Page:Literature and Dogma (1883).djvu/162

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do ill, perhaps, if we summarise to our own minds his work by saying, that he restored the intuition of God through transforming the idea of righteousness; and that, to do this, he brought a method, and he brought a secret. And of those two great words which fill such a place in his gospel, repentance and peace,—as we see that his Apostles, when they preached his gospel, preached 'Repentance unto life'[1] and 'Peace through Jesus Christ,'[2]—of these two great words, one, repentance, attaches itself, we shall find, to his method, and the other, peace, to his secret.

There was no question between Jesus Christ and the Jews as to the object to aim at. 'If thou wouldst enter into life, keep the commandments,' said Jesus.[3] And Israel, too, on his part, said: 'He that keepeth the commandments keepeth his own soul.'[4] But what commandments? The commandments of God; about this, too, there was no question. But: 'Leaving the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men; ye make the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition;' said Jesus.[5] Therefore the commandments which Israel followed were not those commandments of God by which a man keeps his own soul, enters into life. And the practical proof of this was, that Israel stood before the eyes of the world manifestly neither blessed nor at peace; yet these characters of bliss and peace the following of the real commandments of God was confessed to give. So a rule, or method, was wanted, by which to determine on what the keeping of the real commandments of God depended.

And Jesus gave one: 'The things that come from within a man's heart, they it is which defile him!'[6]

We have seen what an immense matter conduct is;—-

  1. Acts, xi, 18.
  2. Acts, x, 36.
  3. Matth., xix, 17.
  4. Prov., xix, 16.
  5. Mark, vii, 9, 13.
  6. Matth., xv, 18; Mark, vii, 20, 21.