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And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying, 'Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.'... 'Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.'-Matthew v. 2, 3, 5.


THE words of the Lord are the seed sown by the Into our hearts they must fall that they may grow. Meditation and prayer must water them, and obedience keep them in the sunlight. Thus will they bear fruit for the Lord's gathering.

Those of his disciples, that is, obedient hearers, who had any experience in trying to live, would, in part, at once understand them; but as they obeyed and pondered, the meaning of them would keep growing. This we see in the writings of the apostles. It will be so with us also, who need to understand everything he said neither more nor less than they to whom first he spoke; while our obligation to understand is far greater than theirs


at the time, inasmuch as we have had nearly two thousand years' experience of the continued coming of the kingdom he then preached; it is not yet come; it has been all the time, and is now, drawing slowly nearer.

The sermon on the mount, as it is commonly called, seems the Lord's first free utterance, in the presence of any large assembly, of the good news of the kingdom. He had been teaching his disciples and messengers; and had already brought the glad tidings that his father was their father, to many besides to Nathanael for one, to Nicodemus, to the woman of Samaria, to every one he had cured, every one whose cry for help he had heard: his epiphany was a gradual thing, beginning, where it continues, with the individual. It is impossible even to guess at what number may have heard him on this occasion: he seems to have gone up the mount because of the crowd-to secure a somewhat opener position whence he could better speak; and thither followed him those who desired to be taught of him, accompanied doubtless by not a few in whom curiosity was the chief motive. Disciple or gazer, he addressed the individuality of every one that had ears to hear. Peter and

Andrew, James and John, are all we know as his recognized disciples, followers, and companions, at the time; but, while his words were addressed to such as had come to him desiring to learn of him, the things he uttered were eternal truths, life in which was essential for every one of his father's children, therefore they were for all: he who heard to obey, was his disciple.

How different, at the first sound of it, must the good news have been from the news anxiously expected by those who waited for the Messiah! Even the Baptist in prison lay listening after something of quite another sort. The Lord had to send him a message, by eye-witnesses of his doings, to remind him that God's thoughts are not as our thoughts, or his ways as our ways-that the design of God is other and better than the expectation of men. His summary of the gifts he was giving to men, culminated with the preaching of the good news to the poor. If John had known these his doings before, he had not recognized them as belonging to the Lord's special mission: the Lord tells him it is not enough to have accepted him as the Messiah; he must recognize his doings as the work he had come into the world to do, and as in

their nature so divine as to be the very business of the Son of God in whom the Father was well pleased.

Wherein then consisted the goodness of the news which he opened his mouth to give them? What was in the news to make the poor glad? Why was his arrival with such words in his heart and mouth, the coming of the kingdom?

All good news from heaven, is of truth—essential truth, involving duty, and giving and promising help to the performance of it. There can be no good news for us men, except of uplifting love, and no one can be lifted up who will not rise. If God himself sought to raise his little ones without their consenting effort, they would drop from his foiled endeavour. He will carry us in his arms till we are able to walk; he will carry us in his arms when we are weary with walking; he will not carry us if we will not walk.

Very different are the good news Jesus brings us from certain prevalent representations of the gospel, founded on the pagan notion that suffering is an offset for sin, and culminating in the vile assertion that the suffering of an innocent man, just because he is innocent, yea perfect, is a satisfaction to the holy Father for the evil deeds of his children. As


a theory concerning the atonement nothing could be worse, either intellectually, morally, or spiritually; announced as the gospel itself, as the good news of the kingdom of heaven, the idea is monstrous as any Chinese dragon. Such a socalled gospel is no gospel, however accepted as God sent by good men of a certain development. It is evil news, dwarfing, enslaving, maddening— news to the child-heart of the dreariest damnation. Doubtless some elements of the gospel are mixed. up with it on most occasions of its announcement; none the more is it the message received from him. It can be good news only to such as are prudently willing to be delivered from a God they fear, but unable to accept the gospel of a perfect God, in whom to trust perfectly.

The good news of Jesus was just the news of the thoughts and ways of the Father in the midst of his family. He told them that the way men thought for themselves and their children was not the way God thought for himself and his children ; that the kingdom of heaven was founded, and must at length show itself founded on very different principles from those of the kingdoms and families of the world, meaning by the world that part of

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