Great Texts of the Bible
A Question of Life
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.—Matthew 4:4.
1. The Temptation Story.—Our Lord’s temptation, next to His death and passion, is the greatest event recorded of Him in the Gospels. The reason of this is evident. It was the Messiah’s first encounter with His great enemy, Satan. Viewed aright, the scene so simply and briefly described in Scripture is the most terrific that can be imagined, as well as the most sublime; for we cannot forget that it is none other than a contest, on the issue of which depended the salvation of all mankind. On the one side was the Eternal Son, made flesh; sinless indeed, yet compassed with all the infirmity of man’s fallen nature: on the other, the chief of the fallen angels, Satan; that old serpent who, in the beginning by deceiving our first parents, had brought death and sin and sorrow into the world. Satan knows his rival, and yet he knows Him but partially. He strides out to meet Him in desperate duel, as Goliath did the stripling whom he despised; and both hosts pause and gaze.
(1) In all probability the temptation of our Lord followed immediately upon the baptism, for St. Mark uses the word “straightway,” and St. Luke states that Jesus returned from Jordan full of the Spirit and was led by Him into the wilderness. It was, moreover, the natural counterpart of the baptism, which had ended with the declaration of the Divine Sonship of Jesus. From this the tempter takes his first occasion of evil suggestion, while Jesus takes the next step in the fulfilment of all righteousness by meeting the attacks of evil on the same footing as all men since the first temptation. That was the ordering of His Father in Heaven, to fit Him more perfectly for His work, by giving Him an experimental acquaintance with the force of our temptations day by day. But probably His own reason for going away from the crowds into a desert place was to have more undisturbed communion with His Father and to meditate upon the great work given Him to do. Yet into these holy hours the tempter came; and what He expected would be a time of calm and hallowed intercourse with Heaven was turned into a time of dire conflict with all the subtlety of hell.
(2) Our Lord was “in the wilderness alone”—in St. Mark’s graphic description, “with the wild beasts.” There were none but heavenly witnesses of the mysterious experiences of those forty days; no human eyes witnessed them; and their record, therefore, is due to no human observation. The ultimate source of information must have been our Lord Himself, as the most rigorous criticism admits. His disciples would not have been likely to think that He could be tempted to evil; and, if they had supposed that He could, they would have imagined quite different temptations for Him, as various legends of the saints show. The form, therefore, in which the temptations are described is probably our Lord’s, chosen by Him as the best means of conveying the essential facts to the minds of His followers.
(3) It does not follow, because the temptations are described separately, that they took place separately, one ceasing before the next began. Temptations may be simultaneous or interlaced; and, in describing these three, Matthew and Luke are not agreed about the order. Nor does it follow, because the sphere of the temptation changes, that the locality in which Christ was at the moment was changed. We need not suppose that the devil had control over our Lord’s Person and took Him through the air from place to place: he directs His thoughts to this or that. The change of scene is mental. From no high mountain could more than a small fraction of the world be seen; but the glory of all the kingdoms of the world could be suggested to the mind. Nor again do the words, “The tempter came and said unto him,” imply that anything was seen by the eye or heard by the ear; any one might describe his own temptations in a similar way. What these words do imply is that the temptations came to Christ from the outside; they were not the result, as many of our temptations are, of previous sin.
2. The First Temptation.—The temptation was real. The mystery of His humanity—a humanity real in soul as in body—made Him capable of temptation; made temptation a conflict and a suffering; made victory a thing to be fought for—the victory not of an insensible, impassive Divinity, but of a manhood indwelt by the Spirit.
(1) For forty days and nights He had been alone in the wilderness. St. Mark and St. Luke inform us that during the whole of that time He was tempted of the devil; and the former perhaps indicates one method of temptation which may have been tried, in adding “and he was with the wild beasts.” It may have been attempted by terror to shake the Redeemer’s firmness of purpose. But of this Scripture leaves us in uncertainty; and it is not till the end of the forty days that we are permitted to witness the forms which His temptation assumed. At that time we find Him exhausted with His long abstinence from food.
He was hungry, grievously hungry. He was experiencing to the full extent that strong craving of our nature which sometimes turns men into brutes. His tongue was parched and blackened with the terrible heat of the wilderness. He was worn out with hunger. Every circumstance conspired to render the allurement of food as strong as possible. The pitiless blue, like brass above; the barren wilderness around Him, where roam the prowling beasts. Son of God? Did He look like the Son of God, without accompaniment of angel or of glory? Was it not a fancy and a dream?
(2) The wilderness in which He kept His lonely vigil for forty days, the hunger and exhaustion which He felt after His long fast and travail of soul, were all symbols and evidences of the curse of man. Satan came to Him while He was suffering from these effects of Adam’s sin, and suggested to Him an easy method by which they might be removed. By a miracle, the curse would be neutralized and His wants supplied. The food which the wilderness like a miser refused could be wrung by force from its grasp. Faithful to the just and wise law of barrenness imposed upon it by God, it could be made conveniently disobedient by the arbitrary exercise of Divine power. “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” Use Thy Divine power to procure comfort; choose a life of ease and abundance, instead of the bare hard stones of the wilderness.
(3) Jesus overcomes the solicitation of evil as a pious man and as a believing Israelite. His mind is saturated with the Bible, and a word of it which meets the case leaps instinctively to His tongue. The passage which Jesus quotes is from the Book of Deuteronomy, in which the spiritual lessons of the leadings of Israel as God’s Son in the wilderness are drawn out. In Deuteronomy 8:1-3 the hunger suffered during forty years in the wilderness, and its relief by the gift of manna, was to teach the people that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
The bearing of the words on Christ’s hunger is twofold: first, He will not use His miraculous powers to provide food, for that would be to distrust God, and so to cast off His filial dependence; second, He will not separate Himself from His brethren and provide for Himself by a way not open to them, for that would really be to reverse the very purpose of His incarnation and to defeat His whole work.
Life by Bread
How shall we live? Multitudes of people are asking that question to-day with peculiar earnestness. The man who could give a satisfactory practical answer would be regarded as the greatest of all public benefactors. Sometimes a kindly providence apparently shapes all for a man at the moment of his birth. Not till some sudden calamity overwhelms him is he roused into a conscious necessity of deciding for himself what he will do and become. But to most men there comes early in life the occasion and the necessity for deliberation and decision. Towards what goal in the future, he then asks, shall I now direct my steps, and by what route and methods shall it be reached? To these questions he is forced to give some kind of answers.
1. What is covered by the word “Bread”?—Bread we call the staff of life. This familiar imagery is as ancient at least as the time of Abraham. To the three angels, one of them the mysterious angel of the covenant, who appeared to him as he sat at the door of his tent in the plains of Mamre, the hospitable patriarch said, “I will fetch a morsel of bread, and stay ye your hearts.” Moses, when he threatened the people with famine in punishment of their sins, described it as the breaking of their staff. Isaiah also warns the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judah that the Lord of hosts will take away “the stay and the staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water.” Bread was what the famished Bedouin craved when he caught up so eagerly the bag he found lying by a fountain in the desert, and flung it down again so quickly in despair, exclaiming, “Alas! it is only diamonds.”
But “bread,” as we have it in the text, means more than this. It covers the whole visible economy of life—all that range of supplies, helps, and supports upon which men depend to keep themselves alive, and to make life comfortable and enjoyable. It covers the whole economy of food and drink, clothing, shelter, ministry to the senses, to power, respectability, and worldly honour. The world’s commonly accepted theory is, By these things we live. We cannot get on without them.
If it be urged that these views of Mr. Hinton [on sacrifice] are very uncomfortable views of life, I might suggest that Christianity itself, with its fundamental axiom, “He that loveth his life shall lose it,” cannot strictly be defined as a comfortable religion. I would ask whether our modern worship of “the comfortable” has given us a life that really satisfies even the most worldly amongst us; whether, on the contrary, it has not bound down the free play and joyous movement of life under a “weight of custom, heavy as frost, deep almost as life,” debarring us from the healthy joys of “plain living and high thinking,” from the lofty enterprise and joyous heroism that “feeds the high tradition of the world,” and from the deeper blessedness of sacrifice,
That makes us large with utter loss
To hold divinity?1 [Note: Ellice Hopkins, Life and Letters of James Hinton, 293.]
2. The peril of “Bread.”—Possessed as we are of a physical nature, with its clamorous appetites and its innumerable bodily needs, we are tempted at times to believe that man is merely a superior kind of animal, living by bread alone, and with no interest in anything save what he can see and touch and taste. On this view, man becomes and remains a mere instrument, in one way or another living only for bread, living only for an end out of himself, living merely in subservience to that class of things which bread represents. There is the great evil in this world, and there spring up temptations similar in character to those which assailed Christ in the wilderness.
(1) There is danger for the individual. In that first conception of himself as a responsible and solitary being, every young man meets the same devil as Jesus met. And the temptation is the same—the assurance given in some form or other that bread is all that a man needs, that everything else is a delusion, that to live a life of physical comfort is the only solid wish for a man’s soul. Perhaps it is a business which he knows is wrong, but sees must be profitable. Perhaps it is the abandonment of those he ought to care for, so that he may himself get rich. Perhaps it is the hiding of his sincere convictions in order to keep his place in some social company. Perhaps it is connivance at a wicked man’s sin in order to preserve his favour. Perhaps it is the postponing of charity to some future day when it shall be easier. Perhaps it is a refusal to acknowledge Christ, the Master, out of fear, or because some easy, foolish friendship would be sacrificed. Perhaps it is simply the giving up of ambitions, intellectual or spiritual, for the sake of quiet, unperturbed respectability. These are real struggles.
Now, manifestly, it must lead to the most disastrous results when the lower elements of a man’s nature are treated as if they were the only, or at any rate the most important, elements. The soul of the sensualist is like a State in which the ignorant, vulgar and stupid mob has usurped the reins of government, and is proceeding to destroy everything better than itself. Enjoyment, which is the proper satisfaction for the sensuous part of our being, is no satisfaction at all for the mind and heart and spirit. The unsatisfactoriness of a life devoted to pleasure may be proved, not only by abstract considerations, but by the fact that those who have lived in this fashion invariably speak of their existence with disappointment and disgust.
I have seen the silly rounds of business and pleasure and have done with them all. I have enjoyed all the pleasures of the world and consequently know their futility, and do not regret their loss. Their real value is very, very low; but those who have not experienced them always overrate them. For myself, I by no means desire to repeat the nauseous dose.1 [Note: Lord Chesterfield.]
In one of his Hebrew Melodies Byron speaks in a similar strain—
Fame, wisdom, love, and power were mine,
And health and youth possess’d me;
My goblets blush’d from every vine,
And lovely forms caress’d me;
I sunn’d my heart in beauty’s eyes,
And felt my soul grow tender;
All earth can give, or mortal prize,
Was mine of regal splendour.
I strive to number o’er what days
Remembrance can discover,
Which all that life or earth displays
Would lure me to live over.
There rose no day, there roll’d no hour
Of pleasure unembitter’d;
And not a trapping deck’d my power
That gall’d not while it glitter’d.
The serpent of the field, by art
And spells, is won from harming;
But that which coils around the heart,
Oh! who hath power of charming?
It will not list to wisdom’s lore,
Nor music’s voice can lure it;
But there it stings for evermore
The soul that must endure it.
(2) There is a national menace. In these modern days one finds oneself rummaging the pages of Gibbon and Tacitus and Juvenal. Look at those old empires which lived by bread alone; by riches so enormous that it seems as if God had determined to give money a chance to do its best; living by power so vast that there were no more worlds to conquer; living by pleasure so prodigal and so refined and varied that the liveliest invention was exhausted, and the keenest appetite surfeited. Babylon, Rome, Antioch, Alexandria, Carthage,—to-day we dare not open to our children the records of the inner life of these communities. We almost hesitate to read its fearful summary in the first chapter of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. The old empires have gone down in ruin, and their pleasures have turned to a corruption which is an offence in the world’s nostrils. The old city which rang with the cry of “Bread and the Circus!” is only a monument now. The tourist wanders over the Palatine, and peers down into the choked vaults of the Cæsars’ palaces; and the antiquarian rummages where Nero’s fish-ponds gleamed, and climbs along the broken tiers of the Coliseum, from which the culture and beauty and fashion of Rome looked down with delight upon Christian martyrs in the fangs of tigers.
Not in material progress then, nor in art and science, nor in the stoicism of absolute duty, is the law of human nature found to lie. We fall back upon the immemorial truth—“Man shall not live by bread alone.”
The most helpful and sacred work, which can at present be done for humanity, is to teach people (chiefly by example, as all best teaching must be done) not how “to better themselves,” but how to “satisfy themselves.” It is the curse of every evil nation and evil creature to eat, and not be satisfied. The words of blessing are, that they shall eat and be satisfied. And as there is only one kind of water which quenches all thirst, so there is only one kind of bread which satisfies all hunger—the bread of justice, or righteousness; which hungering after, men shall always be filled, that being the bread of heaven; but hungering after the bread, or wages, of unrighteousness, shall not be filled, that being the bread of Sodom.1 [Note: Ruskin, Modern Painters, v. (Works, vii. 426).]
3. Christ’s attitude to “Bread.”—But the subject has another side. There are people who try to get rid altogether of the lower elements. They attempt to eradicate desire, to extinguish instinct, to suppress and annihilate the bodily nature. Principal Caird says, “If the spiritual self is essentially greater than the lower tendencies, why should it not exist without them? If desire and passion drag me down from my ideal life, why should I not escape from their thraldom, and live as if I were a disembodied spirit? Snap the ties that bind me to the satisfactions of the moment, that absorb me in the transient and perishable, and will not my spirit gain at a bound its proper sphere? But,” he answers, “the ties cannot be snapped, and even if they could, the end proposed would not be gained. The violent self-suppression at which the ascetic aims can never be effected; and if it could, it would be, not the fulfilment, but the extinction, of a moral life. In our self-development the lower natural tendencies have an indispensable part to play. Apart from them, the realization of our ideal nature would be utterly impossible.” In the life of our Lord we find no encouragement for this ascetic theory. “The Son of man came eating and drinking.” Very precious to Christian hearts are those brief, those thrilling records which make Him like unto us, one with us, in all things: Jesus wept. Jesus was wearied with His journey. Jesus said, I thirst. Jesus was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow. He afterward hungered. The Maker of our bodies never speaks scornfully of their normal, innocent necessities. Human life, in the lowest sphere of its merely animal functions and wants, is invested with a sort of sacredness as the workmanship and husbandry of God.
How utterly opposed to the thought of Jesus Christ is all asceticism, all religious isolation and retreat from the world. Society, not solitude, is the natural home of Christianity. The Christian is not to flee from the contagion of evil, but to meet it with the contact of health and holiness. The Church is not to be built on glass posts for moral insulation, but among the homes of common men for moral transformation. What use is a light under a bushel? It must shine where there is darkness. The place of need is the field of duty, and though we are not to be of the world, we are to be first and last in the world and for the world.1 [Note: M. D. Babcock, Thoughts for Every-Day Living, 42.]
In a letter to the Rev. W. P. Wood, who was thinking of introducing some criticism of Benthamism into his Oxford Sermons, Dean Hook wrote: “If you have had time to look into Bentham’s work you will find that he assumes that there are only three principles of action, (1) asceticism, (2) sympathy, (3) utility. There is a misplaced attempt at facetiousness involving a gross misstatement of the first of these principles at the outset of the book; for it is a bad introduction to a work professing strict philosophy to lay down that the principle of asceticism consists in supposing the ‘misery of His creatures to be gratifying to the Creator.’ The principle, though carried to an excess, was in itself good and true, namely, the subduing of sensual appetites as a means of freeing the mind from their bias. Like every other device of man, this principle failed with the monks as it had failed with the Stoics, and I think that on inquiry it would be found the radical vice of the system was its leading men to dwell too exclusively on self, by which in the first place pride, and in the next indifference to the happiness of others, became gradually engendered in the ascetic.”1 [Note: W. R. W. Stephens, The Life and Letters of Walter Farquhar Hook, i. 246.]
Life by the Word of God
When Christ says that men shall live by God’s word, He means by “life” far more than the little span of years, with their eating and drinking and pleasure and gain-getting. This utterance of the world’s Redeemer assumes the fact of immortality. If not, the theory of life by God is condemned; and there is nothing for us but the bread-theory: “Let us eat and drink; for to-morrow we die.” To live by the word of God is to share the eternal life of God. The bread-life is but the prelude and faint type of this.
1. The first point to be attained by man is to rise to the true conception of life. When he does this he has a different standard of value from that of the mere bread standard. The standard of value with him is whatever elevates and perfects his personality; not what he gets, not what he accumulates, not what feeds only one part of his nature, but what makes him great and good, strong and beautiful, and assimilates him to God and Christ. He values everything that comes from the mouth of God, and lives by it—that is, all things that God gives, not merely to the body, but to the soul.
Every word of God contains a revelation and a commandment. Whenever God speaks by any of His voices, it is first to tell us some truth which we did not know before, and second to bid us do something which we have not been doing. Every word of God includes these two. Truth and duty are always wedded. There is no truth which has not its corresponding duty. And there is no duty which has not its corresponding truth. We are always separating them. We are always trying to learn truths, as if there were no duties belonging to them, as if the knowing of them would make no difference in the way we lived. That is the reason why our hold on the truths we learn is so weak. And we are always trying to do duties as if there were no truths behind them; that is, as if they were mere arbitrary things which rested on no principles and had no intelligible reasons. That is why we do our duties so superficially and unreliably. When every truth is rounded into its duty, and every duty is deepened into its truth, then we shall have a clearness and consistency and permanence of moral life which we hardly dream of now.
The rule and measure of duty is not utility, nor experience, nor the happiness of the greatest number, nor State convenience, nor fitness, order, and the pulchrum. Conscience is not a long-sighted selfishness, nor a desire to be consistent with oneself; but it is a messenger from Him who, both in nature and in grace, speaks to us behind a veil, and teaches and rules us by His representatives. Conscience is the aboriginal vicar of Christ, a prophet in its informations, a monarch in its peremptoriness, a priest in its blessings and anathemas; and even though the eternal priesthood throughout the Church could cease to be, in it the sacerdotal principle would remain, and would have a sway.1 [Note: Cardinal Newman.]
2. Man cannot be satisfied with bread, with anything material—he cannot live upon it; there are portions of his nature which it will not nourish, cravings which it will not satisfy. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” If man is to live, he must satisfy the deeper cravings first. This is shown both in consciousness and in experience.
(1) The appeal to consciousness.—Man discovers within himself certain powers—powers of work, powers of study, powers of sacrifice, powers of suffering for others; what is to become of these powers if he lives by bread alone, if he makes material comfort his one and only object? Undoubtedly they will dwindle and decay. We know that we have a reason and a conscience which ought to be our guide; and we are all conscious, at least at times, of feelings, wishes, aspirations which material things can never satisfy. We all feel that we are capable of and meant for a higher and nobler life than that of an animal: even for a life guided by reason and conscience, a life of faith, love, righteousness, holiness, a life of self-denial and self-sacrifice for our own good and for the good of our brethren; and we all somehow or other have a belief that no life can be at its best or worthiest which is not after this pattern.
(2) The appeal to experience.—Again by a survey of human history we find that other men, in other days, have lived not for the flesh, but for the Spirit. The testimony of devout men at many times and in many regions of the earth to the capacity of the human spirit for communion with the Divine Spirit, which is the very breath of the Godhead, is as sure and strong as any testimony to any essential fact of human nature. Their history confirms man in his study of himself. He reads his duty in their stories. “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone.”
A second man I honour, and still more highly [than the toilworn Craftsman]: Him who is seen toiling for the spirituality indispensable; not daily bread, but the bread of Life. Is not he too in his duty; endeavouring towards inward Harmony; revealing this, by act or by word, through all his outward endeavours, be they high or low? Highest of all, when his outward and his inward endeavour are one: when we can name him Artist: not earthly Craftsman only, but inspired Thinker, who with heaven-made Implement conquers Heaven for us! If the poor and humble toil that we have Food, must not the high and glorious toil for him in return, that he have Light, have Guidance, Freedom, Immortality?—these two, in all their degrees, I honour; all else is chaff and dust, which let the wind blow whither it listeth. Unspeakably touching is it, however, when I find both dignities united; and he that must toil outwardly for the lowest of man’s wants is also toiling inwardly for the highest. Sublimer in this world know I nothing than a Peasant Saint, could such now anywhere be met with. Such a one will take thee back to Nazareth itself; thou wilt see the splendour of Heaven spring forth from the humblest depths of Earth, like a light shining in great darkness.1 [Note: Carlyle, Sartor Resartus, Bk. iii. chap. iv.]
3. To live this higher life is to be obedient to the word of God. Jesus, the author of Christian faith, lived from beginning to end, without deviation or exception, by the words proceeding from the mouth of God. In His passion-baptism He bore the penalty of the disobedience of the race, and in His resurrection He took again His life, that He might communicate it to sinful men, that in its energy they also might obey the law of God. He conquered at the last, as He conquered at the first, by obeying every word that proceeded out of the mouth of God; overcame by His human faith and obedience, and not by His Divine power; made Himself known in His highest glory to men, not by exempting Himself from the lot of humanity, but through a fellowship with their miseries.
(1) Obedience is the secret of manhood.—The supreme duty of every man is that he should discover and obey these words. If he live from day to day, from week to week, from month to month, and from year to year without reference to that law, hoping that, after being regardless of, if not rebellious against, it, he will at last slip into some happy state, then surely he must indeed be blind and foolish. Self-control and a willing humiliation of self to the Will that rules the universe is man’s first and hardest lesson. This teaches him at the outset how helpless and hopeless he is in himself. Such knowledge drives a man out of himself hungry and thirsty for every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. When once he has learned to lay hold of the Power which alone can help him, then begins the process which ends in the mastery of self and in the consummation of a life which alone is worth living.
How is the soul free? Not, as has been excellently put, “when it is at the mercy of every random impulse, but when it is acted upon by congenial forces, when it is exposed to spiritual pressure, to constraint within itself.” Let us take a concrete instance. Take a high-souled man who is injured or insulted by his fellow. How will he act? What will be here the next thing? The natural reaction, the instinctive movement, will be one of revolt, of paying back in like coin. That lies nearest to the animal in him, and he feels it all. But will it determine his action? Will that actually come next? There is a beautiful story which D’Aguesseau, a French Advocate-General of the seventeenth century, tells of his father: “Naturally of a quick temper,” his son says of him, “when under provocation one saw him redden and become silent at the same moment; the nobler part of his soul allowing the first fire to pass without word said, in order to re-establish straightway that inner calm and tranquillity which reason and religion had combined to make the habit of his soul.” There you have the thing taken from the life; the trained soul caught in the entire fineness of its action. The whole philosophy of the spirit is there; the higher nature constructing its next thing, not from the grosser impulses, but from the free obedience it pays to the highest that is in it.1 [Note: J. Brierley, Religion and To-Day, 143.]
(2) Obedience is the proof of sonship.—It was by His obedience to the word of God that Christ proved His Sonship. As there is no doubt, neither is there any wavering in His decision. The life of man is the life of obedience to God. He has bidden me be His son here. The life of a son is the life of obedience, and He has bidden me prove that the life of sonship and the life of man are one, and that I must prove. My sonship—not by claim from the heavens; not by being exalted with twelve legions of angels; not with flare of trumpet—I must prove my sonship through obedience. I must prove my sonship by working out the will and carrying out the word of my Father. There is a long, long, fierce struggle before the man who says he will not live by bread alone. But by obedience to the word of God the victory will ultimately be ours, and our title, “sons of God,” be approved.
You must yield yourselves to be led along by the Spirit, with that leading which is sure to conduct you always away from self and into the will of God. You must welcome the Indweller to have His holy way with your springs of thought and will. So, and only so, will you truly answer the idea, the description, “sons of God”—that glorious term, never to be satisfied by the relation of mere creaturehood, or by that of merely exterior sanctification, mere membership in a community of men, though it be the Visible Church itself. But if you so meet sin by the Spirit, if you are so led by the Spirit, you do show yourselves nothing less than God’s own sons. He has called you to nothing lower than sonship; to vital connexion with a Divine Father’s life, and to the eternal embraces of His love. For when He gave and you received the Spirit, the Holy Spirit of promise, who reveals Christ and joins you to Him, what did that Spirit do, in His heavenly operation? Did He lead you back to the old position, in which you shrunk from God, as from a Master who bound you against your will? No, He showed you that in the Only Son you are nothing less than sons, welcomed into the inmost home of eternal life and love.2 [Note: H. C. G. Moule, The Epistle to the Romans, 223.]
Francis had conquered, one by one, his love of company, of fine clothes, of rank and wealth; his aversion to squalor, disease, and misery; his daintiness in food and surroundings. All were laid upon the altar of obedience, and for all God gave him a thousandfold of their antitypes in the spiritual life—for parents and friends, His own continual presence; for rank, sonship of the King of kings; for garments, the robe of righteousness; for wealth, “all things”; for personal fastidiousness, a purity, tenderness, and joy which lifted him above the annoyances of daily experience. The weapons marked with the cross were gaining him the victory. His vision was in course of fulfilment.1 [Note: A. M. Stoddart, Francis of Assisi, 91.]
A Question of Life
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