« Prev § 80. Christ's peculiar Method of training the… Next »

§ 80. Christ’s peculiar Method of training the Apostles.

The words of Christ recorded in Luke, v., 33; Matt.. ix., 14,186186   More on these passages hereafter, in their proper connexion in the narrative. throw a distinct light upon his peculiar method of training the Apostles. When reproached because he imposed no strict spiritual discipline, no fasting or outward exercises upon his disciples, but suffered them to mingle in society freely, like other men, he justified his course by stating (in effect) that “fasting, then imposed upon them, would have been an unnatural and foreign disturbance of the festal joy of their intercourse with him, the object of all their longings. But when the sorrow of separation should follow the hours of joy, fasting would be in harmony both with their inward feelings and their outward life. As no good could come of patching old garments with new cloth, or putting new wine into old skins, so it was not his purpose to impose the exercises of spiritual life, fasting, and the like, by an outward law, upon his yet untrained disciples, but rather, by a gradual change of their whole inward nature, to make them vessels fit for the indwelling of the higher life. When they had become such, all the essential manifestations of that indwelling life would spontaneously reveal themselves; no outward command would then be needed.”

Here we see the principle on which Christ acted in the intellectual, as well as in the moral and religious training of the Apostles. As he would not lay external restraints, by the letter of outward laws, upon natures as yet undisciplined, so it was not his purpose to impart the dead letter of a ready-made and fragmentary knowledge to minds whose worldly modes of thought disabled them from apprehending it. He aimed rather to implant the germ, to give the initial impulse of a total intellectual renovation, by which men might be enabled to grasp, with a new spirit, the new truths of the kingdom of God. In every relation he determined not to “patch the old garment, or put new wine into old bottles.” And this principle, thus fully illustrated by Christ’s training of his Apostles, is, in fact, the universal law of growth in the genuine Christian life.

« Prev § 80. Christ's peculiar Method of training the… Next »
VIEWNAME is workSection