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CHAPTER II.

THE SINLESSNESS OF CHRIST PROVED FROM THE EFFECTS PRODUCED BY HIS MANIFESTATION.

EVERY personality bearing the impress of clearly defined moral and religious qualities, will produce effects proportioned 82to the degree of force it possesses. The greater and the purer this force, the deeper, the more enduring, and the more wide-spread will be the effects resulting therefrom. If, however, a personality perfectly religious and moral should have existed,—if there ever had been One who was sinlessly holy,—the effects produced would have been of a kind entirely unique. And, on the other hand, if we actually meet with such effects, we have every reason to infer the existence of a proportionate force as their cause. The question, then, is: Do there exist in the special religious and moral constitution of the Christian, as essentially distinguished from the præ-Christian and the extra-Christian world, actual phenomena, which can only be satisfactorily explained on the assumption that the Author of Christianity was a Being of sinless holiness, and which, if this assumption is rejected, remain entirely inexplicable? We answer this question in the affirmative; and shall endeavour, in what follows, to maintain our assertion.

In so doing, while we distinguish between the religious and moral element, we would not, in an argument which must naturally have respect to the very essence of the Christian character, be understood to do so in the sense of regarding either as constituting separate and isolated spheres within the domain of Christian life. On the contrary, it is in the perfect union of these two elements that we recognise not only a leading feature, but a leading excellence of Christianity. Nor do we only recognise, but shall very decidedly bring forward this property with reference to the sinlessness of its Founder. Nevertheless, the religious and moral elements admit of being distinguished the one from the other, just as man in his inward relation to God, may be distinguished from man in his external operations; and each presents a different aspect to our contemplation. We shall therefore, in the first place, consider them separately; and 83shall commence our observations by viewing the Christian life from its moral side, as that which is most perceptible and prominent.

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