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§ 206. The Kingdom of God revealed to Babes. —The Blessedness of the Disciples in beholding it. (Luke, x., 21, 24.)

Thus piercing the future, and seeing that these simple, child—like men, who had nothing but what was given them, were to be organs of 308the power of God to renovate humanity, that by their preaching men, were to learn what human wisdom could never have discovered, he poured forth the holy joy of his heart before God in fervent thankfulness: “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth,558558   The Omnipotent Creator, who manifests himself as Father in condescending to the wants of men, and in his self-revealing love. that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes:559559   The hiding from the wise and the revealing unto babes are closely connected together; it required child-like submission and devotion to receive the communications of the higher source, and therefore none could receive it but such as, like children, in need of higher light, yielded themselves up to the Divine illumination; and for the same reason, those whose imagined wisdom satisfied them, because they were devoid of child-like submission, could not receive the Divine communications. even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.560560   I think that ἐξομολογοῦμαι is not to be repeated after ναί in v. 21; the latter (like ἀμήν) is a confirmation of the preceding passage, and a reason is assigned—“so it seemed good in thy sight;” a higher necessity, viz., the pleasure of God, made it so. These words form the point of transition to the following verse, which contains the ground of the preceding; viz., that the Son receives all by communication from God, but none can know the Son except it be revealed to him by the Father. All things are delivered to me of my Father;561561   That is, according to the connexion, all power to carry on and develope the kingdom of God victoriously, and to give eternal life to believers (John, xvii., 2). Christ had previously said that the Divine power given to him should show itself in the efficiency of his organs in spreading the kingdom of God. and no man knoweth who the Son is562562   For this mighty power was granted to him in view of his original relations to God. (the true nature of the Son) but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.”563563   This entire passage, which in Luke connects itself so naturally and closely with the narrative, is placed by Matthew (xi., 25-27) in connexion with the woes pronounced upon the unbelieving towns of Galilee.

After he had thus poured out his soul before God, he turned to his disciples, and pronounced them blessed, because their eyes had beheld that which the prophets and the pious had waited and longed for.564564   The passage in v. 23, 24, forms an apt and fitting conclusion to what had gone before, both in form and substance. The κατ᾽ ἰδίαν fits with the supposition that the disciples, on their return, found Christ surrounded by one of those groups that frequently gathered about him. The same words stand, also, in a clear connexion in Matt. (xiii., 16, 17), but not so close as Luke’s. Even the form of the words is closely adapted to the occasion and the context. It is a question whether the words “kings” or “righteous men” (as Matt. gives it) were the original one. The exchange may have taken place because “kings” appeared foreign; or vice versâ, because “righteous men” appeared too indefinite. By the word “kings,” then, we must understand “the pious kings;” and the instance of a David might have led Jesus to connect “kings” with “prophets.” Thus the apparently insignificant disciples are contrasted with men of the highest importance in the developement of the Theocracy. There is no difficulty in supposing that Christ passed over from “prophets” to “righteous me,” and then the adjective “many” (Matt., xiii., 17) would be the more applicable.

The “seeing” and “hearing” are not to be taken, as Hugo à St. Victor long ago remarked, in an outward sense, but spiritually, with reference to the truth revealed to them, which had been veiled and, to some extent, hidden from those who occupied even the highest place in 309the Old Dispensation. A conscious or unconscious longing for the future revelation was their highest attainment.


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