“Declare this parable”

“Declare this parable”

The Unwashen Hands.

(The Gospel History, Section 65)

And when he was entered into the house from the multitude, his disciples came and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, when they heard this saying? But he answered and said, Every plant which my heavenly Father planted not, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they are blind guides. And if the blind guide the blind, both shall fall into a pit! And Peter answered and said unto him, Declare unto us the parable.

The Blind Leading the Blind by Breughel

“Declare this parable”

(The Saviour of the World, Vol IV, Book II, Poem XXXIII)

He left the multitude and entered th’ house;
The disciples, all-concerned, cried on Him, “Lord,
Know’st Thou the Pharisees were wroth at words
Subversive of their teaching?” Said the Lord,—
“Fear not, My friends; though these be placed so high,—
Not placed of God are they; My heavenly Father
Hath not these rulers planted where they stand;
And every plant My Father hath not set,—
How high so’er it tower, how mighty wax,—
Shall sudden be uprooted, cast away.
Take, then, no heed to those imposing men,
Great in their own esteem. Blind guides be they:
If blind rulers lead blind people—what shall hap?
Lo, there be pitfalls ready to their feet!
Let them alone; behold, their day’s at hand.

Then Peter, eager for all words of life,
Nor seeing yet that all the creed he knew,
Had sedulous learnéd from his infancy,
That Jewish ritual, tradition-built,
Crumbled to dust at breath of that single word!—
Said Peter, meek, but understanding not—
“Declare this parable to us Thy friends.”

Ah me, the weariness and painfulness!
Did the Lord sigh, because that, day by day,
For many moons He had laboured to unfold
The secret of themselves to those dull wits:—
Would no words teach them, never sign convince,
What things were real, what were idle shows?
Nay, could they not perceive that, spirits, they
Conditioned were as spirits, with nought to hurt
But thoughts of evil intent; nought to bless
But goodness in a thought come home to them,
Or from them issuing? But pitiful
And patient always is the Christ of God:
Another time He laboureth to make plain
To these, His own, the rule shall try for them
Thenceforth their daily living.

St. Matthew xv. 12-15.
St. Mark vii. 17.