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NOTE 1, page 9. The painter-monk Fra Beato Angelico da Fiesole (born in Fiesole, near Florence, in 1387, died in Rome in 1455), one of the purest characters in the whole history of art, who from the seraphic beauty of his angels and glorified saints was called “the blessed” and “the angelic,” painted the head of Christ and of the holy Virgin always in a praying frame of mind and on his knees. “ It would be well for criticism,” says E. Renan (in his “Studies of Religious History and Criticism,” transl. by O. B. Frothingham, New York, 1864, p. 168), “to imitate his example, and, only after having adored them, to face the radiance of certain figures before which the ages have bent low.” Unfortunately, the French philosopher understands this in the sense of pantheistic hero-worship. We regard only one man as worthy of divine honor and worship,—the God-Man, Jesus of Nazareth.
NOTE 2, page 12. See Dr. Horace Bushnell’s able work on “Nature and the Supernatural.” The same idea is expressed by Dr. John W. Nevin, in his book on “The Mystical Presence,” Phil., 1846, p. 199, 198in these words: “Nature and revelation, the world and Christianity, as springing from the same Divine Mind, are not two different systems joined together in a merely outward way. They form a single whole, harmonious with itself in all its parts. The sense of the one, then, is necessarily included and comprehended in the sense of the other. The mystery of the new creation must involve, in the end, the mystery of the old; and the key that serves to unlock the meaning of the first must serve to unlock the inmost secret of the last.”
NOTE 3, page 13. John vi. 69: “We have believed and know” (ἡμεῖς πεπιστεύκαμεν καὶ ἐγνώκαμεν, credidimus et cognovimus). The reverse order we have in John x. 38: “That ye may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in him;” and in 1 John v. 13.
NOTE 4, page 13. Fides præcedit intellectum. Or more fully, in the language of Anselm of Canterbury, adopted by Schleiermacher as the motto of his Dogmatics: “Neque enim quæro intelligere ut credam sed credo ut intelligam. Nam qui non crediderit, non experietur, et qui expertus non fuerit, non intelliget.”
NOTE 5, page 13. Intellectus præcedit fidem. This was Abelard’s maxim, which, without the restriction of the opposite maxim, must lead to rationalism and skepticism.199
NOTE 6, page 17. Dr. Ullmann, “Die Sündlosigkeit Jesu,” 6th ed. p. 215: “So führt schon das Vollendet-Menschliche in Jesu, wenn wir es mit allem Uebrigen, was die Menschheit darbietet, vergleichen, zur Anerkennung des Göttlichen in ihm.” Dorner, “Entwicklungsgeschichte der Lehre von der Person Christi,” 2d ed. vol. ii. p. 1211: “Jesu Heiligkeit und Weisheit, durch die er unter den sündigen, viel-irrenden Menschen einzig dasteht, weiset . . . . auf einen übernatürlichen Ursprung seiner Person. Diese muss, um inmitten der Sünderwelt begreiflich zu sein, aus einer eigenthümlichen und wunderbar schöpferischen That Gottes abgeleitet, ja es muss in Christus . . . . von Gott aus betrachtet, eine Incarnation göttlicher Liebe, also göttlichen Wesens gesehen werden, was ihn als den Punkt erscheinen lässt, wo Gott und die Menschheit einzig und innigst geeinigt sind.” Compare also Ebrard, “Christliche Dogmatik,” 1852, vol. ii. pp. 24-31; and W. Nast, “Commentary on Matthew and Mark,” Cincinnati, 1864, Gener. Introd., pp. 120.
NOTE 7, page 23. This idea is almost as old as the Christian Church, and was already pretty clearly taught by Irenæus, who, through the single link of his teacher Polycarp, stood connected with the age of St. John the apostle. He says (“Adv. Hæreses.” lib. ii. cap. 22, § 4): “Omnes enim venit [Christus] per semetipsum salvare, omnes, inquam, qui per eum renascuntur in Deum, infantes et parvulos et pueros 200et seniores. Ideo per omnem venit ætatem et infantibus infans factus, sanctificans infantes; in parvulis parvulus, sanctificans hanc ipsam habentes ætatem, simul et exemplum illis pietatis effectus et justitiæ et subjectionis; in juvenibus juvenis, exemplum juvenibus fiens et sanctificans Domino. Sic et senior in senioribus (?), ut sit perfectus magister in omnibus,” &c. But Irenæus erred in carrying the idea too far, and assuming Christ to have lived over fifty years, on the ground of the indefinite estimate of the Jews, John viii. 57. Hippolytus, in his recently discovered “Philosophumena,” expresses the same view.
NOTE 9, page 26. Bethlehem was indeed the ancestral seat of the house of David (Ruth i. 1, 2), and fortified by Rehoboam (2 Chron. xi. 16), but remained an insignificant place, and is not even mentioned among the towns of Judah in the Hebrew text of Joshua, nor in Neh. xi. 25. Comp. Mich. v. 1, where the prophet thus contrasts its insignificance with its future destiny as the birthplace of the Saviour (according to the Hebrew text): “But thou Bethlehem Ephratah, too small to be among the thousands of Judah בְּאַלְפֵי יְהוּדָה—i. e., the central towns where the heads of thousands or subordinate divisions of tribes resided], 201out of thee shall come forth unto me One who is to be the Ruler in Israel; whose origin is from the first of time, from the days of eternity.”
NOTE 11, page 27. Luke ii. 40: τὸ παιδίον ηὔξανεν καὶ ἐκραταιοῦτο πνεύματι. “And the child grew and waxed strong in spirit;” precisely the same expression which Luke used, i. 80, of John the Baptist. Compare also, for the human growth and development of Christ, Luke ii. 52; Heb. ii. 10-18 and v. 8 and 9, where it is said that he learned obedience, and, being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation.
NOTE 12, page 28. Dr. J. P. Lange, in his “Leben Jesu nach den Evangelien,” Heidelberg, 1844 ff. vol. ii. p. 127, says: “The history of Jesus in his twelfth year represents his whole development. It is the characteristic deed of his youth, the revelation of his youthful life, a reflection of his birth, a sign and anticipation of his future heroic career. It represents the childhood of his ideality, therefore also the ideality of childhood in general.” Compare also the suggestive remarks of Olshausen on that passage, “Commentar” (3d Germ. ed. vol. i. p. 145 ff.); and of Van Oosterzee, in Lange’s “Bibelwerk.”202
NOTE 13, page 29. Luke ii. 49: ἐν τοῖς τοῦ πατρός μου δεῖ, [δεῖ indicates a moral necessity which is identical with true freedom], εἶναί με. The fathers and most of the modern commentators refer the τοῖς to the house of God, or the temple. This is grammatically allowable, but restricts the sense, and deprives it of its deeper meaning; for he could only occasionally be in the temple of Jerusalem. Nearly all the English versions, Tyndale, Cranmer, the Genevan, and James, translate more correctly, “about my Father’s business.” But we object to the term business in this connection, and prefer the more literal translation “in (not about) the things (or affairs) of my Father.” The in signifies the life-element in which Christ moved during his whole life, whether in the temple or out of it.
NOTE 14, page 30. By Dr. Horace Bushnell, in his genial work, already quoted, on “Nature and the Supernatural,” page 280 (“The Character of Jesus,” page 19 ff.)
NOTE 15, page 33. See the particulars, with ample quotations from the sources, in Rud. Hoffmaann’s “Leben Jesu nach den Apokryphen im Zusammenhang aus den Quellen erzaehlt und wissenschaftlich untersucht.” Leipzig, 1851, p. 140-263.
NOTE 16, page 34. Renan, in his Life, or Romance rather, of Jesus, chap. ii., gives a graphic description of 203the natural beauties of Nazareth, as among the educational influences which account for the greatness of Christ; but all this can not do away with the seclusion and proverbial insignificance of the place (John i. 48), and loses much of its force when we remember the narrow streets and filth of an Oriental town. “Nazareth,” says Renan, “was a little town, situated in a fold of land broadly open at the summit of the group of mountains which closes on the north the Plain of Esdralon. The population is now from three to four thousand, and it can not have varied very much . . . . The environs are charming, and no place in the world was so well adapted to dreams of absolute happiness. Even in our days, Nazareth is a delightful sojourn,—the only place perhaps, in Palestine, where the soul feels a little relieved of the burden which weighs upon it in the midst of this unequaled desolation. The people are friendly and good-natured; the gardens are fresh and green . . . . The beauty of the women who gather there at night—this beauty which was already remarked in the sixth century, and in which was seen the gift of the Virgin Mary (by Antonius Martyr, Itiner. § 5)—has been surprisingly well preserved. It is the Syrian type in all its languishing grace.”
NOTE 17, page 36. Matt. xiii. 54-56. Compare also Mark vi. 3: “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary?” &c.; from which it would appear that Jesus himself engaged in the trade of Joseph. This is comfirmed 204by ancient tradition and the custom of Jewish Rabbins. Thus St. Paul was a tent-maker (Acts xviii. 3). The profession of a carpenter was by no means degrading, but regarded among the most honorable and useful. Hence the question of the Nazarenes, “Is not this the carpenter’s son?” is to be taken as a question of surprise rather than of contempt. They denied the social superiority, not the equality of Jesus with them; and could not understand from his social position how he could rise above the common level, and perform such wonderful works.
NOTE 18, page 39. Comp. G. G. Gervinus: “Shakspeare,” Leipzig, 1850, vol. i. pp. 38-41. This masterly critic and expounder of the British poet pronounces him one of the best and most extensively informed men of his age: “Es ist heute kein Wagniss mehr, zu sagen, dass Shakspeare in jener Zeit an Umfang vielfachen Wissens sehr wenige seines Gleichen gehabt habe.”
NOTE 19, page 41. John Young: “The Christ of History,” p. 35.
NOTE 20, page 44. Heinrich Steffens, a follower of Schelling, and a Christian philosopher, speaks thus of man, and bases upon this thought his “System of Anthropology.” But it may be applied in its fullest and absolute sense to Christ, as the ideal man, in whom 205and through whom alone the race can become complete.
NOTE 21, page 51. Comp. with the history of the temptation in the wilderness, Matt. iv. and Luke iv., the significant passages in the Epistle to the Hebrews, iv. 15, “Tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin” (πεπειρασμένον κατὰ πάντα καθ᾽ ὁμοιότητα χωρὶς ἁμαρτίας), and v. 8 “Though he was a son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered” (καίπερ ὢν υἱός, ἔμαθεν ἀφ᾽ ὧν ἔπαθεν τὴν ὑπακοήν, καὶ τελειωθεὶς ἐγένετο, κ. τ. λ.)
NOTE 22, page 52. In scholastic terminology, the posse non peccare, or the impeccabilitas minor. To this corresponds the posse non mori, or the immortalitas minor, i. e. the relative or conditional immortality of Adam in Paradise, which depended on his probation, and was lost by the fall.
NOTE 23, page 53. The non posse peccare, or the impeccabilitas major. With this is closely connected the non posse mori, or the immortalitas major, the absolute immortality of the resurrection-state, which can never be lost.
NOTE 24, page 53. The Rev. Dr. Jos. Berg, professor in the Theological Seminary at New Brunswick, in a friendly notice of the first edition of this essay (in his 206“Evangelical Quarterly” for April, 1861, p. 289), objects to this view of the peccability of the man Jesus, as being inconsistent with his absolute holiness. But I can not see the force of his objection. Peccability is merely the possibility of sin, such as attached also to Adam in the state of innocence; and it by no means involves Christ in the reality of sin, either original or actual. Against such an inference the language of the text is sufficiently guarded. It is true, the angel called Christ the Holy Thing from the moment of his conception, τὸ γεννώμενον ἅγιον (Luke i. 35). But was not Adam holy too, though “subject to fall”? (as the Larger Westminster Confession expresses it, qu. 17.) Moreover, this original holiness can not exclude the idea of the development and physical and moral growth of the Christ-child; for this is distinctly asserted by the same evangelist, Luke ii. 40, 52: comp. Heb. v. 8. The denial of the possibility of sin overthrows the realness of Christ’s humanity, and turns the history of the temptation into a Gnostic phantom and mere sham. It is just because Christ was really and actually tempted, and this not only by the Devil in the wilderness (Matt. iv.), but throughout his whole life (Luke xxii. 28, Heb. iv. 15), and because he successfully resisted the temptation under every form, that he became both our Saviour and our Example: comp. Heb. v. 7-9.
NOTE 25, page 54. Peter Bayne: “The Testimony of Christ to Christianity.” Boston, 1862, pp. 105.207
NOTE 26, page 55. Comp. Acts iii. 14; 1 Pet. i. 19; ii. 22; iii. 18; 2 Cor. v. 21; 1 John ii. 29; iii. 5, 7; Heb. iv. 15; vii. 26. Considering the infinite superiority of the ethics of the apostles to the ethics of the ancient Greeks, it is absurd to weaken the force of this unanimous testimony (as is done by D. F. Strauss, “Die christliche Glaubenslehre,” vol. ii. p. 192; and to some extent even by Hase, “Leben Jesu,” p. 61) by a reference to Xenophon’s estimate of Socrates: “No one ever saw Socrates do, or heard him say, any thing impious or unholy” (Οὐδεὶς πώποτε Σωκράτους οὐδὲν ἀσεβὲς οὐδὲ ἀνόσιον οὔτε π`άττοντος εἶδεν, οὔτε λέγοντος ἤκουσεν.—Memorab., i. 11). In the best case, this is only a negative judgment of his conduct, and not of the state of his heart; and acquits Socrates of all manifestation of impiety, without attributing to him, positively, religious or moral perfection. Moreover, it is a very different thing to assert of a man that he was free from sin and error, and to set forth in actual life a consistent sinless character. The purest man, if he were to invent such a character, would inevitably mix up with it some traits of human imperfection, or overdraw the picture beyond the truly human sphere. But the gospel-picture of Christ strikes us throughout as perfectly original and truthful, and maintains its spotless purity in every trait, and under every situation and temptation.208
NOTE 29, page 59. Quoted from Dr. H. Bushnell, 1. c. p. 325. The sinlessness of Jesus is denied by D. F. Strauss, in his two destructive works, “The Life of Jesus,” and “The Dogmatics in Conflict with Modern Science;” and this mainly from the à-priori philosophical argument of the impossibility of sinlessness, or the pantheistic notion of the inseparableness of sin from all finite existence. The only exegetical proof he urges (“Dogmat.,” ii. 192) is Christ’s word, Matt. xix. 17: “There is none good but one, that is God.” But Christ answers here to the preceding question, and the implied misconception of goodness. He does not decline the epithet good as such, but only in the superficial sense of the rich youth who regarded him simply as a distinguished Rabbi and a good man, not as one with God. He did not say, I am not good; but, None is good, no man is good,—much less in comparison with God. In other words, he rejected not so much the title Good Master, as that spirit and state of mind which looked upon him only as an exemplar of worldly wisdom and morality. In no case can he be supposed to have contradicted his own testimony concerning his innocence. See the commentators ad locum, especially Olshausen, Meyer, and Lange. A French writer, F. Pecaut, “Le Christ et la Conscience,” 209Paris, 1859, likewise denies the sinlessness of Christ. Pecaut refers to the following facts as evidences of moral imperfection,—the conduct of Jesus toward his mother in his twelfth year, his rebuke administered to her at the wedding feast of Cana, his expulsion of the profane traffickers from the temple, his cursing of the unfruitful fig-tree, the destruction of the herd of swine, his bitter invectives against the Pharisees, and his own rejection of the attribute good in the dialogue with the rich youth. But all these difficulties are of easy solution, and not to be compared with the difficulties on the other side as presented in the text. On the other hand, Pecaut himself, inconsistently enough, admits in a very eloquent passage that Christ’s moral character rose beyond comparison above that of any other great man in antiquity, and was wholly penetrated by God. How, in the name of logic, is it possible to admit so much of goodness, and yet to impeach his veracity when he claims to be entirely free from sin, and equal with God? Veracity and honesty are the very foundation of a good character, and there can be no morality without them. Compare also, against Pecaut, the remarks of Dr. Van Oozterzee in his work on Christ, German translation, page 166 ff.
NOTE 30, page 59. So Schleiermacher, the greatest theological genius since Calvin, in his work, “Der christliche Glaube,” 3d edition (1836), vol. ii. p. 78: “Christus war von allen andern Menschen unterschieden 210durch seine wesentliche Unsündlichkeit und seine schlechthinige Vollkommenheit;” i.e., “Christ differed from all other men by his essential sinlessness and his absolute perfection;” a proposition which Schleiermacher most ably establishes not only in his “Dogmatics,” but also in many of his sermons. Karl Hase, “Leben Jesu,” 4th edition, 1854, page 60 (Clarke’s English translation, Boston, 1860, p. 54), likewise admits that Christ was free from sin.
NOTE 31, page 67. Cicero, Quæst. Tuscul., ii. 22: “Quem [in quo erit perfecta sapientia] adhuc nos quidem vidimus neninem, sed philosophorum sententiis, qualis futurus sit, si modo aliquando fuerit, exponitur.” The same writer, in the same work, ii. 4, speaks in the strongest terms of the gross contrast between the doctrine and the life of the philosophers; and Quintilian accuses them of concealing the worst vices under the name of the ancient philosophy (Instit. i. Proœm.). The virtue of chastity, in our Christian sense, was almost unknown among the heathen. Woman was essentially a slave of man’s lower passions. It is notorious that disreputable women, called ἑταῖραι, or amicæ, were attached in Corinth to the Temple of Aphrodite, ant) enjoyed the sanction of religion for the practice of vice These dissolute characters were esteemed above housewives, and became the proper representatives of fe male culture and social elegance. Remember Aspasia Phryne, Laïs, Theodora, who attracted the admiration 211and courtship even of earnest philosophers like Socrates, and statesmen like Pericles. To the question of Socrates, “Is there any one with whom you converse less than with the wife?” his pupil Aristobulus replied, “No one, or at least very few.” Worse than this, the disgusting vice of pæderastia, which even depraved nature abhors, was practiced as a national habit among the Greeks, without punishment or dishonor; was freely dis cussed, commended, and( praised by their poets and philosophers, and likewise divinely sanctioned by the lewdness of Jupiter with Ganymede. Dr. Döllinger, in his very instructive and learned work, “Heidenthum und Judenthum,” 1857, p. 684 ff., sums up his investigation on this subject with the following statement: “Bei den Griechen tritt das Laster der Pæderastie mit allen Symptomen einer grossen nationalen Krankheit, gleichsam eines ethischen Miasma auf; es zeigt sich als ein Gefühl, das stärker und heftiger wirkte, als die Weiberliebe bei anderen Volkern, massloser, leidenschaftlicher in seinen Ansbrüchen war. Rasende Eifersucht, unbedingte Hingebung, sinnliche Gluth, zärtliche Tändelei, nächtliches Weilen vor der Thüre des Geliebten, Alles, was zur Carricatur der natürlichen Geschlechtsliebe gehört, findet sich dabei. Auch die ernstesten Moralisten waren in der Beurtheilung des Verhältnisses höchst nachsichtig, sie behandelten die Sache häufig mehr mit leichtsinnigem Scherze, und duldeten die Schuldigen in ihrer Gesellschaft. In der gauzen Literatur der vorchristlichen Periode 212ist kaum ein Schriftsteller zu finden, der sich entschieden dagegen erklärt hatte. Vielmehr war die ganze Gesellschaft davon angesteckt, und man athmete das Miasma, so zu sagen, mit der Luft ein.” On the whole subject of heathen morals, compare this work of Döllinger; also C. Schmidt, “Essai historique sur la société dans le mond romain, et sur la transformation par le Christianisme, Paris, 1853; and Schaff, “History of the Apostolic Church,” p. 147 ff., 157 ff., 443 ff., 454 ff.; and “History of the Christian Church, from Christ to Constantine,” p. 302 ff.
NOTE 32, page 68. Theodore Parker: “Discourses of Religion,” p. 294.
NOTE 33, page 69. Renan makes some striking admissions on this point, though not unmixed with error. “Morality,” he says in the fifth chapter of his “Vie de Jésus,” “is not composed of principles more or less well expressed. The poetry of the precept which makes it lovely is more than the precept itself, taken as an abstract verity. Now, it can not be denied that the maxims borrowed by Jesus from his predecessors” [Christ borrowed nothing from anybody] “produce in the gospel an effect totally different from that in the ancient Law, in the Pirke Aboth, or in the Talmud. It is not the ancient Law, it is not the Talmud, which has conquered and changed the world. Little original in itself [?], if by that is meant that it can be recomposed 213almost entirely with more ancient maxims, the evangelical morality remains none the less the highest creation which has emanated from the human consciousness, the most beautiful code of perfect life that any moralist has traced (la morale évangélique n’en reste pa moins la plus haute création qui soit sortie de la conscience humaine, le plus beau code de la vie parfaite qu’aucun moraliste ait tracé).”. . . “Jesus, son of Sirach, and Hillel, had enunciated aphorisms almost as lofty as those of Jesus. Hillel, however, will never be considered the real founder of Christianity. In morality, as in art, words are nothing; deeds are every thing. The idea which is concealed beneath a picture of Raphael is a small thing: it is the picture alone that counts. Likewise, in morality, truth becomes of value only if it pass to the condition of feeling; and it attains all its preciousness only when it is realized in the world as a fact. Men of indifferent morals have written very good maxims. Men very virtuous, also, have done nothing to continue the tradition of their virtue in the world. The palm belongs to him who has been mighty in word and in work; who has felt the truth, and, at the price of his blood, has made it triumph. Jesus, from this double point of view, is without equal: his glory remains complete, and will be renewed for ever. (Jésus, à se double point de vue, est sans égal; sa gloire reste entière et sera toujours renouvelée.)”214
NOTE 34, page 69. The relation of husband and father must be excepted, on account of his elevation above all equal partnership, and the universalness of his character and mission, which requires the entire community of the redeemed as his bride instead of any individual daughter of Eve.
NOTE 35, page 71. Mark vii. 37. The expression of the people, καλῶσ πάντα πεποίηκε (bene omnia fecit), must be taken as a general judgment, inferred not only from the particular case related before, but from all they had heard and seen of Christ.
NOTE 36, page 74. Matt. xxvii. 46. It should be remembered that Jesus speaks here in the prophetical and typical words of David, Ps. xxii. 2; while, when speaking in his own language, he uniformly addresses God as his Father. Compare also the instructive reflections of Dr. Lange, in his commentary on this passage, Am. edition, pp. 526, 530.215
NOTE 42, page 84. Comp. Ullmann, “Sündlosigkeit,” p. 67; J. P. Lange, “Leben Jesu,” i. 27-34; Ebrard, “Dogmatik,” vol. ii. 23, 24. Also Hase, in his “Leben Jesu,” p. 63 (4th ed.), places the ideal beauty of Christ’s character in “das schöne Ebenmaass aller Kräfte,” and in “vollendete Gottesliebe dargestellt in reinster Humanität” (“The beautiful symmetry of all powers, and perfect love to God, exhibited in purest humanity”). Bishop D. Wilson, in his “Evidences of Christianity,” vol. ii. 116 (Boston ed. of 1830), remarks: “The opposite, and to us apparently contradictory, graces were found in Christ in equal proportion.” Dr. W. E. Channing, the Unitarian, in his able and remarkable sermon on the “Character of Christ” (Works, vol. iv. p. 23), says: “This combination of the spirit of humanity, in its lowliest, tenderest form, with the consciousness of unrivaled and divine glories, is the most wonderful distinction of this wonderful character.” Guizot, Méditations sur 1’essence de la relig. chrétienne, 1864, p. 274: “Rien ne me frappe 216plus dans les Évangiles que ce double charactère de sévérité et d’amour, de pureté austère et de sympathie tendre qui apparaît et règne constamment dans les actes et dans les paroles de Jésus-Christ, en tout ce qui touche aux rapports de Dieu avec les hommes.” I add a testimony from an excellent little apologetic work which has just come to hand,—“Apologetischle Vorträge über die Grundwahrheiten des Christenthums, von Dr. Chr. E. Luthardt,” Leipz. 1864, p. 204: “The image of Jesus is the ilnage of the highest and purest, harmony both of his natural and his moral being. With all other Inen, there is some discrepancy in the inner life. The two poles of intellectual life, knowledge, and feeling, head and heart; the two powers of the moral life, thought and will,—in whom are they fully agreed? ]But as to Jesus, we all have the lively impression, here reigns perfect harmony of the inner spiritual life. His soul is at absolute peace. . . . He is all love, all heart, all feeling; and yet, on the other hand, all intellect, all clearness, all majesty. . . . All is quiet greatness, peaceful simplicity, sublime harmony.”
NOTE 43, page 91. “Politia,” p. 74 sq. ed. Ast. (“Plat. Opera,” vol. iv. p. 360, E. ed. Bip.) Compare, the author’s “History of the Apostolic Church,” English edition, § 109, page 433 f. Even Jean Jacques Rousseau was struck with this remarkable heathen prophecy of the suffering Saviour, who died the death 217of a malefactor and a slave to redeem us. “Quand Platon,” he says in his “Émil,” “peint son juste imaginaire couvert de tout l’opprobre du crime et digne de tous les prix de la vertu, il peint trait pour trait Jésus Christ: la ressemblance est si frappante, que tous les pères l’ont sentée, et qu’il n’est pas possible de s’y tromper.”
NOTE 44, page 94. John vii. 3-10. It is immaterial for our purpose whether we understand by his brothers (not “brethren,” as the Common Version has it) younger sons of Joseph and Mary, or older sons of Joseph from a former marriage, or cousins of Jesus. They appear, at all events, as members and inmates of the holy family either by birth or adoption. Compare the author’s exegetical article on the “Brothers of Christ,” in the “Bibliotheca Sacra” for October, 1864; and notes in his edition of Lange’s “Commentary on Matthew,” p. 256 if.
NOTE 45, page 102. Rousseau, “Émil,” iv. p. 111: “Oui, si la vie et la mort de Socrate sont d’un sage; la vie et la mort de Jésus sont d’un dieu!”
NOTE 46, page 108. “Der Reinste unter den Mächtigen, der Mächtigste unter den Reinen, der mit seiner durchstochenen Hand Reiche aus der Angel, den Strom der Jahrhunderte aus dem Bette hob und noch fortgebietet den Zeiten.” Jean Paul: “Ueber den Gott in 218der Geschichte und im Leben.” Sämmtliche Werke, vol. xxxiii. 6.
NOTE 47, page 109. “Vie de Jésus,” 7th ed. Paris, 1864, p. 325: “Quels que puissent être les phénomènes inattendues de l’avenir, Jésus ne sera pas surpassé. Son culte se rajeunira sans cesse; sa légende provoquera des larmes sans fin; ses souffrances attendiront les meilleurs cœurs; tous les siècles proclameront qu’entre les fils des hommes, il n’en est pas né de plus grand que Jésus.” Renan, however, spoils all his concessions, which are quite frequent and enthusiastic, by his pantheistic man-worship, and by placing such a comparatively obscure individual as Cakya-Mouni, or Saint Sakya, the founder of Buddhism, on a par with Christ. Compare the last chapter of his “Vie de Jésus,” and also the conclusion of his essay on the “Critical Historians of Jesus,” where he says of Christ: “The wonder-worker and the prophet will die; the man and the sage will endure; or, rather, the eternal beauty will live for ever in this sublime name, as in all those whom humanity has chosen to keep it in mind of its own nature, and to transport it by the view of its own image. Behold there the living God! This is the adorable One!”
NOTE 48, page 109. Dr. Baur: “Das Christenthum und die christliche Kirche der drei ersten Jahrhunderte,” second revised edition, which appeared shortly before 219his death (1860), p. 53 f. The resurrection especially remained for Dr. Baur an unsolved problem; and this fact is the very foundation on which the Christian Church is built, and has ever since defied the gates of hell.
NOTE 49, page 113. For a very full exposition of this testimony, we refer to the instructive and able work of W. Fr. Gess: “Die Lehre von der Person Christs entwickelt aus dem Sebstbewusstsein Christi und aus dem Zeugnisse der Apostel.” Basel. 1856. Dr. Bushnell’s admirable essay on the character of Jesus is defective here. He does not establish the proper divinity of Christ, but seems content with the proof that he was more than man, and can not be classified with men. Having carried the reader over the great difficulty, and beyond the boundary of Humanitarianism, he leaves him to his own conclusion concerning the merits of the orthodox view of Christ.
NOTE 50, page 113. Compare the dictionaries, and especially Schmid’s and Bruder’s Greek, or Bagster’s English Concordance of the New Testament (the latter republished by the Harpers, New York, 1855), sub verbo υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου.
NOTE 51, page 114. So many modern German commentators, and also Dr. Trench, who remarks: “He was ‘Son of man,’ as alone realizing all which in the 220idea of man was contained, as the second Adam, the head and representative of the race,—the one true and perfect flower, which ever unfolded itself, of the root and stock of humanity. Claiming this title as his own, he witnessed against opposite poles of error concerning his person,—the Ebionite, to which the exclusive use of the title ’Son of David’ might have led; and the Gnostic, which denied the reality of the human nature that bore it” (“Notes on the Parables,” ninth London edition, p. 84). Philo, the Jewish divine and philosopher, a cotemporary of Christ, calls the Logos (the eternal Word) the true man, ὁ ἀληθινὸς ἄνθρωπος.
NOTE 55, page 117. Matt. xvi. 16; Mark iii. 11; John i. 18, 34, 49; xi. 27; xx. 31,—besides the many passages in the Acts and Epistles, where the term υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ is as frequent as the term υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου in the Gospels.221
NOTE 57, page 119. Matt. xi. 27. This passage is a striking parallel to the sublimest sayings in the fourth Gospel, and proves the essential identity of the Synoptist and Johannean picture of Christ. Comp. Lange’s “Commentary on Matthew,” Amer. ed. p. 213.
NOTE 60, page 119. Matt. xxvi. 63-65. Schleiermacher pronounces this affirmative Yea of Christ, in view of the surrounding circumstances, the greatest word ever spoken by any man, the most glorious apotheosis, and the most certain assurance by which any divinity could proclaim itself (“das grösste Wort, was je ein Sterblicher gesagt hat, die herrlichste Apotheose; keine Gottheit kann gewisser sein als die, welche so sich selbst verkündiget”). See his youthful work, “Discourses on Religion” (Reden über die Religion), 4th edition, Berlin, 1831, pages 292 and 293. Compare also the remarks of Luthardt, “Apologetische Vorträge,” p. 213 f.222
NOTE 64, page 122. “Mundus non factus est in tempore, sed cum tempore.”
NOTE 65, page 123. John viii. 58: ἀμὴν, ἀμὴν [the solemn announcement of an important truth] λέγω ὑμῖν, πρὶν Ἀβραὰμ γενέσθαι ἐγὼ εἰμί. Mark also the difference of the verb (which is lost in our English version), besides the difference of the tense. For γίνεσθαι, to become, werden, to begin to be, to pass from non-existence into existence, implies origin in time or previous non-existence, and is applicable only to created beings; while εἶναι is equally applicable to God and eternal existence. Compare the ἦν of the Λόγος (John i. 1) with the ἐγένετο of the man John, ver. 6. H. A. W. Meyer, the best grammatical commentator now living, correctly remarks on John viii. 58 (pages 249, 250): “Da Abraham nicht präexistist hatte, sondern (durch seine Geburt) zur Existenz kam, so steht 223γενέσθαι, wogegen mit εἰμὶ das Sein an sich gemeint ist, welches bei Jesu (sofern er nach seinem göttlichen Wesen vorzeitlich war) ohne vorgängiges Gewordensein war. Das Praesens bezeichnet das aus der Vergangenheit her Fortdauernde. Vrgl. lxx. Jer. xxi. 5; Ps. xc. 2; Winer, Gramm. p. 309.” Meyer then goes on to refute the Socinian and rationalistic misinterpretations of the passage.
NOTE 68, page 124. John x. 30. The passage teaches, certainly, more than the ethical unity of will: it asserts, according to the context, the unity of power which is based on the unity of essence, or the homousia. The ἓν excludes Arianism; the plural ἐσμέν, Sabellianism and Patripassianism.
NOTE 69, page 125. Dr. Hengstenberg, in his “Commentary on the Gospel of St. John,” 1863, vol. iii. p. 361 f., justly remarks: “Menschen, die sich selbst zu Gott machen, sind immer entweder Verrückte oder Bösewichter. Wer anders als wer selbst ein Frevler ist, wird es wagen Jesum in die eine oder die andere 224dieser Classen zu setzen?”—i.e., men who pretend to be God are always either mad or wicked.
NOTE 70, page 125. “Of all the readers of the gospel,” says Bushnell, p. 290, “it probably never even occurs to one in a hundred thousand to blame his conceit, or the egregious vanity of his pretensions.” Even the better class of Unitarians instinctively bow before these claims. See the remarkable passage of Dr. Channing quoted below.
NOTE 71, page 133. Discourse on the “Character of Christ,” in Channing’s Works, vol. iv. p. 20.
NOTE 72, page 134. The explanation which some Unitarian divines give of these words of Thomas, by resolving them into a mere exclamation of surprise at the fact of the resurrection, “O my God!” is simply absurd, and only worthy of notice as revealing the inextricable difficulty which it presents to the Unitarian Christology.
NOTE 73, page 136. Is was first suggested by the heathen assailants of Christianity, Celsus and Julian the Apostate, then insinuated by French deists of the school of Voltaire, but never raised to the dignity of scientific argument. The only attempt to carry it out, and that a mere fragmentary one, was made by the anonymous “Wolfenbüttel Fragmentist,” since known 225as Hermann Samuel Reimrus, professor of Oriental Literature in the College at Hamburg, who died in 1786. His “Fragments” were never intended for publication, but only for a few friends. Lessing found them in the library at Wolfenbüttel, and commenced to publish them, without the author’s knowledge, in 1774; not, as he said, because he agreed with them, but because he wished to arouse the spirit of investigation. This mode of procedure, Semler, the father of German neology, wittily compared to the act of setting a city on fire for the purpose of trying the engines. In our own time, Bruno Bauer, a theological weathercock, vagabond, and final apostate (not to be confounded with the far superior Dr. F. Ch. Baur), has endeavored to revive, but without effect, this exploded theory, and misrepresented the Gospels as deliberate fabrications. But even Strauss ignores him (in his new “Life of Jesus”), as unfit for his company.
NOTE 74, page 143. “Discourse on the Character of Christ.”—Channing’s Works, vol. iv. 17, 18.
NOTE 75, page 144. The so-called rationalismus communis, or vulgaris, or the rationalism of common sense, as distinct from the transcendental rationalism of uncommon sense or speculative reason. The sense of both systems, however, ends in nonsense. Dr. Marheineke defined a Rationalist, or, as Paulus (not of Tarsus, but of Heidelberg) called him, a Denkgläubige, 226as a man, der zu denken glaubt und zu glauben denkt; es ist aber mit beidem gleich null; i.e., a man who believes that he thinks, and thinks that he believes; but both amounts to nothing. The Hegelian School has successfully ridiculed common or vulgar rationalism, and made every scholar of philosophical pretensions ashamed of it. But the infidel wing of that school has at last relapsed into the same or still greater absurdities.
NOTE 76, page 144. Comp. Diodorus Siculus, Bibli. Fragm., i. 7; Cicero, De natura deor., i. 42; Sextus Empir., Adv. math. ix. 17.
NOTE 77, page 144. Dr. Paulus was born in the kingdom of Württemberg, 1761; then successively professor in different universities; at last in Heidelberg, where he died in 1847, after having long outlived himself. His rationalistic exegesis is laid down in his “Commentary on the Gospels,” published since 1800; and in his “Life of Jesus,” 1828.
NOTE 78, page 145. The rationalistic interpretation of περιπατῶν ἐπὶ τῆς θαλύσσης (according to the reading of the received text), or ἐπὶ τῆν θάλασσαν (according to the better authenticated reading of the modern critical editions), in Matt. xiv. 25, is perfectly inconsistent with the context and with the expression in verse 29, περιεπάτησεν ἐπὶ τὰ ὕδατα, and abandoned by all good commentators. It is true that the Greek preposition 227 ἐπὶ with the genitive may mean, on the bank of, but only after verbs of rest, as in John xx., ἐπὶ τῆς θαλάσσης τῆς Τιβεριάδος, not after verbs of motion, as περιπατεῖν, and still less with the accusative, according to the proper reading of the oldest manuscripts.
NOTE 79, page 149. Renan: “Studies of Religious history and Criticism,” translated by O. B. Frothingham. New York, 1864. pp. 176, 177.
NOTE 80, page 151. David Friederich Strauss, Doctor of Philosophy (not of Theology), was born at Ludwigsburg, near Stuttgart, in Württemberg, a little kingdom which has produced an unusual number of distinguished men,—poets like Schiller and Uhland, philosophers like Schelling and Hegel, astronomers like Kepler, and some of the most orthodox and pious divines, as Bengel and Storr; but also the very leaders of both the common and the transcendental rationalism, viz. Paulus, Baur, and Strauss. The late Dr. Baur, Professor of Church History in Tübingen (died 1860), is the founder of the so-called Tübingen School of negative historical criticism, which aimed at a radical reconstruction of the history of primitive Christianity, on the basis of a pantheistic (Hegelian) intellectualism; and is, upon the whole, the ablest and most respectable of all the opponents of Christianity. It was mainly under his instruction that Strauss was educated. and unfitted for the Christian ministry, at the University of Tübingen. 228He was the first in his class, and exhibited unusual talent and industry. After a literary journey to the north of Germany, he became Repetent, or theological tutor and lecturer, at the Stift (Seminary) of his Alma Mater; but was removed from this post and the service of the Church in 1836, after the publication of his famous “Life of Jesus,” which created an extraordinary sensation in the theological and literary world, and gave him an unenviable notoriety for all time to come. Since that time, he has led a rather unsteady and apparently unhappy life in different places,—at Ludwigsburg, Stuttgart, Heilbronn, Weimar, Cologne, Munich, and again at Heilbronn. He married a famous actress, Agnese Schebest; but was shortly afterwards divorced from her, on account, not of immorality, but of incompatibility of temper, and of his extreme selfishness of disposition. In 1839, he was called to a professorship of didactic theology at the University of Zurich, but was prevented from taking possession of his chair by a revolution of the people of the canton, who stormed the city, and expelled the radical and infidel administration that called him to undermine the very foundations of the Christian faith in the rising ministry of the Church.
Strauss is a good classical and general scholar, and a master in the art of composition. He has a remarkably clear, methodical, logical, and acute mind, a rare power of critical analysis, but no constructive power whatever. He has talent of high order, but no genius; 229he can destroy, but not build up; he sees difficulties and differences, but no unity and harmony. He is an unscrupulous advocate and special pleader, who can tear the testimony of witnesses to pieces, but is unable to gain a positive result. In one word, he is a skillful “architect of ruin.” As to his moral character, he is correct, temperate, and studious, but cold, selfish, and heartless. When a student, he was quite superstitious, and believed in all the ghost-stories and demoniacal possessions which then agitated Württemberg, and clustered around his friend, the amiable and humorous poet-physician and ghost-seer, Justinus Kerner of Weinsberg (who, by the way, called Strauss’s marriage and subsequent divorce a mere “myth,” and played many good-humored jokes on him). This is a striking illustration of the close affinity of superstition and infidelity, and the easy transition from one to the other. We have the same law exemplified on a large scale in the close alliance between infidelity and modern spiritualism falsely so called. Man must believe in something; either in the true God or in dumb idols, either in the Holy Ghost or in specters. Some time ago, it was currently reported in American papers that Strauss had changed his views, and was going to refute his “Life of Jesus;” but this dream is dissolved by the appearance of his new “Life of Jesus,” which is as bad or even worse than the old.
The first and larger “Leben Jesu” of Strauss appeared at Tübingen in 1835 and ’36, in two volumes; the 230fourth and probably the last edition in 1840; and was translated into French by Émile Littré, member of the Institute (Paris, 2d ed. 1856), and into English by Miss Marian Evans (London, 1846, in three volumes; republished in New York by some obscure house, 1850). The smaller work under the same title, in one volume of 633 pages, appeared at Leipzig in 1864, and has already gone through several editions. While the first was intended exclusively for learned readers, the second is more popular (für das deutsche Volk bearbeitet, as the title-page says), and aims to be the same for the German people that Renan’s “Vie de Jésus” was for the French, although it is as far behind the latter in easy elegance and popularity as it is above it in scholarship and accuracy. He dedicated it to the memory of his deceased brother, as Renan dedicated his work to the memory of his deceased sister. With slight modifications, he adheres to his old position, with increased bitterness to the clergy and the church, whom he now gives up hopelessly, turning to the people, and assuming the part of a theological deserter and spiritual demagogue. He has the impudence, in the preface (page 12), to appeal to the example of St. Paul, who, after being rejected by the Jews, offered the gospel to the Gentiles. He hopes that the annihilation of the popular faith in miracles will overthrow at last the Christian ministry, as a useless and even injurious encumbrance of society in the present advanced state of civilization. “Wer die Pfaffen aus der Kirche 231schaffen will,” he says (preface, page 9), “der muss erst das Wunder aus der Religion schaffern.” The nature of the religion or philosophy which he would like to substitute for a supernatural Christianity may be judged from his undisguised denial of the immortality of the soul. He praises his deceased brother, in the words of dedication, for having never yielded, not even on his death-bed, to the deceitful temptation of deriving comfort from the empty dream of another world. “Du hast,” he says, “selbst in solchen Augenblicken, wo jede Lebenshoffnung erloschen war, niemals der Versuchung nachgegeben, durch Anlehnen beim Jenseits dich zu täuschen.” Strauss has unwillingly done great service to the cause of truth by calling forth a library of learned defenses of the gospel history. Among his ablest opponents are Tholuck, Neander, Ullmann, Lamge, Ebrard, Jul. Muller, Hoffmann, Hug. Compare also a series of scholarly articles of Prof. Geo. P. Fisher of Yale College, on the “Conflict with Skepticism and Unbelief,” the second of which reviews and refutes the mythical theory of Strauss, in the “New-Englander” for April, 1864. These articles, which appeared successively in the “New-Englander” and other American quarterly reviews, are well worth reprinting in permanent book form. In his new book, Strauss thinks it convenient to ignore almost entirely many of the best books bearing directly on the subject; as Tholuck’s “Credibility of the Gospel History,” Lange’s “Life of Christ,” 232and the masterly exegetical and critical labors of Meyer, Bleek, and others.
NOTE 81, page 151. Theodore Parker, born in Massachusetts, 1810; died in Florence, 1860. “Discourse of Matters pertaining to Religion,” 1849. Comp. his review of Strauss in the “Christian Examiner” for April, 1840. Mr. Weiss makes out a distinction between the theories of Strauss and Parker, but on a partial misapprehension of the former. The difference lies more in the practical turn of the American agitator and the speculative turn of the German student. See “Life and Correspondence of Theodore Parker,” by John Weiss, New York, 1864, 2 vols.; and an able review of this work by Prof. Noah Porter in the “New-Englander” for 1864, page 359 ff.
NOTE 82, page 163. In his new “Leben Jesu,” page 79, Strauss says, with reference to the Gospel of John: “Hier hat sogar die Einmischung philosophischer Construction und bewusster Dichtung alle Wahrscheinlichkeit.” Comp. page 98. For a clear digest of the recent gospel controversy, we refer the English reader to two articles of Prof. G. B. Fisher in the “Bibliotheca Sacra” for April, 1864, on the genuineness of John; and another article in the “New Englander” for October, 1864, on the Synoptists.233
NOTE 83, page 167. Dr. Baur, in the second revised edition of his last important work on “Christianity and the Christian Church in the First Three Centuries,” which appeared shortly before his death (a. 1860), makes the remarkable concession that the conversion of St. Paul remained at all times an enigma to him, which cannot be satisfactorily solved by any psychological or dialectical analysis. “Keine weder psychologische noch dialektische Analyse kann das innere Geheimniss des Actes erforschen, in welchem Gott seinen Sohn in ihm enthüllte” (p. 45). In this connection, he allows himself to speak of the miracle of the resurrection, “which alone could disperse the doubts of the older apostles, which seemed to doom faith itself to the eternal night of death” (“das Wunder der Auferstehung, das allein die Zweifel der älteren Apostel zerstreuen konnte, welche den Glauben selbst in die ewige Nacht des Todes verstossen zu müssen schienen” (p. 39); and of the miracle of Paul’s conversion, which appears the greater, since he, “in the sudden change from the most violent enemy to the most determined herald of Christianity, broke through the barriers of Jewish particularism, and dissolved it in the universal idea of Christianity” (p. 45). We honor the honesty of this greatest of modern skeptics, and cherish the hope that he was saved at last from the eternal night of despair which is the legitimate end of skepticism.234
NOTE 84, page 172. The same objection against the theory of fiction was already raised by the infidel Rousseau, in his “Émile,” L. iv. p. 111: “Jamais des auteurs juifs n’eussent trouvé ni ce ton, ni cette morale; et l’évangile a des caractères de vérité si grands, si frappans, si parfaitement inimitable, que l’inventeur en serait plus étonnant que le héros.” Theodore Parker, in arguing against the total denial of the existence of Jesus, which no sane man ever ventured upon, supplies an argument against the partial denial: “Measure Jesus by the shadow he has cast into the world; no, by the light he has shed upon it. Shall we be told such a man never lived? the whole story is a lie? Suppose that Plato and Newton never lived. But who did their works, and thought their thought? It takes a Newton to forge a Newton. What man could have fabricated a Jesus? None but a Jesus.” Even Renan himself, unmindful of his theory, says, “Life of Jesus,” ch. xxviii. p. 367: “Far from having been created by his disciples, Jesus appears in all things superior to his disciples. They, St. Paul and St. John excepted, were men without talent or genius. . . . Upon the whole, the character of Jesus, far from having been embellished by his biographers, has been belittled by them.” What a pity that the world had to wait eighteen hundred years for a restoration of thd true picture of Jesus from the imperfect and distorted fragments of his ignorant disciples!235
NOTE 85, page 174. Goethe, in his “Conversations with Eckermann” (vol. iii. 371), fully acknowledges the genuineness, credibility, and incomparable majesty of the Gospels, and says: “Ich halte die Evangelien für durchaus ächt; denn est is in ihnen der Abglanz einer Hoheit wirksam, die von der Person Christi ausging und die so göttlicher Art, wie nur je auf Erden das Göttliche erschienen ist.” Guizot, in his “Méditations,” première série, p. 252, makes the following striking and truthful remarks on the Gospels: “The mighty power of these books and their accounts has been tested and proved. They have overcome paganism; they have conquered Greece, Rome, and barbarous Europe; they are on the way of conquering the world. And the sincerity of the authors is no less certain than the power of the books. We may contest the learning and critical sagacity of the first historians of Jesus Christ; but it is impossible to contest their good faith; it shines from their words: they believed what they said; they sealed their assertions with their blood.”
NOTE 86, page 175. This has been done with good effect, with reference to Hume, by Archbishop Whately, in his “Historic Doubts relative to Napoleon Bonaparte,” Oxford, 1821; and against Strauss (which means Ostrich) by Dr. Wurm (under the name of Casuar, i.e. Cassowary, a cousin to the ostrich, not Caspar, as Prof. Fisher, in the “New-Englander,” 2361864, p. 242, has it), in his “Life of Luther,” 1839, but dated Mexico, 1936 (not 2836), a hundred years after Strauss’s “Life of Jesus,” when criticism shall have reached its climax in the New World. A very clever parody, which strictly follows the method of Strauss, and applies it to the documents relating to the life of Luther, which are often contradictory; for instance, as to his birthplace, Möhra, or Eisleben, or Mansfeld (compare Bethlehem and Nazareth), and the date and manner of his conversion at Erfurt, whether it was brought about by a duel, or by a thunder-storm and lightning, &c. Professor Norton, in his “Internal Evidences of the Gospels,” as we learn from Prof. Fisher, has likewise employed this weapon against Strauss, and by his own process conclusively proven that Julius Cæsar was never assassinated.
NOTE 87, page 177. Joseph Ernest Renan was born Feb. 27, 1823, at Treguier in Brittany, of humble (some say of Jewish) parents, and educated for the Romish priesthood in the Theological Seminary of St. Sulpice, at Paris. But, before taking orders, he was compelled to leave this institution on account of some religious difficulties which his superiors were unable or unwilling to solve. He then devoted himself to the comparative study of the Semitic languages, for which he endeavored to do what Prof. Bopp of Berlin had so successfully accomplished for the Indo-Germanic or Aryan family of languages. In 1847, he gained the 237Volney Prize for an essay, since expanded into a history of the Semitic languages, and acquired the reputation of one of the first living Orientalists of Europe. In 1856, he was elected (in place of Augustin Thierry) a member of the Institute of France. In 1860, he was intrusted by Napoleon III. with a mission for archaeological explorations on the supposed sites of the Phoenician cities, and published the results of his investigations in an ample collection of epigraphic monuments from the time of the Assyrian domination to that of the Seleucides. On his return, he was appointed to the professorship of Hebrew in the College of France, but lost his position in consequence of his inaugural address, in which he boldly attacked, in the name of free science, the traditional orthodoxy of the clerical party, and the venerable dogma of the divinity of Christ.
Renan’s “Vie de Jésus” was prepared, as to its outline, during his journey in the East, at the side of his since departed sister, in fresh view of the holy places, and published at Paris in 1863, as the first part of a work (to be finished in four volumes) on the “Origins of Christianity.” It marks an epoch in the religious literature of France, and found an unparalleled circulation on the continent of Europe, and even i! England and America. I have before me the seventh edition, Paris, 1864. An English translation, by Ch. E. Wilbour, appeared in New York, 1864. The book of Renan has all the charm of a religious novel, and may have benefited many Frenchmen, who never knew that Jesus 238was such an interesting character, by inducing them to study the New Testament. So good will no doubt come out of evil also in this case. But, as a critical or scientific work, it has no value whatever. In the introduction, he refers, among six works, mainly to the “Life of Jesus” by Strauss, as translated by Littré, for information in critical details; and contents himself with stating his views with oracular self-assurance, and a show of indiscriminate references to the New. Testament and the Talmud, several of which prove the very reverse of the assertions in the text. Of the many refutations of Strauss he says not a word. He published also a smaller edition of his “Life of Jesus,” presenting him, as he; says, in “pure white marble” (in sugar-candy rather), without spot or wrinkle, for the edification of the French people. Among the many replies to Renan, I mention those of E. de Pressensé of France, Van Oosterzee of Holland, Beyschlag of Germany, and H. B. Smith of the United States.
NOTE 88, page 177. See Renan’s essay on the “Critical Historians of Jesus,” in his “Studies of Religious History and Criticism,” translated by O. B. Frothinghan, New York, 1864, p. 189.
NOTE 89, page 178. In the essay just quoted, p. 197, Renan says: “The legend of the Buddha Cakya-Mouni is the one which, in its mode of formation, most resembles that of Christ; as Buddhism is the religion 239which, in the law of its development, most resembles Christianity.” The mere fact of the comparative obscurity of this fellow, Cakya-Mouni, in the civilized world, makes the repeated comparison of Jesus with him by this French novelist simply ridiculous, if not blasphemous.
NOTE 90, page 178. “Vie de Jésus” (ch. xv. p. 172): “La légende était ainsi le fruit d’une grande conspiration toute spontanée et s’élaborait autour de lui de son vivant. Aucun grand événement de l’histoire ne s’est passé sans donner lieu à un cycle de fables, et Jésus n’eût pu, quand il l’eût voulu, couper court à ces créations populaires.”
NOTE 91, page 179. “Studies of Religious History and Criticism,” &c., p. 192.
NOTE 92, page 181. All competent judges seem to agree in a very low estimate of the scientific and critical value of Renan’s book. Dr. H. B. Smith of New York, in his excellent review of Renan’s “Life of Jesus,” in the “American Presbyterian and Theological Review” for January, 1864, p. 145, justly remarks: “In point of learning, intellect, and consistency, the Teutonic work of Strauss is immeasurably superior to the light and airy French romance.” Prof. Fisher expresses the same opinion in the article already quoted, “New Englander” for 1854, p. 264: “There is nothing formidable 240in Renan’s attack upon Christianity. It is too unscientific in its whole method to make a lasting impression. In comparison with the work of Strauss, it is of little account; and we doubt not that the ultimate effect of the commotion it has excited, and of the examination it must undergo, will be to exhibit more impressively than ever the difficulty of overthrowing the proofs of revelation.” The Rev. Marcus Dods, in the preface to the Edinburgh translation of Lange’s “Life of Christ,” vol. i. p. xiv., calls Renan’s book “the most deplorable literary mistake of this century,” and remarks that it reveals a lamentable ignorance on the part of the French public, that a book, which in Germany would have been out of date twenty years ago, should now create so much excited interest. The Rev. Samuel J. Andrews, in the preface to a new edition of his unpretending, but judicious, careful, and reliable “Life of our Lord upon Earth,” New York, 1864, p. vi., denies to Renan’s book all critical value, and adds: “I do not recall any particular in which it adds any thing to our knowledge of the gospel history, even in its external features: much less does it render us any aid in the understanding of its higher meaning.”
NOTE 93, page 182. “Jesus was a thaumaturgist only at a late period, and against his will.” “He was a miracle-worker and an exorcist only in spite of himself. Miracles are ordinarily the work of the public even more than of him to whom they are attributed. . . . The 241miracles of Jesus were a violence done him by his time, a concession which the necessity of the hour wrung from him. So the exorcist and the miracle-worker have fallen; but the religious reformer, shall live for ever” (Renan, ch. xvi.). “Desperate, pushed to extremities, he no longer retained possession of himself. His mission imposed itself upon him, and he obeyed the torrent. As always happens in great and divine careers, he suffered the miracles which public opinion demanded of him, rather than performed them. Thoroughly persuaded that Jesus was a worker of miracles, Lazarus and his two sisters may have aided in the performance of one [the apparent resurrection of Lazarus], as so many pious men, convinced of the truth of their religion, have sought to triumph over human obstinacy by means of the weakness of which they were well aware. The state of their conscience was that of the Stigmatists, the Convulsionists, the Observed Nuns, led on by the influence of the world in which they live, and by their own belief in the pretended acts. As to Jesus, he had no more power than St. Bernard or St. Francis d’Assisi to moderate the avidity of the multitude and of his own disciples for the marvellous. Death, moreover, was in a few days to restore to him his divine liberty, and to snatch him from the fatal necessities of a character which became each day more exacting, more difficult to sustain” (chap. xxii.). So Jesus lent himself an instrument to a pious fraud. Of course, it would not be in keeping with French politeness or ordinary prudence 242to say, in plump terms, that Christ was an impostor; but the insinuation is clear enough for any reflecting reader.
NOTE 94, page 183. At the close of chap. xxvi. (page 308 of the French original): “Son corps avait-il été enlevé, ou bien l’enthusiasme, toujours crédule fit-il éclore après coup l’ensemble de récits par lesquels on chercha à établir la foi à la resurrection? C’est ce que, faute de documents contradictories—[which the American translation, page 357, has softened into, ‘for want of peremptory evidence’]—nous ignorerons à jamais. Disons cependant que la forte imagination de Marie de Magdala joua dans cette circonstance un rôle capital. Pouvoir divin de l’amour! moments sacrés où la passion d’une hallucinée donne au monde un Dieu resuscité!”
NOTE 95, page 184. The reader will hardly believe it, until he reads the passage in “Vie de Jésus,” chap. xxiii., which we reluctantly copy: “Did he [Christ in Gethsemane] recall the clear fountains of Galilee where he might have refreshed himself; the vineyard and fig-tree under which he might have been seated; les jeunes filles qui auraient peut-être consenti à l’aimer? Maudit-il son âpre destinée, qui lui avait interdit les joies concédées à tous les autres? Regrettat-il sa trop haute nature, et, victime de sa grandeur, pleura-t-il de n’être pas resté un simple artisan de 243Nazareth?” Renan most arbitrarily places the scene in Gethsemane several days before the night of the passion, contrary to the unanimous testimony of the Synoptical Gospels as well as the inherent probability of the case. But the opinions of this frivolous critic on such subjects are worth nothing at all. The maidens of Galilee and Judea figure prominently in this novel of Jesus, and make it the more palatable to French taste. In chap. v. (page 52 of the original, page 102 of the English translation) occurs the following passage: “All his power to love was transferred to what he considered his celestial vocation. The extremely delicate feeling (le sentiment extrêmement délicat) which we notice in him towards women never departed from the exclusive devotion which he had to his idea. He treated as sisters, like Francis d’Assisi and Francis de Sales, those women who were enamored with the same work as he: he had his St. Claires, his Françoises de Chantal. Only it is probable that they loved him more than the work. He was undoubtedly more loved than loving. As often happens in very lofty natures, tenderness of heart was in him transformed into an infinite sweetness, a vague poetry, a universal charm. His relations, intimate and free, but of an entirely moral order, with women of equivocal conduct (avec des femmes d’une conduite équivoque), are explained also by the passion which attached him to the glory of his Father, and inspired in him a kind of jealousy of all beautiful creatures (une sorte de jalousie pour toutes les belles créatures) 244who might contribute to it.” In proof of this reckless and frivolous talk, Renan quotes Luke vii. 37; John iv. 7; viii. 3. Guizot, no doubt with reference to Renan, devotes a special chapter of his Méditations to Jésus-Christ et les femmes (p. 309 if.), and justly maintains that nowhere is there less of man, and more of the God, than in Christ’s relations with the women who approach him, and in the absolute purity which characterizes his sayings on adultery and on the sanctity of the marriage relation. Comp. Matt. v. 27, 28; xix. 4-9, etc.
NOTE 96, page 186. Dr. H. B. Smith, in the article alluded to, pages 157 and 169, thus severely but justly condemns the book of Renan: “In passing judgment on such a representation, there is no need of circumlocution or euphonisms. It is utterly disgraceful and disingenuous. It assails the very honesty and credibility of Jesus. It makes success the standard. It is the essence of Jesuitism. The apology is as superficial as it is ignominious. The worst ethics of the French stage cannot surpass it. Nobody but a Frenchman could, after this, still idolize his hero as the perfection of humanity. And, in the midst of such profligate representations, to interject phrases about ‘our profound seriousness,’ ‘rigid conscience,’ and ‘absolute sincerity,’ in contrast with the delusions and falsity attributed to Jesus, is to carry to its hight a base invention, from which every right-minded man will instinctively recoil, 245and which every true believer in Christ will stamp as blasphemy. Better for Jesus,—as a mere man,—a thousand-fold better, to have died unknown, than to have lent himself to impostures which he must have known to be false, to a conspiracy founded on a lie or a hallucination. But this is not all, nor the worst. The part of the Messiah made it necessary that Jesus should also give himself forth as an ‘exorcist and a thaumaturge.’ Charlatanry must complete the work begun in hallucination. . . . The Jesus depicted by Renan is a figment of naturalism, a conception that can neither be imaged forth nor realized. It has the outward forms and framework of human life; but within there is not even an immortal personal consciousness. We have, in the last analysis, only the shadow of death. And here is the essence of naturalism. The Jesus of the Gospels, of the Epistles, and of the Church, is human and divine, is king and priest in an eternal kingdom, is the essence of supernaturalismn; and naturalism must expel Christ from the heart and the church, from the conscience and the life, before it can expel supernaturalism from human history.”
NOTE 97, page 187. The dying exclamation of Julian the Apostate—“Galilæan, thou hast conquered!”—rests on too late authorities to claim credibility, especially in view of the full account of the impartial Ammianus Marcellinus on the last hours of the emperor. But it contains the philosophy of his reign, 246and the Italian proverb may be applied to it: Se non e vero, e ben trovato.
NOTE 98, page 190. See his large “Leben Jesu,” Schlussabhandlung, vol. ii. page 663 (4th ed., 1840). Compare a similar conclusion in his popular “Leben Jesu,” page 627.
NOTE 99, page 191. “In an individual,” says Strauss, “Leben Jesu,” vol. ii. page 710, “in one God-man, the properties and functions which the church doctrine ascribes to Christ contradict themselves; in the idea of the race, they agree. Humanity is the union of the two natures,—the incarnate God, the Infinite externalizing itself in the finite, and the finite spirit remembering its infinitude. It is the child of the visible mother and the invisible father, Nature and Spirit; it is the worker of miracles, in so far as in the course of human history the spirit more and more completely subjugates nature both within and around man, until it lies before him as an inert matter of his activity; it is the sinless existence, for the course of its development is a blameless one: pollution cleaves to the individual only, and does not touch the race or its history. It is humanity that dies, rises, and ascends to heaven: for from the negation of its natural life there ever proceeds a higher spiritual life;’ from the suppression of its limitation as a personal, rational, and terrestrial spirit, arises its union with the infinite Spirit of the heavens. By faith 247in this Christ, especially in his death and resurrection, man is justified before God; that is, by the kindling within him of the idea of humanity, especially by the negation of its natural and sensual aspects, the individual man partakes of the divinely human life of the species.” The popular “Life of Jesus,” by the same author, concludes in a similar manner, page 627. But the idea of the union of the human and divine is no more contradictory in an individual than in the race. What is true in idea or principle must also actualize itself, or be capable of actualization, in a concrete living fact. History teaches, moreover, that every age, every great movement, and every nation, have their representative heads, who comprehend and act out the life of the respective whole. Compare the remarks on page 77 ff. This analogy points us to a general representative head of the entire race,—Adam in the natural, and Christ in the spiritual order. The divine humanity of Strauss is like a stream without a fountain, or like a body without a head.
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