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His. What a proof of the divinity of Jesus Christ ! Yet in this absolute sovereignty He has but one aim,--the spiritual perfection of the individual, the purification of his conscience, his union with what is true, the salvation of his soul. Men wonder at the conquests of Alexander, but here is a Conqueror who draws men to Himself, for their highest good; who unites to Himself, incorporates into Himself, not a nation, but the whole human race !” Among all the biblical critics of Germany, no one has risen with an intellect more piercing, a learning more vast, and a freedom and fearlessness more unquestioned than De Wette. Yet listen to a sentence from the preface to his Commentary on the Book of Revelation, published just before his death in 1849 (De Wette's Offenbach, 3rd Auf. p. vi.) : “ This only I know, that there is salvation in no other name than in the name of Jesus Christ, the Crucified, and that nothing loftier offers itself to humanity than the God-manhood realized in Him and the kingdom of God which He founded, -an idea and problem not yet rightly understood and incorporated into the life, even of those who, in other respects, justly rank as the most zealous and the warmest Christians! Were Christ in deed and in truth our Life, how could such a falling away from Him be possible? Those in whom He lived would witness so mightily for Him, through their whole life, whether spoken, written, or acted, that unbelief would be forced to silence." Nor is the incidental testimony to Christ of those who have openly acknowledged their supreme devotion to Him less striking. There have been martyrs to many creeds, but what religion ever saw an army of martyrs willingly dying for the personal love they bore to the founder of their faith ? Yet this has always been the characteristic of the martyrs of Christianity, from the days when, as tradition tells us, Peter was led to crucifixion with the words ever on his lips, “None but Christ, none but Christ;” or when the aged Polycarp,-about to be burned alive in the amphitheatre at Smyrna, -answered the Governor, who sought to make him revile Christ (Eusebius, H. E. Bk. iv. c. 15),—“Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He never did me wrong; and how can I now blaspheme my King who has saved me?" Nearly seventeen hundred years passed from the time when the early confessor died, blessing God that he was counted worthy to have a share in the number of martyrs and in the cup of Christ; and a man of high culture and intellect lies dying, the
native of an island peopled only by outside barbarians in the days of Polycarp. The attendants, watching his last moments, see his lips move, and bending over him, catch the faint sounds, “ Jesus, love !Jesus, love !—the same thing," the last words uttered before he left them. It was the death-bed of Sir James Macintosh. Thus the character of Christ still retains the supreme charm by which it drew towards it the deepest affections of the heart in the earliest age of the Church; and such a character must claim, above all others, our reverent and thoughtful study.'
I find these striking words in Huntington's Christ in the Christian Year, Trinity to Advent, p. 201 : “There is to be found in that startling disclosure of Christ to Nathanael, an indication of our Lord's divinity. Leave a moment the trite and well-trod method by which it has been so often attempted to force into the understanding the mysterious truths that Christ is God, and try a simpler way. Jesus stands before the world with this stupendous and unanswerable appeal to our trust and adoration as more than man : He alone of all the generations from the creation to this day, He alone of all the millions of minds that have lighted up the world with intelligence, has the direct and inexplicable power of reading all men's hearts and thoughts and hidden experiences, through and through. To each one of us, referring to every passage of our past life, those which we should be most reluctant, or most ashamed, to uncover, He might say just what He said to Nathanael, “When thou wast under the fig-tree I saw thee.” The leaders of thought, the masters of men, the philosophers and lawgivers, the inventors and discoverers, have never been equal to this. Genius, learning, wisdom, has never done this. If the most remarkable of them had ever pretended to do it, they would have been set down at once as but miserable conjurors and jugglers, playing on the superstitions of credulous people with the arts of magic. A little of that general acquaintance with the springs and ordinary manner of men's actions which passes under the name of a knowledge of human nature, is all that the acutest and profoundest and shrewdest intellects have attained. It has always easily reached its limits, and in its attempts to present in detail the actions of individuals has utterly failed. But here is a Lord of men's souls who is as deeply and perfectly familiar, at an instant, with the whole inner world and history of every
person He meets, as we are with the features of our friends' faces. Nothing is hidden. You read his biographies. Constantly He moves about His countrymen as one who does not need that any should testify of men. When the most complicated and obscure cases of moral disorder are brought to Him to be cured, He makes no inquiries of the patient himself or of the bystanders ; instantly He shows that He reads the malady in all its peculiar shades and workings, and administers to it precisely the healing influence it needs. So with the young man who fancied he had kept the commandments, but lacked the self-sacrifice without which he could not really keep one of them ; so with the Pharisees and rulers ; so with Judas and Pilate ; so with the faithless wife and sinner whose sins everybody else knew, but everybody else misjudged and aggravated. When He was before the woman at that well of Samaria, He gave her, by a few penetrating words, the awful feeling that He knew all that ever she did. If He ever asked a question, it was evidently not for information, but only to fasten the attention and prepare the faith, and tone the feeling of the subject of the miracle, or of the witnesses that stood by, and the result is just what we should expect. The faith has entered into the great body of Christians in all Christendom, that Christ now knows them, and reads them through and can save them. Even men who speculatively deny His divinity cannot shake off the solemn and clinging sense of this omniscience of the Saviour. Indeed, how could He be a Saviour without knowing the real want and the real state every personal heart He saves ? How could He abide in any heart, an indwelling Lord, without beholding what is there? How could He be the light of the world without its lying all open to His inspection? How could He judge men for their individual characters, as He declares He will, unless He comprehends every motive and traces every line of secret and open error, and witnesses, as in the light of day, all the dark windings and delusions of desire and indulgence? No, my friends! there is no Christ for us save Him who has all knowledge, as He has all power in heaven and earth. And omniscience is an attribute of God alone. We pray rightly in the Litany,“ O God, the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy upon us, miserable sinners." Let the arguments of controversy issue as they may, beyond and beneath all controversy, imbedded in the very secret framework and texture and historic truth of the gospel, and living in the instincts of devout souls, rest these real proofs of the divinity of Christ.'
The Rev. T. T. Munger, whose volume of sermons, The Freedom of Faith, has attained great popularity, and deservedly so, says in a work of his, called on the Threshold, p. 223 : 'I urge upon you a study of the character of Jesus Christ. It is almost a modern thing, this analysis and measurement of that Divine Person. In former days, when religious thought took chiefly theological forms, the Christ was but a factor of a system ; but since we have begun to think from more practical standpoints, the question has arisen, What sort of a man was Christ? Dr. Bushnell, in the famous tenth chapter of his book, Nature and the Supernatural, first made the question a general one in this country. In England, it had found place in the writings of Coleridge, Dr. Arnold, Maurice, Robertson, and others of their school of thought. It became popular through Ecco Homo, and is to-day the favourite theme of religious speculation, as shown in Phillips Brooks's Influence of Jesus, and in Thomas Hughes's Manliness of Christ. Led by such teachers as these, you find that you have before you a character more curiously interesting, more wonderful than any other that history can show. You find that you cannot classify Him,-elusive and passing out of sight on some sides of His character, yet most near and tangible on other sides,-a Jew, yet not Jewish ; of the first century and equally of all centuries ; an idealist, but not transcending possibility; a reformer, but not a destroyer ; making for the first time what is highest in character, the most effective in action ; a true full member of the common humanity, but transcending it till He is one with God; a Being at the same time so weak that He can die, and so strong that He is superior to death ; a Person at once so near and human that we call Him our Brother, and so high and mysterious that we bow at His feet as our Lord and Master. Now, no thoughtful person can get beyond the first superficial look at this Jesus, without ever after holding Him in highest veneration. Nor can one study this character long without perceiving that it contains the true order of humanity, and “points the way we are going" to the end of time. Nor can we long contemplate the Christ without feeling His Personality pressing upon ours with transforming power.
The late Alfred J. Morris, of Holloway, a name well known in Nonconformist circles, and greatly honoured, in a volume of discourses by him, entitled Words for the Heart and Life, says, page 220 : ‘We lay stress on the representation of our text, (“ Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty,") as one of a large class which intimate and require the Divinity of Jesus Christ. Consider the exact point and nature of our argument. It is, that the place assigned to Christ in the scheme and providence of God is such, that only on the supposition of His Divine Nature can it be understood and explained. Christ underlies every truth, fills every institute, gives force to every law; is the ground, reason, virtue, end, and rule of all things. He is not a doctrine, but the doctrine of the gospel. Destroy Him, take Him away, and you do not merely violate the language but annihilate the very life of God's covenant. He is so revealed, having such vital connection with every part and principle of the Divine counsel and procedure, as to be the object of prime attraction in the words and ways of God. All eyes are directed to Him, all hearts fixed upon Him. To all intelligent and holy beings He is the glory. Living saints count Him “all and in all ;” holy angels desire to understand “His sufferings," and their blessed results ; returning men speak of “ His decease ;” and glorified spirits pay all honour and homage to His work and love. Apart from His Divinity, on the supposition of His mere, however pure and perfect, humanity, I cannot conceive that He could fill so central a place, exert so vital an attraction. Nor, if He could, how He should do so. It secures such “honour to the Son," it demands such trust and love for Him, it mixes Him up so thoroughly with the most essential views and worship and service of the everlasting God, that it seems impossible to comprehend how, if He were only human, He should escape the treatment and regard due only to the Divine, how there should be no trespassing on the prerogatives of Deity, how the very fact of being Christians should not as by inevitable necessity lead to the being idolaters. Surely, if Christianity be what we are accustomed to regard it, He who is its spirit, in the way and for the reasons which itself explains, can be no other than the “true God and eternal life.”)
The Rev. H. E. Von Stürmer, B.A., of St. John's College, Cambridge, in a little volume, entitled Christ the Divine Man, or Deity