“John, loving scribe, takes up the parable”

“John, loving scribe, takes up the parable”

The New Birth. John Baptist’s last testimony to Jesus.

(The Gospel History, Sections 22 and 23)

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God sent not the Son into the world to judge the world; but that the world should be saved through him. He that believeth on him is not judged: he that believeth not hath been judged already, because he hath not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the judgement, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil. For every one that doeth ill hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, lest his works should be reproved. But he that doeth the truth cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, that they have been wrought in God.

After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judæa; and there he tarried with them, and baptized.

“John, loving scribe, takes up the parable”

(The Saviour of the World, Vol I Book III Poem XI)

Lest we, like Nicodemus, go forth in the dark,
Nor comprehend that sign of the lifting up,
Nor the mystery of new birth, wherefrom a man,
All staled and hardened in the world’s old ways,
Comes forth a tender soul, soon grieved with sin,
Lively and quick in frank pursuit of joy,
And all his joy is, God in Christ who died—
Lest we let this dear tale, like water, slip
Through careless fingers dallying with the deep,
John, loving scribe, takes up the parable:—

For God so loved the sinful world, He gave,
As one gives his best friend a gift of price,
God gave His own begotten Son! Who loves,
Or son, or friend, or wife, or child, he knows
Whether were harder to give his own life,
To suffer pains in himself than in that one,
The very light of his eyes, joy of his days,
Whose hurt he feels with thrice-repeated pang!
God gave His Son to the world—ah, gift supreme!
Would no less gift have served for us, poor souls?
God gave His Son, that whosoe’er believes
On Him should have eternal life, e’en now,
Nor ever perish as a soul that dies;
He cannot die, for he is born anew
Into that life, fed by eternal springs,
That knows no lasting languors, horrid drought!
But the glad wretch, reprieved from perishing,
Must do his part; he must believe in the Son.
And this is why none other way was found
By God Almighty than to give His Son,
That men might see Him walk the earth as Man,
Knowing how hard it is, in lowly ways,
To keep unspotted of the world, and give,
By word and look and mien, by thousand acts
Of pitiful tenderness, dear life for men!
Hearing such words as man ne’er spake before,
Seeing such deeds as never had been done,
How choose men but believe in such a friend?
And how, believing, fail to enter in
Kingdom of God, where love is, and no hate?

Not as a judge He came; not now was sent
To judge the world for all its evils wrought
In the eye of day. Only to save He came,
Through that new infancy of tender souls
Which comes to them who look upon His face.
But judgment is come with Him, howe’er meek
The Son of Man walk among men. Each soul
Judges himself, unknowing; doth he believe?
Then is his judgment passed; he’s born again.
Doth he in wilful pride still ask a sign,
Rejecting every sign of that sweet Life?

So, too, he’s judged; he goes his way, untouched
By the dear grace of God should give him life;
And day by day all soft and tender thoughts,
All ways of sweetness, die from out his life;
He perisheth, the while he lives his days.
To see the light, and not to choose the light,—
For light reproveth deeds that love the dark—
What greater condemnation is for men!
Each man, arraigned before his own sure bar,
Goes out to his deserts, or light or darkness.

St. John iii. 16–22.

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