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The Resources of the Church.

The Resources of the Church.

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— St. John vi. 5, 6.


— St. John vi. 5, 6.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on May 23, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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THE RESOURCES OF THE CHURCH.REV. H. S. HOLLAD, M.A. — St. John vi. 5, 6.What is it to which we pledge ourselves by the Feastof Whitsuntide ? To this above all — that the Church,in which we profess our belief, was brought into actualexistence, not by any one while living in our midst onearth, but by some One already gone out of our sightbeyond the cloud of death. Whitsun Day reminds usthat the Church of Christ was not created until afterour Lord had been hidden in the glory at the righthand of God.Our Church first dates from Pentecost.But what had our Lord done on behalf of His Churchbefore He died ? He had, as it were, cut or squaredthe stones out of the quarry, and shaped them for thebuilding. They lay there, marked and numbered,twelve, with Peter in the midst — stones, indeed, butnot yet living stones, fitly framed together by theSpirit Builder; the stones were shaped, but not yetmade alive. The faith in the ame of Jesus, whichH98 The Church in the Gospels.should become as a rock against which the gates of hell should never prevail, was as yet totally unfit tobear the slightest storm, and was splintered into frag-ments on the night of the threefold denial. othingof our Lord's work upon the Twelve stood theshock of Calvary. " They all forsook Him and fled."othing had been achieved when our Lord died on theBitter Tree. If His mission had ended there, therewould have been no such thing as Christianity in theworld.Yet, though nothing was achieved, all had been
prepared ; and as the Church of the Eesurrection lookedback, out of the light and glory of the Spirit, uponthose old days in Calilee, the Will and the Intentionof their Hidden Master started out into intelligibleclearness, now that the clouds of their former ignorancehad been dispelled : and in His words now so tenderlytreasured, in His acts now so vividly recalled, theycaught sight of the Will with which He was even nowlooking down from out of the heaven of heavens, anddirecting and governing His Kingdom. With theireyes on the Gospel story, they could read out the mindand the heart of Him Who now moved, as a livingflame, amid the seven golden candlesticks. And soSt. John reads deepest into the secret of those earlysayings of the Master, as he sits, widowed and alone,drawing near to his end, in solitary awe, far down theyears, amid a wondering Church, — St. John, now be-come the fisher of men, as his Master had promisedhim, a fisher in such strange seas, amid those Islesof Greece, where ever leaping wave spoke of PaganThe Resources of the Church. 99stories and of Pagan dreams — St. John, now guiding,chronicling, completing with a master hand, that secureand marvellous organisation of the Episcopate, whichshould become the one et, which should never break,whatever the multitude of fishes that should be drawninto its meshes, so delicate, yet so strong, — St. Johnhimself, now shepherding, as his Master had badePeter tend and feed, these swarming thousands,and thousands upon thousands, who had poured out of those terrible Pagan cities to follow the wonderful teach-ings of Christ, drawn after His feet, as the Galileans of old, bearing their wounds and their sores, that He mightstill touch and heal, — drawn after Him, they know notwhither, to find themselves exiles or strangers, driven outof the homes of men, hungry and astray and homelessand forlorn on windy hills of fear, but forgetting all,risking all, heedless of the morrow, if only they mightmove on after Him, rapt and possessed, and might feelHis healing hands upon their heads, or might sit andwait and hear and wonder ; happy though they hadlost lands and wives and children and friends ; happythough they had lost the whole world, yea, and their
own lives also, if only they might sit at their Master'sfeet, and listen and listen for ever and for ever ! Therethey sit, hearing from John all that he can tell of theloving Lord in Heaven— and he, the Apostle, is re-sponsible for them all. He must see that they are fed ;he must make them sit down in the pastures, that thefood of the Lord may not pass over any, but reach to all,men and women, young or old, rich or poor. And ashe sits there, old and venerable, uttering authoritativelOO The Church in the Gospels.doctrine, or organising and ruling the beginnings of theChurch, he sends his hearers back to the old days withthe Lord, the days when he was, in his blindness, being80 sweetly disciplined for the latter times of vision andudgment, rich with the manifold experience of fiftymiraculous years.And, as He looks back to single out the emphaticacts and words, one day there is, in the Galileanministry, and one day only, which he cannot bringhimself to omit. That Galilean time had been care-fully recorded by the other Evangelists : as a whole,he could safely leave it untold ; but this one day is tooprominent, too decisive, too vivid, to be passed over.Though all have told it, he will tell it too. It wasthat wonderful day, the day of the feeding of thefive thousands on the wild upland country beyondthe Lake.And why must he repeat the familiar story ?Because it was that day on which, for once, andonce only, the Lord let the secret of His Churchdisclose itself in public, and anticipated the happyhours of Pentecost, and set in action His chosenTwelve. The people were gathered and seated on thegrass, and the command had gone forth, " Give ye themto eat." How could the disciples do so ? What hadthey to give ? How could they buy bread there, in thewilderness? They — poor, ignorant fishermen — whowere they to be charged with this tremendous task ?ay ! they had but one thought — how to get rid of these hungry multitudes. Their advice was so plain,and so prudent : " Send them away lest they starve

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