For I say to you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist…
To insist, in the presence of a successful millionaire, or a triumphant prince, or a victorious soldier, or a medalled artist, that the veriest infant in the class of a Sunday-school, who has intelligently learned the articulate language of love to the Saviour, is better than he, is a brave thing to do, of course. But whether the courage will be rewarded with any prosperity in making him believe it, is quite another consideration. It is power that most men are seeking, and not grace. And it is a pity that they do not all get either, even after the seeking. Think of the unfortunate architecture of Cologne Cathedral. The pile of stone has stood through the ages incomplete; just now it has at last been finished. But — most singular fate of genius — nobody on all this earth knows at the dedication who drew the early plans for the building, or whose is the fame of its beauty. John Keats left for his tombstone in Rome the somewhat violent epitaph: "Here lies one whose name was writ in water!" Alas1 cannot we hope that it was written in the Lamb's Book of Life? It is exceedingly interesting to find the jealous Turner's beautiful landscapes between the two Claudes in the British Gallery; for we are glad to know neither of the great canvasses suffered from the comparison. But then who can help putting the tranquil inquiry, What difference does it make to those painters now which of them is considered the better artist? And where is Turner to-day, and where is Claude Lorraine also? For grace settles the long mysterious future; and gift is not grace. Socrates was a great man; but some say he sold his wife at a price. Alexander was a great monarch; but he died in a drunken debauch. Lord Byron was a great man; but his statue at Trinity College has on its front look the divinity of a genius, and on its profile one side is the leer of a lecher. It would be useless to deny that these famous people had power; but grace is better than power.
(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)The smallest diamond is made of more precious substance than the largest flint.
Parallel VersesKJV: For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.