conclude that the perfect manhood of Christ is a miracle, and the greatest of miracles. Bruce, Apologetics, 346, 351 ? When Jesus asks: ?Why callest thou me good?? he means: ?Learn first what goodness is, and call no man good till you are sure that he deserves it.? Jesus? goodness was entirely free from religious scrupulosity; it was distinguished by humanity; it was full of modesty and lowliness? Buddhism has flourished 2000 years, though little is known of its founder. Christianity might have been so perpetuated, but it is not so. I want to be sure that the ideal has been embodied in an actual life. Otherwise it is only poetry, and the obligation to conform to it ceases.? For comparison of Christ?s incarnation with Hindu, Greek, Jewish. and Essene ideas, see Dorner, Hist. Doct. Person of Christ. Introduction. On the Essenes, see Herzog, Encyclop., art.: Essener; Pressense. Jesus Christ, Life, Times and Work, 84-87; Lightfoot on Colossians, 349-419; Godet, Lectures in Defense of the Christian Faith.
(b) No mere human genius, and much less the genius of Jewish fishermen, could have originated this conception. Bad men invent only such characters as they sympathize with. But Christ?s character condemns badness. Such a portrait could not have been drawn without supernatural aid. But such aid would not have been given to fabrication. The conception can be explained only by granting that Christ?s person and character were historical realities.
Between Pilate and Titus 30,000 Jews are said to have been crucified around the walls of Jerusalem. Many of these were young men. What makes one of them stand out on the pages of history? There are two answers: The character of Jesus was a perfect character, and, He was God as well as man. Gore, Incarnation, 63 ? ?The Christ of the gospels, if he be not true to history, represents a combined effort of the creative imagination without parallel in literature. But the literary characteristics of Palestine in the first century make the hypothesis of such an effort morally impossible.? The Apocryphal gospels show us what mere imagination was capable of producing. That the portrait of Christ is not puerile, inane, hysterical, selfishly assertive, and self-contradictory, can be due only to the fact that it is the photograph from real life.
For a remarkable exhibition of the argument from the character of Jesus, see Bushnell, Nature and the Supernatural, 270-332. Bushnell mentions the originality and vastness of Christ?s plan, yet its simplicity and practical adaptation; his moral traits of independence, compassion, meekness, wisdom, zeal, humility, patience; the combination in him of seemingly opposite qualities. With all his greatness, he was condescending and simple; he was unworldly, yet not austere; he had strong feelings, yet
<- Previous Table of Contents Next ->
Was this article helpful?