There are 'traditions of men' after Christ as well as before him, and far worse, as 'making of none effect' higher and better things; and we have to look to it, how we have learned Christ. How have we learned Christ? It ought to be a startling thought, that we may have learned him wrong.
And, I am sure, to save, to save to the uttermost, is one of the most eminent expressions by which we understand it is great goodness. I know goodness has many ways to express itself to be what it is to the world; but then it expresseth its greatness when it pardons and saves, when it pardons and saves to the uttermost. My goodness, says Christ, extends not itself to my Father, but to my saints.
But what do you mean, John? Do you mean the covenant of the Law, or the covenant to the Gospel? Why, "this is His commandment," saith he, "That we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another," as the fruits of this faith, "as He gave us commandment." If it be of the old covenant, as a Covenant of Works, then the Gospel is but a lost thing.
I wonder if Peter knew that his wife's mother was ill, when he said to Jesus Christ, after that exciting morning in the synagogue, 'Come home, and rest in our house'? Probably not. One can scarcely imagine hospitality proffered under such circumstances, or with a knowledge of them.
These may be the weapons in His hands, but the hand that wields the weapon gives it all its power to wound and to heal, and it is Christ Himself who, by His present energy, is here represented as being the Agent of all the good that is done by any Christian community, and the Builder-up of His Churches, in numbers and in power.
He himself sees clearly and says plainly what mankind ought to do. Neither the Buddha, nor Christ, nor Mohammed cared for much beyond this, and such of their sayings as have reference to the whence, the whither and the why of the universe are obscure precisely because these questions do not fall within the field of religious genius and receive no illumination from its light.
'Assuredly it is most difficult to combine temporal lordship with a reputation for religion: for they are two things which will not harmonize. He who well considers the law of the Gospel will observe that the pontiffs, though called Christ's Vicars, have originated a new religion unlike that of Christ except in name. His enjoins poverty; they desire riches.
And what, you will ask, does that mean? To know that, I fear, we must go back many many hundred years, to the times when the old martyrs confessed the Lord Jesus Christ before the heathen. Those were times in which it was not enough to say the Apostles' Creed in church.
Paul says, that if in this life only we have hope in Christ we are of all men most miserable. For we do not care to be of the earth, earthy: we long to be of the heaven, heavenly.
The great thing that overpowered me was the infinite excellency of Christ, and the wonderful adaptation of Christianity to the spiritual and moral, the social and physical, wants of mankind, Christ Himself is His own best advocate. His life and character are His strongest claims on our love and loyalty. And His religion, like the sun, is its own best evidence of its divinity.