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Veiled, says, p. 164: 'If only His followers did not make so much of Christ, His enemies would be more willing to let Him alone. When lately a well-known preacher was arraigned on a charge of teaching false doctrine, he brought forward in his defence this very point, and went so far as to maintain that many Christians are positively idolaters in their worship of Christ : that they so accustom themselves to think of Him, and look upon His character and work, that instead of leading them up to the worship and love of God, He is set up as an idol, to come between God and the soul. Now of course if Christ be no more than human, this is perfectly just; but this is the very point at issue, and if He be God men cannot make too much of Him. If He be only a man, we say that He is simply unaccountable : Himself, His influence on the human heart, His influence on the progress of thought, His kingdom in the world today. Ever since His advent, men of every class of mind have employed all their powers of analysis and criticism, every possible hypothesis has been advanced, myth, imposture, delusion, but all to no purpose ; every attempt to explain Christ is a failure while it stops short of His Deity. Place Him among men the most eminent for virtue. The justice of Aristides, the faithfulness of Achates, the piety of Æneas, the meekness of Moses, the patience of Job, the zeal of Elijah, they all meet in Christ, and the verdict of men is“Perfect.” Place Him among the foremost teachers and philosophers of any age. In Socrates and Plato and Aristotle, in Cato and Seneca and Pliny, in Confucius and Menu, there is ore of gold, but in Christ so fine is the gold, and so truly is it all gold, that the world continues to say of Him, Never man spake like this man.” Place Him among workers of miracles. Let Vespasian and Mahomet, Ignatius Loyola and Xavier and others, be put to Leslie's celebrated crucial test, and scarcely will they satisfy two out of the four criteria ; whereas, in the miracles of Christ, the majesty, the beneficence, the facility, the necessity, the number, the publicity, the record, constrain us to recognise the hand of God, and substantiate His claims to be Divine. If heroism is the conquest of nations, the capture of strongholds, the destruction of cities, the slaughter of tens of thousands, then of course Alexander, Cæsar, Napoleon, and others like them bear away the palm ; but if true heroism be a noble courage, sacrificing self and braving danger and death in the cause of truth and virtue,
and for the good of others, standing alone on the side of right, and enduring hatred, ignominy, and persecution, for the sake of good one day to be recognised ; then, while men like Codrus, Leonidas, or Fabricius are indeed heroes, Christ, by the greatness of the cause for which He sacrificed Himself, by the greatness of the sacrifice of Himself which He made, and by the grandeur and lasting glory of the results He achieved, stands forth pre-eminently as the greatest hero the world has ever seen. Find if you can in the world's history a dominion so extensive, or subjects so devoted, or a rule so beneficent, so just and yet so mild, and so enduring as that of Christ. Compared with Him, what are the greatest among the world's lawgivers, Minos, or Solon, or Lycurgus, or even Moses? The Justinian Code has done much for the law of the land, but that of Christ is such as a Justinian could never have given, and it helped to shape the one he did give. “Euergetes” became the title of the Ptolemies as benefactors, and “Soter” that of the Syrian kings as deliverers ; names like those of Miltiades, Themistocles, and Epaminondas, of Camillus, Marcellus, Fabius, and Scipio, emblazon the annals of Greece and Rome ; Judea glories in her Maccabæans; and from the great Alfred to Washington, liberators and patriots claim the reverence and affection of mankind : but though Jesus headed no armies, fought no battles, drove out no invaders, liberated no nationalities, yet, in the civil, social, and religious liberty which unquestionably He has given to the world, in the freedom of thought, in freedom from ignorance and superstition and passion and vice, He has achieved a greater, a more glorious, a more effectual, and a more lasting deliverance than any which mankind has experienced.'
The following passage is taken from a volume of sermons entitled Incarnation of God, by the Rev. Henry Batchelor, formerly of Blackheath. At page 343 there are these words : “The marvel of our Saviour's character is, that He is “the man.” He has more than every man's excellence, and exhibits no man's defect. Human character is like the half illumined phases of the moon. There are gleaming horns and tracts of darkness. The character of Jesus is an orb of light. Its lustre does not wane before our contemplation. Our wonder grows with our study. There were foes blind to His glory in the days of His flesh; and inimical critics in our own age have done their worst to blur His stainless image. They have striven to convince us that there are flaws. We are content with the result. Human evil is as palpable as a mountain. That it requires such perverse and infinite pains, and such manifold and sinister ingenuity, to detect what are imagined to be spots in a character which has defied the scrutiny of long centuries, is quite satisfactory. Human frailty is patent to all eyes. You need not to pore after it with a microscope. As an able writer justly remarked, years ago, the specks must be in the lenses, not on the object. There is jaundice in the eye, and no cloud on the character. Renewed study of our Saviour's example is taking a gem from a lower to a higher light. It is carrying a diamond from the shadow to the sunshine, to flash on the eye more intense and perfect splendour. What a wonderful, unimagined, and original combination of excellences we find in the Lord Jesus! Qualities to our weakness seemingly opposite and irreconcilable were habitually blended in Him. The extreme of ease and dignity, loftiness and condescension, gentleness and severity, manly firmness and womanly sympathy, undemonstrative enthusiasm which neither indifference nor hostility could quench, and wisdom which no provocation could divert to folly, consideration and generosity for weakness, and unsparing fidelity for wilful misdoing, patience in enduring wrong, and sternness in rebuking it, the tranquillity of meekness and a martyr's courage, calm as the law of gravitation and as unswerving,—these attributes, and many more, were daily mingled in the heart and life of Christ. The most gorgeous contrasts revealed by the prism coexist in every colourless beam of light. So all these transcendent excellences unite in the unrefracted brightness of our Lord's unique perfection. In nature there is no effort. The earthquake upheaves the mountain, and the sea tosses the gigantic billow with as much ease as the wafture raises the dust or stirs the rustling corn. The conduct of the Lord Jesus exhibits a like uniformity in elevation. In condescension or majesty you discern no endeavour. His bearing is native, and His own. With natural simplicity and greatness, unaffected gentleness and dignity, He puts His hand on the head of a little child, dries a harlot's tears, strips the cloak from hypocrisy,—whether officiating at the altar or sitting on the throne, -or awes the heathen worldliness of the ruler whose lips must pronounce His life or death. We have the idea of the perfect in our minds; and hunger after perfection is
amongst our aspirations. In Jesus we have the fact, to constrain our reverence, to enkindle our enthusiasm, to exhaust our effort, to develope assimilation to His image, even though His likeness shine remote as the stars above our worldliness, and though it sometimes chill us with despair, instead of firing us with hope, that we are as far below Him as earth is from heaven. “Behold the man !” Is He man only? Nay, verily. Standing alone as a creature, no one can be complete as a man. The truly human is impossible without the Divine. To be man, according to the mind of your Creator, you must be more than man. One only perfect man has been in our world, and He was the Incarnation of God; and that unique and stupendous event, among the many ends which it subserves, reminds us every moment, that to attain to any measure of Christlike perfection, your souls must be permanently animated by spiritual life from the Almighty
I now offer an extract from Dr. John Young's Christ of History, a volume intended to be an argument grounded on the facts of our Lord's life on earth. My quotation is made from the fifth edition, which, by the way, has an appendix, containing a brief but very valuable criticism of M. Renan's Life of Jesus. In Book iii. Part ii., which treats of 'Forms of Christ's Consciousness,' Dr. Young, after defining the nature of consciousness, its universality, and the value of its testimony, conies to the question of the consciousness of our Lord, saying that 'this Being never uttered a word to man or to God which indicated the sense of a single defect in His whole life; that we find Him avowing the most extraordinary sense, not merely of personal perfection, but of official greatness; while on several separate occasions, He employed, in the hearing of men, language which human lips could not have uttered without impiety.' The author then adds : “The frequent utterance of a mysterious and distinctive consciousness on the part of Jesus, cannot be disputed.' He then asks, page 207 :
• Can it be accounted for-can any important conclusions be founded upon it - what does it really involve ? 1. Perhaps some of Christ's injudicious and over-zealous followers suggested to His mind the pretensions which He avowed. This is not conceivable ; for the consciousness which He expressed comprehended far more than any of them believed, or even understood at the time, much as they honoured and loved Him. 2. Perhaps the language of Christ originated in mere vanity and conceit. It must have been consummate, unparalleled vanity, if it was vanity at all ; but this is plainly incompatible with the sobriety and solidity of His deportment. Besides, the idea expressed was too lofty to have had such a despicable origin; it was too spiritual, and too closely connected with God, with religion, with the unseen world, unless, indeed, He had been utterly reckless and profane. 3. Perhaps it originated in a deep-laid scheme of ambition. The prompt answer to this suggestion is that such was not Christ's character at all. He was no crafty and designing hierophant or demagogue. His own declaration was simply true, and was verified by His entire course : “My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish His work.” Interested motives, in any form, never once indicated their presence in Him, by a single token during His whole life. 4. Perhaps it originated in enthusiasm. But only an enthusiasm amounting to raving insanity could have uttered itself in such language as His. If its origin was enthusiasm at all, it must have been the very insanity of enthusiasm, and His grave and meek life decisively forbids this supposition. There was nothing, either in His sayings or His doings, incoherent, contradictory, wild. Both manifested entire selfpossession and the calmest wisdom. 5. Perhaps it originated in mere mistake. With all His excellence, intellectual and moral, was not Jesus Christ nevertheless singularly mistaken on one point? Perhaps He fancied Himself greater and better than He really was. Without the slightest intention to deceive, with entire sincerity and honesty, He uttered what He thought was the voice of His consciousness; but it was a mere fancy, a serious, but not altogether unlikely, mistake. We may well ask in reply, Was Jesus Christ also mistaken, when He uttered in the ears of men lessons which the wisest and best souls, ever sent into this world before, had never imagined. Was He mistaken when He bestowed on mankind a body of living spiritual truths, which all previous systems taken together do not approach, and to which nothing worthy to be named has ever been added? In such a matter as this, was He mistaken, who had revealed the deepest secrets of the nature of God, of the human soul, and of the future state? Was He unable to report faithfully a thing so near at hand as the voice of His own consciousness; and in the stead of that voice, did He publish a groundless conceit to the world? These