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§ 79. Two Stages in the Dependence of the Apostles upon Christ.

From the very beginning the Apostles stood to Christ in a relation of complete dependence and submission, but we must distinguish in this two different forms and periods. In the first, their dependence was more outward and unconscious; in the last, it was more inward, and thoroughly understood by themselves. From the beginning, they gave themselves up, with reverent confidence, to the will of Christ as their supreme law, inspired by the conviction that what he commanded was right; yet without a clear apprehension either of his will or word, and without the ability to harmonize their will with his by free consciousness and self-determination. But, during this stage of outward dependence, they were to be trained to apprehend his will (or, what is the same thing, the will of God revealed and fulfilled by him); to incorporate it with their own spiritual tendencies; in a word, to make it their own. Christ himself pointed out this two-fold relation, when he said to them, in view of his approaching death, in reference to their dawning consciousness of the necessity of his suffering in order to establish the Divine kingdom: “Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.”185185   John, xv., 15, 16. So, v. 14, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” Their efforts to perform his will perfectly proved that they had made it their own. The servant follows the will of his master not as his own, but another’s, without understanding its aim; but friendship is a harmony of souls and sympathy of intentions. The ultimate aim of all Christ’s training of the Apostles was to raise them from the first stand-point to the second.

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