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also connect our possession of everlasting life or salvation with believing, because God knows that the heart is always the ruler of the life; while they present Christ, the only begotten' or well-beloved Son of God, as the being in whom our belief is to centre. And for manifest reasons. Christ revealed by word the law of God. Christ kept the law perfectly. Christ was not only the Law-keeper, but the Personal Revelation of the Law-giver; and in this latter capacity He was more especially a manifestation of God's love. Hence our Lord says, 'God so loved the world,' etc. In other words, the gift of Christ was a special expression of the love of God, and the gift was made for no less a purpose than the world's salvation. But if Christ was only a simple man, in what way did He specially manifest God's love, by His being created, endowed, and sent forth ? and are we to believe that the salvation of the world is instrumentally entrusted to a simple man, when, if Christ were but a simple man, He Himself would need to be saved, and therefore be incompetent to the salvation of another man, and still less of the world of men ?
4. (John iii. 26.) 'He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life, and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.' Are these words fairly applicable to a simple man? Can such tremendous and awful alternatives meet and find their full significance in a merely human being ?
5. (John vii. 37, 38.) 'Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus was standing, and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.' Christ here offers to satisfy the sense of thirst, of personal spiritual want, and to do so by living union with Himself; the energies of faith in Him being equal to the giving of that spiritual refreshment which the soul as truly needs as the body needs water for physical refreshment. We are so familiar with these words, and such as these, that, to speak quite
, reverently, we do not realize their sublime audacity. Christ is here offering to do that which no man, simply considered as a
human being, with his limitations, infirmities, and sins, could do ; 'or, if he were both sane and honest, would pretend to do. I can understand a divine being making this gracious announcement to a thirsty world, but it is to me in the last degree inconsistent and morally wrong for any mere man to make it.
6. (John viii. 12.) “Jesus therefore again spake unto them, saying, I am the light of the world : he that followeth me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.' That is to say, as Canon Westcott, whose commentary on St. John I am now consulting, and whose more accurate renderings of the original I am using, “The light which both springs from life and issues in life, of which life is the essential principle, and the necessary result.' What should we think if Moses, or David, or Solomon, or Isaiah, had presented himself to the Jews of the olden time as the world's light ? and would it not have been a supreme arrogancy if John, or Paul, or any of the New Testament apostles had done the same thing? It is open to the Unitarians, or, indeed, to any one else, to question whether Christ used such words; but, supposing it to be granted that He did use them, I think we are shut up to the conclusion that the speaker was more than man, and knew Himself to be so.
7. (John viii. 19.) “Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also. Why should the knowledge of Jesus of Nazareth, if He were a simple man, issue in knowledge of God? That the divine is indirectly reached through the human, is, I believe, a great truth; but it does not at all follow that any one man, however greatly endowed, or greatly privileged, should consider that to know him must inevitably lead to a knowledge of God. The Eternal Father revealing Himself in and through the Eternal Son is intelligible ; but the knowledge of God reached through the knowledge of some one man is another matter altogether.
8. (John viii. 29.) 'I do always those things that please Him.' The saintliest Christian that ever lived would never dream of preferring such a claim as this for himself; for the more active and perfect our obedience becomes, the more intensely sensible are
we of our own shortcomings. A Christian believer never dreams of saying that he does always those things that please God,' for he is painfully conscious that some of the facts look altogether the other way. Jesus, however, could and did say it, because there was a perfection of union between Himself and God, to which we can make no sort of claim.
9. (Luke v. 8.) “When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord. Properly, ‘Go forth away from me,' i.e. 'Go out of the boat and leave me.' Peter was impressed with the nearness of the divine power.
He felt that He who now stood before him, and in and through whom God was revealing His power, was too pure and holy for him to draw near to; while it is to be noted that he now calls Jesus ' Lord,' a term of greater reverence than the term “Master,' which he had used in ver. 5. If Jesus had been a simple man, with the humility and honesty befitting such a one, would He not have resented the use of such words as these on the part of Peter ?—words that remind us of what Job said to God: 'I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth Thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.' (Job xlii. 5, 6.)
I now come to deal with the Sermon on the Mount, in so far as it refers to the subject to which this book is devoted. It is a sermon which has been considerably misunderstood by both believers and unbelievers; while, I think, if it be read with open eyes, it will be seen that the preacher of it is taking a position altogether inconsistent with the hypothesis of His simple humanity. Many unbelievers, and almost all Unitarians, eulogize this sermon exceedingly, and often speak of it as if it were all we could need in the way of doctrine and moral direction. It seems to me that Jesus is here claiming to be the world's legislator, and he who can prefer such a claim, and do so truly, must be something more than a man. F. W. Robertson's remarks on this sermon are worthy of quotation : “There are two erroneous views held respecting the character of the Sermon on the Mount. The first may be called an error of worldly-minded men, the other an error of mistaken religionists. Worldly-minded men-men, that is, in whom the devotional feeling is but feeble--are accustomed to look upon morality as the whole of religion; and they suppose that the Sermon on the Mount was designed only to explain and enforce correct principles of morality. It tells of human duties and human proprieties; and an attention to these, they maintain, is the only religion which is required by it. Strange, my Christian brethren, that men whose lives are least remarkable for superhuman excellence should be the very men to refer most frequently to those sublime comments on Christian principle, and should so confidently conclude from thence that themselves are right and all others wrong.
Yet So it is. The other is an error of mistaken religionists. They sometimes regard the Sermon on the Mount as if it were a collection of moral precepts, and consequently, strictly speaking, not Christianity at all. To them it seems as if the chief value, the chief intention of the discourse was to show the breadth and spirituality of the requirements of Mosesits chief religious significance, to show the utter impossibility of fulfilling the law, and thus to lead to the necessary inference that justification must be by faith alone. And so they would not scruple to assert that, in the highest sense of that term, it is not Christianity at all, but only preparatory to it,-a kind of spiritual Judaism; and that the higher and more developed principles of Christianity are to be found in the writings of the apostles. Before we proceed further, we would remark here that it seems extremely startling to say that He who came to this world expressly to preach the gospel, should, in the most elaborate of all His discourses, omit to do so; it is indeed something more
) than startling, it is absolutely revolting, to suppose that the letters of those who spoke of Christ should contain a more perfectly developed, freer, and fuller Christianity than is to be found in Christ's own words.' (Sermons, vol. 3, p. 226.)
Let us now see what intimations our Lord's Sermon on the Mount gives to us of His more than human nature, His more than human dignity.
10. (Matt. v. vi. vii., and Luke vi. 20-49.) It is not in the least degree necessary to my present purpose to enter into any purely critical questions with respect to this sermon, or to show what relations may or may not have originally existed between the account given by St. Matthew and that given by St. Luke. I am trying to think of the sermon as a whole. And the first thing that strikes me about it is its unique style. It is the style of a sovereign who is legislating for the world. The language is that of command, of dogma, in the true sense of that term; and not of mere exposition, or of exhortation. Unlike the priest or the preacher, He does not expound, does not reason, indeed, so much as declare, simply declare what He has to say, without argument or explanation, leaving the thing he has said to defend itself. There is a vein of exhortation running through the sermon, but one feels insensibly that He who is here exhorting is speaking rather as a law-giver; and His language is as straight and concise as the language of a sovereign edict. There is unspeakable grace and tenderness tempering our Lord's words, and putting Him in vivid contrast with Moses, the mediator of the Old Covenant; but the grace and the tenderness in no degree lessen the dignity of the speaker or the authority of the law-giver. Here is a Nazarene peasant, very well known to be the son of a Jewish peasant girl ; His parents, relations, friends, and acquaintances are all well known; He has no wealth ; He has none of the learning of the schools; He has sat at the feet of no rabbi ; what are called the governing and influential classes of society' are not at all attached to Him, indeed, stand aloof from Him, and, when they can, oppose Him; His regular companions are poor uneducated men, and, apparently, the very last in the world to be likely to influence others; He has received no licence, no ordination from priestor scribe; He stands everywhere, to all outward seeming, upon His own authority, chooses His own sphere, prescribes and follows out His own methods, and acts and speaks with absolute independence of man or man's law. The blood of the Jewish race, too, runs in His veins; and He, a Jew, is constantly working in the midst of