among you, shall be (the)
slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to
be served, but to serve, and to give his life (as) a
ransom for many." 4
Christian humility does not mean certain things
it is sometimes taken to mean. It does not mean
shutting one s eyes to facts : Jesus said we were to
judge one another by our fruits ; and the fault of
the Pharisee who prayed in the Temple was not that
he thanked God that he was not like the tax-collector,
but that he was not aware of his own need of par don. 5
* Mt xxiii. 12 ||s. Me ix. 35 ||s.
3 Mt xviii. 4. 4 Me x. 42-45 ||s.
5 It is worth while recalling O. W. Holmes sensible apologia
for this Pharisee in The Poet at the Breakfast-Table (near the end) :
The parable was told to illustrate a single virtue, humility,
and the most unwarranted inferences have been drawn from it
as to the whole character of the two parties. It seems not at
all unlikely, but rather probable, that the Pharisee was a fairer
dealer, a better husband, and a more charitable person than the
Publican, whose name has come down to us " linked with one
virtue," but who may have been guilty, for aught that appears
to the contrary, of " a thousand crimes." Remember how we
limit the application of other parables. The lord, it will be recol
lected, commended the unjust steward because he had done wisely.
His shrewdness was held up as an example, but after all he was
a miserable swindler, and deserved the State-prison as much as
many of our financial operators. The parable of the Pharisee
and the Publican is a perpetual warning against spiritual pride.
Our Duty to Others Generally 129
Nor does humility mean abdicating the right of
private judgment as the Catholic so often implies
when he accuses the Protestant of pride. Nor
does it even mean having no desire for fame : for
fame may be desired, not simply for the pleasure of
notoriety, but for the sake of the cause it represents.
" The thirst for an enduring fame/ said Gladstone,
" is near akin to the love of true excellence." x
Nor again does humility involve the absence of all
wish to influence or control others : not only did
Jesus himself desire such influence, but he promised
the possession of it to his followers. 2 No : humility
means subordinating the desire for praise and for
fame to the prime interests of the Kingdom of God :
it excludes the eager pushing of oneself before others
instead of waiting for the logic of events to assign
one one s true places : it means as Jesus reference
to the Gentile rulers proves the refusal to coerce
others into compliance with one s wishes 4 : it means,
above all, the ready and lowly service of our fellows.
But it must not frighten any one of us out of being thankful that
he is not, like this or that neighbour, under bondage to strong
drink or opium, that he is not an Erie Railroad Manager, and
that his head rests in virtuous calm on his own pillow. If he
prays in the morning to be kept out of temptation as well as for
his daily bread, shall he not return thanks at night that he has
not fallen into sin as well as that his stomach has been filled ? I
do not think the poor Pharisee has ever had fair play, and I am
afraid a good many people sin with the comforting, half-latent
intention of smiting their breasts afterwards and repeating the
prayer of the Publican. (Sensation}."
1 Morley, Gladstone, i, p. 473. * See below, pp. 171 f.
3 Lc xiv. 7-11. 4 See below, p. 158.
F. OUR DUTY IN DOMESTIC AND
i. JESUS took over much of the current teaching
of his time in regard to the relations of the sexes. He
condemned adultery and other forms of sexual vice,
going so far as to forbid even the lustful gaze at a
married woman as virtually equivalent to adultery. 1
But in two respects he made a very special contri
bution of his own to the whole question.
2. In the first place, he laid immense stress on
the inherent sanctity of family ties. He describes
husband and wife as those whom God has joined
together : their union is therefore indissoluble
" what God has joined together, let not man separ
ate." 3 Jesus absolutely forbids remarriage after
divorce as adulterous. 3 The exception to this ruling,
based on the wife s unfaithfulness, is found only in
Mt,4 and is no doubt the evangelist s accommodation
to the hardness to certain early Christian hearts,
just as Moses permission of divorce was an accom
modation to the hardness of the Israelites hearts.
Jesus condemns as adulterous a marriage with the
divorced wife of another man, or a marriage with
any woman when the man s own divorced wife is
still living. 5 The law of this country is still accom-
1 Me iv. 7, 18 f ||s, vii. 21-23 ||, x. 19 ||s ; Mt v. 27 f ; Jn viii. u.
z Me x. 5-9 |J. 3 Me x. ii f; Lc xvi. 18.
4 Mt v, 31 f, xix, 9, 5 See note 3.
Domestic and Financial Matters 131
modated to the hardness of men s hearts, instead
of embodying the full Divine purpose. 1 But there
is much more about the sanctity of family life in
Jesus teaching than just this prohibition of divorce.
Let us ask ourselves what view of human parenthood
must have been his who quoted the command
" Honour thy father and thy mother " as the com
mand of God, J and who chose the word Father as
his favourite name for God ? What light does
Jesus tender fondness for little children 3 throw on
his view of marriage and family life ? And what
is involved in his use of the term brother to express
the sacred fellowship of his own disciples with
himself and with one another ? 4 The family is,
to the mind of Jesus, the nearest of human analogies
to that Divine order which it was his mission to
3. But, secondly, Jesus knew that, in the tangled
complexity of human affairs, situations often arise
which involve a conflict even of the most sacred
loyalties, and that, in such cases,
Good counsels must perforce give place to better.
If and when family obligations come into conflict
with our duty as members of the Kingdom of God,
the family obligations have got to be sacrificed. Ad
herence to Jesus would be bound to split families-
very well then, they must be split. 6 " He who loves
1 See below, p. 169 n i. z Me vii. 9-13, x. 19 ||s.
3 Me ix. 36 f, x. 13-16 ||s : cf. Mt xxi. 15.
4 See above pp. 47 and 119, and cf Mt xxiii. 8, Me v. 19 ||, Lc xvi.
5 F. G. Peabody, Jesus Christ and the Social Question, ch. iii.
6 Mt x. 21, 34-36 |[s ; Me x. 29-30 ||s.
132 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
father or mother more than me is not worthy of
me, and he who loves son or daughter more than
me is not worthy of me." * The clearest instances
of this conflict to-day occur in the mission-field,
where conversion to Christianity often involves a
complete breach of fellowship in family life. In
Western society, the case is not so acute ; but
instances in which a man s loyalty to some ideal
means displeasure and offence on the part of his
home-circle are not infrequent. A generation, like
our own, that has shewn itself capable of sacrificing
sons, husbands, lovers, brothers, and fathers, at
the call of patriotism, should have no difficulty in
admitting the possibility of claims superior to that
of the family, and in seeing that the recognition of
these claims is not necessarily inconsistent with the
payment of due honour to that to which they are
4. Jesus plainly stated that the demands of the
Kingdom of God might involve for some a life of
celibacy. " There are eunuchs who have made
themselves eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom
of Heaven. Let him who is able to receive (it),
receive (it)." 3 The pre-occupations of married life
had tended to make people insensible of approaching
judgment in the days of Noah and Lot, and would
do so again in the days of the Son of Man. 4 Jesus
1 Mt x. 37 : cf viii. 21 f ||, xxiii. 9, and Lc xiv. 26.
z " The saying of Jesus sounds harsh," says O. Holtzmann
(Life of Jesus, ET, pp. 304 f) with reference to Mt viii. 21 f || : " But
they have a narrow acquaintance with life who think that there
can be no cause sufficient to prevent a man from taking part in
the burial of his own father." 3 Mt xix. 12.
4 Lc xvii. 26-30 || : cf xiv. 20. No marriage in the resurrection
fe, Me xii. 25 |[s.
Domestic and Financial Matters 133
does not exalt celibacy as an ideal state for men
generally, or even for his own disciples. To do so
would have been to contradict his own words as to
the Divine origin and sanction of marriage. 1 But
he does realize that, under the conditions then
existing, marriage might become for some a
hindrance to loyal discipleship and zealous service
in the Kingdom : and he believed it to be a man s
duty, if such was the case, to forego it.
5. Jesus did not condemn private property as
such. " Your heavenly Father knows that ye have
need of all these things/ 2 Simon Peter kept his
house and his belongings after his calls Jesus
himself did so up to the time of his baptism, and
possibly later.4 Joanna and other women possessed
property and supported Jesus out of it. 5 The
twelve disciples possessed money for the purchase
of food and the giving of alms. 6 We can even
enumerate from the Gospels a number of services
for which Jesus more or less clearly sanctioned the
disbursement of property 7 : first, and most obvious,
is the provision of the bodily needs of ourselves
and those dependent on us even the sinful earthly
father must know how to give good gifts to his
children. 8 Then there is the payment of taxes
Despite Mt xix. 10 f. As W. C. Allen says : " The whole
section in Mt suffers from inconsistency of thought due to literary
revision and compilation " (Intern. Crit. Comm., p. 205). Cf
Isaac Taylor, The Natural History of Enthusiasm, p. 224 note.
a Mt vi. 32.
3 Me i. 16-18, 29, ii. i : cf Lc v. i-n, Jn xxi. 3.
4 Jn ii. 12. 5 Lc viii. 3.
6 Me vi. 37 ||s ; Jn iv. 8, xii. 6, xiii. 29.
7 Lc xvi. 10-12 seems to refer to the faithful use of one s property
as a trust.
8 Mt vi. 32 f, vii. 9-1 1 || ; Me v. 43, vi. 37 ||s ; Jn iv. 8.
134 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
rendering to Caesar the things that are Caesar s. 1
Then there is almsgiving the practice of mercy
towards those who are suffering from the scarcity of
earthly goods. * Then there is the formation of friend
ships, as seems to be intended by those somewhat
obscure words, " Make for yourselves friends out
of the Mammon of unrighteousness, so that when
it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwel
lings." 3 And then, lastly, there is the expression
of personal homage and worship, as we see it in our
Lord s payment of the Temple-tax, 4 the widow s
mite cast into the Temple-treasury,5 and the woman s
spikenard poured over Jesus feet in anticipation
of his burial. 6 All these imply the rightfulness of
possessing, and therefore presumably also of acquiring
6. But inasmuch as nothing lends itself to abuse
more easily than the pursuit of money, Jesus couples
the most stringent warnings with his guarded per
mission of it. It is not putting it too strongly to
say that he definitely deprecates the keen pursuit of
wealth 7 and that on three main grounds. Firstly,
because the possession of it is in the highest degree
precarious thieves steal it, worms corrode it, 8
death transfers it to another. 9 Secondly, because
it diverts men from the interests of the Kingdom,
1 Me xii. 17 ||s. The political implications of this passage will
be discussed later (pp. 150 f, 169).
2 Mt v. 7, 42, vi. 2-4, 22 f || (see p. 135 n 5), xxv. 31-46 ; Jn xii.
5, xiii. 29 ; Me x. 21, xiv. 7 ||s ; Lc vi. 37 f, xi. 41, xii. 33, xiv.
12-14 Ac xx. 35.
3 Lc xvi. 9. 4 Mt xvii. 24-27.
5 Me xii. 41-44 || : cf Jn xiii. 29. 6 Me xiv. 3-9 ||s.
7 Me vii. 21-23 II ( covetousness ) ; Lc xvi. 14 f.
8 Mt vi. 19-21 ||.
9 Lc xii. 13-21 : cf vi. 24 f, xvi. 25.
Domestic and Financial Matters 135
so much so that it is easier for a camel to pass through
a needle s eye than for a rich man to enter the
Kingdom. 1 People tend to worry about acquiring
property, instead of seeking first the Kingdom of
God and His righteousness. 3 " The anxieties of
the world and the pleasure of riches . . . enter in
and stifle the word." 3 Hence Jesus describes the
poor as the fittest recipients of his Gospel. 4 And
then thirdly, the pursuit of wealth tends to make
men selfish and heartless towards the needy. The
parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus is Jesus
classical utterance under this head. 5 It is at this
point that the modern Socialist, whose chief concern
is the immense injustice of the unequal distribution
of wealth in the world, feels closest contact with Jesus.
7. But there is perhaps no subject on which the
true bearing of our Lord s teaching on modern life is
so difficult as this of personal property. The difficulty
is due firstly to the fact that a certain amount
of his teaching (unfortunately we do not know how
much) was what it was by reason of certain special
conditions of his time, for example, the crude notion
of economics in those days, the special demands
of his Palestinian mission, the personal and spiritual
needs of certain individuals to whom he spoke (like
the rich young Ruler), the oriental custom of hospi
tality, the very climate of Palestine, 6 the prospect
1 Me x. 23-28 Us. a Mt vi. 24 ||, xxii. 5 ; cf Lc xiv. 18 f.
3 Me iv. 1 8 f ||s.
4 Lc iv. 18, vi. 20 (but cf Mt v. 3), vii. 22 ||.
5 Lc xvi. 19-31. Cf Me xii. 40 ||, Mt xxiii. 25 || ; also Mt vi.
22 f ||, Me vii. 22 (the evil eye=tmwillingness to impart one s goods
to others ; Dent xv. 9, etc).
6 For the facilitation of ascetism by climatic conditions, see
I. Taylor, Natural History o f Enthusiasm, pp. 205-207.
136 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
of the immediate coming of the Kingdom : all these
had their effect in moulding Jesus teaching ; and
some allowance has to be made for all of them in
applying that teaching to the different and far
more complicated circumstances of our own indus
trial and democratic age. Also, what changes does
the extensive action of the modern state in the
relief of poverty call for in the matter of private
charity ? And secondly, we are in difficulties over
the inherent subtlety of the subject itself. I acknow
ledge my duty to feed myself and my wife and
children I also acknowledge my duty to give alms :
but how am I to hold the balance between these
two duties ? I admit my duty to help both the
deserving and the undeserving poor : but what method
of almsgiving enables me to do this best ? Further
more, in this matter of acquiring property, it is
right to take thought, and wrong to worry : but
how can I know where one passes into the other ?
It is right to earn, but wrong to steal J : yet the
two are connected by a set of stages that shade off
imperceptibly into one another. What is the bound
ary between honest earning and business shrewd
ness, between business shrewdness and covetousness,
between covetousness and overreaching, between
overreaching and unjust gain, between unjust gain
and theft ? The profiteer is often perfectly innocent
so far as the law of the land is concerned, but is he
morally innocent ? and if not, at what point does
he cease to be an honourable business man and
become a profiteer ? The whole subject bristles
with subtleties and uncertainties. One of the most
urgent problems of our time is this of the duty of
1 Me vii. 21-23, x - *9 II s
Domestic and Financial Matters 137
Christian people in an economic world so totally
different from that which Jesus envisaged a world
of keen competition, trade-unions, machinery, invest
ments, credits, strikes, and all the myriad compli
cations of modern industry and finance. It is quite
easy to see that many existing institutions and
conditions are unchristian and wrong ; it is not
very difficult to frame Utopian schemes under which
the wrongs we deplore would not exist : but we
want more than this. We want to know what is
the best course for a Christian individual (or group)
to take while necessarily remaining in economic
contact at a thousand points with a world that does
not yet, and will not for a long time, accept any
good Utopian scheme. To delineate such a scheme
clearly, to subject it to the criticism of others and
so eliminate its flaws, to get it known and discussed,
to make others besides oneself enthusiastic about it,
to discover and point out practicable means by
which it may be realized all this is right and good :
but what is still more urgent is to know the Christian
thing to do pending its realization, while evil con
ditions still remain. And for this task as well as
for the detailed delineation of our Utopia we are
thrown almost entirely on our own resources, and
get but little help from the words of one who was
never faced with the problem as it challenges us.
It is only the most general economic principles that
we can gather from him : for the practical appli
cation of them we are left to ourselves ; and a great
deal of clear thinking will be needed before a satis
factory decision is reached. In the meantime the
best we can do is to keep the problem steadily before
UG, and to steer our own personal course according
138 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
to the best light we have on each case of difficulty
that occurs, keeping ourselves always in the spirit
of Jesus and remembering always the Golden Rule
and the paramount interests of the Kingdom of
8. We need however to be on our guard against
the popular fallacy that, because all is not clear in
this field, because we cannot take this or that saying
of Jesus on economic matters and conform to it
immediately, therefore we are equally exempt (on
the ground of various great changes in the conditions
of life) from complying with what he says in every
other direction, notably in some special matters with
which we have yet to deal. The solution of the
problems of Christian ethics in obedience to the
teaching of Jesus must necessarily take place piece
meal as a gradual process, proceeding in the order
of the relative clarity of the issues raised. Perplexity
and indecision at one point need not mean per
plexity and indecision at all points. Emerson s
declaration that " a foolish consistency is the hob
goblin of little minds " was a recommendation, not
that men need not mind being illogical, but that
they need not mind that inconsistency into which
a growing knowledge of truth always tends to throw
men s present utterances as compared with their
past. We are perfectly within our rights in adhering
to a statement that we believe to be clearly made
out, even though we are aware all the time, and
are ready to admit, that it may have implications,
as to the ultimate bearing of which we have to
confess ourselves in doubt. We could rightly urge
in our defence what was said to Dr. Johnson s
Rasselas by the artist with his aeroplane : " Nothing
Domestic and Financial Matters 139
will ever be attempted, if all possible objections
must first be overcome." Not only so, but we can
go further and say, that without this measure of
boldness future progress is impossible. Only by
advancing up to the furthest limits of the light
now given to us, can we hope to receive further light
on harder and more complicated problems. 1
1 " Who shall say how much light would suddenly come in
upon the obscurer matters, if once the simpler were taken out
of the way ? " (Isaac Taylor, Fanaticism, p. 364).
G. OUR DUTY TO WRONGDOERS
i. WE have now to examine that difficult and con
troversial part of our subject the Christian treat
ment of wrongdoers. It will perhaps conduce to
clearness if we make it our first object to ascertain
the actual views of Jesus on the matter, without
attempting to criticize them on our own part. The
task of evaluating his teaching for modern life must
be kept distinct from the task of understanding
what that teaching was.
2. Now just as, in medicine, diagnosis has to
precede treatment, so in this matter, we must first
ask, How far are we capable of discerning wrongdoing ?
On this point Jesus does not depart widely from
the accepted canons of his religious fellow-country
men. Those whom he expected to be able to recog
nize the work of God s Spirit in the cure of diseased
men, 1 he must have regarded as equally capable
of recognizing moral evil when they saw it. As
a tree is known by its fruit, so is a man known by
the life he lives and the words he speaks out of the
fulness of his heart. 2 Jesus declaration that all
human defilement proceeded from within, out of
the heart of man, and his list of these defilements,
implied the broad accuracy of human judgment
1 Mt xii. 24-32 Us : cf 7.
* Mt vii. 1 6-1 8, 20, xii. 33-35 ; Lc vi. 43-45.
Our Duty to Wrongdoers 141
as to what defilement consisted of. 1 But judgment,
in the sense of recognition of the fact of wrongdoing,
is not judgment in the sense of censuring the wrong
doer. Judgment, in this latter sense, Jesus forbids.
" Judge not," he says, " that you may not be judged
(yourselves)." Pull the plank out of your own
eye before trying to pull the splinter out of your
brother s eye.* Not only are the innocent not to
be condemned, but not even are the guilty. No sin
is more unmistakable or inexcusable than adultery :
but what did Jesus say to the adulteress ? " Woman,
where are thine accusers ? Has no one condemned
thee ? . . . Neither do I condemn thee : go, and
sin no more." 3
3. In legislating therefore for the diagnosis of
wrongdoing, Jesus forbids the condemnation of the
wrongdoer. We shall see that there are other things
he forbids ; but lest we should drop into the error
of supposing that his attitude to wrongdoing was
simply negative, let us realize at once that his policy
for the treatment of it is a very positive one it is
that of overcoming evil with good. As the Heavenly
Father is perfect, distributing His gracious gifts to
all, searching for and desiring to save that which
is lost, so the Christian, in order that he may become
God s son, is to love even his enemies and to do good
to those that hate him. 4 If ever he is in the wrong
himself, he is to hasten to make amends, even if
the quest for reconciliation involves the leaving
undone of some ceremonial duty. 5 He is to let
his light shine before men, so as to lead them to
1 Me vii. 21-23 ||. Mt vii. 1-5 ||. 3 Jn viii. 10 f.
4 Mt v. 43-48, xviii. 12-14 Lc xv. i-io, xix. 10.
5 Mt v. 23 f : cf Me ix. 50 b,
142 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
glorify God. 1 He is to use what opportunities he
has for propagating, by word and deed, the Gospel
of the Kingdom. * The disciple of Jesus is to copy
God in the effort to break down human sin by per
sistent and aggressive love. He is to inherit the
earth by being gentle.3
4. From this main principle follow all the definite
precepts positive and negative which Jesus issues
on the subject. We are to be peace-makers, in
order that we may be called God s sons. 4 We
are to come to terms with our enemy while we
have opportunity, and so to prevent the further
embitterment of the contest. 5 We are to be gentle,
as Jesus himself was, and harmless as doves. 6 We
are to love our enemies. 7 Not only are we not to
kill or to retaliate : but we are not even to resist,
or to refuse an unfair demand, or to use angry
words. 8 Nor are we to be afraid even of being
killed by others. 9
5. Jesus speaks very frequently about the dis
ciple s duty of forgiving those who have wronged
him ; and it is sometimes said that the fulfilment
of this duty is dependent on the repentance or
apology of the wrongdoer ; that is to say, that
failing this repentance and apology, forgiveness is
not demanded of us. There is a sense in which
this qualification is true. In so far as forgiveness
1 Mt v. 13-16.
2 Me i. 17 ||s, v. 19 f || ; Mt x. 7, 27 ||s ; Lc x. 9 : cf Lc ix. 60,
Me ix. 38 ff ||, Mt vii. 22, xxiii. 13 ||, Lc xvi. 27-31.
3 Mt v. 5. 4 Mt v. 9. 5 Mt v. 25 f ||.
6 Mt v. 5, x. 1 6, xi. 29. 7 Mt v. 44 f ||.
8 Mt v. 21 f, 38-42 || ; Me x. 19 ||s, vii. 21 || ( murders/ literally,
acts of killing ) : cf Lc ix. 54 ff, Mt xxvi. 52.
9 Mt x. 28, 31 11.
Our Duty to Wrongdoers 143
means reconciliation, the formation or re-formation
of brotherly relationships, clearly it is impossible
without repentance on the part of the wrongdoer.
So Jesus says : "If thy brother sin, rebuke him ;
and if he repent, forgive him," and this until seventy
times seven. 1 And in the great parable of the un
forgiving slave who owed his master money, for
giveness all through is assumed to depend on its
being asked for.* But this is not the only sense
in which forgiveness is demanded of us. There is
a sense in which it must not wait on the wrongdoer s
repentance, but can and must be given as soon
as the wrong is committed. For how could Jesus
tell us to pray, " Forgive us our debts, as we too
have forgiven our debtors," 3 or how could he say,
Whenever ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have
aught against anyone," 4 if that forgiveness were
possible only when our enemies have repented. He
himself did not wait for his murderers to repent
before he forgave them ; but he prayed for their
pardon while they were in the very act of crucifying
6. Jesus, however, is very far from meaning that
we are to treat the wrongdoing of others as if it
did not exist. It is true that he ruled out as ineffec
tive and wrong most of the accepted methods of
dealing with it, and that he regarded as we have
seen the normal activities of a loving Christian
life, when divorced from those wrong methods, as
the most powerful weapon for the conquest of sin.
1 Lc xvii. 3 f ; Mt xviii. 21 f.
* Mt xviii. 23-35. Cf the unforgiving attitude of the repentant
prodigal s elder brother (Lc xv. 25-32).
3 Mt vi, 12 ||, 14 f. 4 Me xi. 25. 5 Lc xxiii. 34.
144 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
But he realized that love for sinners does not exclude
certain special ways of opposing or reacting against
their sin. He grants, for instance, the use of rebuke and
remonstrance, distinguishing it apparently from the
condemnation which he forbade. " If thy brother
sin, rebuke him ; and if he repent, forgive him." *
" If thy brother sin, go and convince him (of his
sin) between thee and him alone : if he hear thee,
thou hast gained thy brother." 2 Jesus himself
rebuked the Traders in the Temple-courts 3 : he
rebuked the hypocrisy of the Scribes and Pharisees ;
he rebuked Peter for his aversion to the Messiah s
sacrifice 4 ; he rebuked Judas for his treacherous
kiss ; 5 he rebuked the men who arrested him for
their unreasonableness. 6 The aim of rebuke was
to produce conviction of sin ; and Jesus deprecated
the use of it beyond the point where it had any
chance of being successful. Thus, if an erring brother
refused to admit the appeal either of the comrade he
had wronged, or of two or three others called in
ad hoc, or of his assembled fellow-disciples, he was
to be treated as an outsider,? i.e. not worried further.
What is holy is not to be given to dogs, and pearls
are not to be offered to swine. 8 There is traceable
in Jesus method a certain concealment of the truth
from those who were unworthy to receive it. The
mysteries of the Kingdom are imparted to the dis
ciples, but concealed under parables for the multi
tude. 9 When an evil and adulterous generation
1 Lc xvii. 3. 2 Mt-xviii. 15: cf 16 f.
3 Me xi. 1 7 ||s; Jn ii. 16. 4 Me viii. 31-33 ||.
5 Mt xxvi. 50 ; Lc xxii. 48.
6 Me xiv. 48 f ||s : cf Jn xviii. 22 f.
7 Mt xviii. 1 6 f. 8 Mt vii. 6. 9 Mt xiii. 10-15 |js.
Our Duty to Wrongdoers 145
demands a sign, the request is met with a blank
refusal of any further sign beyond the sign of Jonah. 1
Jesus declined, when questioned, to say by what
authority he acted. 3 When he stood before his
accusers and judges, he refused to answer most of
7. We find Jesus also commending a certain
attitude of caution towards some of the evildoers of
his time. " Beware of false prophets." 4 " Beware
of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees . . . and
of Herod." 5 " Beware of the Scribes, who like to
walk about in long robes and (to receive) salutations
in the market-places." 6 "See that no-one leads
you astray ; for many will come in my name, saying
I am the Messiah/ " and so on. 7 " Behold, I send
you out like sheep among wolves : become there
fore prudent like the snakes." 8 " Take heed for
yourselves, and beware of men ; for they will hand
you over to councils, and in the synagogues will
they scourge you." 9 In keeping with this policy
of caution, there is to be, under certain conditions,
a withdrawal from the company of evil men. " Let
1 Me. viii. 11-13 ; Mt xii. 38 f, 41 (verse 40 is clearly an un
intelligent gloss, for (r) the Gospels do not represent Jesus as
being three days and three nights in the tomb, but only one whole
day, a part of two days, and two nights, (2) the interpretation
here given to the sign of Jonah is inconsistent with that of the
following verse, which has the support of Lc xi. 32, (3) it is in the
highest degree unlikely that Jesus would have mocked inquirers
with so unintelligible a sign as the similarity between his own
stay in the tomb and Jonah s sojourn in the whale s belly : besides,
the risen Jesus did not appear to the Pharisees), xvi. 1-4 ; Lc xi.
29-32. 2 Me xi. 27-33 ||s.
3 Mt xxvi. 63, xxvii, 12-14 II > Lc xxiii. 9.
4 Mt vii. 15. 5 Me viii. 15 ||s.
6 Me xii. 38 I]. 7 Me xiii. 5 f, 21-23 ||s.
8 Mt x. 1 6. 9 Me xiii. 9 ; Mt x. 17.
146 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
them alone," says Jesus of the Pharisees, " (for)
they are blind guides." x When he had cut short
his critics with the sign of Jonah, " he left them
and departed." * When he sent out his disciples
on their mission-journeys, he told them, if they
were persecuted in one city, to flee to the next.
" And whoever does not receive you or listen to
your words, when ye come out from that house or
that city, shake off the dust from your feet as a
testimony against them." 3 But apparently this
attitude of cautious aloofness was to be carried no
further than the hostility of men and the consequent
impossibility of convincing them rendered absolutely
necessary. Jesus does not sanction a general separ
ation of Christians from the society in which they
live. The parables of the field sown with wheat
and tares and of the net that gathered fish of every
kind, showed that he regarded such a separation as
impossible, and the attempt to effect it as therefore
wrong. 4 Despite obdurate hostility and persecution,
and the consequent need for a certain amount of
secrecy and caution, Christians are to live in the
world as its light to guide it, its salt to preserve it,
and its yeast to leaven it throughout. 5
1 Mt xv. 14. a Me viii. 13 ; Mt xvi. 4.
3 Mt x. 13-15, 23 ||s. 4 Mt xiii. 24-30, 36-43, 47-50.
5 Mt v. 13-16, xiii. 33 ||s.
H. OUR DUTY TO OTHERS POLITICALLY
i. As we have now described the general principles
which Jesus laid down for dealing with wrongdoers,
it remains for us to consider their applicability to
practical life. We shall hardly be misinterpreting
the mind of to-day in saying that the chief difficulty,
with which those who would practice these principles
are confronted, is, not their uselessness in private
and personal relationships or in what is called speci
fically religious work (for it is generally admitted
that they are right and valid in these fields), but
their apparent incongruity with social and political
responsibility. That being so, the discussion of
their applicability, which was purposely held over
at the beginning of the last section, 1 really becomes
a discussion of the Christian s duty in his social
and political capacity, his duty as a citizen, member,
and subject of a state, both towards the state itself,
towards his fellow-citizens, and towards the nationals
of other countries. This question has been the
occasion of the sharpest conflict of opinion among
professedly Christian men of first-rate intellect and
character ; and the utmost care must be used, and
the greatest clearness aimed at, if we are to thread
our way successfully through the intricacies of the
1 See p. 140.
148 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
2. Discussions on the topic often err, either by
treating it as if it were simpler, or else by treating it
as if it were more complicated, than it really is. There
are those who say : " Render unto Csesar the things
that are Caesar s/ and " The powers that be are
ordained of God," and, on the strength of these
and similar texts, take it to be the duty of the
Christian individual to carry out any and every
order the State may give him, and confine the appli
cation and operation of the Christian principles of
conduct strictly to the narrow area of private life
which the demands of the State happen to leave
untouched. This mistaken conclusion is not unlike
that arrived at by those who allow themselves to
be confused by the idea of some mysterious sanctity
which they regard as attaching to the State and
which makes the whole question of Christian ethics
far more complicated than it really need be. The
topic is indeed at once simple and complicated,
according to the point of view from which it is re
garded ; but it is neither of these in the sense of
necessitating a subordination of the Kingdom of
God and the duties pertaining thereto to the State
and its demands upon the citizen.
3. Let us ask ourselves to start with, What really
is the State ? It is surely the organization which
expresses the collective will of a certain more or less
arbitrarily defined group of our fellow-men. The
State is thus our neighbour in a special sense, and
has just as much or just as little sacro-sanctity or
mystery or right or claim or goodness or badness
as our fellow-men in general have. So that the
duties which the Christian owes to the State are
simply special applications of those principles which
Our Duty to Others Politically 149
are to govern his attitude to his fellow-men in general.
Our duties to our fellow-men are roughly those of
love, kindness (or we might say service), wisdom,
truthfulness, and humility : we are to treat others,
not necessarily as they want us to treat them, but
as we should like them to treat us, if we, while still
Christians, were in their position. 1 Towards wrong
doers our attitude clearly must not be one of imita
tion, but rather a firm adherence to our ideals,
coupled with gentleness, charitable judgment, for
giveness, and (where they are likely to be helpful)
remonstrance and rebuke.
4. It is not very difficult to see what these principles
amount to when we attempt to apply them to the
Christian s duty in his relations with the State.
They clearly exclude anything like violent resistance
to the State or overt rebellion against it, involving
the use of arms. 3 We remember that Jesus refused
to allow himself to be made a king. 3 His principles
exclude, furthermore, all bitterness and ill-will, though
leaving room for criticism and remonstrance. It is
1 See above p. 121.
2 I fail to see any means of explaining the third (Matthaean)
temptation (Mt iv. 8-10 ||), except on the assumption that the
unspecified sin involved in bowing down and worshipping Satan
was the bloodshed involved in the rebellion or war of conquest
that would have been necessary in order to give Jesus the kingdoms
of the world. The idea that the sin was earthly pleasure (O.
Holtzmann, Life of Jesus, ET, p. 148), or pride (Sanday, in Hast
ings DB ii, p. 612 b) or ambition (Ewald, quoted by Farrar, Life
of Christ, \, p. 139), is quite inadequate. Nor is it an explanation
to say that Jesus did not want a worldly kingdom (Neander,
Life of Christ, ET, pp. 76 f, 89). He certainly did want universal
lordship, and on other occasions did not hesitate to advance his
claims to it. How did a worldly kingdom differ from his, except
in having to be won and maintained by the use of violence and
bloodshed ? 3 Jn vi. 15.
150 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
under this heading that we should place his denun
ciation of the religious leaders of his own nation, 1
the depreciatory tone in which he referred to the
grandeur of Solomon 2 and the soft clothing of
courtiers,3 and his whole attitude of disapproval
towards Herod. 4 They involve further :
(i) Obedience, in a general way, to government-
orders, that being demanded by the general prin
ciples of goodwill, gentleness, and service. So Jesus
bids the cleansed leper offer the legally appointed
sacrifice^ and tells the disciples and the people to
do whatever the scribes and Pharisees enjoin, because
they sit in Moses* seat. 6 Another exemplification of
the same general duty is the going of the second
mile, when we are impressed to go one. 7
(ii) The payment of taxes, as a special form of
obedience. Not only does Jesus pay the Temple-
tax, though he seems to have thought it unfair, 8
but he even says, in reference to the Roman tribute,
" Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar s." 9
It is true that this phrase implies the extension of
a certain relative justification to Caesar s govern
ment, a point on which we shall say more in a
moment : but we must be careful not to make the
words mean more than they say. They certainly
are not equivalent to : Do anything that Caesar
1 Mt xxiii. etc. Phrases like " Ye serpents, ye offspring of
vipers " (verse 33) are a difficulty in face of v. 21 f, explain them
how we will.
Mt vi. 29 II : cf xii. 42 ||. 3 Mt xi. 8 ||.
4 Me viii. 15 ; Lc xiii. 32. 5 Me i. 44 ||s ; Lc xvii. 14.
6 Mt xxiii. 1-3, 23 ||.
7 Mt v. 41 : the reference 4s to the system of forced labour for
the State, not conscription for military service, from which the
Jews were exempt so far as the Roman armies were concerned.
8 Mt xvii. 24-27. 9 Me xii. 17 ||s.
Our Duty to Others Politically 151
may find it necessary or convenient to ask of you.
The command is simply a special application of
the general precept : " Give to him that asketh
thee," J and (though this analogy does not run on
all fours) it no more makes the man who obeys it
responsible for what Caesar does with his money
than a householder is responsible for what his grocer
does with the money when a bill is paid.
(iii) Thirdly, these principles involve submission
to unjust treatment. When the law court sentences
you wrongly to forfeit your cloak, give up your
tunic as well. 2 The forced labour just referred to
under the general orders of government would doubt
less be regarded by most Jews as coming under the
head of unrighteous acts of oppression. When you
are persecuted, flee to another city : but in any
case do not be afraid of those who can kill the body
only.3 Though Jesus sometimes protests against
the wrongdoing of governors, 4 yet at other times
e.g. when Herod executed John, 5 or when Pilate
slaughtered the Galileans, 6 or when Kaiaphas and
Pilate and Herod were judging him 7 Jesus pre
served a dignified silence, clearly on the principle
that it was no use giving what was sacred to the
dogs or casting pearls before swine. 8 He submitted
without a struggle to the indignities inflicted on
him by the various governing bodies into whose
hands he fell, in obedience to his own general
precept not to withstand him who is evil, but to
turn to him the other cheek. 9
1 Mt v. 42 ||. * Mt v. 40.
3 Mt x. 23, 28, 31 ||s. 4 See above, p. 150 n i and /j.
5 Me vi. 17-29 ||s. 6 Lc xiii. 1-3.
; See p. 145 n 3. 8 Mt vii. 6. 9 Mt v. 39.
152 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
(iv) Lastly, these principles involve co-operation.
Obedience itself is a form of co-operation. In our
own day, when the private citizen has so much larger
a share in the work of government than he could
have under the autocratic systems of Jesus day,
this duty of co-operation will bulk more largely
in the scheme of Christian life than was possible in
New Testament times. 1 But no new principle is
involved. It is the Christian s duty to lend a hand
in all good work that is going forward, so far as it
is feasible for him to do it : and he ought not to be
deterred because such a course may involve co
operation with others whose agreement with him
may extend no further than the particular service
in which they are both to be associated. In render
ing first aid in a street accident, the Christian would
not pause to ask whether his helpers agreed with
him on questions of religion and morals and politics,
before he allowed himself to work with them. In
the same way, if the State is doing any piece of
work of which the Christian himself approves and
in which his help is wanted, he is right to render
that help, even though there may be many matters
on which his views and those of his rulers do not
5. Nothing that has been said in regard to the
twin duties of obedience and co-operation, is exempt
from the proviso that the act involved in obedience
or co-operation must itself be in conformity with, or
1 " The leading minds of Christendom have declined to recognise,
except in cases of special vocation, as the duty of Christians, the
abdication of responsibility for the problems, the entanglements,
the more or less secular issues of the ordinary social life of man
kind " (Campion, in Lux Mundi, p. 319). Quite true but with
qualifications, as will be shown in the sequel.
Our Duty to Others Politically 153
at any rate must not contradict, the Law of the Kingdom
of God promulgated and in great measure elaborated
in the teaching of Jesus. Obedience to men is a
Christian duty, but only in so far as it does not
involve disobedience to God. Co-operation with
others is a Christian duty, but only in so far as there
is common ground between the Christian and his
fellows. What is to be done when the powers that
be require of us acts which God has forbidden ?
or when our fellow-men demand that we shall take
a hand in what is contrary to our Master s teaching ?
Normally speaking, such cases do not arise, because
the State s requirements consist in the main of the
observance of the more simple and obvious human
duties and virtues, that is to say, in what is common
to the ethics of humanity at large and the ethics
of Jesus. But we have to remember that, extensive
as is the common ground between the Christian
and the average morally-minded man, their con
victions do not coincide : also that, in the time of
Jesus and for a long time after, the vast majority
of the members of society were clearly non-Christian.
During the Middle Ages, in which Christian ethics
were largely snowed under, the enforced nominal
Christianity of every citizen obscured the distinction
between Christian and pagan conduct ; but modern
times, when professed Christianity is not as fashion
able as it was, and when everyone is perfectly free
to dissociate himself from Christianity if he wishes
to do so, have reproduced in a measure the primitive
cleavage, despite the facts that Christianity as pro
fessed to-day is a very much watered-down article
compared with that of the first centuries, and that
the world as a whole has been to a considerable
154 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
extent leavened with Christian principles. There is
a general agreement to-day that the society in which
we live is, though not uninfluenced by Christian
ideals, in the main predominantly pagan. 1 If that
can be truly said of the bulk of the population, it
follows that it can also be said of the government ;
for a representative government is bound to represent
fairly accurately the average moral standard of the
community it controls. 3
Now a pagan government is always liable to
demand from its Christian subjects something which
as Christians they are forbidden to give. We are
familiar with the production of such a situation in
the early Church. In effect the State said to the
Christians : " You can believe what you like, and
worship and live as you like : but as subjects of the
Empire you must recognize the Empire s gods, and
take your share, by occasionally sacrificing to them,
in soliciting Divine favour for the Empire." To
which the Christians replied : " We are willing to
obey the Emperor, and to pray to our God for him,
and to pay his taxes, and to live as peaceable and
1 See above, pp. 14-16 n i.
2 Cf the sage words of W. E. Charming, quoted by Martineau,
Essays, Reviews and Addresses, i. p. 132 : " We choose to have
a popular government, but are not willing to accept its essential
condition, namely, that it shall have the imperfections of the
people. An absolute sovereign may get in advance of his people,
but a people cannot get in advance of itself, and it must govern
according to its own character." Also, Miss M. D. Petre, in The
Hibbert Journal, April 1920, p. 466 : " The State cannot, must
not outstrip the level of its own citizens ; in regard to human
ideals it must be executive rather than originative. As society
rises the State rises ; were rulers to attempt a national policy
that was too exalted for those in whose behalf they held office,
they would be tyrants, even though beneficent ones. In point
of fact, this is not a danger to be apprehended."
Our Duty to Others Politically 155
moral citizens : but to offer sacrifices to him as a
deity or to any other so-called deity, other than
the One Supreme God, is a thing we must not, cannot,
and will not do." * Here was a clear case of conflict
of loyalties : and we know how much torture and
bloodshed had to be endured by those who felt the
Christian claim to be supreme, before they wrung
from their unwilling rulers the right to do as their
consciences bade them.
6. Religious persecution has long been a thing of
the past : no Christian nowadays is called upon to
suffer for refusing to worship the national deities
Society has been humanized and in some measure
christianized, so that many a Christian to-day lives
unconscious of any serious cleavage between himself
and his fellow-Christians on the one hand and their
pagan fellow-men on the other. But, as a matter of
fact, there is still over and above occasional overtly
immoral or mistaken movements in society there
is still one point on which civilized society, in other
words the State, avowedly and confidently professes
a policy which is at variance with Christian teaching,
rightly understood ; I mean, the violent coercion and
punishment of wrongdoers. It coerces criminals with
in its borders by its law-courts, its police force, its
prisons and executions. It coerces enemies beyond
its borders by means of all the unspeakable and
bloody cruelties of warfare. 3
1 They had the sanction of Jesus for this intransigent attitude ;
Me viii. 38 ; Mt x. 17 f, 26 f, 32 f, xxv. 36 ff (Christians in prison) ;
Lc ix. 26, xii. 8-12. For the stand they made in the preliminary
conflict with the Jewish rulers, see Ac iv. 19 f, v. 29.
a It is essential to a right consideration of the problem, that
we should, even at the cost of unpleasantness and indelicacy,
keep steadily before our minds the lengths to which a man .to-day
156 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
7. I have already dealt with the question of the
Christian s treatment of wrongdoers, and shown how
Jesus precepts exclude every such act of coercion and
must be prepared to go, if he is to associate himself with the State
in its conduct even of a just quarrel with a foreign foe. Some
years before the war I heard an officer under training quote the
words of a sergeant giving instructions in the use of the bayonet :
" Give the bayonet a twist as you pull it out so as to render the
wownd mortial ! " " You should see a man," writes Mr. E. W.
Mason, " stabbing away with a bayonet at a sack supposed to repre
sent an enemy not a man, an enemy. Listen to the instructor :
One, head; two, heart; three, guts.
Is there not a certain pleasure in such efficiency ?
Three, roars the instructor, and twenty men jab fifteen inches
of steel in to his the enemy s, bien entendu guts.
Twist the bayonet as you pull it out so as to make a jagged
gash, is the order " (Made Free in Prison (1918), p. 101). Here
is another example of the same sort of thing : " Howl, damn
yer, howl ! Grit your teeth and grunt when you stick your bayonet
in. In his stomach. Right in ! Now get on ! Oh GET ON !
GET ON ! The voice would rise to an inarticulable yell, and
with howls and glaring eyes the class would go whirling ahead
to the next row of dummies " (R. B. Coulson, writing in The Sunday
Chronicle, quoted in The Crusader, February 13, 1920). I have the
personal testimony of one who was an officer in the Great War
to the fact that the practice referred to by Mr. Lowes Dickinson
(The Choice Before Us (1917), p. 28) of kicking the enemy in the
genital organs is taught to the soldier as the thing to do in a bayonet
fight, if the first thrust miscarries. Another resource in such an
emergency is to thrust one s first and fourth fingers into the other
man s eyes. These things are not printed in the Army s books
of instruction, but are taught by word of mouth.
It is but too likely that the use of poisonous gas on the battle
field and the dropping of bombs on civilians, women, and children,
will form part of the regular methods of civilized warfare in
I append four passages from The Army and Religion (italics
mine). " A man has by the nature of his work and life " (in the
Army) " to lower his whole spiritual being and blunt and deaden
his capacity to suffer with Christ, as he gradually accustoms himself
to the life he has to lead. Alas ! it was but too easy for most
of us to do this. But /, for one, shall always protest against it as
a final argument against warfare. The hardening process the
Our Duty to Others Politically 157
injury as I have just referred to. 1 A word or two
only, therefore, is necessary here in order to put
this negative conclusion beyond dispute. The old
command, " Thou shalt not murder," is more than
once repeated by Jesus as one of his own laws 2 ;
the Greek word used in the Gospel version of it is
one that covers ordinary slaughter in war as well
as private murder ; and we know how fond Jesus
was of extending these old Mosaic rules to cover
cases to which they were not usually thought to
apply, but with which they were not wholly un
connected. His non-resistance teaching in the Ser
mon on the Mount is too explicit and well-known
to need repetition. 3 His refusal at his Temptation
to accept world-lordship at the price of bowing the
knee to Satan is explicable only on the assumption
that the use of arms (the one means by which that
soldier undergoes is not a strengthening but a weakening, a cutting
away, a stunting of the whole man. I seemed to perceive in it
the wisdom of Christ s dislike of physical violence as a means to
any spiritual end. But although we were exceedingly adaptable
in this hardening process, it produced a curious feeling of irritation,
of secret guilt. It also produces, worst of all, a fatigue of the
soul. The act of fighting is, and continues to be, a shock (in the
mediaeval " [sic. ? medical ] " meaning of the term) to the spirit
of each individual soldier, whether he is conscious of it at the time
or not, and the result of shock is a decline in the vitality of the
patient, a lowering of pulse, a lowering of temperature " (pp. 84 f).
" Army life deadens feeling and kills thought " (p. 88). " The
manner of life of a soldier in camp, surrounded by all the most
subtle temptations, . . . and in the trenches where they are out
to slaughter the enemy, by sniping, bombing, raiding, or advancing,
creates an atmosphere of sordid existence that has not an atom
of faith or belief in the ideal life preached by religion" (p. 89).
" There can be little doubt that, while the circumstances and
conditions of warfare have rendered some religious as they were
not before, others, and a far larger number, have lost what religion
they had " (p. 91). I See above, pp. 141-143.
Mt v. 21 f, xix. 1 8 ||s. 3 Mt v. 38-48 ||.
158 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
lordship could be speedily secured) was to him a
forbidden means, the use of which would therefore
have been equivalent to homage to Satan. 1 How
can we explain his own quiet attitude in face of
the cruelties and injustices of his day, except on
the assumption that he felt it to be not merely un
timely but wrong to raise a violent rebellion. 3
He forbids Peter in Gethsemane to use his sword in
the defence of the innocent. 3 He holds up Gentile
authority as a thing the disciples are to shun, 4 not
because authority in itself is wrong (for Jesus him
self claimed ascendancy over others 5 and promised
it also to his disciples 6 ), but because Gentile authority
was of the kind that needs coercion and violence
for its maintenance. The Law of Moses might
sentence the adulteress to death ; but Jesus refused
to have any hand in executing the sentence. 7 He
told his followers, when their country should be
attacked by the Romans, to " flee to the mountains." 8
It seems, therefore, quite impossible to find room
in the example and teaching of Jesus for the forcible
punishment of criminals and for the slaughter of
foreign foes. Not only is this conclusion unmis
takable as a correct inference from his ethical teach
ing, but it constitutes the one great characteristic
of that teaching. The Rev. Richard Roberts stated
lately : " There were great and notable virtues
which men practised and praised before Jesus
appeared there was love of country, the sense of
honour, the passion for righteousness, the love of
1 See above, p. 149 n 2. 3 See pp. 151 f.
3 Mt xxvi. 51 f ||s. 4 Me x. 42-45 ||s.
5 See above, pp. 44 f. 6 See below, pp. 171 f.
7 Jn vii. 53-viii. n. 8 Me xiii. 14 ||s.
Our Duty to Others Politically 159
justice, the capacity for sacrifice. There is nothing
distinctively or exclusively Christian about these.
The one point at which Jesus taught a definite
advance in the region of personal relationships was
in His command that men should love their enemies.
But this was a profound and far-reaching revo
lution." * And not only is this teaching the dis
tinctive feature of Jesus ethics on its human side :
but it is the inseparable counterpart of that message
of the self-sacrificing and suffering love of God which
made plain to us in the Saviour s Cross and Passion
is the distinctive feature of the Christian Gospel. 2
The conquest of evil with good, therefore, involving
the disuse of all violence and injury, is no mere
accidental or casual element in Christian life, but
the very thing which gives it a right to its distinctive
1 The Hibbert Journal, July, 1919, p. 670. Cf Ottley, in Lux
Mundi, p. 365 : " The inculcation of forgiveness is the most
striking innovation in the ethics of the Gospel."
2 See above, p. 66 n i.
3 " What seized upon the imagination of mankind as the dis
tinctive revelation of Christianity was the infinite love and tender
ness and compassion of this Righteous God for sinful man. It
was this which shone out in the character of Christ " (Moore in
Lux Mundi, pp. 55 f).
" The non-resistance of Jesus, so far from being a strange or
erratic part of his teaching, is an essential part of his conception
of life and of his God-consciousness. When we explain it away
or belittle it, we prove that our spirit and his do not coalesce. In
the Sanhedrim, in the court of Pilate, amid the jests of the soldiers,
Jesus had to live out the Father s mind and spirit. He did it
in the combination of steadfastness and patience. The most
striking thing in his bearing is his silence. He never yielded an
inch, but neither did he strike back, or allow others to do it for
him. If my kingdom were on a level with yours, he said to
Pilate, my followers would fight to protect me. He did not
answer force by force, nor anger by anger. If he had, the world
at that point would have subdued him and he would have fallen
160 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
8. At the same time, it is not very difficult to
prove that there is a sense in which coercive violence
in some measure is still necessary on the part of the
State. Thus Principal Griffith- Jones says : " In a
mixed society composed partly of men and women
who are pledged to evil, selfish, and criminal ways,
and who do not acknowledge the rights of others,
some organised form of force is absolutely essential
in order to hold them in check and prevent them
from criminal action i.e. action inimical to the
general well-being. This is the principle behind
law and government in an ordered community,
without which, indeed, no community can possibly
maintain itself against the disruptive forces always
present within it." J This is a temperate statement
of the view entertained by most people, even most
Christians ; and it could easily be paralleled with
many similar statements elsewhere. 2 And it is a
statement which it is impossible to describe off-hand
and without qualification as untrue. What we have
to seek for is such an exact comprehension both of
this position and of the ethic of Jesus that we shall
be able to do justice to both of them without being
9. We must begin by setting aside a number of
away from God. If he had headed the Galilaeans to storm Pilate s
castle, he would have been a God-forsaken Christ " (Rauschenbusch,
A Theology for the Social Gospel, p. 263).
1 The Challenge of Christianity to a World at War, p. 64.
2 Compare, for example, the words of Neander in his Life of
Christ (ET), p. 252 note w, of Campion in Lux Mundi, pp. 322 f, of
Sanday, in Hastings DB ii, pp. 621 b, 652 b, and of R. F. Rynd in
The Hibbert Journal, July 1919, pp. 652-655. Dr. Sanday, however,
is very conscious of being faced with an unsolved problem, and
remarks that " he would welcome warmly any new light on the
Our Duty to Others Politically 161
unsatisfactory views of Jesus ethics, which have
been put forward as abolishing without difficulty
the clash between these ethics and the requirements
of the State.
First, there is the idea that Jesus teaching is
meant to be applied only in a perfect state of society.
Catholic apologists are fond of using this argument
but Protestants also are not innocent of it. It
obviously will not hold water for a single moment :
for if Jesus was legislating for a perfect state of
society, what sense would there have been in his
speaking about enemies, men taking away our cloak,
striking us on the cheek, forcing us to go a mile,
and so on ? The very content of this teaching
proves that, if it has an application at all, it must
apply to life in a very imperfect state of society.
Then there is the plea that we are meant to follow,
not the letter, but the spirit, of Jesus words. Jesus,
it is true, insisted on good motives and a right spirit
as all-important ; but this does not prove that he
did not mean his followers to take seriously the
concrete precepts which he gave to them as embody
ing the right spirit. When Jesus says : " Thou shalt
not commit adultery," did he mean that men might
ignore the letter of that commandment so long as
they preserved its spirit ? And if a severance
between spirit and letter is inconceivable in such a
case, why is it any more conceivable when he said :
Thou shalt not kill " ? The prohibition of killing
is no less integral a part of his conception of moral
righteousness and the Will of God than is the pro
hibition of adultery.
Thirdly, it has been suggested that these precepts
are meant to bind Christians in their private and
162 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
personal relationships, but not in their capacity
as citizens. Thus, to quote Principal Griffith- Jones
again : While the duty of non-resistance to evil
is a duty incumbent on every Christian disciple, as
an individual, when his own interests alone are
involved, it does not apply to him when attacked
in his representative capacity as a citizen, whose
rights he holds in trust for others as well as for
himself/ J But this distinction cannot be sustained
in face of Jesus words, at least so far as his own
meaning is concerned ; for if he had had such a distinc
tion in mind, how could he have said : "If any man
go to law with thee and take away thy cloak, let him
have thy tunic also," and how could he have singled
out for special prohibition that ancient Lex Talionis
" eye for eye, tooth for tooth," etc. ? For this
law of retaliation was not simply a permission for
the indulgence within limits of the desire for ven
geance, but a public, legal, and official enactment,
designed in the interests of society as a restraint
upon wrongdoing, and doubtless meant to be carried
out by (or under the supervision of) the public
officers of the community.
Fourthly, and not unconnected with this last
objection, there is the plea that Jesus forbade vio
lence, as Principal Griffith- Jones admits, in self-
defence, but would have commended it in defence
of others. The Golden Rule z suffices to refute this
idea for clearly it tells us to defend others by
that method of defence wherewith we ourselves
would like to be defended : this means, ex hypothesi,
by some means not involving damage to our assailant.
Fifthly, what about Jesus turning the traders out
1 Op cit, p. 61. 2 See above, p. 121.
Our Duty to Others Politically 163
of the Temple-courts ? * But there, the whip (men
tioned in the Fourth Gospel only) was used simply
for the purpose of driving the cattle (and what else
could Jesus have used for the purpose ?) : and is it
not perfectly obvious that, if ever one man expels
a crowd, he cannot possibly do it by the use of
physical force, but by some personal, moral, or
magnetic compulsion ? 2 And in any case, what
analogy is there between what Jesus did to the
traders and what our own boys and the Germans
were taught to do to one another ?
Sixthly, what about the chastisement of children ?
But our children are part of ourselves, 3 not equal
and responsible fellow-men : and our chastisement
of them is a special form of that mastery over, and
responsibility for, ourselves which at once consti
tutes and limits our freedom : it is therefore no
rupture of loving fellowship, but is directed to
their own good, and should always stop short of
physical injury ; it is thus an altogether different
thing from imprisonment, mutilation, and slaughter.
Seventhly, what about the restraint of violent
lunatics ? Jesus cured by a gentle psychotherapy
the violent lunatics he met ; and he clearly meant
his followers to be able to do the same, and so indeed
* Me xi. 15-18 ||s. I believe this incident took place at the
very commencement of Jesus public ministry, where the Fourth
Gospel (Jn ii. 13-20) places it. T have explained my reasons in
full in The Journal of Theological Studies, July 1919, pp. 312-316.
* " The lifting up of the scourge could not have been in token
of physical force, for apart from Christ s character what was
one man against so many ? " (Neander, Life of Christ, (ET), p. 179).
There is no support in any of the Gospel narratives for the idea
(O. Holtzmann, Life of Jesus, ET, p. 414) that Jesus was aided
by his disciples, and so effected the expulsion by main force.
3 Horace Bushnell, Christian Nurture, pp. 14-16, 57 ff.
164 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
in after years they did : I but apart from that, the
violent lunatic is not a normal or responsible being,
and is therefore, like the child, in a special category.
The ordinary wrongdoer is not in that category ; for
if he were, we should be a race of madmen, and no
rational treatment of our problem would be possible.
Eighthly, did not Jesus describe God as punishing
sinners with severity ? 3 Yes, but God has pre
rogatives which we do not share 3 ; and if you doubt
this, ask yourself whether you do not take a visitation
from God very differently from the way in which
you take an assault or even a punishment from a
Ninthly, did not Jesus draw illustrations from
war for Christian life ? Yes, he once did so 4 : but
it was only an illustration, and it no more proves
that Christians may fight than the reference to the
day of Christ s appearance coming like a thief in
the night 5 proves that Christians may commit
Tenthly and lastly, did not Jesus say that there
would be wars and rumours of wars, 6 and did he
not regard these as a Divine chastisement ? 7 Yes,
he did speak so, and such may have been his meaning :
but that no more permits Christians to take part
in such wars than the familiar idea of persecution
and pestilence being Divine chastisements constitutes
1 See Harnack, Mission and Expansion of Christianity (ET), i.
pp. 125-146, for an account of early Christian exorcism.
E.g. Mt xviii. 34 f, xxii. 7, 13 ; Lc xix. 12, 14, 27.
3 See above, p. 86. 4 Lc xiv. 31 f.
5 i Thess v. 2, 4 ; Rev iii. 3, xvi. 15 ; 2 Pet iii. 10 : cf Mt xxiv.
43 ||. 6 Me xiii. 7 f ||s.
7 Me xii. 9, xiii. 2 [|s ; Mt xi. 23 ||(?), xxii. 7 ; Lc xii. 54-xiii.
9, xxi. 20-24, xxiii. 28-31 ; and cf n 2 above.
Our Duty to Others Politically 165
a justification for Christians persecuting their fellows
or spreading the germs of an epidemic disease.
10. There is thus no escape from the conclusion
that Jesus meant his non-resistance teaching to be
taken seriously and literally, i.e. in letter as well as
in spirit, by all his true followers. We seem to be
left with a hard irreducible discrepancy between
the duty of society and the duty of the Christian
individual or group. That discrepancy, however, if
looked at the right way, is seen to be intelligible
The difficulty of so regarding it arises from a quite
frequent and rather natural neglect of three facts,
which we must now proceed to take account of.
(i) This non-resistance, which Jesus enjoins, pre
supposes that the man who practises it is a Christian
disciple : or, we might say, the practice of Christian
non-resistance is strictly relative to and dependent
upon the status of Christian discipleship. It is
emphatically a counsel only for those who are
Christians. Any conception, therefore, of its being
used by a whole non-Christian community all at
once is an absurdity (particularly when the com
munity selected for so extraordinary an hypothesis
is an arbitrarily chosen local group one s own
country, for instance, to the exclusion of others) :
and any objection to this teaching based on such
a conception is consequently invalid. Here is,
indeed, a sound and intelligible reason why this
teaching can never be applied by a government
representing a predominantly pagan community.
But the reason which makes this teaching inap
plicable to the Pagan State does not affect its
applicability to the Christian individual.
166 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
(ii) The non-resistance teaching does not mean a
purely negative and inactive attitude to wrong. It
has a quite definite and effective positive counterpart
the overcoming of evil with good, the conversion
of enemies to friends by loving them, the redemption
of the lost by seeking them, the attainment of control
the inheritance of the earth by gentleness. 1
This positive power of Christian gentleness is familiar
enough to us in the stories of Jesus and of the early
Church and of Christian missions : but it is usually
ignored in arguments on the social and civic duties
of Christians. Let us remember that the principles
of Jesus, so far from leaving sin unchecked, check
it far more effectively than any coercion or penaliza
tion can do. 2 How then can his followers be
reproached for selfishly leaving the dirty work of
society to others, when they are all the time busily
accomplishing just what the dirty work is meant
to accomplish, and accomplishing it in a saner and
wiser way of their own ?
(iii) It follows from what has just been said that,
inasmuch as the community of non-resisting Christians
grows only gradually, no such cataclysm is to be
feared as is often depicted by those who ask what
would happen if to-morrow morning the British
Fleet were sunk, and the Army, Navy, and Police
force disbanded. Such objections are entirely beside
the point. What the adoption of Christian non-
resistance involves is the going on of two processes
1 See above, p. 66 n i.
7 " In morals a good man is not simply a witness for virtue,
but a means of repressing vice, of keeping alive in men a sense
of duty, a consciousness of right, an ideal of the good and the
true. Ye are the salt of the earth " (Fairbairn, Studies in the
Life of Christ, p. 141).
Our Duty to Others Politically 167
pari passu, firstly, the gradual diminution in the
number of wrongdoers, and secondly, the gradual
substitution of spiritual for material, of Christian
for pagan, of more effective for less effective, means
of dealing with wrongdoers. What ground do such
developments afford for the oft-repeated charge that
Christian non-resistance means anarchy ?
ii. If the foregoing argument is accepted as
cogent, the resultant attitude of the modern Christian
to the modern State ought not to be difficult to ascer
tain. The Christian will refuse firmly to become a
soldier, or a maker of shells, or a policeman, or a
magistrate : for all these callings stand for the
pagan method of handling the wrongdoer. He will
not however for that reason be a mere cypher in
the struggle which such callings carry on : he will
be hard at work all the time, reconciling enemies,
converting drunkards, reforming criminals, and gener
ally purifying society and the world at large by his
life, example, and influence. But though compelled
at this one point to take a different line from his
fellows, he will not therefore refuse all recognition
of, or co-operation with, the State. He will realize
that its use of coercion is an inevitable accompani
ment of the unchristian or imperfectly Christian
condition of the vast bulk of his fellow-countrymen :
he will remember that even coercion unchristian
as it is I represents the solemn and conscientious
1 I trust it is unnecessary to urge that the actual existence of
large numbers of professed and genuine Christians who participate
freely and conscientiously in the coercive work of society as soldiers,
magistrates, etc, neither invalidates the main argument here
submitted, nor lays him who submits it open to the charge of
presumption or intolerance or narrowness. We may freely recog
nise our neighbour as a fellow-Christian, while at the same time
168 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
conviction of other men, and that therefore those
who bear the burden of government honestly are
the servants of God (as Paul called them) I despite
their imperfect grasp of Christian truth, and that
the State itself, inasmuch as it embodies the con
science of the community, is (again as Paul called it)
the institution of God. He will of course reserve to
himself, and occasionally use, the right to remon
strate with the government when it falls signally
below even that pagan or sub-Christian ideal which
may reasonably be expected of it : but apart from
such occasions, he will, for the reasons just given,
extend a relative justification to the coercive machin
ery of the State, though he cannot himself co-operate
in that machinery, being committed as a Christian
to a different and better way of dealing with the
same problem, a way which excludes coercion. 2 This
relative justification of what seems right in his
neighbour s eyes is the basis of whatever compromise
there can rightly be between the Christian and the
State. There has been much loose talk about com
promise : and it is commonly thought that, when
once compromise in any sense is admitted, the ideal
believing and pleading that something he is doing with full sincerity
is inconsistent with those religious presuppositions which he holds
in common with us, and while calling the something in that sense
unchristian. * Rom xiii. 1-7.
* Notice the very significant parallelism and contrast between
Rom xii. 17-21 and Rom xiii. 1-6, particularly between xii. 19,
which forbids the Christian to avenge himself or to make himself
the instrument of the (i.e. God s) wrath, and xiii. 4, which describes
the Pagan magistrate as a servant of God for the infliction of God s
wrath as vengeance on the wrongdoer. (For the meaning of the
wrath and vengeance of God, see above, p. 164.) How far Paul
was from contemplating Christians as magistrates, we can see
from i Cor vi. 1-8: cf v. 12 f.
Our Duty to Others Politically 169
is in some way given up or its full beauty in some
way smirched. But this is true only if the com
promise involves the individual who makes it in
an act which conflicts with his personal fulfilment
of his own ideals : it is not true of that compromise
which is simply carrying to its logical conclusion
the Christian s relative justification of what seems
right, not to himself, but to his neighbour. 1 While
the question of the way in which this relative justi
fication should be expressed is admittedly a compli
cated and controversial one, particularly in regard to
its details, I should myself plead that the following
acts fall well within the limits of compromise in its
legitimate sense :
(i) The payment of taxes. 2 Here we have,
besides the sanction of our Lord s words,
the simple fact that the man or men who
take money from us under threat of com
pulsion if we refuse it, are not only as free
as we are to do what they believe to be right,
but are themselves responsible for the use
they make of what they receive from us.
This responsibility of theirs clearly limits
1 Thus it was that Jesus relatively justified Moses in per
mitting the Israelites as a legislator to divorce their wives. This
was not really inconsistent with his own clear statement that
divorce was an infringement of God s purpose and his insist
ence that his own followers should not practice it (see above,
pp. 130!) : but it might well have been called, in a certain sense
of the word, a compromise. The neglect of this element of rela
tivity has landed our ecclesiastical leaders in difficulties in the
face of proposed changes in the English law on the subject. They
start from the false assumption that England is a Christian country.
2 See above, pp. 150 f.
170 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
(ii) Voting. It is clear that if I vote for any
political measure to-day, I am voting for
something which, if passed into law, will
be enforced by coercion (of which I per
sonally disapprove) if anyone in the country
refuses to bow to it. But my disapproval
of coercion is relative to a certain religious
status which is not shared by the bulk of
my fellow-men ; and the question : " Shall
I vote ? " therefore simply becomes the
question : " Shall I express a preference
for the better of two policies, when the
best of all is for the present unattainable
owing to the hardness of men s hearts ? "
Personally, I answer that question unhesi
tatingly in the affirmative, as it seems to
me a simple expression of that necessary
relative justification which I am bound to
extend to the conscientious acts of my fellow-
(iii) Obedience to, service of, and co-operation
with, the Government, in all matters, such
as the benevolent service of our fellows, in
regard to which we can stand on common
ground, despite the fact that this means
working with those who hold on many other
matters very different views from our own.
The position of those who will not associate
with others in anything unless they can
associate in everything seems to me short
sighted and wrong. It rules out the hope of
the christianization of the world by practical
means. For with the constant growth of
the Christian spirit and the dissemination of
Our Duty to Others Politically 171
Christian ideals, the area of common ground
between the Christian and his pagan or
semi-pagan government is continually enlarg
ing ; and the promise of its continuing to
do so rests largely on its being occupied to
its fullest limits by both parties. The occu
pation of this ever-increasing common ground
by progressive and thoroughgoing Christians
is the process by which the Saviour s promise
that the gentle should inherit the earth is
being progressively fulfilled.
12. But now, what of the future ? What sort of
practical developments are we hoping and working
for ? We do not rule out a priori the apocalyptic
idea that, by an unusual display of Divine power
the Kingdom of God will come some day all of a
sudden. Only we cannot engineer, or even calcu
late upon, such a blessed consummation. Confining
ourselves to the more normal methods and principles
of human progress, we desire and expect :
firstly, a re-awakening of all Christians throughout
the Church to the true meaning of the Christian
ethic on the subject we have been discussing ;
secondly, an increase in the numbers and a healing
of the divisions of the Church throughout the
world ; *
thirdly, along with this intensive and extensive
growth of Christianity, an enhanced influence
and power of Christians over the lives of
their still-unconverted fellow-men such an
influence and power as was foreshadowed by
1 Mt xiii. 31-33 ; Me xiii. 10, xiv. 9 |!s. On reunion/ cf Me ix,
172 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
Jesus when he called his followers the salt
of the earth, 1 the light of the world, 2 fishers
of men,3 labourers in God s harvest/ invested
with authority to bind and loose,5 conquerors
of evil-spirits, 6 servants entrusted with author
ity,? rulers of their master s cities, 8 judges of
the twelve tribes of Israel,9 and finally,
inheritors, i.e. masters, of the earth I0 ;
fourthly, the ultimate abolition of war by the
simple refusal of an ever-increasing number
of influential people to have anything to do
with it. The growing good sense of poli
ticians, expressing itself through some such
scheme as the League of Nations, may help
to diminish the number and the likelihood
of wars ; but this method of prevention,
though apparently speedy, is not really
sufficient, inasmuch as the League itself
contemplates and provides for wars against
recalcitrant nations. The steady growth of
personal Christian pacifism, so far from
1 Mt v. 13.
2 Mt v. 14-16 : not like the Pharisees, " blind leaders of the
blind " (Mt xv. 14 ||). Cf Rom ii. 17-20 for Paul s beautiful, but
half ironical, description of the function of leadership (" a guide
to the blind, a light to them that are in darkness," etc), to which
the religious Jew aspired.
3 Me i. 17 ||s. 4 Mt ix. 37 f || ; Jn iv. 35-38.
5 Mt xvi. 18-19, xviii. 18. The statement in the first of these
verses that the gates of Hades will not hold back Jesus church
(reading Karirrxovmv avrrjv for Kanaxyaovaiv avrijc ; see Hitchcock
in The Expositor, October 1919, pp. 307 f) may be taken as
.alluding to the irrepressible influence of the Christian society.
6 Me vi. 7 ||s, ix. 38 f || ; Lc x. 17-20 : cf Mt vii. 22.
7 Mt xxiv. 45-51 ||, xxv. 21, 23, 28 f : cf v. 19, xi. n |J.
8 Lc xix. 17, 19 ||.
-9 Lc xxii. 28-30 ; Mt xix. 28. Mt v. 5.
Our Duty to Others Politically 17&
being, as Dr. H. E. Fosdick contemptuously
calls it, one of those " panaceas so pitiably
inadequate that no one who knows the
problem could believe in them/ J is the only
really radical solution of the problem of war.
fifthly, the ever-increasing participation of non-
resisting Christians in all the beneficent
activities of the State and other public bodies,
this process being in essence the progressive
identification of Church and State, the pro
gressive realization of the Kingdom of God
in human society, the progressive doing of
God s Will on earth as it is done in heaven.
The kingdoms of this world must become
the Kingdom of Christ. It is not enough
for the State to be Christian in theory or
in motive ; the State as an enforced organi
sation must itself pass away before we can
ever have peace. The State must disappear
within the Church. This not only demands
that all people shall first be Christians, but
that they shall be such Christians as the world
has never 3 yet seen, realising the Presence
of Christ more vividly than that of any
visible person ; more expert in learning His
will than in discovering the laws of nature ;
more obedient to His authority than to any
authority based on the compulsion of force,
the reward of position, or the bribe of wealth.
It must be acknowledged the coming of such a
Kingdom seems very remote." 3 But however
1 The Challenge of the Present Crisis, p. 68.
2 I should prefer to say rarely (C. J. C.),
3 Orchard, The Necessity of Christ, p. 119.
174 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
remote it may seem, much has been gained
if we have succeeded, not only in visualizing
it as a distant ideal,
The one far-off, divine event,
To which the whole creation moves,
but in discerning the path by which it may
be approached, and in discovering the
course to be pursued by each individual in
order to bring this suffering human race
nearer and nearer to its true goal.
INDEX OF NEW TESTAMENT PASSAGES
For an index to the subject-matter the reader is referred to the full " Table of Contents "
at the beginning of the book. In using the Index of Passages given here, it should be
borne in mind that a verse which does not appear in its place in the list may yet be
duly dealt with in connection with its parallel in another Gospel.
i. ii . .
57, 67, 78, 89,
. . . 107
. 55, 142, 172
36 . . .
vi. 4 . . .
5f . . .
17-29 . .
ix. 23 f .
28 f .
36 f .
38 ft .
. . . 128
29 . .
38 f .
. . . 172
41 . .
. . 51,53
. . . 100
41 . . .
46 . . .
50 . . .
vii. 6-13 . .
50 b .
ii f .
. . . 41
. . . 114
. . . 141
. . 130
. . . 82
14 f .
19 f .
14 f .
16 . . .
18 . . .
. . 24, 48
124, 130, 131,
28 . .
iii. 1-5 .
. . . 108
, 136, 141
27 b .
. . 108, 134
28 f .
. . 35,85
. 103, 109
. 97, 103
. . . 114
6f . .
38 f .
. 60, 114
.- . . 108
109, 128, 158
. . . I0 4
40 . .
V. 19 .
. . 97, 103
. . . 114
. log, 112
. . . 103
. 38, 90
11 : :
IX. I . .
7 . .
20 f .
. . . 24
19 f .
30 . .
19 . .
. . 90
. . 60, 164
176 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
xii. 10 f .
. 86, 134, 150
. . . 42
. . . 82
V. 10 .
. . . 37,89
. . . . 41
142, 146, 172
. . . . 89
28 f .
... 8 9
135, 142, 172
. 38, 41, 104
. . 54,72, 112,
142, 150, 157
ii f .
* 4 r 44 .
. . . 91
. . 124, 135
. . 68, 164
. . . 145
. . . 76, 141
. . . . 142
. 54, 72, 112, 130
. . . . 130
. . . . 124
21 f .
ix. 2 .
28 f .
. . . 114
: : : 3
. . . 52
19 f .
30 f .
. . . 40
. . . . 142
. . . . 151
37 f .
X. 5f -
. . 67, 142
. . . 123
5, 123, 142, 145
. . 47, 69
. . . 114
. 120, 141
19 f .
. . . 114
... 86, 142
22 f .
30 f .
36 ff .
. . . 91
. . . 68
. . . H5
. - . US
. . . 60
. . . 144
1 6-1 8
21, 24, 72, 86
. 40, 76, 124, 127
. ... 134
. . . . 91
. . . . 91
24, 78, 82, 84, 91
37, 86, 89, 92
. . 27,91,92
. . . 28,93
40, 76, 124, 127
. ... 24
. . . 72,134
. . . . 41
72, 134, 135
26 f .
4 4 Jf :
xi. 2-6 .
. . . 142
. 52, 84, 115,
. 52, 142, 151
. 69, 115, 155
. . 102, 132
. . 63, 108
. 56, 97
iii. 14 f .
iv. 4 .
. . . 27
. ... 26
. . . . 90
. . . 85
. . . 149
37, 89, 127,135
. . . 42
. 142, 172
27 72 89
. ... 133
. ... 141
. . . 144, 151
ii f .
. 38, 89
. , . 103
. 53, 97, 109
. . . 164
. 42, 122, 134
. . . 142
. ... 145
. . . . 85
. . . . 140
. 44, 91
. . 28, 92
. 52, 54, no
xviii. 19 f
. . . 44
. . 143
24-30 . .
. 75, 122, 140
28 f . .
. . 86, 164
31-46 . .
. . . 52
10 f .
34-40 . .
36 fi .
. . 38, 67
. . 48,85
xxvi. ii ...
. . . I 4
. . 108, 172
39, 42 . .
. . . 97
. 41, 112
51 f . .
41 f .
. . . 44
54, 56 . .
61 . . .
. . . 144
62-64 . .
ii ff .
. . . 90
24 ft .
21 f .
. . . 32
25 f .
... 8 5
. . 38, 171
. . 85,86
xxviii. 10 ...
20 . . .
. . . 86
. . . 103
ii. 32 ...
. . 69, 89
IV. 18 . 44, 52,
49 f -
. . 86, 164
. . . 74
V. I-II .
. . . 42
. . . 27
. . . 119
16 . . .
. 146, 172
xxiii. . .
31 f . .
. . . 150
vi. 4 .
. . . 99
xvi. 1-4 .
. . . 146
. . . 127
24 f . .
. . . 131
. . 24, 132
32-34 . .
. . . 28
. . . 128
. . . 172
. 38. 124, 142
37 f .
. 63, 108
. . . 124
. . . 114
. . 76, 85
75,82, 122, 150
vii. 13 . . .
23 f .
30 . . .
19 f .
. . . 90
. . . 124
.. 36-50 . 45,
. . 32, 90
viii. 3 . . .
74, 134, 150
... 8 5
8-12 . .
. . . 28
ix. 23 . . .
. 1 08
. . . 114
28 f . .
6 f .
. . . 124
. . . 114
54 ff, 60 .
. . . 124
. . . 172
9 T T
16 . . 56,
178 The Guidance of Jesus for To-day
xvi. 25 .
x. 28 . .
. . 43
30, 36 .
. . 47
. . . 41
JQ. 33, S 8 , 4i f
. . 120, 122
xvu. 3 .
Xii. 5 . .
27 f .
. . . 119
6 . .
7 . .
. . 102
xiii. 29 . .
r 33, 134
. . 74, 150
xiv. 3, 16 f, i?
23, 26 f,
28 . 117 f
. . . 21
xv. 26 . .
. . 117
xvi. 7, 13, 16
. . 117
. . 85, no
xvii. ii . .
xviii. 22 f . .
. . 144
. . 76, 82
7 f .
. . 68
xxi. 3 -
Xii. 4 -
. . . 52
iv. 19 f, v. 29
xix. 9 .
vii. 2 . .
. . 119
. . 68
. 86, 97, 164
xiv. 22 . .
. . 89
II f .
. . . 40
xv. 10 .
. . 76
. 86, 97, 164
. ax, 134
xxiii. i . .
. . 119
. 36, 52
xxviii. 7, 12, 17
. . . 41
. . 86, 164
17, 21 .
. . 119
. . 87, 112
ii. 17-20 .
. . 172
viii. 9-1 1 .
. . 117
. 60, 104, 164
. . . 42
ix. 3 f
. . 119
. 60, 78, 164
xxi. 14 f
. . . 151
xii. 17-21 .
... I6 4
xiii. 1-7 .
. . 168
. . . 52
. . . 114
. . . 114
28 f .
. . 84
iii. 16 . .
. . 117
32 f .
V. 12 f .
. . 168
vi. 1-8 .
. . 168
XV. 3-8 .
. . 68
. . 60, 164
. . . 134
iii. 17 - .
. . 117
v. 9 .
. . 83
. . 132
. . . 108
. . . 114
i. 29 .
ii. 20 . .
. . 117
ii. i .
. . 103
ii. 6f .
. . 50
. . . 144
. . 78, 82
19 f .
21 f .
. . . 24
iv. 8 .
V. 8 . .
. . 48
xvi. 8 .
v. 24 .
xii. 2 . .
. . 90
. 124, 133
14 f .
I. II . . 158
iii. 10 . .
. . 164
. . 38, 89
viii. 10 f .
. . . 130
ix. 6 .
iii. 3, xvi. 15
. . 164
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