Charge to the Twelve

Charge to the Twelve

Mission of the Twelve. Instructions.

(The Gospel History, Section 59)

These twelve Jesus sent forth to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. And he charged them, saying,

Go not into any way of the Gentiles, and enter not into any city of the Samaritans: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils: freely ye received, freely give. Get you no gold nor silver nor brass in your purses. Take nothing for your journey, no wallet, neither two coats, nor shoes, nor staff, nor bread; for the labourer is worthy of his food. And into whatsoever city or village ye shall enter, search out in it who is worthy, and there abide till ye go forth. And as ye enter into the house, salute it. And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, as ye go forth out of that house or that city, shake off the dust that is under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgement, than for that city.

Charge to the Twelve

(The Saviour of the World, Vol III Book IV Poem XXXV)

Charge to the Twelve by Beato Angelico

“Go not in way of the Gentiles; nor so much
As enter city of Samaria;
To Israel your message; speak it there
Where be the chosen people.”

(“But, why, dear Lord? The very words of life,
Be they not for us all?” Yea, but, perchance,
The Sower sows where soil is full prepared,
And God had not made ready.)

“To My lost sheep of Israel shall ye go—
Unshepherded of any, for their lords
Do take at will the good things of the Word
Nor feed the sheep, anhunger’d.

“Poor sheep, tell them, the Kingdom is at hand
Where God doth rule, His people feed and play,
And gather duteous at their Father’s feet
Whilst He discourseth music.

“And find ye hindrance, be there many sick,
Lepers unclean and poor souls devil-bound,
Nay, be there very dead,—be not constrained,
By any evil hindered.

“Behold, I give you of My potency,—
That which is God’s—Authority to deal
With every evil doth oppress man’s state:
Then, freely give ye likewise.

“Rich go ye in my gift and carry wealth
For healing of the nations: take ye not
The wealth of men, or gold or brass in purse;
No virtues be in these things.

“No, not so much as wallet shall ye take
To hold the alms of th’ faithful: nor take shoes
To ease the heavy ways, nor second coat
Nor staff, nor crust for your need:

“Am I not with you all the way ye go?
Doth any Lord send famished servants forth
To do his bidding? Am I less than these?
Assured My servants’ bread, then.

“For, worthy he who laboureth for Me,
And each householder shall My Almoner be
His table to provide, his needs supply—
Who faithful bears My message.

“That roof is honoured which doth shelter you,
So find out who is worthy ere ye lodge;
Then enter and abide the while ye stay
In that same city, village.

“Enter that house with reverent salute,
Nor cross ye arrogant the man’s threshold;
And, lo, your peace shall as a river flow
In that house, be it worthy!

“Unworthy is the house, its inmates all
Given o’er to lust of flesh and lust of eye!
Though ample meats they offer, go ye thence—
Your peace departing with you.

“Go ye to village where no man will hear,
Where chaffering and feasting all their care,
Nor have they leisure for one thought of Me!—
Leave ye that house, that city:

“But, for they have defiance cast at God,
Rejecting you whom I sent for their help,
The very dust shake off your feet in sign
God also them rejecteth.

“One speaks a word, and he who hears it goes
Or thinks upon it or light lets it pass;
What matter, saith he, for a spoken word,
Is a man bound by sayings?

“But, I tell you, a man’s most chief concern
Is not with work and circumstance of life;
’Tis by the words he hears a man is judged,
And how he doth receive them.

“Therefore, no virtues, sins, cross accidents,
No prospering or failure can at all
Compare with words ye speak to damn a man
In judgment, or to save him.

“And whatso town refuse to take you in
Or hear the priceless words ye bring to them,
They have condemned themselves; Gomorrah’s sin
And Sodom’s less than theirs is.”

Ah, Lord, make us to know what things import,
And how the word received by us is more
Than any wealth or loss; that we be judged
By that we hear and hold by!

And, Lord, make us regard our city’s ways,
Labour that all the folk discern the truth,
Nor toil for spurious values, tinsel shows,
But know, Thy word—their treasure!

St. Matthew x. 5-15.
St. Mark vi. 8-11.
St. Luke ix. 2-5.

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