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§ 7. Scantiness of our Information in regard to this Period of Christ’s Life.—Nothing further really essential to the Interests of Religion.

IN writing the life of any eminent man, we should not be likely to begin with a period when his character was fully developed and his world-historical importance recognized. On the contrary, we should study the growth of his being—seek for the bud which concealed the seed, and the powers that conspired to unfold it.

We cannot fail to have the same desire in studying that Life which far transcends every other, both in its own intrinsic excellence and in its bearing upon the history of the human race; but we are kept within very narrow limits on this point by the paucity of our materials, consisting, as they do, of fragmentary accounts, whose literal accuracy we have no right to presuppose. To exhibit these features in the life of Christ did not belong to the Apostolic mission, which was designed to meet religious rather than scientific wants; to relate the mighty acts of Christ, from the beginning of his ministry to the time of his ascension, rather than to show how, and under what conditions, his inner nature gradually manifested itself. It belongs to science to give a pragmatico-genetical developement of the history; religious faith occupies itself only with the immediate facts themselves. We cannot expect this part of the history to give so accurate a detail as that which treats of Christ’s public ministry and his redemptive acts; nor do the wants of faith require it.

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