The Ordination Charge

The Ordination Charge

Appointment of twelve Apostles.

(The Gospel History, Section 42)

And he came down with them and stood on a level place, and a great multitude of his disciples, and a great number of the people from all Judæa and Jerusalem, and the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases: and they that were troubled with unclean spirits were healed. And all the multitude sought to touch him: for power came forth from him and healed them all.

The Ordination Charge

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

Then came He down and stood on level place
(That grassy, flowery plateau ’twixt the peaks),
He stood, the Twelve about Him: limner’s art—
Showing the figures of the Chosen Men
In glow of their initiation, meek
As infants brought to Font; the face of Him,
Our Source of life and light, shedding on these
The love that had drawn them to that strict embrace
Of common labour for a common end;
Dark background of the mountain, glow from east;—
Had given the Church a constant-springing fount
Of inspiration;—had but Luke been there!
Multitudes of disciples gathered were;
Of people from Judea and the coast,
From regions round about on every hand,
Another multitude had come to hear.
They watched Him come, descending from the height,
The glory of His goodness shining out
Resplendent in their dark; they press to touch
If but the hem of His garment, and be healed
Of every ill tormented soul and flesh:
Sea of expectant faces shone in light
Of the fresh morning sun: He sat and taught.

“Ah,” say those hapless ones who will not have
In Christ, more than man is, can do, may be:
“Here the religion that we all may hold,
In that so simple Sermon on the Mount,
Setting forth all is due from man to man
As a wise pagan might—nor less nor more!”
Is it in truth so easy, that sweet law
Of eight-fold blessing on the righteous man?
Not one familiar virtue’s in this scheme
Of all beatitudes! Sages had taught
An hundred ways of virtue for a man;
But these—what place for all that emulous pride
Urges a man to distance all the rest
In honour, virtue, learning, fair renown?
“Such teaching is subversive, him exalts
Whom men despise; condemns whom all men praise!”
“Behold, I make all new;” the Master saith;
And this low western Portal of His Church—
With arches eight, all low and narrow ways,—
No easy, ample pilgrim struggles through!

St. Luke vi. 17-19