Whence and Whither

Whence and Whither

Jesus the Son of God, Himself God.

(The Gospel History, Section 79)

The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest witness of thyself; thy witness is not true. Jesus answered and said unto them, Even if I bear witness of myself, my witness is true; for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye know not whence I come, or whither I go. Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. Yea and if I judge, my judgement is true; for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. Yea and in your law it is written, that the witness of two men is true. I am he that beareth witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me. They said therefore unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye know neither me, nor my Father: if ye knew me, ye would know my Father also. These words spake he in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man took him; because his hour was not yet come.

Whence and Whither

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

Turning to them who followed, Christ declared:—
“The man that follows Me, he shall have light”—
Not his, to grope and stumble in the way;
Buoyant his steps, for, seeing, he doth walk
In the Light that is Life also; he is strong.

How mighty is the Truth!
The Pharisees heard this utterance, nor denied;
Said not, “The Man’s a fool, or, doth blaspheme!”—
As we should say to one who dared proclaim
Himself the source whence emanates all light:—
But not if we had heard, and knew them true,
Those words stupendous, making as nought the sum
Of all words uttered by men anywhere:
Haply we’d cried, “Arise and shine, O Sun!”

Not thus, these proud men, keen, of legal mind;
Their tongues refused them to deny the Light:
But was there no side way t’ oppose, condemn?
They have it:—“Saith the Law, Who witnesseth
To his own merits, boasts the powers he hath,
His witness is not true!” (so, long ago
Had Christ Himself declared; out of His mouth,
Would they convict Messias).

“Nay, ye do err;

One only among men may Himself proclaim;
Needs must He tell what He knows, for none besides,
Born into the world in the past, none yet to come,
Save One, can answer you those queries fateful,
Insistent at the door of all men’s hearts,—
‘Whence come I? Whither go?’ Alone among men,
I know whence I came forth, and whither go:
Ye know not; wherefore needs must I reveal
What the flesh, and that dim understanding, aids
The conclusions of the flesh, cannot attain.
After the flesh ye judge Me; ye are sure;
I judge not you or any man,—not yet;
But if I judge, My judgment must be true;
I judge in the light of truth—how shall I err?
And every judgment rising in My thought
Is that of Two agreed: the Father, He
Is with Me in those secret places where
The thoughts of men are formed; and not alone
I testify; Where I am, is the Father:
The claim ye make, that two voices shall attest,
Is met as never in the courts of men;
I witness of Myself—Who am the Truth,
And the Father adds His witness to the Son’s:
Did ye but know, how would ye shrink abash’d
Before these awful Witnesses at your Bar!”

An instant were they shamed; then, impudent,
They made mouths at Him, stretching out their necks,—
“Thy Father, and Thy Father! what vain talk!
But where’s Thy Father, this we fain would know?”
And Jesus, infinite in patience, said:—
“To know is to perceive, to comprehend;
Ye know not Me, who stand in your midst; how, then,
Shall ye know the Father, never seen of men
Save as He is revealed to them who love?
Knew ye Me, then the Father would ye know.”
These words spake Jesus in the treasury
The while He taught in the temple. Never man
In that so hostile multitude laid hands
On the Christ, for all their bravery: withheld
By means inscrutable, they bide their time;
His hour was not yet come.

St. John viii. 13–20.

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