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Outward Conditions of the Life of Christ. It has been thought by some that we do not all see colour exactly alike: —that, for instance, what is green to one may be red to another; and that, as the power of vision varies as to distance, so that it may also as to shade. However this may be physically,—though unatomy confirms the idea, -it is certain the thought applies mentally. Two individuals reading or hearing the same narrative will have a different apprehension of its facts according to individual capacity and condition, and the power respectively possessed of projecting the mind into the scenes and circumstances described.

It is of great importance that this power of mental projection should be exercised in reading the Gospel history. So prominent and absorb ing is the great central figure of that history, our blessed Lord and Saviour, that to many it eclipses all else, and for spiritual purposes this need not to be deplored. Yet, as the sun appears more resplendent when compared with the taper, the cedar loftier by the side of the bramble, so the great Sun of righteousness, the spreading Tree of life will rise in grandeur by being viewed in relation to contemporary individuals and events, while definiteness of view is thus secured and spiritual impression deepened. Fidelity to the Gospel narratives, moreover, and to the Spirit of inspiration their author, requires we should think of the Saviour in His various relations, as well as of Himself.

In seeking to do this in a few brief particulars, it would be of deep interest could we confidently form to our minds a correct idea of His person. True, we are not now to “know Christ after the flesh," and little help is afforded to this end. Yet curiosity, if no higher feeling, prompts.

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the desire to know the appearance of the man Christ Jesus. Two opposite classes of statement meet us on this point. Prophecy foretold Him

fairer than the children of men,” yet “ His visage as so marred more than any man's”; while the narrative incidentally refers to Him as “full of grace and truth,” rivetting the eyes of all in the synagogue as much probably by His aspect as His gracious words; and yet as "grieved," sighing deeply, “troubled in spirit,” weeping, “sorrowful even unto death.” The earliest actual description of Jesus is that of Nicephorus, who, quoting from a statement by John of Damascus in the eighth century, says that “He resembled the Virgin Mary, that He was beautiful and strikingly tall, with fair and slightly curling locks, on which no hand but his mother's had ever passed, with dark eyebrows, an oval countenance, pale and olive complexion, bright eyes, an attitude slightly stooping, and a look expressive of patience, nobility, and wisdom."

In the twelfth century Lentulus, president of the people of Jerusalem, is reported to have written thus "There has appeared in our times a man of great virtue named Christ Jesus. He is a man of lofty stature, beautiful, having a noble countenance, so that they who look on Him may both love and fear Him. He has wavy hair, rather crisp, of the colour of wine, and glittering as it flows down from his shoulders, with a parting in the middle of the head after the manner of the Nazarenes. His forehead is pure and even, and His face without any spot or wrinkle, but glowing with a delicate flush. His nose and mouth are of faultless beauty. He has a beard abundant, and of the same hazel - colour as His hair, not long but forked. His eyes are blue, and very bright. He is terrible in rebuke, calm and loving in admonition, cheerful, but preserving gravity. He has never been seen to laugh, but oftentimes to weep. His stature is erect, and His hands and limbs are beautiful to look upon. In speech He is grave and reserved, and modest, and He is fair among the children of nen.”* All this is, of course, conjectural, yet not uninteresting as embodying ancient tradition, and possibly true.

But slight reference is made to the dress of our Lord. From the time when His infant form was wrapped in swaddling clothes to that in which the finger of faith touched “the hem of His garment,” we read nothing on this point, nor do the allusions to the indignities of the crucifixion much help us. We simply read, that after arraying Him with the mock purple, they put “His own clothes ” on him, and subsequently, that “the soldiers parted His raiment among them," and for His seamless coat “cast lots." The Saviour wore no distinctive dress. Though

* Farrar's “Life of Christ,” vol. ii, p. 454

Priest, Prophet, King, there were no holy garments, no raiment of camel's hair, no royal robe. It was the ordinary flowing dress of the nation, the period, and the class to which He belonged. Probably the blue tallith, or outer robe, covering the ketoneh, or woollen tunic, this " without seam, woven from the top throughout," the kefyeh, or head covering, indispensable in Syria, with the usual sandals for His feet. He whose most wondrous clothing was humanity, and who, in His divinity, covered Himself with light as with a garment, affected no peculiarity of raiment, was simple and unobtrusive in His dress.

What were the usual habits of our Saviour? In His early village life at Nazareth, and till He begun to preach, these were doubtless of the simplest, regulated by the customs of the people, and the requirements of His frugal home. After He entered upon public work they were modified by circumstances, and by the irregular life His labours involved. We know that He often rose early, probably this was His wont, sometimes spent the whole night abroad; that not unfrequently “He was hungered,” that yet He never wrought a miracle for His own supply, though once at least tempted so to do, and that He depended upon others, who delighted to minister to Him of their substance. In relation to men generally, His habits were social, not ascetic. He came" eating and drinking,” furnished wine at a marriage feast, though we have no proof He ever partook of it. Being without sin, He had no need to bring His body “into subjection,” but obviously, it was so naturally, and His lofty and divine life moulded every day's course, both as to word and act.

No view of the outward condition of the life of Christ can be complete which does not take account of the land in which He lived. We must not, however, form our conceptions of that land from what we now see. No traveller who visits Palestine, but is struck with the sterility and (with bright picturesque exceptions, as at Shechem, Esdraelon, Nazareth, Cæsarea Philippi, and some others) with its grey and sombre hue. It was very different in the time of the Saviour. Though even then suffering from successive wars, invasions, captivities, and internal convulsions, it was beautifully fertile. The northern and more rural part of the country especially, where Jesus spent by far the largest portion of His life, was naturally as a garden of the Lord, a land "flowing with milk and honey," while its thriving and hardy population engaged in all kinds of handicraft, and fringed by thousands the margin of their beautiful, but now desolate lake. Of this district of Galilee, Josephus says : "The soil is rich, and well cultivated, pine and forest trees of all kinds abound, numerous large and populous villages, amounting in all : 0

* Farrar's “Life of Christ,” vol. i., p. 310.



no less than two hundred and forty, thickly stud the whole face of the country ; the inhabitants are industrious and like, being trained in war

from their infancy." The which met the eye of Incarnate Love as, wearied with His journey, He sat on Jacob's well at Shechem, the fields white unto the harvest; or over against” the Mount of Olives with Kedron at its base; or on the Mount looking cast from Bethany down to the Dead Sea, and across to Moab, or west to the sacred city, over whose doom He wept; or at Jericho as He entered and passed through that city of priests ; or at Nain where, at the gate, He met and raised the only son of the widow, on whom He had compassion, and many similar spots, must then have appeared with a glory on which Ichabod has long since been written, but which then was radiant and striking, while His constant allusions to natural scenes, the sine, the fig tree, the sower, the seed, the husbandmen, the fowls of the air, the lilies, the corn, the harvest, indicate alike His love of nature, beneath all which He saw the circling current of Infinite beneficence, and His desire to use everything as illustrative of His great Gospel work.

Sacred as are the spots in that land on which the mark of the Saviour's footprints are distinctly left, a Christian traveller feels surprised at the number of other spots on which no such mark is visible, e.g.–Did He ever visit Bethlehem, His birthplace ? or Hebron, the sepulchre of the Patriarchs? or Carmel, the scene of Elijah's triumph or the Dead Sea, the tomb of Sodom? We do not so read, though silence is no proof to the contrary, for there are many other things which Jesus did beside those in the Book, yet the absence of reference is significant.

In thinking of the land traversed by the sacred feet of the Incarnate One, recollect how continuously He did thus travel. Of public convey. ances, though now none, there were then probably some, and of animals suitable for riding, many.

The Saviour and His disciples did not use them. They walked on their long journeys. Once only He rode on the ass; the weariness, exhaustion, dust, annoyance, physical pain, resulting thence, it is well for us to think of, as among the many sufferings He so willingly bore for us.

Nor forget the variations of climate. In our northern land nothing is a more fruitful source of discomfort than the weather, and though the seasons in Judea recur with greater regularity and more marked division than with us, there were variations many and trying. The Saviour often refers to atmospheric conditions. The wind, the "sky red and lowering," "fair weather," " foul weather to-day,"“a cloud rising out of the west" portending heat, “there cometh a shower," “summer nigh," "winter;" these His own references, and all these conditions He felt, as truly and


keenly as ourselves, with as distinct a sense of discomfort or pleasure, with how much more of equanimity and patience. “It was winter, and Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch,"and then and there, spite of the weather, He talked with the Jews of the sheep and the good Shepherd in words never to be lost.

In seeking to realise to ourselves the daily life of the Saviour, we should not overlook His political relations. We are sure that in His perfectly harmonious nature, the spirit of nationality was not inordinate, yet it was doubtless strong. Merged to some extent in the wider spirit of philanthropy, and that “enthusiasm of humanity” in which some would find the only spring of His life, it was, nevertheless, a powerful element. “He came unto His own;" came “of the fathers according to the flesh,” and so far as it was innocent, shared in the patriotism which has ever burned so brightly, though often so fitfully in the Jewish nation. This being so, all the woes and degradation of that people He deeply felt. When they showed Him the tribute money with Cæsar's superscription; when He described the certain king going to a far country, alluding to Herod's visit to Rome; when He heard of the murder of His forerunner, by Herod Antipas, the Emperor's nominee; when He predicted the destruction of the city and temple, and the setting up the “abomination of desolation ;" when He saw Jerusalem encompassed with armies, those Roman legions, the centurions of which everywhere met His eye; when He“ beheld the city and wept over it,” none can


how the national element mingled with Divine compassion, and gave intensity and bitterness to His grief.

Christianity does not extinguish patriotism, only elevates and directs it. In Christ it burned brightly, and the violation of His beloved country and people by the presence and action of foreign foes, civil and military, must often have rudely shocked the strong sensibility of the Son of David. Though never committing Himself to any of the political parties in the land, though disappointing the Herodians, by bidding them render to Cæsar the things which are Cæsar's, and though reckoning some of the Roman centurions as among His best friends, He yet deeply felt the thraldom of the people to foreign dominion, and yearned, how earnestly! that they would in the best sense permit the Son to make them free.

Josiah VINEY. (To be concluded next month.)

Anden.—He that would be angry and sin not, must not be angry with anything but sin.

Sır.—He that falls into sin is a man, that grieves at it may be a saint, that boasteth of it is a devil.


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