At length, one day, as he was working with a harmony, comparing certain passages between themselves, and as variedly given in the gospels, he fell into a half-thinking, half-dreaming mood, in which his eyes, for some time unconsciously, rested on the verse, "Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life:" it mingled itself with his brooding, and by and by, though yet he was brooding rather than meditating, the form of Jesus had gathered, in the stillness of his mental quiescence, so much of reality that at length he found himself thinking of him as of a true-hearted man, mightily in earnest to help his fellows, who could not get them to mind what he told them.
"Ah!" said the curate to himself, "if I had but seen him, would not I have minded him!--would I not have haunted his steps, with question upon question, until I got at the truth!"
Again the more definite thought vanished in the seething chaos of reverie, which dured unbroken for a time,--until again suddenly rose from memory to consciousness and attention the words: "Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?"
"Good God!" he exclaimed, "here am I bothering over words, and questioning about this and that, as if I were testing his fitness for a post I had to offer him, and he all the time claiming my obedience! I cannot even, on the spur of the moment at least, tell one thing he wants me to do; and as to doing anything because he told me--not once did I ever! But then how am I to obey him until I am sure of his right to command? I just want to know whether I am to call him Lord or not. No, that won't do either, for he says, Why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right? And do I not know--have I ever even doubted that what he said we ought to do was the right thing to do? Yet here have I, all these years, been calling myself a Christian, ministering, forsooth, in the temple of Christ, as if he were a heathen divinity, who cared for songs and prayers and sacrifices, and cannot honestly say I ever once in my life did a thing because he said so, although the record is full of his earnest, even pleading words! I have NOT been an honest man, and how should a dishonest man be a judge over that man who said he was the Christ of God? Would it be any wonder if the things he uttered should be too high and noble to be by such a man recognized as truth?"
With this, yet another saying dawned upon, him: IF ANY MAN WILL DO