MARK: The ox; the servant; the gospel of work and activity, no genealogy.

1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;

This thing had a beginning. We are accustomed to the phrase "the gospel" from the cradle. We are accustomed to the name of Christ from our earliest consciousness. We are so accustomed to it that we may have difficulty in realising distinctly that it had a beginning. The fact that it had a beginning is most important, for it brings with it the question-How did it begin? How is it that Europe, which was once an overgrown thicket of barbarous races, is now a community calling itself Christendom?

How came it that the cross, an instrument of torture and the emblem of infamy, should have come to be the favourite ornament with millions, and the most honourable mark in all market places and on all public buildings? This actual present state of things had a beginning. Men did not start without a reason giving honour to the name of Christ, even if in ever so dim and conventional a way.

They began to do it at a certain time for a certain reason. Men did not begin using the cross as a spontaneous fantasy for which they could not account. They began to do it as the result of palpable circumstances. When the matter is investigated, we are taken away back to the generation just before Tacitus and Pliny, for they found the thing in full operation with all the zest and momentum of an immediately recent origin.

We find Paul at work. Just before him (though slightly contemporary with him), we find the apostles and their companions at work. Just before them, we find Christ himself at work. We have it in our power to judge of their work, in two ways, firstly by the effect it produced, secondly, by their own account of it in authentic documents which have been in the hands of the Christian community uninterruptedly during all the centuries which have since elapsed.

That it produced an effect is beyond question, for Christendom is a continuation of that first effect. You cannot recognise the existence of Christendom without recognising that the apostolic work produced an effect so strong as to revolutionise the beliefs and habits of civilised mankind in the beginning of the Christian era.

Now it is but a primitive act of reason to argue that so strong an effect must have had a strong cause; what was it? If you guess any other than the one alleged by the apostles in their writings, you guess a cause unequal to the effect, and inconsistent with the character of the work as evident in their writings, for their work was self-evidently a work of intelligence and of righteousness.

Seasons 2.75

If Christ was a mere man, [as argued by heretics such as Mr Dealtry]‭ ‬how is it that he was sinless‭? ...‬The testimony which Mr.‭ ‬Dealtry would throw overboard,‭ ‬explains it,‭ ‬because it reveals the source of Christ's high capacity and impulse in a divine direction,‭ ‬in a divine paternity.‭ ‬This explains everything.‭

The clay of fallen human nature,‭ ‬in the hands of the Divine Potter,‭ ‬was fashioned unto the likeness of the divine‭; ‬that by the instrumentality thus established,‭ ‬a door of escape from the pit might be opened for this doomed race...

...other men who have not been miraculously conceived,‭ ‬are called sons of God.‭ ‬But the answer is that they acquire this title from Christ,‭ ‬and possess it only in prospect of being made like him.‭ "‬We are all the children of God through faith in Christ Jesus‭" (Gal. iii, 26)‬.‭ ‬By union with him,‭ ‬they are legally covered with his name,‭ ‬and incorporated with his relationship.‭ ‬They are not adopted till the resurrection.‭-(Romans. viii, 23; Luke. xx, 36)‬.‭

They are only sons by virtue of connection with him who was primitively and‭ ‬par excellence the‭ ‬Son of God.‭ ‬The relation had its origin in him,‭ ‬and in judging of what constituted that relationship,‭ ‬it will not do to go to those who have only a borrowed title‭; ‬and say that because that they are mere men‭; ‬therefore Jesus was.‭

We therefore repeat that if the sonship of Christ had reference to his origin,‭ ‬every proclamation that Jesus is the Son of God,‭ ‬is a proclamation that God was his father,‭ ‬and not Joseph.‭

The sonship of Christ,‭ ‬whatever it may mean,‭ ‬is one of the most conspicuous features of their testimony‭; ‬and if that sonship has its basis in a preternatural origin,‭ ‬that preternatural origin is one of their incessant protestations.

The Ambassador of the Coming Age, Feb 1868. p46-52.

Son of Yahweh

By this means of paternity, Christ escaped the hereditary moral and mental bias of the race, and received such a divine intellectual impress as made him strong in spirit or mind, and of quick understanding in the fear and word of the Lord. He was therefore enabled to overcome all the promptings and desires of his unclean nature derived from his mother, and maintained his moral perfection without blemish and undefiled.

Such being the case, he required no justification or cleansing pertaining to the conscience as we do : he needed only a cleansing or justification by spirit of his physical nature-sin's flesh-which he bore. 

This cleansing took place, as we see in the type, at the end of thirty-three days, or years. Luke tells us that at his baptism, he ' began to be about thirty years of age.' His ministry lasted about three-and-a-half years, so that Christ, when he offered himself to the Father, through the Eternal Spirit, as a sacrifice for the sin of the world, was between thirty-three and thirty-four years of age. It was after thirty days (or years) that the sacrifice was offered.

It is argued by some that Christ was justified at his baptism from the condemnation ruling upon his flesh-nature before he could go on probation, but the type emphatically teaches that he was not justified or cleansed from his physical uncleanness until the end of his life, or after the thirty-third day. 

Christ required no justification morally, and the only other justification which the Scriptures teach he did require, was justification by spirit from the condemnation of mortality resting· upon his flesh-nature, and this could not be effected until he had made reconciliation for iniquity in death and resurrection.

(Law of Moses)

2 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.

But in Malachi's prophecies above quoted "a great and terrible day" is spoken of, even the day of the Lord's coming and appearance as a refiner's fire and fuller's soap. Now before that day, says the prophet, a messenger shall be sent; and at the close of his prophecy tells us his name in these words-

"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: and he shall restore the heart of the fathers in the children, and (hashiv understood, restore, turn,) the heart of the children to the fathers, lest I come and smite the land with a curse."

Now the contemporaries of Jesus understood this in its obvious sense, namely, that the identical Elijah who was translated should return to Palestine on a mission to Israel before their being made to pass through the refining and purifying process on the day of terror. This appears from the question put by the disciples to Jesus after seeing Elijah on the Mount with Moses-

"Why then say the scribes that Elijah must first come?"

This was a reason urged by the scribes for rejecting Jesus. As if they had said, "This Jesus cannot be the Messenger of the Covenant, for Elijah has not yet made his appearance." The disciples were in a difficulty. They acknowledged Jesus to be the Christ, but they had seen him before Elijah, which did not harmonize with Malachi's testimony. Jesus admitted that the scribes were right about the coming of Elijah; for he said,

"Elijah truly shall first come, and restore all things."

This is a truth that must not be lost sight of. Elijah's mission is to restore all things when he comes. What things? Not things pertaining to the Gentiles; for there is nothing Gentile worth restoring. Destruction, not restoration, is to come upon the things of the Gentiles both ecclesiastical and civil. The things to be restored are the things of Moses' law, as far as compatible with faith in the blood of the New Covenant, constituting the Amended Law.

Hence in the verse preceding that about Elijah, the Lord says to Israel,

"Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, even the statutes and judgments." (Mal iv. 4)

These are the civil law of the nation, the law of the state, the existence of which is quite compatible with the New Covenant to which it will be accommodated in the time of emendation.

On a former occasion, Jesus said to the multitude,

"If ye will receive it, John is the Elijah being about to come-Ηλιας ο῾ μελλων ερχεσθαλ." (Matt xi. 14)

I understand Jesus to say in these words, that Elijah's coming is still future. He says, too, "John is Elijah" - but in what sense are they identical? Let the angel of Yahweh who appeared to John's father, answer the question-

"John shall go before the Lord Israel's God in Elijah's spirit and power, to restore to posterity the fathers' dispositions, and disobedient ones to just persons' mode of thinking: to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." (Luke i. 17)

Then "Elijah's spirit and power, " like his mantle on Elisha, had fallen upon John; and hence the identity, which, however, did not at all affect the proper coming of Elijah at the appointed time. In this sense Jesus said to his disciples,

"But I say unto you

 (though there is truth in what the scribes say) 

that Elijah once came already, and they did not know him, but have done to him whatever they listed. John said of himself plainly, "I am not Elijah." (Matt xvii. 12)

Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Nov 1855

4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.

Daniel's 70 Week Prophecy

The seventieth week was the week in which the covenant was confirmed in the attestations which the Father gave to Jesus as his Son, and as the Seed of Abraham and of David, to whom he had promised the land of Canaan, and the kingdom and throne of David for an everlasting inheritance.

The week of confirmation was divided between the ministry of John and that of Jesus. The former was engaged in baptizing the people into the hope of Messiah's immediate manifestation; and when he was about finishing his work, Jesus was baptized, and publicly recognised before the assembled people, as the Son of God by a voice from the excellent glory.

He was also anointed at the same time, and sealed, as the Most Holy One of Israel. John having now finished his ministry, was thrown into prison by Herod the tetrarch; and Jesus being thirty years old, entered upon the work of the latter half part of the week, or three years and a half remaining to complete the 490 (Luke 3:15,19-23).

Elpis Israel 3.4.

5 And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.


It is strange that the action of gospel obedience should have occupied so much time, and so many volumes to define. Water is admitted to be the medium through which it is performed; and that the terms used in connection with its administration are burial, planting, birth, "body washed."

Can a man be buried, or a seed planted, without being put out of sight? And is not a birth an emergence from a cavity in which the thing born was previously concealed? Then water baptism is a being put out of sight in water, and to be born of it is to emerge from the bosom of the deep.


Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Dec 1854

10 And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:

In this way he [John Baptist] was singled out from the surrounding multitude. This was the sign given to John by which he might know the Messiah when he should appear. For although Jesus was his cousin, yet he did not know that he was the Messiah; although doubtless he was familiar with all the information current in his father's family concerning his birth. For he says,

"I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize in water, the same said unto me, upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he that baptizeth with the Holy Spirit. And I saw, and bear testimony that this (Jesus) is the Son of God."

But in addition to this God acknowledged him as his Son with an audible voice, saying,

"Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased."

Now this sign and declaration were not given before a few select friends. They were manifested in the presence of a promiscuous multitude of Jews, priests and Levites, Pharisees and Sadducees, publicans and other sinners of various classes, forming a crowd which John addressed as a generation of vipers - Lk 3: 7. The sign and declaration were notorious. Hence in an argument with those who sought to kill him he inquired of them,

"Have ye never heard his voice, nor seen his form? And have ye not his declaration remaining in you; that whom he (the Father) hath sent forth on this man you believe not?"

This was God's avowal that Jesus was his Son, which even his enemies could not gainsay, for it was too well known by the public generally. Now Israelites also admit that Jesus worked miracles in the name of God; do you think, if he had not been his Son God would have permitted him to work miracles by his power to prove it?

The God of Israel is a God of truth, and in him is no darkness at all, and he never would have given his sanction to so gross an imposition on the supposition that Jesus was a blasphemer in saying that he was the Son of God.

Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Apr 1851

The Spirit

And of spirit, what know we? Nothing but in its effects. The gifts of the spirit are familiar only as manifestations of power. God, by the Spirit, enstamped on the apostles and early believers, certain powers and faculties extra to those appertaining to the living soul of Edenic origin; but the essence of the spirit is as inscrutable as the Father's person.

Prophets spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit; this was but the expression of ideas burningly impressed on their minds by the omnipotent power of the Father, exerted by, or through, or in the spirit.

Our familiarity with prophecy is apt to make us imagine ourselves familiar with the modus operandi of inspiration. The prophets were acted upon by divine impulse; but the divine impulse understand ye? Nay; we know it as a fact-that is all.

The spirit, though a fact is a mystery to our understanding. We talk much of it, and may come from sheer familiarity with the word, to put it by in the mind as a thing we understand; but let it be perceived, that it is only in its manifestations or functions toward ourselves, that we apprehend it. In itself, it is incomprehensible.

The Christadelphian, Oct 1869

12 And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness.

It is a characteristic of Mark's Gospel that where Matthew is full in his description, Mark is concise. Matthew records parables and teachings; Mark deals mainly with activity and actions. His record has no genealogy, for "servants" are not considered in that regard. Instead, words such as "straightway," "immediately" are used consistently as though the Great Servant is on constant duty, wholeheartedly performing the divine Will.

13 And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.

Details are in Matt and Lk 4. The temptation is not mentioned in John

Was there not a tempter in Christ's case personally distinct from Jesus?'

Answer. Yes. But that tempter was not a Serpent, nor 'the Serpent;' but one sustaining the character of a personal adversary to him.

If the tempter be distinct from Christ, the tempted, can we be safe, or justified, in departing from that idea?

Answer. We are not justified in so doing; therefore I have been careful to abide by what is written without regard to the glosses of 'theology,' and the petitio principii of 'divines.'

Herald Oct 1852

An agent provocateur

The form of Christ's tempter in the desert is not revealed any more than the identity of Job's Satan,‭ ‬and to contend strenuously for a particular view is unnecessary where the fact of the temptation is admitted.‭ ‬The statement that Christ was tempted it all points like as we are does not prove that the tempter was not external and personal.‭ ‬We have external and personal tempters as well as internal susceptibilities.‭

The latter indeed cannot be thoroughly put to the test without the former.‭ ‬We may be tempted by our feelings,‭ ‬doubtless,‭ ‬but never so powerfully as when those feelings are appealed to by a second person.‭

Your argument lowers Christ to too low a plane.‭ ‬The same nature he truly was,‭ ‬but you must remember there are many varieties and conditions of our common nature-from the untutored savage of the common felon to the balanced mentality of refinement and culture.‭

Human nature in the hand of God was a form not known to men.‭ ‬We must not give Christ the lowest but the very highest place.‭ ‬He was the work of God for righteousness,‭ ‬and therefore immeasurably above‭ "‬mere men,‭" ‬though tempted in all points like them.

The Christadelphian, Nov 1886 p614.

14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,

15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

The gospel is not preached when the things of the kingdom are omitted. And this is one grand defect in modern preaching; either there is nothing said about the kingdom, or a kingdom is preached which is a mere matter of speculation, a kingdom of heaven in principle, in the hearts of men, or somewhere beyond the skies!

But, the gospel does not treat of such a kingdom as this, a mere fiction indoctrinated into men's minds by "the cunning craftiness of those who lie in wait to deceive." So inseparable is the idea of gospel from that of kingdom, that we find them not only substituted for each other, but associated together as terms of explanation.

Thus, "Jesus went throughout every city and village, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God" (Luke 8:1; Mark 1:14); and in the prophecy of Mount Olivet it is written, 

"THIS gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the habitable (EN HOLE OIKOUMENE, the Roman empire) for a testimony to all the nations: and then shall come the end" (Matt. 24:14).

Elpis Israel 2.1.

If the kingdom had come to hand when John began to preach; and was not set up till the day of Pentecost, seven years after, where was the kingdom during that seven years?

... basileia...signifies royal, regal, or any thing pertaining to a βασιλενζ, basileus, or king. In its radical sense, therefore, basileia signifies what pertains to a king.

Hence, a kingly territory, regal authority, majesty, royalty, the title and honour of king, royal power or dignity, &c., may all be expressed by basileia. But, which of these senses are we to adopt in interpreting the words of John? That must be determined by the context. Now the context shows that John the Baptizer was alluding, not to the reign, nor to the territory, nor to the power; but to the person to whom the title and honour of king belonged-"The Lord."

The quotation from Isaiah which immediately follows proves this. Turn, reader, to Matt. 3:1-3, and Isai. 40:3. Matthew tells us that John came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, "Repent ye, for the basileia of the heavens engike." He then quotes Isaiah, showing that John and what he preached, were the fulfilment of one of his prophecies.

"For this (John) is he," says Matthew, "who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying, The voice of one crying (or preaching) in the wilderness." What did he preach? Matthew has told us; but what saith Isaiah? Hear him-

"Prepare ye the way of Yahweh, make straight in the desert a highway for our Elohim,‮ " * * * ‬and‮ ‬then‮ ‬adds,‮ "‬...‭ ‬the Majesty of Yahweh,‭ ‬shall be revealed.

This "Majesty of Yahweh" was the basileia ton ouranon, John proclaimed as having approached.

Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Jan 1856

The time is fulfilled; the Kingdom of God is at hand

Did he mean the time for fulfilling Dan. 2:44, or the time for Dan. 9:24; "to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make reconciliation for iniquity," &c? The latter, undoubtedly. Paul settles the point in saying

‭ "when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth His Son made of a woman, made under the law to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.-(Gal. 4:4-5.)

‭The time defined by the angel to Daniel, as the period elapsing from

‭"the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto Messiah the Prince,"

‭had about run its course when "Jesus came into Galilee, preaching." Therefore he said "the time is fulfilled." But why did he associate the kingdom of God with that time?

‭Because conjointly with the appearance of the sin-bearing Messiah, the time had arrived to preach the kingdom of God as a means of calling out a people for it.

‭ "The law and the prophets were until John; since that time, the kingdom of God is preached." (Luke 16:16.)

‭The kingdom of God was "at hand," or (more properly) had approached. Jesus, the king, had been manifested and publicly anointed, and was "among them." In himself, he was the power of which the kingdom, when established in all the earth, will be but the extension; and His presence in Israel was a presence of the kingdom in its incipient form.

‭Then he brought with him an invitation to men to become heirs of the kingdom. This was promulgated in preaching. In this sense also had the kingdom approached, for never before had the kingdom been presented to men in this way. Those who accepted the invitation, were said to have been called unto the kingdom (1 Thess. 2:9.) and were described as "heirs of the kingdom (Jas. 2:5.) into which they were informed they would have to enter "through much tribulation.-(Acts 14:22.)

‭The unrighteous, they were told, would not enter.-(1 Cor. 9:6.) Only those who "gave diligence to make their calling and election sure," by doing the things indicated, would have an abundant entrance into it, ministered to them, (2 Pet. 1:10) from which it follows that actually the kingdom of God is a thing of the future, and was only a thing of Christ's day so far as things then existing and being done had relation to it.

‭That Dan. 2:44, remains to be accomplished, is evident from the fact that the image-power is yet unbroken. The kingdoms of men still prevail in all the earth. No divine violence has been brought to bear against what Dan. 2:44, predicts will be overthrown, to the breaking in pieces and consuming of them all. That it could not be fulfilled in the days of Jesus, is certain, from the fact that the feet of the image which received the blow of the stone, were not historically developed till centuries after Christ ascended.

‭The Christadelphian, March 1871



"First then as to metanoia. It is a word derived from mĕetanŏeō, which is itself compounded of meta and nŏĕeō-the meta having the force of with, in the sense of on the same side with; also towards; while nŏĕō has its root in noos or nous, signifying mind, understanding, intellect; comprehensive of its states, or affections. Hence the verb nŏĕō is expressive of the operations of the intellect, as, thinking, considering, attending, pondering, &c.: to think with is therefore the radical idea of metanoeo; so that if God, for instance, present a proposition to the intellect, metanoeo is to think with that proposition, or to approve as true what God affirms is true.

...No person is the subject of gospel metanoia who does not think with, towards, after God, and therefore against his former self in his ignorance. As I have said before, the thinking of a sinner and the thinking of God are essentially and totally different kinds of thinking. It is evident, therefore, that when a sinner comes to think with God, he must think against his former mode of thinking, which implies that he has turned from that condition of mind to God.

If an idolater or image-worshipper, he may have renounced the adoration of idols as the result of God's teaching, showing its absurdity, and vindicating his own claim to the exclusive veneration of his creatures: still, though "turned from dumb idols to serve the living and true God," such a person might yet be ignorant of the gospel of the kingdom. He would be the subject of ten eis ton Theon metanoian; the metanoia towards God but not of pislin tēn eis ton Kyrion Iēsoun Christon," the pislin or faith towards the Lord Jesus Christ."

In apostolic times men were brought to think with God before the name of the Lord Jesus was preached to them for faith. "Except ye be changed and become as the children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of the heavens." This was metanoia, which preceded faith in Jesus, but not faith in God; and as necessary to justification as belief of the truth.

... With them [the apostles] faith was the belief of the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ with metanoia of heart-a full persuasion of the exceeding great and precious promises of God only very partially fulfilled as yet in Jesus Christ-the hypostasis, or assured expectation of things hoped for, a certain persuasion of things not seen.

... The kingdom of God being at hand was the reason given why they should believe in the gospel of that kingdom. Mark says, "Repent ye, and believe in the gospel;" to which Matthew adds, "for the kingdom of the heavens has approached." The gospel is one thing, and the basileia, or kingly power of the heavens, another. The Jews were exhorted to think with God and believe in his gospel; because His incarnate power who was to be the future king of the heavens of Daniel's beasts was in the midst of them.

Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, August 1854

17 And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.

We do not know who inserts the advertisement of Christadelphian works on prophecy that appears from time to time in the papers. It is an excellent thing to do. By this means, a brother unable to give effective testimony to the truth in any other way-(we take it for granted that only a brother would do such a thing)-may be able to fill a wide field of influence, the effects of which will only be known in the day of account.

TC 02/1887

21 And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.

22 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.

As the Servant of Yahweh, he taught with authority (Mark 1:22), authenticated his teaching with miracle (vv. 23-28), healed those of Peter's house (vv. 30-31), attended to the people of the city who gathered to him (vv. 32-34).

We can only wonder at the tenacity of the Lord's dedication as he continued in his work, despite the weariness and exhaustion indicated by v. 35. He needed some moments of quietude and solitude, so that this lonely Son of God could spend time with his heavenly Father, finding renewed strength to continue the heavy burden of his work.

But he was not permitted this for long, as the thoughtless disciples and multitude sought him out. Frequently he sought such a refuge (vv. 12-13). There is a great example, however, in his "rising early in the morning."

He knew the value of the morning hours. He rose while the world was still. He saw when the light spread abroad from the east, and with fresh tokens of his Father's presence. He joined with all creation in praising the evident presence of God.

Let us, too, think of God before the world gets possession of our thoughts as each day progresses. - GEM

24 Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.

Christ's preaching had a powerful effect upon his weak and deranged intellect; but the principal part of this effect would be due to the prevalent excitement caused by the report circulated everywhere that the Messiah had appeared.

Of this excitement, a weak-minded man would have more than his share. The Messiah's appearance, it was well known would not be an unmixed blessing. John the Baptist had declared that

"his fan was in his hand and that he would thoroughly purge his floor, and burn up the chaff with fire unquenchable."

There would, therefore, be a strong ingredient of apprehension in the public anticipation that existed. A sense as of impending judgment would rest on many. This explains the madman's ejaculations.

He went with many others to hear one who was said to be the Messiah. He listened to him in a crowded and heated synagogue. He instinctively felt as he listened to one who "spake as one having authority," that this was indeed the Christ. His fear grew to excitement. His ungovernable feelings boiled over.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 15

35 And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.

When Capernaum became crowded with the people drawn by his miracles, he wanted to get away from them. He did not appreciate the importunate attention of which he was the object. It was not the sort he cared for. It was the eager and hustling self-assertion to be seen in any crowd when there is any good to be got by a scramble. He could not get away from it in the daytime without being seen and followed, and his object frustrated.

...We follow him in spirit through the clear bracing morning air, and watch him tread his solitary way along the mountain footpath till he reaches a secluded spot. What do we see him do there? "He there prayed".

...A mind open to God naturally gravitates to Him at every such suitable opportunity.

If this is true of ordinary men instructed in godliness, how much more true of Christ, who was in perfect harmony with the Father, where we can only attain to partial harmony.

He had been for some days in contact with the carnally-minded crowd. With spirit jaded and thirsting as in a dry land for the great and glorious Father of Wisdom, "as the hart panteth after the water brooks," he seizes this favourable opportunity of refreshing and strength, by retiring to the lone mountain side, and opening his heart to Him who, "afar off," can see and understand the inmost motions of the human spirit upon earth.

In this, we have both an example for the brethren of Christ to follow, and an illustration of what must be every righteous man's experience. It is a necessity in an evil world like this, for the friend of God to occasionally get away from the depressing and demoralising influences at work everywhere. A man can never see things as they are without a good share of solitude, and the unhampered communion with God which solitude admits of.

In human company (unless the godliest) human views and thoughts inevitably press themselves upon us. We do not see things as they are, but as they appear.

... We want to see God, and His eternal purpose, and human thought and action as related to these: and to do this, we require to get away much and to pray much.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 16

42 And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed.

Sin the flesh

The scriptural concept of "covering"' and "cleansing" turns our minds profitably in the direction of what must occur within us, through and as a result of the required "atonement." The orthodox ideas attached to "atonement" - someone else being required to pay for our guilt, to suffer instead of us for our sins - tends to dull our conscience and turn our minds away from our own need for cleansing and purging.

It is the blood of Christ, the perfect sacrifice, that first "covers," then "cleanses" us - not ritually, but practically and gloriously. He did not die to "'atone" for our sins in the orthodox sense. He lived, and died to become and provide a cleansing medium by which our sins are first mercifully "covered," and then progressively - and at last completely and perfectly - cleansed from us: "washed away."

"Atonement," then, as it occurs in the AV, does not mean an external payment or compensation or expiation: that is, something done outside of ourselves; something substitutionary. This is a corrupted, orthodox meaning. It means an internal covering, cleansing, purging, purifying, and putting in a right condition: something done not so much for us as to us. (Of course, it is all "for" us in the sense of "for our sakes," "on our behalf.")

The sacrifices of the Bible were not to pay for sins; nor were they a substitute to suffer and die in the place of the sinner, as orthodoxy teaches. True, pagan sacrifices doubtless were this, for they were a corruption and perversion of the true - the true, revealed Divine conception being far above the comprehension of the mind of the flesh.

The sacrifices of the Bible were a humble recognition that the only condition acceptable to God is purity and perfection; that sin is filth and uncleanness; and that sinful man can be reconciled to God only by being covered by, and washed in, the blood of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Purifying of the heavenly Ch 2

The man cured of his leprosy was very likely so perfectly satisfied that he did not desire any further exercise. But Moses had commanded something in such a case. A leper cured of his distemper was to bring

"two he-lambs without blemish, and one ewe lamb of the first year without blemish, and three-tenth deals of fine flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, and one log of oil" (Lev. xiv. 10);

and the priest was to present the man before the Lord, and make an atonement in the way which is elaborately prescribed.

Was this to be ignored by him who had come to fulfil the law and the prophets? Some might have argued that as Jesus had come to

"blot out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us ... nailing it to his cross" (Col. ii. 14),

he might appropriately have embraced this opportunity of ignoring it. Such an argument would show an incomplete apprehension of the ways of God.

Though it was part of the work of Jesus, concerning the Mosaic law, to "take it out of the way," the performance of this work required that he should be "made under the law," and be obedient to all its requirements (Gal. iv. 4).

While laying down a new law, he was submissive to the old till the hour should arrive for the abolition of the old in his death under its curse (Gal. iii. 13).

Nazareth Revisited Ch 18

45 But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter.

Jesus told the man not to say anything about the miracle of his cure to anybody else. We may understand why he did this, when we recollect that Jesus knew that his time was short, and that his end was rejection and death.

He spoke of this several times to his disciples, and in a way that showed that it lay burdensomely on his spirit. On one occasion, he said,

"I have a baptism to be baptised with, and how am I straitened till it be accomplished."

This state of mind explains why he was desirous of suppressing all useless public sensation and excitement about himself.

It would only have been in his way. It is not, therefore, so surprising as it seems, that he should say to the cured leper,

"See thou say nothing to any man."

But the man could not enter into Christ's thought on the subject. He disobeyed him -- probably out of gratitude.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 18