The country-folk, the citizens and the Jews

The country-folk, the citizens and the Jews

The Feast of Tabernacles.

(The Gospel History, Section 77)

But of the multitude many believed on him; and they said, When the Christ shall come, will he do more signs than those which this man hath done? The Pharisees heard the multitude murmuring these things concerning him; and the chief priests and the Pharisees sent officers to take him.

The country-folk, the citizens and the Jews

(The Saviour of the World, Vol V Book II Poem XVIII)

The city folk, the country multitude,
All heard Christ witness,—“I am sent from Him
Who is your God; ye have the gift to know
The truth when ye hear it, an ye will: believe
The word I speak, nor think in yourselves a lie:”

And, of them all, the country-folk believed:
Candid, they asked themselves: “When Christ shall come,
Will He do greater signs than those we know
This Man hath done among us?” And one told
Of little child brought back from the door of death:
A second, “See these limbs, e’en strong as yours,
And I, would ye believe ’t,—had palsied lain
For many a year before He came and—healed!”
Then one, whose absent eye dwelt on the past
With tender gaze and fond,—“ I was of those,
He fed that first time He brake bread, and gave
To multitudes—meat scarce enough for one.”
Most men had heard or seen or known somewhat
Of how, like the Sun in his might, the Lord had gone
With healing on His wings about their coasts—
And many believed on Him.

The city men
Were slower of response; their bread, see you,
Was concernéd in this matter; turned the Jews
From this one, that one, with offended brow,—
Why, what of wife and children, wages gone?
And, for men try to hold as truth that lie
They live by, these upheld the probity
Of the men they served with loyalty misplaced.

And they, “the Jews,” what of them? Every man
Is tested by the response he makes to truth:
Not dead in them the power to hear and know,—
Man’s chief inheritance; and those dread words,—
“I know Him, I am from Him,”—found them out.
Then came they straight—and bowed before the Lord,
As the Kings who came to His Rising?—Alack, for them!
A thousand sophistries had place with them,—
Their learning served them ill: “A mischievous Man
Who stirreth up the people”—they avowed:
With restless haste they called their servants up—
Those willing janitors,—“Go, fetch ye Him,
And it shall be well with you.” Ready, they went:
They came to Christ, but laid no hand on Him,
And spake no word; His time was not yet come;
Invisible Power, deterrent, held them back,
(As thou and I be held from urgent harms):
The chagrined rulers watch the multitude,
And hear the praise of Christ on every lip:
More officers send they forth, and still in vain

St. John vii. 31, 32.
St. Matthew ii. 1-12

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