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The Value of Mankind.

The Value of Mankind.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY HENRY WARD BEECHER



I will read a few verses from the second chapter of Mark :

" And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house [that
is, in the house of the ruler who had entertained him], many publicans
and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples ; for there
were many, and they followed him."
BY HENRY WARD BEECHER



I will read a few verses from the second chapter of Mark :

" And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house [that
is, in the house of the ruler who had entertained him], many publicans
and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples ; for there
were many, and they followed him."

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Apr 16, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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The Value of Mankind. BY HERY WARD BEECHER I will read a few verses from the second chapter of Mark : " And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house [that is, in the house of the ruler who had entertained him], many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples ; for there were many, and they followed him." As we learn from the other evangelists, he had been preaching in a most clear and convincing manner ; and the moral sense of the great crowd, and especially of the more wicked and despised part of it, was profoundly stirred. It was one of those times when men were drawn to him, — ^for he had, evidently, hours when everybody seemed to be at- tached to him. He had lofty moods, moods of elevation, when all appeared to be afraid of him ; but he also had moods that seemed to draw every one to him. One day, he was invited by one of the rulers to go and dine in his house. There was great enthusiasm among those that fol- lowed him. Many of them were outcasts. They were ir- religious people. They were what the immoral classes are among us. Following him they were received in such a way, and his influence was such, that they sat down together with him and his disciples. That word together is very emphatic. Everywhere, and in the East especially, the act of peo- ple eating together is as full of meaning as it can be. He that eats salt and bread under the roof of an Arab, or of one belonging to many of the old tribes, becomes sacred to him. Although among the Jews there was not the same simplicity which belonged to desert hospitality, yet that feel- ing was very strong among them. Well, when Christ taught the publicans and sinners no-
 
W- 148 THE VALUE OF MAKID. body said anything about that. When they thronged about him, and he showed them a little attention, the Pharisees be- gan to murmur a little. When they sat down with him, and he ate bread with them, the Pharisees said unto his disciples, '^How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?" They could not understand that. There they stumbled. Here was a young man who might have had a very ad- mirable career ; there was every opportunity open before him ; but he was throwing himself away on this company ; he was taking no pains about his influence ; he was running over the sacredest feelings of the Jewish mind — for if there was anything more important than another to the Jews it was that they should not be defiled. They therefore scrupu- lously held themselves aloof from the unwashed and the low. It was about as much as a man's life was worth to break through the public opinion and do things that were p]*o- scribed ; and that Christ should plunge right into this vio- lation of the proprieties of his class and the moral sentiment of his church, was more than they could bear. It was carry- ing things to an extent which they could not stand. You will observe that the Saviour did not do this for the sake of hurting anybody. He did not do it impudently or in a blazing way. It happened of itself, and he accepted it as it fell out ; and his reply opened the whole view of the intent of his mission. *' When Jesus heard it [for when there is anything against a man there will always be somebody to come and tell him of it], he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but
 
they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous [probably look- ing at the Pharisees], but sinners to repentance." It is as if he had said, ^'I came from heaven with my God-nature, that wherever it went it should heal men, and not pain nor destroy them." Healing may imply pain-inflicting ; but it is pain inflict- ed not to exhibit or vindicate justice, or law, but help- fulness. The most magnificent vindication of rectitude is to bring a man back from wrong to right. If you can bring him back by tenderness and kindness, do it ; but if you have THE VALVE OF MAKID. 149 to inflict pain, do that. To rectify a soul, to bring it to life and honor again, is the divinest act which is possible in this world. It»is at that point, I think, that our Eoman notions con- stantly tend to override the spirit of domesticity which was the central spirit of Christ's kingdom. The yindication of law and public justice is essentially the Eoman idea. What was regarded as the highest type of Eoman character was hard, invincible, vindictive ; but in the mind of Jesus the noblest attribute of the soul was love, fulfilling righteousness, and bringing men back to repentance. Then comes another case : *' And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast : and they come and say unto him. Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, hut thy disciples fast not?" That is as if a rigorous Sunday-keeper should come into the family of an active, cheerful Christian man, and seeing that Sunday was a day on which they walked, and talked, and smiled, and laughed, and were joyous, and were deeply

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