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The Tides of the Spirit.

The Tides of the Spirit.

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Published by glennpease
BY JAMES MARTINEAU, LL.D., D.D.,

LUKE iv. 16.

"And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and as his
custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up
for to read. '
BY JAMES MARTINEAU, LL.D., D.D.,

LUKE iv. 16.

"And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and as his
custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up
for to read. '

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Published by: glennpease on Apr 17, 2014
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The Tides of the Spirit. BY JAMES MARTIEAU, LL.D., D.D., LUKE iv. 16. "And he came to azareth, where he had been brought up; and as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. ' WE cannot wonder that something in his look, some visible flush of inward life, fastened the eyes of all upon him. For to his human feeling, which could no- where assert a greater right than there, the moment was overcharged with a certain sad intensity. Since last he stood upon that spot, a change had passed upon him : a light, long struggling with the clouds and often drowned in a golden haze of mystery, had cleared itself within him : he was no longer at his own disposal, or free to rest upon the trodden paths; but the sacred dove was ever on the wing before him, and now alighted on the synagogue of azareth, and there, where he naturally fell into the attitude of docility, left him to speak the word of supernatural power. ever is it so 2 The Tides of the Spirit. hard to follow and trust a higher inspiration, as amid the crowd of customary things ; and in proportion as the heart is tender and gracious, clinging with fibres of reverent affection to the past, is it a sorrowful loyalty that takes us out to anything heyond. If ever Jesus could yield to misgivings of what was committed to him, it would he in that place ; whose threshold he could not reach without passing the cottage and the
 
workshop door, and overtaking the slow steps and bent forms of village elders, and being startled by the re- membered laugh of many a child ; whose walls were written all over with early memories ; where bars of sunshine painted the floor with a meaning not to be erased ; where the voices of familiars whispered round him ; and the venerable features were turned upon him of the Levite who taught him to read the very scroll in his hand ; and he felt the eye of Mary, and knew all the flutter of her heart. There, in presence of those at whose feet he used to sit, there, where he first heard and pondered Israel's hope, and watched a holy light on other faces, not knowing that it was reflected from his own, how could he stand up and draw the' great words of Isaiah upon himself, and say aloud, ' This is the hour,' ' Lo ! it is I.' ? A consciousness less divinely calm must have grown confused under the crossing rays of so many sympathies. But with him the temptation was now passed : he had emerged from the desert that lay between the old life and the new. The Tides of tfie Spirit. 3 The very Spirit of God had driven him thither to hear what could be said against itself: pale with fasting, alone by night with his Satan and his God, he had learned the worst; had not only flung the self away, but loosed the detaining hand of custom, and freely gone into the divine captivity. And now, he was no longer his own : his humanity was the organ of a higher Will : no flitting of the Spirit, off and on, it rested with him now ; no stormy skies that often blotted out the stars, but a pure and tranquil look into the infinite. And so, he could bear those native scenes again, for they lay in another light : the hills of azareth were trans- figured before him : from all things round the dull and weary aspect had fled, that makes them press with the weight of usage ; and he stood amid the well-known
 
groups, as some immortal friend might return and look in among us here, with unabated love, but with saintly insight into meanings hid from us. Lifted then into the full power of the Spirit, with the forces of evil already shrinking before him, whither, as least uncongenial, does he take his heavenly point of view ? To the village synagogue, on the stated day of rest : nothing newer, nothing higher ; but just the place and time which had been sacred to the fathers. The first. thing which he did, under freshest inspiration, was to resume the dear old ways, to fall in with the well- known season, to unroll the same venerable page ; only to find a new moaning in' words that had long carried B 2  jUJb ***JtMUtf> * <*"*A~ CJLv*!, *"-i^xjL^.^ <T their rhythm to his heart. What ? had he not risen aljove that ? could the dull preachings and the drawling prayers say anything to him ? What charm could he longer feel in these childish Sabbath usages, the decent dress, the restful hours, the flowing together of families aud walking to the house of God in company ? Did not he, above all, live in a constant air of divine communion, and mingle with the eternity where all is consecrate alike ? Do what he might, go wliere he would, walk- ing early on the beach, sitting by the well at noon, or kneeling by night upon the mountain grass, jostled by the city multitudes or borne upon the sea alone, was- he not always with the Father, himself a better sanc- tuary than he could ever find ? What could a nature at that height have to do with any sacred enclosure of space or time ? Yet, " at azareth, where he had been brought up, he went, as his custom was, into the syna- gogue on the Sabbath day."

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