without debasing it.? We may find an illustration of this in the words of Chadwick, Old and New Unitarianism, 207 ? ?Jesus? doctrine of marriage was ascetic, his doctrine of property was communistic, his doctrine of charity was sentimental, his doctrine of non-resistance was such as commends itself to Tolstoi, but not to many others of our time. With the example of Jesus, it is the same as with his teachings. Followed unreservedly, would it not justify those who say: ?The hope of the race is in its extinction?; and bring all our joys and sorrows to a sudden end?? To this we may answer in the words of Huxley, who declares that Jesus Christ is ?the noblest ideal of humanity which mankind has yet worshiped.? Gordon, Christ of Today, 179 ? ?The question is not whether Christ is good enough to represent the Supreme Being, but whether the Supreme Being is good enough to have Christ for his representative. John Stuart Mill looks upon the Christian religion as the worship of Christ, rather than the worship of God, and in this way he explains the beneficence of its influence.?
John Stuart Mill, Essays on Religion, 254 ? ?The most valuable part of the effect on the character which Christianity has produced, by holding up in a divine person a standard of excellence and a model for imitation, is available even to the absolute unbeliever, and can never more be lost to humanity. For it is Christ rather than God whom Christianity has held up to believers as the pattern of perfection for humanity. It is the God incarnate, more than the God of the Jews or of nature, who, being idealized, has taken so great and salutary hold on the modern mind. And whatever else may be taken away from us by rational criticism. Christ is still left: a unique figure, not more unlike all his precursors than all his followers, even those who had the direct benefit of his personal preaching? Who among his disciples, or among their proselytes, was capable of inventing the sayings ascribed to Jesus, or of imagining the life and character revealed in the Gospels?? About the life and sayings of Jesus there is a stamp of personal originality combined with profundity of insight which, if we abandon the idle expectation of finding scientific precision where something very different was aimed at, must place the Prophet of Nazareth, even in the estimation of those who have no belief in his inspiration, in the very first rank of the men of sublime genius of whom our species can boast. When this preeminent genius is combined with the qualities of probably the greatest moral reformer and martyr to that mission who ever existed upon earth, religion cannot be said to have made a bad choice in pitching on this man as the ideal representative and guide of humanity: nor even now would it be easy, even for an unbeliever,
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