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says : Christ's position is indeed extraordinary, unique. He stands alone, a Person without a fellow. He is the humblest of the sons of man, speaks of Himself as “meek and lowly in heart ;" yet, as simply and spontaneously as if it were homeliest and most familiar fact, He describes Himself as the only One who knows the Father, as the Light of the world, the Life of the world, the Saviour and the Judge of men ! And His most transcendent claims become Him like His plainest speech. His most majestic are among His simplest words, fall from Him without effort, or any consciousness that He speaks of Himself things too high to be fitly spoken. There is an openness, a sunny simplicity or fine sense of nature about Him when He uses the loftiest words, or applies to Himself the Divinest names. We may not compare Him with the authors of the historical religions, for the comparisons could be but a series of contrasts. There are, indeed, but three universal religions, those of Mohammed, Buddha, and Christ. The first and the last may not be spoken of together ; historical truth will allow neither the founders nor the religions to be compared. With Buddha it may seem otherwise. His, as seen through the traditions of his people, was a beautiful spirit, tender, pious, full of great love, the noblest enthusiasm of humanity, willing at any moment to become a sacrifice that he might lift or lighten the world's pain. Buddhism has produced many excellent virtues, sweet graces, meekness, benevolence, love. But the comparison becomes at every point a fundamental contrast. Buddha has no deity, Buddhism has no real universalities, may be a missionary or aggressive religion, but is not a religion that evokes and satisfies the ideal of man, making him thereby happier, completer, and more progressive. The religion of Christ is one of boundless hope, but the religion of Buddha one of absolute despair. Christ came to reveal the Father whence we come, whither we go, and in whom we live; but Buddha reveals only a vacant heaven, a world without a Divine heart to bleed for its sorrows or forgive its sins, with only a moral order to control its destinies, punish its crimes, and what is to it only a less evil or milder form of penalty, reward its virtues. Jesus loves life, brings it and immortality to light, making the darkness of death only the shadow of eternal day; but Buddha hates life as it now is, as it ever will be, thinks the highest bliss is to escape into everlasting and impersonal quietude. Buddha's is a pitiful, but not
a humane religion, is sad and tender over the sorrows of man, but does not awaken, uplift, and inspire his manhood. Its spread is the decay of humanity, the death of the virtues that make man the strenuous doer of righteousness, the lover of liberty, the worker of order and progress. Christ's is the opposite of all this ; and where the religions so differ, how can their founders be compared ? And so we again say, Jesus Christ has no fellow, He stands alone. Of the founders of the great historical religions it may be said, they differ as star from star in glory; but of Him who made the only universal religion we must say, He is the Sun whose rising empties heaven of stars by filling it with light.' ... 'Why have we only one Christ?
We have had many philosophers, and neither to Socrates, nor Plato, nor Aristotle among the ancients, neither to Bacon, nor Descartes, nor Spinoza, nor Kant, nor Schelling, nor Hegel, among the moderns, could the palm of solitary, indisputable superiority be given. We have had many poets, and neither to Homer, nor Dante, nor Shakespeare, nor Milton, nor Goethe, could the praise of unique and unapproachable excellence be awarded. We have had many soldiers, and neither to Alexander, nor Hannibal, nor Cæsar, nor Charlemagne, nor to any of the mediæval and modern commanders, could absolutely unequalled military genius be attributed. And so in every other department of human thought and action. No man is entirely unique. Every man has many compeers ; Christ, and Christ alone, and that in the highest department, the religious, is unique, solitary, incomparable ; and our question is, why? Why has the Creator of men created only one Christ, while He has created myriads of all other kinds of men ? That Creator is infinitely benevolent; He loves His creatures, He seeks their highest well-being. That well-being Christ has promoted not only more than any other man, but more than all other men that have ever lived. If one Christ has been so mighty for good, what would a multitude have accomplished? Yet God has given to our poor humanity only one, and if we persist in asking, Why ? can we find a fitter answer than the answer that stands written in the history of the Word made flesh ? God in giving one gave His all : “God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life”' (p. 251).
Mr. Thomas H. Gill, who is better known as the author of the Papal Drama, the Golden Chain of Praise, etc., has recently issued a little volume, entitled The Triumph of Christ, being Memorials of Franklin Howorth (Hodder & Stoughton). Mr. Howorth was originally a Unitarian minister, first at Rochdale, and subsequently at Bury, but retired from the Unitarian ministry and body about thirty years ago, under painful circumstances detailed by Mr. Gill. I wish to put on record the following statement, which is interesting, considering the connection in which it is found. Mr. Gills says (p. 71) that Mr. Howorth mentioned to him that Mr. John James Tayler of Manchester had conceded in his hearing that Paul and John believed in the Pre-existence of Christ.' The Mr. Tayler here referred to was for many years the Principal of Manchester New College, and was a man of saintly goodness as well as of exceptional culture, but held the humanitarian theory of Christ's Person.
The Rev. E. H. Sears, an American clergyman, who, strange to say, lived and died in the Unitarian communion, and with the full consent of the members of his congregation, in his Sermons and Songs of the Christian Life has these remarkable words : 'Only one Mediator, and He is human. And why must He be a man? Simply because God is human, and nothing else than humanity can transmit Him as He is. The grand truth of THE HUMANITY OF GOD, rightly discriminated and apprehended, is one of the most precious and vital in all the treasury of the gospel. It is opposed to two specious and besetting errors, that God is an impassive force somewhere at the centre of things, whence this great mechanism of worlds grew out by spontaneous evolution,—and it is opposed to the more hideous notion that He is an arbitrary Sovereign. In the place of either it brings out the doctrine that God is a Being who like us has feelings, desires, yearnings, yea wants, for He wants to impart His own peace, and gain from His creatures some returns for His infinite love. Open your Bible, and see how directly you are drawn away from the old stoicism that God reposes on the peaks of eternity, cold and serene, leaving the world with its mean affairs to inferior deities. In the Bible we read of Divine humanities, Divine griefs and sorrows, as if the Divine sympathies ran down through all sensitive beings and felt every pulse of woe in His universe. I cannot see the Scripture or the reason of the proposition which some of our theologians have striven to make good—that God is incapable of suffering. As if that were perfection! What would you think of a man who sought to become perfect by becoming impassive, and turning himself into stone ? As man becomes better and more God-like, he becomes more susceptible to the sorrows of his fellows, and makes their griefs his griefs, and in this very susceptibility he ascends to a bliss altogether more sacred and plenary than these men of wood and granite that never suffer at all. And whence does all this susceptibility come to us? It comes out of the heart of God. It is a trait of the Divine Nature, transcribed into man. It tells us that there are sufferings which are Divine, and that the more our natures become open to them, the more we become changed into the likeness of our glorious original. Thus we speak of the Divine Compassion, and that means suffering with another, so that in our spontaneous speech we belie our wretched pagan theologies. And as if description by words were not enough, St. John in apocalyptic vision looks away up to the Throne of God, and what does he see there? Not an arbitrary sovereign clothed in pomp and terror, not the lightnings out of the storm-clouds, not the show of magnificence affected by earthly sovereigns—but right in the midst of the Throne, as it were getting sight of the Heart of God, a lamb as it had been slain—the wounded love of the Creator Himself, as if there was a Calvary, not in Palestine alone, but away in the Heart of God, where we crucify Him by our disobedience every day. This being so, how plain it becomes that only Humanity can mediate between man and the Divine Essence. Nature is competent to evolve His power and magnificence; we feel that sensibly enough when she crushes us like insects out of her way, or brushes us by the hundred into her great gulf-stream ; but in all
l her gamut she has not a single tone that is human, or which can give us one lisp of the humanity of God. Nature in her impotency and her failure, man in his most urgent wants, point alike to this grand necessity, that there shall be a mediator, and that that mediator shall be a man. And not any or every man but THE MAN CHRIST JESUS; a man whose nature opens both ways-up to God on the Divine side, and down to the lowest of us on the human ; not some tall angel talking to us from a distance out of the porches of heaven, but some one clothed in our nature, touching the earth in its lowest place of evil and darkness, and at the same time touching the
inmost heaven where all the Divine scenery lay upon His soul; not sinful humanity, that cuts off the light rather than transmits it, but One supremely perfect, through whose translucency the whole Divine Nature is imaged forth. “Believest thou not that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself, but the Father that dwelleth in me He doeth the works.” “I in them, and they im me, that they also may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that Thou hast sent me."
“ All things are delivered unto me of my Father, and no man knoweth the Son but the Father, neither knoweth any man the Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him. Come unto me all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” These proofs and illustrations show yet more openly the Divine burden of truth which the text brings home to us,
-one God, and one peacemaker between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.'
Mr. Sears, in his sermons on Christ in the Life, has the following equally remarkable suggestions for us : His coming in the flesh, we say, for it was necessary that the Divine Word, as the embodiment of the Divine Nature itself, should be made flesh, and appear before the eyes of men, that they might see it living, acting, moving in a human form, and going forth into a perfect human practice. It was necessary,
say, in order to any adequate disclosure of the Divine Nature to men. And why? Because words alone cannot reveal God. They may tell us about God, and about His power and majesty, but His intrinsic nature they cannot disclose. We call God our Father ; but that word reveals no Divine Fatherhood, unless our human relations have been purged of self, and thrill with Divine Love. Till then, those relations are shaped only by the instinct of the natural man. The Jews called Him Father; but that described Him only after their notions of fatherhood; and they were a people who punished their own children with death, and who killed their prisoners of war, even the women and the little ones. What does fatherhood signify among a people whose human relations all have the taint of selfishness ? They called Him merciful ; but what does mercy mean among people whose mercies are cruel ? They called Him good; that meant kind to family and friends, and to nobody beyond. They called Him just; their justice required eye for eye, and tooth for