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5. JESUS’ STYLE OF SPEAKING.

But if Jesus really met with a friendly reception and had a following, especially amongst the humble and oppressed members of his race—and no one would like to give up the idea that he had—which is the more likely, that this success was due to the style of addresses the Synoptics describe him as giving to the people or to that which Jn. describes? In the Synoptics he really lifts from the people the heavy yoke of the Old Testament law with its thousand impossible precepts, and substitutes the light yoke of a free, childlike obedience to the simple command to love God and one’s neighbour; in Jn., instead of this, we find nothing but an incessant command, supported by bare assurances and awe-inspiring miracles, to believe in him and his coming from heaven. It was really difficult for a soul in anguish to derive any comfort from it. There is certainly nothing more touching to such a soul known to any one—not even to the worshippers of the Jesus of the Fourth Gospel—than the parable of the Prodigal Son (Lk. xv. 11-32), whom the father, in spite of his great fault, goes forth to meet and embrace when he comes back penitent to his old home. This parable, with those of the Good Samaritan (Lk. x. 25-37), of the cruel and wicked servant (Mt. xviii. 23-35), 74of the Pharisee and the Publican (Lk. xviii. 9-14), and all the others, so helpful and dear to us as precious and living examples of a simple piety which at once touches the heart, we seek for in vain in the “true, unique, tender Gospel of Gospels”—and not because they are already found in the Synoptics and must not be repeated, but because they do not illustrate the only matter about which the Jesus of Jn. is permitted to speak, his divine majesty.

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