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Chapter VII.—Who the Instructor Is, and Respecting His Instruction.
Since, then, we have shown that all of us are by Scripture called children; and not only so, but that we who have followed Christ are figuratively called babes; and that the Father of all alone is perfect, for the Son is in Him, and the Father is in the Son; it is time for us in due course to say who our Instructor is.
He is called Jesus. Sometimes He calls Himself a shepherd, and says, “I am the good Shepherd.”11411141 John x. 11. According to a metaphor drawn from shepherds, who lead the sheep, is hereby understood the Instructor, who leads the children—the Shepherd who tends the babes. For the babes are simple, being figuratively described as sheep. “And they shall all,” it is said, “be one flock, and one shepherd.”11421142 John x. 16. The Word, then, who leads the children to salvation, is appropriately called the Instructor11431143 παιδαγωγός. (Pædagogue).
With the greatest clearness, accordingly, the Word has spoken respecting Himself by Hosea: “I am your Instructor.”11441144 παιδευτής; Hos. v. 2. Now piety is instruction, being the learning of the service of God, and training in the knowledge of the truth, and right guidance which leads to heaven. And the word “instruction”11451145 παιδαγωγία. is employed variously. For there is the instruction of him who is led and learns, and that of him who leads and teaches; and there is, thirdly, the guidance itself; and fourthly, what is taught, as the commandments enjoined.
Now the instruction which is of God is the right direction of truth to the contemplation of God, and the exhibition of holy deeds in everlasting perseverance.
As therefore the general directs the phalanx, consulting the safety of his soldiers, and the pilot steers the vessel, desiring to save the passengers; so also the Instructor guides the children to a saving course of conduct, through solicitude for us; and, in general, whatever we ask in accordance with reason from God to be done for us, will happen to those who believe in the Instructor. And just as the helmsman does not always yield to the winds, but sometimes, turning the prow towards them, opposes the whole force of the hurricanes; so the Instructor never yields to the blasts that blow in this world, nor commits the child to them like a vessel to make shipwreck on a wild and licentious course of life; but, wafted on by the favouring breeze of the Spirit of truth, stoutly holds on to the child’s helm,—his ears, I mean,—until He bring him safe to anchor in the haven of heaven.
What is called by men an ancestral custom passes away in a moment, but the divine guidance is a possession which abides for ever.
They say that Phœnix was the instructor of Achilles, and Adrastus of the children of Crœsus; and Leonides of Alexander, and Nausithous of Philip. But Phœnix was women-mad, Adrastus was a fugitive. Leonides did not curtail the pride of Alexander, nor Nausithous reform the drunken Pellæan. No more was the Thracian Zopyrus able to check the fornication of Alcibiades; but Zopyrus was a bought slave, and Sicinnus, the tutor of the children of Themistocles, was a lazy domestic. They say also that he invented the Sicinnian dance. Those have not escaped our attention who are called royal instructors among the Persians; whom, in number four, the kings of the Persians select with the greatest care from all the Persians and set over their sons. But the children only learn the use of the bow, and on reaching maturity have sexual intercourse with sisters, and mothers, and women, wives and courtesans innumerable, practiced in intercourse like the wild boars.
But our Instructor is the holy God Jesus, the Word, who is the guide of all humanity. The loving God Himself is our Instructor. Somewhere in song the Holy Spirit says with regard to Him, “He provided sufficiently for the people in the wilderness. He led him about in the thirst of summer heat in a dry land, and instructed him, and kept him as the apple of His eye, as an eagle protects her nest, and shows her fond solicitude for her young, spreads abroad her wings, takes them, and bears them on her back. The Lord alone led them, and there was no strange god with them.”11461146 Deut. xxxii. 10–12. Clearly, I trow, has the Scripture exhibited the Instructor in the account it gives of His guidance.
Again, when He speaks in His own person, He confesses Himself to be the Instructor: “I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt.”11471147 Ex. xx. 2. Who, then, has the power of leading in and out? Is it not the Instructor? This was He who appeared to Abraham, and said to him, “I am thy God, be accepted before Me;”11481148 Gen. xvii. 1, 2. and in a way most befitting an instructor, forms him into a faithful child, saying, “And be blameless; and I will make My covenant between Me and thee, and thy seed.” There is the communication of the Instructor’s friendship. And He most manifestly appears as Jacob’s instructor. He says accordingly to him, “Lo, I am with thee, to keep thee in all the way in which thou shalt go; and I will bring thee back into this land: for I will not leave thee till I do what I have told thee.”11491149 Gen. xxviii. 15. He is said, too, to have wrestled with Him. “And Jacob was left alone, and there wrestled with him a man (the Instructor) till the morning.”11501150 Gen. xxxii. 24. This was the man who led, and brought, and wrestled with, and anointed the athlete Jacob against evil.11511151 Or, “against the evil one.” Now that the Word was at once Jacob’s trainer and the Instructor of humanity [appears from this]—“He asked,” it is said, “His name, and said to him, Tell me what is Thy name.” And he said, “Why is it that thou askest My name?” For He reserved the new name for the new people—the babe; and was as yet unnamed, the Lord God not having yet become man. Yet Jacob called the name of the place, “Face of God.” “For I have seen,” he says, “God face to face; and my life is preserved.”11521152 Gen. xxxii. 30. The face of God is the Word by whom God is manifested and made known. Then also was he named Israel, because he saw God the Lord. It was God, the Word, the Instructor, who said to him again afterwards, “Fear not to go down into Egypt.”11531153 Gen. xlvi. 3. See how the Instructor follows the righteous man, and how He anoints the athlete, teaching him to trip up his antagonist.
It is He also who teaches Moses to act as instructor. For the Lord says, “If any one sin before Me, him will I blot out of My book; but now, go and lead this people into the place which I told thee.”11541154 Ex. xxxii. 33, 34. Here He is the teacher of the art of instruction. For it was really the Lord that was the instructor of the ancient people by Moses; but He is the instructor of the new people by Himself, face to face. “For behold,” He says to Moses, “My angel shall go before thee,” representing the evangelical and commanding power of the Word, but guarding the Lord’s prerogative. “In the day on which I will visit them,”11551155 Ex. xxxii. 33, 34. He says, “I will bring their sins on them; that is, on the day on which I will sit as judge I will render the recompense of their sins.” For the same who is Instructor is judge, and judges those who disobey Him; and the loving Word will not pass over their transgression in silence. He reproves, that they may repent. For “the Lord willeth the repentance of the sinner rather than his death.”11561156 Ezek. xviii. 23, 32. And let us as babes, hearing of the sins of others, keep from similar transgressions, through dread of the threatening, that we may not have to undergo like sufferings. What, then, was the sin which they committed? “For in their wrath they slew men, and in their impetuosity they hamstrung bulls. Cursed be their anger.”11571157 Gen. xlix. 6. Who, then, would train us more lovingly than He? Formerly the older people had an old covenant, and the law disciplined the people with fear, and the Word was an angel; but to the fresh and new people has also been given a new covenant, and the Word has appeared, and fear is turned to love, and that mystic angel is born—Jesus. For this same Instructor said then, “Thou shalt fear the Lord God;”11581158 Deut. vi. 2. but to us He has addressed the exhortation, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God.”11591159 Matt. xxii. 37. Wherefore also this is enjoined on us: “Cease from your own works, from your old sins;” “Learn to do well;” “Depart from evil, and do good;” “Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity.” This is my new covenant written in the old letter. The newness of the word must not, then, be made ground of reproach. But the Lord hath also said in Jeremiah: “Say not that I am a youth: before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee, and before I brought thee out of the womb I sanctified thee.”11601160 Jer. i. 7. Such allusions prophecy can make to us, destined in the eye of God to faith before the foundation of the world; but now babes, through the recent fulfilment of the will of God, according to which we are born now to calling and salvation. Wherefore also He adds, “I have set thee for a prophet to the nations,”11611161 Jer. i. 5. saying that he must prophesy, so that the appellation of “youth” should not become a reproach to those who are called babes.
Now the law is ancient grace given through Moses by the Word. Wherefore also the Scripture says, “The law was given through Moses,”11621162 John i. 17. not by Moses, but by the Word, and through Moses His servant. Wherefore it was only temporary; but eternal grace and truth were by Jesus Christ. Mark the expressions of Scripture: of the law only is it said “was given;” but truth being the grace of the Father, is the eternal work of the Word; and it is not said to be given, but to be by Jesus, without whom nothing was.11631163 John i. 3. Presently, therefore, Moses prophetically, giving place to the perfect Instructor the Word, predicts both the name and the office of Instructor, and committing to the people the commands of obedience, sets before them the Instructor. “A prophet,” says he, “like Me shall God raise up to you of your brethren,” pointing out Jesus the Son of God, by an allusion to Jesus the son of Nun; for the name of Jesus predicted in the law was a shadow of Christ. He adds, therefore, consulting the advantage of the people, “Him shall ye hear;”11641164 Deut. xviii. 15. and, “The man who will not hear that Prophet,”11651165 Deut. xviii. 19. him He threatens. Such a name, then, he predicts as that of the Instructor, who is the author of salvation. Wherefore prophecy invests Him with a rod, a rod of discipline, of rule, of authority; that those whom the persuasive word heals not, the threatening may heal; and whom the threatening heals not, the rod may heal; and whom the rod heals not, the fire may devour. “There shall come forth,” it is said, “a rod out of the root of Jesse.”11661166 Isa. xi. 1, 3, 4.
See the care, and wisdom, and power of the Instructor: “He shall not judge according to opinion, nor according to report; but He shall dispense judgment to the humble, and reprove the sinners of the earth.” And by David: “The Lord instructing, hath instructed me, and not given me over to death.”11671167 Ps. cxviii. 18. For to be chastised of the Lord, and instructed, is deliverance from death. And by the same prophet He says: “Thou shalt rule them with a rod of iron.”11681168 Ps. ii. 9. Thus also the apostle, in the Epistle to the Corinthians, being moved, says, “What will ye? Shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, in the spirit of meekness?”11691169 1 Cor. iv. 21. Also, “The Lord shall send the rod of strength out of Sion,”11701170 Ps. cx. 2. He says by another prophet. And this same rod of instruction, “Thy rod and staff have comforted me,”11711171 Ps. xxiii. 4. said some one else. Such is the power of the Instructor—sacred, soothing, saving.
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