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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 161 pages of information about The Teaching of Jesus.

III

“Yes,” says some one, “it is a beautiful creed—­if only one could believe it.”  Christ took the birds and the flowers for His text, and preached of the love of God for man, but is that the only sermon the birds and flowers preach to us?  Does not “nature, red in tooth and claw with ravine,” shriek against our creed?  And when we turn to human life the tragedy deepens.  Why, if Love be law, is the world so full of pain?  Why do the innocent suffer?  Why are our hearts made to sicken every day when we take up our morning paper?  Why does not God end the haunting horror of our social ills?  They are old-world questions which no man can answer.  Yet will I not give up my faith, and I will tell you why.  “I cannot see,” Huxley once wrote to Charles Kingsley, “one shadow or tittle of evidence that the great unknown underlying the phenomena of the universe, stands to us in the relation of a Father—­loves us, and cares for us as Christianity asserts.”  And, perhaps, if I looked for evidence only where Huxley looked, I should say the same; but I have seen Jesus, and that has made all the difference.  It is He, and He alone, who has made me sure of God.  He felt, as I have never felt, the horrid jangle and discord of this world’s life; sin and suffering tore His soul as no soul of man was ever torn; He both saw suffering innocence and Himself suffered being innocent, and yet to the end He knew that love was through all and over all, and died with the name “Father” upon His lips.  And, therefore, though the griefs and graves of men must often make me dumb, I will still dare to believe with Jesus that God is good and “Love creation’s final law.”

But while thus, on the one hand, we use Christ’s doctrine of God to our comfort, let us take care lest, on the other hand, we abuse it to our hurt and undoing.  There has scarcely ever been a time when the Church has not suffered through “disproportioned thoughts” of God.  To-day our peril is lest, in emphasizing the Divine Fatherhood, we ignore the Divine Sovereignty, and make of God a weak, indulgent Eli, without either purpose or power to chastise His wilful and disobedient children.  “God is good; God is love; why then should we fear?  Will He not deal tenderly with us and with all men, forgiving us even unto seventy times seven?” The argument is true—­and it is false.  As an assurance to the penitent and to the broken in heart, it is true, blessedly true; in any other sense it is false as hell.  He whom Christ called, and taught us to call “Father,” He also called “Holy Father” and “Righteous Father.”  Have we forgotten Peter’s warning—­we do not need to ask at whose lips he learned it—­“If ye call on Him as Father ... pass the time of your sojourning in fear.”  This is no contradiction of the doctrine of Fatherhood; strictly speaking, it is not even a modification of it; rather is it an essential part of any true and complete statement of it.  Peter

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