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O all men's Comrade, Servant, King, or Priest, -
Jesus, good Paragon, Thou crystal Christ. Again, in. “Remonstrance” we find the æsthetic's testimony to Christ, urging our love of him, not because required to do so, but because of the essential loveliness of his perfect beauty :
O let me love my Lord more fathom deep
Than there is line to sound with: let me love
Yea, all that's lovable, below, above,
I find it fair.
The very “clods below,” as well as “the stars above,” are radiant and pleasing because faith finds, he writes, “my Lord's dear presence" therein.
Miss Willard met Lanier only once, and thus describes “this gifted son of the South :"
In personal appearance he was of medium height, exceedingly slight figure, face very pale and delicate, with finely chiseled features, dark, clustering hair, and beard after the manner of the Italian school of art. Altogether, he had a countenance rare and pleasing as his verse. met for a moment after the lecture was over, he spoke kindly of my work and southern mission, evincing that sympathy of the scholar with the work of progressive philanthropy which our grand Wendell Phillips declared to be pathetically rare. “We are all striving for one end,” said Lanier, with genial, hopeful smile, “and that is to develop and ennoble the humanity of which we form a part." A refined, cultured, sensitive, harplike nature responding musically to every breeze of truth, goodness, beauty, and love, Mr. Lanier's spirit was delicate and rich as that of noblest woman. But, along with this delicate and sensitive quality, we find the sturdy, stalwart, chivalric elements of manly hardihood. In criticising what he regarded coarse and repulsive in Walt Whitman's ideal American called "a democrat," Mr.
My democrat, the democrat whom I contemplate with pleasure, the democrat who is to write or to read the poetry of the future, may have a mere thread for a biceps, yet he shall be strong enough to handle hell, he shall play ball with the earth; and, albeit his stature may be no more than a boy's, he shall still be taller than the redwoods of California ; his height shall be the height of great resolution and love and faith and beauty and knowledge and subtle meditation ; his head shall be forever
among the stars.
Dwelling much of the time in celestial realms of thought and feeling, Lanier yet cherished an abiding interest in all human needs, as demonstrated in “The Symphony." Selfish greed may grind the weary toiler for a season, but manhood must rise. For, he says,
I dare avouch my faith is bright
He was very fond of the section that gave him birth. But he was too large for a provincial. His " Psalm of the West” is vocal with whole-hearted Americanism.
As a sound and wholesome teacher of universal truths, a seer with strong, clear vision of permanent principles in their true relations, an orator of elegance and power, a superb and captivating musician, a poet with splendid imagination, warm, pure passion, and noble sanity, and, higher than all, a manly man, heroic in purpose, unimpeachable in motive, above suspicion in practice, symmetrical in character, Sidney Lanier is not only an honor to the South, but is one of the rarest treasures of the highest forın of American wealth.
Matthird S. Kanyman
ART. IX.-IS THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT EVAN.
In the Sermon on the Mount we have exhibited the summit of Chris. tianity, a summit which the farthest climbing saints see far off in the dim distance.- W. Robertson Nichols.
I wonder if any of you have ever had the feeling that has come to me in reading Christ's Sermon on the Mount.' It is a feeling of great distance and almost intolerable remoteness—a feeling as though one should come to a mighty cliff, towering far up into heaven, crowned with eter. nal beauty and radiance, and hear a voice crying from that far height, “Come up hither and dwell with me." When I listen to those wonderful beatitudes, when I hear those searching demands for a purity which is stainless in deed, in word, in thought, in feeling, when I see how strait is the gate and how narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, a sense of utter helplessness sweeps through me and my spirit is overwhelmed within me.—Henry Van Dyke.
We look at the Sermon on the Mount so often from the point of view of a complete Christianity that it has somewhat quietly been taken to be the sum total of the Christian message. As though a law were made easier to keep by being made more difficult. Whatever language may be held, and held rightly, as to the lofty spiritual character of the morality inculcated in the Sermon on the Mount, it cannot be said to do more than place the ideal before the mind. Those to whom it appeals -and there will necessarily be many—will grope after it in the obscure ways of life. They will see in its light their own failures, and they will learn the endless variety of the causes of their faults. And if they try to face its full meaning without evasion or diminution of its force they will find out how it constrains and presses upon the will at every turn ; how it closes avenues of action and opens a narrow and difficult path which few indeed will dare to tread. And thus the Sermon on the Mount takes its place rather with the older dispensation than the new. It is still a law, still gives commands to the will and sets before it an ideal. So that the Sermon on the Mount kills, to use Paul's language, as relentlessly as the law.-T. B. Strong, in Bampton Lectures for 1895.
The foregoing quotations disclose a fact of more than trivial significance. Some of the foremost Christian thinkers of our times are troubled with grave misgivings concerning the evangelical character of the Sermon on the Mount. Yet those who have ventured to impugn its evangelical character have been led astray through a mischievous and mistaken exegesis of those familiar words of the Master, “Be ye therefore perfect "-or, rather, “Ye therefore shall be perfect "_" as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” These words contain the golden key which unlocks the spiritual mysteries of the Sermon on the Mount. He who goes astray in his exegesis of this text goes astray hopelessly.
These words, “Ye therefore shall be perfect,” have from time immemorial been most persistently and erroneously construed as though Jesus intended here to display to his disciples the highest altitudes of moral attainment, the ultima Thule of religious aspiration and effort, that final goal of perfected righteousness which “the farthest climbing saints see far off in the dim distance.” What new, compassionate note did Jesus sound in his ministry, if in this Sermon on the Mount he holds up before men a standard of moral achievement so difficult, so faultless, so unapproachable that it kills as “ relentlessly as the law ?” As a matter of fact, when Jesus said, “ Ye therefore shall be perfect [or “ye shall be right "], as your heavenly Father is perfect [“ is right”], nothing could have been farther from his thought than the final goal of perfected righteousness. In reality, he was graciously exhibiting to the yearning, troubled hearts of men the promise of evangelical righteousness, the promise of a new nature,
In every thought renewed,
Surely the angels in heaven must weep over that exegetical blindness, that legal obtuseness, which here in this text has perpetually confused the evangelical foundation of righteousness with the far-off, ever-receding goal of perfected goodness which has invested with more than Old Testament rigor and barshness these most gracious words that ever fell from the lips of that One who was full of grace and truth, “ Ye shall be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect."
To those who persist in interpreting the Sermon on the Mount through the veil of Moses it may be freely conceded that Jesus does reaffirm the Old Testament demands for perfected goodness. Judaism and Christianity are identical in
the fact that both hold before men "a summit which the farthest climbing saints see far off in the dim distance." Religious life alike under the law and under the Gospel is a perpetual aspiration and struggle after an ideal perfection. Nevertheless, in the Sermon on the Mount the Master sounds a new and original note. Jesus here gives emphasis, not to essential points of agreement, but to essential points of differ
These words, “ Ye therefore shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect,” constitute the climax to a series of sharply marked antitheses drawn by Christ to give point and edge alike to the radical difference and to the immeasurable distance between Judaism and Christianity. The distinctive characteristic of the law consisted not in the fact that it held before inen difficult standards of righteousness, but in the fact that it chafed and fretted the human soul with uncongenial and distasteful standards. The perverse desires and inclinations of sinful human nature impelled one way, the perfect law pointed another; and, gazing toward those shining summits “which the farthest climbing saints see far off in the dim distance," the despondent legalist cried out, “ I have seen an end of all perfection : but thy commandment is exceeding broad.”
The distinctive mission of Jesus, illumined throughout the Sermon on the Mount in letters of gold which he who runs may read, was not to reaffirm the Old Testament demands for perfected goodness, but to disclose to burdened human hearts the hidden springs of virtue, the underlying principles of righteousness, the gracious law of life and love and liberty. The religious task which Moses assigned humanity was the con. summation of an ideal, perfected, finished righteousness. The religious task which Jesus assigns men is the gratification of an insatiable hunger for righteousness. He came to infuse into sinful, moribund human nature a spiritual life and health and vigor which would make religions activity as natural, as spontaneons, as agreeable as all other forms of human activity. The good tree in obedience to the law of its own being perfumes the springtime with its blossoms and gladdens the autumn with its fruit. So the true spiritual life by a law no less natural puts forth the bloom and fragrance and fruitage