The Rich Young Ruler

The Rich Young Ruler

Council of Perfection. Riches a hindrance.

(The Gospel History, Section 119)

And as he was going forth into the way, a certain ruler ran to him, and kneeled to him, and asked him, saying. Good Master, what good thing shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? and askest thou me concerning
 that which is good? None is good save one, even
 God. But if thou wouldest enter into life keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? And Jesus 
said, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. And the young man said unto him, Master, all these things have I observed from my youth up: what lack I yet? And Jesus looking upon him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest yet: if thou wouldest be perfect, go, sell all that thou hast and distribute to the poor, and thou shalt have
 treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. But when 
the young man heard the saying his countenance fell, and he went away exceeding sorrowful: for he was one that had great possessions.


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

As Christ was going forth one day,
A man came running, “Lord, I pray,
Counsel thy servant, for I seek
That ‘life eternal’ Thou didst speak
About within my hearing then
When Thou taught’st multitudes of men.”

The Lord surveyed him kneeling there
In pride of early manhood fair,
Equipped as one of good estate
Yet eager, humble in his gait.

We know the tale, how Jesus loved
That ardent soul His words had moved:
How the young man, examined, shewed
With high integrity imbued,
And yet had grace to comprehend
Some lack which he would fain amend:
Riches, place, name, high rectitude,—
With ample gifts was he endued,
And yet exceeding sorrowful
He left the Lord more merciful
Though Jesus loved the candid soul
Had come to Him to be made whole!

Ah me! The judge surveyed his heart
Perceived, for him, the better part
Was not “eternal life,” but all
That wealth which could his soul enthral
The while uneasy feeless sent
By quickened conscience sedulous went
In search of what? A compromise
Should seem to give what he denies,
His soul and heart, his life and ways,
To Whom is due man’s life and praise.

‘The limb must go’ the surgeon cries;
‘Life rather,’ the sick man replies:
So Christ would amputate the limb
Which, mortifying, rendered him
Incapable of the life he sought:
‘Of all thy wealth thou shalt keep nought;
Give to the poor and follow Me,
So life eternal shalt thou see!’

Discovered to himself, aware
For the first time, how here and there
His wealth had proved the while he thought
He lightly sold and lightly bought
While deeper things within had play,
The man went sorrowful away.

St. Matthew xix. 16-22;
St. Mark x. 17-27;
St. Luke xviii. 18-23