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The Conditions of Physical Power

The Conditions of Physical Power

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Apr 09, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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THE CODITIOS OF PHYSICAL POWER BY THE AUTHOR OF"PRO CHRISTO ET ECCLESIA"There is nothing in the gospel narrative thatseems to set the ideal of the kingdom more apartfrom the natural life, nothing that clashes morerudely with the common sense of the world, thanthe absolute promises Jesus gave that God wouldprovide for the personal needs, material as well asspiritual, of the true child of the kingdom; andthe nature-miracles were the most emphatic part of that body of teaching by which Jesus enforced theduty of a disinterested life. When we examinethe conditions common to them all, we may findthat they also teach that God's providence in thesematters can only operate fully when the disinter-ested life of faith becomes corporate.The common characteristic of these nature-miracles is that they were accomplished only inthose companies, small or great, which were forthe time presumably of one heart and way of thought, strongly moved by some common innocentdesire. In the case of the desert feast a multitudewho, disregarding all other calls, had hung for daysupon the words of Jesus, had presumably been274chap. x PHYSICAL POWER 275welded for the time into a psychic unit. Such aswere not enthralled by his voice must have turnedaway before. We are told that love for histeaching had drawn them on until bodily hungermade the danger of fainting imminent. Fromevery heart, as from one heart, would arise un-spoken blessings on him for the joy of his teaching,and an unconscious cry for bread. Then camethe lavish multiplication of bread and fish. We
must be thankful that we are told clearly aboutthe multiplication of those few small fishes. Thedetail for most minds excludes those transcendentalexplanations which usually belittle what they tryto glorify. Here, in the solitude of the hills, asthe thoughts of hundreds of men bless God forreligious enlightenment, their bodies cry out forcommon food, and the Christ, standing in themidst, produces it abundantly, by means to us in-visible, inexplicable, and experimentally incredible.Take as another example the wedding-feast.We know that it was the custom to shut the doorwhen the bidden guests had entered. Here, then,was another company apart for the time, theirhearts filled with the simple emotions which theoccasion called forth. "Joy is the grace we singto God," and there is no occasion that calls forththe joy of brotherhood more surely than such afestival. Especially in simple peasant life is thewedding-feast an hour of heightened emotion andenjoyment. ot merely the desire of quenchingthirst or satisfying the pleasures of the palate wouldmake such a company feel solicitous when therewas a troubled halt among those that served; the276 GOD'S CITADEL O EARTH book mpain of the host, of the bridegroom and the friendof the bridegroom, would come before their minds.Poverty never really weeps till it is checked in anact of generosity, never really suffers shame exceptwhen ashamed to be unable to give. In the midstof the common desire evoked by sympathy witha generous poverty, the Christ turned water intowine.Again, let us consider the stilling of the storm, orthat scene upon the sea in the fourth watch of thenight when Jesus came to the little loyal band of disciples toiling in rowing, distressed by the wavesand a contrary wind. Here again was the commonisolation, and one strong, simple desire for helpagainst the elements; the means by which hecommanded the elements, or the means of hiscoming over the sea, are beyond our ken. We
have no reason to suppose that had there been noisolation of storm and night, had the lake beenstudded with boats of fishermen who had nocommon interest, no conscious desire for his helpor his presence, he could have done these things; just as we have no reason to suppose that he couldhave given wine to the thirsty poor of the indis-criminate streets, or bread to any promiscuouscrowd of beggars, or could, for a sign to the carpingand faithless theologians who asked for one, havecast himself down from a pinnacle of the templewithout suffering bodily harm. These feats mayhave been possible to his earthly conditions, butthere is much in the Gospel record against thepresumption.In one case, when he brought back the dead tochap.x PHYSICAL POWER 277life, he shut out from the room all except fivesouls, who must have been shaken with grief orintense sympathy; in another he performed thesame marvel in the midst of "much people of thecity" who, according to the narrative, had comeout with the mother, moved, as the emphasis on thesize of the procession suggests, by the more thancommon pathos of her bereavement. In the raisingof Lazarus, again, it is specially recorded that Jesuswaited upon the road until both sisters, and allthose who were weeping with them, came out tohim. These could have been no hired mourners,for, we are told, their grief so moved our Lordthat he wept with them. ow, it was not untilthis multitude went with him to the tomb andstood around him, that he called Lazarus forth.We are told that some of the mourners did notbelieve on Jesus, although many of them did; butit would appear from the narrative that, as in the

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