“Have ye understood?”

“Have ye understood?”

Parable of Tares explained. Hidden Treasure. Pearl. Net.

(The Gospel History, Section 52)

Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea. And he said unto them, Therefore every scribe who hath been made a disciple to the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is a householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.

“Have ye understood?”

(The Saviour of the World, Vol III Book II Poem XXV)

All day He sat by the seaside and taught;
Things hidden since beginnings vague of time
Disclosed He in dark sayings, parables:
As a man discovering glories of a land
Shows it in panorama, sheet by sheet,
Ever new landscapes, each more perfect-fair
Than that which went before, all various,
And every one delightsome, and all one—
That land delectable the traveller fain
Would show to homely folk who have not seen:—
E’en so, the Kingdom Christ unrolled that day
In many several aspects, so might eyes,—
Untravelled in the regions where is God,
To light of heavenly places all unused,—
Discern some glimmer of the radiancy,
Glad fruitfulness, fair justice, preciousness,
That is—the Kingdom! Weak, the eyes of men,
So every heavenly aspect, shrouded, shines
Through a dark saying few might comprehend!

Now, Have ye understood these things? saith Christ;
“Yea, Lord,” they answer; for the luminous words,
So simple, little child might understand,
Deceived the simple folk; they thought they knew,
Nor dreamed that each, dark with excess of light,—
Those parables the Master dropp’d as pearls!
Then sudden darkness fell; the folk dispersed,
Each to his habitation; idly told
Of lamp and net and leaven, common things,
A score,—on each the Master ready hung
An apologue good for the ear to hear!
But what might mean each story, mirror’d clear
On untroubled surface of their idle mind,
Concerned them not to know:—they went their way.

Ah, Lord, forefend that any word of Thine
Should glance thus idly from this heart of mine!

Not so the twelve Apostles; pondered they,
E’en through the long night watches. What might mean
Each transcript of the Kingdom, sudden flashed
’Fore unaccustomed eyes? What knew they now,
Unguessed before, about that mystery
The Kingdom of God—to be discerned alone
By instant beam illuming, here and there,
One single spot of that immensity,
Infinite, blissful, not to be known of men!
The words the crowd found easy, hard to these:
The more man knows, more strange the mystery grows.

Much pondering, a few things got they clear:
As palace of a king thrown wide to all,
The Kingdom is for who will enter in!

The Kingdom is a threefold mystery;—
Net, drawing bad and good, a field, with tares
Agrowing ’mid the wheat,—the kingdom, here,
That Church of Christ shall gather all men in!
But all men in that field bear not good fruit:
The faithful heart, the second mystery,
That holds the Kingdom its one precious pearl
For which all loss is gain. Have I sold all?
Am I indeed good ground? The anxious soul
Queries persistent of its patient Lord:
But not so much as this the soul shall know
That in the Kingdom is:—Believing, go,
And growing secretly, till that last state,
The final mystery man may not conceive!
See, graced to sudden mighty growth that seed
Ye go to scatter free in all the world!

Thus dimly with uncertain eye they spell
Those mysteries of the Kingdom Christ had taught:
But not one word these men let idly slip;
For each, a treasure pondered in his heart,
As good maid ponders speech of him she loves!
And this His word to them: Now, go ye forth,
Disciples of the Kingdom; rich are ye
As householder with many good things stored:
Bring forth things new and old for him who comes
Hungry, to share thy ample plenitude,
Athirst, to taste what wine of life thou hast!

St. Matthew xiii. 51, 52.

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