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Our own views are well expressed in this paragraph; but we add, that whether we adopt the Trinitarian, or the Humanitarian scheme, we are liable to arrive at incorrect conclusions. In the view of the writer, both are extremes. In a qualified sense, we think the popular Trinitarian phrase to be correct, that Jesus was both God and Man. He was clothed with the attributes of Deity, and yet 'bore our griefs, and carried our sorrows.' He resembled God in stilling the elements of the physical world, in forgiving sins, and in raising the dead, and in various acts of his life. The winds, the waves, the rocks, the sun, the earth, the heavens,--all were subject to the Man Christ Jesus ! But then in nearly every instance he acknowledged that his power was given to him of the Father. In Jesus of Nazareth, a Man approved of God, we see the Deity moving and acting before us; that is, we see a bright, unclouded, moral exhibition of the great Father. In this Man, God shines upon us in all his brightness and glory.* If the expression be allowed, we think the Man Christ Jesus holds an elevation in the scale of being occupied by no one else. We do not wish to mysticise; but we confess that while we do not like to level the Redeemer with man, we are also opposed to making him equal with God. Every thing relating to Jesus is peculiar. His whole mission is grand; his character is perfect, and every thing that he does commands our admiration, and calls forth our reverence. When we come, therefore, to place him in the scale of being, we find difficulties unthought of before. The longer
* See title IMAGE.
we dwell on the qualities of his character, and the vast objects embraced in his mission, the more these difficulties increase. He 'was tempted in all points as we are,' and yet he is said to be seated at the right hand of the throne of God.' All power was given to him, and yet 'he was led as a lamb to the slaughter. He is said to be 'Lord of all,' and yet a Man! How singular! What seeming contrarieties meet in the character of the Son of God! Such a character could not have been formed in the schools, for there was no model in existence. Jesus stands alone in the records of time. His character, though delineated in an age of great moral darkness, has stood the scrutiny of ages; and in proportion as men's moral sentiments have been refined, its beauty has been more seen and felt. To suppose it invented, is to suppose that its authors, outstripping their age, had attained to a singular delicacy and elevation of moral perception and feeling.'* Jesus must, therefore, have 'come from God,' as he said, for his character bears the impress of Deity!
But we cannot pursue this subject, for it is too vast for our work. We like the remark of an eminent female writer on this point: 'UNITY OF CHARACTER IN WHAT WE ADORE IS MUCH MORE ESSENTIAL THAN UNITY OF PERSON.'t We need not perplex our minds on this point. It should be sufficient for us that we know Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God, has come on an errand of mercy; that the Being who
* A Discourse on the Evidences of Revealed Religion. By WILLIAM E. CHANNING.
† A Reply to Wakefield's Inquiry. By Mrs. BARBAULD.
sent him has seen fit, that the work may be completed, to clothe him with his own attributes. He has been in our world; he has lived, suffered and died, and set a perfect example for all his followers, even to the end of time. He has made the path of duty both plain and easy. Every truth essential to human happiness has been revealed. Let us then leave all minor points, and receive into our hearts the great principles embraced in his teachings. Thousands of volumes have been written, and the christian world has been engaged for ages in settling the question of the Divinity or Humanity of the Redeemer; or whether he possessed in himself two natures. In the mean time, the great points of christian duty have been overlooked. Love to Jesus has grown cold, and sectarianism and controversy have taken the place of benevolence and charity. And we think we may safely affirm, that in every controverted point, save that of the salvation of the world, the question to be settled has been comparatively unimportant.
And here we leave the whole matter; remarking, that but let me know that the Man Christ Jesus is my friend and Saviour, and that when I come to die, I can lean on him, and have the hope of meeting him in heaven; and I ask not whether he was properly God or man. Having this view, I will put my trust in him, and endeavor to love him, and then I know I shall find what he has promised to all his faithful followers, peace, hope, and joy.
Neither bu' ye called masters : for one is your Master, even Christ.'
Matt. xxiii. 10.
THIS word occurs one hundred and twenty-six times in the singular, and twenty-one times in the plural, and is applied to Jesus in thirty-three instances. The term is also applied to preachers and ministers of the word, Eccl. xii. 11. To such as teach or educate disciples or scholars, Luke vi. 40. To such as have rule over servants, Eph. vi. 5. To such as ambitiously affect vain applause or precedency, and superiority above others, Matt. xxiii. 10. To such as judge, censure, or reprove others rashly without ground; rigidly above the merits of the cause; uncharitably aggravating their faults, and wresting things to the worst sense, or magisterially, out of a spirit of pride, ambition, or contradiction, James iii. 1.
It appears that in our Lord's time, as well as in the present age, there were many who were excessively fond of high-sounding titles. The great Master saw this unhallowed ambition, and he designed to correct it, as may be seen from the whole tenor of his teachings, and especially from the scripture connected with the motto. The Pharisees were particularly fond of titles, insomuch that when the Master came, he found some of them bearing no less than three. 'It is feigned,' says Dr. Lightfoot, that when king Jehoshaphat saw a disciple of the wise men, he rose up out of his throne, and embraced him, and said, Abbi Abbi, Rabbi Rabbi, Mori Mori, Father Father! Rabbi Rabbi! Master Master !' Here are the three titles which the great Master condemns in this chapter. These were greatly affected by the Jewish doctors.
The evident intention of the Master was to direct his disciples to him, and to him alone. They had looked to earthly masters, and now they were to be directed by a Master sent from heaven; one who was endowed with wisdom from on high. The scribes and Pharisees had made great pretensions, insomuch that they had deceived the people, and led them into the grossest errors. The world stood in need of a better Teacher, and God in mercy sent one from heaven; one bearing his own image; one who 'knew what was in man. He taught new lessons, and presented new motives. Many of his sayings undoubtedly appeared paradoxical. On a certain occasion, the disciples came unto him, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily, I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.'* And in the verse following the motto, he said, 'But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.” A singular way of teaching greatness! It was thus the Master led his scholars into his kingdom. It was
* Matt. xviii. 1-3.