III. That, then, is what Christ intended as He cried, It is consummated. Behold the old things are passed away! Behold, I make all things new!
And now let us see how far that is fulfilled. Where is there, in me, the New Wine of the Gospel?
I have all that God can give me from His Throne on Calvary. I have the truth that He proclaimed and the grace that He released. Yet is there in me, up to the present, even one glimmer of what is meant by Sanctity? Am I even within an appreciable distance of the saints who knew not Christ? Have I ever wrestled like Jacob or wept like David? Has my religion, that is to say, ever inspired me beyond the low elevation of joy into the august altitudes of pain? Is it possible that with me the old is not put away, the old man is not yet dead, and the new man not yet put on? Is that New Sacrifice the light of my daily life? Have I done anything except hinder the growth of Christ’s Church, anything except drag down her standards, so far as I am able, to my own low level? Is there a single soul now in the world who owes, under God, her conversion to my efforts?
Why, as I watch my life and review it in His Presence it would seem as if I had done nothing but disappoint Him all my days! He cried, like the deacon of His own Sacrifice, Go! it is done! Ite; missa est! The Sacrifice is finished here; go out in its strength to live the life which it makes possible!
Let me at least begin to-day, have done with my old compromises and shifts and evasions. Ite; missa est!
THE SEVENTH WORD
Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit.
He has cried with a loud voice, and the rocks have rent to its echo, and the earth is shaken, and the Veil of the Old Testament is torn from top to bottom as the Old Covenant passes into the New and the enclosed sanctity of the Most Holy Place breaks out into the world. And now, as the level sun shines out again beneath the pall of clouds, He whispers, as at Mary’s knee in Nazareth, the old childish prayer and yields up His spirit into His Father’s hands.
The last Paradox, then, is uttered. He Who saves others cannot save Himself! The Shepherd of souls relinquishes His own. For, as we cannot save our lives unless we lose them for His sake, so He too cannot save them unless He loses His for our sake.
I. This, then, is merely the summary of all that has gone before; it is the word Finis written at the end of this new Book of Life which He has written in His Blood. It is the silence of the white space at the close of the last page. Yet it is, too, the final act that gives value to all that have preceded it. If Christ had not died, our faith would be vain.