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connects us with the Infinite, the Eternal, the Perfect, and the Unseen. That millions of beings are not conscious of the nature of the very want which troubles them ; that they do not feel heavy-laden, although they really are so; that they have no desire to comply with the conditions upon which alone the Lord's rest is to be experienced, -all this is most true; but the point to which I desire to direct your attention is this. Here is One wearing the garb and having the outward appearance of a Jewish peasant,—one who is 'found in fashion as a man,'—and He calls upon the world to come to Him; He has the surprising audacity to describe Himself as meek and lowly. He quietly claimsobedience and faith, and He offers the one thing after which God's intelligent creation is groaning and travailing moment by moment. Who is this Man who dares to offer us rest ? By what right does He offer it? If He be a human being, and a human being only, He stands on the human level, is pressed upon by human conditions, is exposed to human weaknesses, and must have upon Him some portion, at least, of the burden of human sin, as well as human sorrow. It appears to me that no mere man, however divinely endowed, with whatever greatness of divine mission, has any right to make this offer, to prefer these claims; but I can understand the Man, the God-Man, the Being in whom the Divine and the human meet, the Son of the Father, equal with the Father as to His nature, because of one substance with the Father,' I can understand His saying all this, because He has the divine right of a divine nature, the right which comes from sharing the very nature of the Eternal, the right which Heaven has to dictate to earth, the blessed right which God exercises, of stooping to the mortal that the mortal may be lifted up to the Immortal, that the human life may share the Life Eternal. No; these words are inconsistent with the humanitarian hypothesis of the Lord's nature, but they are, I believe, explainable and defensible, though only upon the ground that Jesus of Nazareth was divine in His person, as well as human in His mortal life, and that when He spoke He spoke as from the divine, and not from the merely human.
17. (John X. 27-30.) 'My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me, and I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father who gave them me is greater than all, and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one. In these words there would seem to be an assertion of the “unity in essence, and power, and will, of the Father and of the Son. Our devout Calvinistic forefathers found, and their successors of to-day still find, in this text, and, as I think, rightly, the doctrine of what is technically called 'the final perseverance of the saints. This is not, however, the point to which I wish to call attention, but rather to some other implications of the passage. Admitting, as one is bound to do, that the word 'one'in ver. 30 is neuter, and that our Lord Himself here distinctly asserts that the Father is greater than all,or, as He elsewhere says (John xiv. 28), 'My Father is greater than I,'—does it not strike you that to give eternal life to another, to promise that other the perfect security of spiritual perfection, and to speak of oneself as in being in utter unity with God, -to claim, in fact, such relations with needy man on the one hand, and the eternal Father on the other,-is not consistent with purely human nature, or any divine mission merely, however really patent and extensive the mission may be? I wonder what a devout Unitarian would think if he discovered that Dr. Channing was accustomed to speak to his congregation in Boston at the elevation ascribed in the four Gospels to Jesus Christ; that he was accustomed to use such language of himself as Jesus Christ used of Himself; that he frequently offered in his own name eternal life to his congregation, and told them that such as were in sympathy with him were perfectly safe in his hands, that none could remove them out of that secure place ; that, in fact, he and the Father were one in mind and will? One has only to present a suggestion of this kind to show the immeasurable distance between men of the most exalted sanctity and the Lord Jesus. And yet, if Jesus were a man, and a man only, and simply exceptionally endowed, what was there to hinder Dr. Channing,
who was a man, and whose endowments were plainly exceptional, from using the language which Jesus of Nazareth used ?
18. Following the chronological order adopted at the beginning of this chapter, we now come to the eleventh chapter of the Gospel according to St. John, which naturally divides itself into four parts: the first, the prelude to the miracle of the raising of Lazarus; second, the scene at Bethany; third, the actual raising; and fourth, the immediate results of the miracle, including the decision of the Sanhedrim, and the account of our Lord's retirement from the more crowded parts about Jerusalem. It does not enter into my purpose to subject this chapter to a full and detailed examination. But there are one or two things I do ask my readers to do for themselves. Forgetting as far as possible for the moment all mere controversial disputes as between Trinitarians and Unitarians, read the chapter as a whole, allowing its contents to make their own simple impression upon the mind; and, on the assumption which by hypothesis I am now making, that the reader is a believer in the historical genuineness of the narrative, I ask him to ask himself whether certain statements I am now about to quote as made by our Lord Himself, are consistent with any theory but that which assigns Personal Divinity to Him? When our Lord is told that Lazarus is sick, He answers, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.' Then the glory of God and the glory of the Son of God, if not identical, are in perfect accord, the one reflecting the other. If God is glorified, the Son is glorified, and vice versa. Is this language appropriate to a human being? Again, when Martha, in answer to our Lord's remark, 'Thy brother shall rise again,' says, 'I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day,' Jesus said unto her, 'I am the Resurrection and the Life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead' (or, more correctly 'even if he die'), yet shall he live, and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?'-ie.not, 'Do you admit my statement?' but, 'Is this your belief?' (See Westcott on St. John, in Speaker's Commentary.)
On the supposition that Jesus did really use these words, and that He was self-conscious and sincere, it is extremely difficult to imagine how any man can reconcile them with the belief that He who uttered them was a man and a man only, highly endowed, specially missioned, but still only a man. There lives not a Christian on this earth at this hour who would not consider it to be a piece of unrelieved blasphemy if he were to use such words in reference to himself. And yet why should it be, if the humanitarian theory be the correct one?
19. Turning to the sixth chapter of St. John's Gospel, it will be found that it records the feeding of the five thousand on the land, and our Lord walking on the sea, and finally being taken into the little vessel in which His disciples were. These narratives are followed by discourses which He delivered in Capernaum, and the issues of the discourses in the defection of some and the continued fidelity of others. It is, however, with the discourses we have now to deal, in which our Lord tells His hearers, in answer to their question, "What shall we do that we may work the works of God?' that the work of God is to believe on Himself; that the Father has given them the true bread from (or rather out of') heaven; that He Himself is the Bread of Life ; that to come to Him is to satisfy all hunger, to believe on Him is to assuage all thirst ; that the possession of everlasting life is conditional on seeing and believing on Him; that all who are in union with Him shall be raised up by Him at the last day; that, while no one has seen the Father, He who is of God (evidently Himself), He hath seen the Father ; that there is no real life in us except as we eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood; that, in fact, He is the satisfaction, the one full satisfaction, divinely given, of man's spiritual necessities; and just as we must have food and water or we die, physically, so He must be the channel through Whom we draw from the infinite Source all that we need for our spiritual wants. religious teacher, prophet, apostle, or worker in the fields of religion, of any age or place, be named who has used in reference to himself words of such tremendous import as are
here recorded to have been uttered by our Lord at Capernaum ? And is not the doctrine of His personal divinity far more in accord with them than with the opposite doctrine of His simple humanity ? Say that the language is figurative, say, in fact, what our Lord Himself said, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing': the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.' We ought not to lose ourselves in the mere letter, the mere drapery of our Lord's discourses; but penetrate beneath the letter to the spirit, draw aside the drapery to get at the things draped, and then see whether these discourses, making all allowance one can for Eastern idioms, are fairly defensible, except as they are associated with the personal divinity of Him who uttered them.
20. Perhaps this is the point at which I may as well state, modestly but plainly, my own belief as to our Lord's miracles or signs, as they affect the question of His personality and His divine mission. Subject to such corrections of the narratives as Biblical criticism may prove to be needful, I have no hesitation in avowing my firm unwavering belief in our Lord's miracles. Indeed, given such a Being as Christ, it seems to me His miracles were as natural to Him as our daily ordinary acts are to us. I dare not say, however, that they prove—that is to say, necessarily prove—that He had a special mission from God, and still less that He was divine. Human beings had wrought miracles before His day, who were confessedly no sharers in the divine nature in any special sense; and our Lord Himself seems to imply that miracles were being wrought in His own day, not alone by friends, but by enemies. It is always dangerous, as well as dishonest, to push an argument beyond its legitimate implications. Let us accept these miracles, or signs, unhesitatingly and devoutly, but let us think of them as outward and visible signs of the inward and invisible power of Christ's gospel, as so many translations, in various forms, of God's mind and will respecting