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§ 6. Results of Criticism.

A comparison of the representation of Christ derived from the traditions of the Apostolic Church, with that which the direct and personal knowledge of the beloved disciple affords to us, will not only aid our general conception of his image as a whole, but will also prove the identity of these two representations with each other, from their agreement as well in the separate features as in the general picture.

It must be regarded as one of the greatest boons which the purifying process of Protestant theology in Germany has conferred upon faith as well as science, that tie old, mechanical view of Inspiration has been so generally abandoned. That doctrine, and the forced harmonies to which it led, demanded a clerk-like accuracy in the evangelical accounts, and could not admit even the slightest contradictions in them; but we are now no more compelled to have recourse to subtilties against which our sense of truth rebels. In studying the historical connexion of our Saviour’s life and actions by the application of an unfettered criticism, we reach a deeper sense in many of his sayings than the bonds of the old dogmatism would have allowed. The inquiring reason need no longer find its free sense of truth opposed to faith; nor is reason bound to subjugate herself, not to faith, but to arbitrary dogmas and artificial hypotheses. The chasms in the Gospel history were unavoidable in the transmission of Divine truth through such lowly human means. The precious treasure has come to us in earthen vessels. But this only affords room for the exercise of our faith—8a faith whose root is to be found, not in science, not in demonstration, but in the humble and self-denying submission of our spirits. Our scientific views may be defective in many points; our knowledge itself may be but fragmentary; but our religious interests will find all that is necessary to attach them to CHRIST as the ground of salvation and the archetype of holiness.

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