To the Jews who believed

To the Jews who believed

Jesus the Son of God, Himself God.

(The Gospel History, Section 79)

Jesus therefore said to those Jews which had believed him, If ye abide in my word, then are ye truly my disciples; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered unto him, We be Abraham’s seed, and have never yet been in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Every one that committeth sin is the bondservant of sin. And the bondservant abideth not in the house for ever: the son abideth for ever If therefore the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; yet ye seek to kill me, because my word hath not free course in you. I speak the things which I have seen with my Father: and ye also do the things which ye heard from your father.

To the Jews who believed

(The Saviour of the World, Vol V Book IV Poem XLIII)

Tender, Christ turned to the relenting Jews,—
The very priests and Pharisees, His foes,
Who from the crowd of His enemies came forth
And gave up all to take their part with Him:—

“Well have ye done to come, ye happy men,
Moved by the words I spake; now, seize the truth,
For words are evanescent, quick disperse,
Invisible vapour, in the scorching heat
Of fiery persecution: wherefore abide—
Come in and out as to a dwelling safe—
Abide in the words I speak; turn errant thoughts
And fearful back into that hiding place,
The words which I have said; so are ye safe,
Tho’ ye should follow all the way I tread
To prison and to judgment; ye shall know
The truth, nor fear at all; ye shall be free—
In prison cell as on the broad highway.”

But they were new disciples, scarce had conn’d
The first syllable of that new lore He taught,
And though they loved Him, they were wroth with Him:—
“What’s this,” they cried, “of freedom? Abraham’s seed
Are we, and ne’er have been in bondage, we,
To any man: what means, ‘ye shall be free’?”
And all the Jews cried, turbulent, “We are free!”
And, “We are free!” the people shouted loud,
Vociferous, till hoarse was every throat.

Christ in His godlike patience, once again,
Began from the beginning: might they know
That this their body was not all of them;
That their spirit loved and hated, sorrow’d, joy’d,—
Then would they learn that the bondsman is not caged
In stone and iron; that fetters hang, concealed
From the casual eye—nay, worn with easy grace;
And many a prisoner tied and bound goes free
To his own thinking and in the eyes of men.
“For,” saith the Lord, “one fetter only binds
The bodies and souls of men; who committeth sin,
He is the slave of sin, nor can escape
By labours of his hands, by sweat of brow:
Ye call yourselves free;—the Roman in the land,
And in sin’s fetters, are ye free indeed?
E’en in your sins think ye t’ inherit the earth,
Grow rich and prosper on spoil of subtle wits?
Brief is your day as that of the pampered slave
Who rejoices in his bonds, for he’s at ease,
And dwells secure in plenty. Comes a day,
His master takes offence and casts him out:
Only the son is safe; the house is his;
And none can drive him forth. But should the son,
Inheriting, take pity on those slaves
And set them free, they shall be free indeed,—
Shall no more hang on the fickle nod of him
Who owns and may abuse them.

Such are ye;

‘The children of Abraham,’ say ye, therefore free?
Nay, yours, a bondage Abraham never knew;—
Know ye not then the law, ‘Who sheds man’s blood,
By man shall his blood be shed’? Ye are not free,
Ye’re still in bonds, who ponder murderous thoughts;
These drive you and compel to murderous deed;
How are ye free, as slave-gang, driven by sin?
Ye cannot help yourselves; ye needs must sin;
Your father sees to ’t that ye do his work,
An ye will not give My words free course in you:
The things I speak, I have with My Father seen;
And ye—fulfil your father’s mandate well!”

St. John viii. 31–38.
Genesis ix. 6.

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