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§ 78. The Apostles Uneducated Men.

It may appear strange that Christ should have selected, as his chosen organs, men so untaught and unsusceptible in Divine things, and should have laboured, in opposition to their worldly tendencies, to fit them for their office; especially when men of learned cultivation in Jewish theology were at hand, more than one of whom had attached themselves sincerely to him. But we are justified in presupposing that he acted thus according to a special decision of his own wisdom, as he himself testifies (Matt., xi., 25): “I thank thee, O Father, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.” Precisely because these men, destitute of all higher learning, attached themselves to him like children, and obeyed even his slightest hints, were they best fitted to receive his Spirit with child-like devotion and confidence, and to propagate the revelations which he made to them. Every thing in them was to be the growth of the new creation through Christ’s Spirit; and men who had received a complete culture elsewhere would have been ill adapted for this. They were trammelled, it is true, by their carnal conceptions of Divine things; but this was counterbalanced by their anxiety to learn, and their child-like submission to Christ as Master and guide; while, on the other hand, in surmountable obstacles would have been presented in the want of such submission—in the stubborn adherence to preconceived views of men who had been trained and cultivated before. Moreover, this reverential submission to Christ on the part of the disciples, in their daily intercourse with him, tended surely and constantly to refine and spiritualize their mode of thinking. His image, received into their inner life, exerted a steady and overruling influence. In the mode in which the new revelations were embraced and developed, we recognize the general law, according to which truths beyond the scope of human reason are imparted to it from higher sources, to be afterward appropriated and elaborated as its own. They were first received and unfolded by men who had no previous education to enable them to work out independently that which was given them; and only at a later period was a Paul added to the Apostles—a man capable, from his systematic mental cultivation, of elaborating and unfolding, by his own power of thought, yet under the guidance of the same Spirit of Christ the material of Divine revelation that was bestowed upon him. The fact, too, that a people like the Jews, and not the Greeks, were first the chosen organ for the propagation of revealed religion, is an illustration 120of the same law, Here we find the source of the ever-renewed struggle between Revelation, which demands a humble reception of its gifts, and Reason, which will recognize nothing that is not wrought out, or, at least, remodelled, in its own laboratory.

Still Christ could not have deemed the period of two or three years sufficient to prepare these untrained disciples, according to his mind, for teachers of men. Nor could he have foretold, with such confidence, the success of such men in propagating his truth for the salvation and training of men, for the victorious founding of the kingdom of God in all ages, had he not been conscious of powers higher than had been granted to any other teacher among men, which justified him in making such predictions.

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