An Interpretation of the English Bible THE FOUR GOSPELS by B. H. CARROLL

An Interpretation of the English Bible


Late President of Southwestern Baptist
Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas

Edited by
J. B. Cranfill

Part I

Grand Rapids, Michigan
New and complete edition
Copyright 1948, Broadman Press
Reprinted by Baker Book House
with permission of
Broadman Press
ISBN: 0_8010_2344_0
First Printing, September 1973
Second Printing, September 1976

1 9 7 6


I. Introduction – The Four Gospels 1
II. Introduction – The Fifth Gospel 12
III. Introduction – The Several Historians 25
IV. Luke’s Dedication and John’s Prologue 42
V. Beginnings of Matthew and Luke 58
VI. Beginnings of Matthew and Luke (Continued) 76
VII. Beginnings of Matthew and Luke (Continued) 88
VIII. Beginnings of Matthew and Luke (Continued) 100
IX. Beginnings of Matthew and Luke (Concluded) 110
X. John the Baptist 123
XI. The Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ 137
XII. The Beginning of the Ministry of John the Baptist 148
XIII. The Nature, Necessity, Importance and Definition
of Repentance 159
XIV. The Object of Repentance 176
XV. Motives and Encouragements to Repentance 190
XVI. Motives and Encouragements to Repentance (Cont.) 199
XVII. Motives and Encouragements to Repentance (Concl.) 212
XVIII. The Ministry of Jon the Baptist (Continued) 224
XIX. The Culmination of John’s Ministry 237
XX. The Temptation of Christ 245
XXI. Satan’s Three Special Temptations of our Lord 255
XXII. John’s Testimony to Jesus, Jesus’ first disciples
and His First Miracle. 265
XXIII. The Sojourn of Jesus at Capernaum 284
XXIV. The Evidences of the Spirit in the New Birth 296
XXV. The Guilt of Sin Stated and the Remedy 317
XXVI. Our Lord’s Ministry in Galilee (Part I) 325
XXVII. Our Lord’s Ministry in Galilee (Part II) 340
XXVIII. Our Lord’s Ministry in Galilee (Part III) 353
XXIX. Our Lord’s Ministry in Galilee (Part IV) 379
XXX. Our Lord’s Ministry in Galilee (Part V) 398
XXXI. Our Lord’s Ministry in Galilee (Part VI) 419
XXXII Our Lord’s Ministry in Galilee (Part VII) 439


The New Testament is the ultimate authority for the life of
Christ. In that collection of books, this life is set forth in four
distinct phases:
His eternal existence, essential Deity, relations and activities
as pure spirit prior to all time and history.
His foreshadowing in time) prior to his incarnation. This
is done by an interpretation of the Old Testament.
His incarnation, or earth life, from his birth to his death.
The glory life of his exalted humanity, from his resurrec_
tion to the end of time.
Usually, however, when men speak of the life of our Lord
they mean his earth life from his birth to his death. Even
in studying his earth life only, it is helpful to know well:
His human antecedents, as set forth in the Old Testament
history of his people.
The history of that people in the 400 years’ interval between the close of the Old Testament and the opening of the
New Testament.
The geography and topography of the land of Palestine,
the scene of his life and labors, together with the political,
religious, and social conditions of his people at the time of
his birth and during his life.
The successful preacher or teacher must often repeat, or
restate in new forms, what he has preached or taught before,
because there is little remembrance of former things, and
because there is constant change of hearers or students un_
familiar with his previous teaching or preaching; and because
no one statement of any truth sufficiently fixes itself in the
mind of the hearer or reader. Repeated hammering is needed
to drive a nail to its head, and even then we need to clinch it.
On account of this necessity for repetition, we commence
with definitions many times given before. Our English word,
„scriptures,” means, etymologically, any kind of writings as
contrasted with oral statements. Our English words, „Holy
Scriptures,” mean „sacred writings,” or inspired writings, as
distinguished from profane writings. Our English word,
„Bible,” means a library, or collection of books. And hence,
„Holy Bible,” would mean a sacred library. This sacred
library consists of two grand divisions, entitled „Old Testa_
ment” and „New Testament.” The Old Testament consists
of thirty_nine books, arranged in a threefold division of Law,
Prophets, and Psalms. Likewise the New Testament consists
of twenty_seven books, divided into three general classifica_
tions – that is, five books of history, twenty_one letters or
books of doctrine and discipline, and one book of prophecy.
This classification, however, must not be strictly pressed,
since the five books entitled histories contain letters, doctrines,
and prophecies; and the twenty_one letters contain history,
prophecy, and doctrines; and the one book of prophecy con_
tains letters, history, and doctrines.
Of these New Testament books, Paul wrote fourteen; John,
five; Luke and Peter, two each; Matthew, Mark, James, and
Jude, one each. And since Paul influenced both of Luke’s
books, a majority of the books, and more than half of the
contents of the New Testament may be attributed directly
or indirectly to Paul.
The English word, „testament,” whether Old or New, was
derived from the Latin, based on such passages as: Luke
22:14_20; I Corinthians 11:25; Hebrews 8:9_13; 9:16_17, and
is a misnomer, since the Greek word so rendered means „cove_
nant,” but in the Bible it is never applied to a collection of

books. The word, indeed, has the meaning of a last will and
testament in two instances only, of Biblical usage, both in the
game connection, Hebrews 9:16_17. So used in that sense it
simply points out one analogy between a covenant and a last
will and testament, to wit: that the death of a victim ratifies a
covenant, as the death of a testator precedes inheritance un_
der his will. The mischievous effect of this rendering „testa_
ment” in other instances of usage not only obscures the
connection of thought between the Old and New Covenants,
but appears historically and particularly in the fact that one
large and modern Christian denomination, popularly known
as Campbellites, deduces the most distinguishing articles of
their creed and practice from this incorrect rendering, together
with their faulty interpretations of some other passages. Sub_
stantially, their argument is this:
The New Testament is God’s last will and testament.
Its provision of inheritance cannot be effective until after
the death of the testator, Jesus Christ.
The chief blessing of the inheritance is the forgiveness of
Sins under the Old Testament, and up to Christ’s death,
were not actually forgiven, but only passed over until the com_
ing and death of the Testator, quoting Romans 3:25.
Therefore, in determining the New Testament law of pardon,
they contend that we must not consider the Gospels by Mat_
thew, Mark, Luke, and John, but must consult only the books
concerning matters after his death. Hence they find the law
of pardon in Acts 2:38, and contend that then was Christ’s
kingdom set up, and then only was this law of pardon pub_
lished, to wit: „Repent and be immersed in his name, in order
to remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy
Therefore, they make baptism a condition of salvation
and of the reception of the Holy Spirit, and an essential part
of regeneration.
Their contention, based on this argument, is set forth elab_
orately in a book by Ezell, one of their teachers, entitled,
The Great Inheritance. We defer until we come to Acts 2:38,
the correction of their erroneous exegesis of that passage, and
merely state now that the capital defect of the whole con_
tention consists in confounding expiation toward God with
remission of sins toward man. It is true that the expiation
of sins toward God did not historically take place until Christ
died, but it is utterly untrue that the remission of sins toward
man did not precede this expiation, since remission came as
truly in the Old Testament times as in the New Testament
times, because of God’s acceptance of the pledge of expiation
by his Son.
While we think it well to show the incorrectness and mis_
chievous tendency of this misnomer, yet the term, „testa_
ment,” is so fixed in our literature as applied to the two col_
lections of books so styled, we accept the common usage,
modified by this explanation.
In like manner the Greek word rendered „gospel” means,
etymologically, good tidings of any kind, but in this collec_
tion of books it means the good tidings of salvation through
Jesus Christ our Lord. Nowhere in New Testament usage
does the word „gospel” mean a history, as when we say, „the
Gospel according to Matthew.” The word „gospel” occurs
often alone, or with the article only; as „preach the gospel,”
or „believe the gospel.” In connection with the Father we
have the usage: „The Gospel of God,” „The Gospel of the
grace of God,” „The Gospel of the glory of the happy God.”
In connection with the Son we have the usage: „The Gospel of
the Son,” „The Gospel of Christ,” „The Gospel of Jesus
Christ,” „The Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” It is
also used with another modifying term, „The Gospel of the
Kingdom,” and it is used with reference to its purpose, „The
Gospel of Salvation,” and to its duration, „The Everlasting
Our English word „gospel,” however, is derived from the
Anglo_Saxon, „godspell,” meaning „a story of God.” We em_
ploy the word in this narrative sense when we say, „Matthew’s
Gospel ” or „The Gospel according to Matthew.” In this
last sense, meaning a narrative, there have come down to us in
writing five Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Paul.
Of these, Paul’s was first reduced to writing, and John’s, last.
Three of these Gospels, in the sense of histories, are called
synoptics: Matthew, Mark, and Luke, because they present a
common view.
These five Gospels, or histories, must be considered as an
independent and complete history of our Lord from each au_
thor’s viewpoint. They were written by different men, at dif_
ferent times, for different purposes – for different ends – and
each, I repeat, must be considered as a complete view. That
is to say, notwithstanding the multitude of books that have
been written upon the subject, there is no satisfactory evi_
dence that any one of them had before him, or was influenced
by a copy of any other from which he consciously borrowed,
or which he designedly abridged or enlarged or supplemented
in any way. Nor is there any reliable evidence that any two
or more of them had access to a common original written gos_
pel now lost. There was, of course, before any writing, a
common oral gospel, but mere human memory could not be
relied upon to recall with accuracy the minute details such as
we find in Mark, nor the very words of long discourses,
such as we find in John and Matthew. We must look else_
where for an adequate explanation of their agreements and
differences. At the last analysis, the inspiration of each his_
torian best accounts for the plan of his history, not only in the
material he selects, but in what he omits, in his historical
portrait of our Lord.
Westcott in his introduction to the Gospels, cites the fact
that three portraits of Charles I were painted, one giving the
front view, the others the right and left profile views, and these
three portraits were to enable a sculptor to carve a lifelike
statue of him. The sculptor could not carve this statue with
accuracy from a front view only, nor from either one of the
two side views only. In the same way we have five complete
historical portraits of our Lord, in order that we, in the study
of them from their different angles of vision, may get a full
view of OUT Lord and Saviour.
We have already said that the New Testament considers
the life of our Lord in four distinct phases: his pre_existence,
his Old Testament adumbration, his incarnation, and the
glory life of his exalted humanity. Each historian considers
only so much of these four phases as is essential to his plan.
Mark, with very vivid details, considers the public ministry
of our Lord, having little to do with either his pre_existence,
his foreshadowing in the Old Testament, or his life after his
ascension. Matthew and Luke alone treat of the infancy of
our Lord. Matthew and Paul particularly consider the in_
terpretation of the Old Testament, foreshadowing of our Lord.
Luke, in a second volume, discusses much the exalted life
of our Lord in the establishment of the churches. John and
Paul both treat of his pre_existence, and both, of the activities
of his exalted life. This John does in his second volume –
We may profitably study these histories of our Lord in two
Considering each history alone, in order to get before
our minds the author’s complete view according to his plan.
This study must not be omitted.
The harmonic study of our Lord, putting in parallel columns
so much as each history has to say on a given point, and look_
ing at the testimony of all the witnesses.
In the first method it is easy to see that Matthew writes
for Jews, and his is the gospel of the King and of his kingdom,
according to a correct interpretation of Old Testament fore_
shadowings. We find. therefore, in Matthew, many Old Testa_
ment quotations. He seeks to prove to the Jews that Jesus
of Nazareth is the Messiah foretold in the Old Testament.
Paul unites with Matthew in making the same proof, but
with reference to a larger purpose than the limitation of Mat_
Mark’s Gospel may be called the Gospel of deeds rather
than of teachings. It is limited to the earth life of Jesus, and
describes the mighty things which he did. It is most vivid
and minute in details and has much of narrative. It is the
„straightway” gospel. As only an eyewitness could give
the vivid and minute details of gesture, posture, indeed the
very look of the actors and observers, this has been called
Peter’s Gospel. There is both external and internal evidence
that Peter supplied most of the material of Mark’s Gospel.
As Mark limits himself almost exclusively to one of the four
phases of our Lord’s life and to only his public ministry, and
as he makes but little special contribution to the sum of dis_
courses, parables and miracles, we must find his most valuable
contribution in his vivid and minute details, therein far sur_
passing all others. He surrounds his incidents with all the
circumstances that make them impressive. We see the pos_
ture, gesture, look, and the effect. His particulars of person,
number, time, and place are peculiar. His transitions are
rapid, his tenses often are present not past, and we hear the
very Aramaic words spoken, in direct quotation. It is more
than a moving picture show, since we hear the very Aramaic
words: „Boanerges,” „Taitha cumi,” „Corban,” „Ephphatha,”
Luke’s Gospel may be called the Gospel of the Saviour
and of humanity, his purpose being not so much to convince
the Jews that Jesus is the Messiah, as to show his relation
to all mankind. Because Luke’s is the Gospel of the Saviour
and of humanity, his genealogy extends back to Adam. Luke
was not a Jew, and was the only Gentile who wrote a book of
the Bible. His writings, Gospel and Acts, treat elaborately
of the earth life of our Lord, and of his ascended life up to
Paul’s first Roman imprisonment. Renan the infidel, calls
Luke’s Gospel „the most beautiful book in the world.” Speak_
ing of them as masterpieces of human literature, Isaiah and
Luke surpass all other books of the sacred library.
One cannot, in a few words, enumerate all the special con_
tributions of Luke’s Gospel. We may note a few:
He alone gives an account of the birth and training of
John the Baptist.
He alone gives us the five great hymns: The „Hail Mary,”
the „Benedictus” of Zacharias, the „Magnificat” of Mary,
the „Gloria in Excelsis” of the angels, and the „Nunc Dimit_
tis” of Simeon.
He recites more miracles and parables than any other his_
torian, and of these at least six miracles and seventeen par_
ables are not given elsewhere.
More than the others it is the Gospel to woman, to the
poor, to the sick, the outcast, and the foreigner.
To him we are indebted more than to all the others for
the incidents and teachings of our Lord’s ministry after the
rejection in Galilee and up to the last week of that ministry.
It is more than the others the Gospel of prayers and thanks_
giving in giving not only the occasions when our Lord prayed,
and often the prayers themselves, but the lessons on prayer,
taught to the disciples.
John’s Gospel may be called the Gospel of positive knowl_
edge, assurance, and comfort. It is more the subjective than
the objective history. He means, evidently, to give to every
Christian absolute knowledge, and internal assurance of the
certainty of that knowledge.
Paul, less than the others, treats of the details of the earth
life, discussing more the purposes of that life than its his_
torical facts. It is interesting in comparing Matthew, Mark,
Luke, John, and Paul to note each one’s special contribution
to the complete history of our Lord. No mere human his_
torian would have omitted from his history what any one
of them omits. We cannot account in a mere human way,
for the omission of the early Judean ministry by the Synoptic
Gospels, nor for John’s omission of the bulk of the Galilean
ministry. A careful student of the several histories of our
Lord cannot fail to be impressed that no one of them alone,
nor all of them together, intend anything like a complete
biography like we find in the human history of a man. Each
employs only that material essential to his plan, designedly
leaving out everything not necessary to his purpose. John, at
the close of his Gospel, rightly says, „Many other signs,
therefore, did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which
are not written in this book: but these are written, that you
may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and
that believing ye may have life in his name.” A similar
statement could well have been made by every historian.
What is true with reference to the facts of his history, is
also true with reference to his teachings. No one of them
gives all of his teachings, or intended to do it, but only so
much of the teachings as is necessary to his plan of history.
Indeed, Luke, in his second volume entitled „The Acts of
the Apostles,” says that his Gospel is an account of what
Jesus began to do and to teach, implying that his second vol_
ume will tell of what Jesus continued to do and to teach in his
exalted life. It is interesting as well as profitable to collect
together the incidents, miracles, parables, and discourses given
by each historian alone.
For example, Matthew alone gives the miracle of the heal_
ing of the two blind men, in chapter 9, and of the finding of
the stater in the fish’s mouth. Matthew alone gives ten of
the great parables – the tares, the hidden treasure, the pearl
of great price, the drawnet, the unmerciful servant, the la_
borers in the vineyard, the two sons, the marriage of the king’s
son, the ten virgins, and the talents. Matthew alone gives a
somewhat full account of the great Sermon on the Mount,
and the great discourses on the rejection of the Jews, and our
Lord’s great prophecy extending from chapter 21 through 25
of his book. He alone gives us certain incidents of the life
of our Lord – the coming of the Wise Men, the massacre of the
innocents, the flight into Egypt, the return to Nazareth, the
covenant of Judas for thirty pieces of silver, his repentance
and his end, the dream of Pilate’s wife, the appearance of the
saints in Jerusalem in connection with Christ’s resurrection,
the watch placed at the sepulcher, the bribing of these watch_
men to spread false reports, and the earthquake.
It is in John alone that we find the early Judean ministry,
the Samaritan ministry, the great discourse on the bread of
life in Capernaum, the discourse of the Good Shepherd, and
particularly the great discourse after the Lord’s Supper, as
embodied in chapters 14_17. These four chapters of John
constitute the New Testament book of comfort, Isaiah 39_66
constitutes the Old Testament book of comfort.
Of course these examples of special contributions are sam_
ples only, not exhaustive.
It is in Paul’s history alone that we find an addition to
Luke’s genealogy, that is, from the first Adam to the Second
Adam. But as four of these Gospels are continuous histories,
and as Paul’s, the Fifth Gospel, is scattered throughout his
many letters, we will consider in the next chapter the Fifth
1. In what distinct phases does the New Testament set forth the
life of our Lord?
2. What things are helpful to know, even when we study only the
earth life of our Lord?
3. What is the meaning of our English word, „scriptures”?
4. Meaning of „Holy Scriptures”?
5. Meaning of „Bible”?
6. Meaning of „Holy Bible”?
7. What are the two grand divisions of our Holy Bible, of what does
each consist and what the three subdivisions of each?
8. Why may we not strictly press the three general classifications
of the New Testament books?
9. Who were the authors of the New Testament books, and how
many did each write?
10. What is the proportion, of Paul’s contribution to the New Testament?
11. Give derivation and meaning of our English word, „testament,” and show how it is a misnomer when. apphed to our collection of sacred books.
12. In what two instances only in Bible usage may the Greek word, diatheke, be rendered „testament” 1 And in those instances show the one point of analogy between a „covenant” and a last will and testament.
13. Cite a notable historic instance of the mischief of confusing
„covenant” and „testament.”
14. What of the Campbellite argument based on this contention and
in what book is it elaborated?
15. What is the radical defect of the argument?
16. Meaning of the Greek word rendered „gospel” in the New Testa_
ment? And in the New Testament, does it ever mean a narrative?
17. What are the uses in the New Testament of the word rendered „gospel” with the article only? In connection with the Father? With the Son? With the kingdom? With salvation?
18. What is the derivation and meaning of our English word, „gospel”?
19. In the sense of a narrative, how many gospels have come down
to us in writing, which first reduced to writing, and which last?
20. Which are called Synoptics, and why?
21. In accounting for these several written histories, were any two
or more based on any written history now lost?
22. Is there any reliable evidence that any one of the historians had before him a copy of any one of the other four histories, from which he consciously borrowed material, which he designedly condensed, elaborated or supplemented in any way?
23. How, then, must these five histories be regarded, and what the
only common original?
24. How alone may we account for their agreements and differences?
25. Why five Gospels? Cite and apply the illustration found in Westcott’s „Introduction.”
26. Show, in the case of each historian, what phases of our Lord’s life
are treated – his pre_existence, his Old Testament foreshadowing, his earth life, his ascended life.
27. In what two ways may we profitably study these histories?
28. How may we characterize Matthew’s Gospel, what is his chief design and what are the more important of his special contributions to the history?
29. How characterize Luke’s Gospel, what is his chief design and
what are some of his special contributions?
30. How characterize John’s Gospel, what is his chief design and what
are some of the most important of his special contributions?
31. What chapters of John constitute the New Testament book of
32. As Mark limits himself almost exclusively to only one of’ the four
phases, that is, the earth life of our Lord, and to his public ministry
only, and as he contributes little to the sum of the parables, miracles
and discourses, what is, in the main, his special contribution to the
story of our Lord?


In the preceding chapter we were considering the inspired
histories of the life of our Lord. A reason for considering
very particularly the Fifth Gospel, arises from a trend of
modern thought, pregnant with menace. This trend is em_
bodied in a method of treating the Bible, which appears to
be concerted and systematic, and which comes in the garb
of an angel of light with most attractive watchwords, and
with the avowed object of best serving human interest by
promoting a higher degree of morality. The slogan of this
method is: „Back to Christ,” meaning, „Back to Christ’s own
words.” The object of the method is to strip the Gospels of
all inspired value in their statements of what Christ is, or
what he did, and confine them to an application of what he
actually said. It matters nothing to the leaders of this method
that our knowledge of what he said is dependent on the trust_
worthiness of the very witnesses whose evidence they discredit
concerning what he is and what he did.
But this is not all of the method. It arbitrarily limits the
sources of what he said to the records of Matthew, Mark, and
Luke, commonly called the Synoptic Gospels, rejecting the
Gospel of John. Even with this limitation they claim the
right to discredit all the reported sayings of Jesus in the
Synoptic Gospels not in accord with their preconceived no_
tions. But the limitation of Christ’s own words to the record
of the Synoptic Gospels is, after all, not so much to eliminate
John as to get rid of Paul, who is most in their way. Their

misleading slogan, „Back to Christ,” means simply „Back
from Paul.”
Unwittingly this method bears strong testimony to the
clearness and value of Paul’s teaching. It is a virtual con_
fession that if Paul stands they must fall. While this method
is called modern, it is in fact only a revival of ancient error
prevalent in Paul’s own day, and in later days.
In this connection we may recall a recent discussion in
Congress on the advisability of printing what is called „Jef_
ferson’s Bible” in connection with his other works. This so_
called Bible is merely a patchwork of clippings from the
Gospels of Christ’s own words – or so many of them as Mr.
Jefferson approved, the object being to classify the ethical
teachings of Christ and to eliminate all the supernatural set_
tings. Not a few of the most alert and clear_eyed sentinels
on our watchtowers, discern in this trend of thought a menac_
ing sword to the unwary, and have diligently sounded a note
of alarm. Articles, pamphlets, and books on the subject, pro
and con, are being rapidly multiplied, some of them valuable,
others worthless contributions to religious literature.
Two of the many may be noted. The most scholarly, per_
haps, is by Dr. Bruce, Professor of New Testament Exegesis
in the Free Church College, Glasgow, Scotland and is entitled
Saint Paul’s Conception of Christianity. It was published in
1894. While very instructive throughout, some parts of this
discussion are justly liable to adverse criticism. The other,
not nearly so pretentious, is yet pure gold in its saneness
and simplicity. It is by a plain but earnest and successful
gospel preacher, Dr. Malcolm McGregor, of the Southern
Baptist Convention, and is entitled The Divine Authority of
Paul’s Writings. It was published in 1898. Dr. McGregor
has classified the objections or objectors to Paul thus:
Some who profess to believe in the inspiration and authority
of the Bible in vague general terms, but whose inherited or
acquired dislike for certain of Paul’s teachings lead them, with
great inconsistency, to evade, modify, and explain away their
Preconceptions of rationalistic philosophy, the blinding in_
fluence of unscriptural customs, the warping force of adven_
turous love of novelty, overweening self_conceit, and head_
strong self_will, account very fully for most of this dangerous
anti_Pauline drift.
To these classifications of Dr. McGregor we may add a
graver cause. When we consider the garb, watchword, con_
cert, system, and effect of this method, we are constrained to
recognize back of the movement that mighty and malignant
intelligence who, from the beginning, comes as an angel of
light, and by beguiling seduces many good people to serve him,
and renders tributary to his purpose all the objections and
prejudices of the unregenerate. It is immaterial that the
leaders of this trend of thought are unconscious of the satanic
influence prompting them.
So far as this modern method relates to the Four Gospels,
we may content ourselves with this double reply:
If we accept the testimony of the synoptic historians as to
the sayings of Christ, then we must accept it as to his being
and doings. The evidence is the same.
The argument which destroys the trustworthiness of John’s
record of Christ’s sayings, will equally destroy the credibility
of the record in the Synoptic Gospels.
But our present concern is with the effect of this method
on another historian. There is a Fifth Gospel, quite distinct
from the others, equally necessary and credible with the
others. The same inspiration which gave us the Gospels of
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, gave us also the Gospel of
Paul. No one of the five tells all the story; each one of the
five contributes an important and indispensable part to the
completeness of the history. Here and there two, three, four,
or five, may bear testimony to the same particular event of
this history, or to the same particular teaching. Even in that
case we need all the testimony, as each brings to light some
detail not noted by the others. But here and there also an in_
cident or a teaching is dependent upon the testimony of only
one of the five. Each one of the five makes special, peculiar,
unique, and indispensable contributions. And in both of these
respects we recognize God’s uniform method of inspiration:
„God, having of old time spoken unto the fathers in the
prophets by divers portions and in divers manners, hath at
the end of these days spoken unto us in his Son.” And this
speaking was recorded partly by Mark, partly by Matthew,
partly by Luke, partly by John, and partly by Paul.
Now of these Five Gospels by far the most extensive, the
most comprehensive and the most important, is the Gospel by
Paul. We are so accustomed to the thought of only Four
Gospels that we compare them to the four rivers which watered
the garden of Eden.
Before considering in detail the merits of the Fifth Gospel,
let us first consider an antecedent matter – the nature and
qualifications of the apostolic office. This office was extraordi_
nary. It was limited to the times of the institution of the
Christian system. There was no provision for its perpetuity
in the church, though some of our Baptist brethren of Vir_
ginia once ventured to elect an apostle. Upon certain per_
sons appointed by our Lord’ himself as ambassadors were
conferred plenipotentiary powers to act for him in the matters
entrusted to them. They were, primarily, witnesses of his
resurrection from the dead. Indeed, one could not be an apos_
tle who had not seen the risen Lord. They were inspired
revelators of his will, and infallible judges and expounders
of the doctrines and discipline he inculcated. They were also
the executors of penal judgment, when necessary, as when
Peter smote with instant death Ananias and Sapphira, and
when Paul smote Elymas with blindness. They were ac_
credited by miraculous signs, as when men were healed by
the shadow of Peter, and others afar off by contact with a
handkerchief that Paul had touched. They were immune from
deadly poisons, and could, by the laying on of their hands,
impart the miraculous gift of the Holy Spirit. There were
two classes of these apostles – twelve to the Jews, and one to
the Gentiles. In the case of an apostle to the Jews, it was
necessary that he should have companied with Jesus all the
time of his Jewish ministry, from the baptism by John to
the ascension into heaven. In the case of the Apostle to the
Gentiles, it was necessary that he had personally seen the
risen Lord, been put into office by him, and had received
directly from him the gospel he preached.
Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles. He had seen the Lord,
was directly commissioned and accredited by him, and by
direct revelation received his whole wonderful gospel. It was
not of man, nor by man. His knowledge of the gospel was
entirely independent of any teaching, preaching, or writing of
the other men. For example: Matthew wrote of the institu_
tion of the Lord’s Supper as he saw it, Mark and Luke as they
received the story of the testimony of eyewitnesses, but Paul
wrote of it as the Lord Jesus Christ himself reported it to
him, and to Paul are we indebted for more knowledge of the
institution and meaning of this ordinance than to all other
sources put together. The other apostles could tell it as they
saw it, but Paul tells it as Jesus saw it. He commences his
account of it by saying, ‘Tor I received of the Lord that
which I also delivered unto you.” In like manner, when
summarizing his gospel, he says, „For I delivered unto you
first of all that which I also received, that Christ died for our
sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and
that he was raised from the dead on the third day, according
to the scriptures.”
In every way possible he not only emphasizes that his gos_
pel was independent of any human source of information, but
makes the reception of it as from God a test of the claims
of others: „For if any man thinketh himself to be a prophet
or spiritual, let him take knowledge of the things which I
write unto you, that they are the commandments of the Lord.”
In this plenipotentiary power he ordained decrees for all the
churches; he commanded, restricted, enjoined with all au_
thority. The content of his gospel is marvelous in its fulness,
clearness and comprehensiveness. On the pro_existence, origi_
nal glory and activities of the Son of God, he surpasses John;
on the foreshadowing of the coming Messiah in the Old Testa_
ment he surpasses Matthew; on his assumption of human na_
ture and the reasons therefor, on his offices as prophet, king,
sacrifice, priest, and judge he surpasses all. He alone reveals
the termination of the kingdom of God. On the plan of sal_
vation, and on the connecting links of the whole chain of its
doctrines, he stands alone. From him, certainly as to its ful_
ness, come the revelation of the universality of the gospel,
and the marvelous wisdom of God in the election of Israel,
the stumbling of Israel, the call of the Gentiles and the resto_
ration of Israel. The doctrines of the nature, universality and
cure of sin, the nature, scope, and purpose of the law, the
resurrection of the dead are mainly derived from Paul’s Gos_
pel. Concerning the church, not only as an institution, and
not only as an ideal to be realized hereafter, but as a working
business body, and concerning its officers, ordinances, discipline
and commission, Paul’s Gospel reveals more than all the rest
of the Bible. From his gospel also we get the truest and
clearest teachings concerning the person, offices, and gifts of
the Holy Spirit. There is yet a point touching his gospel of
transcendent importance. I refer particularly to the offices
and activities of the ascended and exalted Lord. Where is
our Lord now? What is his employment there? How long
will he remain there, or when will he return to earth again?
And why will he come again, and to do what? And what the
outcome of that return? Luke, indeed, devotes an entire
volume, the Acts of the Apostles, to the activities of the as_
cended Lord up to a definite time, and so John devotes an_
other book, Revelation, to the same matter projected to the
end of time, but certainly it is in Paul’s Gospel that we find
most clearly set forth the present reign of Christ on the
heavenly throne, the giving and dispensation of the Holy Spirit
and the dispensation of the churches.
In this connection I desire to commend with great earnest_
ness to all readers a modern book entitled, The Ascended
Christ. It is by H. B. Sweet, and was published in 1910, by
the Macmillan Company. There are interpretations of some
passages of Scripture in this book that I deem faulty, but on
the whole it is a marvelous contribution to the literature
concerning our ascended Lord.
These are a few of the things that may be truthfully said
concerning the scope and value of the Fifth Gospel. Why is
it, then, that harmonies ignore the Fifth Gospel, Great indeed
will be the victory of Satan if, by the catchy phrase, „Back
to Christ,” he can succeed in backing us away from the Gospel
of Paul. Though an angel from heaven bring another gospel,
let him be accursed. It is an objection to all harmonies
extant that they either slightly recognize the Fifth Gospel, or
utterly disregard its correlative material, thus giving the stu_
dent an imperfect view of OUT Lord’s nature, person, offices,
and teachings.
It is frankly conceded that the correlation of very much
of the material of the Fifth Gospel with the records of Mat_
thew, Mark, Luke, and John, is on many accounts a matter
of serious difficulty. Not the least of these difficulties lies
in the fact that while the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke,
and John are mainly historical, each one being in some form
a continuous story of our Lord’s life on earth, the Fifth
Gospel is mainly doctrinal, and is not in one continuous state_
ment, but widely scattered in many letters, the revelations
coming, moreover, from our Lord in heaven. Another diffi_
culty consists in knowing how to limit the amount of the
material used. and mst where to place it in a given case.
To some minds a yet graver difficulty would consist in deter_
mining just what books of the New Testament contain the
Fifth, or Pauline, Gospel. This need not be a difficulty when
we accept as certain from Paul the thirteen letters usually
ascribed to him, and while some dissent, we count the letter
to the Hebrews as Paul’s. In any event, whether Apollos
wrote it, as many erroneously claim, or Luke wrote it, as some
conjecture, embodying a sermon by Paul, it is immaterial
to our purpose and use. It is unquestionably Pauline in its
origin and doctrine. Let us not forget that all harmonies of
even the first three or four gospels are human, imperfect, ob_
noxious to objections, and attended with considerable diffi_
culties. The obvious difficulties necessitate imperfection in
any human attempt at perfect correlation of the material of
the five gospels. But notwithstanding the difficulties, con_
fessedly great, and the objections, confessedly forceful, and
the imperfections of the work when done, frankly conceded, it
is profoundly believed that by harmonic use of much of the
material of the Fifth Gospel the result will be manifold and
great, and so justify the effort.
Somewhat is gained at least by fixing the fact in the Bible
student’s mind that there are five gospels, equal in authority,
and all indispensable parts of a complete revelation of our
Lord’s person, nature, offices, relations, and teachings in the
four phases of his life already named. The mere fixing of this
fact in the mind helpfully serves to check the current of semi_
infidelity in many schools which seek to discredit Paul by
magnifying Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Wherein are their
credentials, as reporters of our Lord’s person, doings and
teachings, superior to Paul’s? Moreover, the inclusion of the
matter of the Fifth Gospel in the correlation will make more
apparent the important fact that the Pauline doctrines con_
sidered by objectors as most obnoxious or as innovations, will
be shown to be in perfect harmony with the very words of our
Lord as reported by the other historians, to wit: the doctrines
of his essential deity, of the vicarious expiation, justification
by faith, election, and eternal punishment.
Yet again, this method affords to the student, on one can_
vass, a more nearly complete portrait of our Lord, and in one
view a more comprehensive summary of his teachings. It is a
signal merit of harmony of Dr. John A. Broadus that he
includes Paul’s testimony concerning the institution of the
Supper and the appearances of our Lord after his resurrec_
tion. Why not equally meritorious to correlate Paul’s testi_
mony of Christ’s pre_existence, and his assumption of human
nature, with the corresponding records in the other gospels?
Certainly to Paul was revealed many most important facts
concerning the incarnation and its objects, which belong prop_
erly to our Lord’s earthly life, and hence may harmonize with
other histories of that life.
Just here we may restate the terminals of the several gos_
pels. Mark’s Gospel is the gospel of Christ’s deeds, written
for Romans, and so he leaves to others the report of all ante_
cedent matters, commences with the public ministry of our
Lord, abruptly plunges into the heart of his subject, and as
abruptly closes with some evidence of the resurrection. The
scope of Mark’s history is like the survey of a small section
of a mighty river, which takes no account of the whence, and
but little of the whither. He finds it a river, but far from
the source, and leaves it a river, far from the sea. The
baptism and resurrection of Jesus are the terminal points of
his history.
Matthew, who gives the gospel of the King and of the
kingdom, writing for Jews to convince them of the messiah_
ship of Jesus of Nazareth, goes back 2,000 years beyond Mark
to find a starting point in Abraham, and closes with the
Great Commission.
Luke, who writes the gospel of the Saviour, recognizing
Christ’s broader relation to humanity, goes back of the Jew_
ish limitations of Matthew’s view another 2,000 years, and
starting from the first man, projects his history, including the
Acts, into the triumphant years of world evangelization by
the apostles. Commencing with Adam, he ends in Paul’s
hired house at Rome. But even he strikes the stream at only
its human source, or appearance in the realm of time, and
leaves it flowing, yet far from the sea.
John, who writes for the Christian the gospel of positive
knowledge, assurance, and comfort, and from a more subjec_
tive point of view than that of the others, goes back beyond
all time, even leaving far behind the initial sentence of
Moses: „In the beginning God created the heavens and the
earth,” and starts with the ultima thule of revelation in one
direction: „In the beginning was the Word, and the Word
was with God, and the Word was God.” Thus fastening one
end of the chain of his story on this altitude of eternity, he
swoops far down to the history of creation by Moses, floods
it with light, enters into the earth life of our Lord and projects
his history, including Revelation, beyond the second coming
and the Judgment, into the antitypical paradise. But the
river has not yet reached the sea.
Paul, writing for all men, with the broadest view, com_
mences indeed with John, for none can go beyond him in that
direction, parallels his course through time, with him entering
into the antitypical paradise, and finds the other ultima thule
of Revelation in this termination: „Then cometh the end,
when he shall deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father;
. . And when all things have been subjected unto him, then
shall the Son also himself be subjected to him, that did subject
all things unto him, that God may be all in all” (I Cor. 15:
Thus eternity speaks across all time to eternity, and thus
we have the four phases of the life of our Lord: his pre_
existence and essential deity; his adumbration in the Old
Testament history; his incarnation, that is, his earth life; his

life and activities after ascension and exaltation at the right
hand of God.
This is the life we are to study. As stress was laid upon the
thorough study of the Genesis of Moses, how much more the
study of this Genesis! My father impressed upon the minds
of his boys this great principle: In erecting a building, never
try to economize on site, foundation, or roof. A good building
on a faulty location is a waste; a big house cannot stand on a
flimsy foundation; and a faulty roof is a ceaseless eye_sore,
abomination, and expense. We should, therefore, take time
and exercise the patience necessary to root our faith deep
down and ground it solidly on these beginnings and endings in
eternity. If we start right we go on well. If we make a piti_
ful start we drag an ever weightier chain on to the end, and
can never answer the supreme questions – who is our Saviour?
or, „What think ye of Christ?” They can never be an_
swered if we leave out any of these four phases of his life.
Before we consider Mark’s grown man, Luke’s infant, or
Matthew’s Jew, we must follow John and Paul back to the
real beginning and on to the real end.
Then will we know whom we have believed, whom we wor_
ship. Then, when the question is asked in the words of our
Lord, „Who say ye that I am?” not as an Arian, not as a
Socinian, not as a Sabellian, not as an Unitarian, not any
kindred folk, we find the truer answer that Jesus of Nazareth
is the Son and Christ of God, the God_man appointed to be
prophet, priest, sacrifice, king, and judge.
We are not to understand that all of these five gospels to_
gether give a complete biography of Christ as judged by the
standard of human historians. Only such matter as is perti_
nent to the plan of each writer is used. Near the close of
John’s Gospel he says, „Many other signs therefore did Jesus
in the presence of his disciples which are not written in this
book, but these are written that ye may believe that Jesus is
the Christ, the Son of God. and that believing ye may have
life in his name.” And later he adds the more remarkable
words: „And there are also many other things which Jesus
did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose
that even the world itself could not contain the books that
should be written.”
A harmony is an orderly correlation in parallel columns of
the matter of several independent historians, or the testimony
of several independent witnesses.
Having now considered somewhat the inspired histories of
the life of Christ, I name some of the many human histories
of that life. While many more could be named, those that
are named have been carefully examined upon every point
set forth in our discussion of the life of our Lord. They are:
Edersheim’s Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah; Farrar’s
Story of a Beautiful Life; Noah K. Davis’ Story of the Naza_
rene; Stalker’s Life of Christ; Deems’ The Light of the Na_
tions; Young’s The Christ of History; David Smith’s In the
Days of His Flesh; Sweet’s The Ascended Christ; McLear’s
New Testament History; that infidel’s romance, Renan’s Life
of Jesus; Henry Ward Beecher’s Life of Christ; Fleetwood’s
Life of Christ; and the following parts of Josephus: Antiqui_
ties, books 14 to 18, War of the Jews, from Book I, chapter
10, to Book 2, chapter 9.
Of all these human lives of our Lord, it is a matter of sur_
prise to find Beecher’s the weakest and poorest.

1. How many gospels are there?
2. What evil trend of modem thought necessitates special emphasis
on the Fifth Gospel?
3. What is ita garb and slogan?
4. What is the limit and effect of its method?
5. What is the real meaning of its slogan, „Back to Christ”?
6. Name and estimate two valuable books called forth by this dis_
7. How does Dr. McGregor classify the objections to Paul’s Gospel?
8. Who is the real person back of the whole movement against Paul?
9. What is the nature, limitation, and qualifications of the apostolic
10. What two classes of apostles?
11. In what respect does Paul’s knowledge of his gospel differ from
Matthew’s and John’s, from Mark’s and Luke’s and illustrate by the
account of the institution of the Lord’s Supper by Matthew, by Mark
and Luke, and by Paul.
12. Set forth the merits and superiorities of Paul’s Gospel.
13. What are the difficulties of correlating Paul’s Gospel in a harmony
with the other four?
14. Notwithstanding the difficulties, what is the gain?
15. What two items only of Paul’s Gospel does Dr. Broadus include
in his harmony?
16. What are terminals of each of the Five Gospels?
17. What is a harmony?
18. What books covering the life of our Lord are named, and what
parts of Josephus are recommended for reading?


Having considered somewhat in the preceding chapters the
five inspired histories of the four distinct phases of the life
of our Lord, we now glance at the New Testament account of
the several historians, deeming it unnecessary to discuss later
traditions concerning them.

The name. This name appears in all the four lists of the
twelve apostles to the Jews, to wit: Matthew 10:lff; Mark
3:13ff; the two lists by Luke (6:14_16); Acts l:13f. In his
own account of his call he so names himself (Matt. 9:9),
though both Mark (2:14) and Luke (5:27) in their account of
his call give Levi as his name. So that, like others of the
twelve, he had two names. It is quite possible that Levi was
his original name and Matthew his new Christian name, con_
ferred at the time of his call, as Simon was called Peter, and
Saul, the persecutor, of Acts 9, becomes Paul, the missionary,
in Acts 13.
His relations. Mark calls him „the son of Alpheus.” And
as in all the lists of the apostles, twice next to his own name,
„James, the son of Alpheus,” appears. He had at least one
brother among the apostles. It is also possible that Thomas,
another of the apostles, was his twin brother, and also possible
that Judas (Thaddeus), another apostle, was his brother. This
last depends upon a rendering of the Greek of Luke 6:16 –
Joudan Jacobou, i.e., „brother of James,” or „son of James.”
If we render „brother of James” according to the common ver_
sion, which is defensible, then he also was a brother of Matthew.
Residence. According to all the Synoptic Gospels his home,
or „house,” was in Capernaum.
Occupation. According to his own account he was a publi_
can or collector of the Roman revenue and had a city office
called the „receipt of custom” or „place of toll.” The Roman
tribute in the political provinces into which conquered na_
tions were divided was usually farmed out to some favorite
of Caesar or of the Senate, who commonly sublet the con_
tract of collection to native subordinates in districts, called
„chief publicans,” as Zaccheus of Jericho (Luke 19:15),
and these in turn to lower subordinates in towns or villages.
Though the record does not say so, it is probable from Luke
5:29 that Matthew also was a chief publican, inviting all his
subordinates to a feast.
Where a province was restive and resentful under Roman
rule, as was notably the case of the Jews, and where the exac_
tions of tribute were cruel and rapacious, a native who sublet
one of these contracts became odious to his own people
and in the case of the Jews not only became a social outcast,
classed with the vilest of sinners, but was counted an alien
from covenant blessing. We may find some illustrative par_
ticulars in Cicero against Verres, and in the impeachment of
Warren Hastings.
If to a Jewish patriot it became a vital question: „Is it
lawful to give tribute to Caesar” (Mark 12:14), and if this
tribute was so hateful it sometimes led to open revolt (Acts
5:37), how hateful the Jew who became a collector of it!
According to the Southern idea, in the awful days of de_
struction, misnamed Reconstruction, the impecunious Roman
favorite who farmed the revenue would be a „carpetbagger,”
and the native Jew who sublet from him would be a „scala_
wag.” In the language of a Southern statesman, „The carpet_

baggers and the scalawags defiled the traditions of the past,
desecrated the graves of the dead, reduced the living to hu_
miliating conditions of abject penury, and even thrust their
long itching felonious fingers into the pockets of posterity,
robbing the unborn of a decent living while stripping them of
all opportunity to rise again from the ashes of desolation.”
The result was that millions in the South, without cherishing
bitterness on account of open war or its legitimate results,
held the deeds of carpetbaggers and scalawags, and the un_
wise congressional hate which made them possible, as sins un_
pardonable by God or man.
The illustration serves to show the deep intensity of the hate
of Jewish patriots against Jewish publicans, and their horror
against our Lord’s social reception of them and eating with
them. Under such a vicious system of collecting revenue, ex_
tortion became the rule, its only limits the depravity of the
collector and the people’s capacity of endurance. That it
was the rule, appears from Luke 3:13, where convicted publi_
cans seeking baptism inquired of John the Baptist what the
fruits of repentance in their case, and he replies: „Extort no
more than is appointed you,” and from the proposed restitu_
tion of the saved Zaccheus: „Behold, Lord, the half of my
goods I give to the poor, and if I have wrongfully exacted
aught of any man, I restore fourfold” (Luke 19:8). How
keen was the publicans’ sense of social degradation appears
from their joyous acceptance of salvation from him who
„received them and ate with them.” No wonder they entered
the kingdom of heaven before the Pharisees (Matt. 21:31),
and no wonder the contrast in their prayers (Luke 18:9_14).
How marvelous, then, the grace, and how inexplicable to
the Jewish mind, to find a publican numbered with the
apostles and the selection of this man alone to become the his_
torian of the Gospel to the Jews.
Incidents of his life. The Gospels and Acts specifically
record only six incidents of his life, i.e., in which his name
appears. (1) His call to discipleship by our Lord, and his
instant obedience (Matt. 9:9; Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27_28).
We note in these brief accounts how prompt and unhesitating
his response and how complete his renunciation: „He forsook
all and followed him.” (2) The great feast he gave to Jesus
and its opportunity for fellow publicans to meet the Lord. To
the Saviour it evidences overflowing gratitude, to his fellow
publicans outflowing desire for their salvation. It must be
reckoned among the most honorable feasts of history. (3)
His ordination as an apostle (Mark 3:13_18; Luke 6:13_15).
(4) He is charged as an apostle when sent out to labor away
from the Lord (Matt. 10:1_42). (5) His participation in
the great prayer service for the coming of the Holy Spirit, after
our Lord’s ascension (Acts 1:13_14). (6) His writing of the
Gospel according to Matthew. See title of this book.
We particularize those incidents only where his name ap_
pears in the record. But from the record we may infer
another incident, he was a disciple of John the Baptist. The
scriptures which support this probability are: (a) Mark de_
clares John’s preaching and baptism to be „the beginning
of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (1:1_2). (b)
John baptized many publicans (Luke 3:12). (c) John’s mis_
sion was „to make ready a people prepared for the Lord,”
which in the apostles our Lord received, (d) Hence Peter
declares that in filling the vacancy in the twelve caused by the
apostasy of Judas, the candidate must be one who had „com_
panied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and
went out among us beginning from the baptism of John unto
the day he was received up from us” (Acts 1:21_22). (e) The
promptness of Matthew to follow our Lord when called im_
plies previous conversion.
We may note one well_attested tradition, to wit: That Mat_
thew wrote a gospel in Hebrew, i.e., Aramaic of which there
are no known extant copies. The Greek gospel by him which
we possess does not appear to be a translation from an
Aramaic original. The matter is immaterial since in the
formation of the New Testament collection of books it was
unnecessary to include and preserve all the writings of New
Testament authors any more than to record all the sayings
and doings of our Lord.
The scriptural material for the life of this historian is con_
tained in the following passages: Acts 12:12_25; 13:5_13; 15:
37_39′ Philemon 24; Colossians 4:10; 2 Timothy 4:11; I Peter
5:13, and possibly Mark 14:51_52.
From these passages the following facts appear: his name
was John, but surnamed Mark, as Simon was surnamed Peter.
His mother, Mary, had a home in Jerusalem, which was a
place of assembly for the disciples, and the great disciple,
Barnabas, was a near kinsman. Mark was not an apostle,
though a disciple converted by Peter. As a youth he may
have personally known our Lord. It is quite possible that he
refers to himself as present at the arrest of our Lord in the
passage on the young man in the „linen cloth” (14:51), es_
pecially since it was the custom of Bible historians and some
classic authors to refer to themselves in the third person. This
would sufficiently account for introducing the paragraph. It_
is more probable, however, that Mark here, as characteristic
of him elsewhere, merely gives a striking, realistic detail as a
setting to his picture of the arrest unnoted by other historians.
Since „it is only a step from the sublime to the ridiculous,”
and since comedy attends every public tragedy, Mark’s record
of this ludicrous incident makes the story true to nature, and
helps to demonstrate that he is not writing fiction. In any
event we may reject the wild fancy of Melville, whose sermon
on the passage finds the antitype of the Leviticus scapegoat in
the young man in the linen cloth.
The first clear case of Mark’s own appearance in New Testa_
ment history was his going from Jerusalem to Antioch, at_
tending Barnabas and Saul, who were returning thither from
their ministration of alms to the poor saints at Jerusalem
about the time that Herod slew James and imprisoned Peter
(Acts 12:25).
His next movement is, in Paul’s judgment, far from credit_
able. We look in vain to find in the history an explanation
that exculpates him. What he did was to abandon Paul and
Barnabas at a most critical period of their labors and return
to Jerusalem (Acts 13:13). It is perhaps unprofitable to con_
jecture a reason where the record is silent. It possibly was
jealousy for his kinsman, Barnabas, hitherto the leader, but
henceforward subordinate to Paul. At Acts 9:27; 11:22_25;
11:30; 13:25; 13:2, it is always „Barnabas and Saul,” but
from 13:9 onward the leader is Paul. It was „Paul’s com_
pany” that sailed from Cyprus (13:13), and henceforward it
is almost always „Paul and Barnabas” (13:43, 46; 14:14; 15:
2, 22, 35_36). True, naturally, the church at Jerusalem heard
Barnabas first (15:12) because they had sent him out (11:22)
and so put his name first in their letter (15:25). It is true
also that the idolaters of Lystra called Barnabas „Jupiter”
and Paul only „Mercury,” but it was a silent Jupiter, Paul
being the „chief speaker” and therefore named Mercury (14:
Possibly also Mark, being only a young soldier, never hav_
ing endured hardness, dreaded the perils and labors so graph_
ically described at 2 Corinthians 11:23_27. In any event at
Perga of Pamphilia „John departed from them and returned
to Jerusalem.” It is also quite possible that Mark’s Jewish
prejudices were not yet sufficiently eradicated to enable him
to appreciate Paul’s boldness in carrying the gospel to the
Gentiles, as he had notably done in Cyprus in the case of
the Roman proconsul, Sergius Paulus. If this was his reason,
the result of the great Jerusalem conference (Acts 15) was a
surprise to him.
This possible reason would explain the fact that we next
find John Mark at Antioch, whither after the Jerusalem con_
ference he must have accompanied Paul, Barnabas, Judas, and
Silas, ready now, it, would seem, to resume a mission he had
formerly abandoned. But his former desertion rankles in
Paul’s mind, so that his proposed company on the new mission
becomes the occasion of sharp contention between Paul and
Barnabas and resulted in a separation between these great
co_workers (see Acts 15:36_41). Paul was a stern soldier,
unwilling to try again on a toilsome and dangerous mission
one „who withdrew from them, from Pamphilia, and went
not with them to the work.”
So for a long time Mark is shut off from a share in Paul’s
life and the glory of his achievements. Barnabas, however,
took him and ”’sailed away unto Cyprus,” and so both sail
out of the history, Barnabas to return no more, but Mark
happily to reappear much later. We are gratified to find him
once more a companion and fellow worker of Paul in the first
Roman imprisonment (Philem. 24) whom Paul is about to
send forth to Colosse with a communication (Col. 4:10).
We next find both him and Silas with Peter at Babylon (I
Peter 5:12_13), thence he returns to proconsular_Asia, from
whence Paul in his last letter, again a prisoner and under
sentence of death at Rome, is calling for him in full acknowl_
edgment of the pleasure of his company and the profit of his
ministry (2 Tim. 4:11).
The greatest, best, and most enduring of his works is „The
Gospel according to Mark” (see title of his book). For this
work he had ample qualification. He was living in Jerusalem
when our Lord was crucified, and when he rose from the dead.
and when the 120 received the baptism in the Spirit. He was
himself led to Christ by Peter either in the great Pentecostal
revival, or in the rest that followed Saul’s persecution. Peter
calls him „Mark, my son,” as Paul called Timothy „My true
child in the faith.”
Mark thus shared the glories of the early Jerusalem church,
knew personally of its three great persecutions: (1) by the
Sadducees (Acts 4_5) ; (2) by the Pharisees (Acts 6:9 to 8:3) ;
(3) by Herod Agrippa I (Acts 12:1_23). His mother’s home
was a place of meeting for the church. Thus in Jerusalem and
in his home he heard all the twelve tell the wonderful story of
the Lord. He was present at the great Jerusalem conference
(Acts 15).
He was intimately associated: with Peter; with Barnabas
and Saul; with Barnabas; with Paul, and again with Peter.
His gospel was written, not for Jews, but for Romans, and
has well been called the gospel of Peter. The tradition to that
effect is abundant and credible, and well harmonizes with the
internal evidence. It was written at Rome, but just when we
do not know. It is rightly placed after Matthew’s Gospel
to the Jews. As in the preaching, so in the histories: „To the
Jews first.” This expositor does not share the theory that one
of the gospels was the norm from which the others were de_
veloped, and hence does not share the growing modern con_
viction based on it that Mark was first written. It has no
historical basis. The only norm was the oral gospel.

This historian was a Gentile, and the only Gentile who was
the author of a Bible book. He writes two volumes, his gos_
pel, which is a history of our Lord’s earth life, and the Acts,
which is a history of our Lord’s ascended life up to a certain
date (Luke 1:1_3 and Acts 1:1). The title to his „Gospel
according to Luke” contains his only direct use of his own
name. He is the faithful companion of Paul who names him
in three letters, Philemon 24, Colossians 4:14, 2 Timothy 4:
11. Paul declares him to be „the beloved physician,” and that
he was a medical practitioner we might infer from some pe_
culiar expressions in his history.
His companionship with Paul, so far as he himself notices
it, is indicated by the use of the personal pronoun. When in
the Acts he uses the first person plural „we” or „us” to de_
scribe Paul’s movements, he is present. When he uses the
third person „they” or „them,” he is not with Paul. From
this use of the pronoun we see that he joined Paul at Troas,
on the second missionary tour of that book (Acts 16:10) ac_
companied him to Philippi, and was with him in the great
meeting there. Here Luke remained several years, until Paul
came back to that city at the conclusion of his third mis_
sionary tour and was about to return to Syria to carry the
alms he had gathered in Macedonia and Achaia to the poor
saints at Jerusalem. Luke is now with him throughout all
the rest of the history from Acts 20:5 to the end.
So he shared with Paul four imprisonments: in Jerusalem;
two years imprisonment in Caesarea; two years first imprison_
ment in Rome, and the last Roman imprisonment. The first
Roman imprisonment ends Luke’s own account. Paul him_
self testifies to Luke’s presence in the first Roman imprison_
ment (Philem. 24; Col. 4:14). He also testifies that Luke
alone is with him in his last Roman imprisonment (2 Tim.
Luke and Paul are the only scholarly men of the New
Testament writers.
There are some indirect allusions which may inclusively re_
fer to Luke, e.g., 2 Corinthians 8:11_12, 23, and Luke 24:13f.
Luke’s being a „beloved physician” may account, in a meas_
ure, for his close companionship with Paul, who, besides many
physical infirmities, suffered serious afflictions in the body
at the hands of relentless persecutors. He is not Lucius of
Cyrene (Acts 12:1), nor the other Lucius (Rom. 16:21), a
kinsman of Paul. The name is different in Greek, Latin, and

There are more biographical details in the New Testament
concerning John than concerning all others of its authors to_
gether, apart from Peter and Paul. These details, generally
given by himself in his five books, are so clear and vivid the
man seems alive before us as we read. We distinctly see
him as a disciple of John the Baptist, the first disciple of our
Lord; with Andrew, the fisherman of the Sea of Galilee; his
first call to continuous service and companionship with Jesus;
one of the twelve apostles to the Jews and the last to sur_
vive; his great prominence among the twelve before and after
the death of our Lord; one of the „sons of thunder” among
them; an inspired writer; a teacher of love; certain knowl_
edge and a never_doubting assurance; a positive witness who
never tangles in his testimony; a theologian, and elder; the
one ever nearest to our Lord and best beloved; an exile in
tribulation for the faith, and the pre_eminent seer.
Doubtless all the twelve were first disciples of John the
Baptist (Acts 1:21_22), but of John it is distinctly affirmed
(John 1:35_39).
Even in old age he recalls the very hour in which he first
saw the Lord. It is the foundation of all his theology that
he first saw him as „the Lamb of God.” Not as king, prophet,
priest, or judge did he first see him, but as the atoning Sacri_
fice which taketh away the sin of the world. So most of us
first consciously see our Lord as a sacrifice, or Saviour from
sin, rather than in his other offices.
Nearest to our Lord. On five distinct and eventful occa_
sions he declares himself to be „the disciple that Jesus loved: ”
(1) When at the last passover his head rested on the bosom
of the Lord and he received the disclosure of the betrayer
(13:23); (2) when on the cross our Lord commended his
mother to his care (19:26) ; (3) when to him and Peter Mary
Magdalene reported the empty tomb (20:2) ; (4) when at the
Sea of Tiberias he recognized the risen Lord (21:7) ; (5) when
Peter, commanded to follow our Lord, asks, „what shall this
man do?” (21:20). But this nearness is even more apparent
when often, in his gospel, he discloses the very heart of the
Prominence among the twelve. (1) He is one of the four
first called to continuous service (Matt. 4:18; Mark 1:16_20),
and the same four constitute the first group in the four lists of
the apostles (Matt. 10:2f; Mark 3:16f; Luke 6:41f; Acts 1:
i3f). (2) He is one of the inner three specially honored by our
Lord to witness the raising of the daughter of Jairus (Mark
5:37′ Luke 8:51) ; to witness the transfiguration (Matt. 17:2;
Mark 9:2; Luke 9:28), and to witness his agony in Geth_
semane (Matt. 26:37; Mark 14:33). (3) He is associated
with Peter, the leading apostle, in making ready the last pass_
over (Luke 22:8); in witnessing the examination of our Lord
in the house of Annas (John 18:16) ; in visiting the tomb of
our Lord (John 20:2_8); in the healing of the lame man at
the door of the Temple and all the attendant circumstances
(Acts 3_4); in being sent by the other apostles to confer the
miraculous gift of the Holy Spirit on Philip’s Samaritan
converts (Acts 8:14f); in being a reputed pillar in the Jeru_
salem church (Gal. 2:9). (4) He and his brother James are
surnamed „the sons of thunder” among the twelve (Mark 3:
17). Without any warrant commentators have made this
surname a term of reproach by making it an anticipation of
a much later event (Luke 9:51) in which John is rebuked
by our Lord. There is no relation between the giving of the
surname and the event. As Simon was honored by the sur_
name Peter, so James and John are honored by the surname
„Boanerges.” The word marks their evident power and
John as a witness. More than any other of the twelve does
John fulfil the office of witness foretold by our Lord (15:27),
and particularly as a witness of his resurrection (Acts 1:22).
He emphasizes the fact that John the Baptist, our Lord him_
self, his works, the Holy Spirit, the water, and the blood are
all witnesses with whom he must stand, giving testimony.
Hence, when he saw the blood and water follow the piercing
of the aide of Christ, fulfilling two Old Testament scriptures
that identify him as the passover Lamb and the suffering
Saviour, his is careful to add: „And he that hath seen hath
borne witness, and his witness is true: and he knoweth that
what he saith is true, that ye also may believe.” Indeed, he
regards his whole gospel as evidence on the witness stand with
a view to belief in the evidence: „This is the disciple that
beareth witness of these things, and wrote these things: and
we know that his witness is true” (21:24), and long after_
ward he identifies the author of the Revelation as the John
who had thus borne witness in his gospel (Rev. 1:2). So he
regards all of that book, Revelation, as the testimony of his
risen Lord (Rev. 22:16_20), and all through the record of this
testimony he is careful to say, „I, John, am he that saw and
heard these things” (Rev. 22:8). As if he realized the chal_
lenge and cross_examination of future scepticism, he never
tangles himself in giving evidence, is never doubtful of his
facts, but speaks with positive knowledge and full assurance.
All of his senses bear witness. In his own words: „That which
was from the beginning, that which we have heard, that which
we have seen with our eyes, that which we beheld, and our
hands handled, concerning the word of life (and the life was
manifested, and we have seen and bear witness, and declare
unto you the life, the eternal life which was with the Father,
and was manifested unto us;) that which we have seen and
heard declare we unto you also, that ye may also have fel_
lowship with us: yea, and our fellowship is with the Father,
and with his Son Jesus Christ” (I John 1:1_3). To these organs
of sense in the outer man, sight, hearing, touch, he adds the
witness of the inner man: „And as for you, the anointing
which ye received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that
any one teach you: but as his anointing teacheth you con_
cerning all things, and is true, and is no lie, and even as it
taught you, ye abide in him.”
He himself was present at an appearance of the Lord when
those who saw him were terrified and affrighted, supposing
they beheld a spirit, and heard him say, „Why are ye troubled?
and wherefore do questionings arise in your heart? See my
hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see;
for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye behold me having.”
John the theologian. Some manuscripts give this as the
title of his book: The Gospel of John, the Theologian. While
evidently the words „The Theologian” are additions by a later
hand, they are also evidently true. For verification compare
the etymology of the word „theology” with John’s prologue
(1:1_18) which is the norm from which his whole gospel is
developed. Apart from John, Paul only of all other apostles
and New Testament authors may be called a theologian.
The offsets against John consist of three particulars: (1)
John, with the other apostles, when they saw one casting out
demons in the name of Jesus, forbade him because he would
not follow them. He forgot that we are not called to follow
this or that man, but Jesus only. One of our commonest
faults is to confound ourselves with the Lord. I know a
preacher who constantly mistakes himself for Christ. Failure
to follow him in opinions and methods is counted disloyalty
to God himself. Our Lord severely rebuked John and the
others who thus dared to so limit individual service. What_
ever may be our position and power in the kingdom, we do
not hold in sacerdotal hands the monopoly of grace and con_
trol the mediums of its communications. This error was a
dominant one in the great apostasy. Our Lord made this
lamentable error the occasion of one of his most solemn and
profitable lessons (Mark 9:38_50; Luke 9:49_50; Matt. 18:
(2) John and James wanted to call down fire from heaven
upon the village of Samaritans that refused to receive Jesus
(Luke 9:51_56). Here again they mistook themselves for God.
Vengeance is the peculiar prerogative of the Almighty (Rom.
12:19) and the time of his vengeance is the final judgment.
The duty of the disciple in such a case is limited to witness-
bearing in the solemn charges to the twelve when they were
sent out to preach: „And whosoever shall not receive you, nor
hear your words, as you go forth out of that house or that
city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, it
shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah
in the day of judgment than for that city.” The seed of all
the persecutions for conscience’ sake was in John’s error here.
That seed, where fully developed in any heart, produces a
Philip II more infamous than Nero and next to the devil. Even
from above heavenward some of the light of glory may shine
the chariot of the sun, and Vergil tells how Eolus wickedly
usurped the prerogative of Neptune in stirring up the sea
storm to destroy the fleet of Aeneas, and of the presumption
of even Juno when she said, „I will shake all heaven with
thunder” over them while the ocean engulfs them. Et ciebo
ome coelum tonitru.
(3) The ambition of James and John, aided by their mother,
in seeking the two most prominent places in the kingdom of
glory (Matt. 20:20_28; Luke 18:35_45). Again our Lord se_
verely rebukes them and imparts another solemn and profit_
able lesson.
A newspaper reports that when the Pan_Episcopal Council
met in London, Dean Stanley put up a coal_black Negro,
Bishop of Haiti, to preach in Westminster Abbey to royalty
and nobility, surrounded with „storied urn and animated
bust.” He read for his double text the mother’s foolish prayer
(Matt. 20:20_21) and the equally foolish prayer of her sons
(Luke 18:35_37), and then said, „Let us pray,” and himself
thus prayed:
„0 thou Creator, God, who made all nations of one blood
and fashioned their hearts alike and loved all and died for
all, let the sons of Shem, who betrayed the Lord, have the
place at thy right hand, and the sons of Japheth, who cruci_
fied the Lord, have the place at thy left hand. But Lord,
grant that the sons of African Simon, the Cyrenean. who bore
thy cross may have a place at the outer gate, where indeed
from above heavenward some of the light of glory may shine
them and some of its music cheer them, but where, looking
earthward, they may see ‘Ethiopia stretching out her hands
to God,’ and be the first to greet her dusky sons coming up
home to heaven.”
No eloquence of Pitt or Burke or Sheridan ever equalled
that prayer, and what a pity that James and John never heard
At least once a month every preacher should read and lay
to his heart these three great lessons of our Lord called forth
by spots on the white robe of John, and every time let him
feel the need of sanctification as well as of justification and
regeneration in order to complete salvation.
After Paul’s death John moved to proconsular_Asia, where
he wrote all of his five books. Ephesus was his headquarters,
from which he was banished to Patmos in the last years of
Domitian, returning to Ephesus after that tyrant’s death. He
lived to be nearly 100 years old, and probably was the only
apostle who escaped martyrdom, though some tradition makes
him also a martyr.
John’s family, social, and financial standing. Zebedee and
Salome were his parents. They had a home on the Sea of
Galilee and were able to hire servants to carry on their busi_
ness of supplying fish for a great market. The business did
not stop because the sons entered the ministry (Mark 1:20).
The mother, later, herself followed the Lord around, and
was a member of the first Ladies’ Aid Society that ministered
to the Lord of their substance, when living, and brought
spices for his embalming when dead (compare Luke 8:2 with
Mark 15:40_41; 16:1).
John himself owned a home in Jerusalem, to which he con_
ducted the mother of our Lord after the crucifixion (John 19:
25). His acquaintance with the ex_high priest, Annas, and
the ready access to his home indicate social standing (John
There is a touching tradition concerning John’s extreme old
age. When over one hundred years old, too weak to walk and
too feeble to stand, he would have the brethren help him into
the church at Ephesus and support him, while with uplifted,
trembling hands, he would say, „Little children, love one
Another tradition shows his hatred of heretics who denied
the deity of his Lord. He had entered a bathhouse, but,
learning that Cerinthus, the heretic, was also there, he abrupt_
ly left the building, saying, „Let us get away lest the house
fall on us for being in such company.” Such heretics are more
plentiful and less dreaded now. They even claim the seat of
John in the kingdom.
The New Testament details for a biography of Paul, the
other historian, are too numerous for this introduction, and
will be considered when we reach the interpretation of Acts 9,
or his first book.

1. Give some New Testament account of Matthew.
2. What was a publican?
3. Explain the Roman system of collecting revenue in the conquered
provinces, its viciousness and account for Jewish hate of the publicans.
4. Illustrate by an incident in the British government of India, by
a noted case in Roman government outside of Judea, and by the re_
construction days in the South.
5. What are the New Testament incidents of Matthew’s life, that
is, where does his name appear in the record?
6. What other incident may we infer from the record and the scrip_
tural ground of its probability?
7. What one well_attested tradition?
8. What is the scriptural material for a life of Mark?
9. Give the several conjectures of the reason of Mark’s record of
the incident of the young man in the linen cloth, and what noted minister preached a fanciful sermon thereon?
10. Give in order the recorded incidents of Mark’s life, and which
one not creditable?
11. How do you account for Mark’s conduct on this occasion?
12. What his greatest work and his qualifications therefor?
13. Was Luke a Jew?
14. What Bible books were written by Gentiles?
15. What Luke’s occupation, and how do you know?
16. Was it probable on this account he was associated with Paul?
17. Show from Acts when Luke was with Paul, and how do you know?
18. What Luke’s greatest works?
19. How do you know that he was not the Lucius of Acts 13:2 and
Romans 16:21?
20. Who of the New Testament authors were scholars?
21. Contrast the New Testament biographical details concerning John
with those of other New Testament authors.
22. In what respects do they make him live before us?
23. Give the proofs that of all the apostles he was nearest and dear_
est to the Lord.
24. Show the several ways in which he was prominent among the
25. Give evidence that he stressed his mission as a witness.
26. How do you justify his title, „the theologian,” and what other
apostle may be so classed?
27. What of the three offsets against John?
28. Give account of the Negro’s prayer in Westminster Abbey.
29. What were his latest labors?
30. Give account of his family, financial, and social standing.
31. Name, in order, the Roman Emperors under whom John lived?
(This is a historical test question.)
32. Name a touching tradition concerning John’s old age.
33. Name another tradition showing his hatred of heretics.

Broadus’ Harmony pages 1_2 and Luke 1:1_4; John 1:1_18.

The first question that confronts us on the threshold of the
text of the several histories of our Lord, is, how the historians
obtained the material of their histories, and did they all obtain
it in the same way?
This is not altogether a question of inspiration. It is con_
ceded that all were inspired. No matter how they obtained
their material, inspiration was needed in every case in the
make_up of the record of what they obtained. If Matthew
obtained his genealogy from previous Jewish records (1:1_17)
and all the information concerning the infancy of our Lord
from Joseph’s account of it (1:18 to 2:23), however handed
down – and if Luke received his information of our Lord’s in_
fancy and childhood from Mary (1:26 to 2:52) – and if John
received all the material of his apocalypse by direct revela_
tion – still would inspiration be needed to direct them in reduc_
ing to writing this information, however required. That is to
say, how much to record, what known facts to omit, how
arrange this selected material according to a definite plan,
looking to a distinct end, so far as the one book is concerned,
and how this book should be so correlated as to fit in, with
dovetail exactness, into a whole library of other sacred books,
as the several bones are articulated into one skeleton, is our
problem and our task.
Again, our question is not one of illumination. A prophet
might receive a revelation and not understand it (I Peter 1:

10_11). He might, through inspiration, record it accurately
without understanding it. But these historians, frequently,
and whenever necessary, interpret their facts, showing that
they possessed illumination, e.g., John 11:21; 7:39, and Mat_
thew’s application of Old Testament quotations.
Revelation is a divine disclosure of hidden things. Inspira_
tion is that gift of the Holy Spirit which enables one to select
and arrange material to a definite end and inerrantly record
it. Illumination, another gift of the Spirit, enables one to
understand a revelation or to interpret the facts of an inspired
The material of these several histories was obtained in three
(1) By eyewitness, as the gospels of Matthew and John.
(2) By those who received it from eyewitnesses, as the
gospels of Mark and Luke.
(3) By direct revelation, as Paul’s Gospel and John’s Apoca_
These observations lead up to the beginning of our interpre_
tation of the histories. Our textbook is Dr. Broadus’ Harmony
of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, with only
two parallels from Paul’s Gospel. We will enlarge our text_
book, as we proceed, by insertion of many other parallels from
Paul. This chapter will be devoted to Luke’s dedication and
John’s prologue, both supplemented from Paul.
On the left of Luke’s dedication put John 21:24, and on the
right Galatians 1:11_12. Now compare them: John affirms that
he wrote his gospel as an eyewitness, while according to the
revision, Luke affirms that the matter of his gospel was de_
livered by them „who from the beginning were eye_witnesses”
and traced out by him in careful research. But Paul affirms
that his was received by revelation. It is commonly supposed
that Mark wrote as Peter had taught him, but Paul says that
his gospel was not after man for he did not receive it from
man, nor was he taught it. He is careful to show that he
preached it before he saw Peter, and when on three occasions
he did meet Peter, not only was nothing imparted to him, but
his full and independent authority and mission were recog_
nized, and that it fell to his lot to correct an evil practice of
Peter. So whether we consider the original twelve, with those
whom they instructed, or Paul, in every case an oral gospel
preceded a written gospel. This spoken gospel was authorita_
tive before reduced to writing. It was that deposit of the faith
delivered to the churches to be held inviolate and transmitted
unimpaired (Luke 1:2; Acts 13:31; I Corinthians 11:2_23; 15:
1_8; I Timothy 6:20; 2 Timothy 11:2; Jude3; Hebrews 11:3).
In it catechumens, like Theophilus, were instructed (Luke 1:
4). But as the original and qualified witnesses were few, and
these kept passing away and soon all would be gone, and as
tradition at every remove from its original source becomes less
trustworthy, you can easily understand Luke’s fact „that many
would undertake to reduce to written narrative what they had
heard orally from the eye_witnesses.”
And just here Luke introduces his second thought that his
own writings were from accurate knowledge in all things, in
order that the reader might know the certainty of the things
in which he had been orally instructed.
It was this necessity that called for inspiration. For if, as
Peter says, referring to oral deliverance: „Men spake from
God, being moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21), it was
equally true, says Paul, after referring to the sacred writings
collectively, that distributively „every one of these writings is
God_inspired” (Greek, Pasa graphe theopneustos (2 Tim. 3:
15_16). From Luke 1:1 and Acts 1:1, it is evident that The_
ophilus was not only a real person, but one of distinction, and
from the word „instructed” in Luke 1:4, it is also evident that
he was a catechumen, from which may be inferred that in
apostolic times all new converts were diligently catechized in
the elements of the faith delivered (compare Eph. 4:11_15;
Heb. 5:12_14; I Pet. 11:2).
When Luke says, „Many have undertaken to draw up a
narrative of the things fulfilled among us,” it is evident that
he does not refer to the gospels of Matthew and Mark. Nothing
that he could write would add to the „accuracy” or „cer_
tainty” of what they wrote. Indeed, it cannot be proved that
their writings were prior to his. Though the Synoptic Gospels
were written about the same time, it is most probable that our
present order, Matthew, Mark, Luke, is chronological. Cer_
tainly no one of the three is the norm of the others.
Before leaving this classic gem, Luke’s dedication, an im_
portant question must be answered: Does Luke himself, in this
introduction, claim to have traced out carefully all of the facts
of his history as any other painstaking historian, or does he
here affirm distinctly a guiding inspiration throughout? Our
English versions, particularly the revision, support the former
contention. On the other hand, some distinguished scholars
and Biblical interpreters, notably Lightfoot and Urquhart,
support the latter contention. We find a full statement of
Urquhart’s argument in his New Biblical Guide, Vol. VII, pp.
337_34.8. Lightfoot’s argument may be found in Pittman’s
edition of his works, Vol. IV, pp. 114_115. Or, if Lightfoot
and Urquhart be not accessible, there may be found a very
clever and elaborate restatement of the argument of both in
The Young Professor, whose author is the accomplished son
of the late Dr. William E. Hatcher of Richmond, Va. When_
ever one reads this argument carefully, whether in Lightfoot,
Urquhart, or The Young Professor, it interests him, challenges
his respect, and appears to be hard to answer. One need not
be more than a sophomore in Greek to understand and feel
the force of the argument.
The marked difference of the renderings of Luke 1:1_4 in
the common and the revised versions arises from no difference
in the Greek text they translate. The text is the same. Write,
therefore, in three parallel columns, the Greek text, the com_
mon version, and the revised version of Luke 1:1_4. For the
references keep open before you an interlinear Greek Testa_
ment, and on your table Bagster’s Analytical Greek Lexicon,
or Thayer’s, and the Englishman’s Greek Concordance. Then
follow, step by step, Urquhart’s argument. These directions
will help a beginner in Greek, however puerile or unnecessary
they may appear to expert scholars.
The contention, in substance, is this:
Many uninspired men, in apostolic times, undertook to write
orderly narratives of the gospel history as they were orally
delivered by the apostles, who were eyewitnesses.
Not one of these survives because they were displaced by
inspired narratives, which conveyed assurance and certainty
as to the facts and teachings.
This is exactly what Luke says as to the reason of his
writing, expressly affirming his inspiration, with a view to this
assured accuracy and certainty.
The argument for this contention is based altogether on
translation and usage of the words. The common version pre_
ferred to the revision, needs only one change in it. Instead
of „from the very first” in that version, they render „from
above.” The Greek word is anothen. They rely first on the
etymology of the word, then its New Testament usage, then
its perfect harmony with the context. They admit some usage
for „from the first,” a derived meaning, but never permissible
as a substitute for the primary meaning, unless the context
demands it.
The usage cited is:
„The veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top
[from above] to the bottom” (Matt. 27:51; Mark 15:38).
Except a man be born „from above” (John 3:3) ; „Ye must
be born from above” (John 3:7).
In both these cases, „born from above” is interpreted by our
Lord as „born of the Spirit.” „He that cometh from above is
above all.” John 3:31. Jesus says to Pilate. „Thou couldest

have no power at all against me, except it were given thee
from above” (John 19:11). „Now the coat was without seam
from the top [from above] throughout” (John 19:23).
„Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above”
(James 1:17). „This wisdom descendeth not from above, but
is earthly, sensual, devilish” (James 3:15). „But the wisdom
that is from above is first pure, then peaceable” (James 3:17).
Then comes Luke’s only use of the word, except where once
he quotes Paul: „Having had perfect understanding of all
things from above . . . that thou mightest know the certainty,
In all these instances of usage, the sum total of usage by
Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and James, our Greek word
anothen is rendered by the italicized words from the top, refer_
ring to veil or coat, and „from above” elsewhere.
They add the evident allusion of Irenaeus to Luke 1:3. „For
after our Lord arose from the dead, and they were endued
from above with the power of the Holy Ghost coming down
upon them, they received a perfect knowledge of all things”
(„Against Heresies,” 3:1). Luke says, „Having had perfect
understanding of all things from above.” Irenaeus says, „When
they were endued from above, they received a perfect knowl_
edge of all things.” Compare with James: „Every perfect
gift is from above.”
It was this enduement which enabled Luke to write „ac_
curately” (Greek, akribos). And all this fulfilled our Lord’s
promise that when the Holy Spirit comes, „He shall teach you
all things,” „He shall guide you into all truth.” Therefore the
merely human histories of our Lord perished. Therefore only
inspired histories could give „certainty” to the things in
which we are instructed.
They add that in this very brief context, when Luke would
express the idea of „from the first,” or „from the beginning,”
he uses the unmistakable Greek words, ep’ arches (Luke 1:2).

And that their whole rendering best agrees with the mean_
ing of the Greek word plerophoria – „certainly believed,” and
not „fulfilled.” And with the other Greek word, parakolo – the,
which does not mean to obtain knowledge by „tracing” or in_
To Paul’s per contra usage of the word anothen they reply:
he uses it only twice, (a) In his speech, reported by Luke at
Acts 26:5, where the context demands the secondary meaning
„from the first.” (b) At Galatians 4:9 there is the modifying
word palin, and the context forbids the primary meaning
„again from above.”
My colleague, Dr. Williams, says that the whole contention
depends on whether the adverb anothen in Luke 1:3 is one of
locality or of time, and that it cannot be certainly deter_
mined which it is in our passage. The author prefers through_
out, the common version rendering of the passage to the revi_
sion, and believes that the preponderance of the argument is
with Lightfoot and Urquhart.

We now take up the prologue of John (1:1_18), putting
beside it Paul’s contribution to the same matter. Place these
references in the harmony, opposite or under John’s introduc_
tion: Philippians 2:6_11; Colossians 1:15_20; 2:9; Hebrews
1:1_13; 2:14_17; 10:1_9; 2 Corinthians 8:9; Romans 8:3; 2
Timothy 3:16; Galatians 4:4_5.
It is not our purpose to put in parallel with John’s prologue
any matter from Paul’s Gospel except what touches our Lord’s
pre_existence, his nature and activities, his incarnation and its
Let us first consider John. The first eighteen verses of
John constitute the norm and outline of his whole book. So
many propositions cannot elsewhere be found in so few words.
As all mists of speculative philosophy concerning the origin of
the material universe flee and fade before the sunrise of the
first chapter of Genesis, so all heresies concerning our Lord
and the eternal redemption of him are dispelled by the Sun
of righteousness rising with healing wings in these beginnings
of their gospels by John and Paul. It is far from my purpose
to engage your finite minds in the impossible task of compre_
hending the unfathomable mystery of the tri_personality in
the unity of God. It will content me if you will believe what
is revealed. If we might trust for explanation to human
philosophy we could not improve on the comparison of Sabel_
lius, „God the Father is the sun, Jesus Christ is the sun’s light,
and the Holy Spirit is the sun’s heat.” Or we might regard
the Trinity as only a distinction in office or manifestation.
This was my own boyish attempt to explain it. My illustra_
tion was that of a teacher who was also a father and a magis_
trate. His own son, while at school, was guilty of a penal
offense. This teacher must, therefore, deal with the delinquent
in the threefold capacity of father, teacher, and magistrate,
i.e., from the standpoint of the family, the school, and society.
But none of these illustrations coincides with the teachings of
revelation – there is one God, there are three persons, not three
attributes or offices, or manifestations.
Nor would I have you anticipate the more elaborate study
of systematic theology. Let us barely touch it, and that only
because it is here an essential part of our historic study.
Therefore I compress into barest outline and simplest form
this introduction of John.

1. The Logos .
2. Creation by the Logos
3. In him all life
4. In him all light
5. This light is invincible by darkness
6. The Logos incarnated
7. Purpose of the incarnation
8. The supernatural birth of those receiving the incarnate
9. The witness of John the Baptist to the incarnate Logos

1. The Logos. The first sentence announces a new name,
„The Word” (Greek, 0 Logos). Whence this name? We will
not waste our time in looking for its origin in the speculations
of Philo, the Alexandrian Jew. His logos, mainly an energy or
an attribute, and never an incarnate personality, is not the
Logos of John. It serves us little better to wade through the
muddy waters of Jewish traditions in any form. We have a
surer word of prophecy to which we will do well to take heed.
The reader is referred to our discussion on the conversion of
Abraham, „Interpretation,” volume on Genesis. There, for the
first time in any record, we find the phrase, „The Word of the
Lord.” This Word, not as a voice addressed to the ear, but
as a person addressed to his sight, appeared in a vision to
Abraham, and as the specific object of saving faith. Before
this experience Abraham had believed divine statements, had
believed in a promised country, and in a promised seed, but
here he believed on Jehovah himself as his shield and exceed_
ing great reward, and it was counted to him for righteousness.
„The Word of the Lord,” „shield,” „believed,” and „imputed
righteousness,” a salvation group, here make their first ap_
pearance in the Bible record. The „Word of the Lord,” as a
Person, appears elsewhere in the Old Testament, notably in
the Psalms and prophets, and is doubtless the personified wis_
dom of Proverbs 8:23_30. So that the Logos is Christ’s pre_
incarnate name and most aptly represents him as the revelator
of the Father. In this light we understand better the abrupt
and sublime formula of the first chapter of Genesis, repeated
ten times, „And God said,” „And God said,” and following
each utterance came a new creative act.

These were the first ten commandments, the ten words of
creation. On Sinai came the ten words of the Law. On the
Galilean mountain came the Beatitudes, or the ten words of
But always it is the Logos revealing the Father. Of this
Logos, in one short sentence, John predicates three essential
elements of divinity:
(1) Absolute eternity of being, „In the beginning was the
(2) Distinct personality, „And the Word was with God”
– two persons together.
(3) The nature or essence of Deity, „And the Word was
God.” The absence of the article in the Greek before „God”
in the third predicate clearly shows the meaning. The phrase
is not, „the Word was the God,” but „the Word was God,” i.e.,
in nature or essence. The second verse sums up and emphati_
cally repeats: „The same,” i.e., this very one so described as
an eternal, divine Person was in the company and fellowship
of God throughout eternity. It was always so; it was so in
the beginning.
2. By the Logos came the creation. Not merely the uni_
verse as a whole, but every minute part. Not matter merely
to be left to develop itself, but every change and form of
development. So Genesis represents it. By him everything
came to be. There was no chance development.
3. In him was all life – vegetable, animal, spiritual. Not
only as the start of life, but its continuance: „Thou takest
away their breath, they die and return to dust. Thou sendest
forth thy Spirit, they are created. And thou renewest the
face of the ground.” The nonliving can never develop into the
living. But particularly does our author speak of spiritual life.
Not only in him do we live and move and have our being, but
from the beginning the Son of God has been the source of
eternal life.

4. He is the light of the world. The only real light. There
is no knowledge of God and no revelation of God except
through the Son. He alone declares the Father. Man by
searching cannot find out God. Cannot see him except as the
Son reveals him.
5. The light is invincible: „The light shineth in the darkness
and the darkness apprehended it not.” It is somewhat difficult
to determine the meaning of the Greek word here rendered
„apprehended.” The sense is either the darkness did not take
possession of the light by appropriating it and becoming light,
or did not hem it in, repress it, so as to conquer it. In the
latter sense we make it read: „The light shineth in the dark_
ness, and the darkness overcame it not.” The context, par_
ticularly vv. 10_11, favors the first meaning, and the inability
to appropriate the light finds vivid illustration in a parallel
from Paul’s Gospel: „And even if our gospel is veiled it is
veiled in them that perish: in whom the god of this world hath
blinded the minds of the unbelieving that the light of the
gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should
not dawn upon them.” We may find abundant and striking
illustrations of the other possible meaning. Even on the cross,
in the hour of the power of darkness, when for three mortal
hours the thick darkness filled and enveloped the dying one –
even then the darkness overcame it not. Once in the dawn of
creation darkness was upon the face of the deep and the Word
said, „Let there be light!” And there was light, and the dark_
ness overcame it not. Once in our experience we were in dark_
ness, but God, who commanded the light to shine out of the
darkness, shone into our hearts, giving us the light of the
knowledge of the glory of God in the Face of Jesus Christ.
And the darkness has never been able to quench that light.
Upon us also will come the darkness of death, but our Saviour
Jesus Christ has abolished death, and brought life and im_
mortality to light through the gospel, and will transfer us to
a home and condition of which it is said, there is no night
there. And so the light is indestructible and the darkness can_
not overcome it.
6. This Word was manifested and became flesh. It was not
a mere assumption of human nature like the putting on of a
garment, but the Word came to be a real man. That is a vital
doctrine as the author continues to insist elsewhere: „Every
spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is
of God.” „For many deceivers have gone forth into the world,
even they that confess not that Jesus Christ cometh in the
7. The purpose of the incarnation was to bring grace and
truth to the fallen. He was full of grace and truth, that is,
for mercy and revelation.
8. The recipients of this mercy and revelation obtained the
right to become the sons of God by a supernatural birth, being
born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will
of man, but of God.
9. Prophecy, in its culmination in John the Baptist, recog_
nized and identified and witnessed that this was the true light.
Such, in brief, is John’s prologue. Let us put beside it the
beginnings of Paul’s Gospel: „For there be many that are
called gods, whether in heaven or on earth; and there are
gods many, and lords many; yet to us there is but one God,
the Father, of whom are all things, and we unto him; and one
Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we
through him” (I Cor. 8:5_6).
„At the end of these days God hath spoken to us in his Son,
whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he
made the worlds; who being the effulgence of his glory, and
the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by
the word of his power, when he made purification of sins, sat
down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. . . . Of the
Son he saith, Thy throne, 0 God, is forever and ever. . . . And
thou, Lord, in the beginning didst lay the foundations of the
earth . . . and when he again bringeth the first_born into the
world, he saith, Let all angels of God worship him” (Heb. 1:
„The Son of his love is the image of the invisible God, the
first_born of all creation, for in him were all things created,
in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and invisible,
whether thrones, or dominions or principalities or powers; all
things have been created through him, and unto him; and he
is before all things and in him all things consist” (Col. 1:
„Christ Jesus, existing in the form of God, counted not the
being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emp_
tied himself, taking the form of a slave, being made in the
likeness of man; and being found in fashion as a man, he
humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, yea, the death
of the cross. Wherefore also God highly exalted him, and gave
unto him the name which is above every name; that in the
name of Jesus every knee should bow, of beings in heaven, on
earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should con_
fess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father”
(Phil. 2:6_11).
„And without controversy great is the mystery of Godliness:
He who was manifested in the flesh,
Justified in the Spirit,
Seen of angels,
Preached among the nations,
Believed on in the world,
Received up into glory” (I Tim. 3:16).
„For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through
the flesh, God, sending his own Son, in the likeness of sinful
flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh” (Rom. 8:3).
„But when the fulness of time came, God sent forth his
Son, born of a woman, born under the law, that he might re_
deem them that were under the law, that we might receive the
adoption of sons” (Gal. 4:4_5).

„Since then the children are sharers in flesh and blood, he
also himself in like manner partook of the same, that through
death he might bring to naught him that had the power of
death, that is, the devil, and might deliver all of them whom,
through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bond_
age” (Heb. 2:14_15).
„Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith,
Sacrifice and offerings thou wouldest not.
But a body didst thou prepare for me; . . .
Then said I, Lo, I am come,
(In the roll of the book it is written of me)
To do thy will, 0 God” (Heb. 10:5_7).
„For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily”
(Col. 2:9).
„For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that
though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that
ye through his poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9).
These excerpts from Paul are not exhaustive, but samples
merely in his Gospel correlative with John’s Prologue. They
establish the absolute eternity, personality, and deity of our
Lord Jesus Christ and exhibit his relations to the Father in
both eternity and time, his relations to the universe and to
man, and make very clear not only the incarnation, but its
objects. Paul uses the term, Son, in the place of John’s Logos,
and „new creation” as the parallel of John’s new birth, and
brings in the new term „adoption” to express the legal process
of becoming sons. A critic affects to find this contradiction
between John’s and Paul’s Gospels use of the incarnation, the
former to take on glory, the latter to empty himself of it or
to strip off glory. There is no merit whatever in the criticism.
John, as well as Paul, shows that Jesus laid aside his heavenly
glory to become a man (John 17:5), and Paul, as well as John,
describes the outshining of Christ’s glory through the veil of
the flesh and the acquiring of glory through his humiliation.

Paul much more clearly and elaborately than John, expresses
the various conditions, processes, purposes and beneficial ef_
fects of the incarnation.
In this connection should be read the author’s sermon on
„The Nature, Person, Offices, and Relations of Our Lord,”
preached before the Southern Baptist Convention at Hot
Springs, Arkansas, and published by order of that body in
pamphlet form and recently reproduced in a volume of ser_
mons published by the Fleming H. Revell Company.

1. What question confronts us at the threshold of the texts of the
five histories of our Lord?
2. Show why this is not merely a question of inspiration.
3. Nor of illumination.
4. Define revelation, inspiration, illumination.
5. In what three ways did the historians obtain a knowledge of their
facts? Illustrate by John 21:24; revised version of Luke 1:2; and
Galatians 1:11_12.
6. What always preceded a written gospel?
7. What is the necessity for written gospels?
8. For inspired gospels, give, quoting from Peter the inspiration of
the oral and from Paul the inspiration of the written.
9. What three facts do you learn from Luke 1:1_4 concerning Theophilus?
10. What custom of apostolic times may be inferred from the word
„instructed,” Luke 1:4?
11. When Luke refers to the many written narratives of our Lord,
does he refer to Matthew or Mark?
12. In what respect does Luke consider his narrative superior to the
„many narratives” to which he alludes?
13. What great question has arisen from this dedication of Luke?
14. Which of these contentions does the revision evidently support?
15. Name three authors supporting the other contention.
16. Give in substance the argument of Urquhart, and what do you
think of it?
17. What one change in the common version of Luke I :l_4 will pat
it in harmony with the Urquhart view?

John’s Prologue.
18. What must you place opposite John’s Prologue to parallel Paul’s
Gospel on our Lord’s pro_existence, its nature and activities, his incarnation and its purposes?
19. Give in briefest form an analysis of the Prologue.
20. Show why John did not obtain tibia new name – 0 Logos, the
Word – from Philo.
21. Where did he get it?
23. How does this enable us to understand Genesis IT
23. Can you give the ten words of creation, the ten words of the
law, the ten words of happiness?
24. What are the three essential elements of Deity predicated of the
Logos in. John’s first sentence?
25. The relations of the Logos to the universe?
26. Meaning of „In him was life”?
27. How is he the light of men?
28. Two possible meanings of „The darkness apprehended it not.
29. Cite a parallel from Paul of the first possible meaning. Give il_
lustrations of second possible meaning.
30. How was the Logos manifested and what is the relative importance
of the doctrine?
31. According to the Prologue, what is the purpose of the incarnation?
32. What right was conferred on those who receive the incarnate
Logos and how accomplished?
33. How does the witness of John the Baptist attest the pre_existence
of the incarnate Logos?
34. What was Paul’s name for John’s Logos?
35. What is his description of the pre_existing Son?
36. What passages from his attest the activities of the Son before his
37. What passages the purposes of his incarnation?
38. Instead of John’s „new birth,” what is equivalent of Paul’s?
39. His legal name for this sonship?
40. Reply to the criticism that John uses the incarnation as a means
of our Lord to take on glory, and Paul aa a method of emptying himself of glory.

Broadus’ Harmony pages S_6 and Matthew 1:1_17; Luke
1:5_80; 3.23_38.

We have noted in a previous chapter John’s and Paul’s ac_
count of the divine side of our Lord’s existence, personality
and activities before he became flesh. Now we consider, in
Matthew, Luke, and Paul, his human side, human antecedents,
human birth, and early life. We find Matthew’s account in
chapters 1_2, and Luke’s account in chapters 1_2 with the clos_
ing paragraph of chapter 3.
Matthew’s incidents are his genealogy, birth, the visit of
the magi, the flight into Egypt, the massacre of the babes at
Bethlehem, the return to the land of Israel, and resettlement
at Nazareth in Galilee.
Luke’s incidents are the announcement to Zacharias of the
birth of his son, John the Baptist, our Lord’s forerunner; the
announcement to Mary of the birth of our Lord; Mary’s visit
to Elisabeth; the birth of John the Baptist according to announce-ment; the birth of our Lord at Bethlehem; the announcement to the shepherds of that birth; the circumcision of our Lord; his presentation in the Temple with attendant circumstances ; the return to Nazareth; the development there of his childhood; the visit to the Temple when our Lord was twelve years old; the return to Nazareth and his development; into manhood; and his genealogy.
On this entire section we submit several general observa_

1. Matthew’s entire account is written from the viewpoint
of Joseph, and for Jews. His genealogy is the genealogy of
Joseph according to the legal Jewish method. Gabriel’s ap_
pearance to Joseph is to explain Mary’s condition. Indeed, all
the four supernatural directions for the family movements
come in dreams to Joseph. Every incident and every Old Tes_
tament quotation conspire to prove that Jesus of Nazareth is
the foretold and long_expected King of the Jews.
2. Luke’s entire account is written from Mary’s viewpoint
and to show our Lord’s broader relations to humanity. His
genealogy is real, not legal. It is Mary’s genealogy, not
Joseph’s, our Lord’s relations to Joseph being only a Jewish,
legal supposition. While indeed it shows that Mary was a
Jewess) really descended from David and Abraham, yet her
genealogy extends back to Adam, in order to prove that her
Son was the second Adam, and literally fulfilled the first gospel
promise, „The seed of the woman [not of the man] shall bruise
the serpent’s head.”
It is to Mary, Gabriel announces her conception of a Son,
by the Holy Spirit, who because thus sired shall be holy, the
Son of God.
It is to Mary the angel announces the condition of Elisa_
beth, and thus prepares the way for Mary’s visit to Elisabeth.
All of Luke’s other incidents are those which Mary „kept in
her heart.” The conjecture that Luke’s genealogy is also
traced through Joseph is puerile in itself, utterly gratuitous,
and at war with Luke’s whole plan. It is to invent a difficulty
and then invite the harmonists of the two genealogies to settle
it. Why should they be harmonized? They have different
starting points (a legal son, a real son) and different objec_
tives (Abraham – Adam); they are not even parallel lines,
since they meet and part.
3. We here confront what Paul calls „the great mystery of
Godliness” – the incarnation of our Lord. Isaiah, who had al_
ready foretold his virgin birth, in a clear prophecy concerning him, says, „For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name
shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlast_
ing Father, Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6). Quoting Isaiah, and
because the virgin mother is with child by the Holy Ghost,
Matthew says, „His name shall be called Immanuel (God with
us).” In explanation of the way a virgin can become a mother,
Luke’s angel says to Mary, „The Holy Spirit shall come upon
thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee:
wherefore also the Holy One who is begotten of thee shall be
called the Son of God.”
Mark says, „Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” John says, „The
Logos which was God, was manifested and became flesh.”
Paul says, „He who was the effulgence of God’s glory and the
very image of his substance,” (Heb. 1:3) „who existed in the
form of God . . . was made in the likeness of man (Phil. 2:6_8)
was born of a woman” (Gal. 4:4). Not otherwise could he
escape the hereditary taint of Adam’s sin (Gen. 5:3); not
otherwise could he fulfil the protevangel, „the seed of the
woman shall bruise the serpent’s head” (Gen. 3:15); not
otherwise could he be the Second Adam, the second head of the
race (Rom. 5:12_21; I Cor. 15:45_49).
Grant this one miracle, the greatest and most inclusive, and
all others naturally follow. Deny this one, and there is no
need to deny or even consider others (I John 4:1_3).
4. Only twice do we find in the Bible the phrase, „The book
of the generations” applied respectively to „The first Adam”
(Gen. 5:1), and to the Second Adam (Matt. 1:1). And con_
cerning this Second Adam, well might Isaiah inquire: „Who
shall declare his generation,” (common version, Isa. 53:8)
especially since „His name shall be Wonderful, Counsellor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6).
5. Nothing more commends the inspiration of the simplicity
and reticence of this account of our Lord’s infancy, childhood
and growth to manhood, than to contrast it with the silly and
incredible fables invented in the early Christian centuries to
gratify a prurient curiosity concerning a long period of our
Lord’s life on which, beyond the few incidents recorded, our
Gospels are silent. Nature, as well as grace, draws a modest
veil over the period of conception, gestation, parturition, and
development. Not only have these bald inventions concerning
the infancy and childhood of our Lord disfigured the image
in the mind naturally produced by the simple Bible story,
but tradition, ever_increasing in imposture and lying, ad
nauseum, has buried the few real incidents recorded under an
accretion of fanciful enlargements, e.g., the incident of the
magi, and even the blasphemies subverting the gospel and
changing the very plan of salvation, e.g., the Mariology and
Mariolatry developed from our simple gospel story of Mary
by the Romanists of succeeding centuries.
6. Beyond the few incidents recorded of the first thirty years
of our Lord’s preparation for his public work, this is every
syllable of the gospel history: Luke puts in four pregnant
sentences the whole period, (a) concerning the development of
his childhood, „And the child grew and waxed strong, filled
with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon him” (2:40).
(b) After the consciousness of his messiahship in the Temple,
when he was twelve years old, „He went down with them
(Mary and Joseph) and came to Nazareth; and he was subject
to them” (2:51). (c) Referring back to his habit of attending
the house of religious instruction at Nazareth, Luke later says,
„He came to Nazareth where he had been brought up: and he
entered, as his custom was, into the synagogue on the sabbath
day, and stood up to read” (4:16); (d) Concerning his de_
velopment to manhood: „And Jesus advanced in wisdom and
stature, and in favor with God and man” (2:52). (e) Mark
says that by occupation he was a carpenter (6:3).
These are all the direct references. But we may easily gather
from his subsequent history that he had studied the book of
nature in its plants, flowers, fruits, birds, animals, soil and its
cultivation, its crops, harvests and vintages; that he was a
lover of children and close observer of their plays; that he
was familiar with the customs of the family and of society;
that he was well acquainted with the religious sects and politi_
cal parties of his country and its relation of subjection to
Rome. It is evident also from his movements that he thor_
oughly understood all the variations of government in the
Herod family.
As to literary attainments, apart from the evident religious
training of a Jewish child, we know that he could read and
speak fluently in three languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and
Greek. He read and quoted at will and discerningly from both
the Hebrew and the Greek versions of the Old Testament.
Mark preserves and interprets many of his Aramaic expres_
7. We should commence Matthew’s genealogy thus: „The
book of the generation of Jesus Christ, called Immanuel (God
with us).” And, allowing Paul to supplement Luke’s genealogy
thus: „The Second Adam, who is the Lord from heaven, Jesus
Christ himself (supposed son of Joseph) was the son of Heli,”
and so on back to the first Adam.
8. In these two accounts of our Lord’s infancy are eight
distinct annunciations, adapted in time, place, medium, means,
and circumstances to the recipient, together with eight other
supernatural events.
(1) The annunciation by the angel Gabriel, in a vision, to
Zacharias, ministering in the Temple, of the birth of John the
Baptist, the forerunner of our Lord, and of Zacharias’ dumb_
ness until the event (Luke l:5f).
(2) Gabriel’s annunciation to Mary of the birth of our
Lord (Luke l:26f).
(3) The annunciation to Elisabeth of the presence of the
appointed mother of our Lord, by her unborn baby’s leaping
for joy (Luke l:41f).

(4) The angel’s annunciation to Joseph, in a dream, of the
supernatural conception of Mary (Matt. 1:18f).
(5) The angel’s annunciation, in a vision, to the shepherds
near Bethlehem, of the birth of our Lord (Luke 2:8f).
(6) The Spirit’s annunciation to Simeon that he should not
see death until he had seen the Christ (Luke 2:26).
(7) Simeon’s annunciation, by prophetic inspiration, to
Mary concerning her Son, and concerning the sword that would
pierce her own soul (Luke 2:34_35).
(8) The annunciation to the magi, in the far East, by the
appearance of a star, that the foretold and long_expected King
of the Jews was born (Matt. 2:lf).
The eight attending supernatural events are, – the prophetic
utterances by Zacharias, Elisabeth, Mary, and Anna, the three
additional dreams of Joseph and the one of the magi. Thus
there are three vision – to Zacharias, Mary, and the shepherds;
five dreams – four of Joseph and one of the magi; one annun_
ciation by the Spirit to Simeon, one of Simeon to Mary by
inspiration, one by a star, one by the leaping of an unborn
babe, besides the prophetic inspiration of four.
9. In Luke’s account of the beginnings are five famous
hymns, or the foundations from which they were later de_
(1) „The Hail Mary,” developed by the Romanists from a
combination of the angel’s salutation to Mary (Luke 1:29)
and Elisabeth’s salutation to Mary (Luke 1:42), with some
extraneous additions.
(2) „The Magnificat,” or Mary’s own hymn (Luke 1:46_55).
(3) „The Benedictus,” or the song of Zacharias (Luke 1:68_79).
(4) „Gloria in Excelsis,” developed from the song of the
angels (Luke 2_14).

5) „Nunc Dimittis,” developed from the words of Simeon
(Luke 2:29_32).
10. The gospel histories teach concerning Mary, the mother
of our Lord, that she was a modest, pious, but poor Jewish
maiden, of the line of David, betrothed to Joseph, a just man,
also of the line of David. She was endued with grace, to be_
come the virgin mother of our Lord, and this supernatural
conception was by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. Con_
sequently her Son would be God’s Son, and not man’s. Being
God’s Son, he would be born holy, unstained through heredi_
tary taint, and as he was the only human being so born, he
is called the Only Begotten Son of the Father. Because of
her selection to become the mother of our Lord, all generations
would call her blessed. Her marriage to Joseph before the birth
of this child constituted him legally, though not really, a son
of Joseph. In all these things Mary humbly submitted herself
to the divine will. She piously kept in her heart all the attend_
ing prodigies, circumstances, and prophecies of his nativity
and childhood. While married to Joseph, she knew him not
until after the birth of her divine Son, but afterward lived
with him in all marital relations, bearing four sons, whose
names are given, besides daughters not named (Mark 6:3).
After Joseph’s death, she followed her son, Jesus, with his
younger half_brothers and sisters. From the record it is evi_
dent that more than once she was not without fault. On the
whole, however, the impression left on the mind by the history
is most charming. A maiden, chaste, modest, pious, and meekly
submissive to God’s will, a true wife, a devoted, self_denying
mother, patiently bearing all the sorrows attendant upon being
the mother of her Saviour son. Well might Simeon say to her,
„Yea, and a sword shall pierce through thine own soul,” on
which prophecy has been written a book of merit entitled
The Sorrows of Mary.
At the death of Jesus, her other sons being poor and un-
believers, she was taken to the home of John the apostle, in
Jerusalem. What an unspeakable pity that religious super_
stition has foisted upon this simple, charming, gospel story of
earth’s most honored woman, a monstrous Mariology of human
invention, developed later into a blasphemous Mariolatry,
which makes her usurp the place of God the Father, God the
Son and God the Holy Spirit. As this hideous parasite on the
gospel story of Mary roots in our lesson, we here give a sum_
mary of the invented.

The exaggeration of the meaning of the words: „All genera_
tions shall call me blessed.” This blessedness, because a priv_
ilege, was declared by our Lord himself to be inferior to the
blessings on personal obedience and service (Luke 11:27_28),
and because this was a fleshly relation to our Lord, he declared
it to be inferior to spiritual relations, which all may share
(Mark 3:31_35).
Mary was a perpetual virgin, – that is, never knowing a
man, and being the mother of only one child, Jesus. This was
the earliest of the doctrines in point of time, and some Protes_
tants today, for sentimental reasons, hold to it.
Mary free from actual sin. This freedom from actual sin,
originally at least, was attributed to the sanctifying power of
the Holy Spirit, supposed to be exerted either after she was
conceived or before she was born, as Jeremiah and John the
Baptist were supposed to be sanctified, or else at the time the
Holy Spirit came upon her at the conception of Christ.
Mary free from original sin. This was a late development
of doctrine concerning Mary. There was no official and
authoritative form of it before the sixteenth century. The
Council of Trent, A. D. 1570, closed its decree on original sin
with these words: „This same holy synod doth nevertheless
declare that it is not its intention to include in this decree,
where original sin is treated of, the blessed and immaculate
Mary, the mother of God; but that the constitutions of Pope
Sixtus IV, of happy memory, are to be observed, under the
pains contained in the said constitutions, which it renews.”
This official deliverance is a positive declaration of Mary’s
freedom from original sin, and by the term „immaculate,”
would seem to declare her exempt from actual sin. The doc_
trine, however, culminates in positive form in the decree pro_
mulgated to the Roman Catholic world by Pope Pius IX,
December 8, 1854. In this decree the Pope claims: First, that
he pronounces, declares, and defines „under the inspiration of
the Holy Ghost;” second, that what he sets forth is by the
authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the blessed apostles,
Peter and Paul, and in his own authority. The matter thus
decreed and promulgated is as follows:
„The doctrine which holds the blessed virgin Mary to have
been, from the first instant of her conception, by a singular
grace and privilege of Almighty God, in view of the merits of
Jesus Christ, the Saviour of mankind, preserved free from all
stain of original sin, was revealed by God, and is, therefore,
to be firmly and constantly believed by all the faithful.” The
decree closes with the double anathema: First, that any who
presume to even think in their hearts contrary to this de_
liverance stand self_condemned, have made shipwreck concern_
ing the faith, and have fallen away from the unity of the
church. Second, that they subject themselves to the penalties
ordained by law, if by word or writing, or any other external
means, they dare to signify what they think in their hearts.
You will observe, particularly, that this decree affirms that
the doctrine of Mary’s freedom from original sin was revealed
by God. The natural presumption is that this revelation is to
be found in the Holy Scriptures. In this document the Pope
does not claim that it was a special revelation to him, but that
he is inspired to pronounce, declare, and define past revela_
If God revealed it in the Holy Scriptures, it is strange that
we cannot find it.
This doctrine of Mary’s freedom from original sin, which
thus culminated, historically, December 8, 1854, may be said
to have crystallized July 18, 1870, when the Vatican Council
thus declared the infallibility of the Pope:
„It is a dogma divinely revealed: that the Roman Pontiff,
when he speaks ex cathedra, that is, when in the discharge of
the office of pastor and doctor of all Christians, by virtue of
bis supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine regard_
ing faith or morals to be held by the universal church, by the
divine assistance promised him in the blessed Peter, he is
possessed of that infallibility with which the divine Redeemer
willed that his church should be endowed for defining doctrines,
faith and morals; and that therefore such definitions of the
Roman Pontiff are irreformable of themselves, and not from
the consent of the church.”
She is the Mediatrix between Christ and man, as Jesus
Christ is the Mediator between God and man. In other words.
this element of the doctrines makes Mary take the place of the
Holy Spirit) that is, we must reach Christ through Mary
The development of the doctrine is shown in various works of
art. For example, there are paintings which represent Christ
as seated, and Mary below him, then later a painting of Christ
and Mary on a level; and finally a painting representing Mary
above Christ, who is angry at the world, and Mary is be_
seeching his favor for the world.
Mary, not Jesus, bruises the serpent’s head, or destroys
Satan. As the preceding element of this doctrine puts Mary in
the place of the Holy Spirit, so this element makes her take
Christ’s office.
Mary the queen of heaven.
Mary the fountain of all grace, received by man and the
only hope of salvation. This element puts her in the Father’s

Mary an object of worship.
Mary’s body was never allowed to see corruption, but was
taken up to heaven, glorified, as the body of Christ, or that
of Enoch or Elijah. This last element of the doctrine, the as_
sumption of Mary, has not been formally put forth by Pope
or Council, but is propagated and defended in the standard
Romanist literature.
Any thoughtful man, considering these doctrines concerning
Mary, must see that they made a radical, vital, and fundamen_
tal change of the gospel as understood by all Protestants and
constitute another gospel, which is not the gospel. It makes
the Romanist Church the church of Mary, rather than the
church of Christ. Indeed, if we add its traditions concerning
the See of Rome and Peter, the name should be: The Romanist
Church of the Traditions concerning Mary and Peter. It would
be easy to show that each of these elements of doctrine was
transferred, for reasons of expediency, from heathen myth_
ology and worship.
The question naturally arises, What scriptures do they cite
for these stupendous claims? In support of the perpetual vir_
ginity of Mary they cite Ezekiel 44:1_3: „Then he brought
me back by way of the outer gate of the sanctuary, which
looketh toward the east; and it was shut. And Jehovah said
unto me, This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, neither
shall any man enter in by it; for Jehovah, the God of Israel,
hath entered in by it; therefore it shall be shut. As for the
prince, he shall sit therein as prince to eat bread before Je_
hovah; he shall enter by the way of the porch of the gate,
and shall go out by the way of the same.” They claim that
this language is typical of and applicable to Mary’s perpetual
virginity. Some of them quote the Song of Solomon 4:12, as
follows: „A garden shut up is my sister, my bride; a spring
shut up, a fountain sealed.” So far as I know, these are the
only scriptures cited that seem to have a positive bearing on
the doctrine.
Negatively, they contend that the brothers and sisters of
Jesus mentioned in Mark 6 and other places were not the
children of Joseph and Mary, but of Mary’s sister, hence cous_
ins of our Lord. Some Protestants who hold to the perpetual
virginity of Mary claim that these were children of Joseph
by a former marriage, therefore older than our Lord. Both
Romanists and Protestants who hold to this doctrine cite John
19:25_27, where Christ on the cross consigns Mary to John’s
are, and argue from this that Mary had no son of her own
other than Christ. They forget the extreme poverty of the
family of Joseph, including himself, Mary, and all of the
children, and that these younger half_brothers of our Lord
were not at this time believers in Christ, as is evident from
John 7:5. We have already shown that John possessed wealth
and a home of his own at Jerusalem, which Mary and her sons
did not have.
Of Mary’s freedom from actual sin, they cite the Song of
Solomon 4:7: „Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in
thee,” and also from the apocryphal book of Wisdom 1:4:
„For wisdom will not enter into the malicious soul nor dwell
in a body subject to sins.”
In support of the theory that Mary mediates between man
and Christ, they cite John 2:3, where Mary makes known to
her Son the need of wine at the marriage of Cana of Galilee.
To maintain that Mary, not Jesus, bruises the serpent’s
head, the Romanist Bible, both the Vulgate and their English
version, makes Genesis 3:15 read: „She shall bruise thy head,
and thou shalt bruise her heel.”
To support the doctrine that Mary is the mother and foun_
tain of all grace to man, they quote Luke 1:28, and render it:
„Hail, full of grace!”
In support of the assumption that Mary is the queen of
heaven, their commentators cite Revelation 12:1, and claim
that it is an allusion to „our blessed lady.”

In replying to these various items of Mariology and Mari_
olatry, it is fairly to be inferred from Matthew 1:25 that
Joseph did know Mary as a husband after the birth of Christ,
and it certainly best accords with the obvious meaning of Mark
6:3, and various other references, that the four brothers named
are real brothers, and not cousins. That Mary was not free
from actual sin is evident by our Lord’s rebuke of her at Luke
2:48_49; John 2:4; Mark 3:21 connected with 31_35. There
is no scriptural support at all relevant to the matter in hand
of Mary’s freedom from original sin. The quotations cited
by Romanists are, on their face, irrelevant. The assumption
that Mary is the fountain of all grace evidently misinterprets
the words of the angel, „Hail, Mary, endued with grace.” It
is grace then and there conferred, and not original source of
grace. It indeed shows that she was a daughter of grace, not
its mother. That Mary’s body never saw corruption is a fab_
rication without any foundation whatever. To make the sym_
bolic woman of Revelation 12:1 to be a real woman, whether
Mary or any other woman, is a gross violation of the law of
interpretation of symbols. You might just as well make the
woman in purple and scarlet riding upon the seven_headed,

Herod himself is „Herod the king” named in Matthew 2
3_19, ruler of the Jews at Christ’s birth. He was surname’
„The Great” and was really a man of great capacity in publi
affairs, and in diplomacy successfully overreached both Pom
pey and Julius Caesar, and both Antony and Augustus Caesar
and thwarted Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt. But he was .
monster in cruelty and as bloody a tyrant as ever sat upon
throne. His father was Antipater, the Idumean or Edomite,
and his mother an Ishmaelite. Thus in the person of Herod,
Ishmael and Esau sat upon the throne of Isaac and Jacob.

His death is recorded in Matthew 2. He had about ten wives
and many children. By his last will, subject to Rome’s ap_
proval, he divided his realm among three sons, disinheriting
all his other children whom he had not murdered.
His children. Archelaus, named in Matthew 2:22, his son
by his fourth wife, was, according to Herod’s will, made king
of Judea and Samaria. Rome did not approve of his title of
king, but allowed him to be called ethnarch for nine years,
and then for good cause removed and banished him, and con_
verted Judea and Samaria into an imperial province under
procurators appointed by Caesar. Pontius Pilate, an appointee
of Tiberius Caesar, was procurator during the years of our
Lord’s public ministry.
Another son, Herod Antipas, older brother of Archelaus, by
the same mother, was made tetrarch of Galilee and Perea.
(See Luke 3:1.) This was the Herod that beheaded John the
Baptist (Mark 6:17_29), whom Jesus called „that fox,” and
to whom our Lord was sent for trial by Pilate. He held his
office during the whole of our Lord’s life after his return from
Egypt. He built the city of Tiberias on the sea of Galilee,
and was the second husband of that Herodias who caused the
death of John the Baptist. This marriage was a threefold sin
__~is own wife was yet living, the woman’s husband was yet
living, and she was his niece.
The oldest surviving son of Herod was named Herod Philip,
disinherited by his father. He lived at Rome. The New Testa_
ment makes only an indirect allusion to him as Philip the
brother of Herod Antipas, and the husband of Herodias (Mark
Herod’s son by his fifth wife was also named Herod Philip,
and he is the tetrarch of the Northern part of Palestine, called
in Luke 3:1 „the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis.” He built
the cities of Bethsaida_Julius, and Caesarea Philippi. He was
the best of all the ruling sons of Herod.

It must be noted how several movements of our Lord were
affected by these three sons of Herod. Because of Archelaus
his parents took him from Judea to Galilee. Because of the
unfriendliness of Herod Antipas he more than once removed
from Galilee to the tetrarchy of Herod Philip. This Herod
Philip, the tetrarch, married Salome, the dancing girl, who
danced off the head of John the Baptist (Mark 6:2_28). She
was his niece, the daughter of his brother, Herod Philip I,
named above.
Herod’s grandchildren. First, Herod Agrippa 1. This is
Herod the king, of Acts 12:1_4, who killed the apostle James,
John’s brother, and imprisoned Peter, and whose awful death
at Caesarea is described in Acts 12:19_23. This Herod ruled
over all Palestine like his grandfather.
Second, Herodias, the wicked woman who left her husband,
Philip, and married his brother, Herod Antipas, and brought
about the death of John the Baptist because he denounced the
iniquitous marriage (Mark 6:17_28). It is said that when the
head of John was brought to her by her daughter, she drove
her bodkin through the faithful tongue that had dared to de_
nounce the infamy of her marriage.
Herod’s great grandchildren. First, Salome, the dancing girl
named in Mark 6. Second, Herod Agrippa II. This is the
titular king, Agrippa, before whom Paul spoke (Acts 25:13).
Third, Bernice, his sister (Acts 25:23). Fourth, Drusilla,
another sister, who married Festus (Acts 24:24). Of these the
last six named were descended through Herod’s second wife,
Mariarnne, the Maccabean princess.

As in the Old Testament „Pharaoh” is a title of all the
Egyptian rulers, so always in the New Testament „Caesar” is
a title of the Roman ruler. In the New Testament about
twenty_seven times „Caesar” is so used, without the name of

the particular Caesar. Twelve Caesars ruled at Rome from the
birth of Christ to the close of the canon of the New Testament,
and perhaps one more, Trajan, when John the apostle died.
The names of the twelve in order, and the dates of their reigns,
are as follows:
Augustus 31 B.C. to A.D. 14
Tiberius A.D. 14 to 37
Gaius A.D. 37 to 41
Claudius A.D. 41 to 54
Nero A.D. 54 to 68
Galba A.D. 68 to 69
Otho A.D. 69
Vitellius A.D. 69
Vespasian A.D. 69 to 79
Titus A.D. 79 to 81
Domitian A.D. 81 to 96
Nerva A.D. 96 to 98

Three of these are named in the New Testament: Augustus,
Luke 2:1; Tiberius, Luke 3:1; Claudius, Acts 11:28 and 18:2.
Nero is referred to but not named (Acts 25:8).

1. What sections of Matthew and Luke are devoted to our Lord’s
early life?
2. What are the incidents given in Matthew?
3. In Luke?
4. From whose viewpoint is written all this section of Matthew?
5. From whose viewpoint Luke’s section?
6. How does this account for the apparent discrepancy between their
7. How does Paul characterize the incarnation of our Lord?
8. What passage from Isaiah does Matthew quote and apply to the
9. What name of the child does Matthew give as expressive of the
10. What other passage from Isaiah gives names of the child expres_
sive of this mystery?
11. How does the angel, in Luke, explain the mystery of a virgin
becoming a mother and the resultant nature of the child?
12. Give Mark’s name of this wonderful child.
13. How does Paul state the matter?
14. How does such a son escape hereditary depravity?
15. How does this alone fulfil the first gospel promise in Genesis?
16. According to Paul, what is the relation of Adam to Jesus? (See
last clause of Romans 5:14.)
17. Give in brief Paul’s argument on this relation in Romans 5:12_21.
Ans. As through one trespass (not many) of one man (not one
woman) sin, condemnation and death came upon all his fleshly descendants. So through one act of righteousness (death on the cross) of one man (the vicarious Substitute) justification, unto eternal life came upon all his spiritual descendants.
18. How does Paul further contrast the first Adam and his image
transmitted to his fleshly descendants with the Second Adam and his image borne by his spiritual descendants? (See I Cor. 15:45_49.)
19. What then may we say of this miracle of the incarnation?
20. Give the significant Bible usage of the phrase „The book of the
21. Contrast the account of our Lord’s infancy and childhood, given
by Matthew and Luke, with the human inventions of traditions con_
cerning the same period.
22. What two sentences of Luke, one concerning the development of
his childhood, the other concerning his development into manhood, give the record of most of our Lord’s earthly life?
23. What other sentence of Luke tells the whole story of his obedi_
dence to the .Fifth Commandment?
24. What phrase of Luke discloses a religious habit of all his early life?
25. What question recorded by Mark reveals his occupation in all that
early life?
26. What may we gather from the history of his subsequent life, as
to his studies, observation and general information?
27 As to his literary attainments, how do you prove that he knew
and spoke Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek?
28. How should you commence Matthew’s genealogy (allowing him_
self to supplement) and Luke’s (allowing Paul to supplement)?
29. In the two accounts of our Lord’s birth and infancy are eight
annunciations, with eight other supernatural events, adapted in time, place, medium, means, and circumstances to the several re-cipients: give them, in order, and then show which three came by vision, which five by dreams, which one by the Holy Spirit, which one by an unborn babe, and which four by inspiration.
30. In Luke’s account alone are five historic hymns, or the foundations
from which they were developed. Name them in order.
31. Give the substance of the gospel teaching concerning Mary.
32. Give the several items of the monstrous Mariology and blas_
phemous Mariolatry developed by Romanists from the simple Bible story of Mary, and the scriptural proof they cite for each, and your reply thereto.
33. If we add to this Mariolatry its inventions concerning the See of
Rome and Peter, what should this church be called?
34. Name the member of the Herod family mentioned in the New Testament, citing the passage in each case, and the relationship to Herod the Great, and which of these were descendents of Mariamne, the Maccabean princess?
35. How does the New Testament use the term “Caesar?”
36. How many Caesars ruled at Rome from the birth of Christ to the close of the New Testament canon?
37. Which three are named in the New Testament and where, and which other alluded to and where?
38. It is supposed that John lived to the close of the first century A.D. then what other Caesar must you add to the twelve?

Broadus’ Harmony and Scriptures same as for chapter V.

MATTHEW’S Genealogy. There are three notable peculi_
arities in Matthew’s genealogy. The first is, he commences
with the rare phrase, „The book of the generation,” found no_
where else except in Genesis 5:1_3, concerning the first Adam.
The uniqueness of this peculiarity and the correspondence be_
tween Matthew 1:1 and Genesis 5:1, are of evident design.
The proof of the design appears from Paul’s discussion of the
matter. First, Paul says there are two Adams, the first a
figure or type of the Second (Rom. 5:14). The first was cre_
ated; the Second was the only begotten Son. In Romans 5
Paul adds that as through one trespass of one man (the first
Adam), sin, condemnation and death came upon all his des_
cendants, so through one act of righteousness (on the cross)
of one man, the Second Adam, justification unto eternal life
came upon his descendants. The parallel or contrast between
the two Adams he further discusses thus: „So also it is written,
the first man Adam became a living soul. The last Adam be_
came a life_giving spirit. Howbeit, that is not first which is
spiritual, but that which is natural; then that which is spirit_
ual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is
of heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy:
and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also
bear the image of the heavenly.”
The second peculiarity of Matthew’s genealogy consists in
his division of the time from Abraham to Christ into three
periods thus: From the patriarchy (or family rule in Abra_
ham) , to the theocracy (or national rule at Sinai); second,
From Abraham to David; from David to the captivity; from
the captivity to Christ. Some have managed to find a difficulty
in Matthew’s making three sets of fourteen with only forty_
one names. But Matthew does not say that there were three
sets of fourteen names, but three sets of fourteen generations.
The generations here, as many times elsewhere, mean time
periods. It is about equivalent to saying from Abraham to the
earthly monarchy, first period; from the earthly monarchy to
its downfall, second period; from the downfall of the earthly
monarchy to the coming of the spiritual King, third period.
This period division suits Matthew’s plan as the book of the
King. David, the typical king, is the central figure of three
periods, which terminate in the antitypical or spiritual King.
Matthew does not give every name, but according to the es_
tablished method of Bible genealogies, he sometimes passes
over a son to the grandson.
Another writer, with a different plan, might make four
periods thus: From the patriarchy (or family rule in Abra_
ham), to the theocracy (or national rule at Sinai); second,
from the theocracy to the beginning of the monarchy; third,
from the beginning of the monarchy to the hierarchy (or high
priest rule); fourth, from the hierarchy to Jesus, the true
Patnarches, Theos, basileus, hiereus.
Matthew’s third peculiarity is, that contrary to Jewish cus_
tom, he names four women: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and Uriah’s
wife, Bathsheba. As they are not named in the list of four_
teen’s, they must be named in this connection for other rea_
sons. Two facts suggest the probable reason for naming these
women. First, three of the four at least were Gentiles, and
quite possibly the fourth. Tamar and Rahab were Canaanites,
Ruth was a Moabite, Bathsheba, the wife of a Hittite, was a
granddaughter of Ahithophel, the Gilonite, and counsellor of
David, who sided with Absalom, and afterward hanged him_
self. It is true that Giloh, his home city, was one of the moun_
tain cities assigned to Judah at the conquest, but that does
not prove that all of its inhabitants were Jews. Ahithophel
does not act as a Jew, but with many other foreigners he ac_
cepted office under David. Eliam, otherwise Ammiel, his son,
and father of Bathsheba, with Uriah, another foreigner, was
one of David’s mighty men. Bathsheba herself does not act like
a Jewess, for she married a Hittite, Uriah, the war comrade of
her father. So she probably, as the other three women certain_
ly, was a Gentile. The ending „ite,” as in Gilonite, usually,
not always, indicates a Gentile tribe or nation.
The second fact is that only one of the four, Ruth the Moab_
ite, was chaste in life. Tamar, in the garb of harlot, deceived
her father_in_law, Judah. Rahab was an open harlot in Jeri_
cho, and Bathsheba was an adulteress. The fact of four such
maternal ancestors seems to prophesy, in a way, that their
coming illustrious Descendant would preach a gospel of mercy
to the foreigner and to the fallen.
Some writers have wasted much energy in endeavoring to
reconcile Luke’s genealogy with Matthew’s. There is not the
slightest reason to attempt it.
Matthew gives our Lord’s legal descent through Joseph’.
Luke gives his real descent through Mary. As both Joseph
and Mary were descendants of Abraham and David, they will
in part coincide and in part diverge. The extent of the co_
incidence or the divergence is immaterial.


We have already seen that there were eight annunciations, as
follows: To Zacharias, Mary, Joseph, Elisabeth, the shepherds,
Simeon, Mary again by Simeon, and the magi. Some of these
were by the angel Gabriel, some by the Holy Spirit and one
by astronomical phenomenon. It is noteworthy that in every
case the time, medium, place, and matter of the announcement
are all adapted to the recipient and his or her circumstances.
Just here we may note the contrast in the Bible between the
offices of the angel Gabriel, and of the arch_angel Michael.
Gabriel is sent always on missions of mercy; Michael always
for the defense of God’s people, for war and vengeance on
their enemies.
In the announcement to Zacharias the time is in the days of
Herod the king, the scene is the Temple at Jerusalem, the
place is the sanctuary or holy place, the hour is the time of
the daily sacrifice. The circumstances of this announcement
are: Zacharias, as priestly mediator, is burning the incense at
the golden altar in the holy place, while the people outside are
offering up the prayers represented by the incense. Twice every
day, morning and evening, the people thus come to the Temple
at the hour of prayer. (Compare Acts 3:1.) Being only a
priest, Zacharias could not enter the most holy place; his min_
istrations stopped at the veil which hides the mercy seat,
which is entered only once a year by the high priest on the
great day of atonement (Lev. 16). The offering of the incense
was the highest honor that could come to a priest, and as it
was determined by lot, it might not come more than once in
a lifetime to the same man. The perpetuity of these media_
torial ministrations was secured by dividing the descendants
of Aaron into twenty_four courses, with fixed dates for one
course to relieve another. As we see from the text, Zacharias
belonged to the course of Abijah, which was the eighth. This
division of the priests into courses was established by David,
as we learn from I Chronicles 24. Zacharias himself had a
burden. His wife was barren, and both were now old. While
burning the incense which represented the prayers of the peo_
ple, he himself was praying for a son. The medium of the
announcement to him was the angel Gabriel, who comes with
an answer to his prayer while he is yet praying, as he had
come on another great occasion to Daniel (Dan. 9:20_21)
The means was a vision. The matter was that not only would
a son be born to him and Elisabeth, but his son would be a
Nazirite, great in the sight of God, full of the Spirit from his
mother’s womb, the forerunner of the Messiah, to make ready
a people prepared for him according to prophecy, in the spirit
and power of Elijah, turning many of the children of Israel
to God and turning the hearts of the fathers to their children,
and the disobedient to the justified. This, like the honor con_
ferred on Mary, was unique, occurring only once in the world’s
Zacharias was filled with unbelief because of the natural
difficulties on account of the impotency of his age and the
barrenness of his wife. Why did he not consider the similar
cases of Abraham and Sarah, of Isaac and Rebecca, and the
case of Hannah, the mother of Samuel? Zacharias might have
known from these illustrious incidents of the past history of
his people, that the supernatural can overcome the natural. Be_
cause of his hesitation to believe the words of the angel, a
sign was given unto him – he should be dumb until the promise
was fulfilled.


The time is six months later than the annunciation to
The place is Mary’s home at Nazareth.
The medium is the same angel, Gabriel.
The matter is that she shall bear a Son, named Jesus, who
shall also see the Son of the Most High, and who shall sit on
the throne of his father David, ruling over an everlasting king-dom.
The explanation of the prodigy of a birth without a human
sire is, „The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power
of the Most High shall overshadow thee.” Because also, God,
not man, is the sire, this offspring shall be “holy” in nature,
and shall be called the Son of God. In all the human race this
is „the Only begotten of the Father,” and hence the only one
born in the world without hereditary depravity.
In this way only could be fulfilled the first gospel promise,
„the seed of the woman [not of the man] shall bruise the
serpent’s head.” Had he been the seed of the man he would
have been born condemned on account of a depraved nature.
He could not have saved himself, much less others. It is true
„he was made under the law,” but not under its condemnation
on his own account. Since he was born holy by nature, and
never sinned in practice, and obeyed all its requirements, the
law could not condemn him except as a legal substitute for
real sinners. It is this that made his death under God’s law
vicarious (Isa. 53:4-12). So that one who rejects his birth of a virgin rejects the whole plan of salvation and the whole.
Bible as the word of God. On this point there is not space
for compromise as large as the point of a cambric needle, nor
as broad as the edge of a razor.
When a man says „NO” to the question, „Do you believe
our Lord was born of a virgin?” you need not ask him any
other question whatever. And if he says, „Yes,” to this in_
carnation of God, the one supreme miracle, he need not quib_
ble at any other in the gospel record.
This one conceded, the others come like a conqueror, and
from necessity. Luke 1:34_35 is the crux, pivot, hinge, and
citadel of all controversies on the joined issue, Natural vs.
Supernatural; Atheism vs. Christianity. We have already
called attention to the monstrous system of Mariology fruit_
ing in Mariolatry. The base of it all is in the angel’s salutation
to Mary: „Hail thou that art highly favored – thou that hast
favor with God.” It is a matter of translation. Shall we
render „highly favored” (Greek, kecharitomene) „mother of
grace,” or „daughter of grace”? Does it mean „fountain of
grace,” or „endued with grace,” i.e., grace conferred or
found”? A Pope has said that Mary is the mother and foun_
tain of all grace and our only hope of salvation.


Here we note the reason of Mary’s visit. The angel had in_
formed her of Elisabeth’s condition. In all the world, Elisabeth
was the only being to whom the modest Mary could confide
her own extraordinary condition. She needed a woman’s sym_
pathy and support. Never before and never again could two
such women meet to confer concerning their unique mother_
hood. In all the history of the race only one woman could be
the mother of the harbinger of our Lord, and only one be the
mother of our Lord. The honors conferred on them were very
high, and could never be repeated. As with the mothers, so
with the sons.
They would forever stand apart from all other men – each
without a model, without a shadow, without a successor.
The visit lasted three months. What the continuation of
the intercommunion and holy confidences, what the mutual
womanly sympathy and support in these three months we
may infer from the beginning.
At the salutation of Mary, _two mighty tokens of recogni_
tion came upon Elisabeth. The babe in her womb, the babe
who was to be full of the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb,
leaped for joy. Upon her also came the power of God and she
herself was full of the Holy Spirit. She was thus prepared to
give the greeting her visitor most needed to confirm her faith
in the embarrassing circumstances of her novel situation:
„Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy
womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord
should come to me? And blessed is she that believed: for there
shall be a fulfilment of the things which have been spoken
unto her from the Lord.” After such greeting, the chastity
and modesty of the virgin could no more be embarrassed, but
upon her came a flame of inspiration that kindled that great

On this first Christian hymn, note:
Its correspondence with the Old Testament hymn of Han_
nah, the mother of Samuel (I Sam. 2:1_10). Hannah’s song
is the model of Mary’s. The correspondence is as remarkable
in the circumstances as in the matter of the song. Israel under
Eli had been brought very low. The barren Hannah prayed
for a child and promised that she would dedicate him to
Jehovah as long as he lived. Her illustrious son was the last
of the judges and the first of the prophets. He reformed Israel
and established the monarchy in David. What a solemn his_
toric lesson, God’s preparation of the mothers of the good
and the great, and the devil’s preparation of the mothers of the
monsters of vice and cruelty! Compare the mothers of Augus_
tine, Washington, Andrew Jackson, S. S. Prentiss, with the
mother of Nero. To the question, Where should the education
of a child commence, Oliver Wendell Holmes replied, „With
his grandmother.” Think of the faith of Timothy, „which
was first in his grandmother, Lois, and in his mother, Eunice ”
Note the three divisions of Mary’s hymn: First as it relates
to herself (Luke 1:46_49). Second, as it relates to God’s moral
government of the world (Luke 1:50_53). Third, as it relates
to Israel (Luke 1:54_55). The blessing on the individual
Christian widens into a blessing on the people of God, and
enlarges into a blessing on the world. How minute in applica_
tion, how comprehensive in scope, and how correlated in all
its parts, is God’s moral government of the universe!
Dr. Lyman Beecher, the greatest of all the Beechers, when
asked, „How long were you in preparing your great sermon
on ‘God’s Moral Government’ ?” replied, „Forty years.”
While the hearers were astounded at the greatness of his pro_
duction, he himself lamented the short time for preparation.
Note the expression in v. 50, „and his mercy is unto genera_
tions and generations of them that fear him,” and mark its
origin and import in the Old Testament, to wit: While he
visits the iniquity of the fathers on their children to the third
and fourth generation, he visits his mercy to the thousandth
generation on the children of them that fear him.

Observe the naming of a Hebrew child at his circumcision.
Hence pedobaptists, contending that baptism comes in the
place of circumcision, name the child at its baptism and call
it „christening.”
The great homiletical theme: „What then shall this child
be?” (Luke 1:66.)
The inspired song of the father. This is called

from the first word, „blessed.” This is the second Christian
hymn. It is divided into two distinct parts:
First, the ascription of praise to God for his continued
mercy to his covenant people, Israel, according to promise and
prophecy from Abraham’s day (Luke 1:68_75).
This promise was messianic – „to raise up a horn of salva_
tion in the house of David,” „horn” meaning a king or king_
dom of power, as in Daniel’s apocalypses, and in Revelation.
Daniel 8:3, the ram with two horns of unequal length, repre_
sented Persia united with Media. Daniel 8:5_9, the one
„notable horn” of the he_goat was Alexander the Great, and
the „four horns” his four successors. The „little horn” rising
later was Antiochus Epiphanes. Daniel 7:7_8, the „ten horns”
of this fourth beast were the ten kingdoms into which the
fallen Roman empire was divided, and the „little horn” was
the papacy.
So when Zacharias says, „Thou hast raised up a horn of
salvation in the house of David,” it means the Messiah,
David’s greater Son. One of the prophecies to which Zecharias
refers is 2 Samuel 7:12_13, with which compare Isaiah II. It
is evident, therefore, that Zacharias speaks his benediction on
God because of spiritual messianic mercies.
The second part of the benediction (Luke 1:76_79) is spoken
to his son, John, because of his relation to the Messiah of the
first part. John was to be (1) the prophet of the Most High.
(2) He was to go before the coming Messiah and prepare the
way for him. (3) His ministry was to give the people „The
knowledge of salvation in the remission of their sins.” We
shall have much use later for this last item, when we devote
a special chapter to John the Baptist, defining his place in the
Christian system.
For the present we note that a true disciple of John was
saved. He had „knowledge” of his salvation. This knowledge
is experimental since it came through the remission of sins.
We are not surprised, therefore, that his candidates for bap_
tism „confessed their sins,” nor that his baptism was „of
repentance unto remission of sins,” as Peter preached at Pente_
cost (Acts 2:38) and was in harmony with our Lord’s great
commission given in his gospel: „Repentance and remission
of sins should be preached in his name unto all nations begin_
ning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47).
„The Dayspring from on High” (Luke 1:78) is our Lord
himself, the Sun of righteousness, in the dawn of his rising.

1. What is the first peculiarity of Matthew’s genealogy?
2. Give proof that this correspondence with Genesis 5:1 was designed.
3. His second peculiarity?
4. Explain three sets of fourteen with only forty_one names.
5. How might another writer, with a different plan, divide the three
from Abraham to Christ into four periods, and give their fulfilment in Christ in four Greek names?
6. Matthew’s third peculiarity, and account for it?
7. How do you reconcile Luke’s genealogy with Matthew’*?
8. Including Paul’s contributions, how should Luke’s genealogy com_
Ans. Jesus himself, the Second Adam, who was the Lord from heaven (supposed son of Joseph) was the son of Heli.
9. Including a statement from Matthew himself, how should his
genealogy commence?
Ans. „The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, called Immanuel
(God with us), the son of David, the son of Abraham.”
10. How many annunciations, to whom, by whom or what, and how?
11. How are all these annunciations adapted to the receivers?
12. Contrast the respective missions of Gabriel and Michael.
13. In the annunciation to Zacharias, give time, scene, place, medium,
means, and circumstances.
14. Where was the golden altar of incense, the brazen altar of sacri_
fice, what was their relation to each other, and what was the doctrine?
Ans. The brazen altar of sacrifice was in the outer court, the golden
altar of incense in the holy place before the veil hiding the mercy seat in the most holy place. The relation was that expiatory sacrifice must precede offering up incense representing prayer based on expiation. First expiation of sin, then prayer. The incense was kindled by fire from the brazen altar. To kindle the incense with other fire was punished with death (see Lev. 10:1_11; Num. 3:4; 26:61; I Chron. 24:2). The doctrine is that prayer must be offered in the name of Jesus the expiatory victim.
15. Why should the people offer their prayers through the medium
of a priest?
Ans. Being sinners they must approach God through a mediator.
16. Who these mediators?
Ans. The sons of Aaron.
17. How was perpetuity in. mediation secured and by whom established?
18. Of which course of the twenty_four was Zacharias?
19. Why could not Zacharias offer the incense in the most holy place,
who alone could, and when?
20. What prayer did Zacharias offer for himself, was it answered, and how?
21. Crucial test question: Is it the design of prayer to influence God
or merely to reflexively influence the petitioner?
(Before you answer read Matt. 7:7_11; Luke 18:1_14; John 16:23_24; and the author’s interpretation of the trumpets of Revelation 8:2 to 10:1. See his book on Revelation, pp. 131_159.)
22. Give time, place, medium, means, and matter of the annunciation to Mary.
23. How does the angel explain a virgin’s giving birth to a child?
24. How does such a birth alone fulfil the first gospel promise?
25. How does it insure the child against hereditary depravity?
26. What three proofs must be made in order that Jesus escape con_
demnation on his own account?
Ans. (1) He must be born holy – holy in nature. (2) He must be free
from actual sin in life. (3) He must perfectly obey all the law.
27. These proofs conceded, then if he yet be condemned and die, what follows?
Ans. His death was vicarious – a substitute for sinners (Isa. 53:4-12).
28. What then the effect of denying the virgin birth of our Lord?
29. What the virtual relation of the incarnation to all other miracles?
30. How then must we regard Luke 1:34_35?
31. What is the base of all the Romanist Mariolatry?
32. Does the Greek word rendered „endued with grace,” convey the idea that Mary was the mother of grace or a daughter of grace – in other words, that she is the fountain of all grace or the subject of grace conferred?
33. What has a Pope said of Mary?
34. Why did Mary visit Elisabeth?
35. How was it announced to Elisabeth that the mother of our Lord
was present?
36. How naturally would Elisabeth’s inspired response comfort and
confirm the modest virgin?

37. What is its Old Testament model?
38. What historic lesson suggested, and illustrate.
39. Point out the three divisions of Mary’s hymn.
40. Who preached a great sermon illustrating the second division?
41. What is the origin and meaning of „unto generations and generations” v.50?

42. On what occasion did Hebrews name their male children and why
do pedobaptists in imitation christen their children?
43. What great sermon theme here?

44. Why song of Zacharias, 80 called?
45. What two divisions of the song?
46. What the nature of the first part and the relation of second thereto?
47. Meaning of „horn of salvation in the house of David”? Illustrate by „horn” from Daniel and cite two pertinent Old Testament messianic promises.
48. What three things in the second part of the Benedictua said of
John the Baptist?
49. What does the last prove of a true disciple of John?

Broadus’ Harmony pages 7_8 and Matthew 1:18_25;
Luke 2:1_20.

On this paragraph of Matthew I desire to commend in the
highest possible terms the critical and elaborate discussion
by Dr. Broadus in his peerless Commentary on Matthew,
pages 8_13. You will not be kind and fair to yourself if you
fail, in this connection, to read every word of it. And having
read it, you do not need any other exegesis of the passage. In
the fear, however, that you may not read it now, I submit a
few brief observations:
While betrothal among the Jews preceded the consumma_
tion of marriage, it was an essential part of it, and just as
binding as the consummation itself (Lev. 20:10; Deut. 22:
23f). A man might put away his betrothed for infidelity to
her betrothal vows, either publicly, thereby necessitating her
open condemnation under the laws cited above, or he might, at
his own option, privately give her a bill of divorcement with_
out assigning the cause. Or, as putting her away at all was
not mandatory, he might forgive her and consummate the
Joseph, being a righteous, not a vindictive, man when
Mary’s condition became obvious, was compelled to think
on these things and determine his own course in the matter.
Just at this juncture of his perplexity came the revelation
which justified him in completing the marriage, without any
necessity for forgiveness.
It is easy to see why Mary needed the revelation at the be_
ginning, while it was unnecessary for Joseph to understand un_
til later, when he must take some step in the matter.
The means of annunciation in the two cases indicate Mary’s
superior spiritual state, as open vision is a higher order of
revelation than by dreams. In no case was Joseph endowed
with open vision, but four times God directs him by dreams
(Matt. 1:20; 2:13, 19, 22).
The name „Jesus” means Saviour, and the salvation to be
achieved by him was not political deliverance of his people
from Roman rule, but salvation „from their sins.” What a
pity that his own disciples were so slow to understand the na_
ture of the salvation, and how readily even Pontius Pilate
acquitted him by the verdict, „I find no fault in him,” when
he understood that our Lord’s kingdom was not of this world,
and hence not a revolt against Caesar. Had the suspicious,
bloody_minded old tyrant, Herod, understood, there would
have been no massacre of the babes at Bethlehem. And even
in our late day we need to be continually reminded of the real
mission of our Lord.
Let us make no mistake about this „salvation from sins.”
It is salvation through the vicarious expiation of sins satisfy_
ing the claims of justice. It is salvation from the guilt of sin
by justification, through faith. It is salvation from the defile_
ment of sin by the cleansing blood of Christ applied by the
Holy Spirit. It is salvation from the love of sin through re_
generation. It is salvation from the dominion of sin through
sanctification. It is the salvation of the body through resurrec_
tion and glorification. We may not stop at salvation done for
us, but must include the salvation wrought in us. Salvation
has the legal aspects expressed by the appropriate words, ex_
piation and justification. And further expressed in a commer_
cial legal sense by redemption and ransom (I Pet. 1:18_19;
Matt. 20:28; I Tim. 2:6). Woe to the teacher or taught who
leaves them out I It has its biological aspect, expressed by
birth from above, or a new creature, and life more abundant,
expressed by sanctification. Woe to the teacher or taught who
leaves these out or magnifies these by decrying the legal aspects!
It has its human or experimental side, as expressed in con_
trition, repentance, faith, confession, reformation and all those
fruits of the Spirit, love joy, hope, peace, as we walk in new-
ness of life from grace to grace, from faith to faith, from
strength to strength, perfecting ourselves in holiness, being
changed more and more into the image of Christ, from glory
to glory.
And just as surely must we admit into this idea of salvation
God’s foreknowledge) election, and predestination. It is salva_
tion from the power of Satan, the usurping de facto prince of
this world.
This name, „Jesus” is the same as „Joshua,” who was a type
of our Lord as captain general of the army of God, and as
the one who would lead the people into the Promised Land of
rest. This feature of the name „Jesus” is not discussed here,
but is emphasized in the letter to the Hebrews and again in
Revelation. Another feature of the name is brought out by
Paul where, after and because of his expiation of sins on the
cross, his name is exalted above every name (Phil. 2:9_11).
Well might Peter say, „And in none other is there salvation:
for neither is there any other name under heaven, that is given
among men, wherein ye must be saved” (Acts 4:12). All who
heard or read it will cherish as a precious memory Dr. Wink_
ler’s great sermon before the Southern Baptist Convention on
„The Name Above Every Name.”
We need to consider just here, in part, Matthew’s applica_
tion of Old Testament quotations. It is a broad and complex
question extending to all other New Testament quotations

from the Old Testament, as finding fulfilment in New Testa_
ment events.
The case before us is an extreme one, and so if Matthew
he_justified here in his construction of the quoted passage from
Isaiah, the battle need not be fought over on cases not ex_
treme. We cannot justify Matthew by an attempt to modify
the obvious and natural force of his words, „Now all this is
come to pass, that it might be fulfilled, which was spoken by
the Lord through the prophet, saying, Behold, the virgin shall
be with child, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call
his name Immanuel (God with us).” Matthew evidently con_
veys the impression that the author of the prophecy looked to
the virgin birth here recorded as the fulfilling event. I say
the author of the prophecy; I do not mean the prophet Isaiah.
Matthew distinctly affirms that the prophecy „was spoken by
the Lord.” True, it was „through the prophet.” But it was not
necessary that Isaiah should understand. Isaiah might have
seen only the child of the days of Ahaz concerning whom it is
there said, „For before the child shall know to refuse the evil,
and choose the good, the land whose two kings thou abhorrest
shall be forsaken.” (See Isa. 7:13 to 8:4.)
Just here comes in the much disputed double sense of
prophecy. The double sense is not real, but is in the nature
of an optical illusion which blends into one apparent mountain
of several separate peaks which lie in one line of vision. A
side view, from a different angle of vision, differentiates the
peaks. The first and lowest peak in the line of vision is not
really the last and highest peak. True, to the eye, looking at
them afar off, they apparently blend into one. This limitation
is in the nature of prophecy, which has no perspective, as in
the nature of optics.
New Testament interpretation is the later side view that
differentiates the blended objects. For example, the Holy
Spirit inspires David to speak of his great successor. David
himself may understand that all of it applies to his immediate
successor, Solomon. But the Spirit means his great, remote
successor, Jesus. The vision does touch the foothill, Solomon,
but goes on to rest on the higher peak, Christ, far beyond.
There is no double sense. That is, what refers to Solomon
does not mean Christ, and what refers to Christ does not mean
Solomon. As seen afar off it appears to be one thing, but
when the intervening distance is traversed the Solomon foot_
hill is found to be quite a distinct and small affair compared
with the mountain peak, Christ, which stood behind it and
was optically blended into one view with it.
Often, in the West, have I seen what appeared to be a sin_
gle far_off blue mountain. But when approached nearer, and
seen from a different angle of vision, as the road would turn,
my one mountain became a whole range of separate, distinct
peaks with intervening valleys.
Mark my words: Only a very shallow truth lies in the catch_
word of the radical critics, ”The prophets speak to their own
times.” They indeed teach their own times, but they do not
and cannot foretell their own times. (See I Pet. 1:10_12.) In
the very nature of the case, foretelling looks beyond the pres_
ent. Two great tests apply to all foretelling in the name of
(1) The thing foretold must come to pass (Deut. 18:21_22).
(2) Though it come to pass it cannot, as a sign, authenticate
a violation of revealed law (Deut. 13:1_3).
In the light of these tests, Matthew’s „fulfillments” of
prophecy are all justified. He recorded his facts by inerrant
inspiration. He interpreted his facts by adequate illumination.
And that Matthew gets the true interpretation of the prophecy
in Isaiah 7:14 is evident if we look on to Isaiah 9:6 and ll:lf.
Observe the last line of our paragraph: „And knew her not
till she had brought forth her Son.” Add to this Luke 2:7ù
„And she brought forth her firstborn Son.” Add yet Mark 6:3
– “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of

James and Joses and Judas and Simon? and are not his sisters
here with us?” To this add Mark 3:31_35ù”And there came
to him his mother and brethren; and standing without, they
sent unto him, calling him. And a multitude was sitting about
him; and they say unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy
brethren without seek for thee. And he answered them, and
saith, Who is my mother and my brethren? And looking
round on them that sat about him, he saith, Behold my mother
and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God,
the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.” The
natural, obvious import of these passages is that Mary, after
the birth of Jesus, bore children to Joseph. Only strained,
unnecessary, sentimental quibbling can break the obvious
natural sense. We are more inclined to suspect the quibbling,
when we consider the air castle superstructure erected on this
foundation of quicksand.

Dr. Broadus’ footnote in his harmony is much to the point:
„Observe how the ruler of the civilized world is unconsciously
bringing it about that the Messiah, the son of David, shall
be born at Bethlehem, though the mother’s home was Naza_
reth. All the previous history of Rome and of Israel gathers
about this manger.” We may add, all their subsequent history
also. Indeed, we may say that Jesus is the key to the philoso_
phy of all history. Daniel’s five world empires is an illustra_
tion; Revelation expands the thought to the end of time.
Luke, in his Gospel and Acts, more than all the other his_
torians, connects his story, at almost countless points of
contact, with the history, geography, navigation, trade,
chronology, religions, laws, customs, philosophies, literature,
and games of both nations and localities, without the thought
that he might be convicted of an anachronism. The most
searching examination known to literature has never proved
him at fault in the minutest detail of his story, by land or sea.
Hasty criticism has indeed objected here and there to some
detail, but has perished in the light of more elaborate research.
Our short paragraph furnishes three cases in point:
(1) A worldwide enrolment, by order of Augustus Caesar.
It has been objected, first, that there is no historical proof
of such decree, and second, that if decreed it could not apply
to dependent kingdoms like Herod’s. It is now conceded that
Augustus did issue this decree, and according to Tacitus, the
Roman historian, it did include the „Regna,” or dependent
kingdoms. This census was with a view to taxation. The evi_
dence is abundant in the later history that the tax based upon
the census was imposed and collected.
(2) But, second, it is objected that Luke times the enrol_
ment when Quirinius was governor of Syria, which was ten
years later, and that only after Herod’s death was Judea sub_
ordinate to Syria. This objection is far more plausible. See
partial or possible explanation in Dr. Robertson’s note (ap_
pendix to Broadus’ harmony, pp. 239_240).
We may add that Luke was well aware of the enrolment
ten years later, for he himself discusses it in Acts 5:37. And
no historian contradicts his explicit statement in our para_
graph. Nor is there evidence that any heathen historian was
so devoted to accuracy as Luke. No one of their histories,
nor even Josephus, could bear the test of accuracy to which
Luke has been subjected.
(3) It is objected that a Roman census would require en_
rolment at the place of residence and not of personal or family
nativity. The answer is every way sufficient that dependent
kingdoms would be allowed to follow their own established
methods. It was the settled policy of Rome to interfere as
little as possible with the fixed customs of these kingdoms.
Note the last clause of our paragraph: „there was .no room
for them in the inn.” Upon this, one of the most touching
gospel hymns was written, in which the line occurs, „There is

room in my heart for thee, Lord Jesus.” In my choir at Waco
was a brilliant young lady who could outsing the birds, and
especially in singing this hymn could make the stars sparkle.
She was not a Christian. At a gathering of ladies in a private
home she sang it with unusual power. I leaned over and
whispered to her, „My child, you sing it beautifully with your
lips, but is there room in your heart for the Lord Jesus?” She
was instantly convicted of sin, and the following Sunday came
with face illumined, as the shining of the faces of Moses and
Stephen, saying with joy and tears, „I have not only given him
a room in my heart, but all of it as his residence forever.”
Years later when, a happy wife and mother, she was dying,
she took my hand and said, „He is still in my heart, and has
called me to a room in his Father’s house of many mansions.”
„No room for him in the inn” at his birth! The feeding
trough of domestic animals his cradle. „With the wild beasts
of the desert” in his temptation. In his life, while „the foxes
had holes, and the birds of the air had nests, the Son of Man
had not where to lay his head.”
A fish contributed his temple_tax, the gold of Gentile magi
paid the expenses of his flight into Egypt, his own labor as a
carpenter supported the family after Joseph’s death, and
sympathetic women ministered to him of their substance in
his public ministry, at his death „a cross between two thieves”
while his crucifiers gambled for his vesture, a borrowed tomb
his place of sepulcher!
Augustus Caesar, claiming divine honor, ruled the world,
but his apostle John lived to see twelve „divine Caesars” come
and go, with the thirteenth on the throne, and then to fore_
show the downfall of them all Rome itself, like a volcano
in eruption, overturned and swallowed up in the sea of nations.
Very wisely the providence of God has left uncertain the
exact date of his birth. We cannot determine with certainty
the year or the month or the day in the terms of our era.

We know that Augustus ruled at Rome, and Herod, the king
of the Holy Land, was just about to pass away.
The argument is very convincing that our present era, due
to the Abbot Dionysius Exiguus, in the sixth century, is at
least four years too late. But we do not deem the matter of
sufficient importance to attempt the reform of our calendar
another time. For centuries Christmas, on December 25, new
style, has been fixed in the customs and literature of all na_
tions west of Russia and Constantinople. And if the Greek
church prefers the old style, what signifies a difference of
twelve days? The Christ was born, and salvation does not
consist in the observance of days and festivals (Gal. 4:10f;
Col. 2:16_23).
We do know that he came in the fulness of time (Gal. 4:4),
when the world was ripe for his advent, when „Great Pan”
and all other heathen gods were dead and their oracles were
dumb, when their philosophies had failed to alarm, comfort
or save, when their civilizations had rotted, when good men
despaired, when Rome united the world in government, when
the hierarchy at Jerusalem and the ritual in the Temple were
but sounding brass and tinkling cymbals and when the dis_
persion and the synagogue throughout the world were ready to
supply the firstfruits of the gospel.
Note very carefully that though impatient thousands had in
every intervening age been shaking the hour glass of time to
make its sands run faster (Luke 10:24), and confident inter_
preters insisted that this first advent was always imminent,
that is, liable to happen any time from Eve’s too hasty joy
over the birth of Cain till Judas Maccabeus, God himself had
fixed an unalterable day and kept narrowing the converging
lines of all prophecies until they focused in one blended blaze
of light on the new_born Babe in the manger at Bethlehem.
From this great example, why cannot we learn that his final
advent is not imminent, that is, liable to happen any day or
hour, but like the first, must wait „the fulness of time” and
the fixed, unalterable day, for Paul says, „Inasmuch as he hath
appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteous_
ness by the Man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath
given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from
the dead.”


The birth of our Lord was not divinely announced to Augus_
tus, Herod or the Sanhedrin – they would not have welcomed
it – but to shepherds, who like David, watched the flocks of
Bethlehem. Those who looked, longed, and waited for his first
coming, were not left in the dark, nor will those like them be
left in the dark at his final advent (I Thess. 5:4). These shep_
herds of Bethlehem cared for the sacrificial flocks that were
to be offered in the Temple. It was fitting, therefore, that they
should know of the coming of the antitype, the Lamb of God,
who taketh away the sin of the world. The time is the night
of the very day of Christ’s birth, the medium is an angel,
the means – open vision. The glory of the Lord is the Shekinah
or halo_symbol of the Divine Presence, well known in the
tabernacle of Moses and the Temple of Solomon.
Notwithstanding the awe naturally excited by this glorious
visitation, they, like Zacharias and Mary, are exhorted to
„fear not.” The angel’s mission is mercy, not wrath. The
character of the message is good tidings of great joy to all the
people. „To bring good tidings” means the same as to evan_
gelize or proclaim the gospel. „The people” means strictly
the Jewish people, but of course through them all other peo_
ples. The message itself is: „There is born to you this day,
in the city of David, a Saviour who is Christ the Lord.”
We have seen that Saviour means a Saviour from their sins.
Christ is his official name and means the Anointed One. The
Hebrew word is Messiah, Greek transliteration, Messias;
Greek translation, Christos; English, Christ. Jesus was to be
anointed to qualify him as prophet, priest, sacrifice, and King.
We come to the anointing on the day he was inducted into his
public ministry. (See in the author’s first volume of sermons,
The Anointed One.)


„Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, and
lying in a manger.” How appropriate the sign of him who
comes disrobed of heavenly glory to enter on his life of humili_
ation, poverty, and sacrifice! When the apostles later ask for
the sign of his final advent, in his glory, how appropriately
different the sign, the appearance in world darkness of a
„great white throne” of eternal judgment. (See Matt. 24:3,
30; 25:31; Rev. 20:11.) From the manger to the throne!


Here we have the foundation of the third historic Christian
hymn, „Gloria in Excelsis.” In this hymn is a triple contrast,
God – men; heaven – earth; glory – peace. This coming will
make for glory to God in heaven, peace to men on earth. But
the peace is not to all men – only to men in whom he is
We note here how this child in his coming affects three
worlds. In heaven every bell is ringing and every angel sing_
ing. Earth, in its humbler classes, is rejoicing and singing
hymns. Its kings and senates’ are indifferent, soon to be hostile.
Hell is moved with fear and hate, stirring up the three Herods
to kill – its old Herod (Matt. 2:16) ; his son, Herod (Mark 6:
17_28); and his grandson, Herod (Acts 22:1_3).

1. What special comment on Matthew 1:18_25 commended?
2. Explain the relation of Jewish betrothal to marriage and what the
Old Testament law on violation of betrothal vows?
3. Meaning of the word „Jesus”?
4. Full meaning of the salvation, from sin?
5. What Old Testament name is the same as „Jesus,” and in what
New Testament books is the relation between the two discussed?
6. Explain and justify Matthew’s application of the Old Testament
7. Explain and illustrate the apparent double sense of prophecy.
8. What the two tests of prophecy?
9. Collate the two passages indicating that Mary bore children to
10. What does Dr. Broadus ask us to observe on the birth of Jesus
at Bethlehem?
11. What are the characteristics of Luke’s history?
12. What are the three criticisms on his account of the birth of Christ,
and your reply?
13. What the gospel hymn written on „No room for them at the inn,”
and the incident given?
14. With what other expressions in his life does the „no room at the
inn” correlate?
15. What can you say of the date of Christ’s birth, our era and
16. Compare the first and final advent as to their alleged imminence.
17. In the message of the angels to the shepherds, what means „good
tidings,” „people,” „Christ”?
18. What the sign of the first advent? The second.
19. What the triple contrast in the song of the angels?
20. Show how Christ’s coming affected three worlds.

Harmony pages 8_10 and Luke 2:21_38; Matthew 2:1_12.


On this point the answers to two questions will be sufficient:
Why was our Lord subject to this ordinance? and to what did
it obligate him? Paul answers both questions: „He was born
under the law that he might redeem them that were under the
law” (Gal. 4:4_5). Circumcision made him „a debtor to do
the whole law” (Gal. 5:2). To accomplish his ultimate mission
of mercy to the Gentile world he must approach them through
the Jews – „For I say that Christ hath been made a minister
of the circumcision for the truth of God that he might confirm
the promises given unto the fathers and that the Gentiles
might glorify God for his mercy” (Rom. 15:8_9).
So that his circumcision had a twofold purpose – to reach the
Jews and through the Jews to reach the Gentiles. Being,
through his mother, a lineal descendant of Abraham, it became
him to magnify and make honorable the law in every minute
respect. He himself said: „Think not that I came to destroy
the law or the prophets: I came not to destroy but to fulfill. . . .
Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in
no wise pass away from the law till all things be accomplished”
(Matt. 5:17_18).


This was the second step in the line of keeping the law. Cir_
cumcision was a family rite on the eighth day – this a Temple
rite on the fortieth day. In this account we must distinguish
what applied to Jesus from what applied to his mother. Two
laws applied to his mother: (1) The forty days of purification
required after bearing a first_born son (Lev. 12:1_4). (2) The
bringing to the sanctuary a lamb for a burnt offering and a
turtle_dove or a pigeon for a sin offering. But in mercy the
law provided: „If her means suffice not for a lamb, then she
shall take two turtle_doves or two young pigeons – the one for
a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering: and the priest
shall make atonement for her, and she shall be clean” (Lev.
12:6_8). What a comment, then, on the family poverty when
our text says she offered „a pair of turtle_doves, or two young
The laws applying to her Son were: (1) He belonged, as
first_born, to Jehovah and must be presented to him. The his_
torical ground of Jehovah’s title to the first_born of man or
beast was the salvation of Israel’s first_born through the blood
of the passover lamb on the night that Egypt’s first_born
perished (Ex. 13:2, 11_16). This obligated the first_born son
to a consecrated service in the sanctuary.
(2) But when Jehovah selected the tribe of Levi for sanc_
tuary service in lieu of the first_born males of all the tribes,
then the first_born of the other tribes were exempted from
sanctuary service on payment of a redemption price of five
shekels, which constituted a part of the means for supporting
the tribe of Levi (Num. 8:16; 18:15_16).
So when Jesus was seven days old he was circumcised; and
when forty days old was carried from Bethlehem to Jerusalem
for presentation in the Temple, that the laws cited bearing on
him and his mother might be fulfilled. The habit_blinded Tem_
ple officers saw nothing unusual in this observance of ordinary
ritual. To them only a poor Jewish mother and her child had
entered the gorgeous Temple of Herod. Like the unseeing man
pilloried by Wordsworth:
A primrose by a river’s brim
A yellow primrose was to him,
And it was nothing more.

But this first appearance of our Lord in the Temple, as
many subsequent ones, was to be signalized by mighty events.
To one man and to one woman were given the seeing eye. One
righteous and devout old man was looking for the coming
Messiah, here called, according to prophecy, the Consolation
of Israel. He had not only noted that the converging lines
of type and prophecy had focused, but the Holy Spirit had
revealed to him that his old eyes should not close in death
until they had seen the Lord’s Christ. It was like _the revela_
tion to Enoch that his son Methuselah should live to the end
of the antediluvian world, and like the revelation to Lamech
that his son Noah should give rest from the flood and start a
new race in the postdiluvian world. The Spirit, all the time
resting on Simeon, gave him special prompting to go to the
Temple at a certain hour, and there enabled him to recognize
the Lord just entering in, borne by his mother. He took the
child in his arms, blessing God and Joseph and Mary. Under
immediate inspiration he spoke of three things:
(1) Salvation, (a) It was a salvation prepared before the
face of all nations. This preparation had been going on for
4,000 years. In some way the preparation had con_
spicuously touched every nation under heaven. The Old Testa_
ment records the story of the contact. The great world empires,
Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome, were no
more than smaller nations and tribes. The loom of God’s moral
government of the world was ever weaving its web. The na_
tions, as colored threads, constituted the warp. His providence,
like a shuttle, ever flying to and fro, supplied the woof. And
now, at last, after 4,000 years of weaving the pattern of the
web exhibits the Lord Jesus Christ as the central figure of all
(b) It was a salvation, not only „to the glory of Israel,”
but as a revelation to the Gentiles.
(c) After his eyes had seen the coming of this salvation
earth had nothing more of honor to wait forùhe was per_
mitted to depart in peace. Happy old man! What a glorious
consummation of a long and faithful life! What a brilliant
sunset of life, unflecked by a cloud I Well might a disobedient
prophet say,
Let me die the death of the righteous,
And let my last end be like his.

Contrast the hideous old age and exit of Herod with the old
age and beatific departure of Simeon.
(2) Concerning the Saviour, (a) „Behold, this child is set
for the falling and rising up of many in Israel.” Christ is the
touchstone revealing the secret of every heart. Those who ac_
cept him rise. Those who reject him fall. He is a savor of
life unto life, or of death unto death.
(b) He is set for a sign which is spoken against. This again
depends on how he is presented or regarded. As a mere good
man none spoke against him. But as God_man on the cross,
expiating, as a substitute the sins of the world, voices from
every class blaspheme his name and mission.
(3) Concerning his mother. „Yea, and a sword shall pierce
through thine own soul.” Your attention has been called to a
book entitled The Sorrows of Mary, based on this passage.
The honor put on Mary was the highest privilege ever con_
ferred on woman. When she thought of the honor, well might
she sing: „My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath
rejoiced in God, my Saviour. . . . For he that is mighty hath
done to me great things.”

But with this honor come many sorrows. She must see her
Son pass beyond all earthly relations to become absorbed in
the higher spiritual relations. She must witness his rejection,
betrayal, and crucifixion. Her sympathetic maternal heart
must lead her into a baptism of suffering on his account.
Anna, the prophetess. Simeon, the aged man, is not alone
as a witness. Here is a woman more than 100 years old. She
had lived as a wife seven years, and had now been a widow
cighty_four years. If she married at fourteen she would be 105
years old. She reminds us of Paul’s direction concerning one
„who is a widow indeed” (I Tim. 5:5_10). After the death of
her husband she devoted herself exclusively to the service of
God in the Temple. Great joy comes to her old age. She, like
Simeon, beholds the coming of the long_expected Saviour.
Under the inspiration of the Spirit she testifies of the Christ
to other waiting souls expecting the redemption.
In the most degenerate days of impiety and public corrup_
tion God never leaves himself without witnesses.
They are not in the high places, nor conspicuous in the
congregations. They quietly wait and pray and serve. There
are always more of them than men think. Elijah thought him_
self alone against the world. But God, even then, had reserved
to himself seven thousand who had not bowed the knees to
Baal. And so, says Paul, there is always „a remnant according
to the election of grace.” It is this remnant that constitutes the
seed and nucleus of future revivals. In the dark days of Mala_
chi, there were some faithful ones: „Then they that feared
Jehovah spake one with another; and Jehovah hearkened, and
heard, and a book of remembrance was written before him’, for
them that feared Jehovah, and that thought upon his name.
And they shall be mine, saith Jehovah of hosts, even mine own
possession, in the day that I make; and I will spare them, as a
man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye
return and discern between the righteous and the wicked, be_
tween him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.”

And this „book of remembrance” will be among the „books
opened at the judgment” (Rev. 20:12).

THE VISIT OF THE MAGI – Matthew 2:1_12
On this notable event we submit the following observations:
(1) The meaning of Magi. Nebuchadnezzar summoned all
his „wise men” (Dan. 2:12) to reveal to him the dream he
had forgotten and ‘then to interpret it. In this case our word
„magi” is made to include „magicians, enchanters, sorcerers,
and Chaldeans” (Dan. 2:2). The Chaldeans only of this list
answer to the character of the Magi of our paragraph. They
were astronomers, devoting much attention to the study of the
heavenly bodies, and believing, not only that they were ap_
pointed for signs to the earth, as taught in Genesis 1:14, but
had much influence for good and evil on earth’s affairs, hence
the question of the Almighty to Job:
Canst thou bind the cluster of the Pleiades,
Or loose the bands of Orion?
Canst thou lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season,
Or canst thou guide the Bear with her train?
Knowest thou the ordinances of the heavens?
Canst thou establish the dominion thereof in the earth f
– JOB 38:31_33
To like effect is the passage in Judges 5:20
From heaven fought the stars,
From their courses they fought against Sisera,
So the sun and the moon, at the bidding of Joshua, paused in
their respective courses that the enemies of Israel might be
utterly discomfited (Josh. 10:12_14).
From astronomy, a great and proper science with the ancient
Egyptians and Chaldeans, there was developed later the super_
stition of astrology, with its casting of horoscopes, which dark_
ened medieval Europe.
Later than Daniel’s time we have another Old Testament
use of the word „magi”: „Then the king said to the wise men,
who knew the times (for so was the king’s manner toward all
that knew law and judgment; and the next unto him were
Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena, and
Memucan, the seven princes of Persia and Media, who saw
the king’s face, and sat first in the kingdom)” (Esther 1:13_
14). The Magi here are both princes and counselors to Ahas_
uerus (Xerxes the Great).
It is evident from a comparison of our paragraph with the
two instances quoted from the Septuagint, that Magi might
be very wise and honorable men engaged in the lawful study
of astronomy, and that if Jehovah made a revelation to them,
it would be adapted to their line. of study.
(2) How would these Wise Men in the Far East be prepared
to recognize a heavenly phenomenon as a sign of a coming
Jewish king? Very much to the point is a prophecy under the
compulsion of unwelcome inspiration, by an unworthy magian
from the Far East, many centuries before the birth of our
Lord. Balaam three times prophesies of a coming king of
Israel who shall rule the nations. In his last prophecy con_
cerning this king, he says,
I see him but not now;
I behold him but not nigh:
There shall come forth a star out of Jacob
And a sceptre shall rise out of Israel . . .
And out of Jacob shall one have dominion.
– NUMBERS 24:17_19
Then, in the captivity under Nebuchadnezzar this book, cen_
turies later, was carried to the home of the Magi – Ezra on his
return bringing back a copy (Ezra 7:6, 10; Neh. 8:2) and then the book of Isaiah was also shown to Cyrus, in which the prophecy, „Jehovah will arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And nations shall come to thy light, and kings to the bright-ness of thy rising. . . . They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall proclaim the praises of Jehovah” (Isa. 60:2_6). Moreover, all these holy books were kept in circulation in the land of the Magi, by resident Jews, until Christ was born.
I say, then, in view of the prophecy of a magian concerning
the star and the King, and of Isaiah’s prophecy of Gentiles coming to his rising, naming the very gifts they would bring, and of the circulation of these books in their very midst by resident Jews up to Christ’s birth, of which it was impossible for these Magi to be ignorant, it is easy to understand how these stargazers would connect the appearance of a new and brilliant luminary with the birth of the long foretold King of the Jews who would rule the world.
(3) Was the star they saw the conjunction of heavenly
bodies, appearing naturally at this time) or was it a miracle?
You will find in Dr. Robertson’s note, appendix to Broadus_
Harmony, a brief summary of the argument in favor of a nat_
ural phenomenon. I do not quote it, because such an explana_
tion could not be made to fit Matthew’s account, particularly,
2:9. It must be considered a miraculous appearance.
(4) How many of these Wise Men, what were their names,
were they kings, and what became of them? The record is silent. We had better follow the record. Of course, if you desire to fol-low traditional fancies, utterly worthless, you may learn from Gen. Lew Wallace’s romance, Ben Hur, that they were three in number, and royal personages, and their names and countries, and how, contrary to Matthew’s account, they lingered long and conspicuously, instead of returning quietly to their distant homes.
Moreover, if you are given to the worship of lying relics,
the next time you visit the famous cathedral at Cologne, the
janitor, for a fee, will show you their bones in the shrine
behind the high altar. Then will be justified the proverb: „A
fool and his money are soon parted.” The first time I visited
New Orleans, an auctioneer of curios told me they were still
selling to credulous visitors the cannon ball that killed Sir
Edward Packingham in his great battle with Andrew Jackson.
And I have heard that an auctioneer once tried to sell the
sword with which Balaam killed his ass. When a bystander
informed him that Balaam did not kill his ass, but only wished
for a sword that he might kill him, the auctioneer was nothing
daunted: „This,” said he, „is the sword be wished for,” and
he sold is as an antique relic.
(5) These Wise Men, quite naturally, went to Jerusalem
with their question: „Where is he that is born king of the
Jews, for we have seen his star in the East, and are come to
do homage to him?” But it was not good tidings to Herod and
Jerusalem. Both were greatly troubled – Herod, because he
feared the downfall of his proposed dynasty; Jerusalem, be_
cause it dreaded political convulsions followed by bloodshed
and destruction of their city. Herod summons the obsequious
Sanhedrin and learns that Bethlehem, according to prophecy,
was to be his birthplace. The cunning old tyrant, having gath_
ered from the Wise Men the time of the appearance of the
star, sent them to Bethlehem, with the charge to let him know
if they found the child, that he also might come and worship
(6) It seems that the Magi saw the star only twice: first,
at its appearance in the East, and second, after they left
Jerusalem on their way to Bethlehem, where the star led
them, and then stood still over the house where Joseph and
Mary lodged.
(7) Observe that the first gift laid at the feet of Jesus was
gold. On a great occasion, before our Texas convention, when
the foreign mission cause was greatly suffering, I preached a
sermon on the gold, frankincense and myrrh, the first gifts to
Jesus, and as myrrh was used for both the holy ointment in
the anointing of kings and prophets, and also for embalming,
I made the gifts represent contribution, prayer, and unction,
and that they should never be separated: We must contribute,
we must pray, we must have the unction of the Spirit. A great
collection followed for foreign missions.
These Wise Men, having done homage to the new_born
King, and warned of God in a dream not to return to Herod,
went away into their own country. How dramatic their com_
ing and their going!
(8) Evidently they may be counted as the firstfruits of the
1. Why should Jesus be circumcised, and what was its twofold pur_
pose in his case?
2. In. the presentation of our Lord in the Temple, distinguish the
laws as applied to him from those applied to his mother.
3. What two mighty events signalized this first appearance of our
Lord in the Temple?
4. Is Luke 2:29 a prayer for an affirmation?
5. In the prophecy of Simeon, he speaks three things concerning
salvation. What are they?
6. He speaks two things concerning the Saviour: What are they?
7. He speaks one thing concerning Mary: What is it?
8. Does „that thoughts out of many hearts be revealed,” in v. 35,
refer to what Simeon said to Mary, or to what he said of her Son?
9. What do you learn concerning Anna the prophetess?
10. Cite the Old Testament uses of the word „Magi,” and what is
its meaning?
11. What is the difference between astronomy and astrology?
12. How were these Wise Men prepared to recognize a heavenly
phenomenon as a sign of the coming Jewish King?
13. Was the star they saw a junction of heavenly bodies appearing
naturally, or was it a miracle?
14. How many of these Wise Men, what were their names, were they
kings, what became of them?
15. What traditions concerning them are given in Gen. Lew Wallace’s
Ben Hur!
16. What have you to say about their bones now lying in the cathe_
dral at Cologne?
17. Why were Herod and Jerusalem troubled at the account of the
Wise Men?
18. What wag the first gift ever laid at the feet of our Lord, and
what providential use was made of it?
19. Tell concerning the sermon on „gold, frankincense and myrrh,”

Harmony pages 10_11 and Matthew 2:13_28; Luke 2:39_52


In two respects the flight into Egypt is connected with the
visit of the Wise Men: First a dream was sent to them not to
return to Herod at Jerusalem, and another dream to Joseph to
escape with the child into Egypt. Second, the Wise Men’s gift
of gold provided the means of paying the expense of the Egyp_
tian trip. Before leaving the subject of the Wise Men, you
will recall my warning against the unhistorical accretions to
the simple story of them by Matthew. Now, as some compen_
sation for the caution against unworthy legends, I commend
with pleasure and without reserve a little book by Henry van
Dyke, entitled: The Fourth Wise Man. It makes no pretension
to be either history or tradition but, like a parable, has the
verisimilitude of history, and is one of the most exquisite por_
trayals of great abstract principle and truth known to litera_
ture. If any of you are puzzled to select an appropriate gift
for Christmas, New Year, a birthday or wedding, you cannot
do better than to select van Dyke’s little book, which contains
The Fourth Wise Man, and other equally exquisite stories.
Dr. Maclaren, in his extended exposition of Matthew, calls
attention, with modified approval, to the contention of
Delitzsch that Matthew’s Gospel follows the plan of the Pen_
tateuch, with a Genesis ending in a dreaming Joseph entering
into Egypt to provide a nurturing home for Israel, Jehovah’s
ideal son. Then an exodus from Egypt, here fulfilled again:
„Out of Egypt have I called my Son,” followed by the Sermon
of the Mount, which answers to the giving of the Law at Sinai;
then the forty days of hunger and temptation of our Lord, an_
swering to the forty years of _the wilderness wanderings in
Numbers, etc. That there are points of striking correspondence
between Matthew and the Pentateuch would naturally follow
from the fact that our Lord is the ideal Son and Servant of
Jehovah, of whom the national Israel was a type, and hence
the history of ancient Israel is itself prophetic.
The whole paragraph, Matthew 2:13_23, naturally divides
itself into three parts:
(1) The flight into Egypt, and the prophecy.
(2) The massacre of the Bethlehem babes, and the prophecy.
(3) The return to Nazareth, and the prophecy. We con_
sider them in order:


This is the historic background of the symbolism in Revela_
tion referring to a later persecution of the church and her con_
verts. See the author’s exposition of Revelation 12:1_6. That
passage must be interpreted as a symbol concerning future
events, but it does prove that Satan, who here prompts the
malice of Herod to drive Mary and her Son into Egypt, docs
there prompt a heathen emperor of Rome to drive the church
into the wilderness and make war on her seed. The mistake
to avoid is not, like Alford, to interpret the symbol so as to
make it mean its historic background.
One acquainted with the Old Testament history may easily
observe that for ages whoever fled from persecution in Pales_
tine quite naturally went into Egypt. It was the best of all
places for Joseph to take the family while the bloody_minded
Herod lived.
It will be observed that from this time on it is the child, not
Mary or Joseph, who occupies the chief place – „take the
young child and his mother.” They remain in Egypt until in
another dream Jehovah notified Joseph „that those who sought
the young child’s life were dead,” and directing him to return
to the land of Israel, as Matthew says, „that the prophecy
might be fulfilled, out of Egypt have I called my Son.” This
expression is a plain historical statement in the book of Hosea,
and yet Matthew is justified in calling it a prophecy merely
because the whole history of ancient Israel was prophetic. As
has already been said, national Israel was Jehovah’s typical
son; Jesus was the ideal Israel, or the true Son of Jehovah.
We observe that the latter part of Isaiah concerning „the ser_
vant of Jehovah,” finds its application in the antitype, Jesus,
and not in the type, Israel.


On this incident in the history of Matthew, we submit the
following observations. Some critics have affected to discredit
the historical character of Matthew’s incident because it is not
mentioned in Josephus. The reply to the criticism is –
The gospel ‘historians, writing directly upon a more limited
topic than Josephus, do not need any confirmation from him.
The greater part of the New Testament would have to be re_
jected if it must be proved from Josephus.
Bethlehem was merely a village, and the number of male
children two years old and under would not exceed twenty.
The killing of twenty babies by Herod was a small item in his
bloody record, quite infinitesimal in comparison with many
other of his deeds of cruelty.
Josephus was not merely a Jew, but a sycophantic admirer
of the Romans. He would necessarily avoid many references
to our Lord. One. however, rejected by some critics as
spurious, is very striking. There is also an undisputed refer_
ence to John the Baptist, and another one to James, the brother
of our Lord. These several passages from Josephus will be
considered later, and at greater length.
First, the murder of these babies is in full accord, not merely
with the general character of Herod, but particularly with his
dying condition, jealous to madness of any one who would
likely dispute the continuance of his dynasty, as he had ar_
ranged it in his will.
Second, in every age of the world, the bloody death of these
babies has attracted the attention of the poet and of the artist,
and has excited sympathy for these first martyrs, more per_
haps than of any other of the long line of those who died
bloody deaths on account of our Lord. They are even called
„Little flowers of martyrdom, roses by the whirlwind shorn.”
The great Augustine said, „Oh, happy little ones! just born,
not yet tempted, not yet struggling, already crowned.” We
see in their death an anticipation of Christ’s later words: „I
come not to bring peace, but a sword.”
The powers of darkness would naturally seek to cut off his
life at the beginning in order to frustrate the great purpose
of his mission, and as we have already seen that the dragon,
even Satan himself, was prompting Herod to take away the
life of the long_promised Messiah. This much good at least
resulted from the death of these children: Jerusalem, Herod,
and even Satan himself, supposed that their object had been
accomplished, and that the one „born King of the Jews” had
perished in this massacre. Hence there is no other assault
made upon him by the powers of darkness until at his bap_
tism he is not only seen to be alive, but is declared by the
Father to be his beloved Son, and at that point Satan renews
the attack, but in a different form.
Third, the prophecy concerning this event is a quotation
from Jeremiah 31:15_17: „Thus saith Jehovah: A voice is
heard in Ramah, lamentations, and bitter weeping, Rachel
weeping for her children; she refuseth to be comforted for her
children, because they are not. Thus saith Jehovah: Refrain
thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears; for thy
work shall be rewarded, saith Jehovah; and they shall come
again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope for thy
latter end, saith Jehovah; and thy children shall come again
to their own border.” This declaration from Jehovah, by a
vivid personification, represents Rachel, the mother of three
tribes, rising from her tomb to bewail their captivity as they
are dragged away by the Assyrian tyrant. It is not meant to
teach that the departed have a personal interest in those that
are left behind them, and bewail their faults and calamities.
It is the purpose of Matthew to show that if Rachel could be
so personified in the first great disaster to her children it would
be fulfilled again in this instance, and the comforting words
are much more appropriate: „Refrain thy voice from weeping,
and thine eyes from tears, for they shall come again from the
land of the enemy.”
Just how long Joseph, with Mary and the child, remained
in Egypt, we do not know. But the angel who guided him
comes again with these words: „Arise and take the young
child and his mother and go into the land of Israel, for they
are dead that sought the young child’s life.” We cannot help
recalling a similar word to Moses, when he was recalled from
Midian to Egypt – „All the men are dead who sought thy life.”
We cannot help being impressed with the guiding providence
of God in protecting and caring for the child, and in the
prompt and implicit obedience of Joseph to every admonition
from the Lord.
This declaration, „They are dead that sought the young
child’s life,” seems to be prophetic of all the future. Herod
died in the horrors of madness, a rotting carcass. Jesus lived.
In Acts 12 his grandson Herod put to death James, the brother
of John the apostle. But the chapter closes with this state_
ment: „An angel of the Lord smote him, and he was eaten of
worms and gave up his spirit, but the word of God grew and
multiplied.” The apostate Roman emperor, Julian, who tried
so hard to destroy the Christian religion and to falsify the
prophecies concerning it, when he came to die is reported as
saying, „Thou Galilean hast conquered.” Somewhat similar
reports are made concerning the death of Tom Paine.
In any event, throughout all the ages of the Christian era
the enemies of our Lord and of his kingdom have died and
rotted, but the kingdom moved on conquering and to conquer.
And so it shall be until the words of the book of Revelation
shall be fulfilled: „The kingdoms of this world are become the
kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.” It is to this thought that
Psalm 2 speaks when it says:
Why do the nations rage,
And the peoples meditate a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
Against Jehovah, and against his anointed, saying,
Let us break their bonds asunder,
And cast away their cords from us.
He that sitteth in the heavens will laugh:
The Lord will have them in derision.
Yet I have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
Those words are quoted by the apostles when they were for_
bidden to continue to preach in the name of Jesus.

It appears from the record that Joseph intended to return
to Bethlehem, but was troubled to learn that Archelaus
reigned instead of Herod over ldumea, Judea and Samaria,
as ethnarch, according to the Roman confirmation of Herod’s
will. He was as mean and as cruel as Herod, though much in_
ferior in capacity. When he went to Rome to have himself
confirmed as king, five hundred prominent Jews followed him
to protest against his kingly rule. The Romans allowed him
to remain as ethnarch for about nine years, and then removed
him permanently and banished him for just cause. In the
meantime the angel comes again to relieve the perplexity of
Joseph, and directs him to his old home in Nazareth. And
here Matthew again finds a fulfilment of prophecies –
„That it might be fulfilled that he should be called a Nazarene.” There is no one prophecy in the Old Testament which contains those words, but there are many prophecies that speak of him as being under reproach, and the title „Nazarene” was always held by the outside world as a reproach to his claim to the messiah-ship. It was even inscribed on the headboard of his cross, „Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” Nathanael said later, „Can any good come out of Nazareth?” And without destroying at all the sense of reproach in the name, the special prophecy to which Matthew refers might be Isaiah 11:1: „And there shall come forth a shoot out of the stock of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots shall bear fruit.” Here only a stump seems to be left of the ancient stock of Jesse and David, and the branch or shoot from the root is called nether. It is quite probable that the word „Nazarene” is derived from the same word, and as a proof of the reproach involved in the name, we have these words in Isaiah 53: „Who hath believed our message and to whom hath the arm of Jehovah been revealed? For he grew up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of the dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness, and when we shall see him there is DO beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and is one from whom men hide their faces; he was despised and we esteemed him not.”
So, whether we regard the term „Nazarene” as merely one
of reproach, or whether we derive it etymologically from net_
zer, the thought is the same, and Matthew rightly construes
the prophecy which so speaks of the Messiah.
Jesus lived at Nazareth and visited Jerusalem when twelve
years of age (Luke 2:40_52). On this paragraph of Luke we
The development of the childhood of Jesus: „And the child
grew and waxed strong, filled with wisdom; and the grace of
God was upon him.” This is a clear proof of the humanity of
our Lord. It shows the development of body, mind, and spirit.
The Law of Moses required all males to go up three times
a year to Jerusalem to the great feasts. They did not scrupu_
lously fulfil this law in their history, but even the Jews of the
dispersion were accustomed at least to go up to the Passover
Feast, and it is concerning attendance on this feast, which
lasts a week, that our lesson speaks.
Jesus Twelve Years Old. Under the Jewish law the _child
remained under the teaching of its mother till he was five years
old, and then the responsibility passed to his father until he
was twelve years old; and at twelve years of age he become
what is called „a son of the law.” From this time forward the
responsibility of his life rests upon himself more than upon
his father or his mother.
It was every way appropriate, therefore, that when Jesus
reached this critical period of his life that he should attend
the Passover Feast, there to receive instruction not from father
or mother, nor from the synagogue teacher, but from the great
doctors of the law who held their school in the Temple itself.
There were a number of illustrious Jewish doctors at this time
in Jerusalem, including the great Hillel, and Gamaliel, the
teacher of Paul. While there is no evidence that Jesus and
Paul ever met face to face, yet they were about the same age,
and Paul went from Tarsus, where he was born, to receive this
rabbinical education in the famous Jerusalem schools. He
says, „I was brought up at the feet of Gamaliel.” It was also
about this time that the celebrated Philo, the Alexandrian Jew,
was a pupil in this school of rabbis, though there is no evidence
that he himself ever met Jesus face to face, Jesus being there
only a short time.
That you may understand the story, there were at such a
time as this, from every town and village in the land, pil_
grims, grouped together, who would be marching up toward
Jerusalem, singing the prescribed songs of the psalter. You
will find them in the book of Psalms named, „The Songs
of the Going Up.” It is easy to see, therefore, that when the
parents started home, they would not notice the temporary
absence of Jesus, supposing him to be in the great company.
But when, at the end of a day’s journey, they missed him,
and could hear nothing of him from any of the returning pil_
grims, they themselves went back to Jerusalem to find him.
The record says, „And it came to pass, after three days,
they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the
doctors, both hearing them and asking them questions, and
all that heard him were amazed at his understanding and bis
answers.” We have just noted in the first verse of this para_
graph that Jesus not only grew in wisdom, but that the grace
of God was upon him. Which not only means wisdom as
applied to the development of the mind of ordinary persons,
but a spiritual increase of wisdom through the grace of God
resting on him. In a previous chapter we have noted that
Christ could read and speak at least three languages, and that
he, in his whole life up to this point, whether his mother, or
Joseph, or the synagogue was his teacher, was learning the
word of God and its meaning. The illumination given him
by the Spirit would enable him to understand more than
any of the great doctors who, according to their method,
were catechizing him and allowing him to catechize them.
The lesson teaches that one taught of God is wiser than all
who are taught of men. He himself later said that while
Solomon was counted the wisest man in the world, he was
greater in wisdom than Solomon. This is not the first instance
on record where teachers have been instructed by their more
enlightened pupils. It is related of the celebrated Dr. Blair,
of Scotland, that his university teacher in theology was car_
ried away with the wisdom of his answers. On one occasion,
propounding three questions in Latin, which the student must
off_hand answer in Latin, the last question was, Quid est cari_
tas? (what is charity) and the reply came like the lightning
flash, Ah, magister, id est raritas (ah master, that is rare).
It is to be deplored that great teachers of theology yield
to a tendency to become mere professors, hair_splitting in
their niceties of explanation, and gradually forgetting the
spirit and power of all true theology. Never was this more
noticeable than in the Sanhedrin, with its great Jewish doc_
tors of the law. Only two of them are represented as becom_
ing followers of Christ, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea.
The rest all perished in their learning.
You will recall how often I have emphasized the value of
the catechetical form of instruction – questions and counter_
questions. Nothing but my deafness has prevented me from
resorting more to this method.
At this amazing juncture, the child instructing the doctors,
Joseph and Mary came upon the scene, which astonishes them
much, and with something of reproach his mother says, „Son,
why hast thou thus dealt with us? Behold, thy father and
I sought thee, sorrowing.” The answer of our Lord to his
mother not only conveys a counter reproach, disclaiming Joseph
as his father, but shows that he has reached a great epoch in
his life, to whit: consciousness of his messiahship and the para_
mount claims of its duties over any earthly relations. His re_
ply is „How is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I
must be in my Father’s house?” When he says „my Father’s”
house, he disclaims the paternity of Joseph, which Mary had
at least assumed, or by a marginal rendering, „Wist ye not that
I must be about my Father’s business?” It is indeed a pregnant
reply, and discloses at least the following things:
(1) That at least now, if at no earlier date, there was a
full consciousness in his own mind of his messianic mission.
(2) It is strange that his mother should not have, from
the past remarkable events of his life, which she had kept
in her heart, understood this, and that from this time on the
voice of God must be higher than the voice of his mother in
determining his movements and actions. I know that some
claim that consciousness of messiahship did not come to him
until his baptism, but when we come to interpret the history
of that baptism, the proof will be submitted that the con_
sciousness preceded that occasion.
This incident is named by the book, to which your atten_
tion has been called, The Sorrows of Mary, as the third sor_
row of her heart – first, the words of Simeon; second, the flight
into Egypt; and third, the announcement that from this time
on the path of the child must be away from the family.
(3) We know that his mother did not fully learn the les_
son, for twice later she is rebuked by the Son who is her
Lord. Once, at the marriage of Cana of Galilee, he says to
her interference, „Woman, what have I to do with thee?”
And still later, when the family learn that he was so ab_
sorbed in teaching and healing that he would not take time
to eat, but his kinsfolk counted him mad, his mother and
younger brothers came to call him off from his work, as it
were under a writ of lunacy, and he replies, „Who is my
mother, and who are my brothers?” and resisted their in_
terference with his messianic work.
Having thus stated the paramount law of his messiahship,
the record says he went down to Nazareth with them and
„was subject to them.” This subjection was another step
like his circumcision and his presentation in the Temple in
fulfilling to perfection all of the law. It shows that he vener_
ated and observed the Fifth Commandment. In the later
history we will consider other visits of our Lord to the Temple,
and every time he comes into his Father’s house, his coming
is signalized by mighty events.
Luke closes his paragraph by showing the development of
his manhood, in these words: „Jesus advanced in wisdom and
stature and in favor with God and man.” How few, as we
have already learned, are the words of our historians con_
cerning the greater part of the life of Christ. Let me repeat
them to you again:
„And the child grew and waxed strong, filled with wisdom,
and the grace of God was upon him” (Luke 2:40).
„He was subject to them” (Luke 2:51).
„And Jesus advanced in wisdom and stature, and in favour
with God and man” (Luke 2:52).
„And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up,
and he entered, as his custom was, into the Synagogue on the
sabbath day” (Luke 4:16).
„Is not this the carpenter?” (Mark 6:3).
These, indeed, are few words, but they are mighty words.
They show not only the physical, mental, and spiritual de_
velopment of his childhood and his manhood, his observance
of the Fifth Commandment in honoring his parents, his ob_
servance of the sabbath day in synagogue instruction, but
his learning, as all Jews counted honorable, a trade. These
were years of preparation – thirty years of preparation in
order that he might publicly labor three years. Only pre_
pared men accomplish great things, and the greater the prepa_
ration the less need for long time in which to do great things.
But our young people of the present day count wasted the
time devoted to deep and thorough preparation for lifework.
They are in haste to rush out, half equipped, for the strenuous
battle of life.
1. In what two respects was the flight into Egypt connected with
the Wise Men?
2. What little book specially commended?
3. What of the contention of Delitzsch, concerning the plan of
Matthew’s Gospel?
4. Cite some striking correspondences between Matthew and the Pentateuch.
5. What symbolism in Revelation finds its historic background in
the flight into Egypt?
6. Into what new prominence in the family does the child Jesus now come?
7. What prophecy was fulfilled by the exodus from Egypt, and how
do you prove that it was really prophetic?
8. Why do some critics discredit the historical character of Matthew’s
account of the massacre of the babes in Bethlehem and your reply to
the criticism?
9. What attention has this slaughter of the few babes in Bethlehem
attracted in the after ages?
10. Mention one practical good at least that resulted from the murder
of these children.
11. What was the prophecy in relation to this massacre, and how do
you make it out to be prophetic?
12. What assurance was given to Joseph when the angel directed him to leave Egypt, and compare this with a similar statement to Moses in Midian?
13. How does this declaration, „They are dead that sought the young
child’s life,” seem to be prophetic, and illustrate?
14. What danger would have occurred if Joseph had returned to Bethlehem?
15. What prophecy was fulfilled in the return to Nazareth?
16. In what two ways can you show that this would be a term of reproach?
17. What has Luke to say concerning the development of the child_
hood of Jesus at Nazareth?
18. How often were male Jews required to go up to Jerusalem?
19. How long was a mother responsible for the spiritual instruction
of her child? How long the father? and at what age did the Jewish
child become a son of the law?
20. What higher instruction was given at Jerusalem for those who
were the sons of the law?
21. Cite some of the great Jewish rabbis who taught these sons of
the law in the Temple.
22. Name two illustrious men who were under this instruction about
the same time with Jesus.
23. When the Jews from the villages and towns of the Holy Land
went up to Jerusalem, what hymns of the psalter did they sing on their pilgrimage?
24. How was Jesus qualified to astound the great rabbis in the Temple?
25. How many of the Sanhedrin became Christians?
26. What were the words of Mary to Jesus when she found him in
the Temple with the doctors, and his reply?
27. What makes this a great epoch in the life of Jesus?
28. What were the words of Luke to show the development of Jesus
into manhood?
29. Repeat again the five short passages that constitute the only story
of the greater part of the life of Christ?
30. What do they show?


We have so far considered the beginnings of the gospel his_
tories of John, Paul, Matthew, and Luke. Now we come to
the public ministry of John the Baptist. Before we under_
take a detailed examination of the record of John’s ministry,
let us get clearly before us an orderly statement of


Old Testament prophecy. There are three certainly, and
probably four, as follows: Isaiah 40:1_11; Malachi 3:2_
Malachi 4:5_6; the fourth is based on a Septuagint rendering
of Isaiah 35:1.
There are several remarkable New Testament prophecies
concerning John, all to be found in Luke I, as follows: Luke
1:5_25, 36_37, 39_44, 57_80. This New Testament history,
with its attendant prophecies concerning John, is to be found
in the Harmony, pages 3_6.
The public ministry of John, Matthew 3:1_17; Mark 1:1_11;
Luke 3:1_23. This account of John’s ministry is to be found
on pages 12_16 of the Harmony.
John’s first testimony to Jesus, John 1:15_36; Harmony,
Pages 2,18.
The later ministry of John, concurrent with the ministry of
Jesus, and John’s second testimony to our Lord. John 3:22
to 4:4; Harmony, pages 21_22.
The arrest and imprisonment of John the Baptist, and the
cause: Luke 3:19_20; Matthew 4:12; Mark 1:14; Harmony,
page 22, together with later references to the same event:
Mark 6:17_18; Matthew 14:3_5; Harmony, page 75.
The events in the prison life of John. (a) The effect of his
private preaching on Herod, Mark 6:20. (b) The question of
fasting, propounded by John’s disciples to Christ, and Christ’s
witness to John, Matthew 9:14_17; Mark 2:18_22; Luke 5:
33_39; Harmony, pages 35, 38. (c) Christ’s second witness to
John, John 5:33_35; Harmony, page 40. (d) The doubts of
John while in prison concerning the messiahship of Jesus,
and Christ’s third witness to John, Matthew 11:2_19; Luke
7:18_25; Harmony, pages 54_55.
The death of John, its occasion, and the report of it to Jesus,
Matthew 14:6_12; Mark 6:21_29; Harmony, page 75.
The tortured conscience of Herod and John the Baptist,
Matthew 14:1_2; Mark 6:16; Luke 9:9; Harmony, pages 74_
75; also Matthew 16:14; Mark 8:28; Luke 9:19; Harmony,
page 89.
John taught his disciples to pray, Luke 11:1; Harmony,
page 112.
John did no miracle, but the people on account of his tes_
timony accepted Christ, John 10:40_42; Harmony, page 120.
John the Baptist fulfilled Malachi 4:5_6, and Christ’s fourth
witness concerning John, Luke 1:17; Matthew 17:10_14; Mark
Was John an Old Testament worker or a New Testament
worker or the boundary line between the two covenants? Mark
1:1_2; Matthew 11:12_13; Luke 16:16; Acts 1:22; Luke 1:10,
with which compare the prophecy at Isaiah 40:1_11, and
answer the objection based on Matthew 3:11, explaining that
Was the baptism of John Christian baptism? Matthew
21:25_26, 32; Mark 11:30, 32; Luke 20:4, 6; Luke 7:29_30,
connected with the following facts: Christ himself received

this baptism; the Holy Trinity was present at his baptism;
his baptism was the manifestation of Jesus as the Messiah;
he baptized the twelve apostles to the Jews (Acts 1:22); on
the other hand answer the objections based on the following
facts: Apollos, knowing only the baptism of John, was in_
structed more perfectly in the way of the Lord by Aquila
and Priscilla (Acts 18:25); the case of the rebaptism of the
twelve disciples of John (Acts 19:lf); his was only a „bap_
tism of repentance”; the contrast he himself instituted between
his baptizing and Christ’s baptizing, Matthew 3:11.
The doctrines taught by John: Repentance, reformation,
faith in Christ, regeneration, confession of sins, remission of
sins, the judgment.
John’s great titles.
The elements of John’s greatness.
The testimony of Josephus, Antiquities, Book 18, Chapter 5:
Now some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod’s army came from God, and that very justly, as a punishment of what he did against John, that was called the Baptist; for Herod slew him, who was a good man, and commanded the Jews to exercise virtue both as to righteousness toward one another and piety toward God, and 80 to come to baptism; for that the washing would be acceptable to Him, if they made use of it, not in order to the putting away of some sins, but
for the purification of the body; supposing still that the soul was thoroughly purified beforehand by righteousness. Now when others came in crowds about him, for they were very greatly muved (or pleased) by hearing his words, Herod, who feared lest the great influence John had over the people might put it into his power and inclination to raise a rebellion (for they seemed to do anything he should advise), thought it best by putting him to death, to prevent any mischief he might cause and not bring himself into difficulties by sparing a man who might make him repent of it when it should be too late. Accordingly he was sent a prisoner, out of Herod’s suspicious
temper, to Macherus, the castle I before mentioned, and was there put to death. Now, the Jews had an opinion that the destruction of this army was sent as a punishment upon Herod, and a mark of God’s displeasure to him.
This reference of Josephus had this historic background;
Herod Antipas divorced his wife, the daughter of Aretas, King
of Arabia, in order to marry Herodias, the wife of his brother,
Philip, with whom he had eloped. Aretas, to avenge the in_
dignity put on his daughter, made war on Herod. Herod’s
army was completely destroyed in a great battle of this war.
It was this destruction of Herod’s army which the Jews at_
tributed to the murder of John the Baptist.
Let us consider somewhat in detail this outline of the ma_
terial for a life of John the Baptist, inasmuch as some of the
most difficult problems of New Testament interpretation are
therein involved. Not only the several denominations as_
sume variant views of John and his work in order to serve
a purpose of their own, or obstruct a purpose of some other,
but even the most disinterested scholars are perplexed in de_
termining the meaning of some passages of history bearing
on John’s place in the gospel dispensation and the kingdom of
These questions arise: Does John belong to the Old Cove_
nant or New? Did he preach the gospel in all its essential
elements as we preach it now? Was his baptism Christian
baptism? Was he himself in the kingdom of our Lord? May
we argue from the act, subject, and design of his baptism to
prove the act, subject and design of baptism now enjoined?
After examining repeatedly every biblical passage concern_
ing John with a critical microscope, and after carefully study_
ing for a half century all the controversies of the centuries
touching him, I am profoundly impressed that ninety_nine
one hundredths of the problems have been manufactured to
serve denominational exigencies on the subject, act, and design
of Christian baptism.
The following facts are so self_evident on the face of the
record that life is too short to waste its time in arguing with
those who deny them:
No matter if the word „baptism” has a thousand meanings,
John’s only act of baptism was immersion.
He immersed Jesus himself in the river Jordan, which is
the only water baptism Jesus ever received.
The immersion which John administered, and which Jesus
received, they both concurrently administered later, John
Both made disciples before they immersed them, John 4:1_2.
This making of disciples and then immersing them is pre_
cisely what Jesus, after his resurrection, commanded in his
Great Commission (Matt. 28:19).
John immersed only adults who came to him and accepted
the gospel he preached.
Those who accepted John’s gospel did experimentally re_
ceive the knowledge of salvation in the remission of their
sins (Luke 1:77).
John „made ready a people prepared for the Lord,” (Luke
1:15_17). Those so prepared for him Jesus received without
a further process or ordinance whatever, (John 1:35_36; Acta
John made his disciples by preaching repentance and faith,
Acts 19:4 and Matthew 3:2. Jesus did the same thing (Mark
It is true that John’s baptism was unto „repentance” (eis
mentanoian), Matthew 3:11, but the repentance, with its
fruits, preceded the baptism, therefore it was a baptism of
repentance unto the remission of sins (Mark 1:4) Eis aphesin
hamartion, as in Acts 2:38, and therefore identical with our
Lord’s other great commission, recorded by Luke, „And that
repentance and remission of sins” (aphesin hamartion) should
be preached in his name among the nations, beginning at
Jerusalem (Luke 24:47).
John, though of the priestly line, never ministered in the
Temple, but under a special commission from heaven ad_
ministered an ordinance so new in act, subject, and design,
it gave him a specific distinguishing name, 0 Baptistes – The

Baptizer –just as we say, „Washington, the General,” or „Co_
iumbus, the Discoverer.”


We save ourselves much confusion of mind by clear con_
ceptions of the word „kingdom” as used in this connection.
All the context shows that a visible King had come; he was to
be accepted by visible subjects, who would submit to visible
ordinances, and be united for work into a visible organization.
For this visible organization officers would be appointed and
laws established.
This kingdom, while not of the world, was yet in the world,
and destined to become a world empire. If this be not fore_
shown in the prophets, then they foreshow nothing. If this
be not the import of the gospel histories, then they have no
This kingdom was not only to be distinguished from secular
world empires which preceded it, but also distinguished from
the national, typical kingdom of Israel, which, under a differ_
ent covenant, also preceded it.
When we allow our minds to float off into fancies of in_
visible kingdoms and invisible churches, and to rest only on
pure spiritualities without external visible forms, we do vio_
lence to the plainest laws of language.
With so much premised, we now submit as bearing on John’s
position the following testimonies:
The testimony of Mark. Mark says: „The beginning of
the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Even as it is writ_
ten in Isaiah the Prophet,
Behold, I send my messenger before thy face,
Who shall prepare thy way;
The voice of one crying in the wilderness,
Make ye ready the way of the Lord,
Make his paths straight;
„John came, who baptized in the wilderness and preached
the baptism of repentance unto remission of sins” (Mark 1.
This certainly makes John the first New Testament preacher
of the gospel of Jesus.
The testimony of our Lord. „And from the days of John
the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth vio_
lence, and men of violence take it by force. For all the
prophets and the law prophesied until John” (Matt. 11:11_13).
„The law and the prophets were until John: from that time
the gospel of the kingdom of God is preached and every man
entereth violently into it” (Luke 16:16).
The testimony of Peter. He speaks on the occasion of select_
ing an apostle to the Jews to take the position vacated by th&
traitor, Judas Iscariot, using this language: „Of the men
therefore which have companied with us all the time that the
Lord Jesus went in and went out among us, beginning from
the baptism of John, unto the day that he was received up_
from us, of these must one become a witness with us of his
On these several testimonies, which might be multiplied, it
is evident that John in his preaching and baptism is as much
the beginning of the New Testament dispensation as any
starting point designated by a surveyor in marking off the
boundaries of a tract of land.
The testimony of our Lord, continued. When the Sanhedrin
questioned our Lord as to his authority for doing the things
which he did, he met them with this counterquestion: „The
baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven or from man?
And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say
from heaven; he will say unto us, Why, then, did ye not be_
lieve him? But if we shall say, From men; we fear the multi_
tude; for all hold John as a prophet. And they answered
Jesus and said, We know not. He also said unto them, Neither
tell I you by what authority I do these things” (Matt. 21:
25_27). Both Mark and Luke give an account of the same
question. The members of the Sanhedrin were not the only
ecclesiastics who have been unable to answer the question pro_
pounded by our Lord. If John’s baptism had been a ritualis_
tic ordinance of the Old Testament, or if it had been the latter
Jewish proselyte immersion, any Jew could have answered
the question. Upon the same matter our Lord says in an_
other connection: „And all the people when they heard, and
the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism
of John. But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected for them_
selves the counsel of God, being not baptized on him” (Luke
It has often been confidently asserted that John’s baptism
was not Christian baptism. If not, then the baptism which
Christ himself received was not Christian baptism.
The most remarkable position ever assigned to baptism was
John’s baptism of our Lord. All the Trinity were present:
the Son was baptized, the Father from heaven expressed his
pleasure, the Holy Spirit rested like a dove upon his head.
And it was at this baptism that Jesus was manifested as the
It is also true that the only baptism received by the twelve
apostles was John’s baptism (Acts 1:22).
Upon these several testimonies, giving evidence absolutely
unanswerable, certain criticisms by way of objections have
been offered:
First objection. The following words of Christ: „Verily I
say unto you, among them that are born of women there hath
not risen a greater than John the Baptist: yet he that is but
little in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he” .(Matt.
11:11). Before attempting to reply to this criticism, let us
note that the King James Version renders it: „He that is
least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John,” and the
revised version renders it: „He that is but little in the king_
dom of heaven is greater than John.” Dr. Broadus well criti_
cizes the soundness of the rendering in the revised version.
The Greek word is mikros, an adjective in the comparative
degree. It is somewhat defensible to say with the common
version, „He that is least,” in the sense that „less,” or the
comparative degree, is used to mean less than all others,
which would be equivalent to least. There is no defense for
the rendering in the revised version. This language is in_
terpreted to mean that Christ taught that John was not in
the kingdom of heaven, but belonged to the Old Testament
dispensation. We have no right to set aside the plain mean_
ing of many passages, which have just been given, as to John’s
relation to the kingdom and the New Testament covenant
We have no right to interpret Christ in this one case as con_
tradicting what he had so many times expressed in unequivocal
language in other connections. Scripture must be interpreted
by Scripture. Most commentators take it to mean substan-
tially this: That as John merely introduced the New Covenant
and passed away before the fulness of its light was manifested,
therefore one who later was permitted to understand more
and to enjoy the higher privilege and opportunity of more
extended knowledge, was greater than John in this respect.
This interpretation would not destroy the significance of
Christ’s other testimonies to John. I
J. R. Graves, in his Seven Dispensations, gives a different
interpretation. He says that the adjective mikros, in the
comparative degree, is used in this instance adverbially, quali_
lying the verb „is,” and not any person or class of persons,
and translates thus: „Notwithstanding he that is later in the
kingdom is greater than John.” The one greater than John
then, would be Christ Himself, and this would put the declara_
tion squarely in harmony with the following words of John
himself: „I indeed baptize you in water unto repentance: But
he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I
am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you in the Holy
Spirit and in fire” (Matt. 3:11); „And he preached, saying,
There cometh One after me that is mightier than I, the latchet
of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose”
(Mark 1:7); „John beareth witness of him, and crieth, say_
ing, This was he of whom I said, he that cometh after me is
before me: for he was before me” (John 1:15); „Ye your_
selves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but,
that I am sent before him. He that hath the bride is the
bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, that standeth
and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s
voice: this my joy therefore is made full. He must increase,
but I must decrease. He that cometh from above is above
all: he that is of the earth is of the earth, and of the earth he
speaketh: He that cometh from heaven is above all” (John
Dr. Graves then continues: „This translation of mikros
makes Christ speak the truth, and also makes all the state_
ments of John coincide with that of Christ. If mikros were
nowhere else in the whole range of Greek literature used ad_
verbially, it evidently is here. The facts compel us to read
it. Both John and Christ were, therefore, in the kingdom.” I
have never seen any reply absolutely conclusive against the
contention of Dr. Graves. In any event, I am quite sure
that our Lord did not mean to contradict in one of his state_
ments quite a number of other unequivocal statements made
by him.
Second objection. In Acts 18:24_26 it is said: „Now a
certain Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by race, an elo_
quent man, came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the scrip_
tures. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord;
and being fervent in spirit, he spake and taught accurately
the things concerning Jesus, knowing only the baptism of
John: and he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. But
when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him unto
them, and expounded unto him the way of God more ac_
Here the contention is that it was not sufficient for the
preacher to know only the baptism of John. It is admitted
that twenty years after the death of John, a Jew of Alex_
andria, knowing nothing further than John’s original preach_
ing needed to be instructed in the additional light that fol_
lowed the preaching of John. You will please notice, how_
ever, that Apollos was not rebaptized nor reordained. His
knowledge of the events following John’s baptism was in_
creased – that is all – and the case rather supports than con_
demns the position taken that John’s gospel was the boundary
line between the two covenants.
Dr. Broadus uses this illustration, that John was like the
middle platform of a stairway – above those on the steps
below him, and below those on the steps above him. Others
have used this illustration that John belonged to the new
day, just as the twilight of dawn belongs to the new day.
Third objection. „John’s baptism was only a baptism of
repentance.” It has been admitted in the first part of this
discussion that John’s was a baptism unto repentance, but it
was a baptism of repentance unto the remission of sins, and
no way different from what Peter said at Acts 2:38, and no
way different from the great commission given in Luke, that
repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his
name among all nations. We in our time, like Luke in his
time, would baptize no impenitent candidate.
Fourth objection. It is contended that John himself insti_
tuted a striking comparison between his baptism and the
baptism of our Lord: „I indeed baptize you in water unto re_
pentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I,
whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you in
the Holy Spirit and in fire” (Matt. 3:11). The answer is
obvious. John instituted no manner of comparison between
his baptism in water and Christ’s baptism in water, but he
does contrast his baptism in water with Christ’s baptizing
in the Holy Spirit and in fire, proving Christ’s superiority of
power and position to John, but in no way discriminating
between the water baptism of the two, as has already been
Fifth objection. This objection is based upon the record
at Acts 19:1_7: „And it came to pass that, while Apollos was
at Corinth, Paul, having passed through the upper country,
came to Ephesus and found certain disciples; and he said unto
them, Did ye not receive the Holy Spirit when ye believed?
And they said unto him, Nay, we did not so much as hear
whether the Holy Spirit was given. And he said, Into what
then were ye baptized? And they said, Into John’s baptism.
And Paul said, John baptized with the baptism of repentance,
saying unto the people that they should believe on him that
should come after him, that is, on Jesus. And when they
heard this they were baptized into the name of the Lord
Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them the
Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spake with tongues and
prophesied. And they were in all about twelve men.”
Here, it is contended, is a clear case that certain disciples
baptized by John were rebaptized by Paul, and therefore
John’s baptism was not Christian baptism. The answer to
this contention is, first, it is evident that John himself never
baptized these twelve men. It is twenty years since John
died. Evidently they had never heard John preach. They
would not have been ignorant of the baptism in the Holy
Spirit, for John spoke very particularly of the baptism in
the Spirit to be administered by our Lord. John’s office was
peculiar: he had no successor; no man had a right to per_
petuate the work of John. He finished his own course. And
whoever originally baptized these twelve men did it without
authority. Their ignorance as to whether the Holy Spirit
had been given was proof positive that the flaws in their bap_
tism were an unauthorized administrator and an uninstructed
I will not take time just now with showing the contention
of some that there was in this case no rebaptism in water.
The claim is that Paul spake concerning John in the fifth
verse as well as in the fourth, and that the only baptism they
received at Paul’s hands was the baptism in the Spirit. We
will discuss that contention when we come to the passage in
Acts. My judgment is that Paul not only baptized these
twelve men in water on account of the flaws in their former
baptism through lack of proper administrator and a proper
intelligence on the part of the subjects, but that through him
they were also baptized in the Holy Spirit. Dr. Broadus well
says that this isolated case, susceptible of several explana_
tions, cannot be used to discredit former clear statements con_
cerning the baptisms administered by John. Indeed, if there
had been a flaw, per se, in the baptisms administered by John
himself, then would no baptism administered by him have
been received by our Lord and bis apostles. It has been
shown, however, that the only water baptism they them_
selves received was John’s baptism, which was not repeated in
any case.

1. Make out, in order, the scriptural material for a life of John the
Baptist, giving an analysis.
2. What was the substance of the testimony of Josephus concerning
3. What questions arise concerning John, his preaching, his baptism
and his place in the kingdom?
4. To what may be attributed ninety_nine one hundredths of the
problems concerning John?
5. State in order the eleven facts concerning John and his ministry
that cannot be disputed.
6. In determining John’s place in the kingdom, how may we save
ourselves much confusion of mind?
7. Give the testimony of Mark bearing on this matter, and what
does it prove?
8. Give two passages embodying the testimony of OUT Lord upon
the same matter.
9. Give the testimony of Peter.
10. Cite two other prominent testimonies of our Lord touching
John’s baptism. . . .
11. Now, upon all these several statements, cite the first objection
based on the words of Christ.
12. What is the difference between the rendering in the common ver_
rion and the revised version on this passage?
13. What is the Greek word, and what part of speech is it?
14. What does the objector interpret Christ to mean by this state_
ment, and how do you meet the objection?
15. Give clearly the interpretation of J. R. Graves.
16. On what passage is the second objection to John’s place in the
kingdom and his baptism based, and how do you meet the objection?
17. Give the illustration of Dr. Broadus, and one other, on John’s
relative position to the two covenants.
18. What is the third objection to John’s baptism being Christian
baptism, and how do you reply to it?
19. What is the fourth objection and your reply to it?
20. On what passage is the fifth objection based, what the contention
of the objector, and your reply to it?
21. How do some contend that Paul did not rebaptize in water these
twelve men?
22. On the author’s contention that Paul did rebaptize in water these
twelve men, what were the grounds of the rebaptism?

Harmony page 12 and Matthew 3:1_12; Mark 1.ò1_8;
Luke 3:l_18.

The Greek word, basileia, is correctly translated by our
word „kingdom.” The New Testament usage of this word is
extensive. Generally, Matthew employs the phrase, „the king_
dom of Heaven.” Generally, in the rest of the New Testa_
ment, the phrase usually employed is „the kingdom of God.”
Sometimes, however, we find the word „kingdom,” several
times „the kingdom of Christ,” or „the kingdom of Jesus,”
or „the kingdom of God and of Christ.” This difference in
phraseology is wholly immaterial. Matthew’s „kingdom of
Heaven,” Mark’s „kingdom of God,” Paul’s „kingdom of
Christ,” John’s „kingdom of God and of Christ,” all mean.
exactly the same thing.
In his commentary on the third chapter of Matthew, Dr.
Broadus gives three definitions to the general word, „king_
dom.” First, „kingship or sovereignty,” meaning the posses_
sion of royal authority. Second, „reign,” that is, the exer_
cise of royal authority possessed. Dr. Broadus adds, how_
ever, that sometimes the word means the period during which
royal authority is exercised. Third, „subjects, organization, or
territory.” To which definitions he adds some observations
which I quote substantially. First, „That the territory idea of
the definition is not found in the New Testament concerning
Messiah’s kingdom and probably not the idea of organiza_
tion.” Second, „That the idea of the New Testament kingdom
arises in the prophecies of the Old Testament,” particularly
citing the second and seventh chapters of Daniel. Third,
„That the kingdom and the church are not the same.”
Dr. Hengstenberg, my favorite of the distinguished Ger_
man scholars, in his introduction of his series of volumes on
the Kingdom of God in the Old Testament observes sub_
stantially, that when we speak of the kingdom of God in
nature, „Elohim is king and His government is by general
providence, and that this providence in its expression belongs
to profane history. But the kingdom of grace in the Old
Testament has Jehovah for its king and that government is
expressed by special providence and lies within the domain of
sacred history.”
Without commenting on these ideas of Dr. Hengstenberg, I
must express dissent from one observation of Dr. Broadus,
to wit: „The territory idea of the definition is not found in
the New Testament concerning Messiah’s kingdom and prob_
ably not the idea of organization.” When I come to give
the reasons of my dissent from this observation, I trust you
will defer as much as you feel inclined to his greater scholar_
ship and greater leadership in New Testament exegesis. And
yet I must set forth my own views so that the reader cannot
misunderstand me.

The root idea of the kingdom is threefold – creative, typical,
and prophetic. Indeed, all Bible ideas of the kingdom root
in Genesis 1:26_28. The earth was made for the habitat and
heritage of the royal personage, man, who was himself made
in the image of God, with complete authority to have per_
petual dominion over its sky, land, and sea, and all their
inhabitants and boundless resources, and commissioned to
bring it all into complete submission, with all its latent and
potential powers, populate and replenish it. The first Adam,
then, was a royal personage and his kingdom had very defi_
nite boundaries. The territory was coextensive with this

world. The creative root idea is further expanded in Psalm
8:4_9. This first universal earth kingdom was lost through
the fall of the first race head, and Satan, by usurpation, be_
came the de facto prince and ruler of his kingdom.
From creation the root idea passed into type, Solomon, the
king of peace (2 Sam. 7:12_13); and is further expanded in
Psalm 45, 72. From type it passed to direct prophecy in Dan_
iel. And from the creative, typical and prophetic idea, it will
pass, and is passing into history through the last Adam to
the historic idea, (Heb. 2:5_9; Rev. 11:15).
In the Old Testament the kingdom of God is set forth in
prospect. In the Gospels we have an account of our Lord’s
institution of his kingdom. After his ascension into heaven
we have during the rest of the New Testament the kingdom
of God in its progress and administration. A reasonable date
for the commencement of this administration is the day of
Pentecost. Then in the prophecies of the New Testament we
have the prospect of the glorious triumph of the kingdom in
its diffusion throughout the earth and finally we have in
Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 15, the consum_
mation when our Lord at his coming turns over the kingdom
to the Father.
All of that part of the Four Gospels up to the incident that
occurred at Caesarea Philippi, found in Matthew 16, is ex_
clusively devoted to the kingdom. The annunciations are con_
cerning the kingdom. The ministry of John the Baptist and
of our Lord himself up to that point in the history relate to
the kingdom. The Sermon on the Mount and all the parables
throughout the gospel refer to kingdom idea and not to church
idea. So that the kingdom not only comes first in the history
and in the teaching, but a man must be in the kingdom before
he is entitled to be a member of the church.
Following Dr. Broadus’ observations that the idea of Mes_
siah’s New Testament kingdom arises in the prophecies of the
Old Testament and is particularly set forth in the book of
Daniel, I wish to commence my discussion of the kingdom
with the God_given dream of Nebuchadnezzar as set forth in
Daniel 2:
„But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and
he hath made known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall
be in the latter days. Thy dreams, and the visions of thy
head upon thy bed, are these: As for thee, 0 king, thy thoughts
came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass
hereafter; and he that revealeth secrets hath made known to
thee what shall come to pass. But as for me, this secret is not
revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any
living, but to the intent that the interpretation may be made
known to the king, and that thou mayest know the thoughts
of thy heart.
„Thou, 0 king, sawest, and, behold, a great image. This
image which was mighty, and whose brightness was excellent,
stood before thee; and the aspect thereof was terrible. As
for this image, its head was of fine gold, its breast and its arms
of silver, its belly and its thighs of brass, its legs of iron, its
feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a
stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon
its feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them in pieces.
Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold
broken in pieces together, and became like the chaff of the
summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so
that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote
the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.
„This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation there_
of before the king. Thou, 0 king, art king of kings, unto
whom the God of heaven hath given the kingdom, the power,
and the strength, and the glory; and wheresoever the children
of men dwell, the beasts of the fields and the birds of the
heavens hath he given into thy hand, and hath made thee to
rule over them all: thou art the head of gold. And after
thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee; and another
third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over the earth.
And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron, forasmuch as
iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things; and as iron
that crusheth all these, shall it break in pieces and crush.
And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potter’s
clay, and part of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom; but
there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as
thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. And as the toes
of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom
shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And whereas thou
sawest the iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle them_
selves with the seed of men; but they shall not cleave one to
another, even as iron doth not mingle with clay. And in the
days of those kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom
which shall never be destroyed, nor shall the sovereignty
thereof be left to another people; but it shall break in pieces
and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
Forasmuch as thou sawest that a stone was cut out of the
mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron,
the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God
hath made known to the king what shall come to pass here_
after: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof
sure” (Dan. 2:36_45).
I have ventured to cite this lengthy quotation because it
contains the prophetic root idea of the kingdom of God. It is
evident that we have presented in this passage five world
kingdoms. The language is just as clear that the fifth king_
dom, or the kingdom of God, was to take in the whole world
as its territory, as that the Babylonian, Medo_Persian, Gre_
cian, and Roman empires attained to world empires. The
territorial idea is the same throughout. Each of the five
is a universal kingdom.
The similarity does not stop with territory. As these four
secular kingdoms had a first small beginning and made prog_
ress to their final extent, just so the God kingdom commences
as a little stone, grows into a mountain and then fills the
whole earth. So that the progress idea of the five kingdoms is
the same. Again, as each of the four secular kingdoms had
organizations, laws, subjects, visibility, so the fifth kingdom
would have the same. It is expressly set forth in the passage
under consideration, that this dream was to foreshadow things
that must come to pass historically.
So when we come to the New Testament, it is evident that
every definition given by Dr. Broadus of the word „kingdom”
in general finds expression in Messiah’s kingdom. There is
not only kingship, his first definition; and reign, his second
definition; but subjects, territory, and organization, bis third
To make this point about the territorial idea still clearer, let
us look for a moment at the parable of the tares in Matthew
13. A parable, like a picture, can present only one aspect of
a subject, and it requires many parables, like many pictures,
to represent all sides of a subject. Now this parable of the
tares is intended to represent certain things in regard to the
kingdom. Let us see what they are: „The kingdom of heaven
is likened unto a man that soweth good seed in his field; but
while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares also among
the wheat, and went away. But when the blade sprang up and
brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. And the
servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir,
didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? whence then hath
it tares? And he said unto them, An enemy hath done this.
And the servants say unto him, Wilt thou then that we go
and gather them up? But he saith, Nay; lest haply whilst
ye gather up the tares, ye root up the wheat with them. Let
both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of the
harvest I will say to the reapers, gather up first the tares, and
bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat
into my barn. Then he left the multitudes and went into the
house, and his disciples came unto him. saying”. Explain unto
us the parable of the tares of the field. And he answered and
said, he that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; and the
field is the world; and the good seeds these are the sons of the
kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; and the
enemy that sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the
end of the world, and the reapers are angels. As therefore
the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be
in the end of the world. The Son of man shall send forth his
angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things
that cause stumbling and them that do iniquity, and shall cast
them into the furnace of fire; there shall be the weeping and
gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as
the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”
I have given the full text of this parable and of its expo_
sition by our Lord. The statement of the parable is to repre_
sent a certain view of the kingdom. In the parable the
territory is called the field. In the exposition the field is de_
clared to be the world and is also said to be the kingdom. So
that in this connection field, kingdom, and world are cotermi_
nous expressions of territory. It is evidently not a parable to
represent the church. It takes in all the inhabitants of the
earth and it brings us to the windup of earth’s affairs. Suppose,
therefore, we restate verse 41: „The Son of man shall send
forth his angels and they shall gather out of his kingdom all
things that cause stumbling and _them that do iniquity.”
Now, let us attempt to substitute for the word „kingdom” here
any one of Dr. Broadus’ definitions of the general word „king_
dom,” except territory, and see if we can possibly make sense
out of it. We certainly could not substitute his first definition
of kingship. „The Son of man shall send forth his angels
and they shall gather out of his kingship, or sovereignty,” etc.
This would not be true in fact, for even if evil men are cast
out of the world into hell, they are not beyond the „kingship
or sovereignty” of our Lord. Suppose we attempt to substi_
tute the word „reign” or the exercise of royal authority and
it would not be true in fact that the angels could carry evil
men out of this world to any place where they would be free
from the exercise of Christ’s royal authority. It is impossible
to make any one of his definitions fit here except the word
To proceed with the New Testament idea on territory, I
quote Revelation 11:15: „The kingdom of the world is be_
come the kingdom of our Lord and his Christ and he shall
reign for ever and ever.” Here I am bound to differ from Dr.
Broadus as to the sense of the word „kingdom” in this Revela_
tion scripture. This prophecy points to Christ’s complete
recovery of this lost world. In interpreting the word „king_
dom” in the New Testament we must apply that common
sense which would interpret the same word in its classic or
later secular use. This passage corresponds exactly with the
thought presented in Daniel that the little stone shall fill the
whole earth.
I illustrate the ideas of the kingdom presented in this chap_
ter. Our Lord Jesus Christ made this earth and all that is in
it. By right it is his. But through the sin of man an enemy
obtained possession of it and as a usurper became the king
of this world, a de facto king and not a de jure king, and his
subjects, willing followers of him, are but the seditious sub_
jects of the true king. Take a passage of French history for
the illustration. In the days of Charles VII a large part of
the French territory was actually occupied by the English
and the king of England claimed to be also the king of France.
Only that part of France was obedient to Charles VII which
was occupied by his flag and his armies. The Maid of Orleans
intervened. And through her leadership the expulsion of
the English commenced which ultimately became total and all
France acknowledged the sovereignty of Charles. So that we
may say that his French subjects consisted of two classes –
those who were willing subjects and obedient to him, and those
who were seditious subjects and in arms against him and sup_
porting a usurper. This very thought is presented in the
parable of the pounds, Luke 19:12_27. Here a nobleman is
represented as going into a far country to receive for him_
self a kingdom and return. His „servants” in this parable
represent his willing or professed subjects. His „citizens” rep_
resent his unwilling subjects, saying „we will not that this
man reign over us,” but we find that when the king comes in
judgment that he not only passes upon the fidelity of those
who profess to be his, but also says, „But these mine enemies
that would not that I should reign over them bring hither and
slay them before me.” In plain terms the territory of the
kingdom of the Messiah is the territory that was lost through
Satan’s seduction of man and to be recovered through the
grace of the Redeemer. Paul, in his letter to the Romans
(chap. 8); Peter in his second letter, and John in Revelation,
all tell us that the whole of the territory that was cursed on ac_
count of sin and made subject to vanity not willingly shall be
purified by fire and there shall be a new redeemed earth. When
we say that Christians are children of the kingdom, we refer
to willing subjects of the Lord. When we say that evil men
are children of Satan’s kingdom we mean that they are the
unwilling subjects of Christ in sedition and sustaining the
usurper. But the effect of Christ’s work will be that every
knee shall bow to him and his sovereignty shall be acknowl_
edged by all the inhabitants that ever occupied the earth.
Going back for a moment to the Daniel passage, just as the
king of Babylon was visible and the king of the Medes and
Persians and the kings of the Greeks and the Roman kings,
so the Messiah, when he came out of the invisibility of
prophecy into the fact of history, becomes visible. The ob_
ject of his teaching was to secure visible subjects who would
not be ashamed to profess his name and to confess their faith
in him. This visibility is brought out in the ordinances; which
he established, of baptism, and the Lord’s Supper and par_
ticularly baptism, which is a visible form of declaring faith
and enlisting in his army. We find also, as these visible sub_
jects come out openly on his side, that he commenced the
steps of organization in the ordination of the apostles, in the
appointment of the first seventy evangelists. We find him de_
claring laws that are to be executed after he leaves by a
visible executive which he institutes.
Indeed, it is an unfortunate thing that this term „invisible”
which we have stolen from pedobaptists and applied to king_
dom and church, had not been long ago returned to its right_
ful possessor.
In prophecy or in prospect it is invisible because it is not yet
a fact. And, indeed, I oftentimes feel impressed to apply to
the ardent advocates of Christ’s invisible kingdom and church
a certain quaint passage in the King James Version of I
Samuel 10:14: „And Saul said, And when we saw that the
asses were no where, we came to Samuel.” So it is desirable
that our Baptist brethren will perceive that the invisible
kingdom is no where and return to the visible.
Just now, above all things, be impressed with this thought,
that the first thing one must seek is the kingdom, and that
when he finds the king, his allegiance to him is paramount,
and that no church has a right to stand between him and his
personal loyalty to Jesus. I knew a church that by usurp_
ing authority forbade its members to make the mission con_
tributions that they wanted to make. They have no such
authority. If I chanced to belong to a church whose ma_
jority was opposed to foreign missions or home missions, or
state missions, or county missions, or town missions, I could
not conceive how it could absolve me from my obligation to
obey the command of the Master toward these enterprises.

1. What Greek word is correctly translated, „kingdom”?
2. What are the New Testament phrases showing the use of this
word, and what do they all mean?
3. What three definitions of „kingdom” by Dr. Broadus, and what is
the meaning of each?
4. What three observations of Dr. Broadus on the kingdom of God?
5. What of the observation of Dr. Hengstenberg on the kingdom
of God in the Old Testament cited by the author?
6. The author dissents from what observation of Dr. Broadus?
7. What is the threefold root idea of „The kingdom of God”?
8. Where do we find the creative root idea and in what does it consist?
9. Where do we find an expansion of the creative root idea and
what does that expansion include? (See the passage.)
10. How was the first universal earth kingdom lost, who is the present
ruler of this kingdom and in what sense is he prince and ruler?
11. Where do we find the typical idea of the kingdom, where is the
idea expanded, and what is to be the ultimate outcome of this idea?
12. How, then, is the kingdom of God set forth in the Old Testament?
13. Where do we find an account of the institution of the kingdom?
14. Where, its progress and administration?
15. What is the reasonable date for the commencement of its administration?
16. Where do we find the prospect of its glorious triumph, and where
its consummation?
17. What part of the New Testament is devoted exclusively to the kingdom?
18. What, then, the order of the kingdom idea and the church idea?
19. Where do we find the prophetic root idea of the kingdom?
20. What the five world kingdoms presented in this passage and what is the argument from these for the territorial idea of „the kingdom of God”?
21. What other similarities between secular kingdoms and „the kingdom of God,” & how does „the kingdom God” fulfil every definition of Dr. Broadus?
22, How does the „parable of tares” illustrate the territorial idea of kingdom?
23. Prove the territorial idea of the kingdom by the substitution of
Dr. Broadus’ definitions for the word, kingdom.
24. What wag the territorial idea in Revelations II :15 and what of the
Old Testament correspondent to this idea?
25. Restate the ideas of the kingdom presented in this chapter and
illustrate by an incident in French history.
26. What parable presents the same idea, and how?
27. Give the testimony of three witnesses to the final recovery of this world?
28. What do we mean by „children of Christ’s kingdom” and „children of Satan’s kingdom”?
29. What are arguments from the secular kingdoms of Daniel 2 for the visibility of the king and kingdom, and how is this brought out in New Testament?
30. Which is first, the kingdom or the church? Illustrate.

Harmony pages 12_14 and Matthew S:l_12; Mark 1:1_8;
Luke 3:1_18.

In a preceding chapter we have considered somewhat the
biblical material for a life of John the Baptist, and certain
questions touching his position in the kingdom of our Lord.
The analysis of that material will constitute the outline of all
our discussion of John. We now take up the beginnings of his
The time, in our era, was A.D. 29, since John had been
preaching several months before he baptized Jesus, and Luke
tells us that „Jesus himself, when he began to teach, was
about thirty years of age” (Luke 3:23).
The true time would be four years earlier, A.D. 25, if we
are correct in our revision of the Abbott Dyonisius Exiguus.
It is characteristic of Luke to collate his date with the world
movements. It was the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar who,
as adopted son, succeeded Augustus, somewhat after the time
that Jesus, twelve years old, became conscious of his messiah_
ship. Since the deposition of Archelaus, Judea, ldumea, and
Samaria had become an imperial province, ruled by procura_
tors appointed by Caesar, and subordinated to Syria ruled by
proconsul. About a year before Christ was baptized Tiberius
had appointed Pontius Pilate the sixth procurator, and he
remained in office until after Christ’s death. Pontius Pilate
obtained this office because he had married the vicious grand_
daughter of Augustus; her profligate mother, daughter of

Augustus, was one of the most infamous profligates of a pro_
fligate age. Strange it is that the New Testament is the only
history that speaks a good word of either Pilate or his wife.
In its fidelity as history, it neither omits the blemishes of its saints, nor withholds, when due, praise to the most wicked.
The military headquarters of the procurator was Caesarea,
built by Herod the Great. But the turbulence of Jerusalem
often required his presence in that city, particularly at the
three great feasts. Pilate had already steeped Jerusalem in
blood and had been forced by pressure of the Jews to withdraw
the idolatrous Roman eagles from the holy city. (See Josephus,
Antiquities, Book XVIII, Chapter 5, Section 1.) It was
probably on this occasion that Pilate „mingled the blood of
Galilean Jews with their sacrifices” in the Temple, to which
our Lord later referred, at Luke 13:1_2. This Pilate, already
at bitter feud with the Jews, was Roman ruler of Judea,
Samaria, and ldumea, when John commenced his ministry.
At the same time Herod Antipas, who later beheaded John,
and mocked our Lord at his trial, was tetrarch of Galilee and
Perea. At the same time Herod Philip II was tetrarch of
Iturea and Trachonitus, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abi_
lene. At Jerusalem the infamous Annas, and his son_in_law~
Joseph Caiaphas, were both high priests, contrary to Jewish
law, but by Roman appointment. We shall see our Lord, some
three and a half years later, brought before them both. These
references of Luke enable us to understand the world political
and ecclesiastic conditions under which the ministries of John
and our Lord commenced.
The place is at the fords of the Jordan near Jericho. Later
we see John at other places, higher up the Jordan, but never
in the cities – always in the desert places. This fact alone
demonstrates that John is not officiating as a priest of the
Old Testament in either synagogue or temple, but as a re_
former prophet of the new dispensation.
John’s dress, diet. and habits. „Now John himself had his
raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins,
and his food was locusts and wild honey.” The angel who
announced his coming declared, „He shall drink no wine nor
strong drink” (Luke 1:15). He fasted often, and taught
his disciples to fast (Matt. 9:14; Mark 2:18; Luke 5:35).
Our Lord himself said of him, „He came neither eating nor
drinking,” and adds, „but what went ye out to see? A man
clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they who are gorgeously
apparelled and live delicately are in kings’ courts (Luke
You must understand that „the locusts” eaten by John were
not fruits of the tree, „honey_locust,” but migrating grass_
hoppers, a common enough food with many eastern people, and
permitted as food by Jewish law (Lev. 11:21_22).
His enduement for service. „He was full of the Holy Spirit
from his mother’s womb” (Luke 1:15), and like Jeremiah
(Jer. 1:5) and Paul (Gal. 1:15) and his Lord (Isa. 49:5), he
was „set apart” to his office from his mother’s womb. Indeed,
he was the only child known to historic records who, before he
was born, „leaped with joy” spiritual (Luke 1:44).
His preparation. Our only record is: „And the child grew,
and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the desert until the
day of his showing unto Israel.”
He was no product of the schools, either secular or rab_
binical. He derived his knowledge from neither synagogue
nor Temple, but was wholly taught by God. We have no in_
formation of the character of his necessarily profound medi_
tations in his thirty years of desert life. The preparation
was long, silent, and solitary. But he shook the world in his
few months of public ministry.
After what order was he a prophet? The record is clear.
The order was as unique as the order of his Lord’s priest_
hood. Malachi says, „Behold, I will send you Elijah the
prophet before the great and terrible day of Jehovah come.”
This prophecy made a profound impression on the Jewish
mind, as is evident from several New Testament incidents.
It was a Jewish custom to place a chair for Elijah at the
family feast following the circumcision of a child. If the
chair was so placed when John was circumcised, they ought
to have placed the baby in it, for behold, Elijah had come.
Our Lord says expressly that John was the promised Elijah
(Matt. 17:10_13; Mark 9:11_13). John himself disclaims
being Elijah, that is, in a literal sense (John 1:21), but the
announcing angel explains „He shall go before his face, in the
spirit and power of Elijah” (Luke 1:17). Indeed, Elijah
himself appears on the scene at the transfiguration of our Lord
(Matt. 17:3). Elijah was by far the most dramatic of the Old
Testament prophets, in his garb, in his desert life, in the
abrupt entrances on the stage of life and sudden exits, in the
long silences, in the great issues of reformation suddenly thrust
for instant decision on the king and people. The resemblance
between Elijah and John is every way striking. If Elijah had his weak Ahab and relentless Jezebel, John had his weak Herod Antipas and vindicative Herodias. If, through terror of Jezebel, Elijah flees and despairs, so John, in a dungeon, apprehensive of the „convenient day” of Herodias, falls into doubt.

His commission as Elijah. Malachi says, „And he shall
turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart
of the children to their fathers; lest I come and smite the
earth with a curse” (Mal. 4:6). To this the announcing
angel refers, at Luke 1:17. The question arises, what is the
exact meaning of the passage? Does it imply an alienation
between parents and children, which John’s mission is to re_
move by restoring proper parental love and care toward their
children and proper filial regard and reverence for parents,
according to the reciprocal obligations of the Fifth Command_
ment, and on the line of Paul’s precepts – „fathers, provoke not
your children to wrath, bringing them up in the nurture and
admonition of the Lord,” and „children, obey your parents in
the Lord”? If so, it was a mighty mission, for the earth is al_
ready cursed when these reciprocal obligations are disregarded,
to the moral destruction of the family. If so, the passage be_
comes a golden text in all Sunday school movements. In my
early ministry I so used it as a text before the Sunday School
Convention of Texas assembled at old Independence. In my
sermon I stressed the growing evil of race suicide, the fash_
ionable mothers depriving their children of maternal love and
care in order to attend the calls of a worldly, frivolous society,
and the modern absorption of fathers in business which led
them to disregard the spiritual welfare of their children.
But if this be the meaning, we fail to find this important
matter the theme of special discussion either by Elijah or
John. But, perhaps, the marginal reading of the revision
conveys the true idea, „Turning the hearts of the fathers, with
the hearts of the children” toward God, and not toward each
other, and „turning the disobedient to the wisdom of the
just.” This last accords with the preaching of both Elijah
and John, and lifts their commission from the fifth to the
first commandment.
His commission as the messenger of the Temple visitor:
„Behold) I send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way
before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, will suddenly come
to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant, whom ye
desire, behold, he cometh, saith Jehovah of hosts. But who
can abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when
he appeareth? for he is like the refiner’s fire, and like fuller’s
soap; and he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he
will purify the sons of Levi, and refine them as gold and
silver; and they shall offer unto Jehovah offerings in righteous_
ness.” When men who remembered the glory of Solomon’s
Temple lamented the comparative insignificance of Zerrub_
babel’s Temple, the prophet Haggai assured them that the
glory of the latter house should exceed the glory of the former
house, because to it „The Desire of all nations should come.”
Now, John is the messenger who prepares the way for the
Messiah to come suddenly to his Temple. That John did
prepare the way for the Messiah’s searching and purifying
visit to his Temple is evident from John 2:13_17.
His commission as the voice and the grader of the highway
to God, Isaiah 40:1_11. This passage of Isaiah is the most
important of the Old Testament forecasts of John, and per_
haps it is the least understood in its richness. On it observe:
(1) It is the beginning of the Old Testament Book of Com_
fort. Commencing with the fortieth chapter, the last twenty_
seven chapters of Isaiah, treating of the Messiah’s advent and
mission constitute the Old Testament Book of Comfort, as
John 14_17, treating of the Holy Spirit’s advent and mission,
constitute the New Testament Book of Comfort.
Isaiah’s paragraph commences: „Comfort ye, comfort ye,
my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jeru_
salem, and cry unto her that her warfare is accomplished, that
her iniquity is pardoned.” The voice of John the Baptist is
the response to this command to comfort.
(2) Therefore he is a preacher of the gospel, which means
„good tidings” – „0 thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get
thee up on a high mountain; 0 thou that tellest good tidings
to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be
not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold, your God!”
(Isa. 40:9). Hence, as soon as John’s voice broke the
prophetic silence of 400 years, Mark, in his first sentence
drives down the corner post that establishes the starting point
of the New Dispensation: „The beginning of the gospel of
Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” And when our Lord comes
up to Mark’s corner post, he puts up this discriminating sign_
board: „The law and the prophets were until John, and since
that time the kingdom of heaven is preached and all men
press into it.”

What a pity that our pedobaptist brethren cannot lay aside
their Old Testament colored glasses, and our Campbellite
brethren lay aside their Pentecostal delusion concerning the
kingdom, which mistakes the Spirit’s advent for the Mes_
siah’s advent, and both of them with unveiled faces behold
Mark’s corner post and our Lord’s signboard I
(3) Observe John’s grading of the King’s highway of Holi_
ness (Isa. 40:3_5). In this connection observe also the rele_
vance of the Septuagint rendering of Isaiah 35:1, „The waste
places of the Jordan shall be glad,” or as a great scholar puts
it: „The banks of the Jordan shall rejoice because of them,”
i.e., because of John and Jesus.
The same great chapter of Isaiah also says of John’s high_
way: „And a highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall
be called the way of holiness; and the unclean shall not pass
over it; but it shall be for the redeemed; the wayfaring men,
yea fools shall not err therein. No lion shall be there nor
shall any ravenous beast go up thereon; they shall not be
found there; but the redeemed shall walk there. And the
ransomed of Jehovah shall return and come with singing unto
Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they
shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall
flee away.”
His commission as friend of the bridegroom. „He that hath
the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom
that standeth and heareth him rejoiceth greatly because of
the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is made full.”
The New Testament represents our Lord as the bridegroom
of the church in the divine purpose (Eph. 5:25_26) and at his
first advent (Matt. 9:15; John 3:29) and at his final advent
(Matt. 25:1_13; Eph. 5:27; Rev. 19:6_9).
In our context, „the friend of the bridegroom” is not what
we call the „best man,” or first male attendant, who attends
to the business matters and arranges the details of a marriage.

It has a much higher meaning, to wit: the evangelist who,
through his preaching, espouses the lost sinner to his Saviour.
As Paul expresses it: ‘For I espoused you to one husband,
that I might present you as a pure virgin to Christ” (2 Cor.
„The friend of the bridegroom” is even more than the offi_
ciating clergyman, who merely performs a marriage rite,
without having had anything to do with bringing the groom
and bride into loving relations. His business is to „make
ready the people prepared for the Lord.” Through his preach_
ing the sinner is convicted of sin, and then through contrition
led to repentance, and then through faith, is mystically united
to Christ.
The idea is somewhat presented in the mission of Abraham’s
servant (Gen. 24), who went to Haran to seek a wife for
Isaac. He faithfully negotiated the business of his mission,
and brought Rebekah to Isaac.
In this touching story, in which the old servant set forth
in a matchless plea the worthiness of his master, Abraham,
and the desirableness of his son, Isaac, so winning Rebekah to
leave her father’s house and to accept Isaac as a husband,
Edward Eggleston, in the Circuit Rider, makes his preacher
take a theme: „I have come to seek a bride for my Lord,” and
so happily expounds it that a brilliant but worldly young lady
arose at once, laid aside all her jewels, and openly professed
faith in the glorious Saviour so faithfully presented by the
preacher. What, then, every evangelist does in individual
cases, John the Baptist did on a large scale, introducing and
uniting a lost world to a gracious Saviour. To the sinner he
said, „Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of
the world!” How gloriously he presented the excellencies of
the Saviour appears from the record, and suggests to every
preacher a great lesson on how to present acceptably and
savingly the Saviour to the sinner. We must not, therefore,
understand John’s mission as stern and sad, but full of joy.
His commission to give the knowledge of salvation in the
remission of sins (Luke 1:77). On many accounts we should
stress this point, because a modern denomination insists that
God’s „law of pardon” was not announced until the first Pen_
tecost after Christ’s resurrection.
It was not Peter, in Acts 2:38, who first promulgated this
law of pardon. The honor belongs to John the Baptist.
In my early ministry I held a debate with a preacher who
affirmed that the kingdom of heaven was not set up until
this day of Pentecost, and then in Acts 2:38 was the law of
pardon first promulgated. I asked him these questions:
(1) What did Christ give to Peter? He said, „The keys
of the kingdom.”
(2) Did Peter have those keys on that Pentecost? He an_
swered, „Yes.”
(3) Did God then and there build a kingdom to fit the
keys, or were the keys made to fit the kingdom?
(4) Did Peter, using the keys, open the door of the king_
dom that day? He said, „Yes.”
(5) Did he open it from the inside or from the outside?
If from the inside, was not Peter in it? If from the outside,
when and how did Peter himself get in?
(6) And if from the outside, when the 3,000 were added to
them, did that leave them on the outside?
(7) Did Peter open the Jew door that day, and what door
did he open in Acts to 10:43? And if Acts 10:43 was the Gen_
tile door, why did he [that preacher] not look there for the
law of pardon to Gentiles, and why did he, a Gentile, deify
the Jew door, Acts 2:38?
(8) And what about the door that John the Baptist opened
in Luke 1:77?
His commission to announce the antecedent withering work
of the Spirit. „The voice of one saying, Cry, And one said,
What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodness
thereof is the flower of the field. The grass withereth, the
flower fadeth, because the breath of Jehovah bloweth upon
it; surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower
fadeth, but the word of God shall stand forever.”
On this text Spurgeon preached a great sermon. He said,
„The command to John was to speak comfortably to Jeru_
salem” (Isa. 40:1_2). And John asked, in order to speak
comfortably, „What shall I cry?” And the strange answer
comes: „Cry that all flesh is grass, and the grass withereth
and the flower fadeth.” That is, before you get to the com_
fort, the carnal nature must wither, then comes the spiritual
nature, which abideth forever.
Therefore John said to fleshly Israel: „But when he saw
many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism,
he said unto them, Ye offspring of vipers, who warned you to
flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth, therefore) fruit
worthy of repentance and think not to say within yourselves,
We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you that God
is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
And even now the ax lieth at the root of the trees: every
tree, therefore, that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn
down, and cast into the fire” (Matt. 3:7_10). This is John’s
sermon on the necessity of regeneration.
This last commission of John leads up to a thorough discus_
sion of the great staple of his preaching, „Repentance toward
God on account of sin.”

1. What is the time ill our era when John commenced preaching?
2. Show how Luke, in a characteristic way, collates this date with
the political and ecclesiastical conditions of the world.
3. What was the place of John’s first preaching?
4. Describe his dress, diet and habits.
5. What of his enduement for service?
6. What of his preparation for service? Answer negatively and positively.
7. After what order was he a prophet, and what is the parallel be_
tween John and Elijah?
8. What was John’s commission as Elijah?
9. Which of the two meanings of this commission seems best to fit
the work of John and Elijah?
10. What of his commission aa the messenger of the great Temple
II. What was his commission as the voice and grader of the highway
of God?
12. What the Old Testament book of comfort, and the New Testa
ment book of comfort?
13. Describe how Mark and our Lord marked the beginning of the
new dispensation.
14. What of the Septuagint rendering of Isaiah 35:1, and its applica_
tion to John’s ministry?
15. What of the description of the highway in that chapter, graded
by John?
16. In his commission as „friend of the bridegroom,” does it mean
that he was only what we call „the best man,” or does it mean the
same aa the officiating preacher, or does it mean something higher
than both? If so, what, and explain.
17. Illustrate by the remarkable history in Genesis 24.
18. Describe the Methodist preacher’s sermon on that chapter.
19. What of John’s commission with reference to remission of sins,
and why should we stress this point?
20. Give the several questions propounded in a debate, where the
affirmation was made that the kingdom of heaven was set up on the
day of Pentecost, and the law of pardon then and there promulgated.
21. What of his commission to announce the antecedent withering
work of the Holy Spirit?
22. Describe Spurgeon’s sermon on this text.


In the preaching of John the Baptist we come to the words
„repent” and „repentance,” and here, as well as elsewhere,
we may at length consider the whole Bible doctrine of re_
pentance. We will find that great prominence is given in the
Bible to the duty of repentance. It is a staple of preaching
and teaching in both Testaments. Among the noted Old Tes_
tament preachers of repentance may be named Enoch, Noah,
Moses, Samuel, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Hosea, Jonah,
and Malachi. The more noted of the New Testament preach_
ers of this doctrine are John the Baptist, our Lord himself,
Peter, Paul, and John, the apostle. The universality of the
obligation to repent was announced by Paul at Athens in
these words: „God now commandeth all men everywhere to
repent” (Acts 17:30). Of the necessity of repentance, our
Lord himself declares, „Except ye repent, ye shall all like_
wise perish” (Luke 13:3).
It may be observed that all of God’s commandments are
not of equal importance. Our Lord himself mentions one as the
„first great commandment.” A mistake in obedience to some
of these commandments is not necessarily fatal. For example,
a penitent believer may make a mistake about baptism. He
may honestly intend to be baptized, and yet, through a false
education, he may not have obeyed the commandment of God
as to the act and design and administrator of this ordinance.
This mistake is not fatal, because God has not made baptism
essential to salvation, but salvation essential to baptism. But
we cannot make a mistake as to repentance with like impunity.
No matter how much one may desire to repent, nor how
often he may resolve to repent, unless he actually repents he
is lost, because God has made repentance a prerequisite to
eternal life.
Another fact suggests its great importance. Paul declares
it to be one of the first principles of the oracles of God (Heb.
5:12; 6:1). The first principles in any science are valuable
because they are fundamental, that is, knowledge of them is
essential to further progress in that science. So Paul argues
in the scriptures cited. He complains that he must go back
and teach them again the first principles before they are ready
to go on unto perfection. Fundamental means „pertaining to a
foundation,” and in one of the scriptures cited Paul says, „Not
laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works.”
This not only implies the fundamental character of repentance,
but its permanence. Indeed, this foundation can never be laid
but once. Following his hypothetical argument the apostle
shows that if a regenerated man should fall away it would be
impossible to renew him again to repentance, so that this work
once done is done once for all. The reader will understand me
in this to refer to that primary repentance which precedes and
induces the faith which saves the soul. A Christian may often
One cannot build a big house on a little foundation. The
relation of a foundation, therefore, to its superstructure is
quite important. The size, weight, and durability of the latter
depend on the depth, breadth, and solidity of the former.
Hence it is never wise to economize in foundations. Our Lord
illustrates the value of the foundation at the close of his Ser_
mon on the Mount, both positively and negatively, in the fol_
lowing language; „Therefore, whosoever heareth these sayings
of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man,
which built his house upon a rock; and the rain descended, and
the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house;

and it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock. And every
one that heareth these saying of mine and doeth them not,
shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon
the sand; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and
the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell, and
great was the fall of it” (Matt. 7:24_27). The same value
appears in David’s inquiry: „If the foundations be destroyed,
what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3). Those vain imagi_
nations which have no foundation in fact are called air castles.
From their insubstantial nature may be inferred the little
value of a profession of personal religion not bottomed on re_
Repentance appears further as a first principle in that it is
the required preparation for the reception of Christ. The work
of John the Baptist is the most illustrious example of re_
pentance as a preparatory work. John is called the harbinger,
or forerunner, of our Lord, and was commissioned to „prepare
the way before him and make ready a people prepared for
him” (Matt. 3:3). This he did by „preaching repentance”
(Matt. 3:2). The nature of his work as a preparation was
foretold by both Isaiah (40:3_8) and Malachi (3:1). The fol_
lowing words of Isaiah in a striking figure foreshow a part of
the characteristics of repentance: „Every valley shall be
exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and
the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places
plain” (Isa. 40:4). Elsewhere he uses the following words:
„Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumb_
ling block out of the way of my people” (Isa. 57:14); „Go
through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the peo_
ple; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift
up a standard for the people” (Isa. 62:10). All the import of
these figures can be expressed in the one word „grading,” so
that the work of John the Baptist was compared to the grading
of a highway over which Christ was to come to his people.
The value of such work in the material things indicated by the
figure is sufficiently attested by those movements of ancient
skills, the Roman and Peruvian roads, and the modern rail_
roads. Jeremiah presents the same thought negatively by
combating the evil results of impenitence to walking in a way
not „cast up” (Jer. 18:15). We may describe, therefore, the
folly of trying to be a Christian without repentance, by this
similitude: An engineer trying to run a train of cars through
the woods, over the mountains, across rivers and ravines,
where there are no prepared tracks. But the richness of
prophetic description was not limited to one figure. We find
Isaiah turning in the same connection from the figure of grad_
ing to one of agriculture, expressing thereby the same prepara_
tory nature of John’s work. The image employed is that of
burning the grass off a field (Isa. 40:6_8). John’s preaching
subsequently fulfilled this figure, of withering the grass of the
flesh, in the most striking manner, by destroying all hope of
fitness for the kingdom of God based on fleshly descent from
Abraham (Matt. 3:9). Both Hosea and Jeremiah employ the
agricultural figure, showing the preparatory nature of repent_
ance. The words of Jeremiah are: „For thus saith the Lord to
the men of Judah and Jerusalem: Break up your fallow ground
and sow not among thorns.” According to this figure we may
express the folly of trying to be a Christian without repent_
ance, under the similitude of a farmer expecting to reap a
harvest from seed sown in a field whose stubble and thorns
had not first been burned off and whose sod had not been
broken. Our Saviour aptly describes the outcome of the folly
of omitting this preparatory work in the parable of the sower,
where he compares such people to stony, thorn_poisoned, path_
trodden ground which brought forth no fruit.
Mark emphasizes the preparatory work of repentance by
calling John’s preaching of it „The beginning of the gospel of
Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1), and Luke by the
declaration, „The law and the prophets were until John; since
that time the kingdom of God is preached and every man
presseth into it” (Luke 16:16). This is varied somewhat in
Matthew’s statement: „And from the days of John the Baptist
until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the
violent take it by force” (Matt. 11:12).
The foregoing figures and images touching the nature of
repentance enable us to express its relation to eternal life in
the statement that it is an essential prerequisite to salvation
to all subjects of gospel address.
Philosophically considered, repentance must precede faith.
As a sick man must be convinced that he is sick before he will
turn to a physician, or take his medicine, so the carnal mind
must be withered before the renewed mind can be superin_
duced. This precedence is proved also from the Scriptures.
John the Baptist put repentance before faith (Acts 19:4) ; so
did our Lord (Mark 1:15); and Peter (Acts 2:38_41); and
Paul (Acts 20:21; Heb. 6:1, 2; 2 Tim. 2:25). Indeed, there is
no passage in the New Testament, naming both faith and re_
pentance, in which faith comes first.
From the discussion so far we may sum up the nature, neces_
sity and importance of repentance in the following brief state_
ment: It is a staple of preaching in both Testaments. It is of
universal obligation. It is a first principle of the gospel. It
is fundamental and vital, being prerequisite to salvation. It
is to personal religion what the clearing and breaking up of
new ground is to a harvest, what the foundation is to a house,
what the grading is to a highway, what the initial point is to
a survey. It is the boundary between the covenants. It is the
killing which precedes the making alive. It is that conviction
of sickness which turns the sick man to the physician.
We may then say of the preacher who dares to leave out
repentance in his preaching, that he leaves out one_half the
terms of salvation and vitiates the other half; that he builds
only air castles; that he vainly attempts to run the gospel
relief train where there is no prepared track; that he com_
mends the doctor to well people; that he baptizes raw sinners
and whitewashes the carnal nature; that he sows among thorns
and in stubble land, in stony ground and on underlying rocks.
We may also say of the preacher who minifies this doctrine
that he thereby minifies the necessity for Christ; hence dwarfs
the Redeemer himself. It is little sick – little physician; little
sinner – little Saviour. It must be evident, therefore, that it is the duty of every preacher of the gospel to preach repentance
just as often, and with as much emphasis, and to as many peo_
ple, as he preaches faith. As illustrative of the value of such
preaching it may be justly said of all the great preachers, like
Spurgeon, Bunyon Whitefield, Moody, Jonathan Edwards,
and, indeed, all who have been successful in winning souls to
Christ, that they all laid great and frequent stress on the duty
of repentance. From all these things it certainly ought to fol-
low that preachers at least should have clear conceptions of
the meaning, place and relations of repentance. Usually, how_
ever, they have not these clear conceptions. Many cannot
define the term. If a thousand were asked to write out in suc_
cession a definition in the fewest possible words, but few of
them would give the right definition, and there would be great
vagueness, variety and contradiction in the others. It is proper
to state a few examples of variant definitions given by promi_
nent people:
Sam Jones: „Quit your meanness.”
D. L. Moody: „Right about face.”
Alexander Campbell: „Reformation.”
The Romanist Bible (rendering Matt. 3:2) : „Do penance.”
A. W. Chambliss: „Godly sorrow for sin.”
Our common version, in Matthew 27:3, makes it equivalent
to „Remorse of conscience.”
Many speakers and writers: „Restitution.”
M. T. Martin: „Knowing God and turning from dead works.”
Such variations in definitions (and many others might be
added) sufficiently indicate the necessity of a closer study of
this doctrine in the New Testament than is ordinarily given
to it. Here it is important to observe that the New Testament
was written in Greek. Happily for us, we find in one brief
paragraph in 2 Corinthians 7 a number of terms covering the
whole ground.
The verb, lupeo, to grieve, to make sorry.
The noun, lupe, grief, sorrow.
Lupe tou kosmou, a phrase signifying „worldly sorrow.”
Lupe kata theon, another phrase meaning „godly sorrow.”
The verb, metamelomai, to regret.
The noun, metanoia, repentance.
The adjective, ametameletos, not regrettable.
In this context, and elsewhere, our common version renders
metamelomai, „repent.” As the instances of its use in the New
Testament are few, I now cite every one:
Matthew 21:29: „Afterward he repented and went.”
Matthew 21:32: „Ye repented not afterward, that ye might
believe him.”
Matthew 27:3_5: „Judas repented himself . . . and went and
hanged himself.”
2 Corinthians 2:8: „I do not repent, though I did repent.”
Hebrews 7:21: „The Lord swear and will not repent.”
A better rendering, perhaps, in every case of this usage
would be obtained by substituting the word „regret.” „Repent”
is an inappropriate rendering for this verb, because, first, meta_
melomai does not express the full idea of New Testament re_
pentance. For example, Judas repented and went and hanged
himself, but „repentance is unto life,” and it is worldly sor_
row that worketh death. Second, because there is another
term always employed in expressing New Testament repent_
ance. That other term is the noun, metanoia, from the verb,
metanoeo. I cite for the benefit of the reader every New Tes_
tament use of the verb, and ask him to look at each reference
and note its application to our doctrine. Matthew uses the
term five times, as follows: 3:2;4:17; 11:20_21; 12:41. Mark
twice: 1:15; 6:12. Luke ten times in his Gospel: 10:13; 11:32;
13:3, 5; 15:7, 10; 16:30; 17:3_4, 30. In Acts five times more:
2:38; 3:19; 8:22; 17:30; 26:20. Paul once: 2 Corinthians 12:
21. John eleven times: Revelation 2:5, 16, 21_22; 3:3, 19; 9:
20_21; 16:9, II. Thirty_four times in all. Matthew uses the
noun three times: 3:8, II; 9:13. Mark twice: 1:14; 2:17.
Luke five times in his Gospel: 3:3, 8; 5:32; 15:7; 24:47. Six
times in Acts: 5:31; 11:18; 13:24; 19:4; 20:21; 26:20. Paul
seven times: Romans 11:4; 2 Corinthians 7:9_10; 2 Timothy
2:25; Hebrews 6:1, 6; 12:17. Peter once: 2 Peter 3:9. In all,
twenty_four. We thus observe that this term, as a noun or
verb, is employed fifty_eight times in the New Testament,
occurring in books by Matthew eight times; Mark four times;
Luke twenty_six times; John eleven times; Peter one time;
Paul eight times; and in every instance refers unmistakably
to the New Testament doctrine of repentance, and to nothing
It should be noted also carefully that repentance is declared
to be the product of godly sorrow, lupe kata theon; and that it
always ends in salvation, eternal life (Acts 11:18; 2 Cor. 7:
7_10). Hence it follows that repentance is always ametamele_
tos, „not regrettable.” This adjective is compounded from the
verb melein and the preposition, meta, and the privative parti-
cle a.
We advance in our knowledge of metanoeo, to repent, and
metanoia, repentance, by considering that there is a Greek
noun, nous, the mind. There is also a Greek verb which tells
what the mind does – noeo, to think, perceive, understand.
Then there is the preposition, meta, which, in composition with
noeo, expresses the idea of change, transition, sequence. There_
fore, we may say that metanoeo always means „to think back,
to change the mind,” while the noun, metanoia, always means
afterthought, as oonosed to forethought, chanere of mind We
may, therefore, give as the one invariable definition of New
Testament repentance that it is a change of mind, from which
it is evident that its domain is limited. It is necessarily inter_
nal, not external.
The necessity for its universal application as a prerequisite
to Christian character and life lies in the fact that the carnal
mind, which is the normal mind of fallen man, is enmity
against God, not subject to his law, neither indeed can be. To
be carnally_minded is death, since they that are in the flesh
cannot please God. Hence, from enmity against God, re_
pentance is a change of mind toward God. It is a reversal of,
or turning upside down, the carnal mind. Perhaps one may
say this makes repentance the equivalent of regeneration. My
reply is that our exercise of both repentance and faith is but
the underside, whose upper or divine side is called regenera_
tion. This fact explains how repentance is a grace. Hence the
saying, „Jesus Christ was exalted a Prince and Saviour to give
repentance to Israel,” and „God hath granted to the Gentiles
repentance unto life.”
We are now prepared to show seriatim the folly of the false
definitions cited. First, worldly sorrow, or remorse of con_
science, cannot be repentance because of its origin and end.
It is from the world and worketh death. For example, Judas;
for illustration, Byron’s „Scorpion Girt with Fire:”
So do the dark in soul expire,
Or live like scorpion girt with fire;
So writhes the mind remorse hath given;
Unfit for earth, undoomed for heaven,
Darkness above, despair beneath,
Around it flame, within it death.

Second, godly sorrow is not repentance, for it worketh re_
pentance, and we may not confound the producer and the prod_
uct. For example, the Bible says, „Tribulation worketh
patience,” and one would not say, „Tribulation is patience.”
So neither should we say, „Godly sorrow is repentance.”
Third, Sam Jones’ definition, „Quit your meanness,” is not
to repent, for that is only one half and a negative half at that
of Campbell’s definition, „Reform.” Isaiah gives both halves
thus: „Ceasing to do evil and learning to do well.” But neither
the one nor the other is a definition of repentance, since ref_
ormation is the „fruit meet for repentance,” so well stated in
the following scriptures: „Bring forth therefore fruits meet for
repentance” (Matt. 3:8). ”Bring forth therefore fruits worthy
of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, we have
Abraham to our father, for I say unto you, that God is able
of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now
also the ax is laid unto the root of the tree; every tree, there_
fore, which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and
cast into the fire. And the people asked him saying, What
shall we do then? He answered and said unto them, he that
hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he
that hath meat, let him do likewise. Then came also the pub_
licans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall
we do? And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which
is appointed you. And the soldiers likewise demanded of him,
saying, and what shall we do? And he said unto them, do
violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content
with your wages” (Luke 3:8_14). „So the people of Nineveh
believed God and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth,
from the greatest of them even to the least of them. For word
came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne,
and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth
and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and pub_
lished through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his
nobles, saying, let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste
anything; let them not feed, nor drink water; but let man and
beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God;
yea, let them turn every one from his evil way and from the
violence that is in their hands” (Jonah 3:5_8). „For behold
this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what
carefulness it wrought in you; yea, what clearing of your_
selves; yea, what indignation; yea, what fear; yea, what
vehement desire; yea, what zeal; yea, what revenge! In all
things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter”
(2 Cor. 7:11). „Wash you, make you clean; put away the
evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;
learn to do well; seek judgment; relieve the oppressed; judge
the fatherless; plead for the widow” (Isa. 1:16_17). „Many of
them also which used curious arts brought their books to_
gether, and burned them before all men; and they counted the
price of them and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver”
(Acts 19:19).
Fourth, acknowledging a fault or saying we are sorry is not
repentance, though repentance leads naturally to confession
of sin, as appears from the fact that John’s penitents were
baptized „confessing their sins,” and from what is said of the
Ephesian penitents (Acts 19:18): „And many that believed
came and confessed and showed their deeds.”
Fifth, Mr. Moody’s definition, „Right about face,” is not
repentance, for that is conversion in literal import. In the di_
vine influence originating it, conversion precedes repentance as
thus expressed by Jeremiah 31:19: „After that I was turned I
repented.” But in our exercise it follows repentance, as ex_
pressed by Peter, „Repent and be converted” (Acts 3:19).
Sixth, „Do penance.” The Romanist translation of Matthew
3:2 conveys an idea antipodal to repentance. Repentance is
internal. Doing penance is external. Repentance deals direct_
ly with God; penance obeys an earthly priest. Penance inflicts
punishment on the flesh. Repentance turns the spirit lovingly
to God.
Seventh, restitution is not repentance, but only one of its
ripest fruits. Zaccheus well illustrates this in his words to
Christ: „Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor;
and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusa_
tion, I restore him fourfold” (Luke 19:8).
Eighth, M. T. Martin’s definition, „Knowing God and turn_
ing from dead works,” is not a definition of repentance, and
without a clear explanation is misleading as an equivalent. The
idea of this so_called definition is derived from two scriptures,
to wit: „Repentance from dead works,” (Heb. 6:1) and „This
is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God,
and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). In this
latter scripture the definer assumes that „knowing God” is
repentance, and „knowing Jesus Christ” is faith. The assump_
tion is more plausible than correct. In effect it changes the
scriptural order of repentance and faith, for we cannot know
the Father except through the Son, which under the definition
would make us get to repentance only through faith. More_
over, if knowing the Father and the Son as a means to eternal
life must have an equivalent, it would be more exact to make
faith the equivalent of both. But, arguing logically, the true
equivalent of the „knowing” in this case is eternal life, and as
the life is a result, so must knowing, its equivalent, be a re_
sult; and as the life results from faith, so must the knowing,
its equivalent, so result. The liability to abuse arising from
making the phrase „knowing God” a definition of repentance,
and the phrase, „knowing Jesus Christ” a definition of faith,
lies in the common misconception of the import of the word
„know” in variant Bible usage. It is often employed to ex_
press the idea of approbation rather than information. There
is no eternal life in the knowledge that stops at mere informa_
tion. The demon said to Jesus, „I know thee, who thou art,
thou Holy One of God” (Mark 1:24). And James also says,
„The demons also believe and tremble.” It is therefore not so
much information which men need as a renewed mind. The
fact is both notable and significant, that those who most insist
on knowing God as a definition of repentance are those who
most minify its importance, preach it seldom and virtually
make it equivalent to a mere intellectual perception logically
resulting from a clear statement of a truth.
Ninth, benevolence is not repentance, though surely an ac_
companiment or fruit of it. A man once said in my hearing,
„I can do more repentance with a barrel of flour and a side of
bacon than was ever found at a mourner’s bench.” If this
statement could be construed to mean that true repentance
evidences itself more in deeds of charity to the needy than in
mere bemoanings of one’s self, whether at or aside from a
bench, it might claim some merit, but it is not fairly suscepti_
ble of such construction; hence is faulty at both ends. The
sneer at the mourner and the affirmation that one repents by
deeds of charity are alike unscriptural. Yea, they both embody
deadly heresies. From the first as a root, two baleful branches
shoot out, to wit: One, that we may cultivate the carnal mind
into a Christian mind by a process of giving; the other, that
we may atone for sin by subsequent benefactions. Both are
antipodal to repentance, in that it signifies a supernatural
renewal of the mind and leads to faith, which lays hold on
substitutionary atonement.
It may be said that there is in the most of these false defi_
nitions either such an element of truth, or such nearness to
truth, that the heresy is dangerous, because plausible. It is
important to account for this looseness in definition. The
average mind is not given to analysis, and hence, Judging from
phenomena alone, illogically blends or interchanges cause and
effect, attributes manifestations to wrong causes, or confounds
things externally similar but internally dissimilar. This may
be illustrated by any one of the false definitions cited. For
example, the external symptoms of remorse, or worldly sorrow,
and godly sorrow, may easily be confounded by a superficial
judge. Even Dr. Adam dark evinces great lack of discrimina_
tion by finding hope of salvation in the case of Judas, because
under the promptings of remorse he threw down the blood
money, saying, „I have betrayed the innocent blood.” So
through the ages, over_sanguine and sympathetic tempera_
ments have been accustomed to deduce most unwarranted in_
ferences from the remorse of the ungodly manifestations in a
dying hour, and particularly in the case of criminals about to
be executed. Herein consists one of the excellencies of the
divine judgment. It is not according to appearances.
Again, because godly sorrow, the mediate agent of repen_
tance, and confession, conversion, reformation and restitution,
its unfailing results, all have external visibility; while re_
pentance, itself being internal, is inscrutable, it is quite easy
for one who judges by the sight of his eyes, to miscall any one
of them repentance. We may get somewhat nearer to the heart
of this matter by noting the fact that, if from a given sentence
you erase a word and substitute an alleged definition therefor,
the definition, if accurate, will not only invariably make
good sense, but will also certainly convey the true sense, while
a false definition so substituted will not likely make good
sense, and will certainly change the original meaning. For illus_
tration, suppose we write on a blackboard this sentence: „The
gifts and calling of God are without repentance,” then erasing
the word „repentance,” substitute therefor successively the ten
false and the one true definitions heretofore given, and see
which one not only makes the best sense) but conveys the
original sense. In trying this experiment it must be remem_
bered that in this sentence „without repentance” refers to God,
and not to the one who receives, or who is called.
The gifts and calling of God are without worldly sorrow,
that is, on his part.
The gifts and calling of God are without godly sorrow, that
is, on his part.
The gifts and calling of God are without quitting his meanness.
The gifts and calling of God are without reformation, that
is, on his part.
The gifts and calling of God are without conversion, on his
The gifts and calling of God are without his doing penance.
The gifts and calling of God are without restitution, that is,
on his part.
The gifts and calling of God are without his knowing God
and turning from dead works.
The gifts and calling of God are without benefactions.
Here let us substitute the true definition, „The gifts and
calling of God are without a change of mind,” which means
what? That God never takes back what he gives; that he
never reconsiders when he calls. That if he gives one eternal
life all the devils in hell can never pluck it away; that if he
calls one unto eternal life, that calling will insure every other
step in the process of salvation. The same thought is ex_
pressed in that other scripture, which says of God, „He is
without variableness or shadow of turning,” or that other
scripture which declares him to be „the same yesterday, today
and forever.” It follows that this scripture teaches the doc_
trine of the final preservation of the saints, based upon the
unchangeableness of the divine purpose.

1. What prominence is given in the Bible to the duty of repentance?
2. Mention some noted Old Testament preachers of the doctrine;
some New Testament preachers.
3. What says Paul about the universality of the obligation?
4. What says our Lord of its necessity?
5. Are all God’s commandments of equal importance?
6. Is a mistake about baptism fatal? Why not?
7. A mistake as to repentance? Why?
8. What other fact suggests its importance?
9. State the value of first principles in any science.
10. What is the meaning of fundamental?
11. Cite a scripture which calls repentance a part of the foundation
of Christian doctrine.
12. Can one build a big house on a little foundation?
13. State the relation of a foundation to its superstructure. Is it wise
to economize in foundations? How does our Lord illustrate the value of the foundation? How David?
14. What do we call these vain imaginations which have no founda_
tion in fact?
15. What then is the value of a profession of religion not bottomed
on repentance?
16. How else does it appear that repentance is a first principle?
17. Illustrate this by the work of John the Baptist.
18. What prophets foretold the nature of John’s work?
19. Cite Isaiah’s words foreshadowing a part of its characteristics.
20. Elsewhere what words?
21. What one word expresses all this work?
22. Apply this to ancient Roman and Peruvian roads and to modem
railroads, showing its utility.
23. Cite the words of Jeremiah showing the evil results of impeni_
tence, by comparing it to walking in a way not cast up.
24. What similitude, therefore, describes the folly of trying to be a
Christian without repentance?
25. What agricultural figure does Isaiah also employ to express the
nature of this preparatory work?
26. How did John’s preaching fulfil this figure of „withering the grass”
of the flesh?
27. How did other prophets extend the agricultural figure, showing
the preparatory nature of repentance?
28. According to this figure what similitude expresses the folly of
trying to be a Christian without repentance?
29. How does our Saviour describe the outcome of the folly of omit_
ting this preparatory work?
30. In what way does Mark emphasize the preparatory work of re_
pentance? How Luke? How Matthew?
31. What then may we say of the relation of repentance to eternal life?
32. Why, philosophically, must repentance precede faith?
33. Prove this precedence from the scriptures.
34. Is there any passage in the New Testament containing both terms
in which faith comes first?
35. From the discussion so far, sum up the nature, necessity and im_
portance of repentance.
36. What can you say of the preacher whose preaching leaves out
37. Of the one whose preaching minifies it?
38. What, then, is every preacher’s duty concerning this doctrine?
39. What may be justly said of all the great preachers who have been
successful in winning souls to Christ?
40. What ought to follow from all these things?
41. Have they usually these clear conceptions?
42. Cite examples of variant definitions by prominent people.
43. Are you now willing to go into a New Testament examination
of this fundamental and vital doctrine?
44. In what language was the New Testament written?
45. What Greek terms bearing on this subject are to be found in one
paragraph of 2 Corinthians 7?
46. How does the common version render the verb metamelomai in
this chapter?
47. Does it always so render this verb?
48. Cite every instance of its use in the New Testament.
49. How may you give a better rendering?
60. Why is „repent” an inappropriate rendering of this verb?
51. What is the other Greek term?
52. Cite every New Testament use of both the verb and the noun,
noting its application to the doctrine.
53. What may be said of this use?
54, Of what is repentance declared to be the product?
55. In what does it always end?
56. What follows?
57. What other New Testament use of this adjective?
58. Tell us more about metanoeo, to repent, and metanoia, repentance.
59. Therefore what do these terms always mean?
60. What, then, is the one invariable definition of New Testament
61. How, then, is the domain limited?
62. Wherein lies the necessity of its universal obligation as a pre_
requisite to Christian character and life?
63. But does this make repentance the equivalent of regeneration?
64. What fact does this explain?
65. Show now seriatim, the folly of all the false definitions.
66. If from a given sentence we erase a word and substitute therefor
an alleged definition, what follows?
67. Illustrate the folly of the false definitions given by a blackboard
exercise on the sentence, „The gifts and calling of God are without


It was recognized as impossible to embody in one discussion
a well_rounded view of the doctrine of repentance. The first
discussion closed with an illustration designed to impress the
accuracy of the definition that repentance is a change of mind
toward God, and to expose the inaccuracy of prevalent popular
definitions. This illustration consisted in taking the sentence,
„The gifts and the calling of God are without repentance”
(Rom. 11:29), and substituting in turn the various so_called
definitions in the place of the word „repentance,” to determine
which one made the best sense. Resuming the discussion at
that precise point, attention is called to a possible objection
based on the fact that the phrase „without repentance” in
Romans 11:29, is but a rendering of the adjective ametomele_
tos, which is not derived from metanoeo, but from metamelei.
If anyone should be disposed to consider that this fact impairs
the force of the illustration, he may bring out the idea sought
to be conveyed just as forcibly by using as a base some sen_
tence which has in it unmistakably metanoia. For example,
let the reader try the same procedure with Hebrews 12:17:
„Esau found no place of repentance though he sought it care_
fully, with tears.” Here it is important to observe that the
repentance of this verse does not, as is commonly supposed,
refer to an exercise of the mind of Esau. The sentence means
that Esau found no place for a change of mind on the part of
his father, Isaac, though he sought to change his father’s mind
with many tears. This change on the part of Isaac was im_

possible, notwithstanding he preferred Esau above Jacob, be_
cause he could not change the blessing pronounced on Jacob
through divine inspiration. Hence the margin of the common
version renders the passage, „Esau found no way to change
Isaac’s mind,” thus harmonizing with Paul’s version of the
same matter as thus expressed: „And not only this, but when
Rebekah also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac
(for the children being not yet born, neither having done any
good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election
might stand, not of works but of him that calleth), it was said
unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written,
Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we
say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have
mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have com_
passion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that
runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy” (Rom. 9:10_16). If,
therefore, we want an illustration of confusion confounded, we
have only to write Hebrews 12:17, erase the word „repent_
ance,” and substitute therefor successively the false definitions
heretofore cited.
Here another objector may ask: If we define repentance as
only a change of mind, does not that belittle a great doctrine?
That depends on the „from what” and the „to what.” Remem_
ber that the carnal mind is enmity against God, not subject
to his law, neither indeed can be. To change that mind into
love of God and subjection to his law is no small change. It
is as difficult as to raise the dead or make a world. It calls
for the exercise of supernatural, creative, omnipotent energy.
It still may be objected: How, then, can we repent, as a
stream can rise no higher than its source? The answer is ob_
vious. We cannot repent except by divine grace. Remember
this scripture cited: „Jesus Christ was exalted a prince and a
Saviour to give repentance,” and remember also what has been
stated, that the exercise of repentance on our part is but the
under side; the upper side is regeneration. We work out what
God works in, both to will and to do according to his good
pleasure, and therefore our „confession of faith” makes re_
pentance a fruit of regeneration.
If it be objected again that according to this definition there
is no element of sorrow in repentance, our reply is, etymologi_
cally and abstractly, no. But again, everything depends OD
„from what” and „to what.” We should never forget the stand_
point. Gospel repentance necessarily involves the idea of sor_
row, because we repent from the standpoint of sin against the
holy God, whose righteous law that sin has transgressed.
Hence, like Job when he saw the Holy One, our convicted
spirit cries out, „Behold, I am vile. What shall I answer thee?
I will lay my hand upon thy mouth. . . . I have heard of thee
by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth thee. Where_
fore, I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes.” This view
makes clear the relation of repentance to godly sorrow.
Godly sorrow, or contrition, is God_wrought sorrow, that is,
God is its author. This makes godly sorrow the result of con_
viction of sin. Conviction is the work of the Holy Spirit. Con_
trition is our exercise under conviction.
In referring to the Holy Spirit our Lord says, „When he is
come he will convict the world of sin.” The sinner’s way,
though leading to death, seems right to him until he is con_
victed that it is wrong. When so convicted, he changes his
mind and thus godly sorrow worketh repentance. The Day of
Pentecost furnishes a notable example of this order of proce_
dure. On that day the Holy Spirit came down, enduing the
disciples with power, and through their preaching convicted
the Jews of sin. When these so convicted cried out, „Men and
brethren, what shall we do?” Peter replied, „Repent ye.” The
phrase expressing this conviction is, „They were pricked in
their heart.” This fulfils an Old Testament prophecy. Jere_
miah, in stating the nature of the new covenant, says, „I will
put my laws into their mind and write them in their hearts.”
Paul refers to the same thought when describing the conversion
of the Corinthians: „Written not with ink but with the Spirit
of the living God; not on tables of stone but in fleshly tables of
the heart” (2 Cor. 3:3).
It is very important to observe just here that when we say
that the carnal mind is enmity against God and that repent_
ance is a change of mind toward God, we by no means intend
to teach by the change alleged that the carnal mind itself is
transformed, converted into a loving mind, because the carnal
mind is inconvertible. It can never be made subject to God’s
law by any possible process. The change of mind is not the
turning of one mind into another, as wheat is converted into
flour, retaining its substance while changing its form, but it is
a change by substitution. One thing takes the place of another
radically different thing, as a child is said to be a changeling
who in infancy was substituted for the true offspring that had
first been removed._Only we must remember that in repentance
the mind substituted for the carnal mind is a new creation.
Ezekiel expresses that thought thus: „A new heart also will I
give you and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will
take away the stony heart out of your flesh and I will give
you a heart of flesh, and I will put my Spirit within you and
cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judg_
ments and do them.” Paul calls this the „putting off of the old
man and the putting on the new man.” Observe, however,
that when speaking of repentance, or faith, as the under, or
human side of regeneration, we do not mean that repentance
alone expresses all the change set forth in the paragraphs from
Ezekiel and Paul. Faith must be included to insure this full
result. As our Articles of Faith declare, „Repentance and faith
are inseparable graces wrought in our souls by the regenerating
Spirit of God.” We may well here be asked, „How then can
we discriminate between the work of repentance and faith?”
By recurring to the illustration of a changeling we may be able
somewhat to discriminate. Repentance takes away the first
child; faith substitutes the other. The taking away is but pre_
paratory, as John’s preaching withered the grass of the flesh,
utterly consuming any hope of fitness for the kingdom of
heaven based on carnal descent from Abraham, to make them
ready by faith to receive Christ. And so in Hebrews 8 Paul
describes the changing of the covenants, „In that he saith, a
new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which
decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.” In other
words, one is taken away as a preparation for the institution
of the other, and this is equally a change. Having now con_
sidered somewhat in detail its nature and meaning, some at_
tention will be given to the Object of repentance.
Paul discriminates sharply between repentance and faith, as
to their respective objects, when he says, „Repentance toward
God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21).
Observe, therefore, that gospel repentance is only toward God,
but as repentance is a general term, we must not forget that
we may repent toward other objects. One may change his mind
about multitudinous matters, from one thing or person to
another thing or person. He may repent toward his earthly
parents, toward death, toward shame. From this fact arises a
liability to mistake one of these repentances for gospel re_
pentance. Indeed, it is often done. A wild young man, away
from home, has been stirred to tears by some preacher’s de_
scription of the old homestead, and reflecting upon the grief
and pain his disobedience has wrought in the parental heart,
he is led by sorrow to change his mind toward his faraway
parents. In this case, his repentance is toward his earthly
parents, and may not have in it a single element of spirituality,
in the gospel sense. Again, a profane, dissipated, and wicked
man, when suddenly confronted with death, or threatened with
exposure of his unrighteousness, is stricken with remorse, which
leads to a change of mind as to the evil done, or rather its
consequences. Here the repentance is either toward the hor_
rors of apprehended death or toward the shame of being found
out. That we may be well guarded against this liability to
mistake, it may be necessary to illustrate repentance of this
Years ago a Texas paper recited a thrilling incident aboard
a ship in the Gulf of Mexico. It was just after a gale. The
passengers, rejoicing in the subsidence of the storm, were vari_
ously occupied, according to inclination or habit, some swear_
ing, some drinking, some gambling. Suddenly the captain, his
face white, his lips quivering, rushed into the cabin and startled
the unprepared passengers with the awful announcement, „The
ship has sprung a leak and will go down in five minutes!” The
effect was instant and all_pervasive. The oath and ribald jest
were arrested, half_uttered, on the lips of profanity; the drunk_
ard dropped untasted the half lifted bottle; the gamblers
threw down their unplayed cards and ignored the tempting
gold they had staked on their game. All of them, panic_
stricken, by one impulse) fell on their knees in prayer. They
all repented toward sudden death. Now, if that ship had gone
down, instantaneously engulfing all but one of that crew in a
watery grave, and that one survivor had reported that all his
shipmates died in the act of prayer, having each one „quit his
meanness,” their relatives at home would have deduced great
hopes of their condition in eternity, and some preachers in
funeral services would have preached their souls right into
heaven. But, alas! for such repentance, such hopes, such
preaching, in the light of subsequent facts. The history pro_
ceeds to say that while yet in their fear_prompted devotions
the carpenter of the ship appears with the cheering statement
that the pumps are lowering the water in the hold and the leak
will soon be stopped. The effect of this assuring announcement
was like that ascribed to the touch of a magician’s wand. De_
votion and panic depart together and wicked inclinations and
habits resume their wonted sway. Indeed, the oaths are more
frequent, the jests more obscene, on profanity’s lips. The
gamblers renew their interrupted game with doubled stakes
to make up for loss of time. The drunkard treats himself to an
extra two fingers in compensation for his brief abstinence. We
may call this „India rubber repentance,” because it is like the
schoolboy’s hollow ball, which flattens under pressure but
resumes its original form when the pressure ceases.
Mark Twain in a very humorous account of this method of
getting religion gives us a second illustration, substantially
after this fashion: He tells of three men lost in a snowstorm,
wearily riding in a circle, until the increasing cold admonishes
that they must have a fire or die, and how every match and
every powder flash failed to ignite the wet boughs gathered
by their benumbed fingers, and how at last the certainty of
death called for a preparation for eternity, and how each pro_
posed to get religion by quitting his particular meanness. The
first throws down his pipe and promises never to smoke again.
The second hurls away his bottle and vows to drink no more.
The third scatters to the winds his pack of Mexican cards,
pledging to deal monte never again. And then, shaking hands
and crying all around, they yield up their ghosts to – sleep. The
beautiful snow gathered around them its white mantle as a
shroud, but lo I when morning came they awoke to find them_
selves alive and within sight of the very stage stand they had
vainly sought in the darkness. With sheepish faces and in
silence they sought its hospitable walls, where, after thawing
the outside at the blazing hearth and filling the inside with
generous food and drink, they were surprised to find how secu_
lar they felt. But each was ashamed for the others to know
he had so soon fallen from grace, and so sought solitude after
his own fashion. The smoker, when left alone, slipped out,
sought, found, and filled his pipe, and stealing behind one
corner of the barn to surreptitiously strike a match, surprised
the drunkard at the other corner just lifting his recovered bot_
tle to his lips, while both stood aghast at beholding under an
old stagecoach the third playing solitaire with his refound pack
of Mexican cards.
Henry Ward Beecher says that „one might as well repent
toward the jaws of a crocodile as toward the law.” The ques_
tion then may well be asked, „How may one safely distinguish
between gospel repentance and repentance toward other ob_
jects?” This may be done by keeping in mind the following
characteristics of gospel repentance: First, as to its nature.
It is spiritual, a new creation, wrought by the omnific energy
of the Holy Spirit. The tree is first made good. Second, it is
always the product of contrition, whose marks are thus de_
scribed by Paul: „For godly sorrow worketh repentance to
salvation not to be repented of, but the sorrow of the world
worketh death; for behold this self_same thing that we sorrow
after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you; yea,
what clearing of yourselves; yea, what indignation; yea, what
fear; yea, what vehement desire; yea, what zeal; yea, what
revenge. In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear
in this matter.” Third, as to its objects. It is always toward
God. It recognizes, abhors and turns away from sin as a trans_
gression of his holy law, and confesses the guilt of alienation
from it. Fourth, it always leads to loving acceptance by faith
of the Lord Jesus Christ, as the soul’s only prophet, priest,
and king. Fifth, being a radical and fundamental change, it
always bears fruit in confession, conversion, reformation, and
even restitution when possible.
When theologians speak of repentance in a somewhat broad_
er sense than its etymological import, that is, including both
anterior and subsequent or accompanying exercises, they find
in it these three elements: First, an intellectual element, which
recognizes sin as involving personal guilt, defilement and help_
lessness. Paul calls this „knowledge of sin,” Greek, Epignosis,
Hamartias, Romans 3:20. Second, an emotional element, called
contrition, or godly sorrow, Greek, lupe kata theon. Third, a
voluntary element, Greek, metanoia, that is, a change of mind
or disposition which turning from sin and self_help seeks par_
don and cleansing in a Redeemer.
Here, as a guard against a widespread misconception, it is
important to observe that the penitent state is not a passive
state, but exceedingly active. The mind acts, the heart acts,
the will acts, the whole being is stirred, every faculty is alive
and employed, and every means or resource available is util_
ized. The penitent is indeed no sluggard. With him there is no
folding of the hands, no lying supinely on his back, no foolish
waiting. He burns, he moves, he tries. He is a very live man.
It is well to specify three phases of this activity. First, the
penitent is a mourner on account of sin. Second, the penitent
prays for pardon and cleansing. Third, the penitent is a seeker
after salvation. It perhaps would take up too much time and
space to cite the very words of all the scriptures proving these
three phases of activity, and yet the reader should take down
a list of the more important ones and privately examine them.
I suggest the following: Zechariah 12:9; 13:1; James 4:8_10;
Isaiah 57:15; Psalm 34:18; 51:1_10; Jonah 3:4_10; Luke 18:
9:14; Psalm 4:1_3; 107:10_14, 17, 20; Isaiah 55:6_7; Jeremiah
29:12_13; 50:4_5; Luke 18:13; Matthew 6:33. The charac_
teristics of the gospel mourner presented in the passage from
Zechariah it is quite important to note. First, it was a great
mourning; second, it was an individual mourning, husband and
wife apart; third, it is declared to be such a mourning as
parents indulge over the death of their first_born, or as Israel
indulged over the death of Josiah, their king. Fourth, it was
truly lupe kata theon; that is, the Holy Spirit was its agent.
Fifth, the preached word, lifting up Christ, was its instrument
(compare John 19:37 and Acts 2:17_37). And finally it leads
to the fountain of cleansing (Zech. 13:1). Our Lord, in refer_
ring to the mourning of the Ninevites, who put on sackcloth
and ashes and cried mightily to God, says that they repented
at the preaching of Jonah. He had just said that if Tyre and
Sidon had received the light bestowed upon Chorazin and
Bethsaida they would have repented long ago in sack_
cloth and ashes.
While discussing the penitent’s activity as a mourner, it may
be well to refer somewhat to what is popularly called the
mourner’s bench. Within modern times revivalist preachers
fell upon the method of inducing movement upon the part of
those whom they addressed by asking them to come forward
to a designated seat, where they might be instructed and where
the people of God could approach them knowing that the ap_
proach would not be offensive to them. This method has its
dangers and its abuses. There is always danger of making it
a fixed institution, and even without intending it, of allowing
the popular mind to regard it as a fact that salvation can be
found nowhere else than at the mourner’s bench. Then well_
known excesses have taken place in connection with what are
called altar scenes, which have brought this method into re_
proach with many pious, thinking people. There is equal dan_
ger in the opposite extreme of preaching which has no tendency
to induce action, movement, decision, which draws no line of
demarcation. The Baptists and the Methodists employ the
mourner’s bench, as it is called, or some form of that method,
more than other denominations. Those popularly known as
Campbellites and Martinites most oppose it. Where one is
wise a golden mean between these extremes can be profitably
A notable case of the second activity, the penitent’s pray_
ing, is furnished by our Saviour in the case of the publican,
whose prayer is thus expressed in the Greek: „0 theos, hiles_
theti moi toi hamartoloi.” It may be translated: God, be
propitious to me, the sinner; (or, forgive me through the atone_
ment) . As Baptists usually teach the penitent to pray for the
pardon of his sins, it may here be asked whether they call upon
him to pray for pardon independent of the atonement
wrought by Christ. No one who has ever taught a penitent to
pray, at least no Baptist inculcates such teachings apart from
the means appointed to secure the remission of sins. If then
the penitent is taught to seek pardon in prayer through the
appointed means of pardon, this conforms our Baptist teach_
ing to that of our Lord Jesus Christ in the parable of the publican.
And, indeed, it is improbable that any man was ever saved
who did not mourn on account of his sins and pray for pardon
through Christ and seek eternal life. And we may regard with
well_grounded distrust any alleged Christian experience unac_
companied with these exercises of mind and heart.
False teachers have applied to this mourning, praying, and
seeking activity of the penitent the opprobrious phrase, „dirt
and straw religion.” If modern seekers after eternal life were
to act as did the Ninevites, fasting, putting on sackcloth and
crying mightily to God in prayer, doubtless these dry_eyed,
short_cut teachers would ridicule it as „dirt and straw reli_
gion,” or as doing penance; and yet our Saviour, in referring
to these exercises says that the Ninevites repented at the
preaching of Jonah. Most probably the real objection of these
false teachers to what they call the mourner’s bench, lies more
against the mourning, the praying, and the seeking than
against the bench. In an effort to avoid the opprobrium heaped
upon this method we should take good heed lest we run into the
opposite extreme, that is, leave out the mourning, praying,
and seeking, while leaving out the bench. The Scriptures pre_
scribe no fixed measure of mourning, praying, and seeking as
necessary to salvation. Indeed, it is not a measure of time and
process. If in one moment the soul is contrite enough to turn
in abhorrence of sin against God from all self_help to our Lord
Jesus Christ by faith, it is sufficient.
The reader is called upon to note that when we say that
repentance is toward God, we do not mean that only preach_
ing about the law or about God the Father can produce re_
pentance. That is not meant at all. The preaching that leads
to repentance toward God is the preaching of Christ and him
crucified, for in Christ alone is the Father revealed and the
majesty of his law fully set forth. This is abundantly proved
by the Scriptures. Our Lord said that in his name should re_
pentance and remission of sins be preached throughout the
world. Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost is an illustrious
example of how preaching Christ leads to repentance, and the
passage from Zechariah, before quoted, says that it is only
after they looked on him whom they had pierced that they
mourned, and then was opened a fountain for sin and unclean_
ness. What the Scriptures teach) experience corroborates. Ob_
servation of revival meetings shows that hearts are not broken
by dry, abstract preaching of the law, but are melted into
contrition by Christ lifted up, and set forth as crucified before
the eyes of the people. On this account Paul declared that be
gloried in nothing save the cross of Christ, and in his preaching
knew nothing other than Christ and him crucified. I would
commend, therefore, to young preachers and all Christians de_
sirous of leading men to repentance or faith or consecration, or
any other gospel exercise whatever, the supreme theme, Christ
and him crucified; always Christ, whether to saint or sinner.
Preach Christ – not morality, not philosophy, not deeds of
charity, not civilization, never anything but Christ.

1. How do you meet the objection that the phrase „without re_
pentance” in Romans 11:29 is a rendering of the adjective ametameletos and is not derived from melanoeo?
2. Show how the definition, „Repentance is a change of mind,” does
not belittle a great doctrine.
3. If repentance calls for the exercise of supernatural, creative and
omnipotent energy, how then. can we repent?
4. Is there necessarily an element of sorrow in repentance? Show
clearly the relation of repentance to godly sorrow.
5. Cite a notable example of this order of procedure.
6. What phrase expresses the conviction?
7. What Old Testament prophecy did this fulfil?
8. How does Paul express the same thought?
9. By the change of mind in repentance is it meant that the carnal
Blind itself is transformed, converted into a loving mind?
10. How does Ezekiel express the nature of this change? How Paul?
11. Does repentance alone express all of the changes set forth in the
paragraphs from Paul and Ezekiel?
12. How then can one discriminate between the exercises of re_
pentance and faith?
13. How does Paul discriminate between repentance and faith as to
their respective objects?
14. May we not repent toward other objects?
15. Is there a liability to mistake one of these repentances for gospel
16. Illustrate repentance of this kind.
17. Recite substantially Mark Twain’s humorous account of getting
religion after this fashion.
18. How did Henry Ward Beecher describe repentance toward the law?
19. How then may one safely distinguish between the real repentance
and the spurious?
20. What three elements do theologians find in repentance considered
in a broader than the etymological sense?
21. Is the penitent state active or passive?
22. Specify three phases of this activity.
23. Cite scriptures proving that the penitent is a mourner.
24. Proving that he is a seeker.
25. Proving that he prays for pardon.
26. What are the characteristics of the mourning mentioned in Zechariah?
27. What does our Lord say about mourning and praying of the
28. What about Chorazin and Bethsaida (Matt. 11:20_21)?
29. Cite the origin and history of the mourner’s bench.
30. What are its dangers and abuses; dangers of opposite extreme?
31. What denominations most employ this method? Who most op_
pose it?
32. What is the golden mean?
33. Cite the Greek text of the publican’s prayer; its meaning.
34. Do Baptists teach the penitent to pray for pardon of sins in_
dependent of the atonement wrought by Christ?
35. If then the penitent is taught to seek pardon in prayer through
the appointed means of pardon, to whose teaching does this conform?
36. Is it probable that any man was ever saved who did not mourn
on account of his sins, pray for pardon through Christ and seek eternal life?
37. How may we regard any alleged Christian experience unacom_
panied with these exercises?
38. What opprobrious phrase do false teachers apply to mourning,
praying and seeking?
39. If modern seekers after eternal life were to act as did the Nine_
vites, what would these dry_eyed teachers say about it?
40. What does our Saviour say about it?
41. What does he say of Tyre and Sidon?
42. What most probably is the real objection of these teachers to
the mourner’s bench?
43. What caution is necessary in avoiding the evils of the so_called
mourner’s bench?
44. What measure of mourning, praying, and seeking do the Scrip-
tures require as necessary to salvation?
45. What kind of preaching most conducive to repentance?
46. Prove this by the Scriptures.
47. How does experience corroborate this?
48. On this account what said Paul as to the matter of his preaching?
49. What theme is commended to young preachers and other Chris-
tians desirous of leading men to repentance, or faith, or any other
gospel exercise?


Before considering the Bible motives and encouragements to
repentance let four correlative thoughts take deep root in the
reader’s mind.
First, sinners alone can or should repent. The righteous are
not called to repentance, because just men need no repentance.
Second, and therefore, men ought and must repent of their
sins only. We ought not, must not repent of righteousness.
Where there is no transgression, there is no obligation to re_
pentance, no necessity for it, no propriety in it.
Third, since all men are commanded to repent, it follows
that all are sinners. Let us never allow ourselves to be deceived
at this point by the familiar phrases of worldly judgment. Men
are called good or righteous by the world on account of their
supposed conduct toward men. Women are called good or
righteous because of supposed amiability of character or pro_
priety of conduct in human relations. The world does not take
into account our relations to God. And yet sin cannot be sin
unless against God. And all people, aside from the provisions
of divine grace, are out of harmony in their relations toward
God. The world’s best man, even if he be our father, society’s
fairest, sweetest, most amiable woman, even if she be our
mother, wife, or sister, or daughter, is a sinner, under the just
condemnation of God.
Fourth, without repentance they are forever lost. God him_
self cannot forgive the impenitent. The following scriptures

may suffice to prove that it is sin alone that must be repented
of: „Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God,
if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee”
(Acts 8:22). „Lest . . . I shall bewail many who have sinned
already, and have not repented of the uncleanness, and forni_
cation, and lasciviousness, which they have committed” (2 Cor.
12:21). „I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and
she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them
that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except
they repent of their deeds” (Rev. 2:21_22). „And the rest
of the men, which were not killed by these plagues, yet re_
pented not of the works of their hands, that they should not
worship devils, and idols of gold and silver, and brass, and
stone, and of wood; which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk.
Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries,
nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts” (Rev. 9:20_21).
In all these instances the thing calling for repentance is sin.
Just here the reader is requested to note a difference between
the idiom of the Greek and of the English. We observe that in
our English translation of all these passages the verb „repent”
is followed by the preposition „of” – „repent of” the sin, what_
ever it may be. But strictly speaking, we cannot „repent of”
anything. Our English idiom, „repent of,” is used to avoid
circumlocution. It does not, however, strictly accord with the
definition or grammatical usage of the Greek verb, metanoeo,
or its noun, metanoia. This is evident in the Greek text of all
the passages just cited. In Acts 8:22: „Repent of thy wicked_
ness,” the preposition following the verb is apo – „repent from”
which phrase, according to Dr. Hackett, is used in a pregnant
sense and is equivalent to „repent and turn from.” With this
compare Hebrews 6:1: „Repentance from dead works,” and
the Septuagint of Jeremiah 8:6: „No man repented him from
his wickedness.” In 2 Corinthians 12:21: „Have not repented
of the uncleanness,” etc., the preposition is epi, i.e., „have not
repented on account of uncleanness.” It is true that Meyer and
others, connect epi, in this passage, not with metaiweo, i.e.
„repent on account of the uncleanness,” etc., but with penthesa
i.e., „mourn on account of the uncleanness.” But both the
common and revised version are against this construction.
Moreover, passages may be cited not only from classic Greek
authors and the Septuagint, but also from postapostolic
authors connecting metanoeo with epi, i.e., „repent on account
of” (cf. Joel 2:13; Jonah 3, Septuagint). Lucial (A.D. 160),
says, „Repent for what {epi) or on account of what he did.”
Josephus (Greek text) referring to Exodus 14:5, says, „The
Egyptians, however, soon repented that the Hebrews were
gone,” i. e., on account of (epi) the departure of the Hebrews,
(Ant. 2, 15, 3). In all the passages cited from Revelation, „to
repent of fornication,” „repent of their deeds,” „repented not
of their works,” „repented not of their murders,” the preposi_
tion is ek („out of,” or „from”) which is elliptical and is some_
what more than equivalent to „repent and turn from.” The
difference between apo and ek is one of degree, not kind, ek
having greater force; as, „to drive from (apo) the gate and to
drive from within (ek) the gate.” It conforms therefore more
accurately with the meaning and usage of the Greek terms to
Bay, „repent on account of sin,” rather than „repent of sin,”
and to say, „repentance from sin,” rather than „repentance of sin.”
We. now approach the subject of motives. As man is a ra_
tional, accountable, moral being, his actions are induced by
motives, and in these motives, lies very largely, the moral
quality of the actions. These facts should bear heavily on the
conscientious preacher of repentance. His zeal should .not be
allowed to outrun his knowledge. He should, as a teacher of
the gospel, urge only right motives to induce sinners to repent.
All appeals, based on mere expediency, or on worldly reasons;
and all help sought in mere human devices to attract and hold
and stir a crowd are unworthy of his high calling, and unsuit_
able and inefficient in themselves. A change of mind or ref_
ormation brought about by merely worldly considerations, is
devoid of any religious element and transitory in nature, how_
ever promising or startling at first.
The fleeting results of meetings conducted by some sensa_
tional evangelists serve for illustration. There is no step taken
in religion that steps not toward God. Sin is against God. Re_
pentance, being on account of sin, is toward God. Nor is there
need to seek beyond the Scriptures for motives and encourage_
ments to repentance, because they abound with all incentives
that will likely quicken the conscience, stir the heart, or in_
fluence the will; and because the word of God alone has the
promise of the Spirit’s power without which there_can be no
repentance. No evangelist, however abundant his labors or
frequent his services, need fear an exhaustion of this Bible
material or a monotony of service in confining himself to it.
The supply is inexhaustible in quantity, infinite in variety,
perfect in adaptation and omnipotent in efficacy. It must be
premised, therefore, that our present citation of scriptural
motives and encouragements to repentance pretends to indicate
only a very few of many available resources, and our brief
exposition thereof pretends to be suggestive only and not ex_
haustive in any case.


„The Lord is willing that all should come to repentance”
(2 Peter 3:9). This scripture expresses not an irresistible de_
cree, but the attitude of the divine mind toward all men. As
repentance must be toward God, if he, one of the two at
variance, and withal the one aggrieved, is willing to accept the
repentance of the transgressor as a step toward reconciliation,
it places the responsibility of decision on the man, and teaches
that the final damnation of any soul on account of sin is sui_
cide – the sinner destroys himself. The emphasis should be
placed on „willing” and „all.” The Lord is willing; is the sin_
ner willing? The willingness of God is toward all, excluding
no nation, no class, no individual: „How often would I have
gathered you but ye would not,” „Ye will not come unto me
that ye might have life,” „Whosoever will, let him take the
water of life freely.” No view of the divine decrees, no inter_
pretation of the doctrines of election and predestination should
be allowed to obscure the brightness, or limit the broadness,
of this attitude of the divine mind toward sinners. Our own
hearts should be full of it when we preach or teach the gos_
pel to lost men. And we should prayerfully and diligently
labor to possess their minds with the conviction that if every_
thing else in the universe be a lie, it remains true that „God
wishes all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of
the truth” (I Tim. 2:4). We must not, dare not, doubt his sin_
cerity, nor impugn his veracity, when he says, „As I live,
saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the
wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live”
(Ezek. 33:11).
This willingness of God that all should come to repentance
is evident (a) by his abundant provision of mercy – „God so
loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that who_
soever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal
life,” (John 3:16) ; „That by the grace of God he should taste
death for every man,” (Heb. 2:9); „He is the propitiation
for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole
world,” (I John 2:2). (b) It is evident in that the terms of this
mercy are simple and easy -0- repentance toward God and faith
toward our Lord Jesus Christ (Mark 1:15; Acts 20:21; Rom.
10:8_9). (c) It is evident in that, by the church and min_
istry, he has provided for a perpetual and worldwide publica_
tion of this mercy and its terms (Luke 24:47; Matt. 28:19;
Acts 17:30). (d) It is evident by the earnestness and broad_
ness of his gracious invitations (Isa. 55:1; Matt. 11:28; Rev.
22:17). (e) It is evident by his suspension of the death pen_
alty, assessed against the sinner, that space for repentance
may be allowed (Gen. 6:3; Matt. 3:10; Luke 13:6_9; Rom.
2:4; 2 Pet. 3:9, 15; Rev. 2:21). (f) It is evident by his joyous
welcome to the penitent (Luke 15:20, 24) who returns in this
space, (g) It is evident by his sincere grief over the finally
impenitent who allow the space to pass away unimproved
(Luke 19:41_44). What mighty motives are in all these
thoughts! What an inexhaustible supply of sermon themes!
What preacher has drawn all the water out of these wells of
salvation? For an elaborate discussion of God’s willingness
that all sinners should come to repentance, it may not be
regarded as immodest for me to refer the reader to the sermon,
„God and the Sinner,” in my first volume of published sermons.
The sinner’s great need and heaven’s great supply. „And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish here with hunger!” (Luke 15:17). How touching, how realistic this picture! He has spent all. He is in want. He perishes. He is a prey to dissatisfaction, unrest, unutterable woe. Well might he make his own the words of England’s great poet, Byron:
My days are in the yellow leaf,
The flowers, the fruits of love are gone;
The worm, the canker and the grief
Are mine alone.
The fire that on my bosom preys
Is lone as some volcanic isle;
No torch is lighted at its blaze,
A funeral pile.
Over against this, behold the light, the feasting, the joy,
the merry_making in the father’s house, and hear its music I
Another scripture sharply contrasts the needs and the supply:
„Thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and
naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that
thou mayest be rich; and white raiment that thou mayest
be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not ap_
pear; and anoint thine eyes with eye_salve, that thou mayest
see. . . . Be zealous, therefore, and repent” (Rev. 3:17_19).
The prodigal was deeply conscious of his needs and heaven’s
supply. The Laodiceans were profoundly ignorant of both.
The latter said, „I am rich and increased with goods and have
need of nothing.” With the former there was complete disil_
lusion. This fact, man’s need and heaven’s plenty, or rather
the awakened soul’s consciousness of it, will never cease to be
an effective plea for repentance till Jesus comes. Let the
evangelist, therefore, who would be successful in winning souls
to Christ, play often on his harp. It has many strings and
many tunes.
But this special motive is only a shoot from a greater radi_
cal motive which bears many other offshoots, to wit: God is
the only satisfying portion of the soul.
Who has God and nothing beside is rich indeed; who tins
him not, though all things else, is poor indeed.
„The Lord is my portion,” said David and Jeremiah (Psalm
73:26; Lam. 3:24). „All my springs are in thee,” says the
psalmist (87:7). From the fact, inhering in the very consti_
tution of our being, that alienation from God is bankruptcy,
arises the vanity of all other sources of satisfaction. To the ‘
demonstration of this proposition the whole book of Eccles_ ,
iastes is devoted, which aptly closes: “This is the end of the
matter; all hath been heard: Fear God and keep his com_
mandments; for this is the whole duty of man.” Any earnest
preacher may find a suitable text for enforcing this motive
in Jeremiah 2:12_13: „Be astonished, 0 ye heavens, at this,
and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the Lord.
For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken
me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cis_
terns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” An easy and
natural outline for the sermon suggests itself: (a) It is need_
less work to build cisterns where there are natural fountains.
(b) It is hard work to hew them out of rock. (c) It secures
at best only a limited supply, the biggest cistern being un_
equal in capacity to a living stream, (d) This limited supply
is always insecure through a possible break in the cistern.
(e) It fills the heavens with astonishment, horrible fear and
desolation that men should be guilty of this folly in spiritual
things, (f) Illustration: If this whole earth, 8,000 miles in
diameter, 25,000 miles in circumference, were a full cistern,
without a leak, there would come a time when one soul alone
would exhaust its limited supply, and then confront an eternity
of thirst, ever tantalized by the memory of a forsaken and
now inaccessible fountain, whose perennial and inexhaustible
flow, clear as crystal, cold as ice, refreshing as life, constitutes
the mirage of eternal hell.

1. Who alone should repent?
2. Of what alone should they repent?
3. What follows if all men are commanded to repent?
4. What follows if they repent not?
5. Cite all the New Testament passages, common version, expressly
showing that men should „repent of” sin.
6. Strictly speaking, can we „repent of” anything?
7. Explain the difference between the English idiom, „repent of”
and the Greek original in Acts 8:22; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Revelation
2:21_22; 9:20_21, setting forth clearly the import of the several prepositions following the Greek words for „repent” and „repentance.”
8. According to the meaning of these words and their grammatical
usage with the prepositions opo, epi, ek, what should we say instead
of „repent of” and „repentance of”?
9. What illustrative passages can you cite from the ancient classics,
postapostolic authors, Septuagint, and Josephus, connecting metanoeo or metanoia with the prepositions, apo, epi or ek?
10. Why are man’s actions incited by motives?
11. In what resides, very largely, the moral quality of his acts?
12. Where must the preacher find the motives to repentance he urges
on the sinner?
13. Why no need to seek elsewhere?
14. Cite first motive given in this chapter (2 Peter 3:9) and state
its force.
15. Cite other scriptures of equal import.
16. How much, in your own thought and practice, are these scrip_
tures weakened, or how much are you hampered in their use, by
your views of election and predestination?
17. State in their order the seven evidences of God’s willingness that
all should come to repentance given in this chapter and cite clear scriptural proof of each.
18. If you are a preacher and were conducting a meeting, would it
not be well to prepare and preach a sermon on each one of these seven evidences as taught in the Scriptures cited, or in others that may occur to yourself?
19. Have you read the sermon, „God and the Sinner,” referred to in
this chapter, as an elaborate discussion of God’s willingness to save all men?
20. Cite second motive to repentance given in this chapter based on
Luke 15:17, and state its force.
21. What other scripture showing the great contrast between the sin_
ner’s needs and heaven’s supply, is cited in the chapter?
22. What difference do you note in the sinner’s consciousness of the
need and its supply in two cases cited (Luke 15:17 and Rev. 3:17_19)?
23. Repeat the poetic excerpt illustrating the first case, give name of
author, and the connections of the extract.
24. Of what greater radical motive is this special motive but an off_
25. Cite the pertinent declarations of David and Jeremiah (Psalm 73:
26; Lam. 3:24). What else, David (Psalm 87:7)?
26. What book of Bible is wholly given to a discussion of the subject?
27. State its summary of the whole case, revised text.
28. What scripture is commended as a suitable text for a sermon on
this subject?
29. State the outline suggested.
30. Recite the illustration given: „If the earth were a cistern,” etc.
31. Recite for further illustration what Pollok, in „The Course of
Time.” writes of Byron.


„Repent ye and turn again that your sins may be blotted
out” (Acts 3:19).
This motive – one of the mightiest that ever influenced hu_
man action – is, in the Scriptures, urged on sinners with many
shades of variety, and from many standpoints. Appealing, as
it does, to the conscience and to that inherent and indestructi_
ble craving for happiness and permanent future good, lodged
in every heart, this motive must ever be a mighty factor.
Let us first inquire what it implies:
It implies man’s accountability to God.
It implies a law measuring that accountability, prescribing
the right and proscribing the wrong.
It implies transgressions of that law.
It implies a record of every transgression.
It implies a provision of grace by which the sinner may
escape the penalty of sin.
It teaches, first, that this way of escape from penalty con_
sists in blotting out, effacing, erasing the record of sin, so that
the book of indictments, or accusations, presents no charges
against the transgressor. This cancellation of offenses is so
accordant with principles of righteousness, so meets every
demand of the violated law, so satisfies the law_giver, that no
being in the universe can revive the charges, and no compe_
tent court would entertain them if revived. In such case,
indeed, the Scriptures triumphantly inquire: „Who shall lay
anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justi_
fieth; who is he that condemneth?” The blotting out is repre_
sented as so complete that the sins become invisible forever;
they are put so far away none can find them; they are buried
so deep none can revive them. There remains no more trace
of them than passing clouds leave in the bright blue sky after
they are gone – than fleeting shadows impress on the sunlit
lawn when they have vanished.
Very expressive, very beautiful, sublime, and consoling are
the scriptural declarations on this point: „I, even I, am he
that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and
will not remember thy sins” (Isa. 42:35). „I have blotted out,
as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and as a cloud thy sins”
(Isa. 44:22). „As far as the east is from the west, so far
hath he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12).
„Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea”
(Micah 7:19).
The Scripture teaches, second, that repentance is an indis_
pensable prerequisite to the blotting out of sin, and herein
lies the strength of the motive. Here we strike the bedrock of
essential and vital doctrine: „Repent ye, THAT your sins
may be blotted out.” If the repentance be not indispensable
the motive is broken and the exhortation becomes sounding
brass and tinkling cymbal. It is as empty as a blasted nut –
as lifeless as a hearted grain of corn. There is no escape from
the doctrine of universal salvation if sinners may be forgiven
without repenting of their sins. Moreover, the most prevalent
delusion in the world today is the impression cherished by
guilty hearts, that in some way they shall become the bene_
ficiaries of divine mercy at last, even though they do not in
this life repent and turn from sin. And so regarding repent_
ance as not absolutely essential they despise the exhortation
to repent. It becomes a matter of supreme importance there_
fore that teachers and preachers of the gospel should be so
thoroughly rooted and grounded in the doctrine of the necessity
of repentance as a term, or condition of forgiveness, that
they will, in their teaching and preaching, sternly and relent_
lessly shut every gate of hope for pardon except the one ap_
proached by penitence. Here apply the words of our Lord:
„Agree with thine adversary quickly, while thou art with him
in the way; lest haply the adversary deliver thee to the judge,
and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into
prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means
come out thence, till thou have paid the last farthing.”
The relation between repentance and its fruits (confession,
reformation, and restitution where possible) on the one hand,
and remission of sins on the other hand, is so essential and
withal so little understood, the reader may profitably give
the matter special attention. As indicative of this relation we
cite and emphasize the following scriptures: „Thus it is writ_
ten . . . that repentance and [rather unto; see Vatican Mss.]
remission of sins should be preached in his name unto all na_
tions, beginning from Jerusalem” (Luke 24:46_47). Thus our
„Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name
of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins” (Acts 2:38).
Thus his apostle. „Beginning from Jerusalem, John . . .
preached the baptism of repentance unto the remission of sins”
(Mark 1:4). Thus his harbinger in „the beginning of the gospel.”
The God of love and mercy and forgiveness cannot forgive
the impenitent. This proposition is generally accepted and
maintained by Christians in the case of God and the sinner.
But in the case of man against man, some Christians enter_
tain curious and illogical notions which virtually subvert
the original proposition, that is, they hold and teach that

Christians should forgive an impenitent brother. To meet
this harmful view the proposition is enlarged.
In every case, whether of trespass against God or man
or the church, repentance is indispensable to forgiveness. I
cite the law: „If thy brother sin, rebuke him; and if he repent,
forgive him. And if he sin against thee seven times in the
day, and seven times turn again to thee, saying, I repent,
thou shalt forgive him” (Luke 17:3_4). The terms of this
statute are express and unequivocal: „If he repent, forgive
him.” Repentance settles the case between individuals. But
if he repent not, then the remedy is not forgiveness, but an_
other law, to wit: „And if thy brother sin, go right along,
convince him of his sin between thee and him alone: if he
hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he hear thee
not, take with thee one or two more, that at the mouth of two
witnesses or three every word may be established. And if
he refuse to hear them, tell it unto the church: and if he re_
fuse to hear the church also, let him be unto thee as the
Gentile and the publican. Verily I say unto you, what things
soever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and
what things soever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in
heaven” (Matt. 18:15_18).
Upon this law I remark: To forgive is a legal term, meaning
to release or loose from a claim. Its opposite, „to bind,”
means to retain or hold against one the account as unsettled.
„To gain your brother” means that one has so convinced him
of the sin against him, that he repents and confesses and asks
for forgiveness.
His repentance is an indispensable condition of forgiveness.
If he forgive without his „hearing you” he has no case then
to present to the two or three others and none to present
to the church, and by his illegal settlement he has not only
brought law and order into reproach, but also left his brother
„ungained” and stopped the process of gaining, which God,
in mercy. appointed.
If all personal and joint labors do not bring about „re_
pentance unto the acknowledgment of the truth,” then he
is not to him a brother, but a Gentile and publican.
The church then binds, not looses.
The law having been followed strictly, in both letter and
spirit, by both him and the church, heaven ratifies the bind_
ing. He is therefore not forgiven.
In the language of Shakespeare: „Can a man be pardoned
and retain the offense?” In case the offense is not merely
against an individual but general, that is, against the church
or society we have another law, set forth in a noted example
(I Cor. 5:1_13): „One of you hath his father’s wife. And ye
are puffed up and did not rather mourn, that he that hath done
this deed might be taken away from among you. For I verily,
being absent in body but present in spirit, have already, as
though I were present, judged him that hath so wrought this
thing, in the name of our Lord Jesus, ye being gathered to_
gether, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, to
deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh,
that the Spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus . . .
Put away the wicked man from among yourselves.”
The conclusion of the case appears in 2 Corinthians 2:4_11:
„Sufficient to such a one is this punishment which was in_
flicted by the many; so that contrariwise ye should rather
forgive him and comfort him lest by any means such a one
should be swallowed up with his overmuch sorrow. Where_
fore I beseech you to confirm your love toward him. For
to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of
you, whether ye are obedient in all things. But to whom ye
forgive anything, I forgive also: for what I also have forgiven,
if I have forgiven anything, for your sakes have I forgiven
it in the person of Christ; that no advantage may be gained
over us by Satan.”
God thus demands of the church, as well as of the indi_
vidual, proof of obedience to his law of forgiveness. There
must be no forgiveness without repentance. To forgive with_
out it, while possibly easy to us, is ruinous to the transgres_
sor. To gain him – to so labor in love and firmness as to lead
him to repentance – this is toil indeed and travail of soul.
But let us look more closely into this matter. If we forgive
the trespasser against ourselves, without repentance on his
part, we must claim to do so on some Christian principle.
But where is our principle? We admit that out of regard
for the majesty of the law and justice, God did not forgive us,
while we were impenitent, and that God’s mercy toward us
is the only measure of forgiveness we may extend toward
others. „How, then, readest thou?” „And be ye kind one to
another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, EVEN AS God
also in Christ forgave you” (Eph. 4:32). Mark the measure
– „even as” – and note that God never forgave us except (a)
„in Christ,” who satisfied the law claim, and (b) on condition
of our repentance.
Again: „Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our
debtors” (Matt. 6:12): „Release, and ye shall be released”
(Luke 6:37).; „Forgive us our sins; for we ourselves also for_
give everyone indebted to us” (Luke 11:4); „And whensoever
ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against anyone;
that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your
trespasses” (Mark 11.: 25); „Forgiving each other, if any man
have a complaint against any; even as the Lord forgave you,
so also do ye” (Col. 3:13).
Very clearly these scriptures teach that our measure of
duty and model in the exercise of forgiveness toward each
other are found in God’s mercy toward us. We cannot be more
righteous or merciful than God.
Suppose a case: A man who has forgiven a sin against him_
self without penitence on the part of the offender, begins to
pray to God: „Father, forgive my sins against thee as I have
forgiven sins against me!” Do look at that prayer! Analyze
and interpret it! Here is the analysis and import: (a) The
roan offers himself as a model for God. (b) The man forgiv_
ing an impenitent offender against himself, asks God, on that
account, to forgive him without requiring repentance, (c)
The man forgives a debtor owing him one farthing and asks,
on that account, that himself be forgiven ten thousand talents
– a lucrative transaction! (d) „As I, the model of God,
forgive sins against myself without requiring repentance there_
for, let all sinners gather from my case, that they may reason_
ably hope to be forgiven at last, even though living and dying
without repentance, for God ought to be as merciful as I am.”
The whole case may be summed up thus: Outside of Christ
the law demands the uttermost farthing – there is no forgive_
ness. In Christ there is abundant forgiveness, for he has
satisfied law. But there is no access to the forgiveness in
Christ without repentance. Therefore there can be no release,
no loosing, no remission of sin) in any case, without repent_
ance. In the case of the sinner against God the gospel says,
„Repent that your sins may be blotted out.” In the case of
thy brother against thee: „If he repent, forgive him.” In the
same case, if he repent not, it being now a case against the
church: „Loose” him, if he hear the church and repent – other_
wise „bind” him. In the general offense against the church:
„Put him away from among you, until in his repentance he
is likely to be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow, then for_
give him.” Such is the divine law.
The reader may easily master the whole subject of man’s
forgiveness by first considering the Greek terms employed in
such cases, all of which in our common version are trans_
lated „forgive.” These terms are:
Apoluo, to release, employed in Luke 6:37.
Charizornai, to freely forgive, employed in 2 Corinthians
2:7, 10; 12:13; Ephesians 4.32; Colossians 3:13.
Aphiemi, to loose, to remit, employed in Matthew 6:12,
14_15; 18:21_35; Mark 11:25_26; Luke 11:4; 17:3_4.

Second, by considering our Lord’s four lesson connecting our
forgiveness of each other with our own prayers for divine for_
giveness. These, in the order of time, are: (a) Matthew 6:
12_15; (b) Matthew 18:21_35; (c) Luke 11:1_4; (d) Mark
11:25 (v. 26 omitted in revised text as not genuine).
Third, by noting; (a) The law of forgiveness in regard to
an offense against an individual so long as it remains an in_
dividual matter (Luke 17:3_4) ; the law in the same case when
it becomes a church matter (Matt. 18:15_20) ; the law in gen_
eral offenses against the church or society (I Cor. 5:1_13; 2
Cor. 2:5_11).
Just here are restated the broad propositions maintained in
this discussion: The gospel requires repentance as an indis_
pensable condition of forgiveness in the case of all offenses,
whether (a) against God; (b) the church; (c) or an indi_
vidual. God’s method of mercy toward us, is the standard
measure or model toward each other. The only part of either
proposition, usually denied by some Christians, is that re_
pentance must be required in individual offenses. They affirm
that we must forgive offenses against us, absolutely, without
any regard to repentance.
This view seems obnoxious to the following criticisms:
(1) It arises from a misconception of the import of for_
giveness. Forgiveness must not be confounded with benevo_
lence. Our Heavenly Father causes his sun to shine and sends
the rain on the evil as well as the good, but he will not forgive
them without repentance. Forgiveness is not simply to be
free from malice. Our hearts may be full of love, tenderness,
compassion, and solicitude for the offender whom we may not
forgive in his impenitence. Forgiveness is not leaving ven_
geance to God. This we must do, no matter how great the
offense against us, nor how impenitent the offender. With_
holding forgiveness until the offender repents does not stop
us from loving, persistent, prayerful labor to lead him to re_
pentance. Nor does it imply the absence of a forgiving spirit
– a readiness and desire to forgive – when it can be done con_
sistent with God’s will and the offender’s good. Whoever
cherishes bitter and malicious feelings, thinks vengeful
thoughts, cultivates censorious and uncharitable judgments
concerning an offender, and withholds in his behalf love, com_
passion, prayer, and labor, while sheltering under the plea:
„I may not forgive him until he repents” misses the mark all
along the line, manifests an utterly unchristian spirit and is
himself in danger of the judgment. Forgiveness is a law term
implying the fair cancellation of the account_ a releasing or
loosing from what was done, but is now fully satisfied. Hence
it is in Christ, who met all law claims, only this abundance
of forgiveness is not available or accessible to the impenitent.
No man can check on this fund in favor of an impenitent
(2) To forgive without repentance is therefore doing de_
spite to the majesty of the law.
(3) It not only does not „gain thy brother,” but it obstructs
and stops God’s gracious means for gaining him, thereby doing
him a grievous injury.
(4) It works incalculable injury to the one who so forgives.
seeing it arises from his selfishness, which finds it easier to
remit an offense than to labor to restore and gain his offending
brother, in God’s appointed but painful and wearisome way.
(5) It feeds sinners with false and fatal hopes, who say,
„If these Christians, who are representatives and exponents
of the gospel, forgive impenitent offenders against them, sure_
ly God, who is infinitely more merciful than they are, will
find some way to forgive us at last, even though we live and
die without repentance.”
We close this discussion with the forceful words of Dr. John
A. Broadus. Commenting on the expression in our Lord’s
prayer, (Matt. 6:12) „Forgive us our debts, as we also have
forgiven our debtors,” he says: „But like many terms expres_
sive of Christian duty, the word forgive has come to be often
used in a weakened sense, and many anxious minds are mis_
led by its ambiguity. If forgive means merely to ‘bear no
malice’ (Eccl. 28:7), to abstain from revenge, leaving that
to God (Rom. 12:19), then in that sense we ought to forgive
every wrongdoer, even though impenitent, and still our enemy.
But this is not the Scripture use of the word forgive; and in
the full sense of the term it is not our duty, and not even
proper, to forgive one who has wronged us, until he confesses
the wrong, and this with such unquestioned sincerity and
genuine change of feeling and purpose as to show him worthy
of being restored to our confidence and regard. Thus our Lord
says (Luke 17:3, Rev. Ver.), If thy brother sin, rebuke him:
and if he repent, forgive him.’ Here again the example of our
Heavenly Father illustrates the command to us. He sends
rain and sunshine on the evil and the good (comp. on 5:45),
but he does not forgive men, restoring them to his confidence
and affection, until they sincerely and thoroughly repent. In
judging as to the sincerity and trustworthiness of those who
profess repentance our Lord inculcated great patience and
charitable judgment. If a wrong forgiven is repeated a sec_
ond or third time, we are apt to lose all patience and refuse
to forgive again; but he said, If he sin against thee seven times
in the day, and seven times turn again to thee, saying, I re_
pent; thou shalt forgive him’ (Luke 17:4, Rev. Ver.). Nay,
in Matthew 18:21f, he makes it even ‘seventy times seven’ –
not, of course, as an exact limit, but as a general and very
strong injunction of long_suffering and charitable judgment
toward human infirmity.” (Corn. on Matt. pp. 137_138.)
The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance (Rom. 2:4).
The motives and encouragements to repent, that may be de_
duced from God’s goodness, are necessarily in line with the
first motive presented, „The Lord is willing that all men should
repent,” but deserve separate treatment.
We cite two scriptures: „Despisest thou the riches of his
goodness and forbearance and long_suffering, not knowing that
the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance.” (Rom. 1:4.)
„Account that the long_suffering of our Lord is salvation; even
as our beloved brother Paul, also, according to the wisdom
given to him, wrote unto you; as also in all his epistles, speak_
ing in them of these things; wherein are some things hard to
be understood, which the ignorant and unsteadfast wrest, aa
they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction”
(2 Peter 3:15_16). On these scriptures, construed together,
(1) The meaning of the terms „goodness, forbearance, and
long_suffering.” They express, in general, the kindness and
benevolence of God in bestowing favors on sinful men, his
slowness to take offense and his long_withholding of well_
merited punishment.
(2) The object of this goodness is the „salvation” of its
(3) We are not allowed to discredit or set aside this object
by our construction of other scriptures, „hard to be under_
stood,” which treat of election and predestination. For ex_
ample, we must not so construe Romans 9:11_23 as to over
turn Romans 2:4. We must not „wrest” these hard scrip_
tures to the „destruction” of men, when God requires us to
„account his goodness as meaning their salvation.”
(4) In this goodness is not merely a vague desire for men’s
salvation, but an active, positive „leading to repentance” as a
step toward salvation.
(5) Through guilty ignorance of the object of this good_
ness, men despise it and resist its leading.
In awakening and stimulating motives to repentance, this
theme affords wonderful opportunity for displaying the im_
partial benignity of our Heavenly Father, who not only in
nature „maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and
sendeth rain on the just and the unjust,” thus „not leaving
himself without witness that he did good to men, giving them
from heaven rains and fruitful seasons, filling their hearts with
food and gladness,” but also in the riches of grace has pro_
vided abundant salvation for the greatest sinners, „so loving
the world as to give his only begotten Son, that whosoever be_
lieveth on him might not perish, but have eternal life.”
But the capital point – the one calling for special empha_
sis in treatment – is the active, positive leading of this be_
nignity towards repentance; a leading which can be felt and
appealed to; a leading or „drawing of the Father,” John 6:44,
as though he took a prodigal’s band in his, that he might guide
him safely over dangerous paths; a leading which is but an_
other word for the Spirit’s striving; a leading that softly and
lovingly persuades, but will not drive; a leading of attraction
emanating from him who said, „And I, if I be lifted up, will
draw all men unto me.” And yet a leading that may be re_
sisted. Ah! the sad picture, God’s goodness leading and guilty
man’s resisting! Let the preacher remember that he is dealing
with dense ignorance, sinners „not knowing” the direction and
object of this leading. „I wot, brethren that through ignorance
ye did it,” says Peter to the murderers of Jesus. „I did it
ignorantly and in unbelief,” says Paul of his persecutions.
Let the preacher also remember that he represents One „who
can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out
of the way,” One who „is merciful and gracious, slow to an_
ger, and plenteous in mercy,” who also „knoweth our frame
and remembereth that we are dust.”
1. Repeat in scriptural language the third motive to repentance.
2. What does this exhortation imply?
3. Illustrate the completeness of the „blotting out.”
4. Quote the scriptures cited to prove this completeness. (Isa. 43:
25; 44:22; Psalm 103:12; Micah 7:19.)
5. State, in clear, strong terms, the relation between repentance and
the blotting out of sins as taught in Acts 3:19.
6. Yet what delusion prevails in the world?
7. How alone may teachers and preachers of the gospel dispel this illusion?
8. Quote the three other scriptures cited which show the relation between repentance and remission of sins (Luke 24:46_47; Acts 2:38; Mark 1:4).
9. Do Christian teachers generally concede and teach this relation
in. the case of God and the sinner?
10. In what case do some of them deny its application?
11. Quote the New Testament law (Luke 17:3_4) showing that repentance is indispensable to forgiveness, even in the case of man’s sin against man.
12. Quote the law when this individual offense becomes a sin against
the church. (Matt. 18:15_18.)
13. State the analysis of this law as embodied in the six remarks on it.
14. Quote the question Shakespeare puts in the mouth of Hamlet’s
uncle, state the circumstances calling it forth, and show the application to the principle under discussion.
15. State the case and the law as embodied in I Corinthians 5:1_13;
2 Corinthians 2:4_11, where the offense is not merely against an in_
dividual but general, i.e., against the church and society.
16. Which is easier, to forgive an offense without requiring repentance,
or to bring the offender to repentance?
17. On what Christian principle may forgiveness be extended to an
offender who will not repent?
18. Quote Ephesians 4:32; Matthew 6:12; Luke 6:37; 11:4; Mark II:
25; Colossians 3:13 and answer: Is the principle here?
19. What measure and model of duty concerning forgiveness do they teach?
20. If a man forgive an offense against himself without requiring
repentance of the offender, and then prays, „Father, forgive my sins
against thee, as I have forgiven sins against me,” analyze the prayer.
21. How may the whole case be summed up?
22. By what three considerations may we master the whole subject
of man’s forgiveness of man?
23. Restate the two broad propositions maintained in this discussion.
24. To what five criticisms is the view that „we ought to forgive of_
fenses against us without requiring repentance,” justly obnoxious?
25. On the other hand, who misses the mark all along the line?
26. What said Dr. Broadus about it in his commentary?
27. Repeat in. scriptural language the fourth motive to repentance,
as given in this chapter.
28. Quote in full the two scriptures cited as teaching this motive.
29. Give the analysis of their teaching as embodied in the five observations.
30. Can you repeat Cardinal Newman’s poem, „Lead, Kindly Light”?
31. In awakening and stimulating repentance, what opportunity does
this theme afford?
32. What capital point in the treatment of the theme calla for special emphasis?
33. What also should the preacher remember?


Joy in heaven – „There shall be Joy in heaven over one
sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine righteous
persons that need no repentance.” „There is joy in the pres_
ence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” „It
was meet to make merry and be glad; for this thy brother was
dead, and is alive; and was lost, and is found” (Luke 15:7,
First, in deriving motives to repentance from these scrip_
tures, we should note the occasion and object of the three
parables – the lost sheep, or one out of a hundred; the lost
coin, or one out of ten; the lost son, or one out of two. The
occasion was: „Now all the publicans and sinners were draw_
ing near unto him to hear him. And both the Pharisees and
the scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners and
eateth with them” (Luke 15:1.) Our Lord’s object was to
justify his own interest in sinners and to rebuke those who
murmured at it.
Second, we must determine whose was the joy; who the
sharers of the joy; where the joy was exercised and exhibited,
and the reasonableness and propriety of its exercise and exhi_
bition. It is easy to determine whose was the joy. It was the
owner of the lost sheep, who, having found it, laid it on his
shoulder, rejoicing. Well might he say, „It was my sheep. It
was lost. I have found it. I rejoice.” It was the owner of
the lost coin, who, having found it, said to others, „Rejoice
with me. It was my money. It was my loss. Its finding is
my gain. The joy is mine.” It was the father of the lost
boy who, seeing the prodigal coming home, ran to meet him
and kissed him much and rejoiced the most. And as the
shepherd and woman and father of the parables represent
respectively God the Son, who came to seek and to save the
lost; God the Spirit, by whose light and sweeping the lost
is discovered; God the Heavenly Father, who welcomes the
returning prodigal, evidently the joy is the joy of the triune
God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. So testifies the prophet:
„The Lord thy God . . . he will save; he will rejoice over
thee with joy; he will rest in his love; he will joy over thee
with singing” (Zeph. 3:17).
It was the prospect of this very joy, set before him 88 a rec_
ompense, which enabled God the Son to endure the cross and
despise the shame (Heb. 12:2), and having endured the one
and despised the other, though for a time they made him „a
man of sorrow and acquainted with grief,” now awaits the
fulfilment of another scripture: „God, thy God, hath anointed
thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” „Verily, he
shall see of the travail of his soul and shall be satisfied.”
„When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be
admired in all them that believe, in that day.” Mark the
tense: „There shall be joy.” The sharers of the divine joy,
represented in the first two parables by „the friends and
neighbors,” and in the third by „his servants,” are evidently
the „angels of God” (v. 10). „Are they not all ministering
spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of
salvation” (Heb. 1:14)? The place of the joy is heaven –
God’s home – the Father’s house of „many mansions.” As saith
the Scripture: „Sing, 0 ye heavens; for the Lord hath done
it” (Isa. 44:23). The reasonableness and propriety of the Joy
lies in the fact that an owner has recovered vaulable property
of which he was wrongfully bereft; a father recovers his own
lost child, yea, finds him alive that had been dead.
Third, we must carefully note (a) that all this joy was over
the fact that „one sinner repented,” and (b) it was more joy
than heaven experiences over all the Pharisees in the world,
who murmur at or are indifferent to the salvation of sinners.
Having thus determined the occasion and object of the three
parables – whose the joy; who its sharers; where the joy and
why, and that so great joy is over the salvation of every one
penitent – even greater joy than over all the impenitent in
the world, we are now prepared to construct a motive to re_
pentance of great power. We may even anticipate the process
of thought by which it works its silent, conquering way into
the sinner’s mind, unsealing his tears, bringing him down
on his knees, causing him to smite his wicked heart and cry
out: „God be merciful to me, the sinner.”
For, beholding the foregoing facts, how can he help rea_
soning thus: Surely heaven’s view of this soul_saving business
is widely different from earth’s view? And as heaven is
higher and better than earth, that must be the just view.
And if God and angels are thus concerned over one soul, that
soul must be of infinite value – so valuable that there is no
exchange for it, no profit in gaining the whole world if I lose
it. Hitherto I have made hell glad, but now by pulling this
rope of penitence down here, I can set to ringing all the bells
of heaven. Surely if Jesus so loves me as to leave heaven to
find and save me; if „the love of the Spirit” is a lighted lamp
illuminating the darkness where I wander; if the Father is
waiting to welcome me, the prodigal, and ready to embrace and
kiss me much, giving white robes for my pitiful rags, a royal
feast for the husks, fit only for swine, on which hitherto I
would fain satisfy my hunger – ah! my soul – then thou hast
misunderstood God; and now I change my mind toward God
– I repent! I repent!
„For the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 3:2). This
phrase, meaning reign or sovereignty of heaven, is peculiar
to Matthew’s Jewish Gospel. It presupposes a familiarity
with both earlier and later prophetic utterances (Isa. 1:39;
9:6_7; 11:1_10; Micah 4:1_8; Jer. 23:5_6; Ezek. 37:24; Dan.
2:44; 7:13_14), and an expectation of their fulfilment. The
announcement, therefore, that this frequently foretold and
long_awaited reign „has drawn near,” and the making this
nearness a ground for repentance, suggests at once to the mind
the character of the motive. The primal idea is prompt and
urgent preparation to meet and receive the kingly guest Just
at hand, with all readiness of submission to his government.
That is, there must be prepared at once a straight, open way
to the heart for this King, almost here; room provided in the
heart for his abode; a suitable fitting up of the room for his
indwelling, which implies the expulsion of all preceding guests,
and the removal of all furniture, hitherto used, repugnant to
him; a standing ready at the door to welcome him; a recogni_
tion in the welcome of his sole sovereignty, with unqualified
submission to his rule. We see then that if repentance means
preparation to receive God, and if God’s visible coming and
reign, far off in the prophecies, is now at hand, the motive to
repent must connect with and gather force from that near_
ness, which makes it one of urgency, calling for prompt and
exclusive attention. In railroad parlance, John’s exhortation,
„Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” is equal to
the dispatch announcing: „Through passenger train coming,
with full right of way; clear the main track, sidetrack every_
thing, and close against them all the switches connecting with
the main line.” Yea, in the exhortation, we not only see the
distant smoke and hear the faint rumble of the rapidly rolling
cars, but we hear the shriek of the whistle and see the glare
of the headlight.
The motive is an awakening one, dispelling all drowsiness;
a stirring one, exciting all activities; a masterful one, sub_
ordinating all other concerns. The „at hand” of the kingdom
suggests a secondary but very precious motive to repentance,
thus: Repentance is a change of mind toward God concerning
a course of sin leading rapidly down to death and eternal
ruin. Now, if man be on this road to death, it seeming right
to him, I have been cruel, not benevolent to him in dispelling
his illusion by a revelation of the certain speedy, irreparable
ruin ahead of him; if there be no available way of escape. I
only make him die in apprehension before the reality, hasten_
ing and multiplying his hell. But if, as a motive to change his
mind and turn, I announce the kingdom of heaven, with its
forgiveness and salvation, not afar off, but „at hand”; if he
be even now on the crumbling verge of hell, almost aflame
as a brand exposed to the burning, and I can show him, in the
nearness of the kingdom of heaven, salvation, instant, perfect,
and eternal (Luke 23:43; Rom. 10:6_8), then I do him ines_
timable good, and not evil at all.
„The times of ignorance therefore God overlooked; but now
he commandeth men that they should all everywhere repent”
(Acts 17:30). This motive arises from the obligations of
light, privilege and opportunity. Its strength is measured
by the degree of the light. It is supplied from many other
scriptures – indeed, from the tenor and trend of all the scrip_
tures. It reveals the justice of God in requiring of men ac_
cording to what they have, and not according to what they
have not. As this is a great principle of the divine justice,
the reader would do well to study it in the light of the follow_
ing scriptures, which will furnish many sermons, and in which
this great motive may be defined, illustrated and enforced:
Numbers 15:24_31; Psalm 19:12_13; Matthew 11:22_24; 12:
41_42; Luke 23:34; Acts 3:17; I Timothy 1:13; Hebrews 10:26_29.
God’s sovereignty in the degree of light given. „For if the
mighty works which were done in you, had been done in Tyre
and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth
and ashes.” This is a marvelous scripture, teaching a solemn
lesson, and suggesting an urgent motive to instant repentance.
The facts disclosed are: (a) That the people of Tyre and
Sidon, as well as the people of Chorazin and Bethsaida, had
light enough for repentance, (b) That the latter people had
more light than the former people, (c) That neither people
repented and both are lost. (d) That if the former had been
blessed with as much light as the latter enjoyed, they would
have repented, (e) That it shall be more tolerable in the day
of judgment for the people who had less light.
The emphatic point in the lesson is that men have no claim
on God as to the amount of light, privilege and opportunity;
and may not presume that he will increase them until they do
The Ninevites found sufficient light in one sermon of just
eight words – a sermon announcing ruin – uttered by a stranger
who earnestly desired their overthrow and deprecated their
salvation. A preacher, ignorant of God’s sovereignty and
man’s extreme peril, once said, „Whenever God cuts off a
wicked boy or man by early death, it is proof that he fore_
knew that the boy or man would not have repented under any
circumstances.” This statement from the pulpit is a flat and
palpable contradiction of our Lord’s own words (Matt. II:
20_24), and was well calculated to encourage sinners to delay
repentance, in the delusive hope of greater light some future day.
God’s sovereignty in the space given for repentance. The
Scriptures do teach that God graciously allows the wicked
space for repentance, during which the death penalty already
deserved and pronounced is suspended, while the Spirit strives
and Jesus pleads, but they nowhere leave the measure of that
space to the sinner, and seldom, though sometimes, disclose
its extent. The space of the Antediluvians was, „while the
ark was a preparing” (I Peter 3:20). In this space, Christ in
the Spirit (I Peter 3:19; Gen. 6:3), through Noah (2 Peter

2:5), preached righteousness. The Ninevites had a space of
forty days (Jonah 2:4). Nebuchadnezzar had a space of
twelve months after the sentence „hew down the tree” (Dan.
4:14_15, 27, 29). The Jews had their final year, their day of
visitation, which they did not know (Luke 13:6_9; 19:42;
Mark 11:12_14, 21_22). Even the woman Jezebel had her
space (Rev. 2:21), as also did Esau (Heb. 12:16_17).
This motive, like the preceding one, obtains its force from
the fact that we have no more power to increase the time
which God, in his sovereignty, may allot for repentance than
to increase the light, which is given according to his own good
pleasure. Hence we should repent now and walk heaven_
ward in the first beam of light, lest there be no tomorrow and
lest the light shine no more forever.
Repent ye therefore . . . that so there may come seasons
of refreshing from the presence of the Lord; and that he may
send the Christ who hath been appointed for you, even Jesus:
„whom the heaven must receive until the time of restoration
of all things” (Acts 3:19_21). Here are four mighty motives
grouped (beside one already discussed), which cannot be ful_
ly understood or felt except from a Jewish standpoint. Hence
we prefer to discuss them together, (a) The first is suggested
by the „therefore” pointing back to their denial and crucifixion
of their own Messiah (w. 13_17), while blinded by the veil
of ignorance (v. 18; 2 Cor. 3:14_15). This dark sin calleth
for repentance. It is a Jewish sin even till this day. (b) The
second points to „the seasons of refreshing from the presence
of the Lord,” which will never come to the Jewish people and
land until they repent and „look on him whom they have
pierced” (Zech. 12:10_14; 13:1; Rom. 11:1_36). (c) This
national repentance and salvation of the Jews must precede
the second coming of our Lord. Their delay of repentance de_
lays his coming – their repentance will hasten and herald his
coming (v. 20; 2 Peter 3:4_10). Repent ye Jews, that
Jesus may come. (d) The restoration of all things (Rom. 8:
19_24; 2 Peter 3:13; Rev. 21:1) follows our Lord’s coming (v.
21) which awaits the repentance of the Jews. Repent there_
fore, ye Jews, that the Father may send our Lord, bringing
a restoration of all things. He has promised to come quickly –
why comes he not? He is not slack concerning that promise,
but is unwilling that Israel should perish, and awaits their
life from the dead.
Then, 0 ye Gentiles, where is your mission to the Jews?
Where are your prayers for ancient Israel? How long will
you prefer to tread down Jerusalem? Is it nothing to you, as
you pass by, that no rain has fallen on Israel for nearly two
thousand years?
0 the drouth! The drouth! 0 the desert! The desert! whose
wastes are burning sands and whose skies are molten brass!
Cannot you, the beneficiaries of Israel’s fall, pray for rain
that the Jewish desert may blossom as a rose? Do you want
Jesus to come? Then help Israel. Do you long for the good
country whose inhabitants are never sick, and never weep, and
never die, but ever see the face of God – then HELP ISRAELI
„Because he hath appointed a day, in which he will judge
the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath or_
dained ; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that
he hath raised him from the dead” (Acts 17:31). Here looms
up the „great white throne” as a motive to repentance. We
see the judge coming in flaming fire, with angels and justified
spirits (2 Thess. 1:7_8; I Thess. 4:14; Jude 14_15) ; the resur_
rection of the dead, and transfiguration of the righteous living
(I Cor. 15:51_52; I Thess. 4:16_17); the gathering of all the
dead before the throne (Rev. 20:11_12) ; the great separation
(Matt. 25:31_32); the final destiny (Matt. 25:46; Rom. 2:6_
II; 2 Thess. 1:6_10; Rev. 20:12_15; 22:4_15). Surely that
wicked heart is adamant that gathers no motive to repentance
from these certain, rapidly approaching, sublime, dreadful and
glorious transactions. And the assurance of that judgment is
Christ’s resurrection (Acts 17:31).
If the tomb be empty the judgment cometh.
„Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3_
5). This motive is twofold: (a) „perish;” (b) „likewise,” that
perish suddenly, unexpectedly, for so perished the Galileans at
their altars, and the eighteen on whom the tower of Siloam
fell. The „perishing” has been set forth in the Scriptures under
the preceding motive; its suddenness must be considered here.
In a thunderstorm we expect to see some tree riven by
lightning – in the cyclone some uprooted. These calamities
have their forecast and take us not by surprise. But if when
the summer sky is bright and the air is deadly still, a giant
tree of the field, under which weary laborers rest at noon, falls
without wind or warning, that is the unexpected disaster. So
perish the impenitent. So it was in the days of Noah; they
were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage
when the flood came, and swept them all suddenly and un_
absolved into eternity. So perished Sodom and Gomorrah,
now suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. And so it shall
be in the day of the Son of Man (Luke 17:26_30). „He that,
being often reproved, hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be
destroyed and that without remedy” (Prov. 29:1). „Their
foot shall slide in due time” (Deut. 32:35). Though for a time
„they are not in trouble as other men; though their eyes stand
out with fatness; though they set their mouth against the
heavens and their tongue walketh through the earth,” yet,
„surely thou dost set them in slippery places; thou castedst
them down into destruction.” „How are they brought into
desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with
terrors” (Psalm 73:5,7,9, 18_19). The power of this motive
finds an unparalleled illustration in the effect of Jonathan
Edwards’ great sermon, „Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.”
And now, in a very imperfect way, far below the transcen_
dent importance of the theme, I have brought to a close my
discussions on repentance. I have felt constrained to deal
earnestly with so great a subject, because impressed with the
shallowness of treatment it usually receives in modern pulpits.
0 young preachers, remember that the plow is needed, and I
exhort you to plow deep when you break up fallow ground!
I may add only that all the relations of repentance have not
been considered in these four chapters. Its important relation
to baptism and church membership has not been noted. Let it
suffice here to state as a vital law that only penitent believers
are gospel subjects of baptism and church membership. Nor
has opportunity been afforded to discriminate, in important
particulars, between the one repentance of the sinner culmi_
nating in faith, and the many repentances of the Christian
after conversion – a discrimination so wanting in the Philadel_
phia Confession of Faith, and which confession was borrowed
from the Westminster Confession.

I, What fifth motive to repentance is given in this chapter?
2. In what book and chapter of the New Testament do we find it?
3. In what kind of teaching is it embodied?
4. Quote the three passages cited which enforce the motive.
5. In deriving a motive to repentance from these scriptures what
three things must be done?
6. State then first, the occasion and object of these three parables:
Whose is the Joy? Repeat Zephaniah 3:17 and Hebrews 12:2. Who are the sharers of it? What have they to do with men’s salvation (Heb. 1:4)? Where is the joy exercised and exhibited? What is the reasonableness of it? What two other things must be noted?
7. State the probable process of reasoning in the sinner’s mind from
the foregoing facts, leading up to repentance,
8. State, in scriptural language, the sixth motive cited.
9. What means the phrase, „kingdom of heaven,” and to what gospel
is it peculiar?
10. With what Old Testament prophecies does it presuppose familiarity
and expectation of fulfilment?
11. What fact concerning this kingdom is made the ground of the
exhortation to repentance?
12. What then is the primal idea involved?
13. Describe the urgency by a railway illustration.
14. What secondary idea involved suggests an additional motive?
15. State, in scriptural language, the seventh motive.
16. From what obligation does the motive arise?
17. What principle of divine justice rules in the matter?
18. What other scriptures define, illustrate, and enforce this motive?
19. From what proposition is derived the eighth motive?
20. Quote the scripture (Matt. 11:21_24) establishing the truth of the
21. What five facts does this scripture set forth?
22. What is the emphatic point in the lesson?
23. On what minimum of light did the Ninevites repent?
24. What said a preacher once on this subject?
25. What is the author’s criticism on his statement?
26. From what kindred proposition is derived the ninth motive?
27. What do the Scriptures teach about this space?
28. Is the measure of this space left to man?
29. Cite the measure of the Antediluvian space and the scripture?
bearing on it.
30. How long was the Ninevite space? Nebuchadnezzar’s?
31. What scriptures show the space allotted to the Jews in the time
of Jesus?
32. What concerning this space is said of Jezebel? Of Esau?
33. From what fact does this motive derive its force?
34. Recite verbatim revised text of Acts 3:19_21.
35. How many distinct motives are appealed to here?
36. Which one had already been considered?
37. From what standpoint must the remaining four be best understood?
38. How is the first of the four suggested?
39. To what facts calling for repentance does the „therefore” point back?
40. To what hope does the second of these four motives point?
41. What two scriptures, designated from many, bear on the with_
holding of „refreshings” from the Jews until they repent (Rom. 11:1_36; Zech. 12:10_14; 13:1)?
42. To what hope does the third of these motives point?
43. What is the relation of time and order of precedence, according
to this text, between the national Jewish repentance and Christ’s second advent?
44. What bearing, according to I Peter 3:4_10, has their delay in re_
pentance on the second advent?
45. To what hope does the fourth of these motives point?
46. What scriptures show the nature and extent of this restoration
of all things, and that it follows our Lord’s second coming?
47. How should these facts affect the Jew?
48. What duties to the Jews ought the facts to suggest to Gentile
49. Recite, in scriptural language, the eleventh motive.
50. State what order of stupendous events this motive brings to view,
citing the scriptures which teach them.
51. In what stupendous fact has God given assurance of this judg_
ment to all men?
52. State in scriptural language the twelfth motive.
53. State the twofold nature of the motive.
54. The first fold having been previously considered, what is the essence of the second fold.
55. Illustrate from trees.
56. Illustrate by the days of Noah – by the case of Sodom and Gomorrah.
57. Quote the pertinent passage from Proverbs; from Deuteronomy;
from the psalms.
58. What is the relation between repentance and baptism and consequently between repentance and church membership?

Harmony pages 14_16 and Matthew 3:11_17; Mark 1:1_11;
Luke 3:15_23.

In several preceding chapters we have turned aside some_
what from the regular course of the narrative to consider, at
length, at its first New Testament appearance, the vital and
fundamental doctrine of repentance, as preached originally by
John the Baptist, and continued by our Lord and all his apos_
tles. We have seen that while John had clear conceptions of the
etymology of words and of doctrines in their abstract sense,
he was no mere theorist, but intensely practical, insisting on
concrete truth as embodied in the daily life. To him, therefore.
repentance was as inseparable from fruits, worthy of it, as a
tree is from its proper fruits. Hence he not only urges reforma_
tion in its positive and negative sense of „ceasing to do evil
and learning to do well,” but the instant and continuous re_
sponsibility to an inexorable judgment at the hands of the
coming Messiah. „And even now the ax lieth at the root of
the trees; every tree therefore that bringeth not forth good
fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire. . . . Whose fan is in
his hand, and he will thoroughly cleanse his threshing floor;
and he will gather his wheat into his garner, but the chaff he
will burn up with unquenchable fire.” We now come to the
comparison instituted by John between Christ and himself: „I
indeed baptize you in water unto repentance; but he that com_

eth after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy
to bear: He shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit and in fire.”
On this remarkable passage observe:
First, no comparison is instituted between the water baptism
of John and the water baptism administered by our Lord
through his disciples. They are exactly the same in subject,
act and design, as has already been shown, but the comparison
is wholly between the dignity of Christ’s superior person, of_
fice and power, and John’s inferior person, office and power.
la dignity of person John counts not himself worthy to loose
the latchet of the Messiah’s sandals. The Messiah is mightier
than John, equalling him indeed in water baptism, but exceed_
ing him in two other baptisms, to wit: baptism in the Holy
Spirit, and baptism in fire.
The controversies of the ages arise on the meaning of „He
shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit and in fire.” The first
question to be answered is: Do baptism in the Spirit and in fire
mean the same thing? In other words, is „baptism in fire”
epexegetical of baptism in the Spirit? If they are identical in
meaning, then what is the baptism in the Holy Spirit and in
fire? And when, where, how, and why first administered by
our Lord? And is it continuous now as well as then? But if
baptism in the Spirit and baptism in fire be two distinct things.
then what is the baptism in fire, and where, when, why and by whom administered? There is more confusion of mind, and
more inconsistency of interpretation on these questions than
on any other New Testament problems.
My own interpretation of the passage, and my answers to
the questions are worth no more than the common sense and
argument back of them. In general terms I refer first to three
sermons in my first volume of sermons, entitled severally: (1)
baptism in water; (2) baptism in the Holy Spirit; (3) bap_
tism in fire.
Second, in my interpretation of Acts 2 there is an elaborate
discussion of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, where for the
first time in the history of the world it ever occurred. Just
here we need something, clear indeed, but far less elaborate.
Here, on one point at least, and much as I deprecate it, I must
utterly dissent from Dr. Alexander Maclaren. commonly re_
garded as the prince of Baptist expositors.
In the first volume of his elaborate exposition of Matthew,
he labors at great length to prove that „baptism in fire” is
epexegetical of „baptism in the Holy Spirit.” leaving the gen_
eral impression on my mind, at least, that „baptism in fire”
means cleansing or purification, about equal in force to sanc_
tification. At other times I don’t know what he means. For
if baptism in the Spirit and in fire is equivalent to sanctifica_
tion, then how is it there was never in the history of the world,
a baptism in the Spirit before the first Pentecost after Christ’s
resurrection? Surely men were spiritually cleansed, sanctified
before that date. My own mind is clear on the following nega_
(1) Baptism in the Holy Spirit is not regeneration, nor con_
version, nor sanctification, but an entirely new thing, a thing
of promise, unknown to the world until the first Pentecost after
our Lord’s resurrection and exaltation. Whatever it is, it is
wholly connected with the advent and administration of that
„other Paraclete,” the Holy Spirit, who as Christ’s alter ego,
rules the churches on earth, while Christ remains, rules, and
interests in heaven.
(2) The baptism in fire is not cleansing, but destructive and
punitive, the exercise of sovereign judgment by our Lord, unto
whom as the Son of Man, all judgment has been committed.
Its punitive character as judgment takes cognizance only of
one’s attitude toward and treatment of Christ in his cause and
people as presented by the gospel. It is exercised now on na_
tions or cities, as Jerusalem A.D. 70, and on the souls of the
wicked when they die, as Dives in the parable (Luke 16:23_
24); and on the bodies of all the living wicked in the great
world_fire of the final advent (Mal. 4:1_2; 2 Peter 3:7_10)
and finds its highest expression, when after the final judgment,
the wicked, both souls and bodies, are baptized in the lake of
fire (Matt. 10:28; Rev. 20:14_15).
That Dr. Maclaren is mistaken about the import of baptism
in fire appears from the context. Read carefully the three
verses, Matthew 3:10_12. The tenth verse closes: „Every tree
therefore that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and
cast into the fire.” The eleventh verse closes: „He will baptize
you in fire.” The twelfth verse closes: „But the chaff he will
burn up with unquenchable fire.”
It violates every sound principle of interpretation to make
„fire” in the middle verse of the context mean something radi_
cally different from the „fire” in the first and third verses.
There can be no doubt of the destructive, punitive character
of the fire in verses ten and twelve; there should be none of
the like import in verse eleven intervening. This becomes more
evident when we consider that John is interpreting Malachi
3:1 to 4:3. The whole context of the prophecy shows that
when the Messiah comes he will discriminate between evil and
good persons (not mixed evil and good in one person), and
separate them one from another by diverse fates, so that there
would be no difficulty in discerning between the righteous and
the wicked, between him that serveth God, and him that serv_
eth him not. The refiner’s fire of Malachi 3:2_3 has not a
different purpose from the fire that burns like an oven in 4:1.
We doubt not the appropriateness of using the refiner’s fire to
represent the purifying work in individual character, as set
forth by the hymn: „Thy dross to consume, thy gold to refine.”
And this would be a genuine work of sanctification. But such
is not Malachi’s idea, in this connection, nor that of John the
Baptist, as appears not only from 3:5_6, 16_18; 4:1_2, but
from the historical fulfilment of 3:12, when he does come
suddenly to his temple at the beginning and end of his minis_
try, John 2:13_18; Matthew 21:12_13; Mark 11:15_18; Luke
19:45_46. In neither of these Temple purgations was there a
work of individual sanctification, but the latter is indirectly
connected with the cursing of the barren fig tree, as in Matthew
3:10, the barren tree is hewn down and cast into the fire. Mal_
achi is not considering a mixture of good and evil in one in_
dividual, the evil to be eliminated by the fire of chastisement;
but he is considering a mixture of good people and evil peo_
ple. God’s fire will be used to separate them and make evident
the difference between them. So Paul discusses the same
thought: „But if any man buildeth on the foundation gold,
silver, costly stones, wood, hay, stubble; each man’s work shall
be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it is
revealed in fire; and the fire itself shall prove each man’s
work of what sort it is. If any man’s work shall abide which
he built thereon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work
shall be burned, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be
saved; yet so as through fire.” Here Paul’s use of the fire, at
the last great day, is not to separate the evil from the good in
individual character, but it is to separate evil people from good
people, who by unwise builders have been mingled together in
building a temple upon the foundation, Christ. If the builder
puts on the foundation, Christ, the unregenerate, hypocrites,
formalists, ritualists, then that fire will separate them, and the
builder who put them on will suffer loss to the extent that his
work is destroyed in the revelation of that great fire test.
To find a fulfilment of the identity of the „baptism in Spirit
and fire” in the „tongues of fire” at Pentecost is merely silly,
since they were not tongues of fire, but “tongues like as of fire.”
A rising flame parts itself into the appearance of tongues. So
the luminous appearance at Pentecost distributed itself into
tongues, as fire seems to do.
On our paragraph, Matthew 3:10_12, Dr. Broadus, in his
commentary, ably shows that we may not interpret the „fire”
in v. 11 as differing in import from the „fire” in vv. 10, 12. To
pray that we may „be baptized in fire,” while not so meant,
is equivalent to praying that we may be cast into hell. The
baptism in fire is the punitive destruction of the wicked. A few
terse sentences will enable us to discriminate:
In the baptism in fire, Christ is the administrator, an in-
corrigible sinner is the subject, the element is fire, the design
is punitive.
In the baptism in the Holy Spirit, Christ is the administra_
tor, the Holy Spirit is the element, the subject is a Christian,
the design is to accredit and empower him for service.
In regeneration the Holy Spirit is the agent or administra_
tor, the subject is a sinner, the design is to make him a Christian.
In sanctification the Holy Spirit is the agent, the subject is
a Christian, the design is to make him personally holy, i.e., a
better Christian. Regeneration and sanctification have been
wrought by the Spirit in all dispensations since Adam.
The baptism in the Holy Spirit never occurred in the history
of the world until the first Pentecost after Christ’s exaltation.
But it was prefigured twice in types. First, when Moses
had completed the tabernacle, or movable house of God, the
cloud, representing the divine inhabitant, came down and filled
it (Ex. 40:33_38). Second, when Solomon had completed the
Temple, the fixed house of God, the cloud, representing the
divine inhabitant, came down and occupied it (I Kings 7:51 to
So when Jesus had built his church, antitype of tabernacle
and Temple, the Holy Spirit came down to accredit, empower
and occupy it (Acts 2:1_33). In other words –
The baptism in the Spirit was the baptism of the church –
the house that Jesus built to succeed the house that Solomon
built, as that had succeeded the house that Moses built.
From that date the church was accredited, occupied and
empowered by the other Paraclete, the Promised of the Father
and the Sent of the Father and Son.
Daniel, in his great prophecy, fixing the date and order of
events, says, „Seventy weeks are decreed upon thy people and

upon thy holy city, to finish transgression, and to make an end
of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring
in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up vision and proph_
ecy, and to anoint the Most Holy” Here „the Most Holy”
is a place, a house, and not the person, Christ. His anointing
came at his baptism when the Spirit came on him.
As the sanctuary of both Moses and Solomon has been
anointed when ready for use, so in this verse, following Mes_
siah’s advent and expiation, a new most holy place was anoint_
ed by the coming of the Holy Spirit on the new Temple.
Because the old Temple had served its day, the very hour
Christ said, „it is finished,” referring to the expiation of sin
by the true Lamb of God, „the veil of the temple was rent in
twain from top to bottom.” The new Temple was ready, wait_
ing for its anointing on the day of Pentecost. Hence, I repeat,
when we come to interpret Acts 2, all the words of John the
Baptist and our Lord, in the Gospels, which speak of the bap_
tism in the Spirit as a promise, and all the fulfilments, Acts 2:
4; 8:17; 10:44_46; )9:6, and Paul’s great exhaustive discussion
at I Corinthians 12_14, will be fully considered.
The import of John’s comparison between Jesus and him_
self is, therefore, that Jesus is mightier than himself. John
himself was not the Messiah, but only his herald. John is but
a voice soon to be silenced forever. John must decrease, as
the morning star pales and fades before the increasing light of
the day. John is not the true light, but only a witness to the
light. John indeed baptizes _penitent believers in water, but
the one who follows him will not only continue the baptism
in water, but will also baptize in the Holy Spirit and in fire.


Ths predetermined culmination of John’s ministry was the
manifestation of the Messiah to Israel. This manifestation
would directly connect with his administration of the ordinance
of baptism. He himself declares: „And I knew him not; but
that he should be made manifest to Israel, for this cause came
I baptizing in water. . . . And I knew him not, but he that sent
me to baptize in water, he said unto me, Upon whomsoever
thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and abiding on him, the
same is he that baptizeth in the Spirit” (John 1:31, 33). When
by this sign the as yet unknown person of the Messiah is dis_
closed to John himself, then must he who had hitherto spoken
of the coming Messiah in general terms now identify the per_
son, and by repeated testimony lead Israel to accept him so
identified, in all his messianic offices. So that the culmination
of John’s ministry consists in two particulars:
(1) John must baptize the Messiah, receiving for himself
in the ordinance demonstrative evidence of the right person.
(2) This person of the Messiah so manifested to John, must
by him be identified to Israel and through his repeated wit_
ness, set forth in all his messianic offices as the object of their
faith. These two things accomplished, his mission is ended
forever. We can do no more in rounding out this chapter than
to consider the first part of this culmination, reserving for the
next chapter John’s identification to Israel of the person of the
Messiah and his presentation of him in all his messianic of_
fices as the object of faith. For the present, therefore, our
theme is

The Harmony, in three parallel columns, pages 15_16, gives
us the record of this momentous event, according to three his_
torians (Matt. 3:13_17; Mark 1:9_11; Luke 3:21_22). All these
historians identify the person so baptized as Jesus. Matthew
says, „Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to the Jordan unto
John, to be baptized of him.” Mark says, „And it came to pass
in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and
was baptized of John in the Jordan.” Luke says, „Jesus also
having been baptized.” Thus the person of the Messiah is
Jesus of Nazareth in Galilee. All of them give two heavenly
attestations to Jesus as the Messiah; the visible descent on him
of the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, and the voice of the
_Father from the most excellent glory, declaring Jesus his most
beloved Son in whom he is well pleased. He himself came to
John and solicited baptism at his hands. The ordinance was
administered in the river Jordan.
According to these and correlated passages, the honorable
position of this ordinance in the kingdom of God is as follows:
(1) In it is the Messiah manifested.
(2) In it the whole Trinity are present. The Son is being
baptized, the Holy Spirit and the Father attesting the Son.
Hence in our Lord’s Great Commission, reaching to all nations
throughout all time, those disciples must be baptized in the
name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Thus the doctrine of the Trinity is indissolubly connected with
baptism and is proclaimed wherever in pool, lake, river, or sea
the ordinance is administered.
(3) Therefore it is a confession on the part of every disci_
ple submitting to the ordinance that he accepts Jesus as the
sent of the Father, and anointed of the Spirit to be his sacri_
fice, prophet, priest, king, and judge.
(4) Its symbolism expresses the heart, of the gospel and unites therein our Lord and all his disciples who follow his
example (Rom. 6:3_5; Col. 2:12; I Cor. 15:1,29).
A great sermon on the position of baptism has been trans_
lated into foreign languages. This was a sermon before the
Southern Baptist Convention by Dr. Henry Holcombe Tucker,
editor of the Christian Index. From this honorable position of
the ordinance it follows that it should never be belittled or
despised as a matter of small moment.
The act of John in baptizing Jesus was one thing and not
three things. John did not sprinkle water in Hesys (rantizo)
and pour water on Jesus (cheo) and dip Jesus in water (bap_
tizo). He did a specific thing. Whatever the specific thing
John did, to which Jesus submitted, is the thing which Jesus
did when he also (through his disciples) baptized. (Compare
John 3:22_23; John 4:1_2.) And it follows that the specific
thing which John did, to which also Jesus submitted, and
which he himself did (through his disciples) is the very thing
which he commanded) in Matthew 28:19, to be done unto the
end of time.
Apart from the clear meaning of baptizo, we may settle the
question in another way. The argument ot Romans 6:3 and
Colossians 2:12 shows that Jesus was figuratively buried and
raised in baptism, and that we who follow him are planted in
the likeness of his death and also raised in the likeness of his f
resurrection. Therefore baptism is indissolubly connected with
the resurrection of the buried dead.
Since John administered a baptism (eis metanoian) unto re_
pentance, a baptism of repentance unto the remission of sins
(eis aphesin hamartion), we have the question, why should
Jesus seek baptism at John’s hands, seeing he needed no re_
pentance and no remission of sins? John himself raised this
question: „But John would have hindered him, saying, I have
need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? But Jesus,
answering said unto him, Suffer it now: for thus it becometh us
to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffereth him” (Matt. 3:
14:15). The answer is clear, as John understood later. (See
John 1:31, 33.) John’s baptizing had a twofold purpose._ (l)
as related to penitent believers, (2) as to the Messiah himself.
In no other way could John complete his ministry. Out of
this comes another question, How harmonize John’s protest
(Matt. 3:14) with his subsequent declaration, „I knew him
not, at John 1:31, 33? John could not know the person of the
Messiah until he saw the appointed sign, the visible descent
of the Spirit upon him, but he could be impressed in mind, in
other ways, that Jesus was not a sinner needing repentance.
One of the most remarkable things about Jesus was a pres_
ence that at times filled friend and foe with awe and amaze_
meat. A glory of irresistible power radiated from him. I cite
five instances of the radiating power of this presence on his
enemies: Twice when he alone purged the Temple, driving all
his panic_stricken enemies before him (John 2:13_16; Matt.
21:12f; Mark 11:15_17; Luke 19:45f); the overawing of the
Nazarenes when they rejected and sought to kill him (Luke 4:
29_30); the prostration of those who sought to arrest him
(John 18:6) ; the outcry of the demons when brought into his
presence (Matt. 8:29f; Mark 5; Luke 8.) Not only John the
Baptist felt the radiating power of this sinless, awful presence,
but Christ’s own disciples many times later. For example,
Peter, at the miraculous draught of the fishes (Luke 5:8);
Peter and others at the stilling of the tempest (Mark 4:41);
at the transfiguration (Matt. 17:6_7); all the disciples on
the last journey to Jerusalem (Mark 10:32). We thus under_
stand how John the Baptist (Matt. 3:14) could be impressed
with the sinlessness of Jesus, and yet not really know he was
the Messiah until the sign came.
Now we have seen why Jesus should be baptized of John,
but why baptized at all, that is, why to his own mind? The
reasons are as follows:
(1) As he foreknew, in connection with this ordinance, it
would be his own inauguration as Messiah. Therefore he over_
came John’s scruples. Therefore, when baptized, he prayed for
his spiritual anointing and the attestation of his Father. His
prayer was not vague and indefinite. He knew he must be
anointed as prophet, priest, and king, and sealed as the sacri_
fice for sin. He knew he must be endued for service as Mes_
siah by the Holy Spirit. He must be equipped to resist and
overcome the devil. All this appears as follows:
Anointing as Prophet: Read Isaiah 11:1_5; 42:1_2, which
describe his spiritual equipment for service. He prayed for
that. The fulfilment is, „God gave not the Spirit to him by
measure,” but immeasurably (John 3:34). Read Isaiah 61:lf
and his declaration, Luke 4:16_21. He was anointed to do this
very preaching.
Sealed for Sacrifice: Referring to this descent of the Spirit
our Lord says, „Him hath God, the Father, sealed” (John 6:27).
On receipt of this enduement of the Spirit: He went at once
to meet the temptation of Satan, as the Second Adam (Matt.
4: If; Mark l:12f; Luke 4: If).
So, also, the descent of the Spirit: Was his anointing as King
and Priest.
(2) He was baptized to set forth in symbol the great truths of his gospel – his death, burial, resurrection (Rom. 6: If; Col.
2:12; I Cor. 15:1,29).
(3) As an example for all his followers (see same scriptures).
However, he had the messianic consciousness before his bap_
tism. He sought the baptism; he overcame John’s scruples; he
prayed for the anointing and attestation before he received
The meaning of his reply to John, „Thus it becometh us to
fulfill all righteousness” is that neither he nor John must stop
at only one of the purposes of John’s baptism, but meet all the
other purposes of that baptism. And evidently, as set forth in
2 above) this baptism would memorialize all righteousness,
which comes by vicarious expiation, burial and resurrection.
It would be a pictorial gospel.

1. What comparison did John institute between Christ and himself?
2. Was this a comparison between John’s baptism in water and
Christ’s baptism in water? If not, what is the point of comparison?
3. On what phrase of this comparison arise the controversies of the
ages, and what two questions are involved in the controversies?
4. From what great Baptist expositor does this interpretation dis_
sent, and what is the point of the dissension?
5. What negations express the dissent from Dr. Maclaren?
6. How is the baptism in fire exercised?
7. Give the argument to show that Dr. Maclaren is mistaken about
the baptism in fire.
8. Reply to the contention that tongues of fire at the first Pentecost
after the resurrection, prove the identity of baptism in the Spirit and
9. Analyze, in a few terse sentences, the baptism in fire, the baptism
in the Holy Spirit, regeneration, and sanctification.
10. Show how the baptism in the Holy Spirit was twice prefigured.
11. Explain the baptism in the Holy Spirit from the passage in
Daniel 9.
12. What of the predetermined culmination of John’s ministry, and
what were his own words to show that it connected with his baptism in water?
13. It what two things, then, does the culmination of John’s ministry
14. Who are the historians that give an account of John’s baptism
of the Messiah?
15. In whom, as a person, do all these historians identify him?
16. What two attestations of Jesus as the Messiah do all the historians give?
17. According to these and correlated passages, what of the honorable
position of this ordinance in the kingdom of God?
18. What great sermon on the position of baptism has been trans_
lated into foreign languages?
19. What follows from this honorable position of the ordinance?
20. What was the act of John in baptizing Jesus?
21. Apart from the clear meaning of baptize, how otherwise may we
settle the question?
22. Why should Jesus seek baptism at John’s hands, seeing he needed
no repentance and no remission of sins?
23. How may we harmonize John’s protest (Matt. 3:14) with his
subsequent declaration, „I knew him not,” (John 1:31, 33)?
24. But why should Jesus be baptized at all?
25. How does it appear that he had the messianic consciousness be_
fore his baptism?
26. What, then, is the meaning of his reply to John, „Thus it be_
cometh us to fulfill all righteousness”?


In the preceding chapter we have considered the first part
of the culmination of John’s ministry, to wit: his baptism of
the Messiah, in which, by a divine sign, and the Father’s at_
testation, he was able to identify Jesus of Nazareth as the
person of the Messiah. There remains for consideration in this
chapter his testimony to the person so identified, and his pres_
entation of him to Israel in all his messianic offices as the
supreme object of faith. Thus as he was the first to preach
evangelical repentance, so now must he be the first to preach
evangelical faith. His continuation of his ministry after the
baptism of the Messiah, was to afford opportunity of this com_
pletion of his testimony.
All of this testimony of John the Baptist, after the baptism
of Jesus, comes to us through one historian, the apostle John,
himself a disciple of John the Baptist. There are four distinct
occasions and one general reference, doubtless identical with
one of the four. Three of these occasions come in three suc_
cessive days, certainly full forty days after the baptism, for
the forty days of the temptation of Jesus intervene.
The first (and doubless the second) is John’s reply to a
deputation from Jerusalem (John 1:19_28). The second is the
following day when he sees Jesus the first time since the bap_
tism (John 1:29_34). The third is the morrow after when he
identifies him to two of his own disciples (John 1:35_36). The
fourth occurred in the early Judean ministry of Jesus after his
first Passover in Jerusalem since his baptism (John 3:22_30).
The general reference of John 1:15 applies to the second of
these four.
It was impossible for the ecclesiastical authority at Jerusa_
lem to ignore the ministry of John. The whole nation was
stirred. The people generally accepted him as a reformer and
prophet. And yet his ministry was entirely independent of the
Sanhedrin, and of Jerusalem, and of the Temple ritual. Ques_
tions were arising in men’s minds, Is this the Messiah, or is it
Elijah who precedes the Messiah (Mal. 4:5), or is it the great
prophet whose coming was predicted by Moses, (Deut. 18:15_
18), what signs accredit him, who sent him, what is the source
of his authority, and what is his mission?
Finally, at the instance of the Pharisees, whom he had de_
nounced as the offspring of vipers, a deputation from the San_
hedrin, consisting of priests and Levites, were sent to press him
for a definite answer on these points. They found him at the
fords of the Jordan (Bethany or Bethabara), but sharp and
curt in replying to their inquisition. He disclaimed promptly
being either the Messiah, or Elijah, or the Moses prophet. For
himself he was only the voice of one crying in the wilderness
as predicted by Isaiah. To their questions, „why baptizeth
thou, then, and what sign showest thou,” and by whose author_
ity he acted, he returned no definite reply the first day, but
bore this testimony: „In the midst of you standeth one whom
ye know not, even he that cometh after me, the latchet of
whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose.”
The next day, however, the deputation doubtless yet with
him, he seeth Jesus returning from the temptation, and answers
more particularly, pointing to him: „Behold the Lamb of God
that taketh away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I
said, After me cometh a man who is before me; for he was be_
fore me. And I knew him not; but that he should be made
manifest to Israel, for this cause I came baptizing in water.
And John bare witness saying, I have beheld the Spirit de_
scending as a dove out of heaven; and it abode upon him, and

I knew him not; but he that sent me to baptize in water, he
said unto me, Upon whomsoever thou shalt see the Spirit de_
scending, and abiding upon him, the same is he that baptizeth
in the Holy Spirit. And I have seen, and have borne witness
that this is the Son of God.”
This is his great testimony: „Jesus of Nazareth is the Mes_
siah. I saw him anointed by the Holy Spirit. I heard the
Father’s attestation. This is the Lamb of God that penally
bears the sin of the world – the great expiatory sacrifice – this
is the Son of God – this is he that baptizeth in the Holy Spirit.”
Prophets, priests, and kings are anointed with the holy anoint_
ing oil whose recipe was prescribed by Moses (Ex. 30:22_23).
With this was Aaron anointed (Psalm 103:2); and David
(Psalm 89:20); and Elisha (I Kings 19:16). Messiah means
the Anointed One. In the case of Jesus he was anointed with
the Spirit, which the holy oil symbolized. To two of his dis_
ciples he repeats on the morrow: „Behold the Lamb of God!”
The account of John’s last testimony to Jesus is a singular
bit of history: „After these things came Jesus and his disciples
into the land of Judea; and there he tarried with them, and
baptized. And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim,
because there was much water there; and they came and were
baptized. For John was not yet cast into prison. There arose
therefore a questioning on the part of John’s disciples with a
Jew about purifying. And they came unto John and said to
him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond the Jordan, to whom
thou hast borne witness, behold, the same baptizeth and all
men come to him. John answered and said, A man can receive
nothing, except it have been given him from heaven. Ye your_
selves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but
that I am sent before him. He that hath the bride is the bride_
groom; but the friend of the bridegroom, that standeth and
heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s
voice: this my joy therefore is made full. He must increase,
but I must decrease.” „He that cometh from above is above
all; he that is of the earth is of the earth, and of the earth he
speaketh; he that cometh from heaven is above all. What he
hath seen and heard, of that he beareth witness; and no man
receiveth his witness. He that hath received his witness hath
set his seal to this, that God is true. For he whom God hath
sent speaketh the words of God; for he giveth not the Spirit
by measure. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all
things into his hand. He that believeth on the Son hath eternal
life; but he that obeyeth not the Son shall not see life, but
the wrath of God abideth on him.” „When therefore the Lord
knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and
baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus himself
baptized not, but his disciples), he left Judea and departed
again into Galilee” (John 3:22; 4:3).
The first thought suggested by this narrative is the concur_
rent ministry of Jesus and John brought near together. The
time was when Jesus was closing his early Judean ministry,
having just left Jerusalem, where he attended the first Pass_
over after his baptism, where he purified the Temple according
to Malachi 3:1_2, wrought many signs and was visited by
Jesus was on the northern line of Judea, for the record says
that when he left for Galilee „He must needs go through
Samaria.” John was close at hand at a place called Aenon,
near to Salim, where was much water or many waters. The
site has not been thoroughly settled. Dr. Barclay locates it in
a valley five miles northeast of Jerusalem (City of the Great
King, pp. 558_570). Robertson {Biblical Researches, Vol. Ill,
p. 333) conjectures „Salim over against Nabulus.” C. R. Con_
der (TEnt Work in Palestine, Vol. I, p. 91f) locates it: „Salim
near the Shechem.” Professor McGarvey, one of the best
writers on the Holy Land, thinks he found the identical site
in a beautiful valley of the Wady Farra, about one mile wide
and three miles .long, where were abundant places for baptism
in which he saw „swarms of brown_skin boys, both large and
small, bathing at different places.” (Cited in „Hovey on John’s
Gospel,” from Journal and Messenger, September 10, 1879.)
My own mind is impressed that Professor McGarvey found
the Aenon of our text.
Some suggest this rendering of John 3:23: „And John was
holding a camp meeting at Aenon, near to Salim, because
there was much water there for the campers, their camels
and other beasts, and they came and were baptized.”
A significant fact about the work of both appears from John
4:1, viz.: Both made disciples before baptizing them and they
both made disciples in the same way, by leading them to re_
pentance and faith. Proof for John, Matthew 3:2; Acts 19:4.
Proof for Jesus, Mark 1:15. Another fact is disclosed by
John 4:1, viz.: By this time Jesus was increasing and John was
decreasing, since Jesus was making and baptizing more dis_
ciples than John. But the Pharisees discovered and made use
of this fact to make a breach between John and Jesus. When
Jesus heard of this meanness, he prudently left Judea, where
his work was close enough to John for enemies to make in_
vidious comparison, and passed on into Samaria.
The insidious trouble was brought to John’s disciples at
Aenon by a Jew, doubtless a Pharisee, who taunted John’s
disciples with the increase of Jesus and the decrease of John.
The matter arose this way: „Therefore [referring to the in_
crease of one and the decrease of the other] there arose a
questioning about purifying between John’s disciples and a
Jew.” The following may be inferred from its being made
a question of purifying:
(1) That the law and its traditions already, and by real
authority, provided for purifying ablutions of the body (See
„divers washings” (Greek, baptize) at Hebrews 9:10, and
„bathe themselves” and „washings” at Mark 7:4 (Greek,
(2) That, therefore, a Pharisee would contend, denying that
John or Jesus had authority to institute an ordinance, par_
ticularly in John’s case, since Jesus by his baptizing more
was supplanting him.
John’s disciples, jealous for their leader against Jesus, felt
it keenly, hence they say to John, in bitterness, „Rabbi, he
that was with thee beyond the Jordan, to whom thou hast
borne witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come
to him” (John 3:26).
The greatness of John’s reply in the last testimony to Jesus
is seen from the following items:
(1) He was entitled to nothing more than had been given
(2) He reminded them that he had already borne witness
that he was not the Messiah, but only his forerunner.
(3) That Jesus was the Messiah and hence, as he had al_
ready borne witness, must increase while he decreased.
(4) That Jesus was the bridegroom, entitled to the bride,
while he was only the friend of the bridegroom.
(5) That what depressed them was John’s fullness of joy.
(6) That Jesus, being sent from heaven, and having the
Spirit given him without measure, must be above any earthly
man, and would speak the words of God.
(7) That Jesus, as the Son of the Father, was beloved of the
Father and had rightly all things given to him.
(8) Therefore „He that believeth on the Son hath eternal
life; but he that obeyeth not the Son shall not see life, but the
wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36). This is his last
and sublimest testimony.
John should have gone on with his work after he baptized
Jesus, as has already been said, to have opportunity to com_
plete his testimony and to present Jesus in all his messianic
offices as the supreme object of faith.
A singular book of the baptismal controversy arose from this
passage, setting forth two points:
(1) Dr. Edward Beecher, son of Dr. Lyman Beecher and
brother of Henry Ward Beecher, followed the Jew_Pharisee in
contending that baptism was only a question of purifying.
(2) And as purifying among the Jews was a general term,
some purifying done by sprinkling, some by pouring, and some
by dipping, it was immaterial which of the three ways should
be employed in baptizing.
The great fallacy of his book is that only purifying by
immersion was involved in this question. But regarding this
last testimony of John we cannot be sure that John 3:31_36
are the words of John the Baptist and therefore we cannot be
dogmatic about it. The historian John does not always make
it clear where his quotation stops and where he resumes his
narrative. In this case, if the words be the evangelist’s, he is
only filling out the conclusions of John’s testimony. He leaves
us in the same doubt at 1:15_18.

1. From which historian cornea all John’s testimony concerning
Jesus after his baptism?
2. What four occasions?
3. To which of the four belongs the general reference in John 1:15?
4. What makes the first occasion very important, and how did it
naturally arise?
5. What was the sum of John’s testimony the first day?
6. Was the deputation present the next day, and why do you think so?
7. What of the sum of the testimony this time?
8. What part of this testimony repeated to two of his disciples the
third day?
9. What does „Messiah” mean?
10. Where do you find Moses’ recipe for the holy anointing oil?
11. What high officers were anointed with it, and what one case each?
12. In the case of Jesus, how anointed?
13. What is the account of John’s last testimony to Jesus?
14. What is the first thought suggested by this narrative?
15. What is the time?
16. Explain their proximity.
17. What is the matter with the. rendering of John 3:23 as suggested
by some?
18. What fact about the work of both appears from John 4:1?
19. What scriptures show that both made disciples in the same way?
20. What other fact disclosed by John 4:1?
21. Who discovered and made use of this fact to make a breach be_
tween John and Jesus?
22. When Jesus heard of this meanness what did he do?
23. How was the insidious trouble brought to John’s disciples at
24. In what form did the matter arise?
25. What may be inferred from its being made a question of purifying?
26. How did this affect John’s disciples?
27. What of the greatness of John’s reply in the last testimony to
28. Why should John have gone on with his work after he baptized
29. What singular book of the baptismal controversy arose from this
passage, what its points and what its great fallacy?
30. May we be sure that John 3:31_36 is the testimony of John the

Harmony pages 16_17 and Matthew 4:1_11; Mark
1:12_13; Luke 4:1_13.

The theme of this chapter is Satan’s first temptation of
Jesus, our Lord. The lesson is found on pages 16_17 of the
Harmony. There are three historians of the great event:
Matthew 4:1_11; Mark 1:12_13; Luke 4:1_13. Following
closely the text, let us note these general observations.
(1) All the historians agree on five express particulars and
one implication, to wit:
The temptation of our Lord immediately follows his bap_
tism, in which the Father audibly proclaimed him as his Son,
and the Spirit visibly accredited, anointed, and endued him
as the Messiah. So that the temptation is hell’s prompt re_
sponse to heaven’s challenge in the inauguration.
Our Lord was Spirit_guided to meet the issues of the conflict.
The scene of the battle was „in the wilderness.”
The time of the struggle was „forty days.”
The tempter was Satan himself.
The implication is clear that no human being stood with
Jesus. On the contrary, Mark adds: „He was with the wild
(2) Matthew and Luke agree:
In expressing the Spirit guidance as a leading – „led of the
Spirit.” But Mark expresses it as a propulsion – „driven of
the Spirit,” while Luke adds he was „full of the Spirit.”
He fasted throughout the forty days and afterward hun_
In the consummation Satan visibly appeared and verbally
submitted three special temptations, though Luke reverses
Matthew’s order of the last two.
Satan commenced two of these special temptations with the
phrase, „If thou art the Son of God,” showing his knowledge of
the Father’s avowal at the baptism.
Jesus triumphed over Satan in them all.
In achieving this victory, Jesus used only the sword of the
Spirit, the word of God, quoting from Deuteronomy only.
Satan also quoted Scripture.
Then Satan left him. But Matthew adds that Satan left
because Jesus recognizes his adversary and peremptorily dis_
missed him, „Get thee hence, Satan,” and Luke adds he left
him only „for a season,” so it was not the final battle.
Matthew and Mark agree that when Satan left him „angels
came and ministered unto him,” meaning, at least, that they
supplied him with food and encouraged him. Thus three
worlds were interested in the great conflict.
(4) Mark implies that in some form the temptation lasted
throughout the forty days, which Luke seems to confirm by
saying, „When Satan had completed every temptation.” From
this implication it follows that the form of the temptation up
to the culmination when Jesus hungered was by mental sug_
gestion only, Satan holding himself invisible, but when Jesus
was faint with hunger, then, as Matthew and Luke agree, he
appeared visibly and submitted audibly the three great special
Thus face to face, the two great warring personalities con_
ducted the verbal duel and spiritual wrestling. This is evident
from our Lord’s recognition of his adversary and his peremp_
tory dismissal of him by name, „Get thee hence, Satan.” We
need not stagger at Mark’s implication when we reflect how

easy it is for one spirit, by direct impact, to impress another,
chough the one impressed may not be conscious of it, nor when
we consider how many of what we consider our own thoughts
are not self_originated, but suggestions from without. Bun_
yan represents his Pilgrim, when passing through the valley
of the shadow of death, as being horrified at curses, slimy
thoughts, and blasphemies in his mind, which he supposed
were his own, whereas, they were suggestions from without by
invisible whispering demons. The capital point is that our
Lord was tempted in both forms – first for many days by
invisible external suggestions; second, when Apollyon, as in
the case of Bunyan’s Pilgrim, visibly, audibly, palpably, hor_
ribly, and suddenly came upon him in his weakest hour,
straddled across his narrow way, and buried his fiery darts in
rapid succession.
(5) We should carefully note, as illustrative of the value
of harmonic study of the testimony of several witnesses, the
special contribution of each historian. We see the force of
Matthew’s „Get thee hence, Satan” and Mark’s „driven of the
Spirit,” and his implication of continuous temptation, and
Luke’s „full of the Spirit,” and especially his „left him for a
(6) The Greek word rendered „tempt” means „to try,
prove, or test.” The moral character of the „testing” depends
upon the object and methods. If the object be to incite or
to entice to sin, or the means be guile, flattery, lying, indeed
any form of deception that would turn the tempted one from
God and appeal to lower motives, then it is bad, whether com_
ing from Satan or from his subordinates. But if the object
be to honorably ascertain or prove character by lawful meth_
ods, or to fairly develop and discipline the inexperienced soul,
then it is good. We may lawfully prove or test God himself
in any way appointed by him whether of promise or precept.
We may sinfully tempt him by creating situations not ap_
pointed by him and then claiming his help.
In the sense of enticing to sin, God tempts no man. In the
sense of proving his people, he is always tempting us, as he
did Abraham. In his providence he often permits us to be
tested with evil intent by Satan, as in the cases of Job and
Peter. In this providential permission to Satan there are
always great limitations.
We are never tempted in a good sense nor allowed to be
tempted in an evil sense beyond our ability to bear or to re_
sist. And always the decision and the responsibility are upon
the tempted one.
He himself must yield in order to fall. The words of James
and Paul are pertinent: „Blessed is the man that endureth
temptation; for when he hath been approved, he shall receive
the crown of life, which the Lord promised to them that love
him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of
God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself
tempteth no man: but each man is tempted when he is drawn
away by his own lust and enticed. Then the lust, when it
hath conceived, beareth sin; and the sin when it is full grown,
bringeth forth death” (James 1:12_15). „There hath no
temptation taken you but such as man can bear: but God is
faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that
ye are able; but will with the temptation make also the way
of escape, that ye may be able to endure it” (I Cor. 10:13).
Our English word „tempt” once had both the good and evil
senses of the Greek word, but now is limited to the evil sense.
(7) The exact site of the temptation in the wilderness has
never been determined. It is quite probable that on this point
the Scriptures are designedly silent, as in the case of the burial
place of Moses, to hedge against superstitious pilgrimages and
shrines. If it be lawful to venture on conjecture, I would
suggest the wilderness of the Arabian peninsula, for these rea_
There is a strong scriptural parallel between our Lord and
Israel as a nation.
Israel, as a nation, was not only tempted and fell in this
Arabian wilderness, but also there evilly tempted God.
There is a correspondence between their forty years and
Christ’s forty days.
There both Moses and Elijah „fasted forty days.”
All of our Lord’s quotations ‘in his temptation are from the
Pentateuch, word fruitage of Israel’s wilderness life.
As the forty years wilderness life and the wilderness words
quoted by our Lord prepared God’s son, Israel, for the na_
tional life, so this forty days fasting and triumph over Satan’s
temptations prepared his Son, Jesus, for his great lifework of
Israel’s redemption.
Before Paul enters his great work for the salvation of
the Gentiles it was necessary that there should be a period
of seclusion for meditation, for receiving his gospel, for set_
tling great questions between himself alone and God on the
one hand, and the devil on the other hand. He says, „I con_
ferred not with flesh and bloodù1 went not to Jerusalem –
but I went into Arabia.” Evidently not to preach, but under
the shadow of Sinai where the Law was given, there in the
light of the gospel to gain that view of the Law so powerfully
set forth in his letters to the Galatians and the Romans. Why
not, then – if we must guess – follow these analogies and this
fitness, and suppose that this was the wilderness site of Christ’s
temptation, returning from which to deliver his marvelous Ser_
mon on the Mount, which, after all, is but the highest spiritual
exposition of the Law?
(8) Can a man do without food forty days? It has been
objected against the credibility of the Bible, that it repre_
sents Moses, Elijah, and our Lord fasting forty days. Within
my own memory this fact has been demonstrated scientifically.
A Dr. Tanner, after a careful preparation, did, in the presence
of competent witnesses, fast forty days. He ate no food. The
only thing he allowed himself was occasionally to rinse his
mouth with water, and very rarely to swallow just a little of
the water. He was not sustained by the high spiritual exalta_
tion of Moses, Elijah, and our Lord.
(9) From Christ’s fast of forty days two new words, or in_
stitutions, have been derived:
Etymologically, our English word „quarantine.”
The wholly unscriptural „forty days of Lent” preceding
the equally unscriptural festival of Easter observed by Ro_
manists and Episcopalians. The word „Easter” in the common
version of Acts 12:4 is simply the Jewish Passover and is so
rendered in our best English versions.
(10) Was this a real temptation of our Lord? In other
words, was it a case of „Not able to sin” (non posse peccare)
or „able not to sin” (posse non peccare)1 This is a vital
question and must be squarely answered. The temptation of
our Lord was not only real, but was an epoch in his own
life and in the history of the race. It was no sham battle.
The teaching of the Scriptures is express and manifold. It
was not the essential deity of our Lord on trial, but bis hu_
manity, and also in an emphatic sense his representative hu_
manity. There is no stronger proof that the Messiah was
really a man and had a human soul than his susceptibility to
temptation and his successful resistance to it as a man. This
becomes the more obvious when we consider the later battles
with Satan in Gethsemane and on the cross, to which this
wilderness temptation was no more than a preliminary skir_
mish. The true answer to this question lies in the answer to a
broader question: Why should Jesus be tempted?
We must fairly answer this broader question:
He was the Second Adam – the new race_head (I Cor. 15:
45_49; Rom. 5:12_21). „The first Adam was tempted in a
garden full of permitted fruits, and by his fall converted it
into a desert. The Second Adam was tempted in a desert,
faint with the hunger of a forty days’ fast, and by his victory
converted it into a garden.” The new race head was on pro_
bation like the first.
In the highest sense he was Israel, God’s Son: „Out of Egypt
have I called my Son.” He was Isaiah’s „Servant of the Lord,”
so marvelously foreshadowed in the last twenty_seven chap_
ters of that book. National Israel failed under temptation
in every probation – under the theocracy established by Moses,
under the monarchy established by Samuel, under the hier_
archy established by Ezra, Nehemiah, Zechariah, Haggai, and
Malachi, culminating in its rejection of the Messiah. If „all
Israel is to be saved” as taught by Ezekiel, Zechariah, and
Paul, then this „Son which God called out of Egypt” must
triumph over real temptation.
He could not become man’s vicarious substitute in death
and judgment unless on real probation from birth to death, he
himself was demonstrated to be „a lamb without spot or
blemish, holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sin_
ners.” „For it became him, for whom are all things, and
through whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto
glory, to make the author of their salvation perfect through
sufferings” (Heb. 2:10).
He could not destroy the work of the devil and rescue „the
lawful captives,” „the prey of the terrible one,” „except as
he shared the common lot of humanity.” „Since then the
children are sharers in the flesh and blood, he also himself in
like manner partook of the same; that through death he might
bring to nought him that had the power of death, that is, the
devil; and might deliver all them who through fear of death
were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Heb. 2:14_15).
Without enduring real temptation in his humanity he could
not become a sympathizing and efficient high priest: „Where_
fore it behooved him in all things to be made like unto his
brethren, that he might become a faithful and merciful high
priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the
sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered, be_
ing tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted” (Heb.
2:17_18). „Having then a great high priest, who hath passed
through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast
our confession. For we have not a high priest that cannot be
touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but one that has
been in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Let us therefore draw near with boldness unto the throne of
grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace to
help us in time of need” (Heb. 4:14_16).
He could not seat humanity on the throne of the universe
as King of kings and Lord of lords except by emptying himself
of heavenly glory, laying aside the form of God and assuming
the form of a slave, and when found in the fashion of a man
he should through every temptation be perfect in obedience to
every precept and submissive to every penal sanction of the
Law (See Phil. 2:6_11).
He could not, as the Son of Man, become the judge of the
world except he had triumphed in real temptation as a man.
(Note carefully John 5:22, 27; Acts 17:31; Matt. 25:31f.)
Not otherwise as enduring temptation could he become an
example to his people in their hours of trial. (See Phil. 2:5;
I Peter 2:21_23; 4:1.)
In assigning these reasons for Christ’s real temptation we
have not limited ourselves to Satan’s first temptation of our
(11) On the subject of the temptation, what may we say
of Milton’s Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained?
Paradise Regained is very inferior, as a literary epic, to
Paradise Lost.
The Devil of Paradise Lost is a far grander personage than
the Devil of Paradise Regained. Says Robert Burns, „The
Devil is the hero of Paradise Lost, but in Paradise Regained he
is a sneak nibbling at the heel of Jesus.” In neither have we
a true portrait of Satan.
In closing his Paradise Regained at the preliminary skir_
mish between Jesus and Satan, he virtually acknowledges his
failure to master his great theme.
Reserving the discussions of the three special temptations of
Jesus to the next chapter, we close the present discussion by
citing from Dr. Broadus’ great treatment of this theme in his
commentary these quotations:
„Christ hungered as a man, and fed the hungry as God. He
was hungry as man, and yet he is the Bread of Life. He was a-thirst as a man, and yet He says, Let him that is athirst come to me and drink. He was weary) and is our Rest. . . _ He pays tri-bute, and is a King; he is called a devil, and casts out devils; prays, and hears prayer; weeps, and dries our tears; is sold for thirty pieces of silver, and redeems the world; is led as a sheep to the slaughter, and is the Good Shepherd” – Wordsworth.
„Observe (1) that the first word spoken by Christ in His mini-terial office is an assertion of the authority of the scripture. (2) That He opposeth the word of God as the properest encounterer against the words of the devil. (3) That He allegeth scripture as a thing undeniable and uncontrollable by the devil himself. (4) That He maketh the scripture His rule, though He had the fullness of the Spirit above measure” – Lightfoot.
„The devil may tempt us to fall, but he cannot make us fall; he may persuade us to cast ourselves down, but he cannot cast us down” – Wordsworth. „True faith never tries experiments upon the promises, being satisfied that they will be fulfilled as occa-sion may arise. We have no right to create danger, and expect providence to shield us from it. The love of adventure, curiosity as to the places and procedure as vice, the spirit of speculation in business, the profits of some calling attended by moral perils – often lead men to tempt God. It is a common form of sin” – Broadus.
„The successive temptations may be ranked as temptations
over_confidence, and over-confidence, and other confidence,
The first, to take things impatiently into our hands; the sec_
ond, to throw things presumptuously on God’s hands; the
third, to transfer things disloyally into other hands than
God’s” – Griffith.QUESTIONS
1. Who were the historians of Satan’s first temptation of Christ?
2. In what particulars do the historians agree?
3. In what particulars do Matthew and Luke agree?
4. In what particulars do Matthew and Mark agree?
5. What is the strong implication of the continuance of the tempta_
tion throughout the forty days by Mark?
6. What was the form of the temptation during the forty days?
Explain and illustrate its possibilities.
7. In what part of the temptation does Satan appear visibly face to
face with and tempt and wrestle with Christ?
8. What is the value of harmonic study illustrated in the special
contributions of each historian?
9. What is the meaning of our Greek word rendered „tempt”?
10. Upon what does the moral character of the tempting depend?
11. How may we lawfully in one case, and unlawfully in another case,
tempt God himself?
12. Give Scripture proof that in the bad sense of the word God tempts no man, and proof that in the good sense of the word he does tempt man.
13. Give proof that he does, under great limitations, permit Satan to
tempt us in an evil sense
14. When tempted by Satan, upon whom do the decision & responsibility rest?
15. Cite the pertinent words of James and Paul.
16. To what sense is our English word „tempt” now limited?
17. Why, probably, are the Scriptures silent on the exact spot of
the temptation in the wilderness?
18. If we venture on a suggestion of the site, give the reasons, in order.
of the wilderness of Arabia as the place.
19. Prove scripturally and scientifically that a man can fast forty days.
20. How is our English word „quarantine” derived etymologically?
21. What two institutions observed by Romanists and Episcopalians
are without scriptural warrant?
32. What is the meaning of the Greek word rendered „Easter” in
the common version at Acts 12:4?
23. Was the temptation of our Lord a real one? In other words,
was it a case of „Not able to sin” or of „Able not to/sin”?
24. Give, in order, the great reasons why Christ should be really tempted.
25. Concerning the temptation, what may we say of Milton’s Para_
dise Lost, and Paradise Regained?
26. In what commentary may we find the most critical and rational
treatment of the temptation of our Lord?
27. Cite, in order, Dr. Broadus’ quotations of practical observations
from Wordsworth, Lightfoot, Broadus himself, and Griffith.

Harmony pages 16_17 and Matthew 4:1_11; Luke 4:1_18.

In the preceding chapter we have submitted some general
observations on the wilderness temptation of Jesus, and its
continuance throughout the forty days’ fast by mental sug_
gestion from Satan, himself invisible. We are now to consider
the three special temptations at the conclusion of the long fast,
when to Jesus, exhausted and faint with hunger, Satan visibly
appears and urges on him in rapid succession the consumma_
tion of his assault. We follow the better and more logical or_
der of Matthew’s history.

„If thou art the Son of God, command these stones to be_
come loaves of bread.” Here, first of all, it is important to
note that the mood, „if thou art,” is indicative, not subjunc_
tive. We must not let the „if” mislead us. So the word „Son”
is emphatic in the Greek. In some way Satan had learned
that at the baptism the Father in heaven audibly proclaimed,
„This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” There_
fore it does not fall in with his plan of temptation to commence
with an express doubt of the Sonship of Jesus, as the subjunc_
tive mood, „If thou be,” would have certainly implied. The
phrase means, „Since,” or „seeing thou art the Son of God”
– Son emphatic. In other words, his first temptation assumes
the Sonship, with all power to work miracles: „Being God’s
Son in the highest sense, able to do wonders, being faint with
hunger after a long fast, far from any food supply, convert
this stone into a loaf of bread and satisfy thy hunger.” The
temptation was very subtle.
Our Lord replies at once with a scripture magnifying the
written word as the standard of human life, quoting Deuter_
onomy 8:3: „It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God,”
which means, „I am here and hungering under divine appoint_
ment. The Spirit led me here. In the way he appointed I
must wait on his word and trust him to supply my needs.
To resort to miracle to supply my need would show under_
confidence in God.”
He might have truly said, „I will never work a miracle in
my own behalf. The miracle_working power I possess is for
the benefit of others.”
Or, as truly, „I will never do a wonder at the demand of
others, particularly of my enemies, nor to gratify curiosity,
nor for self_display. Or, he might have said, „If I, at the
first difficulty after my inauguration, extricate myself as sel_
fish miracle, bow can my people in their trials find in my
course an example?” The passage in Deuteronomy clearly
shows that God often placed his people in trying circum_
stances, „to humble them, to prove them, to know what was in
their hearts,” in order to see if they would trust him and obey
him. Life is not a matter of food and clothes and shelter, but
of fearing God and keeping his commandments. The thirty_
seventh Psalm expresses our Lord’s attitude:
Trust in Jehovah, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on his faithfulness.
Delight thyself also in Jehovah;
And he will give thee the desires of thy heart.
Commit thy way unto Jehovah;
Trust also in him, and he will bring it to pass.
And he will make thy righteousness to go forth as the light,

And thy justice as the noonday.
Rest in Jehovah, and wait patiently for him:
They shall not be put to shame in the time of evil;
And in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.
A man’s goings are established of Jehovah;
And he delighteth in his way.
Though he fall, be shall not be utterly cast down;
For Jehovah upholdeth him with his hand.
I have been young, and now am old;
Yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken,
Nor his seed begging bread.
The law of his God is in his heart;
None of his steps shall slide.
– PSALM 37:3_7, 19, 23_25, 31
I cite a simple, practical illustration: In my early pastorate
at Waco, I found one of my members keeping a retail dram_
shop. He was much confused at seeing me, and said:
„Well, parson, a man must live.”
„Not necessarily,” I replied; „it may be best for him to die.
But it is necessary, while he lives, to live in God’s ways and
to trust him. You cannot serve God in this business.”
Another case I recall, while holding a meeting at Chappel
Hill, Texas. Through the unswerving faith, labors, and prayers
of a Christian wife, a hard, bad man was brought to accept
Christ. Just as he was about to be baptized, I put my hand
on him and said:
„Isn’t there something you ought to say to these people be_
fore you are baptized?”
He knew that I knew his sole business was the keeping of a
low liquor house with a gambling adjunct.
„You mean about my business?”
„Parson, everything I have in the world is in that business;
what ought I say?”
„Don’t ask me. You are now the Lord’s man; ask him.”
He put his hand in his pocket and drew out a key, passing
it to a deacon, and said:
„There’s the key to my liquor shop. Don’t sell my stock.
Pour it out. Lock the door. I will never enter it again while
I live.”
Then, with face illuminated, he was baptized.
The bread and meat question can never be answered right,
apart from our higher relations with God and confidence in
his care. Well did our Lord say later, „Be not anxious for
your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet
for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more
than the food, and the body than the raiment?”


„Then the devil taketh him into the holy city; and he set
him on the pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto him, if thou
art the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He
shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and, on their
hands they shall bear thee up, lest haply thou dash thy foot
against a stone. Jesus said unto him, Again it is written,
Thou shalt not make trial of the Lord thy God.”
What a change of scene! We have left the wilderness.
This is Jerusalem. This is the Temple. The transition is
rapid. There is no delay. On a wing of the Temple our
Lord looks down from his dizzy height into the deep chasm
far below. Satan is with him. Having failed on the line of
„under_confidence” in God, he resorts to the other extreme,
„over_confidence,” or presumption. It is as if he had said,
„You did well to trust God for food. It is that trust to which
I now appeal. You did well to cite the Holy Scriptures. To
the Scriptures I now appeal. Trust God, believe this scrip_
ture, and cast thyself down this precipice.” And what a scrip_
ture he cites!
Psalm 91 is the loftiest hymn of confidence in God and the
highest expression of the security of one trusting in God in the
whole Bible and in all the literature of the world.
It commences: „He that dwelleth in the secret place of the
Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of Jehovah, He is my refuge and my fortress; my
God, in whom I trust.” Let the reader read all of it over
again, and imagine that he sees Satan’s finger pointing to the
angel passage, and hears him say, „It is written.”
Our Lord’s reply comes like a double bolt of lightning,
„Again it is written, thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”
What a light on biblical interpretation – „Again it is writ_
ten!” Scripture must interpret scripture. We may not draw
a vital conclusion from a single detached passage, severed from
its context, and dislocated from the unity of truth. What a
lesson to text heretics and faddists going off on a tangent from
the circle of truth! That very psalm illustrates the power of
the reply of Jesus: „For he will deliver thee from the snare
of the fowler” (Psalm 91_3).
The devil and infidels are never harmonists. They try to
make one passage contradict and fight another. They mis_
apply. They put the finger on David’s sin with Uriah’s wife,
and then say, „It is written that David was a man after God’s
own heart.”
„Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” We have already
shown that the word „tempt” may have a good or bad sense
according to the object or method. We may test or prove
God by implicit obedience when he commands, and by absolute
trust in his promises when we are in his appointed way. Hear
Jehovah’s own words: „Bring ye the whole tithe into the store_
house, that there may be food in my house, and prove me now
herewith, saith Jehovah of hosts, if I will not open you the
windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing, that there
shall not be room enough to receive it” (Mal. 3:10).
„Prove me now herewith.” It would have been presump_
tion for Israel to have rushed into the Red Sea on their own
initiative, but it was the sublime audacity of faith after God
said, „Go forward” It was the devil, not Jehovah, who said,
„Cast thyself down.” The psalm passage cited would have
been pertinent if Jehovah had said, „Cast thyself down.”
We may not claim God’s promise in obeying the Devil. We
may not invent or create situations of difficulty in order to
prove God’s protecting care. Let us stick to the King’s high_
way and we will find no lion there.
It is said that when one of the fathers rebuked a demon
for taking possession of a Christian, the demon replied: „I
never went to the church after him; but when he came to the
drinking and gambling hells, on my territory, I occupied him.”
To whom the father replied, „To be perfectly fair, even to
the devil, I must admit that you make out your case as to
occupying him when found in your territory, but as he now
comes penitently home, you can’t stay in him. So get out.
But, by the way, you may roar at any other Christian, so_
journing in your territory.”

There is a last change of scene. So far, there is no reason
to suppose a miracle in the shifting of the scenes. Jesus went
in a natural way to Jerusalem as he had gone to the wilder_
ness, and as he now ascends the mountain. But there is some_
thing above the natural in the way Satan, „in one moment of
time” exhibits and Jesus sees the kingdoms of the world and
the glory of them. We may not crudely suppose that from
any mountain, however high, the whole world would be visible
to the natural eye, nor even if the world were flat instead of a
globe, that any natural eye would have the keenness of vision
to sweep discerningly so vast a horizon, nor especially to mas_
ter and weigh its complicated details in a moment of time.
But the inner eye may see things invisible. Satan, the high
intellectual spirit, in addressing the higher intellectual spirit
of Jesus could exhibit the world kingdoms and their glory in
one great cyclorama. One may ask, Why then ascend a moun_
tain for a viewpoint? The answer is not difficult when we
consider that all these temptations are addressed to Jesus, the
man. It will help us to get at the reason if we recall the
history of Balaam (Num. 22:24) where by changing the place
of divination a new effort was made to curse Israel (Num.
23:13). Or by recalling Grant’s assaults on General Lee: if
he failed at one point, he rapidly shifted the scene of the bat_
tle to another point, calling for new and swift readjustment.
It is human nature for an army to fight better when it knows
and has tried a battlefield, and to be subject to disorder and
panic when called suddenly to a new and untried field, necessi_
tating rapid movement of troops, new plans of defense, and
new lines of battle.
Jesus was a man. As a man he was subject to all the sensa_
tions attending the rapid shiftings of the scenes of conflict,
particularly in the faintness of hunger called to make long
marches. As has been said, the temptations are on the line
of „under_confidence, over_confidence, and other confidence.”
This last temptation touches the very mission of Jesus. He
came to fulfil man’s original commission to „subdue the earth
and exercise dominion over it.” He came to set up a world
kingdom. Satan exhibits the kingdoms of the world and the
glory of them. Then hear him: „All these things will I give
thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me” (Matt. 4:9). „To
thee will I give all this authority, and the glory of them:
for it hath been delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will
give it. If thou, therefore, wilt worship before me it shall
all be thine.”
First of all, let us consider the veracity of Satan’s claim to
world empire, and his power to bestow it. Commentators gen_
erally allege that Satan lied outright. If their contention be
true, there was no temptation at all. On the other hand, he
became de facto prince of this world when he defeated the
first man, God’s son by creation. He confirmed his title by
defeating Israel, God’s national son. The world empires,
Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome were large_
ly raised to power by him and derived their systems of idolatry
from him. The Scriptures call him the prince of this world
and add that through his domination „the whole world lieth
in wickedness.” He is the author of „the course of this
world.” Through „the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and
the pride of life,” he reigns over all his usurped territory. He
had „the power of death, and through the fear of death kept
the people in bondage.” As mammon he rules the business
world and supplies its maxims of greed. Through national
jealousies and ambitions and godless politics he keeps up the
burdensome armaments of rival nations.
It is true that Satan’s power is never supreme – that God’s
providence overrules all – that limitations tether Satan to a
stake, no matter how long the rope. Yet we must concede
much of Satan’s high claim.
Our next thought is that Satan’s temptation is on the line
of Jewish desire expectation. They wanted a world kingdom
with the Jews on top. They were ready at any time to make
Jesus king if only he would free them from Roman domina_
tion and make Jerusalem the capital of the world. A million
Jews would have leaped to arms in a day to follow such a
But look at the Scriptures. God, by prophecy, had said to
Jesus, „Ask of me and I will give thee the heathen for thine
inheritance and the uttermost part of the earth for thy pos_
session.” This, however, was to follow the cross and the resur_
rection. Satan says, „Worship me, and I will give thee the
kingdoms of the world without the cross.” This daring im_
pious proposition of Satan to turn God out of his world stirred
our Lord into a flame of righteous indignation. He tore all
the masks off the tempter. He dragged him into the open
light in all his loathsome serpentine length. He uttered the
prophetic sentence of final eviction: „Get thee hence, Satan,”
and struck a conquering blow with the sword of the Spirit: „It
is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him
only shalt _thou serve” (Matt. 4:10). So the first battle ended.
It was a presage of the victory in all succeeding battles. It
became the slogan of the saints: „Resist the devil, and he
will flee from you.” „Whom resist stedfast in the faith.”
At the close of this chapter we may raise another question:
Judging from the silence of the Scriptures, our Lord had not
been assaulted by Satan since through his agent, Herod, he
sought to take the young child’s life in the massacre of the
innocents at Bethlehem. The question is, Why did Satan per_
mit him to grow to manhood without further effort to defeat
his mission, till this great occasion? My own judgment is that
as Satan is neither omnipresent nor omniscient, he must have
supposed that Herod had succeeded in destroying the One con_
cerning whom the Wise Men asked, „Where is he that is king
of the Jews?” The flight into Egypt, and the seclusion at
Nazareth, Satan does not seem to have known or under_
stood. What startled him from his long inactivity was the in_
auguration of Christ at his baptism: that voice of the Father;
that descent of the Spirit. God kept him in quiet until he
had grown in wisdom, until he had been endued with power,
until he was ready to undertake his great mission of saving
the world.
1. Whose order of the three special temptations is the logical one?
2. What was the scene of the first temptation?
3. Does the phrase, „if thou art the Son of God,” imply a doubt of
his being the Son of God? If not, explain the „if.”
4. What were the words of the first temptation?
5. In his replies to all the temptations, what does our Lord make
the standard of human life?
6. From what book of the Pentateuch are all of our Lord’s quota_
tions taken?
7. Give the meaning of our Lord’s use of the quotation, „Man shall
not live my bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth from the
mouth of .God.”
8. What other things might he have truly said?
9. What words of Psalm 37 express the Lord’s attitude?
10. Give the substance of the two practical illustrations.
11. In what way alone can the bread and meat question ever be
answered right?
12. In the Sermon on the Mount, what pertinent words did ow Lord
afterward use?
13. What was the scene of the second temptation?
14. In what three words doues a writer express the three temptations?
15. Show the process of Satan’s proceeding from the line of under_
confidence to overconfidence.
16. From what marvelous psalm does Satan quote?
17. From our Lord’s reply, „Again it is written,” what lesson of in_
terpretation may be drawn?
18. In the second part of his reply, „Thou shalt not tempt the Lord
thy God,” prove that the word „tempt” when applied to God on the
part of man, may be lawful and unlawful, and illustrate.
19. Relate the legend of one of the fathers and a demon.
20. What was the scene of the third temptation?
21. la there necessarily any miracle in shifting the scenes from the
wilderness to Jerusalem, and from Jerusalem to the top of the mountain?
22. Show, however, that there must have been something above the
natural in Satan’s exhibiting and Christ’s seeing the kingdoms of the
world and their glory in a moment of time, and yet how could this
be done?
23. Explain why the ascent of the mountain was not for the purpose
of a viewpoint, and the reason of Satan’s shifting the scene.
24. This last and crowning temptation touches what.?
25. Give the words of this last temptation.
26, How much of truth is there in Satan’s claim to the sovereignty
of the world kingdoms and his authority to give them to whom he will,
and yet what the limitations of Satan’s governing the world?
27. How was Satan’s last temptation on a line with Jewish desire
and expectation?
28. Prove from a prophetic scripture that God calls upon the Son to
ask of him for this world empire, and at what point in the life of Christ
to the words of the psalm touch it?
29. When Satan, therefore, tempted Christ to worship him, and re_
ceive from him the kingdoms of the world, what the daring and impiety
of his proposal?
30. What was the effect on our Lord of this final temptation of
Satan’s, and how does he reply?
31. How may we account for Satan’s letting Jesus alone from the time
that he sought his death through Herod until this series of temptations?

Harmony pages 18_19 and John 1:19 to 2:11.

The subject matter of this chapter is in John’s Gospel alone,
1:19 to 2:11. There are two places only, Bethany beyond
Jordan and Cana of Galilee. The whole period of time is
one week. Four consecutive days are specified and the seventh
day. The very hour of one day is also given. The time of
year is near the Passover, therefore in the spring (John 2:13),
the first Passover in the ministry of Jesus. The important di_
visions of this chapter are (1) John’s testimony to Jesus, (2)
the first disciples, and (3) the first miracle of Jesus.
This chapter commences a series of first things. The whole
series comprises (a) John’s first testimony, (b) first disciples
of Jesus, (c) first miracle, (d) first introduction of his mother
in his public ministry, (e) first (and perhaps last) marriage
attended by Jesus, (f) first residence in Capernaum, (g) first
Passover, (h) first purgation of the Temple, etc.
The first scene is on the left or east bank of the Jordan.
This we know from the word „beyond” as spoken from Aenon
on the west bank, John 3:26. There is a difference in text
as to this first place. The common version, following later
authorities, locates it at Bethabara. All the older manuscripts
followed by the Canterbury revision, say that it was Bethany.
If Bethany be the true text, it cannot be the Bethany near
Jerusalem, mentioned in John 11:1 as the home of Lazarus,
Mary, and Martha, but some now unknown locality in either
Perea or Iturea. Bethany certainly suits the context and has
the testimony of tradition. Such also is the testimony of


One of the most important functions of John’s office was to
bear witness to Jesus as the Christ. His whole mission was
to prepare the way for him, to make ready a people for him
and then to bear witness to him. The witness_bearing feature
of John’s mission is particularly brought out and emphasized
in the Fourth Gospel alone.
I will now give the outline of John’s work as a witness for
Christ, from which any preacher may preach a sermon.
Text: John 1:6_7.
Theme: John the Baptist a witness to Jesus as the Messiah.
Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:7; Luke 3:16 give the testimony before
he knew Jesus as the Messiah, as to the office, dignity, and
work of the Messiah.
Office: „The Lord,” „The One coming after me,” „The
Dignity: „One whose shoe latchet I am unworthy to un_
Work: „Who baptizeth in the Holy Spirit and in fire,” sepa_
rating the wheat from the chaff, determining and fixing the
destiny of both.
Testimony as to purity and sinlessness (Matt. 3:14): „I
have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?”
Testimony to the deputation from Jerusalem, John 1:15;
1:19_28; 5:32_33; as to his office and dignity.
Testimony to Jesus as the vicarious Lamb, bearing or taking
away the sin of the world, as to his pre_existence, anointing
by the Holy Spirit, as the baptizer in the Holy Ghost and as
the Son of God (John 1:29_34).
Testimony to his own disciples that Jesus was the Lamb of
God (John 1:35_37).

Testimony to a Jew (a) that Jesus was the bridegroom, (b)
that he must increase, (c) that he was divine – “come down
from heaven,” (d) that he was sent of the Father, (e) that he
speaketh the Father’s words, (f) that the Spirit was given
without measure to him, (g) as to the filial object of the Fa_
ther’s love, (h) that all things were given into his hands, (i)
that he is the object of faith, (]) the source of eternal life, (k)
that unbelief in him and disobedience to him bring instant,
persistent and eternal wrath (John 3:22_36).
Resuming the discussion, let us look at John’s Bethany tes_
The occasion of this testimony was the visit to John of a
formal deputation from the Jerusalem authorities, the Phari_
sees, sent to ascertain from John himself Just who he was,
what his mission and what his authority.
The fact that the authorities of Jerusalem deemed it im_
portant and necessary to take this step is remarkable evidence
to the great impression which John’s early ministry had made
on the public mind, and the direction of this impression shows
how widespread was the expectation of a Messiah and how
earnestly the restless and burdened Jews longed for deliver_
ance from Roman oppression.
In a previous chapter has been shown the out_cropping and
direction of this impression concerning John (Luke 3:15).
Subsequent testimony shows how the public mind was simi_
larly agitated about Jesus and his work (Luke 9:7_9; Matt.
16:13). And still later, at the trial of Jesus, we find the Jeru_
salem authorities endeavoring to secure from Jesus by judicial
oath his testimony concerning himself (Matt. 26:63; Mark
The earnestness of the inquirers is manifested by their many,
rapid and searching questions: „Art thou the Christ? Who
then? Elijah? That prophet? Why baptizeth thou then?
What sayest thou of thyself?”

In John’s replies two things are most striking: first, he
minifies himself; second he magnifies Jesus.
This suggests an important lesson to all preachers and in_
deed to all Christians: get behind, and not before the cross.
It also teaches that between the purest and greatest men on
the one hand and Jesus Christ on the other, there is infinite
distance, which establishes his divinity.
It is also quite important to note how clean and manifold
is John’s testimony: (a) as to dignity of person („shoe_
latchet,”) (b) his divinity and pre_existence („from heaven,”
„Son of God,”) (c) His vicarious mission, the object of faith,
(d) his anointing (Messiah) and its fulness, „without meas_
Testimony to his own disciples: (a) „Lamb of God,” (b)
„Leave me . . . go to him.” Compare John 3:26; Matthew II:
2_3; 14:12.

These were John’s disciples. It proves that John had made
ready a people for the Lord, thus fulfilling that part of his
mission and also preparing the way. Cf. Acts l:21f, which
gives the successor to Judas. The names of first two are John
and Andrew. The important lessons are: (a) If we know
Jesus let us follow him, and (b) bring others to him. Then fol_
lows the case of Andrew and Peter. Here we have the change
of Peter’s name from Simon to Cephas. (See the author’s ser_
mon „From Simon to Cephas,” first book of sermons, p. 279).
The case of Philip and Nathanael follows, showing the evi_
dence on which Nathanael believed. This section closes with
the angels ascending and descending upon the Son of man
which is the antitype of Jacob’s ladder.
Now let us consider this passage more in detail. The first
thought of the passage is a shepherd finding a sheep; Jesus is
the shepherd and Philip the sheep. Jesus finds Philip. It is
a wonderful thing when Jesus finds any of us. He came to
seek us out; to find the lost. It is his great office, as the shep_
herd, to find that which was driven away, to find that which
was lame; to seek it until he does find it, and then to bring
it home again healed and saved. Such finding is an event.
It is an event of a lifetime. But when he does find us it seems
to us as if we had found him; and when we tell about it we
don’t say, „Jesus found me;” we say, „I found Jesus.” That
is as it appears to our consciousness. Speaking from our ex_
perience, we state it as if Jesus had been lost and we had
found him. While history says, „Jesus found Philip,” Philip
says, „We found him.” And we can understand how that is.
If a child should lose himself in the woods, trying to find his
father who had gone out hunting, and the father, returning
home, should ascertain that the child was lost and go out to
seek the child and search until he struck the trail of the little
wanderer, and follow it until he at last discovered him, the
true account would be that the father found the child. But
the child would say, „I have found my papa at last.” Both
have been seeking. They have been seeking each other. But
in the experience of the child it will be as if he had found his
father. So, whenever Jesus finds a lost soul, that lost soul
which has also been searching in an aimless kind of way,
searching and desiring – that soul will look at its own expe_
rience and say, „I have found the pearl of great price. I have
come upon it at last.” This paradox of experience runs all
through our religious life – human consciousness appearing to
contradict both doctrine and fact. There are two parties, God
and man; God working, man working; God seeking, man seek_
ing; God finding, man finding. And if we should stand on the
God side of it and shut ourselves up entirely to that, we can
preach some very hard, but true, though one_sided doctrine;
and if we stand on the man side of it and shut ourselves up
to that, we can preach some very unsound doctrine.
Now, when Jesus finds anyone, and that one realizes that
he is found of Jesus, then what? If Jesus has found us, and
if we, looking at it from our own consciousness and experience,
have found Jesus, then what? Oh, Christian, what? Here is
the answer; Every one who has been found of Jesus must be_
come a finder for Jesus; that is, just as soon as Jesus finds
Andrew, Andrew finds Peter for Jesus. As soon as Jesus finds
Philip, Philip finds Nathanael for Jesus. Whoever is found of
Jesus becomes a finder for Jesus. What then must a Chris_
tian do? Find people for Jesus. Surely any little child can
understand that. Every one whom Jesus finds becomes a
finder for Jesus.
Having settled it that our mission as „found_ones” is also to
find others for Jesus, now let us see if we can also learn, not
only that we are to do this, but how we are to do it. And not
only how we are to do it, but when we may know that we get
to the end of our duty; that is, let us seek to find the limit
of human endeavor and stop when we get there and not try to
go beyond that. We have done much when we can ascertain
the limit of human effort, and then don’t try to do what we
cannot do and what we never were required to do. There_
fore to find out the salient points of Christian duty, and the
limit of human endeavor, is to settle a great many things.
What is it then? As soon as Jesus found Philip, Philip de_
termined somebody else should know about Jesus, so he exer_
cised his mind. He reasoned within himself: „To whom shall
I go and tell this? I must make a selection of somebody.
I must begin somewhere. Well, there is one man that I think
about Just now, a man named Nathanael. I will go and tell
Nathanael about it.” So he proceeds to Nathanael and com_
mences with the following clearly stated and comprehensive_
ly stated proposition: „We have found him of whom Moses in
the law and the prophets did write. We have found him to
be Jesus. We have found him to be Jesus of Nazareth. We
have found him to be Jesus of Nazareth, reputed to be the son
of Joseph. He is in Galilee. He is in Nazareth of Galilee.
His name is Jesus. We have found that this man Jesus lives
in Nazareth, is the one of whom Moses in the law and the
prophets did write.”
Now that leads to the next point. When we go to find peo_
ple for Jesus what kind of an argument had we best employ
in endeavoring to get them to come to Jesus? This argument:
„We have found him.” What is the import of that argument?
That argument is our Christian experience. „Nathanael, we
have found him.” It is a very simple argument, but it is very
convincing. Now suppose Philip had said, „Nathanael, you
ought to seek him of whom Moses in the law and the prophets
did write.” „Where is he?” Nathanael would very properly
reply, „Do you know?” „No.” „Do you know his name?”
„No.” „How, then, are you going to guide me, since you are
Just as ignorant as I am?”
Please notice this point, that whenever we go to find any_
one for Jesus, whatever power we may have will be based
upon the fact that we ourselves have found Jesus. „We apeak
that we do know, we testify that which we have seen.” We
come to men, not with speculations, however finespun; not
with theories, however plausible; not with reasonings, how_
ever cogent, but as witnesses of a fact, saying, „Here is what
I have experienced. I have felt this myself. I have tasted of
this myself. I know whereof I affirm. I have found Jesus.”
The mightiest argument that the apostle Paul ever em_
ployed in his preaching was his own Christian experience.
Whether he stood before Felix, Festus, Agrippa, or the San_
hedrin, his answer was one: „I will tell you what happened to
me: I was on my way to Damascus on a certain occasion,”
and then details how he found Jesus and how Jesus found him.
Suppose there had been a tradition that in a certain section of
a state, in the mountains somewhere, was a wonderful cave;
the opening of it hard to find, but inside of it marvelous things
to see; and many people had been for a long time trying to
find it, and many very wise people had set up very plausible
theories as to its locality, and each confident theorist should
dogmatically insist that it ought to be and must be where his
argument placed it. But in the midst of their disputations an
ignorant Negro should appear and say, „I know it is not at
any of those places, because I have found it and been in it.”
And suppose that each learned disputant should demand that
he should answer his argument locating it elsewhere. Would
not the Negro say, „Master, I know nothing of argument, but
I do know where the cave is. If you don’t believe me, come
and see.” I venture to say that crowd would follow the Negro.
If I had heard of a wonderful cave, or a gold mine, or any
strange thing and desired to see it and a man should come to
me, bearing honesty and frankness in his face, and say, „I
have found it; I have seen it; I have been in it myself,” that
would make an impression upon me. But if he were to say,
„I want to present to you a line of argument to show you
about where it must be,” that would not make much impression
upon my mind. He is theorizing. He is doing no more than I
might do; than ten thousand others have done. But whether
he is a rustic or city man; whether he is a scholar or a boor,
if he comes with an honest front and says, „I have found it,”
that makes an impression.
What is our chief business? Finding people for Jesus. What
is our chief argument in inducing people to come to Jesus?
Testify that we have found him ourselves – the power of our
own Christian experience. Speak to them of a fact within our
personal knowledge; speak of the precious thing within our
own heart. There is our power in dealing with the world.
Now, as soon as we begin to tell about finding Jesus we will
strike a difficulty. What is it? Some preconceived opinion in
the mind of men is an obstacle in the way, and it does not
make an atom of difference what it is) for if it is not in one
thing it will be in another. Take, for example, this particular
case: „We have found him of whom Moses wrote.” Nothing
wrong there. „We have found him of whom the prophets
wrote.” Nothing wrong there. „We have found him to be
Jesus.” Nothing wrong there. „Of Nazareth,” ah, of Naza_
reth ! „Now, I have a preconceived opinion about that.” What
is that preconceived opinion? „No good thing can come out of
Nazareth.” What an awful thing that preconceived opinion
is! If we can establish the main point, first, the character of
the person, „such as Moses wrote of, such as the prophets wrote
of,” and if we can find the person himself – Jesus – why will
one allow a preconceived opinion about locality to keep him
from accepting him? But there stands that preconceived opin_
ion: „Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Now the
most ingenious device of the devil is his use of proverbs, either
lying proverbs, or proverbs so misapplied that they are made
to be lying proverbs, and that was one of them, that no good
thing could come out of Nazareth.
The Old Testament does not mention Nazareth, nor does
Josephus. Its bad reputation is to be gathered from the New
Testament. There are two instances in the New Testament
history that tell about its bad character, the incorrigible un_
belief of its inhabitants and their cruelty when, first, they not
only refused to hear Jesus, but sought to slay him by casting
him over the face of the precipice, and then their later re_
jection of him caused him to change his place of residence.
So he left Nazareth forever, and moved to Capernaum. They
were a hard lot of people; that much was true. And now
Nathanael asks: „Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?”
The place where a man has lived has a great deal to do with
his opportunities of usefulness in after life, and the reputation
of the place clings to him; but if he be in himself strong and
true, and there be real power in him, he will be a man and
make his mark, no matter where he hails from. But there was
that preconceived opinion now. If it had been rightly con_
sidered, that objection was one of the demonstrations of the
messiahship of Jesus Christ; that objection was one of the
arguments in favor of him. The prophets had declared that he
should be called a Nazarene. I do not mean to say that any
prophet had specified Nazareth as his home, but more than
one of the prophets had described him as „one who is de_
spised,” and the word „Nazarene” was a term of contempt
and reproach and is so used in the New Testament repeatedly.
Yet that name which was a term of reproach became a name of
glory. It was inscribed upon his cross: „Jesus of Nazareth,”
and he himself avowed his connection with Nazareth after his
resurrection, and „the sect of the Nazarenes” took the world.
The Apostate Julian when dying is reported to have said,
„Thou Nazarene, hath conquered.”
We meet some preconceived opinions in every man that we
approach who is outside of Christ. He will spring some little
point of objection. The ground in his mind is occupied, the
preconceived opinion stands in his way. In other words, he
has accepted a certain premise as established, and that premise
being established in his mind, it keeps him from accepting
any conclusion not deducible from it. Now what are we going
to do when we strike a difficulty of that kind? Do not argue
with that man; he will argue until doomsday. We need not
scold; that won’t do any good. But we may propose to him
this practical and experimental test: „Come and see.”
So as our business is to be a finder for Jesus, our argument
must be that we have found him ourselves. When any sort of
a preconceived opinion is given as an objection, our remedy
for that preconceived opinion is the simple invitation to put
the matter to a personal, practical test: „Come and see.” I
don’t know any shorter or more efficient way to settle all
doubt. It should not make any difference to us what is the
character of any man’s objection to the Bible, what is the
character of his objection to Jesus Christ as the Son of God,
what is the mental difficulty or moral difficulty in his way, if
he will only put it to a personal, practical test, we may have
hope of him, and none under heaven unless he will.
What is the next point? When we bring a man to Jesus
that is the end of our work. We cannot convert a man not
to save our life. That does not rest with us; that is not a part
of our duty; we have reached our limit when we have brought
him to Jesus. He will attend to his part of it. And yet how
many of the human family have been devoted to doing God’s
work – men trying to make Christians out of other men, and
giving formulas for it, and prescribing rites by which it is to
be accomplished – a certain form of words to be pronounced!
I say our limit is reached when we have brought that man to
Jesus; and the sooner we find that out the better. God alone
can forgive sins. It is blasphemy for any man to claim that
power. When they took a bed up, on which a man with the
palsy was lying, and when they had exhausted their efforts to
get in through the door and could not, and then climbed up
on the house and took up the tiles of the roof and let him down
before Jesus, their work was done. They could not cure the
palsy. They brought him to Jesus and stopped. That is the
limit of our work.
Let us restate: The points are very simple. If we have been
found of Jesus, then our chief mission is to be finders for
Jesus, and our chief argument in bringing people to Jesus is
the fact that we have found Jesus ourselves; that is, our Chris_
tian experience; and as a remedy against any objection in the
way of a preconceived opinion on the part of the one that we
are trying to lead to Jesus, we are to use no argument, no
scolding, but simply „Come and see.” „Let him that heareth
say, some.” Oh, that power of such witnessing cannot be at_
tained by any sort of argument in which we might be pleased
to indulge!
The reader may recall a touching poem in McGuffey’s old
Fourth Reader. It tells a sad and tragic story of a bride who,
in all the loveliness of youth and beauty, just after the mar_
riage ceremony, turns for a moment from the happy bride_
groom and, looking back with eyes full of love’s sweet light,
disappears through the doorway, never to be seen again. And
the reader may recall the poet’s description of her father,
representing him as one always looking for, and never finding
his missing child. Looking in every room, over all the grounds,
the suddenly demented mind always searching, never finding.
So is the sinner. There is an unrest, an anxious void, a felt
need of obtaining something he knows not what, for which he
is ever seeking but which he has never found, something that
will give even peace to his soul.
Let us look for a moment at that fig tree incident. It is
not clearly stated why he went out to that tree; but it is very
clearly implied that this was a private place. A man sitting
under his own vine and fig tree, secluded from the world. Per_
haps in his garden, where, sheltered from every eye, he could
be alone; and out there alone, he kneels down to pray, and
express his wants, and gives voice to his desires, and manifests
his unrest and longing of his soul. No human eye is on him.
He is alone. But the eye of Jesus is on him. That is the very
thing that made Nathanael believe that he was the Messiah;
because, hidden from human observation, in the secrecy of
his most private devotion, here is one who reads every thought
of his heart, and registers every index of his character.
„Whence knowest thou me? How knowest thou that my heart
is sincere, without any guile?” „I read your heart, Nathanael,
when you were praying alone.” So he sees us in the privacy
of our closet when the door is shut. He knows whether we are
in earnest, or merely affecting an interest we do not feel. He
knows when we come from curiosity. How readily he dis_
covers to Ezekiel the character of his hearers: „Also, thou son
of man, the children of thy people still are talking against
thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses and speak one
to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray
you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the
Lord. And they that come unto thee as the people cometh,
and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy
words, but they will not do them; for with their mouth they
show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetous_
ness. And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of
one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instru_
ment; for they hear thy words, but they do them not.” Such
discernment of the heart is within the power of God alone.
It convinced the woman of Samaria at the well that Jesus was
the Messiah. So it satisfied Nathanael, evoking his ready re_
sponse: „Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King
of Israel.” Whoever comes without guile, comes with a true
and worthy purpose; coming to find – that man will believe on
the very first clear proof. And after all, whenever any man
is convinced, it is but one proof that convinces; and, indeed,
we never need but one good reason for anything. One good
proof is sufficient.
And now here is my last point: While it is true that one
who comes without guile, not to argue, not to satisfy curiosity,
not to be entertained, but conscious of need, desiring to find
a Saviour, finds it easy to believe, and while one proof satis_
fies the soul, yet he does not suffer that faith to rest always
on that one proof, but ever confirms it by new and greater
proof. So reads the passage: „Jesus answered and said unto
him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under a fig tree)
believest thou? Thou shalt see greater things than these. And
he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter
ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending
and descending upon the Son of man.” This is not „you shall
see heaven opened;” it has long been open; but „you shall see
an open heaven.” It is not that it is now to open, but that it
has been open, and you did not heretofore see it. „You ac_
cepted as a proof of my divinity that I could read the heart.
Here is proof mightier than that proof that reaches from high
heaven down to earth; proof that reaches from the very throne
and heart of God. Proof which says, Angels coming down en
me; therefore, I am divine. There is a way from me to heaven,
therefore, I am divine. I am the Messiah, the one who
brings heaven and earth together. My right hand is on the
throne, my left hand is on the sinner.” We shall see it, if,
without guile, honestly coming, we accept the Lord Jesus
Christ as the Son of God. Yes, heaven was already open over
sleeping Jacob in the beginning of his religious life and over
dying Stephen before he fell asleep in Jesus. Here I am a wit_
ness and not a theorist. To me, by faith) has that open heaven
long been visible. By faith I have seen the angels ascending
and descending upon the Son of God. It is no distempered
fancy, no freak of the imagination, but a sweet and substantial
reality. As, like Jacob, I have seen that gate of heaven and
found in lonely places the house of God, and in my travels
have met the „hosts of heaven,” so when, like Stephen, I come
to die, whenever and wherever and however that may be, I,
too, shall be able to „look up stedfastly into heaven and see
the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of
God” to receive and welcome my spirit. Yes, God will con_
firm our faith by even greater proofs. Angela will come down
to us in our sorrows. They will minister to us as heirs of sal_
vation. And when, like Lazarus at the rich man’s gate, our
bodies die, they will catch away our parting souls and convey
them to our heavenly home.
On page 19, Section 19, of the Harmony we have an ac_
count of the first miracle of Jesus. At this point in our studies
it is fitting that we should take a general view, somewhat, of
the miracles which occupy an important place in the Bible.
The names used to describe miracles, according to their effect
on the beholder, their design, their source, or the thing ac_
complished, are wonders, signs, powers and mighty works,
respectively. See Acts 2:22; 2 Corinthians 12:12; 2 Thessalo_
nians 2:9, e. g., the incarnation of Christ, the healing of the
paralytic (Mark 2:12), the raising of Lazarus, and the resur_
rection of Christ. The following are some definitions of a
„A miracle is an effect in nature not attributable to the
ordinary operations of nature, nor to the act of man, but
indicative of superhuman power, and serving as a sign or wit_
ness thereof; a wonderful work, manifesting a power superior
to the ordinary forces of nature.” – Century Dictionary.
„A miracle is a transgression of a law of nature by a par_
ticular volition of the Deity, or by the interposition of some
invisible agent.” – Hume.
„A miracle is an event or effect contrary to the established
constitution and course of things, or a deviation from the
known laws of nature; a supernatural event, or one transcend_
ing the ordinary laws by which the universe is governed.” –
„A miracle is an extraordinary event, discernible by the
senses, apparently violating natural laws and probabilities,
inexplainable by natural laws alone, produced by the agency
of a supernatural power, for religious purposes, usually to ac_
credit a messenger or to attest God’s revelation to him.” – The
It needs to be emphasized in this connection (1) that a
miracle is not a violation of natural law, (2) not a greater
power, but a different and particular method and (3) not a
disregard of natural law, but it is superhuman and may come
from God or the devil (2 Thess. 2:9_10). If it comes from
God it corroborates that which is good; if from the devil,
that which is evil. True religion rests on divine revelation. ID
the beginning man dealt directly with God and God sufficiently
revealed his divinity and the vital principles of religion. But
the devil approached man through an accredited intermediary.
The miracle should not have been accepted as proof, because
the alleged message was contrary to what had been revealed
by God directly. (See Deut. 13:3; Gal. 1:8; Matt. 24:24;
2 Thess. 2:9; Rev. 13:13.) After man’s fall God could re_
veal himself only through an intermediary, hence the neces_
sity of miracles. So man has neither warrant nor power to
invent or impose a religion. Whatever claims to be a religion
(a) must harmonize with previous revelation and nature, and
(b) the messenger must be accredited and the message must be
attested, as in the case of Jonah.
There are certain tests which must be applied to every
miracle before we can know whether it is from God or from the
devil. If from God, it must (1) not be immoral, (2) not a
mere freak in nature, but it must (3) aim at that which is
good, (4) result in good, and (5) establish right doctrine. So
John says, „Try the spirits.” Therefore Moses, the elders and
Pharaoh had a right to test the miracles they witnessed. (See
Interpretation, volume, Exodus_Leviticus.)
There are three great groups of miracles in the Bible, each
showing the intervention of God in a great crisis in the history
of the true religion: (1) In the time of Moses; (2) In the time
of Elijah and Elisha; (3) In the time of Christ and his apos_
tles. The third group, which we are now to study, may be
classed as follows: those wrought on Christ, such as (a) his
incarnation, (b) the descent of the Spirit upon him, (c) the
transfiguration, (d) the voice of John 12:28, (e) the events
of Gethsemane, (f) the events of the crucifixion, (g) his resur_
rection. Those wrought by him, beginning at Cana of Galilee
and ending with the inspiration of the apostles (these we will
study in order). Those wrought by his apostles which we find
mainly in the book of Acts and will be considered in the
interpretation of that book. If we admit the incarnation, all
the others follow. The test miracle is the resurrection of Christ.
He made it the test, his disciples accepted it as the test, and
they ever afterward rested everything on it. (See I Cor. 15.)
Now we will take up this first miracle and discuss it briefly.
The time was the third day after our Lord’s interview with
Nathanael. The place was Cana of Galilee. The occasion was
a marriage to which our Lord and his disciples were invited.
The incident leading to it was the failure of the wine, upon
which the mother of Jesus intervenes and states the case. The
Romanists set great store by this incident as teaching the
mediatorial position of Mary, but there is not a hint at such
teaching in this miracle. The story of the miracle is simple
and impressive. The water turned to wine. As Milton says,
„The unconscious water saw its God and blushed.” The whis_
key men try to find in this incident a justification for their
nefarious business, but the ground of their justification in this
passage is the sinking sand of delusion, and their claim is as
utterly false as is the claim of the Romanists for the media_
torial work of Mary based upon the same incident. This mira_
cle manifested the glory of Christ and strengthened the faith
of his disciples. The purpose of this miracle as viewed by
John was to attest the divinity of Jesus Christ. Thus he uses
the word „sign” for this great event, which word is most
common with him, and indicates the purpose of his gospel,
viz: to prove that Jesus is the Christ.

1. In what Gospel is the subject matter of this chapter?
2. What two places are named?
3. What was the period of time, what points of time mentioned, and
what the time of the year?
4. What are the important divisions of this chapter?
5. What are the „first_things” in the whole series introduced by this
6. What is the first scene, where and what the proof?
7. What was one of the most important functions of John the Baptist
and what was his whole mission?
8. Where is the witness_bearing feature of his mission brought out?
9. What was the testimony of John to Jesus before he knew him
as the Messiah?
10. What was his testimony to the purity and sinlessness of Jesus?
11. What was his testimony as to his office and dignity?
12. What was his testimony as to his vicarious work, his pre_existence,
his anointing, etc.?
13. What was his testimony to him as the Lamb of God?
14. What was the bundle of testimony to Jesus in John 3:22_36?
15. What was the occasion of the Bethany testimony?
16. What was the significance of this event?
17. Show the progress of the concern of the authorities relative to
the ministry of John and Jesus,
18. How is their earnestness manifested here?
19. What two striking things in John’s replies?
20. What lesson suggested to all preachers and Christiana by this at_
titude of John?
21. What additional lesson does this testimony of John teach?
22. How is the clearness of his testimony marked?
23. What was John’s testimony to his own disciples?
24. How were John and Jesus related in their work, and what things
in general, to be noted in John 1:35_51?
25. Taking this passage more in detail, what was the first thought
and what its application?
26. What is the duty of every one who has been found by Jesus and
how is it illustrated here?
27, How then are we to do this and what important fact to be learned
28. What is the argument to be used, how illustrated here and how
illustrated by Paul?
29. Give the author’s illustration.
30. What difficulty is often found in this work and how is it illus_
trated here?
31. What of the character and reputation of the people of Nazareth
and what reference to it here?
32. What are we to do with the man with preconceived opinions?
33. Where does our work in the salvation of people end, and how is
it illustrated in the Bible?
34. What is the lesson from the fig tree incident here?
35. What is the meaning of „in whom is no guile”?
36. How does Jesus confirm the faith of them that receive him?
37. Explain the „Jacob’s Ladder” antitype here.
38. What were the names used to describe miracles and what their
meaning, respectively?
39, Give the definition of miracle according to the Century Dic-
40. Give Hume’s definition.
41. Give Webster’s definition.
42. Give the author’s definition verbatim.
43. What things need to be emphasized in this connection?
44. What are the two sources of miracles and what is the distin_
guishing characteristics in general?
45. On what does true religion rest, and what is its bearing on the
question of miracles?
46. What was the first miracle, what was its purpose, what was the
proof that it should not have been received as proof?
47. What of the necessity of miracles after the fall of man and
what was its bearing on the question of man_made religions?
48. What are the tests of true religion?
49. What are the tests of a God_given miracle?
50. What are the three great groups of miracles in the Bible and
why did they come as they did?
51. What is the classification of the third group and what is in_
cluded in each class?
52. What miracle admitted and all others follow?
53. What was the time, place, and occasion of and the incident lead_
ing to the first miracle of Jesus?
55. What was the Romanist teaching based on this incident and how
do you meet it? .
56 Tell the story of the miracle, giving quotation from Milton.
57. What use do the whiskey men make of this incident and how
do you offset their contention?
58. What was the effect of this miracle?
59. What its purpose? .
60. What word did John moat frequently use for miracle and what
the significance of his use of it?

Harmony pages 20_21 and John 2:12 to 3:21.

After the events at Cana Jesus went down to Capernaum
with his kindred and early disciples and there abode a short
time. Nothing further of this brief sojourn at Capernaum is
known. From Capernaum he goes to Jerusalem, where two
significant events take place, viz: the cleansing of the Temple
and the interview with Nicodemus. It is well to note here the
scenes of his early ministry: beside the Jordan, at Cana of
Galilee, at Capernaum, at Jerusalem, in Judea, and in Samaria.
A remarkable deed characterized both the beginning and
end of his ministry in Judea. This was the cleansing of the
Temple. At this first passover in his ministry he found the
money_changers and those who sold animals for sacrifice in the
Temple, making the Temple a house of merchandise. He at
once proceeded to drive out the animals and to overturn the
tables of the money_changers, an act which the Son of God
only could perform without a protest from the offended. But
the majesty of our Lord here doubtless beamed forth in such
splendor that they were completely overawed and dared not
resist, but simply demanded a sign of his authority. To which
he replied that if they should destroy the temple of his body,
in three days he would raise it up. This is the first reference

to his resurrection which he thus made the test of his messiah_
ship early in his ministry and referred to it many times later,
making it the test, both to his disciples and to his enemies.
This cleansing of the Temple fulfilled two prophecies – Psalm
69:9 and Isaiah 56:7. Then follows a statement of the response
of the people to his signs which he did: „Many believed on
his name.” But Jesus did not trust himself to any man be_
cause his omniscience saw what was in man.
The second great event of this visit to Jerusalem was our
Lord’s interview and discourse with Nicodemus, which fur_
nishes us our most profitable lesson on

The occasion of this discussion of our Lord was the coming
to him of Nicodemus, by night) at some unknown place in
Jerusalem, to learn more of this great miracle worker.
Our English word „regeneration,” etymologically, is a com_
pound word. Generation means the act of begetting; re_
generation, the begetting anew. Theologically it means a rad_
ical change in the soul or spirit of a man by the action of the
Holy Spirit. But this change does not affect the substance of
the soul, or impart any new faculty. It is not limited to the
intellect, or to the will or to the affections, but it applies to
the soul as a unit, including all its faculties or powers – intel_
lect, will and affection. It consists in spiritual quickening or
making alive, in illuming the mind, in changing the will,
in awakening new affections, and in spiritual cleansing. We
say this radical change in the soul or spirit, called regeneration,
is by the action of the Holy Spirit. How can the Holy Spirit
of God act immediately on any other spirit, i.e., by direct im_
pact of Spirit on spirit, or must he act mediately, i.e, by the
use of means? He acts both ways, immediately and mediately.
The scriptural proof that the Holy Spirit can act directly,
or immediately, is as follows:

(1) On inanimate matter, Genesis 1:2, 2:7; Psalm 104:32.
(2) On beasts, Psalm 104:29_30.
(3) On babes in the womb, Jeremiah 1:5; Luke 1:41_44.
(4) In inspiration, I Samuel 10:10.
(5) In dreams and visions, Genesis 28:11_17; I Kings 3:5;
Matthew 2:12.
(6) In demoniacal possessions, Acts 5:3; John 13:27.
(7) In regeneration of infants dying in infancy _implied –
2 Samuel 12:23.
(8) In the call to the ministry by impressions.
Some theologians hold that in the new birth the subject is
passive and the Spirit’s power is immediate, i.e., the direct
impact of Spirit on spirit. Others held that in the new birth
the subject is active and that the Spirit employs the word of
God as a means, but I say that there is an element of truth
in both positions. Antecedent to all human effort a direct
power of the Holy Spirit quickens the soul or makes it sensi_
tive to impressions by the word. For example, „The Lord
opened the heart of Lydia that she should attend to the words
spoken by Paul.” Now if this first touch of the Spirit is what
we mean by the new birth, the first position is undoubtedly
correct. But while insisting on the necessity and reality of this
initial and direct power of the Spirit, if one should hold that
this is not what the Scriptures call the new birth he would be
able to support his view by many scriptures. This appears
from the fact that when one is born into the kingdom of God
he is fully a child of God. But if the subject of the hew birth
is passive only – if regeneration is completed without the use
of means and before the subject is penitent or believing, then
we have a child of God who is yet in his sins, impenitent,
without faith, and hence without Christ, which is philosophi_
cally impossible. Moreover, it is contrary to Scripture, as wit_
ness James 1:18: „Having willed it, he begat us (apekuesen)
by the word of truth” (I Peter 1:23) : „Having been begotten
again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the
word of the living God. But this is the word which was announc-ed to you” (Gal. 3:26): „For ye are all the children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” Romans 10:17: „So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” Moreover, in John 3:9_18, when Nicodemus asks, „How can these things come to be,” that is, what is the instrumental means of the new birth, Jesus explains by telling that Christ must be lifted up as an object of faith, as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness. Again, John 1:12_13: „But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” This teaching may be put into a syllogism, thus: Every one born of God has the right to be called a child of God. But no one has the right until he believes in Jesus. Therefore the new birth is not completed without faith.
The true scriptural position then is this: There is, first of all, a direct influence of the Holy Spirit on the passive spirit of the sinner, quickening him or making him sensitive to the preaching of the Word. In this the sinner is passive. But he is not a subject of the new birth without contrition, repentance and faith. In exer-cising these he is active. Yet even his contrition is but a response to the Spirit’s conviction, and the exercise of his repentance and faith are but responses to the antecedent spiritual graces of repentance and faith. To illustrate take this diagram:
Conviction – Grace of Repentance – Grace of Faith
= New Birth
Contrition – Repentance – Faith

The upper or divine side represents the Spirit’s work. Then
contrition, repentance, and faith are the constituent elements
of the human side of regeneration.
When we say repentance and faith are fruits of regenera_
tion we simply mean that in each case the Spirit grace above
originates and works out the respective human exercise below.
The following scriptures prove that repentance is a grace as
well as a human exercise: Acts 5:31; 11:18. That faith also
is a grace, is seen from I Corinthians 2:4_5; 3:5; 2 Peter 1:1.
The Holy Spirit then is the agent in regeneration and the in_
strumental means of regeneration is the Word of God, or the
preaching of Christ crucified, yet the power of the Spirit does
not reside in the word as inspired by him, but the agency is
positive and active in the use of the word. This is illustrated
by the use of the ax and the sword. We say that an
ax is adapted to cutting down trees, and not that it has power
to cut down a tree apart from its intelligent use by the woods_
man; and we say that the sword is adapted to cut or thrust,
not that it has in itself the power to kill apart from its intel_
ligent wielding by the swordsman. So, though the Word of
God is represented as „quick and powerful and sharper than
any two_edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder
of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a dis_
cerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, neither is there
any creature that is not manifest in his sight, but all things
are naked and open unto the eyes of him with whom we have
to do,” yet this Word is but the Spirit’s sword, powerful only
when wielded by him.
The scriptural proof that dying infants are regenerated is
constructive and inferential rather than direct. Infants par_
take of the fallen nature of the parents, and without a change
of that nature would be unfitted for heaven. The Scripture
says that we are all by nature the children of wrath, but
David says with reference to his dead child, „I shall go to him,
but he cannot return to me.” As they cannot enter heaven
without a change, and as the Spirit is the author of all the
change that makes one meet for heaven, it is justly to be in_
ferred that infants are regenerated.
While out hunting on a Western mountain I turned over a
huge rock on the mountainside that seemed to be evenly bal_
anced. Under this rock was a den of rattlesnakes, some of
them very small, without rattles, and with the fangs not yet
developed nor the poison secreted in the sac. These little snakes
had never yet bitten any man, and yet if one of them bad
been taken to a home and fed upon the milk which nourishes
a child, as the snake grew the rattle would form, the fang
would develop, the poison would secrete, and even if in its
infancy it had been carried to heaven itself without a change
of its nature, there, hard by the throne of God, it would have
matured the deadly venom. The necessity for the regeneration
of infants if they, when dying, are to enter heaven, is im_
perious. The nature vitiated through the fall of the first Adam
is changed by the Spirit through the virtue of the Second
Adam, our Lord Jesus Christ. In their case the Spirit’s power
is immediate.
The principal passages of Scripture defining, embodying or
illustrating the doctrine of regeneration are as follows: Psalm
51:2_10; Ezekiel 36:25_27; John 1:12_13; 3:3_15; Romans 12:
2; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:1_10; 4:22_24; 5:25_27;
Colossians 2:13; 3:9_10; Titus 3:5; James 1:18; I Peter 1:23.
All of these passages, and others like them, are to be carefully
studied in order to a full understanding of this theme. Greek
students will find it very profitable to look carefully at the
original terms employed in these passages, but we may say for
English students that among these terms are: „Born from
above,” „born again,” „to make alive,” „to quicken,” „to raise
from the dead,” „to transform,” „to renew,” „to create,” „to
illumine,” and „to cleanse.” These terms imply supernatural
It has been said that the most important passage on regen_
eration is the third chapter of John. Returning to that chap_
ter, we find that Jesus and Nicodemus talk of two births, the
natural and the spiritual birth. The Spirit birth is first
designated as „born from above.” It is next designated 8.3
‘born of water and spirit.” Theologians usually refer the
phrase, „born of water” to baptism, but there are certain evils
of this reference, viz: The doctrine of baptismal regeneration
the conditioning of salvation upon external ordinances.
It is impossible to exaggerate the fearful evils that have
followed this wrong interpretation of the phrase, „born of
It led directly to the doctrine of infant baptism. The logic
would be this: If infants are lost without regeneration, and
regeneration is by baptism, in order to save the infants they
must be baptized. The teaching of history is very clear as to
the origin of infant baptism, that it arose from the preceding
doctrine of baptismal regeneration. Then there followed also
historically and quite naturally a change of baptism itself into
sprinkling or pouring, to meet the case of infants, though the
Greek church yet practices the immersion of infants.
The phrase, „born of water,” cannot be explained by baptism.
The argument is very conclusive. Christ and Nicodemus dis_
cuss but two births, the natural birth and the spiritual birth;
„that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is
born of the Spirit is spirit.” The phrase, „born of water and
Spirit,” cannot mean two births, one of water and one of
Spirit, because there is no article in the original before the
words. Whatever it means, it is one birth. It must be either
baptism or Spirit, and both terms express only one birth.
Otherwise our chapter talks of three births – the natural birth,
the baptism birth, and the Spirit birth, which is contrary to
the context. Moreover, the context shows that the salvation
involved in the third chapter of John is a salvation of grace
and not of sacraments. But what is most conclusive is that
our Lord rebukes Nicodemus for not understanding what he
meant by „born of water and Spirit,” Nicodemus being a
teacher of the Old Testament. But as the Old Testament has
not a word about baptism, he would not be censurable for
failing to understand the meaning of this phrase, if „born of
water” referred to baptism. The censure lies in the fact that

what is meant by „born of water and Spirit” is clearly set
forth in the Old Testament, which is so silent about baptism,
and with which Nicodemus, as a master in Israel, ought to
have been well acquainted.
The phrase, „born of water and Spirit,” is but an expansion
of the previous phrase, „born from above.” It interprets and
develops the first phrase, bringing out the two elements in
regeneration, namely, cleansing and renewing. It is only when
we lose sight of the cleansing element in regeneration that we
are liable to go astray in interpreting the phrase „born of
water.” The matter is clearly set forth in Ezekiel 36:25_26,
which declares: „Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you,
and ye shall be clean; from all of your filthiness and from
all of your idols, will I cleanse you.” This is the cleansing
element of regeneration. The passage adds: „A new heart
also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you:
and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I
will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within
you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep
my judgments, and do them.” And this is the renewing ele_
ment. Clean water in this passage does not mean pure water
or just water. It means water of cleansing, or water of purifi_
cation. There was a special recipe for the compounding of
this cleansing water, or water of purification.
This recipe is found in the book of Numbers, where Moses
is directed to take a red heifer and burn her with red cedar
wood, and to cast scarlet thread into the fire, and then to
gather up the ashes and mingle them with running water,
in order to put them into a liquid form, and this is the clean
water, or water of purification of the Bible. It was adminis_
tered by taking a bunch of hyssop and dipping it into this
liquid and sprinkling it upon the one to be ceremonially
cleansed. We can thus easily understand the fifty_first Psalm,
in which David says, „Purge me [or cleanse me] with hyssop,
and I shall be clean. Wash me and I shall be whiter than
snow.” He thus brings out in type the cleansing element in
Now, this water of purification was a type. It was typical
of the blood of Christ. Concerning this the letter to the He_
brews says, „For if the blood of bulls and of goats and the
ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean sanctifieth to the
purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of
Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without
spot to God purify your conscience from dead works to serve
the living God.” So that the Old Testament idea of clean
water was equal to the ashes of the heifer, and that typified the
blood of Christ, applied in regeneration by the Holy Spirit.
This produces the cleansing element of regeneration, and with
this Nicodemus ought to have been familiar.
„Born of water and spirit” simply means „cleansed by the
blood of Christ and renewed by the Holy Spirit.”
The New Testament with even greater clearness brings out
these two elements of regeneration. Paul writes to Titus (3:
5): „Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but
according to his mercy he saved us by the washing of re_
generation and renewing of the Holy Spirit.” The same thought
is presented in his letter to the Ephesians, when he says,
„Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it, that he
might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the
Word.” Here is a strange kind of washing – a washing through
the Word, indicating the instrumentality of the Word in ef_
fecting regeneration, and yet showing that the washing is a
figurative washing, a washing that accomplishes cleansing,
and that cleansing is applied by the Holy Spirit.
So that the phrase, „born of water and Spirit” means the
same as „born from above,” and it means the same as the
„washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.”
Christ says, „Ye must be born from above in order to see
the kingdom of God,” and he says, „Except a man be born
of water and Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” This
language emphasizes the necessity of regeneration in the
strongest possible way. Now let us clearly and forcibly state
the reason or ground of this necessity. The necessity lies in
the fact that man is fallen and depraved, and without the
change effected by regeneration could not enjoy heaven, even
if he were permitted to enter it. Therefore in any true system
of theology the doctrine of human depravity is a vital and fun_
damental doctrine. It is a touchstone that when applied clear_
ly defines every man’s position and shows his proper align_
ment. If he does not believe that man is fallen he sees no
necessity for the regeneration and sanctification by the Holy
The doctrines of depravity and regeneration irreconcilably
antagonizes the modern doctrine of evolution, which teaches
that man has never fallen; that he is continually ascending;
and hence no full_fledged Darwinian evolutionist believes in
the historic veracity of the account in Genesis of the fall of
man, nor does he believe in the necessity of either regeneration
by the Spirit, or sanctification by the Spirit, holding that man
can be cultivated and trained into the highest possible devel_
Another vital scriptural doctrine is involved in this antago_
nism, viz., the vicarious expiation of Christ. If spiritual cleans_
ing, secured by the application of the blood of Christ, is an
essential and integral part of regeneration, the doctrine of the
vicarious expiation of Christ is necessarily involved in this
antagonism, and hence, consistently, the full_fledged Darwinian
evolutionist like Mr. Haeckel, boldly denies any necessity for
an atonement, or any virtue in this direction in the death of
Justification comes in touch with regeneration at that point
where the Spirit of God by the application of the blood of
Christ, cleanses the soul. When the man accepts the Lord
Jesus Christ as. his Teacher, Sacrifice, Priest, and King, and
trusts in him for salvation, then God in heaven justifies the
man, or declares an acquittal of him) through his faith in the
blood, but the blood is applied in the cleansing part of re_
generation, so that we see again from this relation between
regeneration and justification how it is that regeneration can_
not be complete without faith.

1. Trace Jesus in his early ministry from the banks of the Jordan
to the beginning of his great ministry in Galilee.
2. What remarkable deed characterized both the beginning and the
end of his ministry in Judea?
3. How do you explain this bold act of Jesus?
4. What sign of his authority did he here submit and how did he
here afterward make this the test of 1) is messiahship?
5. What prophecies were fulfilled ill these two incidents of cleansing
the Temple?
6. What statement here of the omniscience of Jesus?
7. What was the second great event of this visit to Jerusalem and
what the great lesson from it?
8. What the occasion, time, and place of this interview with Nicodemus?
9. What the etymological meaning of the English word „regeneration”?
10. Theological meaning?
11. Does it change the substance of the soul, or impart any new faculties?
12. Is its effect limited to the intellect, or to the will, or to the affections?
13. In what then does it consist?
14. Can the Holy Spirit operate immediately on another spirit, i.e.,
direct impact of Spirit on spirit, or must he operate immediately, i.e.,
through the use of means?
15. Cite scriptural proof that the Spirit may act immediately in at
least eight different cases.
16. According to theologians, does the Holy Spirit in regeneration
operate mediately or immediately?
17. But what do you say?
18. While insisting on the immediate operation of the Holy Spirit how do you make it appear that the scriptural new birth is not complete without the use of means?
19. Cite the scriptural proof.
20. Put the scriptural proof of John 1:12_13 in the form of a syllogism,
its human exercise.
21. What then is the true scriptural teaching?
22. Illustrate this by a diagram.
23. Explain the diagram.
24. How then may we rightly say that repentance and faith are fruits
of regeneration?
25. Cite Scripture proof that the divine grace of repentance precedes
26. What is the similar proof concerning faith?
27. Who then always is the efficient agent of regeneration?
28. The instrumental means?
29. What part of the Word of God, the Law or the Gospel?
30. When we say the Spirit is the power and the Word is the means,
does the Spirit power reside in the Word because inspired, or is the
Spirit agency positive and active in the use of the Word?
31. Illustrate this by the ax and the sword.
32. In the case of infants dying are they saved with or without regeneration?
33. What is the constructive scriptural proof?
34. In their case is the Spirit’s operation mediate or immediate?
35. Cite the principal passages. Old Testament and New Testament,
embodying the doctrine of regeneration,
36. What words are here employed to define or illustrate regeneration?
37. What do they imply?
38. Greek students cite the principal Greek words employed to define
or illustrate regeneration, citing one passage in which each separate
word is used, giving the inflection of the word these used (i.e., the case
and number and person of the noun or the voice, mood, tense, number
and person of the verb).
39. Of how many births do Nicodemus and Jesus talk?
40. How is the Spirit birth first designated?
41. How the second time?
42. To what do theologians generally refer „born of water”?
43. What the evils of the doctrine?
44. Show why it cannot be so explained.
45. What then does it mean?
46. Christ says, „Ye must be born from above to see the kingdom of God . . . Except a man be born of water and Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” State clearly and forcibly the reason, or ground, of this necessity.
47. What then is the position of the doctrine of depravity?
48. How do the doctrines of depravity and regeneration irreconcilably
antagonize the modern doctrine of evolution?
49. What other vital scriptural doctrine is involved in this antagonism?
50. At what point in regeneration does justification come in touch with it?

Harmony page 81 and John 3:8.

Following the line of thought discussed in the preceding
chapter, we take up the verities of the Christian experience as
stated by Jesus in John 3:8: „So is every one that is born of
the Spirit.” The „so” refers to the preceding statement that
the wind blows where it pleases. We can hear the wind, but
we cannot tell whence it cometh nor whither it goeth.
The first thought presented is that there are inscrutable
mysteries in both nature and grace. No man has ever been
able to thoroughly understand any of the mysteries of either.
He is just as much staggered when he tries to explain the
source of the life of the plant as he is about the life of a
Christian. Both are beyond him. He reaches the limit of his
investigation. He gets to a point where he has to say, „Here
I don’t know. I see the demonstration; the fact is manifest,
but if you ask me to explain, I cannot explain. I do not know
enough.” Most striking is the mystery in that most wonderful
of all events that takes place upon this earth – the conversion
of a sinner. Those whose attention has been most earnestly
and most persistently devoted to the study of that subject all
their lives, fall as far short of a real and comprehensive expla_
nation as one who has never given the matter any attention.
It is therefore of no more practical use for one to urge the
mystery of it as an objection against the teaching of the Bible
on the conversion of the soul by the power of the Spirit, than

to foolishly scorn the botanist who cannot explain just how the
flowers are colored.
One proposition of the context, however, finds ready ac_
ceptance wherever there is common sense: „That which is
born of the flesh is flesh; that which is born of the Spirit is
spirit.” It goes back to a fundamental law of being as de_
veloped in the creation, when God said that every seed should
bear after its kind. These boundaries have never been crossed.
A man may, by care and attention, bring about varieties, but
he cannot cross the line of species. It has never been done.
Each seed bears after its kind. In full accord with that law,
our Saviour says to Nicodemus, „That which is born of the
flesh is flesh; that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” And
whoever comprehends the kingdom of God, whoever is able
to see it, to get in touch with it, must do so spiritually, be_
cause it is a spiritual kingdom. He must be the subject of
divine influence. The carnal man cannot understand it. Paul’s
proposition is self_evident: „The natural man receiveth not the
things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him;
neither can he know them, because they are spiritually dis_
cerned.” The criticisms of carnal men, however wise in other
things, on conversion, revivals of religion, clearly evince that
the supernatural is utterly incomprehensible by them.
How often have we seen even such a case as this: One who
has been a warmhearted Christian finds that after awhile his
love waxes cold; his fervor leaves him. When we talk to him
about it, it appears that he recognizes the decadence as readily
as we do, and deplores it a great deal more. But no effort of
mere will on his part can restore what has been. He will open
the Book and read its consolations and promises, and say: „I
know that this is true. I know that by my past experience,
but I cannot get hold of it now as I once did. I did not go
down to my business today without first getting down on my
knees and asking God’s blessing upon me, that is, I went
through the form of prayer, but without being able to explain
it, I do know that it is different in its effect upon me, upon
my own feelings, from the prayers I once offered. Under dif_
ferent or similar circumstances I miss the power of prayer.
The Spirit of God is not now resting upon me.”
This isolated individual experience is not so remarkable as
another well_known historical fact, that every now and then
in the history of the world there comes over Christians, not
in one little range of country, not in one community, but over
the whole sweep of the world, what may be called a declension
in spiritual religion. People begin to talk about how it used
to be, and mourn for the joys of other days. They begin to
compare experiences with one another and inquire what is the
matter. „Why is it that I cannot take hold of such matters
now like I did at a certain time?” What are we going to do
about it? And insensibly as this spiritual power declines, they
begin to reach out for and rely upon fleshly counsels and
means for manufacturing power and are all the time conscious
of the fact that their efforts do not touch the main question;
that flesh has failed to do anything in the premises. And
arguing from such failures, directly there are men who rise up
and say, „It is quite evident that religion is becoming a back
number. Science is spreading its light over the world and men
are turning to science and turning away from religion, and if
this thing goes on awhile longer there will be no Christian re_
It is one of the most curious things in history, the number
of times men otherwise intelligent, in such a state of spiritual
declension, have preached the funeral of the Christian religion,
and maybe within one week of the time that pious hearts were
failing them, and the enemy was triumphing and gloating over
the seemingly rapid decay of that religion which had rebuked
their immorality, and which had made such demands upon
them for purity and integrity of life – inside of one week – no
one could tell where it came from, any more than we can trace
the lines of the wind – but suddenly here, there, yonder, over
all parts of the country, men are becoming earnest upon the
subject of religion. Sinners are inquiring the way of life;
Christians are meeting together and talking to one another; lit_
tle meetings are appointed in private houses, then in the
church; soon what is called a revival of religion of tremendous
power has come upon the people, and perhaps in one month’s
time a complete revolution has been brought about, and we
stand there and look upon the phenomena and begin to phil_
osophize about the forces, so far as we are able to see them,
so far as they are tangible to us. If we begin to try to account
for these things by the natural forces that are in sight, we
are struck with this thought: The instrumentalities in sight
are utterly inadequate. They are weak things; some of them
are just nothing; and yet these instrumentalities under this
condition of affairs, have become as potent as Omnipotence
itself, in revolutionizing a county, a state, a nation, a large
section of the world. We take up the Bible and its words are
just as plain as can be that it is the work of the Spirit; that
it was not because Paul planted and Apollos watered; it was
God that gave the increase; that it did not grow out of any
will of man; it did not come from blood, from human blood;
it was from heaven; it was from that sovereign Spirit of God
that breathes where he pleases and when he likes, that has
brought about this strange state of affairs.
Now, to make the application: What can we do, in view
of such a state of facts? What can Christians do? What
can ministers do? There is one thing that can always be done;
one thing that has not merely the command of God, but the
promise of God, and ten thousand confirmations of the wisdom
of its application; and that is, feeling human helplessness, feel_
ing the inadequacy of any means without our power to bring
about a different state of affairs, realizing our own worthless_
ness in the sight of God, we can pray, we can kneel down and
say, „Our Heavenly Father, thou giver of every good and
precious gift, give us thy Spirit, so that our cold hearts may
be melted; so that our inattentive minds may be fixed on
heavenly things and fired with old_time zeal in our religious
duties; so that when we speak the hearer’s ear will be opened
and his attention gained, and so that the Word of God can
run and not be hindered.”
The prayers of God’s people, so it seems to me from the
teachings of the Bible, are the appointed means, the means
which he has designated – clearly and unmistakably designated
– for bringing about revivals of religion. And yet even here
we confront an insuperable difficulty if we leave out God’s
absolute sovereignty. The difficulty can be best stated by an
illustration: Water from above must be poured down a pump
long dry before it can pump up water from below. We work
the pump handle in vain. We go through the motion, but it
will not draw. So a drought comes into the soul. Our graces
languish. We try to pray and are conscious of failure. In one
scripture it is stated as a reason why such weak instrumen_
talities are employed that no flesh shall glory in God’s presence,
that it should become manifest to angels in heaven and devils
in hell and men on earth that power belongeth to God; that
the Lord, he is mighty and no other is great. It is with God,
and with God alone.
I cannot describe – have never been able to describe – the
processes of my own mind by which from time to time over
again, and every time just as fresh as if it had never hap_
pened before, comes the realization of all these things. I go
back and compare the present with past experiences, and I
find that these coincide exactly with those. And I ask myself
why it is that I cannot at my option, whenever and wherever
I choose, bring about this state of mind within myself. And
then some day, some hour) all at once, I feel overpowered with
the sense of God’s presence. The Bible becomes a different
book to me; the Scriptures, which had seemed to lose their
edge and force and light, become full of light, full of power.
My courage rises, my spirit rouses itself. I instantly feel led
and impelled to undertake things that I would not have
had the courage to undertake except under the impulse of this
Spirit of God within me. Every Christian knows these things.
Now I want to add, especially, this: The exhortation needs
to be continually repeated. It is one of the things that should
forever be kept before the people. Always, if we expect to ac_
complish anything that shall redound to the glory of God and
the good of man, we must come out solely and wholly in the
strength of the Spirit of God, and if we are not endued with
that power we should seek to be so endued. We should come
with our empty hand and empty heart and knock and ask and
seek and never forego our petitions until we realize that God
has heard and answered the prayer, and that with us has
commenced the work that we so ardently hope to see carried
throughout the whole community.
In connection with this is the strange use of his Word. Times
without number have I repeated that passage of the prophet,
that „as the rain cometh down and the snow from heaven and
returneth not thither until it has watered the earth and caused
it to bring forth seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so shall my Word be that goeth forth out of my mouth.” And
contemporaneously with this influence of the revival of the
Spirit of God in the community is the revival of reliance upon
the plain and simple statements of God’s Word. Men will in_
stantly lay aside the stilted method of presenting things; they
stand upon a solitary passage of God’s Word, presented in
the simplest form, and themselves expect developments from
its presentation that they never in their hearts expected from
all the appliances that worldly men would bring to bear upon
the accomplishment of a sentence.
Right here, then, on these two points, is the hope of the
church and the hope of the world – it is that there shall be
cultivated in our hearts and in our lives a profounder rever_
ence, day by day, for the Word of God in its simplicity. The
truth itself – take that, and always count it hazardous, always
consider that it is the part of danger to depart even in little
things from what God’s Word teaches. We should feel in our
souls that every jot and every tittle of the Word is as certain
to be fulfilled as that God himself lives, and that we could with
more reason expect to get up some morning and see the heavens
rolled together as a scroll, and feel the foundations of the solid
earth give way, than to expect any promise in that Book to
fail, any threat in that Book to become powerless of accom_
plishment, any passage in it to lose the force with which God
has clothed it. Now, just to the extent that we have this feel_
ing about the Book and its teachings, and have the spirit of
prayer for the Holy Spirit to be with us and in us, and to
clothe us with power and strip ourselves of self, to take all of
our conceit and pride and vanity and selfishness out of us, and
make us humble, and as little children come into the presence
of God, and say, „Lord, restore not only the joy of salvation,
but give back to us the power, the conscious power, that God
is with us, will the world be impressed by our lives and by our
doctrine.” It is perfectly idle to stand back on account of its
mysteries. Its mysteries no man can explain, but the fact is
there, and being there it is no part of wisdom for us to disre_
gard the methods which God prescribes by which we shall be
brought back into touch with him, and by which being in touch
with him we shall reach the souls of the people that give us so
much concern.
What led me to this thought was a singular case, a case of a
remarkable kind where there had been after an interview with
the man, a total change in the conditions of the case. Here was
the same man that before, with good humor, but without ever
being moved by anything on the earth that I could say to him
on the subject of religion, now with his heart as tender as a lit_
tle child. Arguments that I presented before with much greater
force than I now present them, and which before had no effect
upon him at all, now at a word he seems to comprehend and
his whole soul seems to realize how perfectly plain and simple
is the path that leads to God and forgiveness and heaven. „It
shall come to pass,” saith the Lord, „in the last days, that I
will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and until my Spirit is
poured out the land shall be full of thorns and brambles, but
when I pour out my Spirit the desert shall blossom as a gar_
den.” The hope of the world is, in this promise of God. We,
as Christian people, desirous before God to do our part of
Christian duty in the battle of life that is before us, ought to
get our faces like a flint against any reliance whatever upon
any mere human power. And we ought also to keep it before
us as a truth that needs to be reaffirmed and kept all the time
bright and shining, that if we are to do any good in reaching
men, in impressing men, it must come from our being in touch
with God’s Spirit, and that means a continuous call to prayer.
Let us now consider the means by which the new birth is
accomplished. This we find in John 3:14_21. No event of the
past, no matter how stupendous a transaction it was at the
time, is worthy of being recorded, or is worthy of remembrance,
except it has some bearing, practical and profitable, on the
affairs of the present. As strange an incident as ever did
occur in the history of the world, and as strange a method of
deliverance from a great affliction, was the incident of the
brazen serpent. Moses lifted up the brazen serpent in the wil_
derness that those bitten by the fiery serpents might look upon
that symbol, and looking, be healed of the bite of the serpent.
Now, if that was written for our admonition, it becomes us to
address ourselves mainly to the New Testament lesson on the
subject, and hence John 3:14_21: „And as Moses lifted up the
serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be
lifted up: that whosoever believeth may in him have eternal
life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begot_
ten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish,
but have eternal life. For God sent not the Son into the world
to judge the world; but that the world should be saved through
him. He that believeth on him is not judged; be that believ_
eth not hath been judged already, because he hath not believed
on the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is
the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men
loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were
evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, and com_
eth not to the light, lest his works should be reproved. But
he that doeth the truth cometh to the light, that his works may
be made manifest, that they have been wrought in God.”
The first thought impressed upon my own mind concerns the
origin of all divine movements or remedies looking to the relief
of man from the troubles which have come upon him through
his own sin. The source or foundation from which flow all
streams of mercy to man is expressed in these words: „For God
so loved the world.” The love of God prompted every step
ever taken under God’s direction for the redemption of man.
And the word „world” is here used in its broadest sense, in
its most universal significance. It means the entire race of
man, not in one generation but in all generations, and it looks
upon the whole family of man as in a ruined condition, brought
about by man’s own sin. And it says that God so loved the
world – the sinful, erring, fallen, lost world – that he inagu-
rated and put in motion a scheme of redemption. The value of
this thought consists in this, that it gives us an insight into the
mind of God: it reveals his attitude toward a sinner. It reveals
him to us in his gracious and merciful character. It shows that
man’s ordinary conception of him is a slanderous one. God
loves the sinner; salvation is of grace: it arises from no original
movement of the sinner, but solely and wholly from the heart
of God.
The next thought that impresses itself most on my mind is
that until a sinner is brought into very serious trouble by his
sins, his mind and heart revolt from any presentation of the
subject of religion. As those Israelites said, „We loathe this
light bread,” the bread that God had provided for their nour_
ishment. So now the carnal mind – the mind of man in his
natural state – turns away in loathing from spiritual religion.
It indicates this, that as the stomach and taste of a man cor_
rupted by a luxurious diet revolt as simple, nourishing and
wholesome food and call for more highly spiced, pungent food,
so the soul that has become corrupted through indulgence in
vices and sin loathes any kind of reading that does not minis_
ter to a morbid appetite for highly spiced things. There might
be held a convention of ten thousand people, solely for the
purpose of devising ways and means of having the religion of
Jesus Christ presented to a lost world, and it would not attract
half the attention nor excite one_tenth part of the comment in
the secular press, that a prize fight would. The question was
asked a leading journalist, the editor of one of the largest
dailies of the South, „Why is it that you continually put such
matter in your paper? Why is it that you rake the world over
for every startling incident, every sensational item, items of
murder, items of lust, items of horrible tragedy? Why do you
do this?” „Because it pays. The people generally loathe any
other kind of reading. That is what they want. They call for
that.” Approach a sinner, before the afflicting hand of God is
laid upon him, with spiritual food and he loathes it. He turns
away from it.
But here is the important question, one that ought to con_
cern us more than any other. When a man is in a desperate
condition; when the things upon which he had relied heretofore
have failed; when the serpent is in the camp and biting; when
death is ensuing from the bite, or when his hold upon life re_
laxes and its landscapes recede from the vision of his blurred
eyes, and when the sands of time upon which he stands are
crumbling under his feet, and eternity looms up before him,
the supreme question in such an hour is, „What shall we hold
up before that man?” To what shall he look? Here this state_
ment intervenes, that as, under circumstances of dreadful af_
fliction upon the children of Israel, when on account of their
sins they were bitten by fiery serpents and were dying, Moses
lifted up the brazen serpent, even so must the Son of man be
lifted up so that whosoever believeth on him should not perish
but have everlasting life.
The world has seen many a procession of this kind. In our
minds let us behold a plague_stricken city. The people are
dying like sheep with the rot. A remedy is announced. A pro_
cession is appointed to move through the principal street.
There the crowds gather, pressing against one another, filling
both sidewalks. Their hungry eyes are full of expectation.
The procession comes bearing aloft some holy object of sight.
The people prostrate themselves and adore. What is lifted up?
It appears to be a piece of bread. But the priest assures the
people that by his consecrating act it has been converted into
the veritable body and blood of Jesus Christ; that by that act
of consecration he had created God, and hence, notwithstand_
ing the testimony of the senses, what is lifted up is Jesus
Christ. It does not look like him; it looks like bread. But that
is lifted up and as it moves along through the street the people
bow down before it, prostrate themselves before it, and this is
what is called adoring the mass.
If, indeed, that was Jesus Christ; if that is what this scrip_
ture means, „Even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,”
then it was a proper thing to do and it was a proper thing to
prostrate one’s self before it, look to it, and trust in it. But I
venture to say that this was not even accorded to the symbol,
that the typical serpent was not lifted up for such an object.
There did come a time when men looked upon that brazen
serpent as God. There did come a time when the priest filled
his censer with incense, and kindling it, came before that
brazen serpent and waved his censer as in the presence of
God himself, and men worshiped him. But when that took
place, God’s servant, Hezekiah, though that relic had been
preserved seven hundred years from the time that it was
first exhibited in the wilderness, brake it in pieces and said
nehushtan, „it is just a piece of brass.”
Let us turn to the Second Commandment. Let us listen to
it again, as familiar as it may seem to our mind. We read it
from Exodus 20: „Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven
image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above,
or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under
the earth.” Well, but Moses made the likeness of a serpent;
did he violate that law? Evidently not, because I have not
given the whole of the Commandment. Listen again, „Thou
shalt not make unto thee any graven image or any likeness of
anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth be_
neath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not
bow down thyself to them nor serve them.” That is, the Com_
mandment does not forbid all sculpture and painting. It was
not intended to prevent us from painting the picture of a bird
or carving the likeness of a lion or erecting a statue of a man;
that was not its object. „But thou shalt not make unto thee
any likeness of anything that is in heaven above or on earth
beneath, to bow down before it, as an object of worship.”
And when it is proposed to make any likeness an object of
worship, then the law of the Second Commandment becomes
operative, and therefore the brazen serpent was destroyed by
Hezekiah. The thought is this – that nothing on the earth
cognizable by natural sight can supply a remedy for sin, and it
was not the fact that they saw that brazen serpent with the
natural eye that delivered them. It was the faith in their
hearts that looked to God, their true deliverer, that delivered
Now, let me apply this. In the illustrated histories of the
world (and we have a great many of them) we may see mar_
velous pictures of great battles. Here has been planted a bat_
tery; yonder is its path of death. Here charges a column of
cavalry. There passes a division of infantry with fixed bayo_
nets, and in the track of all of these columns of death men are
prone in the dust. They are bleeding; they are dying and
some are dead. And on that battlefield, over which the breath
of war has breathed and its storm has swept, we see the pic_
ture of a man in a long robe. As he walks along he looks to
see who is dead, who is yet living. There lies a man not yet
dead. He is nearly dead. His head is lifted up, that dying
man. What does the long_robed man hold up before him? The
priest lifts up right before his eyes a cross on which is the
likeness of Christ. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wil_
derness, even so shall the Son of man be lifted up. Now, is it
meant that there shall be lifted up before the eyes of that
dying man any likeness of Jesus Christ or any likeness of the
cross upon which he died, that his natural eye shall see, and
from seeing shall put his heart in contact with the love of
God? That is the question.
I will answer that question. It is a very important one
because it settles the whole question of the work of the
church. If in lifting up Jesus Christ before the world we ful_
fill our mission by lifting up a picture of him – if we accom_
plish the work which was given us by our Saviour himself
when we hold up before the sick and dying, bread that is
said to be transmuted into God, or a likeness of Jesus Christ
upon the cross, or if we put into the lips of a dying man a
wafer that is said to be God – if that is our mission, then we
ought to know it, and we ought to address ourselves to that
method of lifting up Jesus Christ.
How is he to be lifted up? The Bible answers it with
remarkable clearness. I will give it to you first in prophecy
and then in the fulfilment of that prophecy. I quote from
Zechariah 12: „And it shall come to pass in that day, . . . And
I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants
of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication; and
they shall look upon me whom they have pierced; and they
shall mourn for him.” Does that mean that they shall look
upon a picture of him? Does that mean that they shall look
upon his actual flesh and blood, either in its natural state or
as it is claimed when transmuted into such from the bread
of the communion? Notice the reading of it: „They shall
look upon me whom they have pierced.” Now they must see
the pierced One. That is conceded, and the seeing of the
pierced One is to bring about the good effect. That is con_
ceded. But the question is, in what guise or shape or form
is the pierced One to come within the range of their vision?
In what way is he to be lifted up before the sight? That is
the question.
I turn to Acts 2, where the prophecy was fulfilled, according
to the record of God himself. The marvelous effect described
in Zechariah 12 did not occur on the day that Christ was
crucified, when men beheld his actual body on the cross, but
it did take place fifty days later on the day of Pentecost. In
what way on that Pentecost was Christ lifted up? In what
way did they see him whom they had pierced? We have only
to read to find out. The Spirit of God was poured out on that
day – poured out in enduing power upon the apostles – poured
out in convicting power upon the sinner. Now, when the apos_
tle, endued with power, lifted up Christ, and the sinner, con_
victed by the Spirit, looked upon Christ that was lifted up,
the question recurs, „How was he lifted up?” Here is the an_
swer to it:
„Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth,
a man approved of God among you by miracles and won_
ders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as
ye yourselves also know; him being delivered up by the de_
terminate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken,
and by wicked hands were crucified and slain: whom God hath
raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not
possible that he should be holden of it. For David speaketh
concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face;
for he is on my right hand that I should not be moved.
Therefore did my heart rejoice and my tongue was glad; more_
over, also, my flesh shall rest in hope; because Thou wilt not
leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One
to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of
life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.
„Men and brethren, let me speak freely unto you of the pa_
triarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepul_
cre is with us unto this day. Therefore, being a prophet,
and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that
of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise
up Christ to sit on his throne: he seeing this before, spake of
the resurrection of Christ that his soul was not left in hell,
neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God
raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore) being by
the right band of God exalted, and having received of the
Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this
which ye now see and hear.”
„Being by the right hand of God exalted. [What does that
word „exalted” mean? Lifted up.] „Therefore let all the house
of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same
Jesus whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” How
did he make him Lord as well as Christ? He made him Lord
by exaltation, by lifting him up, by lifting him up from the
grave, by lifting him up above the clouds and the stars to
the throne of power and the majesty of might. Jesus Christ
was lifted up before the people, not actually in the flesh, but
he was lifted up through the preaching of Peter. Peter states
the facts of the life of Christ and the object of his coming
into the world, and of his death, and his resurrection. He
addresses the sight, but not the natural sight. He addresses
the eye of the soul. He says, „I will lift up something, not
before your natural eye, not something that you can touch
with your finger, not something that you can see, that is of
material likeness, but I hold up before the eye of your soul
Jesus Christ. Look at that.” Now, what was the result of
their looking upon Jesus Christ so lifted up? The result was
that three thousand souls were converted in one day.
Consider another scripture. I quote from Galatians 3: „0
foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should
not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been
evidently set forth, crucified among you?” These Galatians
saw Jesus Christ lifted up, but they did not see him lifted
up in the flesh. They were not witnesses of the transaction
that took place in Judea when he was really nailed to the
cross. This incident, here recorded as historical, was long
subsequent to the crucifixion. The question is, Who set forth
before their eyes Jesus Christ? Paul did. Did he set forth
Jesus Christ in a likeness that such likeness might become an
object of worship? No. How did he hold up Jesus Christ
before these Galatians? He did it by going among the peo_
ple and preaching the gospel, relating to them Christ’s coming
into the world, and why he came into the world, and calling
upon them with the eyes of their minds, of their understand_
ing, of their souls, to look upon Jesus Christ and to be saved
by that look.
I submit only one other Scripture, and then we come to the
application of it all. I quote from Romans 10, which tells us
how it is – that is, in what manner, through what means,
through what process faith comes. Now, as it is said that
whosoever believeth on him that is lifted up, shall not perish;
but shall have everlasting life – how did they believe on him?
What things are done in order that faith may come? „So then
faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.
Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be
saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have
not believed, and how shall they believe on him of whom
they have not heard, and how shall they hear without a
preacher, and how shall they preach except they be sent?”
Here is explained to us how we get at the real vision of
Jesus Christ. We take hold of him, not by natural sight, but
by faith, and that this faith comes from hearing the Word of
God preached, and because it comes in that way, God sent
forth men to do what? Preach. Did he send forth carvers
in wood and stone? Did he send forth painters to make a
likeness of Jesus Christ and hold it up before the people? On
the day of his departure from the earth he said, „All power in
heaven and on earth is given unto me, therefore go make dis_
ciples of all nations.” How? „Go preach the gospel to every
creature.” Now, in that way he is to be lifted up, by telling
of Jesus, by preaching Jesus. Men who live subsequently
to the actual crucifixion, sinners who live until his second
coming, do see the real risen body of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and do with the natural eye look upon him whom they have
pierced, but they see him on the judgment seat – see him
with mourning that hath no repentance in it and with tears
that do not fall in mercy’s sight.
We come now to the application. Here is a man for whom
we have been praying. When he was well and strong he had
little thought on the subject of religion. His soul loathed this
light food. But when his steps draw near to the river of
death; when the earth recedes from his sight; when bis hold on
time and things of time relaxes its grasp, what can we hold
up before him, and how shall we lift it up? Those who visit
him see him in as wretched a condition as that of the snake_
bitten Israelites in the desert. It is no time for mockery.
It is no time for delusion or experiment. Something before
the glazing eyes of the dying must be lifted up. Something
efficacious must be set forth before him. Something with
speedy power to secure the remission of sins and make
him feel in his own soul that God has blotted out his iniquities
and washed him whiter than snow. 0, may heaven forbid that
any visitant to a sick couch shall lift up anything before such
a one but Jesus Christ and him crucified, and may heaven
forbid that he shall lift up before him Jesus Christ in any
other way than in the way which God prescribed when he
told his church to go out and publish these good tidings.
Now, the last point of the application. There are times
when Christ is preached and men hear the preaching and yet
no such effect follows as is described in the prophecy of Zech_
ariah. They hear, but it seems to be a profitless hearing.
There is a preaching, but it seems to be a profitless preaching.
Here is a secret – an open one. There never has been a failure
from the true lifting up of Jesus down to the present time.
The true effect, as presented in Zechariah, follows the true
lifting up of Jesus Christ.
No matter how many exceptions there may seem to be, I
declare here, without any fear of successful contradiction, that
Jesus Christ has never been lifted up in vain if lifted up aa
that prophecy prescribes.
I mean that „as the rain cometh down, and the snow from
heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and
maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the
sower and bread to the eater; so shall God’s Word be that
goeth out of his mouth; it shall not return unto him void, but
it shall accomplish that which he pleases and it shall prosper in
the thing whereto he sent it.”
I mean that God’s true minister today, as Paul in his time,
may exclaim: „Now thanks be unto God, which always
causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the
savour of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are
unto God a sweet savor of Christ, in them that are saved,
and in them that perish: To the one we are the savour of
death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto
life. And who is sufficient for these things?”
And when the gracious effect does not follow, there is some
defect in either the lifting up by the preacher or in the looking
by the sinner. Now, what is that defect on the part of the
church? When he commanded the preacher to go out and
preach Jesus Christ, he was required to have more than a
tongue that could talk, and physical strength to move about.
He said to these men before he sent them out: „Wait until you
are endued with power from on high.” What does Zechariah
say? „And it shall come to pass in that day that I will pour
out upon the house of David the spirit of grace and of suppli_
cation.” And in that marvelous example recorded in Acts 2
the element of power is manifest – power on the preacher and
power on the hearer.
And it is so till this day that whoever will go in the power
of the Spirit and tell the story of the cross to a dying man
whose heart is convicted by the Spirit of God, will be the
means of salvation in every instance. There never will be
any failure, and the whole effect upon us as far as this appli_
cation goes may be summed up in just two things: We are to
concern ourselves in lifting Christ up by the gospel, and we
are to lift him in reliance upon the Spirit of God which makes
the sight of him efficacious to the sinner’s eye.
These two prescriptions contain in themselves, however,
two proscriptions, that as it is our concern to lift up Jesus
before the dying, it means that we are to lift nothing else
up; that we ourselves are not to put any dependence upon
anything else; we are not to seek out for dependence some_
thing sensational and startling. I venture to say that if it were
published in the city papers that there would be enacted The
Passion Play, promising that if the people would come they
should see a drama representing the betrayal of Christ by
Judas and his crucifixion on the cross, that every seat in the
house would be occupied. They would come to look at a like_
ness. They would come to take hold of something with the
natural eye. They would say, „How beautiful one sight;
how horrible another sight!” What artistic skill in the repre_
sentations! What a Judas! Every single motion of his body
and play of his features and tone of his voice indicates a
master actor, representing a likeness of a reality. But there
would be no saving power in it. It would not convert any_
body. It would be a disgrace to the congregation, and it would
convict the church of going into the picture business, the like_
ness business, in contravention of the express command of God
in Exodus 20.
And that applies equally to the sensational preaching and
singing and praying. Whatever of it is devoid of the Spirit of
God is contrary to the duty which is enjoined upon us as a
church in lifting up Jesus Christ. I say that we cannot lift
him up so a dying man can see him, by art, by declamation,
by anything that appeals to the natural sight, anything sen_
sual, anything that takes hold of the animal part of our na_
ture. Christ is not so lifted up nor so preserved.
God lives in a song that makes melody in the heart, that
comes from the prompting of the Spirit and that soars as a
skylark soars, and mounts up as the incense mounted when
it arose ascending to the throne of the Lord.
So is the song that converts and prayer that converts, and
the sermon that converts. Now, „as Moses lifted up the
serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be
lifted up, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish
but have everlasting life.”

1. What is the import of John 3:8 and what is the force of the word
„so” in this verse?
2. What can you say of the mysteries in both nature and religion?
3. What one proposition of the context here finds ready acceptance,
and to what fundamental law does it refer?
4. What is Paul’s statement of this same truth?
5. How does this discussion of the work of the Holy Spirit apply
to a backslider?
6. What historical fact is cited and how does the case apply here?
7. What is the danger which accompanies a spiritual dearth?
8. What one remedy offered for this condition? Illustrate by the case
of the dry pump.
9. What are the effects of the enduement of the Spirit on the life?
10. What is our dependence for power in our work?
11. What means does the Spirit use and upon what rests the hope
of the church?
12. What observation of the author led him into an appreciation of
this fact?
13. What is the means by which the new birth is accomplished aa
taught by Jesus in this passage?
14. What is the origin of the remedy for the relief of man from his
Bin and what the breadth of its application?
15. What special value of this thought?
16. What preparation by the Holy Spirit on the part of the sinner
for this remedy and why? Illustrate.
17. What important question arises in this connection and what is
the answer?
18. What modern procession is here described, with what ancient
idolatrous movement is it in line, what commandment does it violate
and how?
19. How is Jesus to be lifted up? Cite scriptural proof.
20. Illustrate the application of this principle.
21. Is the preaching of Christ always accompanied with success? Ex_
22. What two prescriptions for success here and what two proscrip_
tions contained in them.

Harmony pages 21_24 and John 3:16 to 4:45.

Continuing the study of the discourse of our Lord to Nico_
demus, in John 3:16_21, with John 5:40; 7:17, we have the
guilt of unbelief and the reasonableness of its punishment.
John 3:16_21 shows the condemnation because of the rejec_
tion of Christ and the light which he brought, and also their
love of darkness rather than light: „And this is the condemna_
tion, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness
rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every
one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the
light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth
truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made mani_
fest, that they are wrought in God.” John 3:19_21; 5:40;
7:17; 18:37 show the state of the will: „Ye will not come
to me that ye may have life. If any man willeth to do his
will he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God.
Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.” To these
scriptures may be added others which show intellectual pride,
viz.: Matthew 11:25: „Hid from the wise and prudent and
revealed it unto babes.” Romans l:21f: „When they knew
him they glorified him not as God. Professing themselves
to be wise they became fools.” I Corinthians 1:18_21: „For
the preaching of the cross is to them that perish, foolishness;
but unto us which are saved, it is the power of God. For it is
written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring
to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the
wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this
world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom
knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching
to save them that believe.” (For a detailed analysis of
Sec. 22 of the Harmony see chapter XXII of this volume of
the Interpretation.)
In John 3:22_23 the contemporaneous ministries of John and
Jesus approach each other. John 4:1_2 shows the identity of
their process of discipling. A certain brother once wrote me,
who was troubled over John 4:2, which reads, „Though Jesus
himself baptizeth not, but his disciples.” This brother’s trou_
ble was a novel one. He not only held to the theory shared
by some other people – that the apostles were neither baptized
themselves, but he said they never baptized others, nor ever
preached a sermon before the Pentecost in Acts 2. This text,
John 4:2, as commonly interpreted being in the way of his
theory, he wanted to know if it might not be construed to
mean that the baptism through the disciples took place after
Pentecost. His suggested construction is quite impossible.
This would be to wrest the Scriptures from their meaning
rather than to interpret them. It is better to give up an
unscriptural theory, than resort to such great violence to
God’s Word. No commentator of any denomination would
dare to put such a meaning on John 4:2. Let us consider in
this connection, John 3:22_23; 4:2. The connected reading is:
„After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land
of Judea, and there he tarried with them and baptized, and
John also was baptizing in Aenon, near to Salim, because
there was much water there. When, therefore, the Lord
knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making
and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus him_
self baptizeth not, but his disciples).” From this fairly con_
nected reading the following things are evident:

(1) The ministries of John and Jesus were here simulta_
(2) John made disciples and baptized them.
(3) Jesus also at the same time made disciples and bap_
tized them, only he made and baptized more disciples than
(4) Yet Jesus did not personally administer baptism as
John did. His baptisms were performed through his dis_
(5) The imperfect tense in John 4:2 shows continuous ac_
tion, that Jesus was accustomed to make and baptize dis_
This is all so plain it would seem impossible to misunder_
stand it. It is just as plain as that „Christ died for our sins
according to the scriptures.” The brother’s unfortunate theory
is wrong on every other point. It is difficult to understand
how he could say that Christ’s apostles never preached a ser_
mon before the Pentecost of Acts 2. In reply to this theory
let us consider Matthew 10:5_42 and Mark 6:12_13, 20. Here
after Jesus had personally instructed his apostles in the things
of the kingdom, he sends them out charging them, „As ye go,
preach. What I tell you in the darkness, speak ye in the
light, and what ye hear in the ear, proclaim upon the house_
tops.” Mark says, „And they went out and preached that men
should repent.” Then he tells how, later, they returned and
reported to Jesus, „Whatsoever they had done, and what_
soever they had taught.” This commission, and the preach_
ing done under it, and the report made of it, may be com_
pared with the commission of the seventy and their report
(see Luke 10:1_24). The brother contended also that it was
only after his resurrection that he gave them a commission
and commanded them to baptize. He is again mistaken. The
commission to the twelve in Matthew 10, and to the seventy
in Luke 10, are as clean_cut commissions as the later ones
in Matthew 28 and Mark 16. The chief difference between
the earlier commissions and the later ones is that the former
were limited to the Jews (Matt. 10:5_6), and the latter was
to all nations (Matt. 28:19). The passages cited from John
3_4 show that they made disciples and baptized them as regu_
larly under the former commission, when preaching to Jews
as under the latter commission, when preaching to all nations,
The command in each case is precisely the same. In John
4 they made and baptized disciples. In Matthew 28 they
are commanded to make and baptize disciples. While exe_
cuting the first commission Jesus himself was their power, he
being on earth. In executing the latter commission Jesus is
to be yet with them, for he says, „Lo I I am with you all the
days even unto the end of the world.” Only in this case he
was not to be present in person, but in the Holy Spirit, the
other Paraclete. In the ministry limited to the Jews during
Christ’s lifetime, whether conducted by John the Baptist (Acts
19:4), or by Jesus himself (Mark 1:15), or by the twelve
apostles and the seventy (Mark 6:12), the duties commanded
were the same – repentance toward God, faith in the Lord
Jesus Christ and baptism upon the profession of that faith.
just as Peter on the day of Pentecost and later (Acts 2:38;
3:19) and Paul (Acts 20:21). Peter himself baptized some_
times through other disciples (Acts 10:47_48), as did also Paul
(I Cor. 1:14_17).
The design of John’s Gospel (20:31) was (1) to prove that
Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, and (2) that, believ_
ing on him, one might have everlasting life. This is beauti_
fully illustrated in the incident of the Samaritan woman by
which the gospel was introduced into Samaria. But this in_
volves the history of the Samaritans as a background of the
story. In 975 B.C. Jeroboam revolted and carried with him
the ten tribes of Israel who afterward established their capi_
tal at Samaria, but in 721 B.C. the ten tribes were all led
away captive to Assyria, except a small remnant of the very
poorest of the population. The Assyrian government drafted
a population from the heathen nations to fill the vacancy
caused by this removal and then sent a priest to teach them of
God, but they feared the Lord and served other gods. The
descendants of this mixed population of Jews and heathen con_
stituted the Samaritans of Christ’s day. In 588 B.C. Judah
was captured and carried away to Babylon, upon which the
poor was left in the land as in the case of Israel, but in 536
B.C. Judah returned under Zerubbabel and Joshua, after
which the hierarchy was established by Ezra. When they
went to build the Temple the Samaritans asked to help, but
they were refused with scorn. Here the hostilities between
the Jews and Samaritans commenced. The Samaritans built
a temple on Mount Gerizirn to which the woman referred in
her conversation with Christ. They also preserved the Penta_
teuch, with some corruptions, as their Scriptures. The hos_
tility between the Jews and the Samaritans lasted till Christ’s
day. The Samaritans would not receive the Jews into their
homes if they were going toward Jerusalem, but they were
more hospitable to those going north, or away from Jerusa_
lem, This accounts for their reception of Christ and his dis_
ciples on their way to Galilee, as recorded in John 4.
We will now take up the incident of Christ winning the
woman at the well of Sychar. He had walked all the way
from Judea and was weary and hungry. Thus he sat by the
well. It was about noon and while he was there alone (the
disciples having gone to Sychar to buy food) there came a
woman to the well to draw water. Christ at once sets him_
self to the task of winning her. Let us note here the method
of Jesus. First, he secured her attention by asking her for a
drink. Second, he directed the thought from the matter in
hand. Third, he attracted her by speaking where she did not
expect it: „Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.”
Fourth, he at once introduced the spiritual correspondent to
the thing in her mind: „If thou knewest the gift of God and
who it is that speaketh with thee, thou wouldest have asked of
him and he would have given thee living water.” But her
mind clings to the earthly: „Nothing to draw with; the well
is deep; art thou greater than Jacob?” „But,” says Jesus
„the water which I give is living water and quenches thirst
forever.” It is living (1) because it is eternal. The water in
the well was temporary. (2) Because it symbolized the Holy
Spirit’s work. (3) Because it was not local and immovable
but in him. (4) Because it ends in eternal life. All this seta
forth the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration. But she is
still earthly in mind: „That I may come hither no more to
Our Lord then sets himself to the task of convicting her
of her sin: „Go call thy husband,” upon which she makes
her confession. Building upon that, Christ reveals her heart and
her life to her by telling her of her sins, to which she at once
responded with an element of faith: „I perceive that thou art
a prophet.” The light is coming to her gradually, but just
here a difficulty arises, the place of worship: „Is it Jerusa_
lem or Gerizirn?” This is a subtle scheme of the devil to de_
feat the honest inquirer: „There are so many denominations,
and so many conflicting claims, what can I do?” Christ’s an_
swer is to the point. He demands more faith: „Believe me,”
and then proceeds to lead her away from the limitations of
fame and place in worship and to reveal both the nature of
God and the characteristics of his true worshipers: „God is a
Spirit: and they that worship him must worship in Spirit and
truth.” Augustine said: „If, by chance, you seek some high
place, some holy place, within thee erect a temple to God.”
The poet has expressed it thus:
Once for prayer and lonely thought,
Fitting time and place I sought;
Now in heart, I always pray,
Am alone where’er I stray.
Upon this she expresses her faith in the coming Messiah,
her as that Promised One: „I that speak unto thee am he.”
Faith was consummated and the work was done. The Mes_
siah was found and the impulse to tell it to others finds
expression. The waterpot is left and the city of Sychar hears
the glad news of the promised Messiah. But the disciples,
returning in time to witness a part of the conversation, won_
dered that he was speaking to a woman, especially a Samari_
tan woman, but they did not have the courage to express their
surprise to him. At once the crowds were flocking from the
little city to see the Lord for themselves and in the midst of
these things his disciples plead with him to eat, but his meat
was spiritual and more invigorating than temporal food. This
furnishes the occasion for our Lord to call the attention of
the disciples to the ready harvest of missionary work opened
up by the conversion of this one soul. He exhorts them to
look at the fields, to expect immediate results, to enter into
the harvest, not of their own sowing. Here is emphasized
the blessed truth that the various laborers in the kingdom
should not only labor together, but they shall rejoice together.
After all this he abode there two days and many of the Sa_
maritans believed on him because of the testimony of the wom_
an, but many more believed because of his own word. This dis_
tinction in faith is that of the distinction between hearing of
the sun and feeling the sun.
After these two days he went on into Galilee and had a
warm reception there, because the Galileans had witnessed
what he did at the feast in Jerusalem.
It will be noted that Jesus „in His early ministry allowed
himself to be regarded as the Messiah by his first disciples, and
personally declared that He was the Messiah to the woman
at the well, which many other Samaritans also personally
believed. He never declared this to the Jewish rulers at
Jerusalem till the very end, doubtless because such an avowal
would lead them to kill Him, and so must not be made until
His work in teaching the people and training His disciples
should be completed.” – Broadus, Harmony p. 24.QUESTIONS
1. Show the guilt and reasonableness of the punishment of sin.
2. Where, in the history, do the contemporaneous ministries of Jesus
and John approach each other?
3. What sentence of John’s Gospel shows the identity of their process
of discipling?
4. What was a certain brother’s trouble and theory about John 4:27
5. What was the reply to his theory that the apostles were not bap_
tized and did not baptize others?
6. What things are evident from John 3:22_23 and 4:2?
7. What was the reply to his contention that Christ’s apostles never
preached a sermon before Pentecost?
8. What was the reply to his contention that Christ gave his com_
mission to them only after his resurrection?
9. What is the chief difference between the earlier commissions and
the later ones?
10. What, from John 3_4, is evident as to these commissions?
11. What is the difference as to the power to execute under the commissions?
12. What were the specific duties commanded in all Christ’s commissions?
13. What is the purpose of John’s Gospel (20:31)?
14. By what personal incident was the gospel introduced into Samaria?
15. Give a brief historical account of the Samaritans.
16. What were the issues between them and the Jews?
17. Why would Samaritans receive Jews going north more kindly than
when going south?
18. Give the story leading up to the incident of the woman.
19. What four elements in Jesus’ method here noted?
20. Why was the water which he offered the woman „living water”?
21. How did Jesus convict her of sin?
22. What was the first manifestation of her faith?
23. What difficulty did she here suggest?
24. What was Christ’s answer to this difficulty; How does demand more faith?
25. What remarkable declaration from Jesus concerning the nature
and disposition of God and the consequent nature and place of worship?
26. What said Augustine on this point?
27. What said the poet?
28. What was the next step in the development of her faith and
what the response of Jesus?
29. At what point was she converted and how did she manifest it?
30. At what part of the incident did the disciples marvel and why?
31. Describe the results of this conversion.
32. What encouraging teaching from Jesus resulting from this incident?
33. What of the reception of Jesus into Galilee and why?
34. Why did Jesus allow his early disciples to regard him as the
Messiah and so announce himself here to the woman, but never de_
clared this to the Jews at Jerusalem till the end of his ministry?

Part I
Harmony pages 85_39 and Matthew 4:17_85; 8:2_17; 9:2_26;
Mark 1:14 to 2:22; 5:22_43; Luke 4__14 to 5:39; 8:41_56;
John 4:46_54.

We now come to our Lord’s great ministry m Galilee. We
will take a sort of preview of this whole division and then fol_
low it up with more detailed discussions. The general theme
of this division of the Harmony is „The kingdom of heaven.”
We are prone at times to fall into errors of interpretation
concerning the kingdom similar to those which led ancient
Israel so far and so harmfully astray concerning the advent
of the Messiah. Either we so fill our minds with the sublimity
of world redemption, as applied to the race, in the outcome, so
satisfy our hearts with rhetorical splendor in the glowing de_
scription of universal dominion that we lose sight of its appli_
cation to individuals in our day, and the responsibilities aris_
ing from the salvation of one man, or we so concentrate our
fancy upon the consummation that we forget the progressive
element in the development of the kingdom and the required
use of means in carrying on that progress. The former error
breeds unprofitable dreamers – the latter promotes skeptics.
The preacher is more liable to be led astray by the one, the
average church member by the other.
Perhaps the most unprofitable of all sermons is the one full
of human eloquence and glowing description excited by the
great generalities of salvation, and perhaps the most stubborn
of all skepticism is that resulting from disappointment as not
witnessing and receiving at once the very climax of salvation,
both as to the individual and the race.
Such a spirit of disappointment finds expression in words
like these: „The prophecies here of the kingdom are about
1,900 years old. Nineteen centuries have elapsed since the
Child was born. Wars have not ceased. The poor are still
oppressed. Justice, equity, and righteousness do not prevail.
Sorrow, sin, and death still reign. And I am worried and
burdened and perplexed. My soul is cast down and dis_
quieted within me.” In such case we need to consider the
false principles of interpretation which have misled us, and
inquire: Have we been fair to the Book and its promise?
Here I submit certain carefully considered statements: (1)
The consummation of the Messiah’s kingdom was never prom_
ised as an instantaneous result of the birth of the Child. (2)
The era of universal peace must follow the utter and eternal
removal of things and persons that offend. This will be the
harvest of the world. (3) Again, this consummation was
never promised as an immediate result, i. eä without the use
of means to be employed by Christ’s people. (4) Yet again,
this aggregate consummation approaches only by individual
reception of the kingdom and individual progress in sancti_
fication. (5) It is safe to say that the promises have been
faithfully fulfilled to just the extent that individuals have
received the light, walked in the light and discharged the ob_
ligations imposed by the gift of the light. These receptive
and obedient ones in every age have experienced life, liberty,
peace, and joy, and have contributed their part to the ulti_
mate glorious outcome. (6) And this experience in individuals
reliably forecasts the ultimate race and world result, and in_
spires rational hope of its coming. This is a common sense
interpretation. In the light of it our duty is obvious. Our
concern should be with our day and our lot and our own case
as at present environed. The instances of fulfilment cited by
the New Testament illustrate and verify this interpretation,

particularly that recorded by Matthew as a fulfilment of the
prophecies of Isaiah 4_13 inclusive, of his gospel. What dis_
passionate mind can read these ten chapters of Matthew, with
the parallel passages in Mark and Luke, without conceding
fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecies uttered seven centuries be_
Here is the shining of a great light, brighter than all of the
material luminaries in the heavens which declare the glory of
God and show his handiwork. This is, indeed, the clean, sure
and perfect law of the Lord, converting the soul, making wise
the simple, rejoicing the heart, enlightening the eyes, endur_
ing forever, more desirable than gold and sweet „r than honey
in the honeycomb. Here are judgments true and righteous
Here in sermon and similitude the incomparable Teacher
discloses the principles and characteristics of a kingdom that,
unlike anything earth_born, must be from heaven. Here is a
fixed, faultless, supreme, and universal standard of morality.
The Teacher not only speaks with authority and wisdom, but
evidences divinity by supernatural miracles, signs, and won_
ders. But there is here more than a teacher and wonder work_
er. He is a Saviour, a Liberator, a Healer, conferring life, lib_
erty, health, peace, and joy. To John’s question – John in
prison and in doubt – the answer was conclusive that this, in_
deed, was the one foreshown by the prophets and there was no
need to look for another: „Go and tell John the things which
ye hear and see: the blind receive their sight, and the lame
walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, and the dead
are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
And whosoever shall find no occasion for stumbling in me,
blessed is he” (Matt. 11:1_4).
The special matter here most worthy of our consideration
is that the kingdom of heaven was not expanded by instanta_
neous diffusion over a community, a nation, or the world, re_
gardless of human personality, activity, and responsibility
ill receiving and propagating it, but it took hold of each re_
ceptive individual’s heart and worked out on that line toward
the consummation.
To as many as received him to them he gave the power to
become the sons of God. Those only who walked in the light
realized the blessings of progressive sanctification. To the
sons of peace, peace came as a thrilling reality. From those
who preferred darkness to light) who judged themselves un_
worthy of eternal life, the proffered peace departed, returning
to the evangelists who offered it.
The poor woman whom Satan had bound for eighteen years
experienced no imaginary or figurative release from her bonds
(Luke 11:10_16). That other woman, who had sinned much,
and who, in grateful humility, washed his feet with her tears
– was not forgiveness real and sweet to her? That blind Bar_
timeus who kept crying, „Jesus, thou Son of David, have
mercy on me” – did he not receive real sight? That publican,
who stood afar off and beat upon his breast, crying, „God, be
merciful to me, the sinner” – was he not justified?
And when the Galilean disciples went forth in poverty and
weakness preaching his gospel, did they not experience the
Joy of the harvest on beholding the ingathering of souls? And
when they saw even demons subject to them through the name
of Jesus, was not that the joy of victory as when conquerors
divide the spoil?
When the stronger than the strong man armed came upon
him and bound him, might not our Lord justly say, „As light_
ning falls from heaven, I saw Satan fall before you”? And
just so in our own time.
Every conversion brings life, liberty, peace, and joy to the
redeemed soul. Every advance in a higher and better life at_
tests that rest is found at every upward step in the growth of
grace. Every talent or pound rightly employed gains 100 per
cent for the capital invested, and so the individual Christian
who looks persistently into the perfect law of liberty, being
not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the Word, is blessed in every deed. Willing to do the will of God, and following on to know the Lord, he not only knows the doctrine to be of God, but experimentally goes on from strength to strength, from grace to grace, and is changed into the divine image from glory to glory.
In the light of these personal experiences he understands
how the kingdom of God is invincible, and doubts not the cer_
tain coming of the glorious consummation foreshown in
prophecy and graciously extended, in the hand of promise. His
faith, staggering not through unbelief, takes hold of the in_
visible, and his hope leaps forward to the final recompense of
the reward.
The opening incident of the Galilean ministry is the healing
of the nobleman’s son, the second miracle of our Lord in
Galilee, and a most remarkable one. The nobleman was
Herod’s steward, maybe Chuza, as many suppose, but that is
uncertain. The nobleman manifested great faith and it was
amply rewarded. This is an illustration of the tenderness with
which Jesus ministered to the temporal needs of the people,
thus reaching their souls through their bodies. The effect of
this miracle was like that of the first: „He himself believed,
and his whole house.”
The next section (Luke 4:16_31) gives the incident of his
rejection at Nazareth. The account runs thus: „And he came
to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and he entered, as
his custom was, into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and
stood up to read.” How solemn, how sad in its immediate
result – how pathetic that scene in Nazareth when the Re_
deemer announced his mission and issued his proclamation of
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
Because he anointed me to publish good tidings to the poor:
He hath sent me to proclaim deliverance to the captives,
And recovering of sight to the blind,
To send crushed ones away free,
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.
Oh! what a day when this scripture was fulfilled in the
hearing of the captives I But the Spirit on him was not on
As Jewish widows in Elijah’s day, perished of famine,
through unbelief, and left to Sarepta’s far_off widow in a
foreign land to believe and be blessed with unfailing meal and
oil, as Jewish lepers, through unbelief, in Elisha’s day died in
uncleanness and loathsomeness while touching elbows with One
having power to heal, leaving to a Syrian stranger to wash in
Jordan and be clean, so here where Jesus „had been brought
up,” the people of Nazareth shut their eyes, bugged their
chains and died in darkness and under the power of Satan
– died unabsolved from sin, died unsanctified and disinherited,
and so yet are dying and shall forever die.
The Year of Jubilee came to them in vain. In vain its silver
trumpets pealed forth the notes of liberty. They had no ear
to hear, and so by consent became slaves of the Terrible One
This brings us to church responsibility and ministerial
agency in the perpetuation of this proclamation of mercy. As
Paul went forth to far_off shores, announcing in tears, yet with
faith and hope and courage, the terms of eternal redemption,
so now the churches find in the same mission their warrant for
existence, and so now are we sent forth as witnesses to stand
before every prison house where souls are immured, commis_
sioned „to open the eyes of the prisoners that they may turn
from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto
God, that they may receive remission of sins and an inherit_
ance among them that are sanctified by faith in Christ.” Ours
to blow the silver trumpets and proclaim to captives the year
of jubilee. Ours is the evangel of liberty – ours to make known
that „if the Son of God make men free, they shall be free

Leaving Nazareth, Jesus went to Capernaum, where he made
his residence from which he radiates in his ministry in Gali_
lee, teaching and healing on a large scale. His work here in
Zebulun and Naphtali is a distinct fulfilment of Isaiah 9:1_2,
in which he is represented as a great light shining in the dark_
ness. By the sea of Galilee near Capernaum he calls four
fishermen to be his partners – Peter, Andrew, James, and John,
two sets of brothers. Here he announces his purpose for their
lives – to be fishers of men. What a lesson! These men were
skilled in their occupation and now Jesus takes that skill and
turns it into another direction, toward a greater end, „fishers
of men.” Here he gives them a sign of his authority and
messiahship in the incident of the great draught of fishes. The
effect on Peter was marvelous. He was conscious of Christ’s
divinity and of his own sinfulness. Thus he makes his con_
fession: „Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”
But our Lord replied to Peter: „Fear not, from henceforth
thou shalt catch men.” Later (John 21), when Peter and his
comrades went back to their old occupation, the risen Lord
appeared to them and renewed their call, performing a miracle
of a similar draught of fishes.
In Section 28 we have his first case of healing a demoniac.
What is the meaning of the word „demoniac”? It means
demon_possessed, and illustrates the fact of the impact of spirit
on spirit, many instances of which we have in the Bible. Here
the demons recognized him, which accords with Paul’s state_
ment that he was seen of angels. They believed and trembled
as James says, but they knew no conversion. The lesson
there is one of faith. The effect of this miracle was amaze_
ment at his authority over the demons.
In Section 29 we have an account of the healing of Peter’s
mother_in_law, which incident gives us light on the social rela_
tions of the disciples. Peter was married, the Romanist position
to the contrary notwithstanding. Further scriptural evi_
dence of his marriage is found in 2 Corinthians 8:5. It is
interesting to compare the parallel accounts of this incident
in the Harmony and see how much more graphic is Mark’s
account than those of Matthew and Luke. There is a fine les_
son here on the relation between the mother_in_law and the
son_in_law. Peter is a fine example of such relation. Imme_
diately following the healing of Peter’s wife’s mother those
that had sick ones brought them to Jesus and he healed them,
thus fulfilling a prophecy of Isaiah, that he should take our
infirmities and bear our diseases. Our Lord not only healed
their sick ones, but he cast out the demons from many, upon
which they recognized him. But he would not let them speak
because they knew that he was the Christ.
The effect of our Lord’s great work as described in Section
29 was that Peter tried to work a corner on salvation and
dam it up in Capernaum. This is indicated in the account of
the interview of Peter with our Lord as described in Section
30. Here it is said that Jesus, a great while before day,
went out into a desert place to pray, and while out there
Peter came to him and complained that they were wanting
him everywhere. To this our Lord responded that it was to
this end that he had come into the world. So Jesus at once
launched out and made three great journeys about Galilee.
His first journey included a great mass of teaching .and heal_
ing, of which we have a few specimens in Sections 31_36, which
apparently occurred at Capernaum, his headquarters. A sec_
ond journey is recorded by Luke in Section 47 and a third
journey is found in Section .55. (For Broadus’ statement of
these tours, see Harmony, p. 31.)
Here we have the occasion of one of the special prayers
of Jesus. There are four such occasions in his ministry: (1)
At his baptism he prayed for the anointing of the Holy Spirit;
(2) here he prayed because of the effort to dam up his work
of salvation in Capernaum; (3) the popularity caused by the
healing of a leper (Sec. 31) drove him to prayer; (4) the
fourth occasion was the ordination of the twelve apostles.

The immense labors of Jesus are indicated in Matthew 4:
23_24. These labors gave him great popularity beyond the
borders of Palestine and caused the multitudes from every
quarter to flock to him. Attention has already been called
to the popularity caused by the healing of the leper (Sec. 31)
and Jesus’ prayer as the result.
In the incident of the healing of the paralytic we have a
most graphic account by the synoptics and several lessons:
(1) That disease may be the result of sin, as “thy sin be
forgiven thee”; (2) that of intelligent co_operation; (3) that
of persistent effort; (4) that of conquering faith. These are
lessons worthy of emulation upon the part of all Christians
today. Out of this incident comes the first issue between our
Lord and the Pharisees, respecting the authority to forgive
sins. This was only a thought of their hearts, but he perceived
their thought and rebuked their sin. From this time on they
become more bold in their opposition, which finally culminated
in his crucifixion. Let the reader note the development of this
hatred from section to section of the Harmony.
In Section 33 we have the account of the call of Matthew,
his instant response and his entertainment of his fellow pub_
licans. Here arose the second issue between Christ and the
Pharisees, respecting his receiving publicans and sinners and
eating with them. This was contrary to their idea in their
self_righteousness, but Jesus replied that his mission was to
call sinners rather than the righteous. This issue was greatly
enlarged later, in Luke 15, to which he replied with three
parables showing his justification and his mission. In this in_
stance (Matt. 9:13) he refutes their contention with a quota_
tion from Hosea which aptly fitted this case: „I desire mercy,
and not sacrifice.”
Then came to him the disciples of John and made inquiry
about fasting, to which he replied with the parable of the sons
of the bridechamber, the interpretation of which is that we
should let our joy or sorrow fit the occasion, or set fasting
ments and old bottles, the interpretation of which is to let
the form fit the life; beware of shrinking and expansion.
In Section 35 we have the account of his healing of Jairus’
daughter and the healing of the woman with the issue of
blood. Usually in the miracles of Christ, and in all preced_
ing miracles, there was the touch of some kind between the
healer and the healed. We are informed that great multi_
tudes of people came to Jesus with this confidence, „If I
but touch him I shall be healed.” Accordingly we find that
Christ put his fingers on the eyes of the blind, on the ears
of the deaf, or took hold of the hand of the dead. In some
way usually there was either presence or contact.
We will now consider the special miracle connected with
the fringe of the garment of Jesus which the Romanists cite to
justify the usage concerning the relics of the saints. In Num_
bers 15:38 we have a statute: „Thou shalt put fringes on
the wings or ends of the outer garment,” and this fringe had in
it a cord or ribbon of blue, and the object of it was to remind
the wearer of the commandments of God. The outer garment
was an oblong piece of cloth, one solid piece of cloth, say, a
foot and a half wide and four feet long. The edge was fringed
on all the four sides, and in the fringe was run a blue thread,
and the object of the fringe and of the blue thread also was
to make them remember the commandments of God. The
statute is repeated in Deuteronomy 22. Again in Deuteron_
omy 6 is the additional law of phylacteries, or frontlets – little
pieces of leather worn between the eyes – on which were in_
scribed the commandments of God. The people were taught
to instruct their children in the commandments of God: „And
they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes, and thou shalt
put them upon thy door posts, and when thou goest out and
when thou comest in, and when thou sittest down and when
thou gettest up, and when thou liest down, thou shalt at all
times teach thy children the Word of God.” Now, because of

these statutes a superstitious veneration began to attach to
the fringe and to the phylacteries. So we learn in Matthew 23,
as stated by our Saviour, that the Pharisees made broad the
phylacteries between their eyes and enlarged the fringe of the
outer garment. They made the fringe or tassel very large.
They did it to be seen of men. The law prescribed that when
the wearer should see this fringe on his garment he should
remember the commandments of the Lord his God. But these
Pharisees put it on that others might see it, and that it might
be an external token to outsiders of their peculiar sanctity and
piety. What was intended to be a sign to the man himself was
converted by superstition into a sign for other people. Hence
this woman said within herself, „If I but touch that sacred
fringe – the border of his garment.” She could not go up and
touch the phylactery between his eyes, in case he wore one,
but he did wear the Jewish costume with the fringe or border
on his outer garment, and she could reach that from behind.
She would not have to go in front of him. She argued: „Now,
if I can in the throng get up so that I can reach out and just
touch that fringe, I shall be saved.” We see how near her
thought connected the healing with the fringe of the garment,
because by the double statute of God it was required on the
Jewish garment to signify their devotion to his Word – the
matchless Word of Jehovah. Mark tells us that she was not
the only woman, not the only person healed by touching the
border of his garment (6:56). Her sentiment was not an iso_
lated one. It was shared by the people at large. Multitudes
of people came to touch the fringe of his garment that they
might be healed.
The question arises, Why should Christ select that through
contact with the fringe on his outer garment healing power
should be bestowed? He did do it. The question is, why?
There shall be no god introduced unless there be a necessity
for a god. There shall be no special miracle unless the case
demands it. Why? Let us see if we cannot get a reason.
I do not announce the reason dogmatically, but as one that
seems sufficient to my own mind. Christ was among the peo_
ple speaking as never man spake, doing works that no man
had done. He was awakening public attention. He was the
cynosure of every eye. They came to him from every direc_
tion. They thronged him. And right here at this juncture
Jairus had said, „Master, my little girl, twelve years old, is
even now dead. Go and lay thy hand upon her that she may
live.” He arose and started, the crowd surging around him
and following him, and all at once he stopped and said, „Who
touched me?” „Master, behold the crowd presseth thee on
every side, and thou sayest, who touched me?” Here was a
miracle necessary to discriminate between the touches of the
people. „Who touched me?” Hundreds sin sick touched him
and were not saved. Hundreds that had diseases touched him
and were unhealed. Hundreds that were under the dominion
of Satan looked in his face and heard his words and were not
healed. It was touch and not touch. They touched, but there
was no real contact. They rubbed up against salvation and
were not saved. Salvation walked through their streets and
talked to them face to face. The stream of life flowed right
before their doors and they died of thirst. Health came with
rosy color and bright eye and glowing cheek and with buoyant
step walked through their plague district) and they died of
sickness. But some touched him. Some reached forth the
hand and laid hold upon the might of his power. This woman
Poor woman! What probably was her thought? „I heard
that ruler tell him that he had a little girl twelve years old
that was just dead, and he asked him to go and heal her, she
twelve years old, and for twelve years I have been dead. For
twelve years worse than death has had hold on me and I have
spent all my money; have consulted many physicians. I have
not been benefited by earthly remedies, but rendered worse.
Twelve years has death been on me, and if he can heal that,
girl that died at twelve years of age, maybe he can heal me
twelve years dead. If that ruler says, ‘If you will but go and
lay your hand upon her even now she will revive,’ what can
I do? In my timidity, in the ceremonial uncleanness of my
condition, in my shame, I dare not speak. I cannot in this
crowd, for if they knew that I were here they would cast me
out; for if any of them touch me they are unclean in the eyes
of the law. I cannot go and kneel down before him, and say,
‘Master, have mercy on me.’ The ceremonial law of unclean_
ness forbids my showing my face, and if I come in contact
with his power it must be with a touch upon the garment.
And I beg for that. I say within myself, that if I but touch
the fringe with its blue thread in it that reminds him of God’s
commands, I shall be healed.”
There was the association of her healing with the memento
of the Word of God. There was the touch of her faith, that
came into contact with that Word of God and with him. So
her faith reasoned, and virtue going out from him responded
to her faith. And she felt in herself that she was healed. Well,
he healed her and there it stands out one of the most beautiful
lessons in the Word of God. Oh, what a lesson! Some will
say at the judgment, „Lord Jesus, thou hast taught in our
streets and we have done many wonders in thy name,” and
he will say, „I never knew you.” „You were close to the
Saviour. You did not touch him. You were his neighbor.
You did not touch him.” There were many lepers in
Israel in the days of Elisha, the prophet – lepers that could
have been healed of leprosy by an appeal to the power of God
in Elisha. They died in leprosy, but Naaman came from afar
and touched the healing power of the prophet and was healed.
There were many widows in Israel whose staff of life was gone,
whose barrel of meal was empty, whose cruse of oil had failed,
and here was the prophet of God, who by a word could supply
that empty barrel, that failing cruse, but they did not touch
him. They did not reach out in faith and come in contact with
that power. The widow of Sarepta did, and her barrel of meal
never failed, and her cruse of oil never wasted. Now, the
special miracle: It was designed to show that if there be a
putting forth of faith, even one finger of faith, and that one
finger of faith touches but the fringe, the outskirts of salva_
tion – only let there be a touch, though that touch covers no
more space than the point of a cambric needle – „let there be
the touch of faith and thou art saved.”
In the midst of this stir about the woman the news of the
death of Jairus’ daughter burst forth upon them with the re_
quest to trouble not the Master any further. But that did not
stop our Lord. He proceeded immedately to the house to find
a tumult and many weeping and wailing, for which he gently
rebuked them. This brought forth their scorn, but taking
Peter, James, and John, he went in and raised the child to life
and his praise went forth into all that land.

1. What is the general theme of this division of the Harmony?
2. What common errors of interpretation of the kingdom? Illustrate.
3. What was the offspring of these errors respectively and who the
most liable to each?
4. What, perhaps, was the most unprofitable sermon and what was
the most stubborn skepticism?
5. How does such disappointment find expression?
6. Give the author’s statements relative to the kingdom,
7. Where do we find the fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecies relative
to the kingdom?
8. What specific prophecy in Isaiah fulfilled in Matthew?
9. Where do we find the principles of the kingdom disclosed?
10. What great office did our Lord fill besides teacher and wonder_
worker and what proof did he submit to John the Baptist?
11. What thing most worthy of special consideration in connection
with the kingdom?
12. What the opening incident of the Galilean ministry, what its
importance, what its great lesson and what its effect?
13. Give an account of our Lord’s rejection at Nazareth.
14. Why was he thus rejected?
15. By what incidents in the lives of the prophets does he illustrate
the folly of their unbelief?
16. What is the church responsibility and ministerial agency in the
proclamation of mercy?
17. Where does Jesus make his home after his rejection at Nazareth
and what his first work in this region?
18. Recite the incident of the call of the four fishermen and its lessons.
19. What was Christ’s first case of healing a demoniac and what the
meaning of the term „demoniac”? Illustrate.
20. What was the lesson of this miracle and what was its effect?
21. Recite the incident of the healing of Peter’s mother_in_law and
give its lessons.
22. What were the great results of this miracle and why would not
Christ allow the demons to speak?
23. How did Peter try to work a „corner” on salvation and how did
our Lord defeat the plan?
24. How many and what journeys did Jesus make about Galilee?
25. Give the four special prayers of Jesus here cited and the occasion
of each.
26. Describe the incident of the healing of the paralytic and its les_
27. What issue arises here between our Lord and the Pharisees and
what was the final culmination?
28. Give an account of the call of Matthew, his entertainment, the
second issue between our Lord and the Pharisees and how Jesus met it.
29. What question here arises, how was it brought up, how did our
Lord reply and what the meaning of his parables here?
30. What double miracle follows and what was the usual method of
31. What was the law of fringes and phylacteries and what were their
real purpose?
32. Why should Christ select that through contact with the fringe on
his outer garment healing power should be bestowed?
33. What, probably, was the thought of this woman as she con_
templated this venture of faith?
34. What was the great lesson of this incident of her healing?
35. Describe the miracle of raising Jairus’ daughter and ita effect.

Part II
Harmony _pages 89_45 and Matthew 9:27_34; John 5:1_47;
Matthew 12:1_21; Mark 2:23 to 3:19; Luke 6:1_16.

This is a continuation of the great ministry of our Lord
in Galilee and the next incident is the healing of the two blind
men and the dumb demoniac. It will be noted that our Lord
here tested the faith of the blind men in his ability to heal
them, and when they were healed he forbade their publishing
this to the people, but they went forth and told it and spread
his fame in all the land. It was „too good to keep.” Imme_
diately after this they brought to him one possessed with a
demon and dumb, and he cast out the demon. This produced
wonder among the common people, but brought forth another
issue between our Lord and the Pharisees. Tins is the third
issue with them, the first being the authority to forgive sins at
the healing of the paralytic; the second, the eating with publi_
cans and sinners at the feast of Matthew; the third, the casting
out of demons by the prince of demons, which culminated later
in the unpardonable sin.
The next incident in our Lord’s ministry is his visit to Jeru_
salem to the Feast of the Passover (see note in Harmony, p.
39), at which he healed a man on the sabbath and defended
his action in the great discourse that followed. In this dis_
cussion of our Lord the central text is v. 25 and there are
three things to be considered in this connection.


The scriptural story of the circumstances which preceded
and called forth these utterances of our Saviour is very famil_
iar, very simple, and very touching. A great multitude of
impotent folk, blind, halt, withered, were lying in Bethesda’s
porches, waiting for the moving of the waters. It is a graphic
picture of the afflictions and infirmities incident to human life;
the sadness of ill_health; the unutterable longing of the sick
to be well; the marvelous power of an advertised cure to at_
tract to its portals and hold in its cold waiting rooms earth’s
despairing sufferers, so grouped as to sicken contemplation by
the varieties and contrasts of all the ills that flesh is heir to.
Blindness groping its way trying to see with its fingers;
deafness vainly and painfully listening for a voice it cannot
hear – listening with its eyes; lameness limping along on nerve_
less, wooden feet; blistered, swollen tongues, dumb and sense_
less, appealing to fingers for speech and to nostrils for taste;
the pitiful whining of mendicancy and vagabondage and raga
timidly dodging from an expected blow while begging alms;
the hideousness of deformity, either shrinking from exposure
or glorifying to make conspicuous its repulsiveness, while a
side_light reveals, crouched in the misty background, Sin, the
fruitful mother of all this progeny of woe.
Ah I Bethesda, Bethesda, thy porches are the archives of
unwritten tragedies! If the hieroglyphics inscribed by suffering
on thy cold stone pavements could be deciphered, the transla_
tions age by age, would be but a repetition of sorrow’s one
prayer to pitying heaven:
Oh heaven! have compassion on us!
Oh heaven I send a healer to us.
It was a sad sight. Now, among the number gathered about
that pool was a man who had an infirmity thirty_eight years.
His infirmity was impotence – lack of power. His physical and
his mental powers were prostrated, paralyzed. His affliction
was so great that it prevented him from availing himself of
any chance of being cured in this pool, and he was tantalized
by lying in sight of the cure, continually seeing cures per_
formed on others, and never being able to reach it himself.
Such a case attracted the attention of Jesus. He came to this
man and propounded an important question: „Do you want to
be healed? Are you in earnest? Do you really wish to be
made whole?” The man explains the circumstances that seemed
to militate against his having a desire to be made whole: „I
have not continued in this condition thirty_eight years because
I did not try to help myself. I would be cured if I could be,
but I cannot get down there into that water in time. Some_
body always gets ahead of me. There is nobody to put me
into the pool. My lying here so long and suffering so long,
does not argue that I do not wish to be healed.” Now, here is
the key of the passage. Without employing the curative powers
of the water, without resorting to any medical application
whatever, by a word of authority, Jesus commanded him to
rise up: „Be healed and walk.” Now, do not forget that it was
by a simple command, an authoritative voice, that that cure
was consummated.
The time was the sabbath. There were certain bigots and
hypocrites who imagined that they were the conservators of
religion, and the only authoritative interpreters and expound_
ers of the obligations of the Fourth Commandment: „Remem_
ber the sabbath day to keep it holy.” They preferred two
charges against the Lord Jesus Christ. The first charge was
that he had violated the sabbath in performing that cure on
the sabbath day. He worked on the sabbath day, whereas the
commandment said that there should be a cessation from work
on that day. And the second count in the charge was that he
had caused another to work on that day, in that he made this
man take up his bed and walk. Now, that is the first con_
troversy. It is a controversy with reference to the violation of
the Fourth Commandment. Jesus defended himself: „My
Father worketh on the sabbath day. You misunderstand that
commandment. It does not say, ‘Do no work,’ but that com_
mandment says, ‘Do no secular and selfish work.’ It does not
gay, ‘Do no work of mercy.’ It does not say, ‘Do no work of
necessity.’ And as a proof of it, God, who rested upon the day
originally and thereby hallowed it, himself has worked ever
since. True, he rested from the work of creation, but my
Father worketh hitherto and I work.” His defense was this:
That they misunderstood the import of the commandment, and
that what he did had this justification – that is was following
the example of the Father himself. Now comes the second
controversy. Instantly they prefer a new charge against him,
growing out of the defense that he had made. The charge now
is a violation of the First Commandment, in that he claimed
God as his father, his own father, and thereby made himself
equal with God, which was blasphemy.
The keynote grows out of his defense against this second
charge – not the charge about the violation of the sabbath day,
but the charge suggested by his defense – the charge that he
made himself equal with God. His defense is this: „I admit
the fact. I do make myself equal with God. There is no dis_
pute about the fact. But I deny the criminality of it. I deny
that it furnishes any basis for your accusation.” And then he
goes on to show why. He says, „As Son of man, in my human_
ity I do not do anything of myself. I do not put humanity up
against God. As Son of man I never do anything unless I first
see my Father do it. Then, if my Father doeth it, I do it. In
the next place, everything that the Father doeth I see. He
shows it to me.” What infinite knowledge; what intimacy with
the Father! Why does he show it? „He shows it to me because
he loves me. Why else does he? He shows it to me in order
that he may induce all men to honor me as they honor him,
and therefore he does not himself execute judgment upon any_
body. He hath committed all judgment to me. He hath con_
ferred upon me all authority and all power. And whoever
hears my voice and believeth in me hath eternal life and shall
not come unto condemnation, but is passed from death unto
life.” Thus he claims omniscience – that he sees everything
that the Father does. He claims omnipotence – that he does
everything that bis Father does. He claims supreme authority
– that he exercises all the judgment that is exercised upon this
earth and in the courts of heaven and in the realms of woe.
He claims that he does this because, like the Father, he hath
life in himself – underived life, self_existence. Now, that brings
us to the key verse: „Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour
cometh and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the
Son of God, and they that hear shall live.” Hence the theme
of this passage is „The Voice and the Life.”
Everyone that hears the voice of the Son of God, from the
moment that he hears it, is alive forevermore; is exempt from
the death penalty; is possessed of eternal life and shall not
receive the sting of the second death and shall stand at the
right hand of the Father, happy, saved forever!


The meaning of this passage is easily determined. We have
only to compare this verse with a statement of the context.
Let us place them side by side: „The hour is coming, and now
is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and
they that hear shall live. Marvel not at this: for the hour is
coming [not „now is,”] in the which all that are in the graves
shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have
done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have
done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” Here are two
things set over against each other. One present, the other
future. Two kinds of dead people: Those who are alive and
yet dead, and those who are dead and in their tombs. The
dead who are alive may now hear and live. The dead in their
graves cannot hear until the resurrection. It follows that the
first is spiritual death and the second physical death. The
dead soul may now hear and live; the dead body not now, but
hereafter. As there are two deaths, there are two resurrections.
Spiritual resurrection is now – resurrection of the body is not
now. And the meaning is that the death in each case is broken
by the voice. The voice gives life now to those „dead in tres_
passes and sins.” „You hath he quickened.” The voice raises
the dead in the tombs at the second coming.
I have already called attention to this fact, that that im_
potent man was healed, not by the application of any medi_
cine; that he was healed by a word of authority. He spoke
and it was done. The thought that runs all through this pas_
sage, that indeed is the essence and marrow of it, is that the
voice which confers life is a voice of command, is a voice of
authority, is a divine voice, speaking from the standpoint of
sovereignty and of omniscience and of power, and commanding
life, and life coming in a moment, at the word. That is the
thought of it. The dead shall hear his voice. The dead shall
hear his voice when he says, „Live,” and, hearing, shall live.
I want to impress that idea of the voice being a voice of com_
mand, a voice of authority and of irresistible power.
Let me illustrate: John, in the apocalyptic vision, sees the
Son of God, and I shall not stop to describe his hair, his voice,
his girdle, his feet, or his manner. He is represented as open_
ing his lips and a sword coming out of his mouth – a sword!
The word of God is quick and powerful, sharper than any
two_edged sword. The command that issues from the lips of
Jesus Christ is irresistible. No defensive armor can blunt the
point of that sword. No ice can quench the fire that is in it.
No covering can protect from it. It reaches into the joints
and into the marrow, and it touches the most secret things
that have been hidden even from the eyes of angels.
Let me illustrate again: Once there was chaos, and chaos
was blackness – wave after wave of gloom intermingled with
gloom. Suddenly a voice spoke, „Let there be light,” and light
was. What means were employed? No means. Only the voice.
He spake and it stood fast. It was the voice of authority. It
was the voice of God. It was the voice of commandment, and
nature obeyed her God. Read Psalm 28. A mountain is de_
scribed in that psalm – a mountain covered with tall cedar
trees – and then it says God spoke and the mountain trembled
and the cedar trees snapped in twain and skipped like lambs,
carried away, not on the breath of the wind, but on the voice
of God.
Take but this case: Job had some ideas about salvation.
God spoke to him and after asking how much knowledge he
had, „Where were you when I laid the foundations of the
world? What do you know about the heavenly bodies? What
do you know about the giving of color, and the father of the
rain, and in what womb the hoar frost and the ice are gen_
dered? What do you know? Then what power have you? Can
you feed the young lions when they lack? Can you drag out
Leviathan with a hook? Can you pierce Behemoth with a
spear when he churneth the deep and maketh it hoary?” Now
comes the climax: „Have you a voice like God? If you think
you have, rise up and speak; and speak to all the proud, and
by your voice cast the proud down and bind their faces in
secret. Then I will confess that your right hand can save you.
But if you have no such knowledge; if your knowledge is not
infinite; if your power is not infinite; if you cannot bind the
sweet influences of the Pleiades or loose the bands of Orion;
if you cannot abase the proud by a word, then do not attempt
to say you save yourself.”
Notice again: A man had one of his senses locked up – the
sense of hearing. He had an ear, but it could not hear, and be
came to Jesus. There he is, the deaf man. Jesus spoke one
word, Ephphatha. What does it mean? „Be open.” And the
ear opened.
Occasionally now for the benefit of the gullible and the cred_
ulous some man will claim to have such vast powers as that
he shall put his hand upon the sick and they shall be made
whole – for two dollars a visit! But the whole of it is a fraud.
Here is one who spoke to an ear whose power of hearing
was destroyed, and to give hearing to that ear meant creative
power, and he simply said, „Be open,” and it was open.
Take another case: A centurion comes upon the recommen_
dation of the Jews to Jesus. He says, „Lord, I have a servant
very dear to me and he is very sick. He is at the point of
death. But I am not worthy that you should come to my
house. You just speak the word and my servant shall be
healed. I understand this; I am a man of authority myself. I
have soldiers under me and I say to this one, Do that, and he
doeth it. And I say to another, Do this, and he doeth it. Now
you have authority. You need not come. You need not go
through any movements of incantation. Speak the word and
my servant will be healed.” Jesus says, „He is healed.”
Take another case: In Capernaum was a nobleman. He had
one child, just one, a little girl twelve years old and she died.
His only child is dead, and he comes to Jesus, and Jesus fol_
lows him, comes into the house, pushes people aside that are
weeping there and wailing, walks into the room of death, takes
hold of that dead girl’s hand, and he says, „Talitha Cumi –
damsel, arise.” And at the word of the Son of God, the dead
girl rose up and was well.
Take another. He is approaching a city. There comes out
a procession, a funeral procession. Following it is a broken_
hearted widow. On the bier is her son – her only son. The
bier approaches Jesus. He commands them to stop. They put
it down. He looks into the cold, immobile, rigid face of death,
and he speaks: „Young man, I say unto thee, arise.” And at
the voice of the Son of God he rises.
Take another. In Bethany was a household of three, but
death came and claimed one of the three, and the sisters
mourned for the brother that was gone. And he was buried
four days; he had been buried, and decay and putridity had
come. Loathesomeness infested that charnel house, and the
Son of God stands before that grave, and he says, „Take away
that stone.” And there is the presence, not of recent death, as
in the case of that girl on whose cheek something of the flush
of life yet lingered; not like the young man of Nain, who had
not been buried. But here was hideous death. Here was death
in all of its horror and loathesomeness. The worms are here.
And into that decayed face the Son of God looked and spoke,
„Lazarus, come forth!” And he rose up and came forth. He
heard the voice of the Son of God, and he lived.
Take yet another, Ezekiel 37. There is a valley. That val_
ley is full of bones – dead men’s bones – dead longer than Laz_
arus – dead until all flesh is gone, and there is nothing there
but just the dry, white bones. And the question arises, „Can
these dry bones live?” And there comes a voice, „0 breath,
breathe on these slain.” And at the voice they lived. That is
why I said that the voice of this passage is the voice of author_
ity. It is a voice of power. It is an irresistible voice. And
whoever hears it is alive forevermore.
It is winter, and winter has shrouded the world in white and
locked the flow of rivers and pulsation of lakes; stilled the
tides which neither ebb nor flow, and there comes a voice, the
voice of a sunbeam shining, the voice of a raindrop falling,
the voice of a south wind blowing, and winter relaxes his hold.
Cold winter is gone and the waters flow, and the juices rise,
and the flowers bud and bloom, and fruit ripens and the earth
is recreated. That represents the voice of God.

Now, what is the doctrine? The doctrine of this passage is
that Jesus Christ is God Almighty manifest in the flesh – the
self_existent, eternal, immutable, all_powerful God. That his
word is authoritative; that his word conveys life; and that he
speaks that word when, where, bow, and to whom he wills. He
is the sovereign.
If there are many lepers in Israel he may speak to Naaman,
the Syrian, only, „Be thou clean.” If there are many widows
in Israel he may speak to the widow of Sarepta alone, „Be
thou saved from famine.” If there are a multitude lying im_
potent around this pool he may speak to this one only and
say, „Rise up and walk.” He is a sovereign. The election is
I can no more tell to whom he will speak than I can count
the stars, or the leaves, or the grains of sand. Such knowledge
is too wonderful for me. I know to whom I speak. I do not
know to whom Jesus shall speak.
But I can tell the evidences from which we may conclude
that he has spoken when he does speak, and that is the great
point here. It is the ringing trumpet note of the Eternal God.
How may we know that we hear him? Paul says in his letter
to the Thessalonians, „This gospel came unto you, not in
word only, but in power.” In power I If, then, we hear the
voice of Jesus, there will be energy in it. There will be vitality
in it. There will be life in it. It will not be mere sound, but
Bound embodying life. And how is that power manifested? It
is manifested in this, that if we hear him we feel that we are
singled out from all the people around us. We feel that we
are cut out from the crowd. We feel that his eye is on us. We
feel that we stand before God in our individuality alone. If
we hear his voice, it discovers our heart to us. It shows us
what we are. And not only that, but if we hear his voice there
is a revelation to us of the glory of God in the face of Jesus
Christ. What says the Scripture? „If our gospel be hid it is
hid to them that are lost in whom the god of this world hath
blinded the eyes of them that believe not, but God, who com_
manded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined into
our hearts, revealing the glory of God in the face of Jesus
Christ.” Now look back to that first scripture, „Let there be
light, and light was.” God, who commanded the li’ght to shine
out of the darkness, hath shined into our hearts, into the chaos
and gloom and blackness of our hearts, and by that shining
he has revealed to us his glory. Where? In the face of his
incarnate Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Continuing his discourse, Jesus refers to John as a witness
and he says that his witness was greater than that of John,
because his works bear witness of him. He then asserts that
they had never heard God’s voice nor did they have his Word
abiding in them; that they were destitute of the love of God;
that they sought not the glory of God; that they were con_
victed by the law of Moses because it testified of him and
they received not its testimony. This he said was the reason
that they would not believe his words. The reader will note
how tactfully our Lord here treats his relation to the Father
in view of the growing hatred for him on the part of the
authorities at Jerusalem (see note in Harmony, p. 41).
On his way back from Jerusalem to Galilee he and his dis_
ciples were passing through the fields of grain and the disci_
ples, growing hungry, plucked the heads of grain and rubbed
them in their hands, which they were allowed to do by the
Mosaic law. But the Pharisees, in their additions to and ex_
positions of the law, had so distorted its true meaning that
they thought they had ground for another charge against him.
But he replies by an appeal (1) to history, the case of David,
(2) to the law, the work of the priests, (3) to the prophets,
and (4) to his own authority over the sabbath. This fourth
issue with the Pharisees is carried over into the next incident
where he heals the man with a withered hand on the sabbath
day. Here he replied with an appeal to their own acts of mercy
to lower animals, showing the superior value of man and the
greater reason for showing mercy to him. Here again they plot
to kill him.
When Jesus perceived that they had plotted to kill him, he
withdrew to the sea of Galilee and a great multitude followed
him, insomuch that he had to take a boat and push away from
the shore because of the press of the crowd. Many were press-
ing upon him because of their plagues, but he healed them all.
This is cited as a fulfilment of Isaiah 42:1_4, which contains
the following items of analysis: (1) The announcement of the
servant of Jehovah, who was the Messiah; (2) his anointing
and its purpose, i. e., to declare judgment to the Gentiles;
(3) his character – lowly; (4) his tenderness with the feeble
and wounded; (5) his name the hope of the Gentiles.
After the great events on the sea of Galilee our Lord stole
away into the mountain and spent the whole night in prayer
looking to the call and ordination of the twelve apostles.
Then he chose the twelve and named them, apostles, whom
both Mark and Luke here name. (For a comparison of the
four lists of the twelve apostles see Broadus’ Harmony, p.

1. How did our Lord test the faith of the two blind men whom he
2. What was our Lord’s request to them and why, and what was the
result and why?
3. What was the result of bis healing the dumb demoniac and what
the culmination of the issue raised by the Pharisees?
4. What were the great events of our Lord’s visit to Jerusalem to the
Passover (John 6:1)?
5. What was the occasion of his great discourse while there?
6. Describe the scene at the pool of Bethesda.
7. What was the time of this incident and the issue precipitated
with the Pharisees?
8. How did Jesus defend himself?
9. What was new charge growing out of this defense and what our
Lord’s defense against this charge?
10. How does Jesus here claim omniscience, omnipotence, and all
11. What was the bearing of this upon the key verse (25) of this
12. Give the exegesis of w. 25_29.
13. What was the main thought running all through this passage?
Illustrate by several examples.
14. What was the doctrine here expressed and how does the author
illustrate it?
15. What were the evidences of the voice of the Son of God?
16. How does Jesus proceed to convict them of their gross sin and
what the charges which he prefers against them?
17. Show how tactfully Jesus treated his relation to the Father and
18. State the case of the charge of violating the sabbath law in the
cornfields and Jesus’ defense.
19. How does he reply to the same charge in the incident of the man
with a withered hand and what the result?
20. Describe the scene that followed this by the sea of Galilee.
21. What prophecy is here fulfilled and what was the analysis of it?
22. What the occasion here of all_night prayer by our Lord?
23. What the order of names in the four lists of the twelve apostles
as given by Mark, Luke, and Acts?

Part III
Harmony pages 45_82 and Matthew 5:1 to 7:29; Luke 6:17_49.

The historians of the Sermon on the Mount are Matthew
and Luke, mainly Matthew. The scene of that sermon was
a level place upon the mountains of the northwestern shore of
the sea of Galilee. The audience consisted of the twelve disci_
ples whom he had just appointed and of a large number of
other disciples who had been instructed somewhat in the prin_
ciples of his kingdom, and of a vast multitude of people from
Judea and Samaria and Phoenicia. It was an immense audi_
ence. Luke says, „The company of his disciples, and a
great multitude of people out of all Judea and Jerusalem,
and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon.” It was such
an audience as one could not put in a house – any kind of
a house. And it is a noticeable fact that whenever a great
reformation commencesù1 mean a movement that has life
and fire in it – then the reformers take to field preaching.
They quit the houses; they go into the streets or fields or
out in the open somewhere, for only such places as have the
skies for a ceiling and the horizon for a boundary can hold
the crowds of people that will always gather when a deep
and fiery movement of the Christian religion is in progress.
So with this audience of Jesus.
The occasion of the Sermon on the Mount was this: He had
Just selected twelve men, commencing the organization of his
movement. These twelve men were to share with him the
burden of responsibility and labor, and it was quite important
that they should be thoroughly instructed in the first princi_
ples of the kingdom which he announced. It was equally
necessary that the larger body of his disciples should under_
stand those fundamental principles, and that the miscellaneous
and ever_shifting crowd, drawn together by their expectations
of a king, and looking to the establishment of an earthly mon_
archy which would overturn Roman supremacy and give to
Judea the sovereignty of the universe – that this mixed rabble
should have their misconceptions concerning the nature of the
kingdom of Jesus Christ removed, and forever.
The setting or background of the sermon must never be
overlooked. The multitudes, incited mainly by desires of re_
lief from physical, temporal, and external woes – even the bet_
ter informed and more spiritually minded but dimly recogniz_
ing the greater spiritual needs – these constituted the occasion
of the Sermon on the Mount.
The design of it has been partly suggested by the occasion,
but we need to erect just here a pillar of caution. The design
has a negative as well as a positive aspect. First, then, nega_
tively: It was not intended to be, as some have supposed and
claimed, an epitome of doctrine and morals, neither of the one
nor of the other. It falls very short of being a full synopsis of
the doctrines of Jesus Christ. There is not a word in it direct_
ly of regeneration. There is nothing in it concerning the doc_
trine of the vicarious atonement and justification by faith,
so elaborately set forth by the Saviour himself and his apos_
tles. So there are some departments of morals not here incul_
cated. Hence, one makes a very great mistake when he counts
the Sermon on the Mount as a complete standard of life. We
hear people say sometimes: “If I live by the Sermon on the

Mount that will do.” I say that this sermon is not all of the
Positively, then, what was the design of it? The design
of it was introductory – an opening or rudimental discourse
setting forth the foundation principles of the messianic king_
dom, showing that these principles are internal, spiritual, prac_
tical and not external, ritualistic, theoretic; setting forth first
the characteristics, privileges, and happiness of the messianic
subjects in the Beatitudes. Showing next the importance, influ_
ence and responsibility of the messianic subjects, comparing
them to the light of the world and the salt of the earth. Then
follows a discussion of the relations of the messianic kingdom.
Relations to what? Relations to the Jewish law, whether cere_
monial, civil or moral; to the prophets; to rabbinical tradi_
tions ; to the world; to practical life, and to destiny. Such was
the design of the Sermon on the Mount, intending afterward,
as in fact he did, to unfold, to develop other doctrines related
to these, and letting his whole life’s teaching present the ful_
ness of his doctrine and of his morality.
So the Sermon on the Mount is not a disconcerted jumble
of fine sayings, but exhibits remarkable unity as a discourse,
as will be observed when I briefly state the outline and analysis
of it. Indeed, I much question if any speech has ever been de_
livered more remarkable for unity than the Sermon on the
Next, the matter of this sermon is every bit every_day mat_
ter, but while every_day matter, it is as deep and as important
as human life and destiny. One makes a great mistake in
supposing that great teaching touches only the strange, ex_
ceptional, and startling. The best and sublimest teaching
upon the earth concerns the every_day life, and such is the
matter of this sermon.
The following adjectives will convey a description of the

It is simple, familiar, direct, sententious, paradoxical, start_
ling, illustrative, conversational, practical, and authoritative.
It is a simple talk. I mean that every one in that audience
could understand it. There was no attempt at big words; the
language of the common people, as they spoke it and as they
understood it, was used by our Saviour. It was familiar in
that it was as homely in its phrases as if he were sitting by the
fireside or out on the housetop in the cool of the evening or on
the curbing of the street and talking with the passing people.
It was not an oration, for there is an utter absence of deciama_
tory, theoretical elocution, and rhetoric, as there must be in all
great teachers. I mean to say that there is not an indication
of a single strained mental effort after rounded phraseology,
euphonious diction, rhetorical effect, dramatic gesticulation. It
is direct. I mean to say that it does not intend to reach things
by cannoning, hitting here and intending by glancing shot to
strike out yonder. He moves right straight forward to the
accomplishment of his object.
The style is paradoxical. A paradox is something which
seems to be contradictory and is not contradictory, as, for
instance, „happy are the unhappy” – that is, „Blessed are they
that mourn.” That is a paradox, but there is nothing contra_
dictory about it. There is a comparison between present un_
happiness and future happiness. As Luke keeps bringing it
out, „Blessed are ye that hunger now, for ye shall be filled
hereafter.” „Woe unto you that are rich now, for ye shall be
poor hereafter.” Yes, it is intensely paradoxical. It is illus_
trative. The illustrations do not have to be explained, as some
men’s illustrations. They illustrate. They preach a sermon
by themselves – that is, they carry in their familiar imagery
their own application. He selects objects that are perfectly
well known to the people and so thoroughly familiar that when
used as an illustration there can be no misconception as to the
meaning. Sometimes he illustrates by a hen and chickens,
sometimes by a lily, other times by rocks and thorns and
sheep and birds. It is conversational in its style, and unques_
tionably the greatest preachers are preachers who adopt the
easy, off_hand, conversational style, like Dr. Broadus. But the
distinguishing characteristic in style is that which most im_
pressed his audience, because of its intrinsic power and of its
marked dissimilarity to the methods of their ordinary religious
teachers. He taught as one having authority, and not as the
scribes and Pharisees. The style then was authoritative. Just
look at the difference. A rabbi would get up before the people
and with his eyes cast down would begin to say, „Rabbi Ben
Israel says in the Talmud that Rabbi Joseph said that Rabbi
Amos said that maybe such is the interpretation of the pas_
sage, but Rabbi Issachar quotes Rabbi Ephraim as saying
that Rabbi Eleazer thought it might mean a different thing.”
It was all indeterminate, uncertain; it did not take any posi_
tive shape. The pupil was perplexed by a balancing of con_
flicting probabilities. One leader doubtfully said, „Lo, here,”
while another distrustfully said, „Maybe, yonder.” But Jesus
spoke with authority – authority vested in himself. He leaned
on no human buttresses – did not attempt to defend his doc_
trine, nor to vindicate it. He spoke as God speaks, and without
stopping to give an explanation of his manner – and so ought
men always to speak who speak for God. Let him speak as
the oracles of God. Now as to the rank of this Sermon. Daniel
Webster says that no mere man could have produced the
Sermon on the Mount.
Old age and wisdom bow before the simplicity and sublimity
of this incomparable teaching. Little children sweetly imbibe
its spirit as if it were milk, and aged saints draw from it the
strong meat which supplies their sinews of strength. Babes in
Christ by it take their first step in the practical walk of Chris_
tian life while the men or women in Christ Jesus by it soar
on eagles’ wings into the anticipations of the heavenly world.
It is peerless, matchless, divine.
To show the unity of the Sermon on the Mount, I will give
an outline of it that consists of only three great heads. First,
the characteristics, privileges, and happiness of the messianic
subjects as set forth in the beatitudes. Second, the importance,
influence, and responsibility of the messianic subjects, as set
forth in the images of salt and light. And third, the relations
of the messianic kingdom or doctrines – that is, its relations
to the Jewish law, whether ceremonial) civil or moral; its re_
lations to the rabbinical traditions; its relations to the proph_
ecies; its relations to the outside world in its spirit and
maxims and chief good; its relations to human destiny, clos_
ing with „Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth
them,” he shall be like the man who built his house upon a
rock, and when the floods came and the storms buried, that
house stood, for it was founded upon a rock. All through it,
in all of its great divisions and subdivisions, is brought out in
clearest light that the principles of the Christian religion are
internal, spiritual and practical. It is not, „Do this that you
may be seen of men.” It is not to wash the outside of the cup
or platter. It is not a painted sepulcher, holding inside rotten_
ness and dead men’s bones. It consists not in meat and drink,
not in observances of days and months and seasons. It has
not ten thousand ordinances that touch our dress and our man_
ner. Oh, the mass of stuff that has been imposed upon the
Christian religion which, in its foundation principles, was all
spiritual and not ritualistic. All through it is practical. I
mean to say, as opposed to theoretic or speculative. There is
not a single part of it that is presented to the curious human
mind as something calculated to entertain an idle person –
not a thing. The whole of it is designed to be not abstract,
but concrete – to be incarnated, to be embodied – practical, all
of it.
Having presented that outline of this Sermon, I want to il_
lustrate it by considering briefly the first two divisions. First,
the characteristics, privileges, and happiness of the messianic
subjects, as set forth in what are called the beatitudes, com_
mencing with a few general remarks. There are ten of these
characteristics, with ten corresponding privileges or ten alter_
native woes. Every one of the privileges is based on character,
and every one of the particular measures of happiness is based
on a privilege, showing the relation between character and
happiness – a fixed relation, an indissoluble bond. If a man
possess the kingdom of God; if a man is allowed to see God
and live with him; if a man receives a reward from God at
the last great day, these privileges are the springs of his happi-ness, but every privilege is predicated upon character in the man, upon the inside state of the man’s soul. As Burns expresses it:
It is no’ in titles, nor in rank;
It is no’ in wealth like London bank,
To purchase peace and rest;
If happiness have not her seat
And center in the breast
We may be wiser or rich or great
But never can be blest.
This sermon explains why Paul, covered with wounds and in
prison, at midnight, and with death awaiting him in the morn_
ing, could sing praises to God. It explains how it is, as recorded
in Hebrews II, that the ancient martyrs took joyfully the
spoiling of their goods, and who, while flames wrapped them
about, shouted, „Hallelujah to God”; who leaped for joy that
they were counted worthy to suffer for Christ’s sake. The
Beatitudes express the only great philosophy as contrasted
with Epicureanism and Stoicism. The Epicurean taught: „You
have appetites; if you would be happy, gratify them. Eat,
drink, and be merry.” The Stoic said, „You have appetites;
if you would be happy, extirpate them – dig them up by the
roots.” This sermon says, „You have appetites; if you would
be happy, regulate them. Neither gratify them immoderately
nor suppress them, but divert them from improper channels
and fix them upon worthy objects. You want to be rich; that is
right, only what kind of riches? You want to live? Yes, but
when – now or hereafter? You want great substance? That is
all right, but what kind – evanescent or that which endures?
You would treasure up – yes, but where? Where neither moth
nor rust corrupt, nor thieves dig through and steal.”
It will be observed that these Beatitudes are all double. I
mean that they have a probable sense and an absolute sense.
Take this one. Luke says, „Blessed are ye poor.” Matthew
says, „Blessed are the poor in spirit.” The probable sense is
always this, that comparing the two estates of poverty and
riches, it is more probable that a poor man will get to heaven
than that a rich man will. I mean to say that it is hard for
a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. If one’s rent
roll is $100,000 a year, then one’s chances of heaven are very
slim, but that is not the absolute sense. The absolute sense is,
„Blessed are the poor in spirit.” Again, „Blessed are they that
mourn.” The probable sense is that it is a rule better to go
to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting; that
as a rule afflicted people are more apt to seek the kingdom of
heaven than people who are not afflicted, but its meaning in its
absolute sense is not merely to be a mourner, but to mourn in
spirit for spiritual things.
We next note, generally, that each Beatitude has a corre_
sponding woe, either expressed or implied. Luke mentions four
of them. For instance, when he says, „Blessed are ye poor, for
yours is the kingdom of heaven,” he then adds the alternative,
„But woe unto you rich, for you have had your consolation.”
So with all the others, the corresponding woe is either ex_
pressed or implied.
After these general references to all the Beatitudes, let us
examine somewhat particularly the first two. Take the first,
„Blessed are the poor in spirit for their’s is the kingdom of
heaven.” What does that mean? I believe in close analysis
and clear definition. Now here is the way I would read that:
„Happy is the man who in his inner, higher nature [that is,
in his spirit I consciously feels his poverty or need of spiritual
good from God.” There is poverty – yes, but it is that poverty
in spirit which we consciously feel and not that which we
have but do not know that we have it. Compare two scrip_
tures for proof:
Isaiah 66:2 „To this man will I look, even to him that is
poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.”
Revelation 3:17 „Because thou sayest, I am rich, and in_
creased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest
not that thou art wretched, and miserable and poor, and blind
and naked.”
Evidently the blessing is promised, not to the poverty, but
to the sense of the poverty – the consciousness of the need.
It is quite important to observe this distinction. Now in the
case of these Laodiceans there was actual poverty in the
sphere of the spirit, but there was no recognition of the pov_
erty. On the contrary, they thought themselves to be rich
and that they needed nothing.
The two states of mind are clearly represented in the parable
of the Pharisee and the publican who went up into the Temple
to pray. The Pharisee had spirit need enough, but he had no
consciousness of that need. The publican had the same need
and he deeply felt it. He smote his heart and said, „God be
merciful to me the sinner.” Blessed are the poor in spirit.
The prodigal son illustrates both phases of the subject. When
he left his father’s house, however much he might have in
external things (for he was richly endowed), in his inner na_
ture, in his spirit, he was actually poor, but he did not know
it. He thought he was rich and great, and was corresponding_
ly proud, but there came a time when he began to be in want;
when the need of his soul broke in upon his mind; when he
said, „I have sinned; I will arise and go to my father and
say to him, Father, I am not worthy to be called thy son.
Let me be a servant. I have sinned.” Blessed are the poor
in spirit. That means, happy is the man who in the sphere of
the spirit (or inner or higher nature) feels his need of good
from God – no less, no more. „I need thee every hour, most
gracious Lord.” Oh, bow sweet that hymn is! Poor in spirit.
Oh, I have so few spiritual goods. I need patience, I need
strength, I need clearer views of heaven, I need more of the
spirit of my Master. Poor, yea, blessed are the poor in spirit.
But do not forget the contrast in the now and the here_
after. What do you need, 0 Dives, at the banquet? „Not a
thing in the world. I have a million dollars; have the finest
table in the country; every time I walk out on the streets peo_
ple fawn upon me and say, ‘There goes a millionaire. Look
at him I ‘ Why, I do not need a thing in the world. You never
did see such eating as I have on my table; I am rich.” Rich,
purse proud, feeding upon external things and starving the
soul. That is the now. But let me show him in the hereafter.
We will have to look a long way down into the depths of hell.
Did he take any money with him? Not a cent. Is he thirsty?
Hear him: „And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have
mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his
finger in water, and cool my parched tongue; for I am tor_
mented in this flame” (Luke 16:24). See that chasm that
separates him from God. Mark his apprehension that his
brethren will come where he is. Mark the play of his mem_
ory. „But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy
lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil
things; but now he is comforted, and you are tormented”
(Luke 16:25).
Oh, sublime Teacher, thou Teacher of the relation of time
and eternity! „Blessed are they that mourn.” I would rather
go to the house of mourning than to the house of laughing.
But it refers to the sphere of the spirit. Do we mourn on ac_
count of sin? Do we mourn on account of our lack of con_
formity to the image of Jesus Christ? Do we mourn because
of the low state of piety in the land? Like Jeremiah, is the
cause of our grief the fact that the health of the daughter of
God’s people is not recovered? „Blessed are they that mourn.”
Oh, you mourners in Zion, I say to you, you shall be com_
forted, and when your ashes are turned to beauty and your
heaviness to the garments of praise, and your anguish to the
thrilling joys of heaven, then will your consolation be deep
and high and broad, with an „immeasurable” attached to
every one of the adjectives.
How sweet the song of Tom Moore:
Come, ye disconsolate, where’er ye languish;
Come to the mercy seat, fervently kneel;
Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish,
Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal,

“Blessed are they that mourn.” Oh, mourners, hear the
blessed Saviour: „The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because
he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath
sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to
the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at
liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year
of the Lord” (Luke 4:18_19). We reach the fulness of the
promise in heaven, for there are no tears in heaven, nor sor_
row, nor crying, nor pain, nor death. Hear the precise words
of our Lord: „And God shall wipe away all tears from their
eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor
crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former
things are passed away” (Rev. 21:4).
Blessed are the poor in spirit. Blessed are those that mourn
on account of sin. Blessed are the meek. Blessed are those
that hunger and thirst after righteousness – personal, practi_
cal righteousness, mark you, and not imputed righteousness.
It means absolute, sinless perfection. Such will come after
awhile. Blessed are the pure in heart; that means the ful_
ness of sanctification, in absolute deliverance from the cor_
ruption that is in the world through lust. It, too, will come
after a while. It is not all attainable now. But we may move
toward it and we will be filled; we will ultimately see God.
All these Beatitudes have a special meaning and each one very
Let us now consider somewhat the importance and influ_
ence and responsibility of the people who are poor in spirit and
mourn, and are meek, and who hunger and thirst after right_
eousness, and who are merciful, and who are peacemakers, and
who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. What is their im_
portance? What their influence? What their responsibility?
Jesus, in just one verse, answers all of these questions: „Ye
are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost its savour,
wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing,
but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men”
(Matt. 5:13). The importance or value of Messiah’s sub_
jects is determined by the emphasis on the pronoun „ye.”
The verb ending would in ordinary cases determine the pro_
noun nominative, so it would not have to be expressed. But if,
in the Greek, one desires to throw emphasis on the pronoun,
it must be expressed. The Greek verb este by itself means
„ye are,” that is, without emphasis. But to have it „YE are,”
capitalizing and emphasizing the pronoun, it must be written
humeis este. How then can I give the emphasis, the deep stress
our Saviour placed on that pronoun? YE – YE – YE are the
salt of the earth and the light of the world. Thus we see that
he meant to deny such importance and influence and responsi_
bility to anything else or to anybody else.
First, there is a contrast when he says „ye.” The emphasis_
is on the „ye.” Ye are the light of the world. Ye are the
salt of the earth. It is as if he had said, „If this world is pre_
served from moral corruption, if this world is wrested from
the realms of darkness and bathed in light, ye will have to do
it. Ye are the important ones.” 0 think of it, you mourners,
you poor in spirit, you merciful ones, you that hunger and
thirst after righteousness, you are more important in the sight
of God and ten thousand times more valuable than all the
rich, ungodly men that ever trod the face of the earth. I say
unto you that not the philosophers (lightning bugs trying to
outshine the sun), not the police, shall keep the world from
corrupting and rotting; not the public school, as the politicians
would have you believe. No, you can have good public schools
right over the mouth of the pit. But ye are the light of the
world; those whose characteristics are internal, spiritual, prac_
tical; followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. I say if the whole
earth is not cracked open today it is because of you. If the
cloud does not burst and the bolt fall to smite it with univer_
sal flame, it is solely because of that „ye.” Ye poor in spirit;
ye Christians that are scattered about on the face of the earth
– ye and ye alone. Ah, me, if you were taken off the earth
it would rot and stink until heaven would be compelled to burn
it. I would like to know whenever philosophy or secular edu_
cation or commerce or riches or secular science ever kept a
community from morally rotting.
I say today, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that but
for the humble, God_fearing men and women in any state,
in any county, in any town, it would rot. They are the salt
of the earth and the light of the world.
As the value and importance of God’s people are deter_
mined by the emphatic „Ye,” so the character of their influ_
ence is determined by the figures „salt and light.” Salt pre_
serves – keeps pure. Light dispels darkness. Heat expels cold.
The salt of the sea is the shore’s barrier against universal
disease and death.
Without the light and its accompanying heat there could
be no life. No plant would germinate. Darkness that could
be felt would shroud the earth. More than Arctic cold would
ensue. All liquids would solidify and petrify. The rivers –
earth’s arteries – would stiffen into blocks of ice. The veins
of blood would become like steel wire, harder than man’s
bones. What, therefore, salt and light are to the natural world,
even that are Christians to the spiritual world. And as the
emphatic „ye” expresses who are earth’s important ones, and
as the „salt and light” express the kind and character of their
value, so their responsibility is expressed by „putting the can_
dle on the candlestick.” „Neither do men light a candle, and
put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth
light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine
before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify
your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:15_16). Mark the
emphasis on the „so.” It is commonly misunderstood. As the
candle once lighted must be put on the candlestick in order
to be sufficiently visible, even so when God shines into the
heart the conversion must be so positioned as to be visible. It
is to position and consequent visibility that „even so” refers.
I say that our responsibility is all involved in putting the
candle in the right place. God himself does the lighting. Our
part is not to so misplace the light as to hide it. It therefore
becomes a supreme question: How do you put it on the can_
First then let the divine oracles speak. Hear the Word of
„I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have
declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation; I have not con_
cealed thy loving kindness and thy truth from the great con_
gregation” (Psalm 40:10). „Come and hear all ye that fear
God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul”
(Psalm 66:16). „Whosoever therefore shall confess me be_
fore men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in
heaven.” „But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will
I also deny before my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 10:
32_33). „The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches:
and the seven candlesticks that thou sawest are the seven
churches” (Rev. 1:20).
What then do these scriptures mean? That we must not
hide God’s righteousness in our hearts. That we must tell it.
Let God’s people hear our Christian experience. Let the whole
world know just where we stand. Unite with the church.
On every issue between righteousness and unrighteousness, be_
tween light and darkness, between Christ and Belial, take an
unmistakable position on the Lord’s side. Do not try to be
a secret partner of Jesus Christ, a Nicodemus who comes to
see him by night. Come out and take a stand. Let the world
know your alignment. Put the candle on the candlestick and
let the marksman of hell try to snuff it out. To put it on the
candlestick is unquestionably to join the church. Where do we
get that? Why, in the book of Revelation Jesus moves among
the candlesticks, and what are the candlesticks? They are
the churches. The seven candlesticks are the seven churches.
Why put the light there? Because the Lord Jesus Christ has
made the church the pillar and ground of the truth. That is
his institution. Man can organize something, but Jesus or_
ganized the church. That is an institution which has the
promise of this life and that which is to come. Yea, she it
is that looketh forth as the morning, clear as the sun, fair as
the moon, and terrible as an army with banners.
Oh, but one says that means the invisible church. How on
earth, if it is invisible, is it putting a candle on a candlestick?
An invisible candlestick? He is not referring to invisibility.
A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. God lighted the
light and it is eternal, but God says make it conspicuous, visi_
ble. Put it on the candlestick that everybody can see it shine.
Unquestionably. Well, if it gets in the church, it shines.
How? It will help the church publish the principles of the
messianic kingdom. It will be in the church and shine, and the
waves of light radiating from the church will go out into the
darkened heathen land upon wings of every sermon and prayer
and song. It will help advertise the truth of Jesus.
In every sermon preached and prayer offered and song sung,
let it be as if upon a ladder of promises, it had gone up to the
ceiling of the skies and placarded their whole scope with the
promises of eternal life.
That is the way we shine. We shine in our mission work.
We shine in our example at home, in the school.
And now let me say, if our religion is worth a snap of the
finger, let us take it into politics. Do not misunderstand me;
I do not mean to have a religious political party, separate
from every other, but I do mean, that whatever religion we
have, we should let it be as potent in determining a political
question as any other question. Let me give a sublime il_
lustration: William E. Gladstone was England’s prime min_
ister. To be prime minister of England means a vast deal
more than to be president of the United States, for under
the present British constitution the prime minister is the
sovereign – the government of England. The queen has noth_
ing more to do with it than I have, but the prime minister of
England is the lord of England and her empire. The British
cabinet is not like the cabinet that we have over here in our
country – merely advisers. Now he was prime minister of
England, and had attained his premiership by combining the
liberal element of the political party in England and Scotland
with the Irish element. The Irish element was led by Charles
Stewart Parnell. Parnell was the king and chief of the Irish
contingent, and he and Gladstone stood like two brothers,
working together for the accomplishment of good for the whole
empire. Right in the midst of their great victory an awful
thing developed. A divorce suit was instituted against Mrs.
0’Shea by her husband and making Parnell co_respondent,
and the fact brought out a moral depravity of heart in the
case of Parnell – oh, such a sickening state of facts that
Gladstone said: „If it costs me the prime minister’s place I
will not stand by the side of Charles Stewart Parnell. I will
let the political party go; I am a Christian; I love God. I love
God more than I love a political party. I will not give this
man the hand of fellowship. Ireland must select another lead_
er.” Parnell refused to yield leadership. It divided the Irish
vote and lost Gladstone’s working majority in Parliament. He
had to resign, and he is the only man I know that actually
preferred to be right than to be prime minister.
The time sometimes comes when instead of showing we are
Christians by being willing to shake hands with everybody,
we must show our Christianity by refusing to take a bad man’s
hand, even though he poses as a Christian.
It may be that we cannot reach him by church discipline.
It becomes necessary that he may be made to feel the force
of a righteous public opinion. I repeat it that there are de_
grees to which a church member may go in slandering his
brethren, in breeding strife, in opposing or clogging the wheels
of Christian progress, when to give him Christian recognition
is a sin. Such a man becomes a curse instead of a blessing.
What, though a man be a Baptist, and what though some
church retain him in fellowship, yet he may so go astray in
doctrine that this scripture applies: „If there come any unto
you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your
house, neither bid him God_speed: for he that biddeth him
God_speed is partaker of his evil deeds” (2 John 10_11).
„Others note and have no company with them that they may
be ashamed” (2 Thess. 3:14). Paul thus urgently entreats
and exhorts the Romans: „Now I beseech you, brethren, mark
them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doc_
trine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that
are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly:
and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the
simple” (Rom. 16:17_18). He also thus enjoins the Corin_
thians: „I wrote to you in an epistle not to company with
fornicators: yet not altogether with the fornicators of this
world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters;
for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have
written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is
called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater,
or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one
no, not to eat” (I Cor. 5:9_11). He also urges Timothy „to

turn away from” another class (2 Tim. 3:5).
Indeed, there are men so adroit in the use of the forms and
technicalities of the law they can, so far as human courts ex_
tend, violate with impunity the spirit of the whole moral law.
Such men are to be shunned, avoided, turned from. Let no
good man receive them as friends. They are incorrigible. And
particularly is this true of a fomenter and breeder of strife
among brethren, or one who, like Satan, is a slanderer of his
brethren. If he is a man that is called a brother, if he claims
to be a Christian, and does certain things, turn from him and
let the whole world know that you do not claim fellowship with
him. Says the apostle, „Avoid him.” If he can make us come
up and stand beside him, so that he can say, „We two,” and
all the time proceed in infamy, all the time reap immoral rot_
tenness, that is all he wants. He will spread the mantle of
our Christianity over his vileness.
Aaron Burr, for political reasons and from very slight
causes, none such as are regarded sufficiently weighty to justify
a challenge, forced a duel on Alexander Hamilton, although he
knew Hamilton would never fire 3 shot at him, and he mur_
dered Hamilton. Now, it was a sign that the United States
was not absolutely rotting when the public sentiment spoke
out as to the crime of duelling, when Burr, though he had
been a leading spirit in one of the great political parties of
this Union, was not socially recognized. Good people by whom
he would sit down would get up and move away somewhere
Should we take the hand of a Benedict Arnold or Judas
Iscariot? To a certain extent the public denunciation that
thundered over the head of Breckenridge of Kentucky was
very godlike; but, I confess, when he stood up, and without
extenuation, without denying the facts, but openly confess_
ing them – confessing his sin and asking forgivenessù1 con_
fess then there ought to have been more mercy shown him.
If the principles of the Christian religion are not carried into
society, if they are not carried into business, if they are not
carried into politics, if we do not let the light shine, then the
salt has lost the savour and the light is put under a bushel.
We are the light of the world and the salt of the earth, says
the great Teacher.
My own conclusions are never child’s play. They are al_
ways reached after profound investigation of a subject.
I would rather stand up by the side of half a dozen who
were occupying the platform of that Sermon on the Mount
than to be one of a million on the opposing side.
Oh, put the light on the candlestick!
The third division of this Sermon consists of several items,
some of which need to be elaborated somewhat, others having
been sufficiently discussed in preceding chapters. The first
point under this division is the relation of the messianic teach_
ing to the law and the current teaching. It is a fulfilment,
i. e., a filling out, of the law and not destructive of the law.
It is also a correction of the current teaching of our Lord’s
time on many points respecting the law. The second item of
this division is murder in its germ, which is anger. This is dis_
cussed by our Lord in Matthew 5:21_26. The third item is
adultery in its germ, 5:27_31. The fourth item is unlawful
divorce, 5:32. The fifth item is swearing, 5:33_37. The sixth
item is the law of lex talionis, or the law of revenge, 5:38_42.
The seventh item is the relation of the children of the kingdom
to their enemies, expressed in one word – love. Then follows
a prohibition of ostentatious works: alms_giving, prayer and
fasting, and the inculcation of singlehearted devotion to God
in laying up treasures in heaven and in leaving off vain anxie_
ties. The question under discussion by our Saviour was this:
He saw men bowed down with anxieties on the bread and meat
question, the duty of providing for their families. „0, what
shall we eat, and what shall we drink and wherewithal shall
we be clothed?” He saw them trying to settle that question
– and a good question it is to settle. What was the matter
then? They were settling it at the wrong time and place.
They were trying to settle a subordinate relation in advance
of the settlement of a higher and paramount relation. What
does he say? Does he say that the food is not good, that
clothing is not good, that providing for the family is not
good? On the contrary, this very passage offers these things:
„All these things shall be added unto you.” God knows we
are hungry and should be fed. He knows we need clothing
and shelter. The Lord knows that provision should be made
against a famine. All our wants are known unto him, and not
against them does this text speak, but for them. But this –
let us settle this question, the biggest thing first, the funda_
mental thing, the vital thing. What is it? „Seek ye first the
kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall
be added unto you.” That prepares one to live now, here in
this world; that prepares one for death, for both worlds.
„Godliness hath the promise of the life that now is and of the
life to come.” Let us look yet more carefully at this passage.
What is meant here by the kingdom of God, or the kingdom of
heaven? It means what it means in the third chapter of
Matthew, where John the Baptist said, „Repent ye for the
kingdom of heaven is at hand”; it means the reign or govern_
ment of God through Jesus Christ in the heart and life here
on the earth. That is to say, in preparing to live, I must
seek first an entrance into that kingdom and a title to its
privileges and its joys, and when my relations to that king_
dom are settled, which are my relations to God, then these
other things in the order of their importance require due at_
tention. Well, let us put it in yet other words in order to get
the thought still more clearly. What do we mean by seeking
first the kingdom of heaven? Seeking; that means any effort
upon our part during the time which God has appointed for
that purpose, to obtain reconciliation with him; that means any
effort on our part toward regeneration, any effort that we may
put forth to become a child of God, a subject of Jesus Christ.
That is seeking the kingdom of heaven. What is meant by
righteousness? „Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his
righteousness.” Evidently from the connection the reference
here is not to the imputed righteousness of Christ; that is
abundantly set forth in other scriptures, and that, too. is
obtained in entering into the kingdom of heaven. That be_
longs to the initial process and is involved in regeneration.
The righteousness here referred to is the personal righteousness
of the subject of the kingdom, practical holiness, practical obe_
dience to God’s command.
Now mark the order. Suppose I try to be righteous and
sanctified before I am converted, surely I will fallù1 must
seek God first. „I will cultivate morality. I will pay my
debts. I will tell the truth. I will be good.” How good with_
out being reconciled to God, how good without regeneration,
how good without the motive of love of God in the heart?
The thing can’t be done. Next, what is meant then by „shall
be added to you?” It means this, that God’s care in provid_
ing for the temporal necessities of his people in this life is
just as efficient as his care for the salvation of their souls.
I say that if we will first settle our relation to God by be_
coming a Christian, and then from the basis of regeneration,
the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, being now saved, we fol_
low on into good works and into holy living, then the Bible
promise is that all these other things shall be added.
Let me now show what the Bible says about this life, and
how these things shall be added. Let us take a passage from
Psalm 37; it has never been falsified; it holds true in every
age of the world: „Trust in the Lord and do good, so shalt
thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.” What
is the anxiety here? „I was afraid I would not have a place
among men in the land. I was afraid I would not have pro_
vision.” „Trust, in the Lord and do good and verily thou
shalt be fed.” „Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his right_
eousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” Again:
„Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the
desires of thine heart.” Again: „Commit thy way unto the
Lord; trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass. And
he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light and thy
judgment as the noonday,” the very righteousness of this
passage. „Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for him.”
Yet again: „The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord
and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall he shall not be
utterly cast down.” „I have seen the wicked in great power,
and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed
away and lo, he was not. But mark the perfect man, con_
sider the upright – the end of that man is peace.” Peace here,
peace at the end. „0, that I might die the death of the right_
eous and that my last end might be like his.” That same
psalm says, „I have been young and now am old, and yet
never have I seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed begging
bread.” Take this one: „The Lord God is a sun and a shield.
No good thing will he withhold from them that walk upright_
ly.” Take this scripture: „All things work together for good
to them that love God; to them that are the called according
to his purpose.”
And it means all things above, here, below, night, day, moon,
stars, breezes, storms, calms, afflictions, and bright days of
prosperity, enemies – EVERYTHING. Even hell shall work
for our good if we love God.
For example and by way of illustration, consider the things
that to an outsider seem to be the hardest things on this earth
to do, nor can he understand how a Christian does them,
First, giving money. I have had men to look at me as if I
were crazy and they seemed to be sorry for me that I should
feel constrained to give so liberally to the cause of Christ.
They don’t know anything about it. Take giving then as an
illustration and let me show that if first we have given our_
selves to God (mark that. for we do not give money to obtain
salvation, but if first we have entered the kingdom of God,)
and, moved with a love of God, we freely give, then for w
God brightens earth and the grave and heaven. How is that?
Does it help in this life? Our Saviour said, „Give, and it shall
be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, shaken to_
gether, running over.” That is in this life; that is here.
I do say it, and the Lord beareth me witness that I lie not,
that for the protection of my family in the matter of support I
have never had one single anxiety since the day that my wife
and I, without a dollar in the world, covenanted with God and
settled the question of our financial relation to him, and I
never more expect to have any. I say that it is the truth
that not one wave of anxiety or trouble as to how I am to be
fed and clothed, has ever rolled over my mind since that
eventful day twenty_seven years ago, I determined to settle
that question, and it was settled from top to bottom.
Well, now, suppose the question was asked me: „Has God
taken care of you? Has he been good to you? Has he kept
you? Has he clothed you? Has he kept you out of debt?
Has he enabled you not only to have, but to have in order
to give?” Why, I would have to say, „Lord, it has been good
measure; it has been pressed down; it has been shaken to_
gether, and it runs over all the time in this life.” And never
on the earth was anything truer than that.
Now let us take the life to come on this question. Listen
to the Saviour: „Whosoever shall give a cup of cold water to a
disciple in the name of a disciple, shall receive a disciple’s
reward.” Hear him again when he says, „Make to yourselves
friends of the mammon of unrighteousness that when it shall
fail they [the friends that you have made by it] shall receive
you into everlasting habitations.” Listen again, and I want
to show that such is the life to come. The charge of Paul, the
charge to rich men: „Charge them that are rich in this world
that they be not high minded nor trust to uncertain riches, but
in the living God who giveth us all things to enjoy. Charge
them that they do good; that they be rich in good works; that
they be ready to distribute and willing to contribute, laying
up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time
to come that they may lay hold on eternal life.”
I take one other scripture only. I will take it from a scene
that ought to touch every heart. It is from the judgment day.
Graves have opened, death and hell have given up their dead
and all nations are standing before God, and I see them sepa_
rate right and left, and I hear the words of the Lord: „Come
ye blessed of my Father; enter into the kingdom of heaven
prepared for you from the foundation of the world, for I was
sick and ye visited me. I was hungry and ye fed me. I
was naked and ye clothed me.” Lord, when? When did we
do this? „Inasmuch as you did it unto the least of my dis_
ciples you did it unto me.” Here, then, is giving – the giving
of a converted, of a saved man, brightening the hearthstone
of every one who thus lives, and bringing blessings on a dark,
lonely traveler on the mountain’s height; brightening the
shadows of death and the realms beyond; brightening the
home that is on high.
Our Saviour follows this with several other items of inter_
est, such as the prohibition of censorious judgments, the privi_
lege of a messianic subject to come to God as a child comes
to an earthly parent, the exhortation to enter the straight gate,
the unchangeable law that the tree is known by its fruits, and
last, the principle that discipleship is manifested, not by pro_
fession but by obedience.
There are several items here that need to be emphasized,
but they are brought out in the interpretation of other pas_
sages. Therefore I will only mention them, citing where may
be found my discussion on these subjects. First, the question of
offending members, here raised in Matthew 5:29_31, is dis_
cussed in connection with Mark 9:47 in this volume. Second,
the divorce question, here raised in Matthew 5:32, is discussed
in connection with Matthew 19:1-12 in The Four Gospels,
Part II of „The Interpretation.” Third, the question of oaths
here raised in Matthew 5:33_37, is discussed in Exodus_Leviti_
ctis of „The Interpretation.” Fourth, the comment of our Lord
on the model prayer relative to forgiveness, is discussed in
connection with the subject of repentance, in chapter XV of
this volume. Fifth, the question of the „few saved” of Mat_
thew 8:13_14, is discussed in connection with Luke 13:23, in
Part II of The Four Gospels.
This Sermon on the Mount closes with a vivid description of
the two builders, showing the beauty and permanency of a
life founded upon the teachings of our Lord and the awful
crash of life structure built on any other foundation than
Christ, the Rock of Ages. One is here reminded of the modern
song, „On Christ the Solid Rock,” which, like this passage,
shows the necessity of building on the rock, as I Corinthians
3:10_15 shows the necessity of the right sort of material to be
placed in the building on the rock. „All other ground is sink_
ing sand”; all combustible material will be consumed. But
whatever the material, if on the sand, it must fall and „great
will be the fall thereof.”

1. Who were the historians of the Sermon on the Mount?
2. What was the scene of this sermon?
3. What the occasion of it?
4. What was the design of it, negatively and positively?
5. What can you say of the matter of this sermon?
6. What of its style?
7. Explain the terms used to describe the style.
8. What can you say of the rank of this sermon?
9. What is the evidence of divine authorship in this sermon?
10. What are the three great heads of the outline of this sermon?
11. What relations are expressed under the third great head?
12. What are the characteristics of the principles of the Christian
religion as brought out in this sermon? Illustrate.
13. How many Beatitudes here? Repeat them from memory.
14. What is revealed in each of these Beatitudes? Quote Bums in
point and illustrate by New Testament examples,
15. How do these Beatitudes correspond with the teaching of Epicu_
reanism and Stoicism?
16. Show how these Beatitudes are double.
17. Give the woe of each Beatitude, either expressed or implied.
18. What, more particularly, the interpretation of the First Beatitude?
Illustrate by New Testament parables.
19. For what do the blessed here in. the Second Beatitude mourn?
20. How is this thought expressed by Tom Moore?
21. How does Jesus express the comfort of this thought elsewhere and
where do we reach the fulness of the promise here?
22. Give briefly the import of all the other Beatitudes.
23. What is the responsibility of the subjects of the kingdom, how is
it expressed and how is the importance of it shown? Illustrate.
24. Show the value and importance of God’s people from the figures
25. How is our responsibility in the matter expressed, and what is
the general application?
26. What should be the application of this principle to politics? Illustrate.
27. What is it’s application to Christian and church fellowship? Give
scriptural proof.
28. What are the points in the Aaron Burr and Breckenridge cases,
29. What several subjects are treated in the third main division of
this sermon?
30. What, in detail, is the interpretation of Matthew 6:33, what are
the several scriptures cited to corroborate this interpretation, and what is the application?
31. What other subjects here need to be emphasized and where may
be found a discussion of each?
32. How does our Lord close the Sermon on the Mount and what

Part IV
The Centurion’s Servant Healed, the Widow’s Son Raised,
The Sin Against the Holy Spirit
Harmony _pages 52_59 and Matthew 8:1, 5_13; 11:2_30;
12:22_37; Mark 3:lff_30; Luke 7:1 to 8:3.

When Jesus, who spoke with authority, had finished the
Sermon on the Mount, he returned to Capernaum where he
acted with authority in performing some noted miracles. Here
he was met by a deputation from a centurion, a heathen, be_
seeching him to heal his servant who was at the point of death.
This Jewish deputation entered the plea for the centurion that
he had favored the Jews greatly and had built for them a
synagogue. Jesus set out at once to go to the house of the
centurion, but was met by a second deputation, saying to Jesus
that he not trouble himself but just speak the word and the
work would be done. The centurion referred in this message
to his own authority over his soldiers, reasoning that Christ’s
authority was greater and therefore he could speak the word
and his servant should be healed. This called forth from our
Lord the highest commendation of his faith. No Jew up to
this time had manifested such faith as this Roman centurion.
Then our Lord draws the picture of the Gentiles coming from
the east, west, north, and south to feast with Abraham, Isaac,
and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven while the Jews, the sons
of the kingdom, were cast out. Jesus then granted the peti_
tion of the centurion according to his faith.
The second great miracle of Jesus in this region was the
raising of the widow’s son at Nain, which was a great bless_
ing to the widow and caused very much comment upon the
work of our Lord, so that his fame spread over all Judea and
the region roundabout. His fame. as a miracle worker and „a
great prophet, “ reached John the Baptist and brought forth
his message of inquiry.
This inquiry of John, which reflects the state of discourage_
ment, and also the testimony of Jesus concerning John, is
discussed in chapter 10 of this volume (which see), but
there are some points in this incident not brought out in
that discussion which also need to be emphasized. First, what
is the meaning of „the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence”
(Matt. 11:12)? The image is not precisely that of taking a
city by storm, but of an eager, invading host, each trying to
be first, pressing and jostling each other, as when gold was
discovered in California, or at the settlement of the Oklahoma
strip. It means impassioned earnestness and indomitable reso_
lution in the entrance upon and pursuit of a Christian life,
making religion the chief concern and salvation the foremost
thing as expressed in the precepts: „Seek first the kingdom,
etc.,” „Agonize to enter in at the strait gate.” It rightly
expresses the absorbing interest and enthusiasm of a revival.
„Thus Christianity was born in a revival and all its mighty
advances have come from revivals which are yet the hope of
the world.” This thought is illustrated in Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s
Progress, pp. 47_49. Following this is the contrast between
the publicans and scribes, the one justifying God and the other
rejecting for themselves the counsel of God. Then he likens
them unto children in the market, playing funeral. One side
piped but the other side did not dance; then they wailed but
the others did not weep. So, John was an ascetic and that
did not suit them; Jesus ate and drank and that did not suit
them. So it has ever been with the faultfinders. But in spite
of that, wisdom is justified of her works (or children), i.e.,
wisdom is evidenced by her children, whether in the conduct
of John or Jesus. But this statement does not justify the
liquor business as the defendants of it claim.
There is no evidence that Jesus either made or drank intoxi_
cating wine
Then began Jesus to upbraid the cities wherein were done
these mighty works, including Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Caper_
naum, because they had not repented. This shows that light
brings with it the obligation to repent, and that this will be
the governing principle of the judgment. Men shall be judged
according to the light they have. Then follows the announce_
ment of a great principle of revelation. God makes it to babes
rather than to the worldly_wise man, and that Jesus himself
is the medium of the revelation from God to man, but only
the humble in spirit and contrite in heart can receive it. Be_
cause he is the medium of the blessing, the God_man, his
compassion here finds expression in this great, broad invita_
tion: „Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and
learn of me; for am I meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall
find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden
is light.” Note the two kinds of rest here: First, the given rest,
which is accepted by grace, and second, the found rest, which
is attained in service.
The next incident is the anointing of our Saviour’s feet by
a woman who was a sinner. This incident occurred in Galilee –
just where I do not know – possibly, but not probably, in Nain.
It is recorded by Luke alone, who, following a custom
of the historians of mentioning only one incident of a special
kind, omits the narrative of a later anointing.
Two preceding things seem to be implied by the story: (a)
That the host had been a beneficiary in some way of Christ’s
healing power over the body; (b) That the woman had been
a beneficiary” of his saving power. It is quite probable that
her weary and sin_burdened soul had heard and accepted the
gracious invitation: „Come unto me, etc.,” just given by the
Saviour. At any rate her case is an incarnate illustration of
the power of that text and is a living exposition of it. It is
far more beautiful and impressive in the Greek than any trans_
lation can make it. Several customs prevalent then but obso_
lete now, constitute the setting of the story, and must be
understood in order to appreciate its full meaning.
(1) The Oriental courtesies of hospitality usually extended
to an honored guest. The footwear of the times – open san_
dals – and the dust of travel in so dry a country, necessitated
the washing of the feet of an incoming guest the first act of
hospitality. See Abraham’s example (Gen. 18:4) and Lot’s
(19:2) and Laban’s (24:32) and the old Benjaminite (Judges
19:20_21) and Abigail (I Sam. 25:41). See as later instances
(John 13) our Lord’s washing the feet of his disciples and the
Christian customs (I Tim. 5:10). This office was usually
performed by servants, but was a mark of great respect and
honor to a guest if performed by the host himself.
(2) The custom of saluting a guest with a kiss. See case of
Moses (Ex. 18:7) and of David (2 Sam. 19:39). To observe
this mode of showing affectionate respect is frequently en_
joined in the New Testament epistles. As employed by Absa_
lom for purposes of demagogy (2 Sam. 15:5), and as em_
ployed toward Amasa by Joab when murder was in his
heart (2 Sam. 20:9_10), and by Judas to our Lord when
treachery was in his heart, rendered their crimes the more
heinous. To this Patrick Henry refers: „Suffer not your_
selves to be betrayed with a kiss.”
(3) The custom of anointing the head at meals (Eccles.
9:7_8; Psalm 23:5). Hence for the Pharisee to omit these
marks of courteous hospitality was to show his light esteem for
his guest. It proves that the invitation was not very hearty.
(4) The custom of reclining at meals (Amos 6:4_6). This
explains „sat at meat” and „behind at his feet.”

With these items of background we are prepared to under_
stand and appreciate that wonderful story of the compassion
of Jesus. His lesson on forgiveness and proportionate love as
illustrated in the case of this wicked woman has been the
sweet consolation of thousands. The announcement to the
woman that her faith had saved her throws light on the ques_
tion, „What must I do to be saved?” There are here also the
usual contrasts where the work of salvation is going on. The
woman was overflowing with love and praise while others
were questioning in their hearts and abounding in hate and
censure. This scene has been re_enacted many a time since, as
Christianity has held out the hand of compassion to the out_
casts and Satan has questioned and jeered at her beautiful
offers of mercy.
In Section 47 of the Harmony we have a further account of
our Lord’s ministry in Galilee with the twelve, and certain
women who had been the beneficiaries of his ministry, who
also ministered to him of their substance. This is the first
Ladies’ Aid Society of which we have any record and they
were of the right sort.
We now take up the discussion of the sin against _the Holy
Spirit found in Section 48. Before opening the discussion of
it, allow me to group certain passages of both Testaments
bearing on this question: Psalm 19:13: „Innocent of the great
transgression.” Mark 3:29: „Guilty of an eternal sin.” Num_
bers 15:28_31: „If any soul sin through ignorance, the priest
shall make an atonement for the soul that sinneth ignorantly,
when he sinneth by ignorance before the Lord, to make an
atonement for him and it shall be forgiven him. But the soul
that doeth presumptuously, born in the land of a stranger, the
same reproacheth the Lord; and that soul shall be cut off from
among his people. Because he hath despised the word of the
Lord, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall be
utterly cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him.” Hebrews 10:
26_29: „For if we sin willfully after that we have received the
knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more a sacrifice
for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment and a
fierceness of fire which shall devour the adversaries. A man
that hath set at naught Moses’ law, dieth without compassion
on the word of two or three witnesses; of how much sorer
punishment, think ye, shall he be judged worthy, who has
trodden under foot the Son of God and hath counted the blood
of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy
thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” Jere_
miah 15:1: „Then said the Lord unto me, Though Moses and
Samuel stood before me, yet my mind could not be toward this
people: cast them out of my sight, and let them go forth.”
I John 5:16: „If any man see his brother sinning a sin not
unto death, he shall ask, and God will give him life for them
that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: not con_
cerning this do I say that he should make request.” Ezekiel
14:13_14: „Son of man, when a land sinneth against me, by
committing a trespass, and I stretch out mine hand upon it,
and break the staff of the bread thereof, and send famine
upon it, and cut off from it man and beast; though these three
men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but
their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord God.”
The scriptures just cited have excited profound interest
in every age of the world since they were recorded. In all the
intervening centuries they have so stirred the hearts of those
affected by them as to strip life of enjoyment. They have
driven many to despair. In every community there are
guilty and awakened consciences as spellbound by these scrip_
tures as was Belshazzar when with pallid lips and shaking
knees he confronted the mysterious handwriting on the wall,
Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin. In almost every community
we can find some troubled soul, tortured with the apprehen_
sion that he has committed the unpardonable sin. Sympathetic
and kindly_disposed expositors in every age have tried in vain
to break the natural force or soften in some way the prima
facie import of these divine utterances. Some have denied that
there ever was, or ever could be an unpardonable sin. Others
conceded that such sin might have been committed in the days
of Christ’s earthly ministry, but the hazard passed away with
the cessation of miracles. All the power of great scholarship
has been brought to bear with microscopic inspection of words
and phrases to establish one or the other of these propositions.
And, indeed, if great names could avail in such cases, this
slough of despond would have been safely bridged. But no
such explanation ever satisfies a guilty conscience or removes
from the hearts of the masses of plain people, the solemn
conviction that the Bible teaches two things:
First, that in every age of the past, men were liable to com_
mit the unpardonable sin and that as a matter of fact, some
did commit it.
Second, that there is now not only the same liability, but
that some do now actually commit it. There is something in
man which tells him that these scriptures possess for him an
awful admonition whose truth is eternal.
Whether all the scriptures just cited admit of one classifica_
tion matters nothing, so far as the prevalent conviction is con_
cerned. Where one of the group may be successfully detached
by exegesis another rises up to take its place. The interest
in the doctrine founded on them is a never_dying interest. Be_
cause of this interest, it is purposed now to examine somewhat
carefully, the principal passages bearing on this momentous
theme. Most humbly, self_distrustingly and reverently will
the awful subject be approached.
It is deemed best to approach it by considering specially the
case recorded by Matthew and Mark. The words are spoken
by our Lord himself. The antecedent facts which occasioned
their utterance may be briefly stated thus:
(1) Jesus had just delivered a miserable demoniac by cast_
ing out the demon who possessed him.

(2) It was a daylight affair, a public transaction, all the cir_
cumstances so open and visible, and the fact so incontroverti_
ble and stupendous that many recognized the divine power and
(3) But certain Pharisees who had been pursuing him with
hostile intent, who had been obstructing his work in every
possible way, finding themselves unable to dispute the fact
of the miracle, sought to break its force by attributing its
origin to Beelzebub, the prince of demons, charging Jesus with
collusion with Satan.
(4) The issue raised was specific. This issue rested on
three indisputable facts conceded by all parties. It is impor_
tant to note these facts carefully and to impress our minds
with the thought that as conceded facts, they underlie the
issue. The facts are, first, that an evil and unwilling demon
had been forcibly ejected from his much desired stronghold
and dispossessed of his ill_gotten spoils. It was no good
spirit. It was no willing spirit. It was a violent ejectment.
It was a despoiling ejectment. Second, the one who so sum_
marily ejected the demon and despoiled him was Jesus of
Nazareth. Third fact, the ejectment was by supernatural mi_
raculous power – by some spirit mightier than the outcast
demon. Evidently Jesus had, by some spirit, wrought a nota_
ble miracle. He claimed that he did it by the Holy Spirit of
God resting on him and dwelling in him. The Pharisees alleged
that he did it by an unclean spirit, even Satan himself. The
contrast is between „unclean_spirit” and „Holy Spirit.” An aw_
ful sin was committed by one or the other. Somebody was guil_
ty of blasphemy. If Jesus was in collusion with Satan – if he
attributed the devil’s work by him to the Holy Spirit, he was
guilty of blasphemy. If the Pharisees, on the other hand,
attributed the work of the Holy Spirit to an unclean spirit,
this was slandering God. They were guilty of blasphemy.
(5) Jesus answers the charge against himself by three
arguments: First, as the demon cast out belonged to Satan’s
kingdom and was doing Satan’s work, evidently he was not
cast out by Satan’s power, for a kingdom divided against
itself cannot stand, and none could justly accuse Satan of
the folly of undermining his own kingdom. Second, the
demon could not have been despoiled and cast out unless
first overpowered by some stronger spirit than himself, who,
if not Satan, must be the Holy Spirit, Satan’s antagonist and
master. Third, as the Pharisees themselves claimed to be
exorcists of demons, it became them to consider how their
argument against Jesus might be applied to their own exor_
Then he in turn became the accuser. In grief and indig_
nation he said, „Therefore I say unto you, every sin and
blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. And whoso_
ever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be
forgiven him, but whosoever shall speak against the Holy
Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world nor
in that which is to come.”
Or as Mark expresses it, „Verily I say unto you, All their
sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and their blas_
phemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: but whoso_
ever shall blaspheme against the Holy Spirit hath never
forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin; because they said,
He hath an unclean spirit.” Having the case now before
us, let us next define or explain certain terms expressed or
implied in the record.
Unpardonable. – Pardonable means not that which is or
must be pardoned, but which may be pardoned on compliance
with proper conditions – that while any sin unrepented of,
leads ultimately to death, yet as long as the sinner lives, a
way of escape is offered to him. But an unpardonable sin is
one which from the moment of its committal is forever with_
out a possible remedy. Though such a sinner may be per_
mitted to live many years, yet the very door of hope is closed
against him. It is an eternal sin. It hath never forgiveness.
Sermons, prayers, songs, and exhortations avail nothing in
his case. The next expression needing explanation is, „Neither
in this world, nor in the world to come.” Construed by itself
this language might imply one of two things:
First, that God will pardon some sins in the next world,
i.e., there may be for many, though not all, a probation after
death. So Romanists teach. On such interpretation is purga_
tory founded.
Second, or it may imply that God puts away some sins 80
far as the next world is concerned, but yet does not remit
chastisement for them in this world.
Where the meaning of a given passage is doubtful, then
we apply the analogy of the faith. That is, we compare
the doubtful with the certain. The application of this rule
necessitates discarding the first possible meaning assigned.
It is utterly repugnant to the tenor of the Scriptures. Men
are judged and their destiny decided by the deeds done in
the body, not out of it. If they die unjust they are raised
unjust. There is no probation after death. It remains to
inquire if the second possible implication agrees with the
tenor of the Scriptures. Here we find no difficulty whatever.
The general Bible teaching is in harmony with the second
meaning. The Scriptures abundantly show three things:
First, some sins are remitted both for time and eternity.
That is, when they are pardoned for eternity, even chastise_
ment on earth is also remitted.
Second, much graver sins are, on repentance, put away as
to eternity, but very sore chastisement is inflicted in time.
As when God said to David after Nathan visited him: „The
Lord hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. Howbeit,
because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the
enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born
unto thee shall surely die.” The Lord also announced to him
that „the sword should never depart from his house” be_
cause he had caused the death of Uriah (see 2 Sam. 12:
7_14). Here is one unmistakable case out of many that could
be cited where sin was forgiven as to the next world, but
not as to this world.
The thought is that God, in fatherly discipline, chastises
all Christians in this world. To be without chastisement in
this world proves we are not God’s children. An awful token
of utter alienation from God is to be deprived of correc_
tion here, when we sin. To be sinners and yet to prosper.
To die sinners and yet have no „bands in our death.” So
that the expression „hath never forgiveness, neither in this
world nor in the world to come,” implies nothing about a
probation after death, but refers to God’s method of with_
holding correction in this world, from some sinners, but never
withholding punishment of this class in the next, and to bis
method of correcting Christians in this world, but never
punishing them in the next world.
Third, the expression teaches that in the case of those who
sin against the Holy Spirit, God’s method of dealing is differ_
ent from both the foregoing methods. In the case of the un_
pardonable sin, punishment commences now and continues
forever. There is no remission of either temporal or eternal
penalties. They have the pleasures of neither world. To
illustrate: Lazarus had the next world, but not this; Dives
had this world, but not the next. But the man who commits
the unpardonable sin has neither world, as Judas Iscariot,
Ananias, and others.
To further illustrate, by earthly things, we might say that
Benedict Arnold committed the unpardonable sin as to na_
tions. He lost the United States and did not gain England.
Hated here; despised yonder. The price of his treason could
not be enjoyed. He had never forgiveness, neither on this
side the ocean nor on the other side. Another term needing
explanation is the word,
Blasphemy. – This is strictly a compound Greek word An_
glicized. It is transferred bodily to our language. In Greek
literature it is quite familiar and often used. Its meaning is
thoroughly established. According to strict etymology, it is
an offense of speech, i.e., of spoken words. Literally, as a
verb, it means to speak ill or injuriously of any one, to revile
or defame. As a noun, it means detraction or slander. I
say it means to defame any one whether man or God. Even
in the Bible usage of both the Septuagint and the Greek New
Testament, the word is generally applied to both man and
When Paul says he was „slanderously reported,” as saying
a certain thing, and when Peter says „speak evil of no man,”
they both correctly employ the Greek word „blaspheme.”
Even this passage refers to other blasphemies than those
against God, „all manner of blasphemies except the blas_
phemies against the Holy Spirit.” In both English and Ameri_
can law, blasphemy has ever been an indictable offense,
whether against man or God. Later usages, however, re_
strict the term „blasphemy” to an offense against God, while
the term „slander” is applied to the same offense against men.
According to strict derivation, it is an offense of spoken
words. To this our Saviour refers in the context when he
says, „For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy
words thou shalt be condemned.” But one is quite mistaken
who limits the meaning of the term to strict etymology. In
both human and divine law, the offense of „blasphemy” may
be committed by writing the words, or publishing them, as
well as by speaking them. We may blaspheme by either
printing, painting, or pantomime. Any overt, provable ac_
tion which intentionally conveys a false and injurious impres_
sion against any one comes within the scope of the offense.
Under the more spiritual, divine law, the offense may be
committed in the mind, whether ever spoken aloud. Our
context says, „Jesus knowing their thoughts.” Indeed, the
very essence of the offense is in the heart – the intent – the
idea. Words are matters of judgment, solely because they
are signs of ideas and expressions of the heart. This our
context abundantly shows. Our Saviour says, „Either make
the tree good and its fruit good; or make the tree corrupt,
and its fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by its fruit. Ye
offspring of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things?
For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
The good man out of his good treasure, bringeth forth good
things: and the evil man out of his evil treasure bringeth
forth evil things.”
From this exhibition of the meaning of the word „blas_
phemy,” we can easily see that either Jesus or the Pharisees
were guilty of the offense. Both could not be innocent. If
Jesus, while claiming to act by the Holy Spirit, was but the
organ of „an unclean spirit,” then he blasphemed or slan_
dered the Holy Spirit. If his work was wrought by the
Holy Spirit, then the Pharisees, by attributing that work
to an „unclean spirit,” blasphemed the Holy Spirit.
Having clearly before us the meaning of „blasphemy,” let
us advance to another explanation. The character of any
code or government is revealed by its capital offenses; the
grade of any nation’s civilization is registered by its penal
code. If capital punishment, or the extreme limit of pun_
ishment is inflicted for many and slight offenses, the gov_
ernment is called barbarian. If for only a few extraordi_
nary and very heinous crimes, the government is called civi_
lized. For instance, under the English law of long ago, a
man might be legally put to death for snaring a bird or
rabbit. The extreme limit of punishment was visited upon
many who now would be pronounced guilty of only misde_
meanors or petit larceny. It was a bloody code. The en_
lightened mind intuitively revolts against undue severity.
Modern civilization has reduced capital offense to a mini_
mum. Even in these few cases three things at least must
always be proved:

(1) That the offender had arrived at the age of discre_
tion, and possessed a sound mind. A mere child, a lunatic
or idiot cannot commit a capital offense.
(2) Premeditation. The crime must be deliberately com_
(3) Malice. The evil intent must be proved.
The higher benevolence of the divine law will appear
from the fact that there is but one unpardonable offense,
and that even more must be proved against one accused of
this offense than the age of discretion, a sound mind, pre_
meditation, and malice. Indeed, the sin against the Holy
Spirit must outrank all others in intrinsic heinousness. This
will abundantly appear when we reach the Bible definition
and analysis of the sin against the Holy Spirit. We are
not ready even yet, however, to enter upon the discussion
of the sin itself. Two other preliminary explanations are
Why must the one unpardonable sin be necessarily
against the Holy Spirit? What is the philosophy or rationale
of this necessity? This question and the answer to it can_
not be understood unless we give due weight, both sepa_
rately and collectively, to the following correlated proposi_
tion: There is one law giver, God. His law is the one
supreme standard which defines right and wrong – prescrib_
ing the right, proscribing the wrong. God himself is the
sole, authoritative interpreter of his law. The scope of its
obligations cannot be limited by finite knowledge, or human
conscience. Any failure whatever at conformity thereto, or
any deflection therefrom, to the right or left, however slight,
and from whatever cause, is unrighteousness. All unrighteous_
ness is sin. The wages of sin is death. All men are sinners
by nature and practice.
Therefore, by the deeds of the law can no man be justified
in the sight of God. The law condemns every man. It also

follows: First, that any possible salvation must flow from
God’s free grace. Second, that not even grace can provide a
way of escape for the condemned inconsistent with God’s Jus_
tice and holiness. That is, any possible scheme of salvation
for sinners must both satisfy the law penalty, thereby appeas_
ing justice, and provide for the personal holiness of the for_
given sinner.
To put it in yet other words, the plan of salvation, to be
feasible, must secure for every sinner to be saved, three things
at least: (a) justification, (b) regeneration, (c) sanctification,
which are equivalent to deliverance from the law penalty, a
new nature, and personal holiness. I say that these three
things are absolutely requisite. I cite just now only three
scriptural proofs, one under each head:
Romans 3:23_26 declares that a propitiation must be made
for sin in order that God might be just in justifying the sinner.
John 3:3_7 sets forth the absolute necessity of the new birth
the imparting of a new nature.
Hebrews 12:14 declares that „without holiness no man shall
see the Lord.”
To admit into heaven even one unjustified man, one man in
his carnal nature, one unholy man, would necessarily dethrone
God, while inflicting worse than the tortures of hell on the one
so admitted.
No fish out of water, no wolf or owl in the daylight, could
be so unutterably wretched as such a man. He would be utter_
ly out of harmony with his surroundings. I think he would
prefer hell. The gates of the holy city stand open day and
night, which means that no saint would go out, and no sinner
would go in. After the judgment as well as now, the sinner
loves darkness rather than light. It therefore naturally,
philosophically and necessarily follows that salvation must
have limitations. A careful study of these limitations will dis_

close to us the rationale of the unpardonable sin. What, then,
are these limitations?
(1) Outside of grace, no salvation.
(2) Outside of Christ, no grace.
(3) Outside of the Spirit, no Christ.
In other words, Christ alone reveals the Father, and the
Spirit alone reveals Christ; or no man can reach the Father
except through Christ – Christ is the door – and no man can
find that door except through the Spirit. It necessarily fol_
lows that an unpardonable sin is a sin against the Spirit. This
would necessarily follow from the order of the manifestations
of the Godhead: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. From the order
of the dispensations: First, the Father’s dispensation of law;
second, the Son’s dispensation of atonement; third, the Spirit’s
dispensation of applying the atonement. The Spirit is heaven’s
ultimatum – heaven’s last overture. If we sin against the
Father directly, the Son remains. We may reach him through
the Son. If we sin directly against the Son, the Spirit re_
mains. We may reach him through the Spirit. If we sin
against the Spirit, nothing remains. Therefore that sin is
without remedy. So argues our Saviour: „Every sin and blas_
phemy shall be forgiven unto men; but the blasphemy against
the Spirit shall not be forgiven. And whosoever shall speak
a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but
whosoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be
forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in that which is to
come. He is guilty of an eternal sin.”
Our last preliminary explanation answers this question:
Are men now liable to commit this sin? If not liable, the
reasons for discussing the matter at all are much reduced.
If liable, the reasons for discussion are infinitely enhanced.
It is of infinitely greater moment to point out to the un_
wary of a possible immediate danger, than to relieve the mind
from the fear of an unreal danger, however great and tortur_

ing may be that fear. It is claimed by many intelligent ex_
positors that this sin cannot be committed apart from an age
of miracles, nor apart from the specific miracle of casting out
demons, nor apart from attributing the supernatural, miracu_
lous power of the Holy Spirit in said miracle to Beelzebub, the
prince of demons.
Very deep love have I for the great and good men who take
this position, as, I believe, led away by sentiment, sympathy,
and amiability on the one hand, and horrified on the other
hand with the recklessness which characterizes many sensa_
tional discussions of this grave matter by tyros, unlearned,
and immature expositors. Very deep love have I for the men,
but far less respect for their argument. I submit, just now,
only a few out of many grave reasons for rejecting this inter_
(1) Such restriction of meaning is too narrow and mechani_
cal. The Bible could not be to us a book of principles, if the
exact circumstances must be duplicated in order to obtain a
law. From the study of every historical incident in the Bible
we deduce principles of action.
(2) The Scriptures clearly grade miracles wrought by the
Spirit below other works of the Spirit. This is evident from
many passages and connections. Writing the names of the
saved in the book of life was greater than casting out devils
(Luke 10:20). Fourth only in the gifts of the Spirit does
miracle_working power rank (I Cor. 12:28). Far inferior are
any of these gifts to the abiding graces of the Spirit (I Cor.
13:1_13; 14:1_33). How, then, in reason and common sense,
can it be a more heinous blasphemy to attribute an inferior
work of the Spirit to the devil than a superior work? Will any
man seriously maintain that this is so, because a miracle is
more demonstrable – its proof more vivid and cognizable by the
natural senses? This would be to affirm the contrary of scrip_
tural teaching on many points. We may know more things
about spirit than we can know about matter. This knowledge
is more vivid and impressive than the other. Spiritual demon_
stration to the inner man is always a profounder demonstra_
tion than any whatever to the outer man.
(3) Such a restriction of meaning to the days of Christ in
the flesh is out of harmony with Old Testament teaching on
the same subject.
(4) It fails to harmonize with many other passages in later
New Testament time, which will not admit of a different
classification without contradicting the text itself, since
thereby more than one kind of unpardonable sins would be
(5) The utter failure of this exposition to convince the
judgment of plain people everywhere, and its greater failure
to relieve troubled consciences everywhere, is a strong pre_
sumptive argument against its soundness.
Because, therefore, I believe that the sin against the Holy
Spirit may now be committed – because I believe that some
men in nearly every Christian community have committed
it – because I believe that the liability is imminent and the
penalty, when incurred, utterly without remedy, and because
I feel pressed in spirit to warn the imperiled of so great con_
demnation, therefore I preach on the subject – preach ear_
nestly – preach in tears – preach with melted heart.

1. How did Jesus vindicate his authority apart from his claims and
2. What are the details in the incident of healing the centurions
servant, how do you reconcile the accounts of Matthew and Luke, and what the lessons of this incident?
3. Describe the incident of the raising of the widow’s son at Nain
and its lesson.
4. What inquiry from John the Baptist brought forth by this fame
of Jesus and what was Jesus’ reply?
5 What is the meaning of „the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence?
6. What reproof of the Pharisees by our Lord called forth by this?
7. What cities here upbraided by our Lord and what principle
enunciated in this connection?
8. What principle of revelation announced here also?
9. What great invitation here announced by our Lord and what is
its great teaching?
10. Relate the story of the anointing of the feet of Jesus by the
wicked woman.
11. What two things seem to be implied by the story?
12. What Oriental customs constitute the setting of this story and
what is the explanation of each?
13. What are the lessons and contrasts of this incident?
14. Give an account of the first Ladies’ Aid Society.
15. What scriptures of both Testaments bearing on the sin against
the Holy Spirit?
16. What can you say of the impression made by these scriptures?
17. What efforts of sympathetic expositors to soften the import of
these scriptures?
18. What two solemn convictions yet remain?
19. What were the antecedent facts which occasioned the statements
of our Lord in Section 48 of the Harmony?
20. What is the meaning of „unpardonable”?
21. What is the meaning of „neither in this world, nor in the world
to come”?
22. What is the meaning of „blasphemy”?
23. Show that either Jesus or the Pharisees were guilty of blasphemy
on this occasion.
24. How is the character of a code of laws determined? Illustrate.
25. What three things must be proved in the case of capital offenses
against our laws?
26. How does the higher benevolence of the divine law appear?
27. What correlated proposition must be duly considered in order to
understand the sin against the Holy Spirit?
28. What two things also follow from this?
29. What three things must the plan of salvation secure for every
sinner who shall be saved, and what the proof?
30. What are the limitations which determine the rationale of the sin
against the Holy Spirit? Explain.
31. What are the claims of some expositors with respect to this sin
and what the reasons for rejecting them?

Part V

Harmony pages 59_60, same as for the preceding chapter and
Matthew 12:38_50; Mark 3:31_35; Luke 8:19_21.
We are now ready to consider the unpardonable sin itself.
Here, at the outset we meet a difficulty that needs to be re_
moved. It is a question concerning the true text of the latter
clause of Mark 3:29. Our common version reads: „But is in
danger of eternal damnation,” while the revised version reads:
„But is guilty of an eternal sin.” Evidently these two ren_
derings cannot be differences in translating the same Greek
words. It is unnecessary to cite all the variations of the text
in the several manuscripts on this short clause. For our pres_
ent purpose we need to note only one. The revised version,
on the authority of older and more reliable manuscripts than
were before the King James translators, recognized as the
true text hamartematos instead of kriseos. The former is ren_
dered „sin,” the latter „damnation.” But the difficulty is not
yet entirely explained. All the texts have the same Greek
word enochos, which the common version renders „in danger
of.” The question arises: How can there be such vast differ_
ence in rendering this one word? The difference is great and
obvious since „in danger of” expresses a mere liability which
may be averted, while „guilty of” expresses a positive, settled
transaction. This difficulty is grammatical, and not textual
so far as the word enochos is concerned, but is textual when
we look at the case of the noun connected with it. If the noun
in the true text is in one case, say the dative, then „in dan_
ger of,” „liable to” or ” exposed to” would fairly translate
enochos. But if the noun with which it is connected is in a
different case, say the genitive, then „guilty of” is the better
translation. Well, it so happens that in the true text – that
is, the one so regarded by such scholars as Lachmann, Tischen_
dorf, Tregelles, Alford, and others, and the one so accepted by
both the English and American companies of the revisers of
the new version – in this text the noun hamartematos, rendered
„sin,” is in the genitive case, hence enochos hamartematos with
its modifying words is rightly translated „guilty of an eternal
sin,” while enochos kriseos with the same modifying words
might well be rendered „in danger of eternal judgment.” So
that in the true text we find not only a different word mean_
ing „sin,” instead of „damnation” or „judgment,” but we find
that word in a case which will necessarily give color to the
meaning of another word connected with it, about which there
is no textual difficulty.
We accept, then, the text and rendering of the revised ver_
sion. We hold it as the word of God, that whoever blasphemes
the Holy Spirit is at once, not liable to, but guilty of an
eternal sin.” What, then, is an eternal sin? Does it mean
an „eternal sinning”? That is, does the perpetuity refer to the
committing? Evidently not. Doubtless one who has blas_
phemed the Holy Spirit will, as a matter of fact, continue to
sin, but the language under consideration refers not to such
fact. An eternal sin, as here intended, is an act already com_
pleted, whose guilt and judgment have already been incurred.
It is called an eternal sin because its penalty can never be
blotted out. Any sin would be eternal in this sense, if there
were no possible way to escape its punishment. A sin becomes
eternal, then, when all gracious means of forgiveness are with_
drawn. For example: David committed a great sin. Its penal_
ties, or chastisements, lasted to the border of this world. But
it was not an eternal sin, because those penalties had an end.
They did not continue forever. Grace stopped them with this
life and blotted them out forever. What is blotted out has no
existence. But the sin against the Holy Spirit is eternal, be_
cause thereby the sinner at once puts himself beyond the only
means of pardon. Remember the principles already stated:
Outside of grace no salvation; outside of Christ no grace;
outside of the Spirit no Christ. Or without regeneration, justi_
fication, and sanctification, no salvation; and apart from the
Spirit no regeneration, justification, and sanctification.
We have seen that as human governments become more
civilized very few offenses are made capital, and these must
be very heinous in character. Moreover, the conditions under
which such crimes are possible are very stringent, to wit: dis_
cretionary age, sanity, premeditation, and malice. Not only
so, but the accused is additionally hedged about by a liberal
construction of all provocation and of the right of self_defense,
and of the amount and character of the evidence necessary to
conviction. Now since this benevolent modification of hitherto
rigorous human law has been brought about by the influence
of the Bible, we would naturally expect to find in that good
book that the only unpardonable offense against divine law
calls for a rare degree of heinousness, and such extraordinary
conditions under which the sin could be possible, as would
on their face vindicate the divine procedure from all appear_
ances of harshness, with all right thinking intelligences. This
high degree of heinousness and these extraordinary conditions
are just what we do find.
It is not a sin to be committed by a thoughtless child –
immature youth – nor by one of feeble mind, nor by the ig_
norant. It must be knowingly done, wilfully done, maliciously
done, presumptuously done.
The whole matter may be made more forcible by stating
clearly and considering separately the constituent elements or
conditions of the unpardonable sin:
It is a sin of character crystalized in opposition to God.
By this is meant such a confirmed state of heart, and such
fixedness of evil character, such a blunting or searing of moral
perceptions as mark the incorrigibly wicked. Indeed, this re_
flection embodies the essence of the sin.
It is no impulsive, no hasty act, but proceeds from such a
state of heart, such a character, such a servitude to evil hab_
its, such a violent distortion or utter perversion of moral vision,
such an insensibility to spiritual impressions as would indi_
cate the hopelessness of benefit in the continuance of remedial
appliances, since there is a point beyond which we cannot go
without destroying individuality and moral agency.
The case in point is abundantly illustrative. Let us carefully
examine each step of our way just here. Let us be sure we
are right before we go ahead. Milton not inaptly represents
the crystallization of Satan’s character in five words: „Evil,
be thou my good.” Isaiah, in rapt, prophetic vision, forecasts
the very characters fitted to commit the unpardonable sin.
He denounces six woes which may well be compared to the
eight woes denounced by our Lord (Isa. 5:8_23; Matt. 23:13_
36). They all refer to character incorrigibly evil, such as
(a) inordinate covetousness and selfishness that join house
to house and field to field until there is no place for other
people to have a home; (b) inveterate and confirmed drunk_
ards that rise early and sit up late to inflame themselves with
strong wines until they regard not the work of the Lord,
neither consider the operation of his hands; (c) incorrigible
sinners that draw iniquity with cords of vanity and defy the
judgments of God; (d) moral perverts that justify the wicked
and take away the righteousness of the righteous; (e) invet_
erate vanity and self_conceit; (f) but especially this one:
„Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil, that put
darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for
sweet and sweet for bitter!” Now this answers to Milton’s
devil: „Evil, be thou my good.” And it was this very dis_
tortion and perversion of moral vision of which the Pharisees
of this passage were guilty, and which constituted the essence
of their blasphemy or slander of God. They called the Holy
Spirit an unclean spirit. Upon this point the testimony of
Mark is explicit. They are expressly declared to be guilty of
an eternal sin, „Because they said, He hath an unclean
spirit.” But the words were significant only because they were
symptoms of expressions of a state of heart – a heart of over_
flowing, implacable hate and malice.
So, in the context, our Saviour declares: „How can ye, being
evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart
the mouth speaketh.” It is therefore evidently out of har_
mony with the Bible concept of blasphemy against the Holy
Spirit, that thoughtless boys and girls, who sometimes in re_
vival meetings manifest an irreverent spirit, do thereby com_
mit the unpardonable sin.
I have myself conversed with a now genuinely good and
converted mother, who, when young, once conspired with nine
or ten other girls to practice on the credulity of a conceited
young preacher by joining the church in a body and by being
baptized, when the whole procedure was meant for a practical
Joke. Some of these parties are now living and one of them
is the exemplary wife of a Baptist preacher. The irreverence
and impiety of the act were not realized until afterward. This
was no blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. They were immature,
ill taught girls, without malicious intent against God, and
some others of them, as I have since learned, afterward most
cordially repented of their great sin and received the gracious
forgiveness of the Heavenly Father whose institutions and
ordinances had been outraged by their folly. If we compare
with this incident the act of Ananias and Sapphira, we may
readily perceive the difference in degree of guilt.
It is an old proverb: „Nature has no leaps.” Character is a
result of long working forces tending to permanency of type.
We have thus reached a view of the first and most important
element in this awful sin – an element of character resulting
from cumulative forces and habits.
It is a sin against spiritual knowledge. Far, far from us,
however, be the thought that every sin against light or knowl_
edge is unpardonable. Do allow me to make this very clear
and very emphatic, because a host of good people have tor_
tured themselves needlessly just here by misapprehension.
They are conscious of having sinned, and of having sinned
when they knew beforehand that what they were tempted to
do and did was wrong. Misapplying the Scripture they have
said to themselves: „The unpardonable sin is a sin against
knowledge. I have sinned against knowledge. Have I not com_
mitted the unpardonable sin?” Here again let us step care_
fully. Let us be sure we are right before we go ahead. Look
closely at a little catechism – mark the emphatic words: The
unpardonable sin is a sin against what knowledge? Against
what degree of that knowledge? Is every sin against even that
particular kind of knowledge necessarily unpardonable? Note
the emphasis on the discriminating word in this second con_
stituent element of the unpardonable sin. It is a sin against
spiritual knowledge. How else could it be a sin against the
Holy Spirit as specially distinguished from and contrasted
with a sin against the Father or the Son?
Let us illustrate by the case of Paul. (a) According to his
own testimony he was, before his conversion, „a blasphemer,
and a persecutor and injurious” (I Tim. 1:13). (b) By perse_
cution and torture he „compelled others to blaspheme” (Acts
26:11). (c) Yet he says, „I obtained mercy because I did it
ignorantly in unbelief” (I Tim. 1:13). What are the salient
points of this case? We find here first an indisputable case
of blasphemy, but it is blasphemy against the Son, which this
passage declares to be pardonable. Next we find a case of
ignorance which again makes the sin pardonable. This second
finding is most pertinent to the matter in hand. It furnishes
the clue, which properly followed leads us safely out of the
maze of discussion on the unpardonable sin. What was Paul’s
ignorance? We cannot deny that he had the Old Testament
with all its shadows, symbols and prophecies pointing to the
Messiah. We cannot deny that he had knowledge of the his_
torical and argumentative proofs, certifying Jesus to be that
Messiah. Wherein then was he ignorant? In this material
point: Light from the Holy Spirit had not convinced him that
Jesus was the Messiah. He had not spiritual knowledge and
hence had not sinned against the Holy Spirit. In his soul
he thought Jesus was an imposter. He „verily thought within
himself he was doing God’s service” in warring against Jesus.
His conscience was void of offense. Compare this with the
demons: „We know thee, who thou art, thou Holy One of
God.” Paul hated Jesus from an utter misconception of him,
and loved him when the misconception was removed. The
demons hated him the more, that they did not misconceive
his mission and character. Because they knew he was the
Messiah and because they painfully felt the presence of his
hohness as a wolf is shamed or an owl is pained by the light;
therefore they hated him.
Just here we approach a borderland whose precise boundary
line has never been fixed by theological controversy. And yet
in this narrow strip lies the unpardonable sin. Where the
great have stumbled let guides of less degree walk humbly,
circumspectedly, and prayerfully. I trust, at least, to make
myself intelligible here. Some hyper_Calvinists hold that all
subjects of influence from the Holy Spirit are necessarily
saved, basing their arguments on such scriptures as, „Being
confident of this very thing, that he who hath begun a good
work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ”
(Phil. 1:6). From which they argue that the Holy Spirit never
really touches any man except those pre_ordained to salvation.
I hold unswervingly to the doctrine that in every case of
genuine conversion the good work thus commenced will be
graciously completed. But, in my judgment, the Bible is very
far from teaching that the lost never had any spiritual light –
never were subject to any impressions made by the Holy
Spirit. Indeed, it would seem impossible otherwise to commit
the unpardonable sin against the Holy Spirit.
With all light comes responsibility to accept it and walk
in it. With all light comes liability. As said the Saviour, „If
I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not the sin:
but now they have no cloak for their sin” (John 15:22).
Unquestionable the degree of both guilt and penalty is meas_
ured by the degree of light against which one sins. This
sentiment readily finds universal acceptance. It accords with
our instinctive and intuitive ideas of justice. Certainly the
Bible, at least, is very clear on this point. On what other
principle could our Lord declare the punishment of Sodom and
Gomorrah, Tyre and Sidon, more tolerable in the day of
judgment than the punishment of the cities which rejected
him and his servants (Matt. 10:15; 11:20_24; Mark 6:11;
Luke 10:12_14) ? How else account for the difference in penal_
ty between „a few stripes” and „many stripes” when the act
of offense is precisely the same in both cases (Luke 12:47_48) ?
How otherwise account for David’s distinction between „secret
sins and presumptuous sins”? How otherwise could Paul rep_
resent God as „winking at” [i. eä mercifully overlooking]
„times of ignorance” (Acts 17:30) ? How else could the men
of Nineveh and the Queen of Sheba condemn at the judgment
the generation that rejected Jesus (Matt. 12:41_42)? Now
mark the application of this argument to the matter under
consideration. Chorazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum, and Jerusa_
lem were guiltier than Sodom and Tyre, because a greater
light, in a greater person than Lot, Solomon or Jonah, was in
their midst.
But our Saviour himself teaches that the light is brighter
still when the Holy Spirit works. And hence a sin against
the Son of man may be pardonable while a sin against the
Holy Spirit is unpardonable. But as Lot, Jonah, Solomon,
and Jesus, the light_bearers, were all personally present in a
way to be known and felt, so it must follow that the Holy
Spirit, as bearer of a brighter light, must be personally pres_
ent in a way to be known and impressively felt. Therefore
none can commit this unpardonable sin against the Holy Spirit
unless he has known and felt his presence as a light_bearer.
I say the presence of the Holy Spirit must be known and felt.
The mind must be convinced of his presence, and the heart
must feel it, and the inmost judgment of conscience must ac_
knowledge it. This is precisely why the unpardonable sin is
oftenest committed in great revivals. It is a sin against light
– spiritual light – light known and felt, light so painfully,
gloriously bright that a man must run from it, blaspheme or
be converted. What miracle affecting only the physical man
can equal the Spirit’s display of power over mind and soul
in a great revival? When he fills a house or a whole city;
when he is demonstrably convicting and converting on the
right and left; when strong men are broken down; when hard
hearts are melted; when long_sealed fountains of tears are
opened; when hardened sinners fall as oak trees before a
sweeping tempest; when all around the guilty confess their
sins; when the saved rise up with love_lighted eyes and glori_
fied faces to joyfully declare that God for Christ’s sake has
forgiven their sins – ah I the power – the felt Presence! Then
some sinner, seeing and knowing and feeling the truth of it
all, pierced through and through with the arrows of conviction,
riven to the marrow with the bolt of demonstration, trembling
like Belshazzar before the mysterious, awful, but certain
Presence, overwhelmed by memory of a thousand sins, yet so
knowing, so feeling, clings with death_grip to some besetting
sin and to justify rejection of Jesus, so witnessed by the Holy
Spirit, lies unto God as to his real motives of rejection, reviles
the Holy One, turns away and dies forever. Yes, a soul dies!
As I have been impressed with the presence of physical death,
so, only far more vividly, have I felt the presence of spiritual
death. Once during a great meeting I felt it; I felt a soul had
died – that I was in the presence of the hopelessly lost.
It must be a sin of malice. In the special case before us the
presence of malice is most evident. One expression of our
Lord sufficiently tells the whole story: „Ye offspring of
vipers I” See the snake in his coil! Mark his cold, steelly eye
of hate! Behold the lightning play of his forked tongue! See
the needle fang and the venom of secreted poison! That snake
means death to his innocent victim. So Satan’s devotee, about
to commit the unpardonable sin. Hear him: „I hate this light.
It exposes my secret sins. It strips me of my mask of self_
respect. It humiliates me. This light shows how sensual, how
groveling, how beastly, how devilish I really am. It exposes
my chains. It advertises my bondage to pride, lust, and money.
It makes me loathesome to myself. I hate this painful light,
this awful purity. 0, prince of darkness, restore my self_
esteem, re_establish my respectability!”
Hear Satan’s rejoinder: „You must away from that light.
You cannot put it out. It is the unquenchable shining of im_
maculate holiness. Here is your only expedient: Lock all the
doors of your soul. Close the blinds of every window. Pull
down every curtain. Now call that light ‘& superstition.’ Call
your rejection of it ‘superior intelligence,’ or ‘science,’ or ‘high_
er criticism,’ or ‘progress,’ or ‘broadmindedness,’ or whatever
you will. Put evil for good and good for evil. Blaspheme. And
that light will never disturb you any more.”
Ah, no! Never more. „The die is cast. The Rubicon is
crossed – that soul is free no more.” In his case is fulfilled the
scripture: „My Spirit shall not always strive with man.” He
has joined that outlawed host to whom this scripture applies:
„Ye stiff_necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do
always resist the Holy Spirit.” Here is genuine striving and

genuine resisting. The Spirit strives – the man resists. The
gnashing upon Stephen with their teeth expresses desperate
malice. It was malice proceeding from deep conviction that
Stephen was right and they were wrong. It followed „being
cut to the heart.”
The sin must be wilful. This involves the double idea of
premeditation and decision. The mind has not only deliberated
– it has chosen. The love of pleasure, or of money, or of
power, is deliberately preferred to the love of God. The „will”
settles the matter. However long the time, complex the forces,
or inscrutable the processes which determine the resultant
character which makes the decision, that decision itself is one
definite act of the will. The preparation of mind and heart
which fitted the man to make such awful choice may indeed
have extended over a period of years, the man meanwhile
waxing worse and worse, the heart indurating, the soul petri_
fying. Yet, in one moment, at last, the border of possible sal_
vation is crossed over forever. The „will” steps across the
line. „I will not to do the will of God.” „I will not go to
Jesus. I will not have this Man to reign over me.”
It is a sin of presumption. It is not difficult to get a clear
idea of the meaning of this word. An irreverent, overweening,
daring confidence for which there are no just grounds. Pre_
sumption draws false conclusions from God’s forbearance. Be_
cause sentence against an evil deed is not speedily executed
the presumptuous heart is fully set to do evil. God suspended
judgment that the man might repent. The sinner concludes
that God does not mark iniquity. So many times has he trifled
with the overtures of mercy) he presumes that he may con_
tinue to trifle with impunity. God’s patience, erroneously con_
strued, has made him irreverent and daring. He can recall,
and despise as he recalls, the number of times he has been
touched somewhat in other meetings. He presumes that what
has been will be again, in case it becomes necessary to revise
his decision. Time enough for that if one chooses to turn
back later on. Nothing tells him that this is the last time.
He presumes as if he had a lease on life and as if the sovereign
and eternal Spirit of God must come to his call.
Just here I desire to quote a scripture which some high
human authorities affirm to be applicable to the subject under
consideration. I very greatly respect them and very readily
concede my own fallibility of judgment. But where my con_
victions are strong I speak. Here is the scripture: „For if we
sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the
truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins. But a cer_
tain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation.
which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’
law died without mercy under two or three witnesses. Of how
much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought
worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath
counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sancti_
fied, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit
of grace” (Heb. 10:26_29). My present brief comment on the
passage is:
There appears to be a manifest reference, in some sort, to
apostasy. I mean by apostasy the final loss of all that is ac_
complished by regeneration and justification.
It clearly teaches, and for obvious reasons, that in case of
such a loss, renewal would be impossible. The remedial re_
sources of grace in such case being completely exhausted,
there would be nothing more to draw upon for recovery.
But the reference is not to such calamity as objectively pos_
sible. The context and all the letter to the Hebrews as un_
equivocally teach the final perseverance of all the saints as
does the letter to the Romans, or any other scripture. And to
my mind the Bible teaches no doctrine more clearly than the
ultimate salvation of all the elect. The reference then is to
apostasy as hypothetically and even, perhaps, subjectively

If then the reference is to apostasy, though not hypothetical_
ly and not really possible, how can it be applicable to the sin
under discussion? This pertinent question I will now answer.
While only a hypothesis concerning one thing, it yet contains
an argument fairly applicable to another thing. It discusses
wilful sin after enlightenment. The greater the enlightenment,
the greater the sin. In the hypothetical, but actually impossi_
ble case of apostasy, there would be no more sacrifice for sin.
The blood of Christ, and the Spirit power, beyond which grace
has nothing to offer, would have been found inefficacious after
fair trial. Now apply this same principle of argument to an un_
regenerate man. To him the Father’s love is offered and
rejected. To him Christ as the highest expression of that love
is offered and rejected. To him, the Spirit’s testimony to Christ
is offered in such a way that he knows and feels that Spirit’s
presence and power, and in such a way that his conscience
recognizes and confesses the truth of the testimony. But from
love of sin and hatred of known truth he blasphemes that Holy
Spirit. Then in his case it would be true that „there remaineth.
no more sacrifice for sin,” not because he had experimentally
tried its efficacy and used up all its power to save, but that
from his rejection of such sacrifice in the blaze of spiritual
light demonstrating its efficacy, such efficacy is no longer
available to him. On this passage Dr. Kendrick says: „If
others fall away who have reached a very high grade of
spiritual enlightenment, who have experienced all of the divine
influence but regeneration, their recovery is morally impossi_
ble. God will not bless the efforts for their renewal but, like the
field that has answered the rains and sunshine only with
thorns and thistles, will give them over to the burning.” (See
American Commentary – Hebrews.)
Now our theory of the unpardonable sin necessarily sup_
poses spiritual light to make it a sin against the Spirit, and a
very high degree of spiritual light to make it so heinous as
to constitute it the only unpardonable sin. That there is shed
forth such spiritual light, that there is put forth such spiritual
influence – light which may be seen and influence which may
be felt, and yet light and influence which, through the sinner’s
fault, do not eventuate in salvation – is the clear and abundant
teaching of the Bible. I know of no great theologian in the
Baptist ranks who denies it. I refer to such acknowledged
teachers of systematic theology as Gill, Boyce, Strong, Dagg,
Hovey, Pendleton, and Robinson, and among the Presbyterians
such authors as Calvin, Hodge, and Shedd – all of whose books
I have studied on this specific point.
We may here, I think, conclude the analysis of this sin. Its
conditions are clearly before us: The age of discretion, a
sound mind, a high degree of spiritual light, a character fixed
in opposition to God, a life under the dominion of confirmed
evil habits. Its constituent elements are: Premeditation, or
deliberation, a decisive choice, presumption and malice.
We come now to consider the state of one guilty of this eter_
nal sin. This is an important phase of the subject. Such a
state surely evidences itself in some way. The marks which
distinguish it from other states ought, one would naturally
suppose, to be sufficiently visible for recognition. As an intro_
duction to my discussion of these marks it is thought appro_
priate to give the most remarkable poem on the subject in all
literature. It is Alexander’s hymn:
There is a time, we know not when,
A point, we know not where,
That marks the destiny of men,
To glory or despair.
There is a line by un unseen,
That crosses every path,
The hidden boundary between
God’s patience and His wrath.
To pass that limit is to die –
To die as if by stealth;
It does not quench the beaming eye,
Nor pale the glow of health.

The conscience may be still at ease,
The spirit light and gay;
That which is pleasing still may please,
And care be thrust away.
But on that forehead God hath set
Indelibly a mark,
Unseen by man, for man as yet
Is blind and in the dark.
And yet the doomed man’s path below,
Like Eden may have bloomed;
He did not, does not, will not know
Or feel that he is doomed.
He knows, be feels that all is well,
And every fear is calmed;
He lives, he dies, he wakes in. hell,
Not only doomed, but damned.
Oh I where is this mysterious bourne,
By which our path is crossed?
Beyond which God himself hath sworn,
That he who goes is lost?
How far may we go on in sin?
How long will God forbear?
Where does hope end, and where begin
The confines of despair?
An answer from the skies is sent;
Ye that from God depart,
While it is called to_day, repent,
And harden not your heart.

Confining my own diagnosis strictly to the Scriptures I
would say that the state of one who has committed the un_
pardonable sin is one of awful deprivation. We say „Darkness
is deprivation of light; death deprivation of life.” The depri_
vation in this case is:
Of the Holy Spirit whom he has reviled and despised. To
that Spirit God has said, „Let him alone; he is wedded to his
idols.” This insures his death. This makes his sin eternal.
He cannot now ever find Christ, the door. Without the Spirit
he can never repent, believe, be regenerated, be justified, or
sanctified. „There remaineth no more sacrifice for sin,” that is, to him there is no Christ. I think that there are such men today, from whom the Holy Spirit has taken his everlasting flight.
It is a deprivation of the prayers of God’s people. God who
said to his Spirit, „Let him alone,” now says to his people
who would pray for such a man, „Let me alone.” Awful words:
Let him alone – let me alone!
The friends of Job had sinned, but not beyond the reach of
prayer (Job 42:7_10). Paul had sinned by persecution and
blasphemy of Jesus, but not beyond the reach of Stephen’s
dying prayer: „Lord Jesus, lay not this sin to their charge”
(Acts 7:60). The crucifiers of Jesus had sinned, but not all
of them beyond the reach of his dying prayer: „Father for_
give them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
But God’s people cannot pray acceptably without the Spirit’s
prompting (Rom. 8:26_27). The Spirit never prompts one to
pray against the will of God. Hear the word of God (I John
5:16): „If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto
death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that
sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say
that he shall pray for it.” (Jer. 15:1): „Then said the Lord
unto me, Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my
mind could not be toward this people; cast them out of my
sight, and let them go forth.”
It is a deprivation of the protection usually afforded to the
wicked by the presence of the righteous. The presence of ten
righteous men would have protected Sodom and Gomorrah from overthrow (Gen. 18:23_32). The righteous are the salt of the earth. Their presence preserves it from immediate destruction. Paul and Christ taught that when the righteous are garnered off the earth then comes the deluge of fire. But one who has com-mitted the unpardonable sin, at once is deprived of all protection arising from the contiguity of the righteous. To repeat a scrip-ture: „Though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in the city, as I live saith the Lord they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness” (Ezek. 14:20). No Spirit, no prayers) no protection.
It is a deprivation of spiritual sensations. What is meant
here? Speaking naturally, our sensations are from our five
senses. One who is blind loses the sensations that come from
sight; one who is deaf, those from hearing. So with taste, and
smell, and touch or feeling. A body that cannot see, hear, feel,
taste or smell is dead to the world around it. So with the
senses of the inner man. When the spiritual or moral percep_
tive faculties are so paralyzed that they cannot take hold of
God, that soul is dead to God, however much it may be alive
to the devil. Having eyes it sees not. Having ears it hears
not. Having a heart it feels not. The conscience is seared as
with a hot iron. They are past feeling (Eph. 4:18_19) : „Hav_
ing the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life
of God, through the ignorance that is in them, because of the
blindness of their heart: who being past feeling having given
themselves over to lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with
greediness.” Old soldiers recall that when mortification took
place in a wounded limb there was no longer any pain. The
wounded man felt unusually well. It was the prelude of death.
In his book, Over the Teacups, Oliver Wendell Holmes says:
„Our old doctors used to give an opiate which they called ‘the
black drop.’ It was stronger than laudanum, and, in fact, a
dangerously powerful narcotic. Something like this is that
potent drug in Nature’s pharmacopeia which she reserves for
the time of need, the later stages of life. She commonly begins
administering it at about the time of the ‘grand climacteric,’
the ninth septennial period, the sixty_third year. More and
more freely she gives it, as the years go on, to her gray_haired
children, until, if they last long enough, every faculty is be_
numbed, and they drop off quietly into sleep under its benign
influence. Time, the inexorable, does not threaten them with
the scythe so often as with the sandbag. He does not cut, but
he stuns and stupefies.”
But the „black drop” administered by Satan, when, at any
age, the unpardonable sin is committed, has no such kindly
intent. It puts one past feeling as to heaven, but full of sensa_
tion as to hell. There are no kindlings to repentance, however
keen may be the biting and sting of remorse. It is quite pos_
sible that one who is past feeling to spiritual impressions may
dream as Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Richard III, or Scott’s
„Glossin” in Guy Mannering. And so to such a one there may
remain nothing „but a certain fearful looking for of judgment
and fiery indignation which shall devour the adversaries.”
What time these apprehensions last they are the foretaste of
It is not only a state of deprivation, but of positive inflic_
tion. When „the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, an
evil spirit from the Lord troubled him” (I Sam. 16:14). To
the man who closes his eyes to the Spirit’s testimony, God
sends judicial blindness and hardness of heart. Not only so,
when the Lord refused to answer Saul, „neither by dreams,
nor by Urim, nor by prophets,” he allowed him to return to
spiritualism and „inquire of one who had a familiar spirit”
(I Sam. 2:5_7). God chooses the delusions of the hopelessly
lost. He sends them a strong delusion that they may believe
a lie and be damned (Isa. 66:4; 2 Thess. 2:11). This delusion
may be spiritualism, or science, or philosophy, or anything
else. Whatever it is, for the time being it fills the vision and the
heart. It points out a path „whose steps take hold on death
and hell,” and though the end thereof is death, it seems right
to him.
Such, I think, is the Bible teaching concerning the unpar_
donable sin. It is a sin of today as well as yesterday. The
liability of its commission is greatly increased during revivals
of religion.
That hazard is unspeakably awful when men know and feel
God’s presence and power, and though convicted and trem_

bling, turn away with a lie on their lips and hatred of holiness
in their hearts.
To younger people would I urgently say:
Beware of those insidious beginnings which tend to the for_
mation of an evil character. Cultivate most assiduously such
tenderness of heart, such susceptibility to religious impressions
as you now have. Follow every prompting toward heaven.
Transmute every spiritual emotion to action. Beware of be_
coming hardened. Beware of dominant passions, such as the
love of pleasure, the pride of opinion, the pride of life, the love
of money. Distrust as an enemy, anything or anybody, whose
influence keeps you apart from the use of the means of salva_
tion. Shun, as you would a tiger’s Jungle, all associations that
corrupt good manners. Beware of all people who make a mock
at sin and speak irreverently of holy things.
Oh, the beginnings! The beginnings I These are the battle_
grounds of hope. Hear today, turn today, escape for thy life
today. For when once under the dominion of pleasure, or lust,
or wine, or pride, or especially the love of money, that root
of all kinds of evil, then – 0 then – how easily, how uncon_
sciously you may commit the unpardonable sin.
And then, though the world were full of Bibles to the stars,
and Christians more numerous than the sands and forest
leaves, and every church ablaze with revivals – for you there
remaineth no more sacrifice for sin. You are now and forever
In response to this discussion of our Lord upon the sin
against the Holy Spirit the Pharisees demanded of him a sign,
to which he replied that no sign should be given them except
the sign of Jonah, i. e., his burial and resurrection. This test
of his messiahship he submitted time and again both to his
enemies and to his disciples. Here he again announces a prin_
ciple of the judgment, viz: that men will be judged according
to the light they have here. The Ninevites and the queen of
the south will stand up in the judgment and condemn the Jews
of his day because with less light than these Jews had they
responded to God’s call while that generation rejected their
light. Then he closes that discussion with a comparison of
the Jewish nation to a man whom the evil spirit volunteered
to leave and re_enter at pleasure with the assurance that every
time he returned, after a leave of absence, the last state was
worse than the first.
It is necessary to add a word of comment on Section 50 of
the Harmony. Here on the same day and on this same occa_
sion the mother of Jesus and his brothers come to him for an
interview, ostensibly to arrest him from so great a zeal. Per_
haps they thought he ought to stop and eat, but he, knowing
their purpose toward him, announced the principle of spiritual
relation above the earthly relation – that whosoever would do
the will of God was nearer to him than earthly relations. What
a lesson for us!
1. What is the difficulty of Mark 3:29 and what is ita solution?
2. What is the meaning of „eternal sin”?
3. By whom and how must this sin be committed?
4. What is the first constituent element, or condition, of the un_
pardonable sin? Give biblical illustrations and proof.
5. What is the second constituent element? Explain and illustrate
by the case of Paul.
6. What theological controversy here and what is the author’s posi_
7. What principle of judgment here involved and what is the biblical
8. Describe the spiritual conditions under which a soul may commit
the unpardonable sin.
9. What is the third element and what is the proof? Recite the
struggle of a soul on the verge of this awful sin and Satan’s rejoinder.
10. What is the fourth element and what is involved in it?
11. What is the fifth element and what its meaning? Illustrate.
12. What passage of Scripture here introduced, what is the author’s
points of interpretation, and how does this passage apply to the subject
under discussion?
13. What is the state of one who is guilty of the unpardonable sin
and what poem quoted on this point? Quote it.
14. What are the items of deprivation which constitute the state
of such a soul? Explain each.
15. In response to our Lord’s discussion of this sin against the Holy
Spirit what demand did the Pharisees make, what was our Lord s reply
and what does he mean? . .
16. How does our Lord here characterize these Jewish people I
17.What was the incident of Section 50 of the Harmony and what is
its lesson for us?

Part VI
Harmony pages 60_66 and Matthew 13:1_53; Mark 4:1_34;
Luke 8:4_18.

We come now to our Lord’s first great group of parables and
it will be necessary for us to dwell here somewhat at length in
order to get certain definitions and principles fixed in our minds
before we try to expound this great section.
First, what is a parable? There are two words used in the
Greek for parable – one by John and the other by the Synop_
tics. The word used by John is paroimia, which means, lit_
erally, „something by the way ” Secondarily, it. means a figura-
tive discourse, or dark saying, suggesting more than meets the
ear. The word used by the Synoptics is parebole, which,
Anglicized, gives us our word „parable.” The verb of this
word means to throw, or to place, side by side, for purposes
of comparison. The noun means an utterance involving a com_
parison, as „the kingdom of heaven is like, etc.” which is a
similitude. In the wider sense it means (a) an adage or prov_
erb.(Luke 4:23), (b) a dark saving Matt.. 15:15), (c.) pithy
instruction in the form of an aphorism (Luke 14:7). In the
more restricted sense it is a story of a scene in human life, or
a process in nature, true in its character, though it may be
fictitious in fact, suggesting a spiritual lesson. As the child
gave it when asked to define a parable, “It is an earthly story
with a heavenly meaning.” The ideas in the word are these:
(1) To place two things side by side for comparison; (2) veil
ing the truth in a story, but with the veil so thin that the
spiritually minded may easily apprehend it.
Second, there are several other words of similar, or kindred
meaning, which should claim our attention here for purposes of
distinction, such as proverb, simile, similitude, metaphor, al_
legory, fable, and myth, the definitions of which will follow in
their order. A parable, as we have already defined, is a narra-
tive true to nature or life, used for thp. purpose of conveying
spiritual truth. A proverb is a short pithy saving and may
contain a condensed parable. A simile is a simple comparison
in which one thing is likened to another in. some of its aspects.
A similitude is more comprehensive than a simile and borders
on the realm of the parable, as in Drummond’s Natural Law
in the Spiritual World. A metaphor ig a simile without the
comparative word, as „that man is a fox.” instead of „that
man is like a fox,” which is a simile. An allegory is an ex_
panded metaphor, or the description of one thing under the
imagery of another, as Pilgrims Progress. A fable is a story
in which inanimate objects or lower animals are represented as
acting in the capacity of human beings, the purpose of which
is to instruct or to impress some moral lesson. It differs from
a parable in that it is not true to nature or to life. A myth is
a tale of some extraordinary personage or country, formed
purely by the imagination.. It is fictitious and usually has an
element of the supernatural in it.
In the Bible we find an example of the proverb, the simile,
the similitude, the metaphor, the allegory, the fable, and the
parable (let the reader search out examples of each), but there
is no myth in the Bible. But why did our Lord use parables
in his teachings? (1) To get the attention of the people. There
is nothing more interesting than a good story well told. (2) To
reveal conduct and character without being too direct. Thus
our Lord often revealed the very heart and life of the enemy
without becoming too offensive and by so doing precipitating
a clash with his foes. (3) To enforce truth by way of illus_
tration. This principle of teaching is too evident to need
comment. (4) To stimulate inquiry. This we find to be the
effect so often in his ministry: „What is the meaning of the
parable of the tares?” (5) To fasten truth in the mind and
aid the memory. This, too, is self_evident and needs no com-
Here I append a list of the parables of Jesus, showing the
pages of the Harmony where found, the references to the
scriptures containing them and the leading thought of each.
This will enable a Bible student, at a glance, to locate each
parable in the Harmony, to find its setting in the Scripture
and to give its interpretation in a nutshell. They are arranged
in chronological order and therefore a careful study of them
will reveal to the student of the Bible the occasion and fre_
quency of Christ’s use of parables as well as to furnish a
convenience of interpretation.
It will be observed that quite a number of these parables
are very short and might be called similes or proverbs. The
first great group commences with number 31, the parable of
the sower, the second great group with number 68, the parable
of the lost sheep, and the third great group with number 83,
the parable of the two sons. All the parables of the first group
are „kingdom parables,” and relate to some phase of the
kingdom, and that leads me to say that there are two general
classes of parables, viz: „kingdom parables” and „homiletical
parables.” In interpreting a parable one should first deter
mine its class, then its central truth, or point of illustration
and then let all the details conform to this central point
deducing no doctrine from the parable that cannot be found
elsewhere in the Bible in unparabolic language. Also we mus
be careful not to try to spiritualize all the points. Much o
the parable is often mere drapery, designed only to round out
an Oriental story.
Here let the reader study closely and compare the points
of the two parables which Christ interpreted himself, viz: the
parable of the sower and the parable of the tares. These sug_
gestions are brief, but they will serve as timely cautions in
interpreting the many parables of our Lord. The three great
groups of parables in the Gospels are as follows: First, there
is the group here, Matthew 13:3_23; second, the five great
parables in Luke 15_16; third, the three parables of his last
day in the Temple. (Let the reader search out each of these
groups and name the parables in each group.)
We will now look at the first great group of parables and
take a general view of them in their relation to each other.
Our Lord had made many disciples since his baptism, who
followed him from place to place, growing in knowledge and
grace as they heard his words, witnessed his deeds and im_
bibed his Spirit. After long companionship of this kind he
purposed to select from the many a few as authorized teachers
of his doctrine. Accordingly, after spending a whole night in
prayer, he chose from the multitude of the disciples twelve
men whom he ordained as apostles, to be with him and that
he might send them forth to preach and to have authority
over demons; but that they might know and understand what
to preach before they went out alone, he, in their hearing on
one occasion, expounded the principles and relations of his
kingdom in the matchless Sermon on the Mount; and soon
after that, on another occasion, he delivered a great group
of very striking parables, illustrating the same principles. All
of these many parables, as Mark tells us, he expounded
privately to the twelve apostles; not just two of them, but
all of them. Of the great number of parables delivered on
this one occasion, only eight are recorded by the gospel his_
torians, and the exposition of only two is recorded. The scene
is Galilee, the Sea of Galilee. The pulpit is a boat. The
preacher is sitting in a boat. The congregation are all gath_
ered on the shore, and from that boat he delivers the parables.
When the parables are spoken and he enters the house, he pri_
vately expounds them to his immediate disciples. The eight
parables recorded are, the sower, the seed growing of itself,
the tares, the mustard seed, the leaven, the hid treasure, the
pearl of great price and the net. The two whose expositions
are recorded are the sower and the tares. But in connection
with the eight are also given two subsidiary parables, making
ten in all. These two parables, the lighted lamp and the house_
holder’s treasure, are called subsidiary, because they were
given to show the disciples what to do with the knowledge con_
tained in the eight.
As the reader will readily infer, the object of one discussion
covering so much ground, cannot be to expound in detail all
of the eight parables. Therefore, let us generalize, if we can
find a single thread of thought on which to string, like beads
of pearl, the eight parables, making one necklace to be worn
around memory’s neck as an ornament of beauty and value.
It may not be done quite as fast as stringing beads, but it
need not take much time, as only prominent and general mean_
ings from one standpoint will be given. The thread of thought
that unites all the eight parables into one is this: The dis_
couragements and encouragements to religious teachers sug_
gested by the eight parables. And just here, instead of quoting
these parables, I would like to cause to pass before the reader
a panorama of eight pictures.
Look at the first: It is a plowed field. The plowed surface
looks all alike. If there be underlying rock or buried seeds
thorns they do not appear. It has been sowed down wit
seed. There is the sower. We see him. He is the religion
teacher. The only thing in sight, birds flying away. That
all. We look at that picture until that plowed field turn
green, carpeted with the upspringing grain; but we see in
certain parts of the field the stalks turn yellow and die – a
rock under them. We see in the beaten path no grain coming
up. Those birds explain. We see in another part thorns and
briers choking the grain that we plant. Discouragements. It
seems that three parts of what I sow is lost. Three parts gone.
It discourages me. The devil took some of the seed. A super-
ficial nature in the hearers prevented others from bringing
forth fruit to maturity. The cares of this world and the de_
ceitfulness of riches and the exactions of society choke to
death other seeds that I planted. It is discouraging. But
brother, look where some did fall in good ground and yielded
thirtyfold and sixtyfold and one hundredfold of fruit. Think
of that. Slide that picture out of sight.
I see another, and there is a field again, plowed, and
sowed with good seed. There is a sower. He is asleep, but in
the night anxiety awakes him. Watch him get up and go out
in the field and dig down in the dirt and take the seed up to
see if it has sprouted; see him in the day anxiously look for
clouds that promise rain. See his fear of cold, blighting sea_
sons and his desire for a warm, sunshiny day. See him trying
to mark even a day’s development. See him trying to com_
prehend the inscrutable. He rises up night and day. What
is the difficulty? He is anxious for seed_sprouting and seed_
growing and seed_maturing and rain falling and sunshine, and
with all of it he has nothing under heaven to do. As far as
that discouragement is concerned it is all pure gratuity. We
borrow every bit of that. Why will not a man let God’s part
alone? We cannot make the seed. Here in this Book is the
seed ready made. We do not have to make them. Nor can we
make them sprout. The Spirit of God does that. That is
regeneration. We cannot make them grow and mature. That
is sanctification. We cannot bring the gentle dews and the
rains and sunshine. Those are the showers or manifestations
of grace. We do not have to puzzle our minds over the in_
scrutable mystery of the Spirit’s work in regeneration and
sanctification. Let our anxieties stop with our responsibilities.
What is the encouragement? Well, while I cannot make seed,
God can, and there is plenty of it. While I cannot give an
increase, God can, and he does it. While I cannot regenerate
men, he can. I cannot sanctify, he can. I cannot tell how it
sprouts nor how it grows. There is a mystery, an inscrutable
mystery, in the work of the Spirit of God. I have nothing to
do with that.
We see another picture. It is a field – a plowed field, a field
that has been sowed down with good grain, and there is the
sower. He is asleep. He has done his work and night has
come and he has gone to bed; but lo! while he sleeps there
creeps up a shadowy figure from the pit and sows other seeds
all over that field. The seeds of the day sower and of the
night sower come up together and look much alike until the
fruit discriminates – the one nutritious food, the other a dead_
ly poison. What is the lesson? Well, we understand that the
darnell, the tare, is so nearly like wheat that the wheat planter
can hardly tell the difference until it heads for fruit. Here
then is a difficulty not in the mind of the hearer as in the first
parable. There is here no beaten path, no underlying rock, no
difference in the soil; this soil is all good; no thorns in it;
it is not poisoned with briers; the field is all good. What is
the difficulty? The difficulty here is that an enemy has sowed
something so like wheat that one cannot tell it from wheat
until it begins to fruit. It is the difficulty of the hypocrite –
the counterfeit Christian. We see the devil come in again.
He took away the good seed in the first parable lest it might
lead a man to conversion. He does not take away any of these
seeds; he cannot get at them; they have gone down into the
good and honest heart and he cannot take them away. But
what can he do? Why, he will bring that religion into dis_
repute by passing counterfeits on it. That bank’s reputation
is high. He will flood the country with counterfeit bills. Surely
that is a great discouragement. Men will point to the counter_
feit as an example of religion, and will tell us that it is a fruit
of our preaching. No, sir, I did not sow those seeds – never.
Those seeds did not come from God; the devil sowed them,
and the hypocrite is the son of the devil and not a son of
God. But where is the encouragement? The encouragement
is twofold: Every time we look at a hypocrite we see a com_
pliment to religion. As the counterfeit proves the value of the
genuine, so his masking in the garb of piety shows that piety
passes current among men. What other encouragement? We
see the time coming when God’s angels shall gather the hypo_
crites out of the world – for the field is the world, not the
church; there is no church in this – the field is the world, and
the good seed are the children of the kingdom of God and the
tares are the children of the evil one. In the world there are
hypocrites that bring discredit upon religion and that dis_
courages the religious teacher, but God says, „Wait! You
cannot persecute him, you cannot hang him because he is a
hypocrite. You cannot put him in jail because he is a hypo_
crite. You may not tear up and destroy that darnell lest you
destroy wheat. You may not persecute him for religion’s sake.
Wait. The angels will get him. They will take him and bind
him and his fellows in bundles and burn them.” Now, that is
an encouragement. And now let that picture pass by.
We see that sower again and he has a seed in his hand, and
we have to look close or we cannot see it. It is a very tiny,
seed. It is not bigger than a mustard seed. How distrustfully
he looks at it. What is the matter with it? He is discouraged;
discouraged about what? Oh, it is such a little thing. Ah, me,
if I could only plant a seed as big as a house I If I could do
some great thing]
Brother, let not the smallness of the seed discourage thee,
but be encouraged by this thought, that while the seed is small
there is no limit to its expansiveness. As that mustard seed
grew into a plant and spread out its branches and attracted
the birds of heaven, so is the kingdom of God. Do not despise
the day of small things. God calls upon us to attempt great
things and to expect great things, but he does not tell us to
expect them at the beginning – never.
Replace that picture by another. This time we see a woman
with a bread tray in her hand! What a great batch of dough
in it, and such dough! Now, if she makes this up into biscuit,
they will be flat and hard. Ah, me, the inbred corruption of
the human heart; that discourages the religious teacher. Why,
if I lead this man to Christ, even after conversion, he will find
a law in his members warring against the law of his mind and
bringing his soul into captivity. He will cry out: „0 wretched
man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this
death?” If, when I lead a soul to God, that soul could stand
in the maturity of Christian manhood, and never make a mis_
take and never stumble and never fall, I would like to be a
teacher. But brother, stop. Look back at the woman putting
a little leaven in the dough. So for us there is a little leaven.
It is spiritual leaven. Consider the woman, putting a little
leaven in her dough – just a pinch of it. Does she say, „Why
cannot I wave my hand over that batch of dough and say,
‘Rise at once?’ ” And why should we kneel down and pray,
„0, Lord God, in answer to my prayer, sanctify me, body, soul
and spirit, in a minute.” That is not God’s way. He put in
the leaven and it will work. It works little by little, but it
works. It works out and enlarges, and, blessed be God, ulti_
mately it leavens the whole lump, and then sanctification is
complete. But I would be silly if I were to kneel down and
pray for it to all come at once.
Behold next, a double picture. See a field with a mine in it,
a recently discovered gold mine – a hidden treasure; and then
in another part of the picture a pearl, a valuable pearl. What
about the difficulty here, the discouragement? Well, here it is:
One cannot get that mine unless he sell everything he has. Nor
that pearl at the same price. What are you discouraged about,
brother? I am discouraged about the cost. Just look at those
doleful scriptures: „No man can be my disciple unless he will
deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
„Except a man hate father and mother and brother and sister,
he cannot be my disciple.” „Go and sell all that you have and
come and follow me.” Well, that is discouraging, from one
standpoint. But there is a standpoint that reveals encourage_
ment. Frankly admit all the costs. Never deny or abate that.
Never dilute it.
Tell the people plainly that it means absolute and total
surrender. It means that in the whole realm of the soul there
shall not be a reserved spot as big as the point of a cambric
needle that denies the sovereignty of God. The surrender must
be complete. Don’t disguise that. But while it costs all we
have, yet what we get for it is infinitely better and more
valuable. The hidden treasure is worth more than what we
surrender. The pearl is worth more than what we give for it.
If we would put matters on a business footing, let me ask,
„What will it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world
and lose his own soul? And what will a man give in exchange
for his soul?” Religion is no child’s play. It reduces itself to
this great alternative: Everything for Christ, or everything
for the devil and hell. And mark this: Whoever sees the
value of the kingdom of heaven will not whine about the cost.
He asks for no pity because of his sacrifices. But one must
be born from above to see the kingdom. Then, like Moses
(Heb.11), and like Paul (Phil.), he will gladly pay the price.
So we come to the last picture. What do we see now? We
see an ocean and a great net let down into its waters that
sweeps it from end to end. Is the net the church? Why, the
church does not enter even the parable of the tares, where
there is at least a nominal profession and outward form of
religion in the hypocrite – even there the field was the world,
not the church. But those bad fish in the net are not even
called hypocrites. It is simply good fish and bad fish. That
net is the providence of God, that drags over all the ocean
of time and lands all its people on the shore of eternity. What
is there here then for discouragement? Just this: Here in
time, there are so many bad people mixed with the good. We
go down the street, thinking about good things, and lo I there
is a saloon. We cannot help it; there it is. We hear the ribald
jest, we see the bloated face and the blotched eye and the
pimpled skin and the haggard visage of the drunkard. We
hear the rattle of the dice. We know that behind that screen
the gambler, a beast of prey, is. lurking for an unsuspecting
victim. In this world, too, our world, are liars, thieves, mur_
derers, adulterers, blasphemers. „Oh,” says one, „it discourages
me. Lord God, I would like to preach if thou wouldst put me
in a world where there were only good people.” What need to
preach in such a world? Be not foolish, thou scribe of God.
The contiguity of bad men belongs to the present condition.
There is no escape from them yet. They vexed Lot’s right_
eous soul and mocked at the preaching of Noah. They tried
Abraham sorely and worried Paul. Our Lord himself – our
great exemplar – patiently endured their contradiction and
gainsaying. Tares will appear in the wheat field till Satan is
bound, and bad fish in the sea of time with the good till the
net of Providence shall strand all alike on eternity’s shore and
the angels shall sort them.
Let us now inquire somewhat into the import of the two
parables which tell what to do with the eight. They read:
„No man when he hath lighted a lamp covereth it with a ves_
sel or putteth it under a bed, but putteth it on a stand that
they which enter in may see the light. For nothing is veiled
that shall not be unveiled, nor anything secret that shall not
be known and come to light. If any man hath ears to hear,
let him hear. Give heed, therefore, to what you hear and take
heed how you hear it. With what measure ye mete it shall be
measured unto you, and more shall be given unto you. For
whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and whosoever hath
not, from him shall be taken away that which he thinketh he
hath,” or, as the margin expresses it, „He seemeth to have.”
„Have ye understood all these things? They said unto him,
yea. And he said unto them: Therefore every scribe who hath
been made a disciple to the kingdom of heaven [or every
teacher who has been instructed in the principles of the king_
dom of heaven], is like a householder who bringeth forth out
of his treasure things new and old.”
Let us briefly expound the more important words of this
passage. First, the word „scribe.” Originally a scribe was
merely a copyist of the law; that is, one skilled in making
careful manuscript copies of the books of the Old Testament.
And then, from his familiarity with the text, coming from
frequent transcription of it, he naturally became an expounder
of that text, and the latter meaning, „an expounder,” gradually
became the greater meaning, so that in our text today the
word „scribe” means „teacher.” „Every teacher instructed in
the principles of the kingdom of heaven.” The next word of
the passage that needs explanation is „hid” or „veiled.” „For
whatsoever is hid shall be made manifest.” This reference is
to the nature of parabolic teaching. A parable is a dark or
veiled saying, and yet the veil is designedly thin and semi_
transparent, instead of opaque. It was not intended by it to
hide the truth from the devout and thoughtful searcher after
truth, but only from the idle and careless and hardhearted.
So it is declared. „For nothing is hid that shall not be made
manifest.” „I speak to these people in parables. A parable
veils my teaching, but there is nothing veiled in these para_
bles that shall not be made manifest to you. I lift the veil.
I let you see what it means.” The next word that needs ex_
planation is, „The lighted lamp.” The lighted lamp represents
the disciple who heard the exposition of the parable. Mark
you, when he used the parable of the lighted lamp, he did not
use it in connection with the delivery of a parable; he used
it in connection with the exposition of a parable. The exposi_
tion is the light. The understanding hearer is the lighted lamp.
Merely to hear the parables does not make one a lighted lamp,
but to know the meaning of the parables makes one a lighted
lamp. The sense of it, the spiritual import of it, as expounded
by the Spirit of God – that is the light. The next word is this:
„Putteth it not under a vessel, but on a stand.” This means
that one who hears and understands the exposition must not
keep it to himself. It was given him for others, that they who
enter in may see the light. „Let your light so shine before
men.” Hence the caution. „Give close attention to this ex_
position. Take heed to what you hear. Take heed how you
hear.” This is the light. The parable was veiled. The ex_
position lifts the veil; therefore notice closely, give atten_
tion. The light comes with the exposition. Thus it was
in the days of Ezra, for the Scripture says, „So they read
in the books, in the law of God, and read distinctly and
gave the sense, and caused them to understand the read_
ing.” Truly that was a wonderful scene. All the people
were gathered together, the men, the women and the chil_
dren, every child, as the text says, „that had sense enough
to understand” – the whole of them. Thousands of them were
gathered together, and Ezra stood on a pulpit of wood, and he
first read the text of the law distinctly so that they got the
words. Then they gave the sense, so as to cause the people
to understand the meaning of the words, and the light came
with the meaning; and no light comes from memorizing words
of a scripture which we do not understand. It is about the
same as speaking in an unknown tongue, which profits nobody
unless it is interpreted. „Understandest thou what thou read_
est?” said Philip to the eunuch, and hence our Saviour’s ques_
tion following his exposition of the parables: „Have ye
understood all these things?” The emphasis is not on the
„all”; it is on „these things,” as indicated by the order in
which they come in the Greek, „Have ye understood these
things all?” Not, „Have you heard the words?” Have you
understood? Do you know what they mean?
The Bible is not a precious book to those who do not under_
stand it, but the entrance of God’s Word into the understand_
ing giveth light. A teacher must himself understand before
he can give the sense to others. A preacher who does not know
the meaning of Gods Word is an unlighted lamp. How can
he shine? He is a blind guide leading the blind. He may know
everything else in the world, but if he be ignorant of the
meaning of God’s Word he has no ministerial education, and
he cannot preach. He is worse than an ignoramus, though he
have diplomas from every college in the world. He teaches
falsehoods instead of truths, and wrecks the souls of men. We
would not allow a man ignorant of medicine to doctor our
bodies, nor entrust a case of property or of honor or of life
to a pettifogger ignorant of law, but we count it a little thing
to trust our immortal spirits and our eternal interests to
preachers who cannot call off the names of the books of the
Bible, who perhaps never read all of the Bible, or have not
diligently and prayerfully studied even one of its books, and
could not stand a creditable examination upon the text, much
less the spirit of one chapter.
Oh, we are guilty along this line, preachers and people! I
repeat, I make no reference whatever to ministerial education
in other things, but surely a preacher ought to have pro_
foundly and prayerfully studied the One Book. Our Saviour
prescribed no educational test in mathematics, or the sciences,
in rhetoric or elocution for his preachers, but he sent out no
man to preach until he had carefully instructed him in what to
preach. When then I say ministerial education, I mean Bible
education – education in the Bible. How long a time he kept
these men right with him, hearing his words, witnessing his
deeds, imbibing his spirit, expounding the principles of his
kingdom to them, precept by precept and line upon line, and
now illustrating by striking and vivid images, in parables
those same principles, and all before he sends them out to
preach God’s Word! An educated preacher is a scribe who
hath been made a disciple to the kingdom of God; that is, he
is a teacher who hath been instructed in the principles of the
kingdom of heaven. That alone is an educated preacher.
That leads to the next thing that needs explanation, „the
householder’s treasure.” Here the figure changes. Before the
exposition was „light”; now it is „treasure.” „Have you
understood all of these things? Yes. Then I say unto you that
every scribe instructed in the principles of the kingdom of
heaven, is like a householder who bringeth forth out of his
treasures things new and old.” Not the treasure of a traveler,
but of a householder who has stored away the accretions and
accumulations of years. A rolling stone gathers no moss. A
boarder, or a man always moving, accumulates no property.
„Three moves are equal to a fire.” A householder has old
things that are precious, which have been proved as to their
value in many times of trial. They are sacred with memories.
He has new things also, but recently acquired, and he brings
out on fitting occasions both new and old. What does this
mean? What is the spiritual import of this parable? I see its
meaning. It stands embodied before me. The householder is
a religious teacher, rich in the knowledge of the meaning of
God’s Word. He has devoutly studied it for years. It is the
one living oracle whose utterances settle all of bis perplexities.
In the time of spiritual drouth and scorching heat, that book
has been to him what the well with the old oaken bucket was
to Woodworth. And now, when we call him out of life’s prob_
lems and experiences, he brings forth from his treasure things
new and old. Yes, some of them are old. Some of them came
to him when his heart was first given to Jesus, when God for
Christ’s sake forgave his sins. He opens the book, the sacred
volume, and points out the very passage in God’s Word whose
sense or meaning brought to him peace and rest, long, long ago.
And he never forgets it. He opens it again and brings forth
another treasure. It came to him perhaps when his first baby
How well I recollect when my first child died, and out in the
old cemetery, when the preacher who kindly conducted the
funeral services of that child, Brother Richard Burleson, with
that reverence so peculiar to him, opened the Book of God,
and his voice rings in my ears today, „My son, despise not
thou the chastening of the Lord.” I never see him in my
memory but I hear him saying that, and that day that scrip_
ture, in the spirit of it and in the sense of it, so entered my
soul that I can never forget.
He turns to yet another passage. It came to him in con_
nection with his anxieties concerning a revival of religion, and
one day when feeling lonely beyond expression, his eye fell
upon this passage, „I am with you,” and the actual presence
and power of the eternal Spirit of God came upon him as
never before. Mark you, that the light comes with the exposi_
tion and experimental realization of the Scriptures, and a
scribe who has been instructed in the principles of the king_
dom of God, bringeth forth from his treasures things new and
old. He turns to some that came last year. (Last year I got
into the heart of this passage.) He turns to one that came
last month, one that came yesterday, one that came today,
and these are the new, and all of them are treasures – price_
less treasures – the spiritual interpretation of the Word of
He does not keep his face to the past and dwell on memories
of treasures found long ago, for where we do not acquire new
treasures we lose the old.
But we retain the old if we can say, „This manna fell last
night; it is fresh from God; it has the dew on it. It came
straight from a present, not a historic God; it came not to
one who was, but who is, his disciple and his child. It is not
the cold, stale food left over from last year’s banquet, but
fresh and hot from the kitchen of heaven it is served to him
hungry now.” I say that this Book is an ocean without shores;
that to its interpretation there is no ultima thule. We never
do get to its outer boundary and say, „I have compassed it
all.” We might look at it and apostrophize it:

„0 thou precious Bible, thou exhaustless mine of gold and
silver and diamonds, who has found thy last treasure? Thou
shoreless ocean, who has brought up from thy depth the last
tinted shell or beautiful coral or pearl of ray serene? Thou
range of mountains, whose tops touch the stars and kiss the
skies and come in touch with God; the climber who reaches
thy summit looks out upon ever_increasing landscapes of
beauty, and there burst upon his vision prospects of future
glory never yet dreamed of, until at last he gets so high that
he looks out and finds no horizon.”
That is heaven I New and old I Old as creation and new as
Now the last word to explain in this passage: „What meas_
ure ye mete it shall be measured unto you, and more shall
be given unto you. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given,
and whosoever hath not from him shall be taken away even
that which he thinketh he hath.” What does it mean? What
does it mean in this connection? Will you please recall a point
made just now, that the lamp was lighted for the benefit of
others? The Saviour expounded to one that he might tell that
exposition to another. Said he, „It is given to you to under_
stand the mysteries of the kingdom of God. I whisper in your
ear the meaning of the parables. You publish it on the house_
tops. If you dispense what I give you, if you measure out
what I give you, I give you more. As you measure so I mete.”
Oh, what a significance! Hear a secret, ye misers, who would
hoard the gold of truth:
Knowledge not imparted to others dies to the man who has
So long as one teaches mathematics he remembers math_
ematics. So long as one teaches Latin or Greek these things
are easy to him, but let him cease the imparting and his treas_
ure at once begins to shrink in bulk, to get lighter in weight,
to diminish in value. „There is that withholdeth and it tend_
eth to poverty. There is that scattereth abroad and it maketh
rich.” Oh, young convert, when God has given the sense of
just one precious scripture to you – it may be this: „Come
unto me all ye that labor and are heavy_laden and I will give
you rest;” it may be this: „God so loved the world that he
gave his only begotten Son” – but whatever it is, young con_
vert, when God lights that lamp let it shine, and be eager to
say in the language of David, „Come all ye that fear God and
I will tell you what great things he hath done for my soul;”
hide not the righteousness of God in your heart. Oh, preacher,
if you have found the exposition of a passage of God’s Word,
if Jesus has whispered an interpretation into your ear, give
it out, let the world have it, let others use it. Raise no whining
cry of plagiarism on God_given interpretations.
Do not jealously guard your little stock of cast iron sermons.
Preach them, and get new ones fresh with the dew of heaven
and alive with the breath of the Spirit of God.
Give out and God will give to you. Look at Spurgeon.
What cared he for his old sermons? Not a thing in the world.
For thirty years he published a sermon every week, and the
more he published the more he had to publish.
Why, I can well recollect with what shrinking and horrible
dread I heard Brother Cranfill’s proposition calling upon me
to let him publish a sermon of mine every week. I supposed
it would bankrupt all the material I had in six months, and
how foolish I was I
I never did in my life, freely, lovingly, and tenderly, give
out one exposition that Jesus had given to me but he gave me
another. I never did empty my bucket of water upon the
thirsty lips of the famished but I could the more readily let
it down into the well of salvation and draw it up filled again
to the brim, fresh_dripping and glowing from the cool and
living fountain, inexhaustible.
Impart! Give out! Scatter abroad! It will come back to
you good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running
over into your bosom and into your soul.
A scribe, then, is a religious teacher. Ministerial education,
then, is having the meaning of the Bible. The lamp is the
preacher. Exposition from God lights the lamp. The lamp
being lighted should shine. As it radiates the light given, more
light comes. The householder is a preacher. His treasure is
the accumulation of scriptural meanings, passages which he
has understood, passages upon which he has experimentally
fed and nourished his soul. Unless he acquire new treasure he
loses the old. If he faces the past only, that past becomes
ever dimmer to him, until it will at last seem to be only a
dream of a flickering, vague and uncertain fancy, without
Now, these are two subsidiary parables, the parable of the
lighted lamp and the parable of the householder’s treasure,
and they tell what to do with the eight.

1. Where do we find our Lord’s first great group of parables?
2. What two words are used in the Gospels for „parable” and what
the meaning of each in both the narrower and the wider senses?
3. Give a good definition of „parable.”
4. Distinguish between parable, proverb, simile, similitude, meta-
phor, allegory, fable, and myth.
5. Give a biblical example of each of these except myth, and give
an example also of a myth.
6. Why did our Lord use parables in his teaching?
7. From the table of „the parables of our Lord” give the interpre_
tation of each parable as there indicated.
8. What can you say in a general way of this list of parables and
what the two great classes of parables?
9. What brief rules here given for interpreting parables?
10. Compare the two parables which Christ interpreted himself with
their interpretation, and note the points in each not interpreted,
11. What three great groups of our Lord’s parables and what parables
in each group?
12. Give a general survey of our Lord’s ministry up to this point.
13. What is the scene, the pulpit, and the congregation of this first
group of parables?
14. What two subsidiary parables in connection with this group and
why so called?
15. What is the thread of thought that unites all these eight parables
into one necklace?
16. What is the first parable here, what is its details and what is its
17. Give the details of the parable of the good seed growing of it_
self, and its lesson.
18. Relate the story of the parable of the tares, and show its lesson.
19. Give the parable of the mustard seed and its lesson.
20. Give the parable of the leaven and its lesson.
21. Give the double picture in the parable of the hid treasure and the
pearl of great price, and their lessons.
22. Recite the parable of the dragnet and its lesson.
23. What is the import of the parable of the lighted lamp and what
is the meaning and application of the terms used therein?
24. What is the import of the parable of the householder’s treasure
and what is the meaning and application of the terms used in it?

Part VII
Harmony _pages 66_75 and Matthew 8:18_23; 11:1;
13:54_58; 14:1_12; Mark 4:34 to 5:20; 6:1_29;
Luke 8:22_40; 9:1_9.

When Jesus had finished his discourse on the kingdom, as
illustrated in the first great group of parables, he crossed over
the Sea of Galilee to avoid the multitudes. While on the bosom
of the sea a storm swept down upon them, as indicated by
Luke, but our Lord had fallen asleep. So the disciples awoke
him with their cry of distress and he, like a God, spoke to
the winds and the sea, and they obeyed him. Such is the
simple story of this incident, the lesson of which is the
strengthening of their faith in his divinity.
Upon their approach to the shore – the country of the Gad_
arenes – occurred the thrilling incident of the two Gadarene
demoniacs. The story is graphically told here by Matthew,
Mark, and Luke, and does not need to be repeated in this in_
terpretation, but there are certain points in the story which
need to be explained. First, there are some difficulties: (1) The
apparent discrepancy of long standing, relating to the place,
is cleared up by Dr. Broadus in his note at the bottom of
page 67 (see his explanation of this difficulty); (2) Matthew
mentions two demoniacs, while Mark and Luke mention but
one. This is easily explained by saying that the one men_
tioned by Mark and Luke was probably the prominent and
leading one, and that they do not say there was only one.
Second) there are some important lessons in this incident for
us: (1) We see from this incident that evil spirits, or demons,
not only might possess human beings by impact of spirit upon
spirit, but they also could and did possess lower animals. (2)
We see here also that these evil spirits could not do what they
would without permission, and thus we find an illustration of
the limitations placed upon the Devil and his agencies. (3)
There is here a recognition of the divinity of Jesus by these
demoniacs and that he is the dispenser of their torment.
(4) There is here also an illustration of the divine power of
Jesus Christ over the multitude of demons, and from this in_
cident we may infer that they are never too numerous for him.
(5) The man when healed is said to have been in his right
mind, indicating the insanity of sin. (6) The new convert was
not allowed to go with Jesus, but was made a missionary to
his own people) to tell them of the great things the Lord had
done for him. (7) The Gadarenes besought him to leave their
borders. Matthew Henry says that these people thought more
of their hogs than they did of the Lord Jesus Christ. Alas I
this tribe is by far too numerous now.
Following the Harmony, we find that after crossing back to
the other shore Jesus revisits Nazareth and teaches in their
synagogue. Here he was rejected as at first. He did some
works there, but was limited by their unbelief. Their ques_
tions as to his origin indicate their great stupidity and throw
light on the question of „the perpetual virginity” of Mary,
showing that the Romanist contention here is utterly ground_
less. Before leaving them Jesus announced a fact which has
been experienced by many a man since that time, viz: that a
man is often least appreciated by his own people.
In Section 55 we have the first commission of the twelve
apostles. The immediate occasion is expressed in Matthew 9:
36. (See the author’s sermon on „Christ’s Compassion Excited by a Sight of the Multitude.”) These apostles had received the train-ing of the mighty hand of the Master ever since their conversion and call to the ministry, and now he thrusts them out to put into action what they had received from him. The place they were to go, or the limit of their commission, is found in Matthew 10:5_6. This limitation to go to the Jews and not to the Gentiles seems to have been in line with the teaching elsewhere that salvation came first to the Jews and that the time of the Gentiles had not yet come in, but this commission was not absolute, because we find our Lord later commissioning them to go to all the world. What they were to preach is found in Matthew 10:7 and what they were to do in Matthew 10:8. The price they were to ask is found in the last clause of v. 8. How they were to be supported, negatively and positively, together with the principle of their
support, is found in w. 9_11. The principle of ministerial support
is found also, very much elaborated, in I Corinthians 9:4_13,
and is referred to in I Corinthians 9:14 as an ordinance of our
Lord. The manner of making this operative on entering a city
is found in w. 11_12. The rewards of receiving and rejecting
them are found in v. 13, while the method of testimony against
the rejectors is expressed in w. 14_15.
The characteristics of these disciples are given in v. 16:
„Wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” If they should
have had the characteristic of the dove alone they would
have been silly; if the serpent alone, they would have been
tricky. But with both they had prudence and simplicity. In
this commission we find also that they were to be subject to
certain hazards, recorded in v. 18. Their defense is also prom_
ised in w. 19_20. The extent of their persecutions is expressed
in w. 21_22. Their perseverance is indicated in the last clause
of v. 22. In v. 23 we have the promise that the Son of man
would come to them before they had gone through all the
cities of Israel. What does that mean? There are five theories

about it, all of which are amply discussed by Broadus (see his
Commentary in loco).
The consolations offered these disciples, in view of their
prospective persecutions, are as follows (24_31): (1) So they
treated the Lord, (2) all things hidden shall be made known,
(3) the work of their persecutors is limited to the body, but
God’s wrath is greater than man’s and touches both soul and
body, and (4) the Father’s providential care. The condition
of such blessings in persecution, and vice versa, are expressed
in w. 32_33. From this we see that they were to go forth
without fear or anxiety and in faith. The great issue which
the disciples were to force is found in 10:34_39. This does
not mean that Christ’s work has in it the purpose of stirring
up strife, but that the disturbance will arise from the side of
the enemy in their opposition to the gospel and its principles,
whose purpose means peace. So there will arise family trou_
bles, as some yield to the call of the gospel while others of
the same family reject it. Some will always be lacking in the
spirit of religious tolerance, which is not the spirit of Christ.
In this connection our Lord announces the principle of loyalty
to him as essential to discipleship, with an added encourage_
ment, viz., that of finding and losing the life. In w. 40_42 we
have the identity of Christ with the Father which shows his
divinity and also his identity with his people in his work.
Then follows the blessed encouragement of the promise of re_
wards. When Jesus had thus finished his charge to his dis_
ciples, he made a circuit of the villages of Galilee preaching
the gospel of the kingdom.
From this incident come three important lessons for us:
First, we have here the origin and development of a call to the
ministry as follows: (1) Christ’s compassion for the perishing
and leaderless, (2) prayer to God that he would send forth
laborers, and (3) a positive conviction that we should go.
Second, there is also suggested here the dangers of the care
for fine preaching: (1) If it has its source in anxiety and sel_
fishness it restrains spirituality; (2) it manifests itself in ex_
citement and excess which adulterates spirituality; (3) it leads
to weariness or self_seeking and thus destroys spirituality.
Third, we have here several encouragements to the preacher:
(1) The cause is honorable; (2) the example is illustrious; (3)
the success is certain; (4) care is guaranteed; (5) the reward
is glorious; (6) the trials become triumphs; (7) the identifica_
tion with Christ.
The account of the miracles wrought by the disciples of
Jesus on this preaching tour impressed Herod Antipas, as well
as those wrought by Jesus himself, the impression of which
was so great that he thought that John the Baptist was risen
from the dead. The account in the Harmony throws light on
the impression that was made by the ministry of John. Some
were saying that Jesus was Elijah or one of the other prophets,
but Herod’s conscience and superstition caused him to think it
was John the Baptist, for he remembered his former relation
to John. Then follows here the story of how John had re_
buked Herod which angered his wife, Herodias, and eventually
led to John’s death at the band of the executioner. Josephus
gives testimony relative to this incident. (See chapter X of
this „Interpretation.”)
There are some lessons to be learned from this incident.
First, we are impressed with the courage and daring of the
first Christian martyr, a man who was not afraid to speak his
convictions in the face of the demons of the pit. Second, the
life must leave its impress, but that impress will be variously
interpreted according to the antecedents and temperaments of
the interpreters. Third, the influence of a wicked woman, often
making the weak and drunken husband a mere tool to an
awful wicked end. Fourth, the occasion of sin and crime is
often the time of feasting and frivolity. Just such a crime as
this has often been approached by means of the dance and
strong drink. Fifth, we have here an example of a man who
was too weak to follow his conviction of the right because he
had promised and had taken an oath. He had more respect
for his oath than he had for right. Sixth, there is here also
an example of the wickedness of vengeance. It is a tradition
that when the daughter brought in the head of John and gave
it to Herodias, her mother, she took a bodkin and stuck it
through the tongue of John, saying, „You will never say again,
It is not lawful for vou to have your brother’s wife.’ ”

1. Give the time, place, circumstances, and lesson of Jesus stilling
the tempest.
2. Tell the story of the two Gadarene demoniacs.
3. What two difficulties here, and how is each explained?
4. What seven important lessons for us in this incident?
5. Give the story of the second rejection of Jesus at Nazareth and
its several lessons.
6. What was the immediate occasion of sending forth the twelve
apostles on their first mission?
7. What preparation had they received?
8. Where were they to go, or what was the limit of this commission?
9. Why was it limited, and was it absolute?
10. What were they to preach, and what were they to do?
11. What price were they to ask?
12. How were they to be supported, negatively and positively, and
how do you harmonize the Synoptics here?
13. What was the principle of their support and where do we find
this principle very much elaborated?
14. How is this principle referred to in I Corinthians 9:14?
15. What was the manner of making it operative on entering a city?
16. What rewards attached to receiving and rejecting them?
17. What was the method of testimony against those who rejected?
18. What was to be the characteristics of these disciples?
19. To what hazards were they subject?
20. What was to be their defense?
21. What was to be the extent of their persecution?
22. What was text on the perseverance of the saints, and what was ita
immediate application to these apostles?
23. Explain „till the Son of man be come.”
24. What were the consolations offered these disciples?
25. What was the condition of such blessings?
26. In what spirit were they to go forth?
27. What great issue must they force? Explain.
28. What principle of discipleship here announced?
29. What proof here of the divinity of Jesus Christ?
30. What promise here of rewards?
31. What did Jesus do immediately after finishing his charge here
32. What lessons here on the origin and development of a call to the
33. What dangers of the care for fine preaching?
34. What seven encouragements from this incident to the preacher
of today?
35. How was Herod and others impressed by the miracles of Jesus
and his disciples?
36. What several conjectures of Herod and others?
37. What part was played in this drama by John? by Herod? by
Herodias and by Salome, the daughter of Herodias?
38. What testimony of Josephus on this incident?
39. What lessons of this incident?

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