Philip and Nathanael

Philip and Nathanael

Andrew, Peter, Philip, Nathanael.

(The Gospel History, Section 19)

On the morrow he was minded to go forth into Galilee, and he findeth Philip: and Jesus saith unto him, Follow me. Now Philip was from Bethsaida, of the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see. Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. Nathanael answered him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art King of Israel. Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee underneath the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye shall see the heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.

Philip and Nathanael

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

On the morrow,” the fourth recorded day—
How well we mark the first days of our stay
In a new home, new country! John does more,
New life he chronicles from hour to hour,
Unfolds his memories of fourscore years,
Fresh, vivid, as what passed but yesterday!

Christ went not to Jerusalem, where the scribes
Who knew the law might give a prophet hearing:
A Galilean was He reared; the three
Who followed Him were also Galileans;
Wherefore it was that many works were wrought
In Galilee of the Gentiles—link between
The wider world He came to save and Judah.

On the morrow He was minded to go forth
Into Galilee, and there He findeth Philip.
“Follow Me,” said the Master, and he followed.
(We bid those only must obey our word.)
Was it that Philip had so read the prophets
That he knew the Christ when he saw Him?
Happy those comrades of Bethsaida,
Knit long ago by converse of Messias,
Andrew and Peter, Philip and another!

Philip goes forth to find Nathanael—
Subtle and simple, learnèd in the law;—
“We have found Him, O Nathanael, of whom wrote
Both Moses and the prophets; scorn not thou,
Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph!”
(Messias, out of Nazareth? Out of Joseph?)
“Can a good thing come out of Nazareth?”
Nathanael asked with Jewish scholar’s pride.
“Come thou and see,” was all that Philip said,
But in the word such strong assurance spake,
The other needs must follow.

Jesus saw

Nathanael coming to Him, saith of him;
(Sword of the Spirit, piercing the man’s marrow!)—
“Behold, an Israelite in whom no guile!”
Not word of searching praise, how just soe’er,
Should win Nathanael: “Whence knowest Thou me?”
Dubious, he asks; and Jesus,—“Ere Philip called
Thee to Me, I saw thee under the tree.”
So simple words! But, as a keen-edged sword,
They pierced the heart of this deep-learnèd Jew;
In solemn words he spake one more first creed
Pronounced in Christendom: “The Son of God,
Rabbi, art Thou; the King of Israel!”
Whence knew Nathanael thing that many souls
Seek after all their days nor ever find?
Was it that, underneath the fig-tree, he
Had cried out to his God, “Haste Thou the Coming
Of Him who shall redeem His Israel?”

Answered the Lord, “Because I said to thee
I saw thee underneath the tree, believest?
Thou shalt see greater things than these. That ladder
Jacob once saw where angels came and went—
That sign shall be fulfilled before your eyes;
Ye shall see heaven opened and the angels
Coming and going, on the Son of Man,—
That Ladder, scaling up from earth to heaven,
Whereby men’s prayers ascend, God’s graces come.”

St. John i. 43–51.

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