Yet this is He concerning whom all ages cry aloud, “Never man spake like this man.” This is He before whom the greatest and the wisest bow down, saying, “Lord” and “Master.” How are we to explain it? Much of the explanation lies outside of the scope of our present subject; but if we will turn back to the Gospels again we may find at least a partial answer to our question.
(I) I said just now that Christ’s teaching was addressed in the first place to the Jews of His own day. Yet the note of universality is as unmistakable as are the local tone and colouring. Christ may speak as the moment suggests, but His words are never for the moment only, but for all time. He refused almost sternly to go unto any save unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel; yet the Gospels make it abundantly plain that in His own thoughts His mission was never limited to the tiny stage within which, during His earthly years, He confined Himself. “I am the light of the world,” He said; and in His last great commission to His disciples He bade them carry that light unto the uttermost parts of the earth. In the great High-Priestly prayer He intercedes not only for His disciples, but for those who through their word should believe on Him. “I will build My church,” He declared, “and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”
(2) So, again, too, in regard to the form of Christ’s sayings; to speak of their artlessness and homely simplicity is to tell only a small part of the truth concerning them. They are, indeed and especially those spoken in Galilee, and reported for the most part in the Synoptists, the perfection of popular speech. How the short, pithy, sententious sayings cling to the memory like burs! Let almost any of them be commenced, and as Dr. Stalker says, the