MATT. v. 14. “A city that
is set on a hill cannot be hid.”
CHRISTIANS must be, to a certain extent, the light of the
world before they can be its salt. They must illuminate
it before they can save it from its corruptions. The
startling assertion of our Lord to the company of Galilean
peasants, “Ye are the light of the world,” implies the duty
“Let your light so shine before men.”
In the proverb, “A city set on a hill cannot be hid,” He
implies that whether His disciples will it or not, they can-
not help, in their corporate capacity as His Church, living
much before the eyes of men in the full glare of public life.
Now of these two figures, the hill suggests an elevation
above all merely human institutions of the city, defensive
walls without, and life, movement, organization within.
There are other sayings of our Lord with which, at first
sight, this doctrine of the publicity of His Church appears
to be at variance. “The kingdom of God cometh not
with observation.” “The kingdom of God is within you.”
A chief reason for this visible publicity is that by it the
Church of Christ challenges the attention of men to the
claims of Christ. Its real strength and beauty are un-
doubtedly within, but its outward form and being are a
proclamation of the great King, which all men more or less
intelligently decipher for themselves.
This publicity is also characteristic of the lives of the
Church’s great servants and missionaries. What a public
life was St. Paul’s ! He could say at an early date of his
career, “From Jerusalem even round about unto Illyricum
I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.”
Henry Parry Liddon, D.C.L.