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§ 122. Christ’s Decision between the Worship of the Jews and that of the Samaritans.

Struck with his insight of her secret history, the woman recognized him as a prophet. She must, in consequence, have supposed that a higher sense lay hid in what he had uttered, enigmatical as it yet appeared to her, and she laid it up in her mind. It was natural, also, for her to question him further, as a prophet, on religious subjects, and thus elicit from him new instruction. And what question so likely to occur, or fraught with deeper interest to her, than that which formed 182the bone of contention between the Jews and Samaritans, and which was suggested to her by the very spot on which they stood, Mount Gerizim itself towering up just at hand [“Our fathers worshipped in this mountain, and ye say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship”].

The answer of Christ has a two-fold reference: one to the existing stage of the Theocracy, thus answering the spirit of the woman’s question; the other alluding to the higher stage of the Theocratic developement which he himself was about to introduce.

In regard to the first, he decides (v. 22) in favour of the Jews “The Samaritans are ignorant of the true worship of God, because they reject the prophets, the several stages of revelation that have prepared the way for that which is the aim of all, the manifestation of the Redeemer; the Jews, on the other hand, do worship God intelligently,298298   This, of course, is only said objectively, with reference to the stand-point of the Jewish nation; subjectively, applied to individuals, it would only be true of those who correspond in spirit to the definition that follows. since they have recognized his successive revelations, and are thus fitted to be the medium through which salvation may come forth for men; to lead to which salvation is the end and aim of all God’s revelations. Jerusalem, meanwhile, had to be the seat of worship, because from Jerusalem the Redemption, which was to raise worship to a higher sphere, was to spring up.”

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