PREFACE.


IT is a mark of love to dwell on the perfections of a beloved object, to notice and treasure up tones which fall unheeded on the unloving ear. Love of the truth, where it is deep and real, here resembles other love. It sees beauties where the unloving can discern no comeliness. Kings of the Gentiles who come to Zion may pass by together, may see it, and marvel, and hasten away. But he who dwells there will go round about her, and tell her towers: will mark her bulwarks, and count her palaces: his love for his home making him quick to see its beauties, and to challenge others to notice and admire them with him.

The joy I have had in the study of the Gospels, more especially since through grace the scales fell from my eyes, and I saw in their structure and diversity marks of a Divine purpose, has been such that I could wish to make others partakers with me in it; for to me the discovery of a reason for their form was like the acquiring of a new sense. Since then, as opportunity has served, I have led others to the subject. Lately I delivered the Lectures which compose this volume. And now, though with the deepest sense of their imperfectness, I commit them to the press, at the repeated request of those who heard them. I have rather indicated the nature of the subject than sounded its depths. I do not know how far this age is prepared to eat "the hidden manna." But I shall rejoice if my attempt direct others to a line of truth, which I am sure demands the special attention of the Church at this day.

For now as ever, though now more keenly, the wisdom of this world is arrayed to prove the wisdom of God folly, because He has given His truth in a form, which, though it finds the lost, seems too childish and simple for wise and prudent ones. Only lately I met with one, accounted wise in this world, who told me, that "the crucial test which had of late been applied to the Gospels had proved them to be very different from the Divine thing which many took them for." I asked him if he knew the story, how, when the Truth came in the flesh, humbling Himself to that form, that thereby He might reach the very lowest, the "crucial test" was tried on Him too, and He was proved "a deceiver;" at least so said the men who used the "crucial test." So must the Written Word be tried; for disputers of this world still stumble at the human form of the Word, not seeing that it is part of the mystery of the Incarnation. But crucial tests, which could not be used against it, had not God spoken to us in human form, "even as a man speaketh with his friend," will only prove to loving disciples the deeper glory of that Word, which, though Human, is yet indeed Divine.

It only remains for me to acknowledge my many obligations to a beloved friend, whose love and instructions I count among not the least of the blessings God has given me. To a little anonymous volume by him on St Luke, (On the Gospel by St Luke, published by Bateman.) and a paper on St Mark, published some years since in a now defunct periodical, I owe much. I am glad to be his debtor, for I feel that "wherever it can be shewn we are not original, so much the better: our desire should be to enter the circle of the great dependence of all things; secure that there is no independence of heart or mind upon any other terms." Only "with all saints" can "we comprehend what is the depth and length" (Eph. 3:18) of that which is presented to us in Christ Jesus. And the household which is too small by itself to take in the whole Lamb, can and must do so by the aid of others (Exod. 12:4). For God will have every part of His Lamb to be apprehended by us, thus by our very weakness linking us to one another.

And now, O Lord, to Thee do I commend this little work. It is nothing with Thee to help with few or many. My feebleness cannot hinder if Thou wilt work. Work Thou to Thine own glory. "Domine Deus, quaecunque dixi de tuo, agnoscant et tui. Si qua de meo, et Tu ignosce et tui."


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