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we may at all trust research, it was made by Christ alone. No idea in history ever stood so clear from the ordinary train of visible causes and effects. It came out of a society dominated by Pharisees in its lower ranks, by Sadducees in its upper, and by Essenes—a small element of the community-but honoured for their simple life and virtues. It was a system exactly opposite to all their teaching. The Sadducee would meet the theory of a spiritual kingdom, having its glory in the future and in heaven, with a civil sneer : the Pharisee was nothing, if not a son of Abraham, sealed upon the forehead with the seal of destiny for great privileges, when the overturned throne of David should be set up again. The Essenian opinions were narrower still. To men that had crept about in a narrow rift of rocks, too narrow to let in the sea, or to be swept by the invigorating air, a voice called suddenly and bade them come up upon a high mountain, and see the far-off kingdoms and the isles that stud the sea, and feel the glorious sun bringing blood back to their livid cheeks, and the soft west wind bringing faint odours in its refreshing coolness. The voice was Christ's; the day on which it was uttered was an epoch for the world. And no earthly master taught or could teach this bold utterance, these tones that stir the jaded hearts of men. Survey as closely as we can the records of Jewish life, we shall find, no doubt, some points of contact with Pharisee or Essene, for Jesus was taught of men and also sympathised with men; and how should a teacher help using phrases and forms of thought which were the only ones known and understood by hearers? But we shall find it to be new. No one will dig up a MS. of some scholar of Hillel or Shammai, in which its germs are contained. As well seek for the lineage of Melchisedec, without father, without mother, without descent,' as try to affiliate on earthly authors this Gospel of the Kingdom.
We might not agree with M. Guizot in every part of his interpretation of the two principles on which this kingdom was founded ; but his witness to their originality is one of the most valuable.
• Thus disappears gradually, in the name of the God of the Jews himself, the exclusive privilege of the Jews to the divine revelation and to divine grace. And thus, too, the restricted religion of Israel gives place to the grand catholicity of the religion of Christ. The benefit of the true faith and of salvation is no longer limited to one people, whether great or small, ancient or modern; but is imparted to all the races of mankind. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the
Holy Ghost.” * “ And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature." of
These were the last words which Christ addressed to his apostles, and the apostles execute faithfully the instructions of their divine Master; they go forth, in effect, preaching in all places and to all nations, his history, his doctrine, his precepts, and his parables. St. Paul is the special apostle of the Gentiles. From Jesus, says this apostle, “ We have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name.” “ Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also.” “For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek : for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.” I
'In spite of his prejudices as a Jew, and of the differences that took place in the infancy of the Church, St. Peter adheres to St. Paul; the apostles and elders assembled at Jerusalem adhere to St. Peter and St. Paul. The God of Abraham and of Jacob is now not merely the One God: He is the God of the whole human race; to all men alike He prescribes the same faith, the same law, and promises the same salvation.
' Another question, more temporal in its nature, still a great, a delicate one, is raised in the presence of Jesus Christ. He withdraws from the Jews their exclusive privilege to the knowledge and the grace of the true God; but what does He think of that which touches their existence as a nation, and as a great one? Does He direct them to rebel and to struggle against their earthly governor and sovereign ? “ Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk, and they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Cæsar or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites ? Show me the tribute money, and they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Cæsar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar's; and unto God the things that are God's. When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.”
'In this reply of Christ there was much more matter for admiration than the Pharisees supposed; it was in effect much more than an adroit evasion of the snare that had been intended for Him; it defined in principle the distinction of man's life as it regards religion, and man's life as it concerns society; the bounds, in fact, of Church and State. Cæsar has no right to intervene, with his laws and material force, between the soul of man and his God; and, on his side, the faithful worshipper of God is bound to fulfil towards Cæsar the duties
* Matt. xxviii. 19.
+ Mark xvi. 15.
which the necessity of the maintenance of civil order imposes. The independence of religious faith, and at the same time its subjection to the laws of society, are alike the sense of Christ's reply to the Pharisees, and the divine source of the greatest progress ever made by human society since it began to feel the troubles and agitations of this earth.
"I take, again, these two grand principles, these two great acts of Jesus,--the abolition of every privilege in the relations of God and man, and the distinction of man's religious and his civil life. I confront with these two principles all the history, and every state of society previous to the advent of Jesus Christ, and I am unable to discover in those essentially Christian principles any kindred, any human origin. Everywhere, before Christ, religions were national local religions; they were religions which established between nations, classes, individuals, enormous differences and inequalities. Everywhere, also, before Christ, man's civil life and his religious life were confounded, and mutually oppressed each other; that religion or those religions were institutions incorporated in the state, which the state regulated or repressed as its interest dictated. But in this catholicity of religious faith, in this independence of religious communities, I am constrained to recognise new and sublime principles, and to see in thein flashes from the light of heaven. It needed many centuries before mental vision was capable of receiving that light; and no one shall pronounce how many centuries will be needed before it will pervade and penetrate the entire world. But, whatever difficulties and shortcomings may be reserved in the womb of the future for the two great truths to which I have just referred, it is clear that God caused them first to beam forth from the life and teaching of Jesus Christ.' *
But a theory may be an intellectual effort, and no more. In this case the person and character of Christ are knit up with the theory, and must be taken into account if we would answer the great question of the day-Whence came Christ? The character of Jesus is the great witness on this point. We would fain avoid speaking of it. Warning examples are before us : of all the fantastic parts that we poor men allow ourselves to play, surely the worst is that of a patron of the Lord. To mete out little praises, concessions, extenuations, and to end in a cautious judicial approval, a man must be one of the most bold and least wise of his kind. Yet we must not shrink from that question, which is the key of the whole argument.
The title which Jesus loved to give Himself, of Son of Man, was not a usual and technical title of Messiah, as some pretend. It was a name which the Lord adopted for Himself; and He employs it constantly in all the Gospels, whilst it is hardly ever applied to Him by others. Whether it was a title of Messiah
* • Meditations on the Essence of Christianity, and on the Religious Questions of the Day,' by M. Guizot, pp. 275-280.
has has been much disputed ; but those who heard Jesus apply it to Himself did not understand it as meaning the Messiah. What term more fit to give emphasis to the great fact of the humiliation of Christ in His incarnation ? Jesus, leaving the glory of the Father, abases Himself, and becomes one of this insignificant yet rebellious race, a minister of God to men like Himself. We know not whether to rank this beautiful humility as a mark of His character or as a means of furthering the kingdom of God. It is essential to the preaching of the kingdom that sin should be denounced without any false tenderness, for sin can never be suffered to enter the kingdom of holiness. Of bold denunciations we have examples; but He who calls Himself the Son of Man deals with sin in a manner altogether new. Holding up the inirror to the sinful, He strikes conviction into hearts that never felt a pang before; but then He is the Son of Man, and with the name of man He takes up the burden of manhood, and even sinners feel before him that he is not merely a judge, but a brother of the tenderest heart and most unfailing sympathy. The co-existence of zeal for holiness and loving indulgence is one more mark of this new kingdom which appears to prove its divine origin by severing it from the usual chain of visible cause and effect. M. Guizot says : God; He is accessible and sensible to all that man feels. Thus the vital principles of the Christian faith, the Divine and the human nature united in Jesus, start to evidence in his sentiments and language respecting the relations between God and man. The dogma is the foundation of the principles.' *
"Nothing strikes me more in the Gospel than this double character of austerity and love, of severe purity and tender sympathy, which constantly appears, which reigns in the actions and words of Jesus Christ in everything that touches the relation of God and mankind. To Jesus Christ the law of God is absolute, sacred; the violation of the law, and sin, are odious to Him; but the sinner himself irresistibly moves Him and attracts Him: “What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” * Jesus said unto them, “They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. . ... For I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”'t
What is the signification of this sublime fact, what the meaning in Jesus of this union, this harmony of severity and of love, of saint-like holiness and of human sympathy? It is Heaven's revelation of the nature of Jesus himself, of the God-man. God, he made himself man. God is his father, men are his brethren. He is pure and holy like
This holy tenderness, this loving justice, is an example to all teachers, and was the means by which the true kingdom of God was spread; but it is an example and a means, because it is a revelation of God. So God regards sin and sinners, hating it and loving them, with a hatred that will never approve the evil or confound it with the good, and with a love that is ever ready to take them in and speak to them amnesty and pardon. We believe this of God; we aim at it ourselves, and fall into indulgence of the sin in one place, and repel the sinner with harshness in another. In Christ we have seen it perfectly realised ; nowhere else in history shall we find it.
The character of the Lord has undergone a test which no other has had to bear. His avowed aspiration was, beyond measure, great: to lead the Jews into the kingdom promised by the prophets, and to shed abroad to Gentiles, to the ends of the earth, the things which God had prepared for all alike. In order to do this, the ideal of that kingdom was purified and raised. It was to be a kingdom not of pomp but of purity, not of earth but of heaven. Moreover, every step towards that kingdom was associated not alone with the teaching but also with the person of the Preacher. He was the example to imitate; the expositor of the law speaking with authority. His sufferings and death were no private matters, but concerned the welfare of the race. The Apostles are our witnesses of all this. They approached this whole system at first with manifest repugnance. We may well believe that they were men as spiritually-minded, when Christ called them, as were to be found amongst the Jews of their rank, age, and education. Yet it was a visible kingdom that they wanted ; and, as for a Messiah who should become their King, by eminence in humility (so to speak), and by love for all souls alike, and by suffering, they not only did not expect such a one, but He inverted all their expectations. For glory, humbleness; for an army, themselves, who never struck but one blow with a sword, and then received rebuke; for a kingdom, judgment at the bar of Cæsar's deputy; for a throne, the cross of death. Their repellant dulness, when these things are first forced on their belief, is pathetic. Nothing of all they tell us of Christ's plan was approved by their prepossessions. They were poor
* Meditations on the Essence of Christianity, and on the Religious Questions of the Day,' by M. Guizot, pp. 250-252.