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Life of Jesus Christ in Its Historical Connexion and Historical Developement.
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§ 38. John’s Demands upon the People compared with those of Christ. —His humble Opinion of his own Calling.

But how very moderate do John’s requirements appear in comparison with those of Christ, who demanded at the very outset an absolute sacrifice of the will and the affections! This difference arose naturally, however, from the different positions which they occupied. John was fully conscious that the moral regeneration which was indispensable to admittance into the Messiah’s kingdom could only be accomplished by a Divine principle of life; and, knowing that to impart this was beyond his power, he confined himself to a preparatory purification of the morals of the people. The great, the God-like feature of his character was his thorough understanding of himself and his calling. Filled as he was with enthusiasm, he yet felt that he was but the humble instrument of the Divine Spirit, called, not to found the new creation, but only to proclaim it; nor did the thronging of eager thousands to hang upon his lips, nor the enthusiastic love of his own immediate followers, ever ready to glorify their master, in the least degree blind his perceptions of duty, or raise him above his calling. Convinced that he was inspired of God to prepare, and not to create, he never pretended to work miracles, nor did his disciples, strongly as he impressed them, ever attribute miraculous powers to him.

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