תמונות בעמוד


Christ the strength

lessness with the offer of fellowship. He reveals union with Himself, union with God and union with man in Him, as the spring of power, and the inspiration of effort. The knowledge which flows from the vision of the world as He has disclosed it is not simply for speculation : the glory of the image of man which He shews is not for contemplative admiration. Both are intensely practical. Both tend directly to kindle and support love in and through Him; and love, which is the transfigurement of pain, is also strength for action and motive for action.

In this way believing in Christ—believing in Christ, and not merely believing Christ—brings into exercise the deepest human feelings. It has been excellently laid down by one who was not of us, that 'the solution of the problem of essence,

of the questions, Whence ? What ? and Whither ? 'must be in a life and not in a book.' For the solution which is to sway life must have been already shewn in its sovereign efficacy.

And more than this, it must have been shewn to have potentially a universal and not only a singular application. And this is exactly what the Gospel brings home to us. He who said, 'I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world; again I leave the world, and go to the father, illuminated the words by actions which made


of man.

of every man.

303 known the divine original and the divine destiny

The Son of man did not separate Himself from those whom He was not ashamed to call brethren. He bade, and bids, them find in His humanity–His 'flesh and blood'—the support of their own humanity. In His life, for our sakes, the heavenly interpreted the earthly. He called out, and He still calls out in us, as we dwell upon the records of the Gospel, the response of that which is indeed kindred to Himself, of that which becomes one with Himself.

The sympathy which is thus awakened by Christ makes known to the soul its latent capacities. Again and again our own experience startles us with unexpected welcomes to the highest thoughts and claims. Even in ordinary life contact with nobler natures arouses the feeling of unused power, and quickens the consciousness of responsibility. And when union with the Son of man, the Son of God, is the basis of our religion, all these natural influences produce the highest conceivable effect. We each draw from fellowship with the perfect life that which our little life requires for its sustenance and growth.

I say then without doubt and without reservation that, as far as I can judge, the confirmation 304 The verification of Christianity lies of the Gospel—of the Message of the Incarnate Word from without and from within is as complete as life can give. Miracles and prophecies considered separately and in detail are not the proper proof of Christianity, but as parts of the whole testimony of experience they have an effective power. Historical testimony originates and commends a religion but it does not establish it. Therefore I say the confirmation of the Gospel is ‘as complete as life can give,' for in the end we must make our appeal to life, to life as a whole. We were made for action, made to gain a character, made in the words of the Bible to grow into the likeness of God. The final influence of opinions therefore upon the conduct of life may be taken generally as a test of their truth for us. We are so constituted as to recognise the truth which we cannot discover, and life seals the confession of the soul.

It follows therefore, to present our conclusion under another aspect, that the ultimate criterion, the adequate verification, of Revelation to man, in its parts and in its completeness, lies in its proved fitness for furthering, and at last for accomplishing his destiny. That view of the sum of being accessible to our powers which under particular circumstances and at a parin its power to fulfil the destiny of man. 305 ticular time tends to establish the harmony after which all religion strives, to satisfy man's wants, to carry him nearer to his end, even conformity with God, must be accepted as a true interpretation of the Divine will. That view which has this fitness in the highest conceivable degree universally from its very nature: that which is shewn to be most capable of aiding us in our endeavour to attain to the highest ideal of knowledge, feeling, action, under every variety of circumstance, that is, the view which corresponds most completely with our nature and with our circumstances, which interprets our nature and uses our circumstances for the fulfilment of our spiritual destiny, which gives assurance that that which is best in us now is the seed of a corresponding better, must be the absolute interpretation of the Divine will

To doubt this is to doubt the existence of God and of Truth.

for man.

This character belongs perfectly, as we affirm, to the Gospel. If it could be shewn that there is one least Truth in things for which the Gospel finds no place: if it could be shewn that there is one fragment of human experience with which it does not deal: then, with whatever pathetic regret it might be, we should confess that we can con


W. G. L.


Christ is the Gospel.

ceive something beyond it: that we still look for another. But I can

see no such limitation, no such failure in the Gospel itself, whatever limitations and failures there may have been and may be still in man's interpretation of it.

Christ in the fulness of His Person and of His Life is the Gospel. Christ in the fulness of His Person and of His Life is the confirmation of the Gospel from age to age as we look to Him with untiring devotion and seek to see Him more clearly in the light of the fresh knowledge which is given to us.



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