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§ 70. Christ’s Teaching not confined to Parables, but conveyed also in longer Discourses.

It followed, not only from Christ’s chosen mode of teaching, but also from his relations to the new spiritual creation whose seeds he implanted in the hearts of his disciples, that he used pithy and sententious sayings and aphorisms instead of lengthened exhibitions of doctrine. They were intended to be retained in ever vivid recollection, and, notwithstanding their separation, to contain the germs of an organically connected system of moral and religious truth. The interpreter and the historian find the difficulty of placing these in their proper relations and occasions increased by the fact that the accounts of the first three 110Evangelists arrange and present them in different connexions of thought. The Church, however, has lost nothing by this; it only establishes the doctrine that the truths uttered by Christ admit of manifold apprehension and application. Yet there is no ground for the assumption that Christ taught only by means of parables and aphorisms. The supposition, in itself, is sufficiently improbable, that he never employed longer and more connected forms of discourse for the instruction of the circles of disciples who had received impressions from him and gathered themselves about his person; and, besides, an example of this kind (recorded by the first three Evangelists) is to be found in the Sermon on the Mount. We shall hereafter inquire more closely into the system of Christian truth contained in that discourse.

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