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acterized all the great seers of his race. To be to-day in Paradise; thence to come, in the lifetime of many who had seen him; and, as suddenly as the lightning comes out of the east, so suddenly to appear on the judgment-seat of the great terrestrial assize, — these are the glowing utterances of a deep heart-belief in the closeness of this world to the next.
We pass to the final period of Jesus' life, – that of his sufferings and glory. Rightly to understand the significance of many of the events and discourses of this period, we must keep in view the fact, which we have so often emphasized, that Jesus' Messianic hopes were closely interwoven with his convictions as prophet. During the whole of this final scene, both his prophetic and his Messianic consciousness were intensely active. If the public entry into Jerusalem may be called an announcement of Messiahship, yet the words and works which followed are those of a true prophet. The temple is cleared of all who were profaning it, and made to ring with the strains of ancient prophecy. "Have ye not read, “Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise'?” — "Did ye never read in the Scriptures, • The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner'?”— these are the grand restatements of ancient oracles, which, as a prophet, Jesus was ever making; and with a prophet's sternness he adds the terrible denunciation, “On whomsoever this stone shall fall, it will grind him to powder." It was words like these, rather than any attempt to found a kingdom, which led Jesus to the cross. Reinhard, in his “Plan of the Founder of Christianity,” replies to the charge made in the “Wolfenbüttel Fragments," " that Jesus designed to carry out by force his purpose of establishing a worldly Messiah. ship," by an assertion which we cannot but regard as equally erroneous. Jesus, he affirms, wished to suffer a death which should excite great attention, and so produced a movement which gave his enemies at Jerusalem an opportunity to kill him. Colani also maintains, that Jesus took upon himself the resolution to meet his death; and Dr. Furness thinks he had resolved, that his career “should terminate only under such circumstances as should give the greatest possible pub. licity and effect to truth and his labors.” But God's heroes do not thus seek martyrdom. Death with them is not something they are to go to meet; but merely incidental, and bravely to be endured whenever it may come. However clearly Jesus may have foreseen his death, we can find no evidence of his having contributed in the least degree to bring it about.*
The influence of Jesus' Messianic consciousness, during this last period of his life, is seen in his discourses and con. versations, rather than in his public acts. Mingled with some of the profoundest moral truths that prophet ever taught, are found the predictions of the Messianic future. In the city which was to be the scene of his coming triumph and glory, surrounded by the enemies of all spiritual truth, descendants in moral lineage of those who had murdered the elder prophets, the splendid ideals of the great seers of his race were to him at once a solace and an inspiration. "In holy awe, before the stupendous images of the future in the Old Testament, he spoke repeatedly of a future supernatural fulfilment of them that should come from heaven. Even while engaged in a deadly conflict with the world, he bore his opposed ideal erer new into a future full of change; and, without giving up his belief in the present existence of the kingdom, expected, from the future help of the Almighty power of the judging
* The agony in Gethsemane is wholly inexplicable on the supposition, that Jesus had designedly produced a movement to bring on his death; that this bravest of the prophets was proceeding with a conscious purpose to meet his fate. The approaching horror had been vaguely forefelt, rather than absolutely foreseen, by Jesus. If the scene in the garden were that of a martyr on his way to the stake, we might say with Bushnell of this agony, this terrible intensity of sorrow, that there was "something unmanly in it; something unworthy of a really great Soul.” But how natural this sudden revulsion of feeling appears, when we call to mind the prophet who had borne witness to the truth, heedless of all consequences, sustained by an unfaltering trust in God, and cheered by those Messianic ideals whose fulfilment no human power could prevent nor long delay, standing now, in utter solitude and loneliness of soul, in sight of the cross, whose cruelty and tortures he had never before conceived or imagined! “Agonizing as the moment was,” says Dr. Furness, “the agony was not in vain. It could Dot overcome - it only strengthened — his disposition to submit himself unreservedly to the Eternal Will.”
VOL. LXXXIII. - NEW SERIES, VOL. IV. NO. 1.
and separating God, what the might of his own spirit had begun, but had not completed." *
As the greatest of the prophets, he had completed the prophets' unfinished work, perfected the harmony of their broken inspiration, and had been raised thereby to such nearness with the Father, as to have become the Messiah whom God had commissioned to found upon earth the kingdom of heaven. This kingdom was, indeed, already among men; but the days of the Son of man were not yet. “Art thou the Christ ?” — " Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.”
If the view of the plan of Jesus which we have so inadequately set forth be correct, it results in nothing which can disturb a rational Christian faith. We have lost what Jesus never claimed for himself, — his intellectual infallibility; but we have made a double gain in rescuing his sincerity, which the old accommodation theory had seriously impaired,t and in preserving the substantial accuracy of the earlier Gospels, as histories of the life of Jesus. The Messianic beliefs and expectations of Jesus throw no shadow upon his unapproached character. They are veil and drapery, not essence and individuality; husk and rind, which the Spirit of truth may break, without injury to the precious fruit. Hitherto we have denied that the teachings of Jesus could have either rind or husk; and, transferring our ideal Christ to the pages of the evangelists, have made sad ,havoc with truth and nature by our violent theories of accommodation and substitution. A constructive criticism of the gospel records is the field of labor which now invites the Christian scholar. The
* Keim, Der Geschichtliche Christus, S. 66.
† We are glad to be able to quote, in this connection, a passage from a recent work, by one of the most eminent Unitarian divines of England, the Rev. J.J. Tayler, of Manchester College, London. “Any supposition," he says, “is less offensive to the moral sense than the old rationalistic theory of conscious and deliberate accommodation, on the part of our Lord and his apostles, to errors and prejudices which they knew to be such. A vain effort was thus made to spare their intellectual infallibility at the cost of their moral integrity." - The Fourth Gospel, p. 187.
failure of this or that artist does not prove the true portrait impossible. The Jesus of Renan is as false to criticism as to faith. The conjectures of Schenkel are often suggestive, but seldom satisfy. The enthusiasm of Furness has made the character of Jesus glow with new life for this age; but we miss from his always charming and inspiring pages the great prophet of Nazareth, whom all the ages have crowned King of Truth. The brochure of Keim, from which we have quoted, gives perhaps the best account to be found of the human development of Jesus, written from the point of view of a positive, but thoroughly impartial, criticism. We have hardly begun to apply such criticism to the Gospels, and may not anticipate its future results. Of one thing, however, we may be sure. No legitimate study of the life of Jesus will attempt the task, for which neither criticism nor philosophy is competent, of laying bare the mystery of his moral and spiritual power. We may unveil the mystery of the dogma of the Incarnation, by denying the fact on which it rests, – that the child of Joseph and Mary was at the same time the Almighty Maker of the universe. But our criticism, in its farthest reaches, will leave unexplained the mystery embodied in the great central fact of the world's history, that this child of the Jewish synagogue, who taught as the prophets, and was cheered by the Messianic ideals, of his race, was also the very Christ of God, the truth, life, and way of heaven.
Art. VII. – A LIBERAL MINISTRY. QUESTIONS respecting the Christian ministry, and especially of the making of ministers, are deservedly attracting very earnest and wide attention. One of the most conservative divines in the communion of strict orthodoxy has made, in a volume * just from the press, an extremely valuable contribution to this
* Homiletics, and Pastoral Theology. By W. G. T. SHEDD, D.D., Baldwin Professor in Union Theological Seminary, New York City. Scribner & Co. 1867.
inquiry, which agitates all branches and wings of the recognized “ Christian Church.” We refer to the “ Homiletics and Pastoral Theology” of Dr. William G. T. Shedd, formerly of Auburn Theological Seminary, afterward of Andover Theological Seminary, and now of Union Theological Seminary in the city of New York. Although the work of an Augustinian Calvinist, and here and there marked by the dogmatic peculiarities of its author, “ Homiletics and Pastoral Theology” is just the book which we would put into the hands of every young minister. No one can read it without finding evidence, on almost every page, of the singular ability and profound consecration of its author. The Unitarian minister, in particular, will find the sustained earnestness with which Professor Shedd writes, and the clear rules which he lays down for raising the sermon from a mere essay to a sacred oration, precisely the helps which he needs under the influences and temptations of the liberal pulpit. Without attempting to lay before our readers the contents of a volume every page of which will repay conscientious study, we propose to make Professor Shedd's first chapter, which he entitles - The Relation of Sacred Eloquence to Biblical Exegesis," the text of some remarks on the present condition and needs of education for the ministry of liberal faith.
Exegesis, says Dr. Shedd, demands a written revelation. He fails, however, to prove that this revelation should be any thing different from literature at large, and the religious conviction which reading and meditation awaken in the human mind. The objective reality of Truth is really the point which is well taken by Professor Shedd in this connection, although he assumes that Truth is identical with “the mass of truth contained in the Christian Scriptures.” Truth is not created by the teacher of truth. The mind of man, in relation to the moral truth of God revealed to it, is recipient, as the eye is recipient of the image of the object set over against it: it takes an impression which issues inevitably from the nature and qualities of fixed and eternal Truth. In the presence of revelation, man is a minister and interpreter, and not a creator and master.