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no explanation of apostolic belief, and again scientific treatment is excluded. For if we seek an explanation in the personality of the living Jesus, and say, the resurrection as a fact is incredible, the circumstances of Christ's life and death offer no explanation of apostolic belief, therefore the explanation, though beyond our knowledge, must be the personality of Jesus, still no explanation is to be expected. For, not because of our ignorance, but through such knowledge as we have, is it evident that no one can solve the mystery of the personality of Christ. He who thinks he fathoms it, is merely blind to the contradictions it includes. The qualities which faith attributes to the infinite personality of God are in their union contradictions if man attempts to think them in any finite being, the only being which human finitude can comprehend. The personality of Christ presents actual contradictions analogous to the metaphysical difficulties which the human mind encounters in attempts to conceive God. As in the uncritical centuries which are past, so now, after subjection to criticism, the records of the life of Christ present enough sure fact to make his personality as deep a mystery as the apostolic belief in his resurrection.' So for the origin of Christianity we are thrown back Christian faith was either on the mystery of Christ.
based on the fact of the resurrection, or sprang from an inexplicable delusion in some way connected with Jesus'
mysterious personality, a delusion which was most intense among those who had known him intimately, had eaten and drunk, lain down and risen and passed their days in intercourse with one whom, even during his life and certainly after his malefactor's death, they, strict monotheistic Jews, held to be the Messiah, and the Son of God.' From another point of view, it will appear vain to
1 Cf. Harnack, Dogmengeschichte, second ed., vol. i, pp. 59, 73–76.
? The writer has no intention of discussing the evidences of the resurrection. He merely states his position-that he can see no explanation of the Christian faith except on the assumption that the resurrection of Christ
expect complete scientific treatment of the origin of
er Borneghan Christ
The case of James, the Lord's brother, is peculiarly striking in the difficulties it presents to any other explanation. It is not questioned that James. did not in Christ's lifetime believe on him; it is not questioned that soon after Christ's death, James is a leading and fervent member of the Christian band. What changed him? Surely, not the fact that Christ met his death at the hands of the authorities,—just the ending which members of Jesus' family who did not believe in him might have been anticipating. Paul (1 Cor. xv, 7) says Christ appeared to James. If this is untrue, I still can see no other explanation.
Christianity spread, extraneous elements attached themselves to Christ's teaching, and Christianity passed under the influences of different moods of men and modes of life. It entered different phases; was corrupted, limited, diverted from its truth of all of Christ. Thus we find the reasons of its perversions, and trace extraneous elements to their sources. But all this is only to explain things transient and extraneous, not Christianity itself, Christ's life and teachings. Christianity was a new power in the world, which sprang not altogether from its antecedents, and still less was given birth to by any circumstances of the time. The historian is thus again thrown back on the inexplicable personality of Christ.'
The Old Testament is the ancient record of the spiritual development of a race; conversely viewed, it is the progressive revelation of God. While many
of its religious and ethical ideas remain valid for all men, throughout may be progress which disclaims finality. But besides that incompleteness which represents a condition of advance, much in the Old Testament is Fulfilment. such that advance must involve its abrogation. As to the formal features of the law, one expression of Israel's devotion to her God, it is plain that their absolute fulfilment in spirit involved abrogation of the letter, which was made of no avail, and that the universalizing of Israel's religion in Christianity would mean service of God through deeds of love towards all mankind, rather than that mode of race charity and worship which had kept Israel Jehovah's people. Moreover, beyond those elements of Israel's religion which had been valid at one time, but were inconsistent with farther advance, later
1 The above remarks are intended to indicate the limits of scientific historical treatment. Attempts to pass them have not hitherto been successful. But to say that they never will be passed by historical investigation would be as illogical as the dogmatic assertion that the alleged facts of Christ's life and death, which pass the bounds of normal experience, are fictitious.
Judaism had fallen into a formalism out of accord with its own progressive spirit, and had its embittered moments, since it raised its God out of the heart's reach. Prophet's and psalmist's inspiration of God's near might had with the Preacher turned to sense of distance. The Jewish mind was become too narrow for the two great thoughts-God high and lifted up, God in the midst of Israel. Such matters of hardening or deflection were not taken up in Christ's teachings, but served with him as a point of departure.'
The elements, then, of Israel's religion which were true elements, and also such that they could be perfected and fulfilled without being thereby abrogated, passed into Christianity. Conversely, in Christianity the religion of Israel was universalized and spiritualized; the relationship between Israel and God was broadened to God's common fatherhood to all mankind; and every act of life was referred for the test of its righteousness to the spirit of the love of God.
The Personality of Jehovah.
The history of Israel in the Old Testament was one long story of the ways of God, in the course of which, under prophetic delineation, the personality and character of Jehovah appeared in mighty lines. This grand personality, this character sublimely drawn, has ever been a mainstay in Christianity, holding Christians to the clear thought of one personal and living God, keeping them free from idolatry and pantheism. In the Old Testament, even to convey thoughts of the divine love and care, the term "Father" is rarely applied to God. Creator was he always, almighty, ruling God, righteous, holy, and loving. But the gathering greatness and power of the conception of Jehovah, though it did not always tend to remove him from Israel, may have been one reason why Israel before
1 For other examples, naturally the earlier commands to kill enemies who threatened the race and its religion were not taken up into Christianity, nor were the erroneous views as to the mechanical justice of God which Job's friends set forth.
Christ did not reach a sense of sonship and the intimate assurance of divine consolation which that relationship suggests. Israel had done and thought all things with reference to God, her own face turned Godward. Christ showed the absolute communion of man the son with God the Father. So the Old Testament thought of Jehovah was clothed upon with a more perfect love; and the fear of God, which to the Hebrew was righteousness, was fulfilled in Christ as the perfect love which casteth out fear.
Through centuries Israel's Messianic yearnings had been heightening in answer to her thoughts of God, his ways and his demands. These yearnings were fulfilled better than her prophets knew in Christ. But in Judea, when Christ was born, the common expectations of a Messiah were unspiritual. With Christ, these Jewish expectations served to show, to himself and others, what he was not.' It was the higher ideal of loving service of God which he fulfilled, a service which also could not fail to bring ineffable blessing to the serving sons of God. And he made his own fulfilment of prophecy part of his life and teaching, showing how the true lines of Israel's course led on and upwards to attainment on Calvary.
The Servant of the Lord.
No writer but says foolish things when he attempts to draw the character of Christ. There is in literature, outside of the gospel record, one delineation of his character which, as far as it reaches, is true. Touches of it are seen in prophetic pictures of the Messianic King, meek and lowly, whose career is inseverable from Jehovah's all-effecting will. The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the 1 It may be that the three temptations (Matt. iv, i, etc.) are not disconconnected with popular notions of the Messiah, which Jesus condemned in resisting the temptations. "Command that these stones be made bread," "Cast thyself down," seem perhaps related to the indiscriminate expectation of "sign"-working from the Messiah (cf. 1 Cor. i, 22). The third temptation, "Rule over the earth," is more clearly connected with the popular conception.