« הקודםהמשך »
- ECCE DEUS
ESSAYS ON THE
LIFE AND DOCTRINE OF JESUS CHRIST.
WITH CONTROVERSIAL NOTES
A CAREFUL consideration of the various points raised in Ecce Homo induced the present writer to undertake a re-survey of the Life and Doctrine of Jesus Christ. He found, however, that he could not occupy the stand-point from which Ecce Homo had been written without, as it appeared to him, ignoring the mystery of the Incarnation, and thus putting himself into a false relation to all subsequent facts in Christian history. The following pages will show that on several points the writer finds himself in perfect coincidence with the author of Ecce Homo; and he ventures to believe that on those points upon which the differences are irreconcilable he has not been betrayed into a tone which is inconsistent with the respect due to the finest genius and the frankest candor. In the following pages the writer proceeds upon four convictions:
First: That it is not merely difficult, but absolutely impossible, rightly to survey the Life and Work · of Jesus Christ without distinctly acknowledging the unprecedented conditions under which Jesus Christ became incarnate.
Second: That those conditions can alone account for, and are essential to a true interpretation of, the
entire doctrine and phenomena associated with the name of Jesus Christ.
Third : That those conditions and the whole course which they inaugurated (the miraculous conception, the doctrine, the miracle, the death and the resurrection), constitute a unity which necessitates the conclusion that Jesus Christ was God Incarnate. And
Fourth: That the author of Ecce Homo, having overlooked or ignored those conditions, has worked from a wrong centre, and reached several sophistical and untenable conclusions.
It appears from his Preface that the author of Ecce Homo felt himself obliged to trace Christ's “ biography from point to point, and accept those conclusions about him, not which Church doctors or even apostles have sealed with their authority, but which the facts themselves, critically weighed, appear to warrant.” The present writer does not undertake to suggest that Church doctors and apostles did not critically weigh the facts themselves; but he does undertake to say that no weighing of the facts can be satisfactory which ignores the fact which lies at the base of the Christian structure. Nor does he see how the author of Ecce Homo can trace the biography of Jesus Christ 6 from point to point,” when he only professes to “place himself in imagination at the time when he whom we call Christ bore no such name, but was simply .... a young man of promise, popular with those who knew him, and appearing to enjoy the Divine favor.” How can a biography be traced “ from point to point” when the 6 critical weighing of the facts themselves” does not begin
until the subject of the biography has actually attained a “promising” and “popular position”? If a biography is to be traced from “ point to point,” how can it be done without referring to the birth, if not to the ancestry, of the person whose biography is traced ? Suppose that a writer should undertake to trace from point to point the biography of the author of Ecce Homo, would the author, or would the public, be satisfied if the writer did not open the narrative earlier than the time of the appearance of that book ? Yet this is what the author of Ecce Homo does with the biography of Jesus Christ, and with this disadvantage on his part, that he overlooks a fact without which all the succeeding facts never could have transpired. No “young man of promise, popular with those who knew him, and appearing to enjoy the Divine favor” (and there have been tens of thousands of such young men), ever did what Jesus Christ did ; a fact which, “ critically weighed,” certainly suggests the necessity of going farther back than the time of “promise" and “ popularity,” in order to find out whether there was a reason explanatory of the whole series of phenomena.
The embarrassment of the present writer was considerably increased by another expression in the Preface to Ecce Homo:—“ After reading a good many books on Christ, he felt still constrained to confess that there was no historical character whose motives, objects, and feelings remained so incomprehensible to him. The inquiry which has proved useful to himself may chance to be useful to others.” How the author could diminish the incomprehensibleness of Christ's life by simply regarding Christ as 6 a