His brethren

His brethren

The Feast of Tabernacles.

(The Gospel History, Section 77)

Now the feast of the Jews, the feast of tabernacles, was at hand. His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judæa, that thy disciples also may behold thy works which thou doest. For no man doeth anything in secret, and himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou doest these things, manifest thyself to the world. For even his brethren did not believe on him. Jesus therefore saith unto them, My time is not yet come; but your time is alway ready. The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that its works are evil. Go ye up unto the feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; because my time is not yet fulfilled.

Christ walked in Galilee

(The Saviour of the World, Vol V Book I Poem IV)

James. Good Brother, to Jerusalem go’st with us?

The Lord. I go not up.

Judas. Now there, Thou’rt wrong; we’ve watched
These many months to see what came of ’t all,—
Thy teachings, healings, journeyings to and fro:
Time was, men heard amazed, and thought, “In truth,—
Here is Messias, walking in our midst!”
(The foolish ones are swayed by any breath!)
But now, disciples drop away from Thee;—
What wonder? Waiting is dull work at best.

James. To the Feast with us and all the congregation!
There, do Thy works,—some cure that shall convince
Physicians and the people: inform the Scribes,
The Pharisees, those who have wit to judge,
Of the doctrines Thou dost teach!

The Lord. Believe ye not?

Simon. Nay, who are we to judge? Wherefore, I say,
Come to Jerusalem now and test the case:
Who knows, the fickle people may return,
And hail Thee, king of the Jews!

Joses. Or, if not that,
Thine old disciples, seeing Thee once more,
Once more drawn to obedience by Thy voice,
May gather round, a goodly company!
Nay, think of us in this; is’t good to hear,
“Thy brother, what of Him? He goes alone,
Or with scant following, who erst drew crowds:”
Nor add they, “As we said ’twould be,”—for, see,
A hand stretched scornful speaks th’ unuttered word;
That a man dishonour thus his father’s house,
Give men’s tongues leave to wag,—this is not good.

James. Joses saith well; come, justify Thyself
In Jerusalem where be those apt to judge:
What comes of works performed in secret here
In quiet Galilee’s hid villages?
A man is known by his works: he who would be
A great one ’mongst his people, why, he works
Before the eyes of the multitude; men see,
And hail him, a deliverer.

So spake they,
Resentful, that in nought were they the more
In men’s esteem for all the works of Christ.
Ah, how our “virtues” hurt us! We think well
Of him would advance himself, his family;
“A worthy man,” say we, “and will get on:”
Nor see we that a ring of brass shuts in
That man’s horizon who wants no more of life
Than that he and his should prosper. “If thou dost
These things,” say they, “go, shew Thyself to men!”—
And these, the brethren of the Lord, who had seen
Those works of love and pity wrought by Him
On many a friend and neighbour! “If,” they say—
From chiding to contempt is an easy way,
And things they’d seen with their eyes, they knew no more,
Nor were assured of, till on them was placed
The seal of authority; till Pharisees,
Learned scribes, proud priests acknowledged Him. Do we
Dally with doubt, not certain that we know,
For anguish of doubt has pierced us to the soul;—
Or,—We, we would not hold what others doubt
And they, the authorities who needs must know?
So Scepticism skips light and unashamed
Into souls that own no serious fealty.

No more in honour held, His soul abased
By every grating word that shewed these men
As aliens to His purpose—remote from Him,—
The Lord is acquaint with grief: not even they,
His brethren, who beheld His blameless days,
Heard words of power, saw acts of tenderness,
Not they, His own, believed or understood!
To hurt, not move, the Lord, their words had power;
For other laws ruled all His Times—His hours,
Due numbered and appointed; not for Him
To move on His way until the time had come—
Time other than they dreamed, those men compact
Of certainties learned of the world. His Time?
How had the ages laboured to bring forth
The Time so close approaching! How, hence forth,
Should ages lift eyes to the culmination
Of all desires, the solace of all griefs!
And these—they thought to haste the time of Christ
With their puerile hopes and fears!

The Lord. My time is not come,
Not yet; who waits on God, in seasons fixed
His service shall perform, nor shall he know
Till summoned what the hour requires of him:
For you who serve the world there is no pause:
Your time is alway ready, and ye must watch
Lest rich occasion slip by unemployed,
And the world’s wages pass you, negligent.
So, go ye up, my friends; a welcome, find,
For the world hateth not her followers;—
She hateth Him who convinceth her of sin:
Not yet shall I go up, but bide Mine hour,—
My time is not yet fulfilled.

St. John vii. 2-8.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Amazon Music | Stitcher | RSS