Charles F. (Charles Force) Deems.

Who was Jesus? online

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disciples worshipped him. But some hesitated. In the common

version it is said some " doubted " (Matt, xxviii. 17). But this

is not the meaning of the word. None doubted ,

° m Jesus reappears.

that this was Jesus. They all knew him, and had

all met at this time, on this mountain, at his appointment. But it

is most reasonable to suppose that among five hundred persons

there should be several who had the temperament of Thomas,

and were slow to worship. The historian, who was present, does

not say that all worshipped, but he does frankly state that " some


Jesus met these doubts as to his divinity with a vast claim.
lie approached the doubters and said, " All power is given to me
in heaven and on earth." lie claimed to be al-
mighty. These words could mean nothing else


to the listeners. They must believe that, or they
could never undertake the great work he was about to place in
their hands. This was the commission: " Go, make disciples of
all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: Teaching them to ob-
serve all things, whatever I have commanded you: And lo,
I am with you every day till the consummation of the present

Of this commission several things are to be noticed.

1. It was the last word of Jesus recorded by his biographers.
It was the commitment of his cause into the hands of his
friends. It is his last protest against churchli-
ness. There were the Seventy, who had had a ed won j'
special work to do, and had done it. There were
the Twelve, who were still to continue in that work of an itine-
rant proclamation of the gospel of the kingdom of Jesus. But
neither to the Seventy nor to the Twelve does Jesus giant any
corporate powers. What the Seventy had done, and what tho
Twelve had to do, all his disciples were authorized t do, wher-
ever their sphere ami whatever their condition in life. All these
five hundred might make disciples ami baptize them, and all

these, when made disciples, might ill their turn perform the same

offices lor others. No word or act of Jesus, before or after his
resurrection, can be fairly employed t Bustaiu the modern arti-
ficial distinction between "clergymen" and "laymen."

'1. JeSUS gives the name of Clod in the synonym of " The


Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit." lie believed that there is one

God. lie called himself the Son. lie claimed to be God in his

oneness with " The Father," in his omnipotence,

is concep o -^ j^ omll jp,. esellce an j j n ^jg eternal existence.

God. . ,..,.., , . ,

lie allowed his disciples to present to him the

worship proper to be rendered to Jehovah. His concept of

God was of a triunity. This is quite manifest. The mode of the
existence of this oneness and this threeness together he never dis-
cusses. God is the Father, God is the Son, God is the Holy
Spirit : The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is
God. But he does not say that there are three persons, or three
several forms of the exhibition of one person. He makes no dog-
matic statement. As this is not a theological treatise, but rather
a psychological essay, we have nothing to do with theological sci-
entific explanations. But the historical statement is that, in point
of fact, in the mind of Jesus the concept of God was that of a

As the Jews were "baptized unto Moses," and so incorporated
with that system of religion which is represented under the lie-
brew theocracy, the kingliness of the One Jehovah, so now the
disciples of Jesus are to be baptized unto " The Father, Son, and
Holy Spirit," and incorporated into that system of religion which
is represented by the triple concept of God as being Father and
Son and Spirit, the living lovingness of the One Jehovah.

3. Jesus removed all restrictions to the labors of his disciples,

such as are recorded in Matthew x. 5. His gospel is to be preached

to all nations. He has so succeeded in this that

All restrictions we are ima \ ) \ G to appreciate, even by an effort of

removed. . l , , , . .

the intellect, what a stupendous undertaking it

was. All other systems are suited to nationalities. They there-
fore intensified all the narrowness of race, and that narrowness
helped to perpetuate them. None did so more than the Jewish
church. To put Samaritans and Romans and Greeks and distant
barbarians on the same footing of spiritual privilege as the elect
Jewish race was an idea so wide that it had never before entered
the Jewish mind. Jesus believed that his system was as well adapt-
ed to one climate as another, and to one nation as another; to the
polytheistical Gentiles as to the monotheistic Jews; to the power-
ful Romans as to the weak Gauls ; to the cultivated Greeks as to
the rough savages in the forests of Germany.


It was an idea wholly original with Jesus. lie had no prece-
dent. He had no human authority for it. lie predicted that it
should be done. If he had simply delivered a
discourse, in which he had taught the desirable- ,. . umvers re "
ness of this universal religion, and that discourse
had been preserved, it would have rendered his fame immortal,
and have placed him far in advance of all the wisest and most
profound of human thinkers. Coming from an unlettered me-
chanic, raised in one of the meanest villages of the most narrow
and bigoted people on earth, the announcement would have been
a marvel of grandest thought. The more remarkable fact is, that
each succeeding century has brought his words nearer to a ful-
filment, and that none since his death has contributed so much to
their accomplishment as the present, a century full of hottest
political excitements, of vastest enterprises, of most material pro-
gress, and largest liberality of thought.

4. His latest words were a claim and a prediction. They were
a claim of perpetuity, of personal presence, and personal influence.
He should exist. He should be present with each
disciple in every part of the world, every day, ^ C t aim ^ *
until the present system of things shall meet the
cataclysm which shall inaugurate another ajon, another system of
things. All our new science demonstrates that the Great Creator
divides His biography into parts and into chapters. The whole
universe, so far as we have been able to read it, is falling forward.
Nothing in the past gives us much help towards ascertaining the
probable length of the present aeon; but everything we learn in-
creases the probability that some vast change shall come.

Everything that Jesus predicted has come to pass, except this,

and this is coming to pass. The present age promises that when

the last day of the system, of which thoughtful

. i r i n .i -ii i Remarkable ful-

mortals torm a part, shall arrive, thcie will be „

1 . . nlment.

disciples of Jesus engaged in his work, according

to this prediction. They are now more busy than ever. It is an
important series of facts that the books which contain the original
history of Jesus, the record of his acts and words, and the predic-
tions which he made, constitute the first volume which was set in
type and published at the invention of printing;-' that at this

• It was issued at Mentz, in Gtermany, I R* viral, says of this book : " Though a
in 1 r>0. MoCluie, in his TYandaton I first attempt, it is beautifully printed on



time there are several presses engaged on each of the continents
in printing nothing but that volume; that it is printed and
circulated in more languages and dialects than any other book O"
books considered by any criticism as sacred or profane;* that so
soon as a savage tribe is discovered its language is reduced to a
grammar, that there shall be translated into it the volume, the
central figure of which is Jesus ; that his name occurs more fre-
quently in song than that of any other man who ever lived, and
that the eighteenth century after that in which he lived has pro-
duced more books investigating his character and claims than all
the preceding centuries.

very fine paper, and with superior ink.
At least eighteen copies of this famous
edition are known to be in existence at
the present time. Twenty-five years
ago, one of them, printed on vellum,
was sold for five hundred and four
pounds sterling ! "

* The whole number of languages and
dialects into which the Holy Scriptures
have been translated is two hundred and
fifty-two. Of these, two hundred and
five are versions prepared since the ori-
gin of Bible Societies, at which time
the Scriptures had been translated into
only forty-seven different languages.
Bagster, in his Bible of Beery Land,
gives specimens of the Scriptures in
various languages and dialects, to the
number of about three hundred, includ-
ing those which have been printed in
different native characters.

It is supposed that within three years
after the publication of the Great Bible,
in 153&, no less than twenty-one thou-
sand copies were printed. Between
1524 and* 101 1, two hundred and sev-
enty-eight editions of Bibles or Testa-
ments in English were printed. In Kill,
10'2, and 1013, five editions of King
James's version were published, besides
separate editions of the New Testa-
ment ; and we have some slight clue to
the size of the editions in the fact, that
one person in England has recently col-

lated no less than seventy copies of the
issues of 1011 ; yet, after all, this wan
the day of small things.

Since the beginning of the present
century, the British and Foreign Bible
Society has issued over sixty-three mil-
lions of Bibles and Testaments ; the
American Bible Society has issued more
than twenty -seven millions of volumes ;
other Bible Societies, not far from
twenty millions; while private publish-
ers in Great Britain, the United States,
and elsewhere, have increased these is-
sues by scores of millions besides.

In speaking on this subject, Anderson,
in his Annate of the English Bible, says :
"The volumes of the Scriptures which
have already been printed cannot be
numbered. Hitherto we have num-
bered the editions only ; but this is now
impossible. No one can say exactly how
many editions even of the English Bible
have been published, much less inform
us how many copies."

The volumes of Holy Writ circulated
within the present century are greater
in number than all that were in the
world from Moses to Martin Luther,
and are more than double the entire
production of the press, from the print-
ing of the first Bible in 1450 to the era
of Bible Societies in 1804. (See Man-
ual of the American Bible Society.)



The Ascension.


There is but one other thing to record. They all returned to
Jerusalem. On the fortieth day after his resurrection, Jesus led
them out to the neighborhood of Bethany. There,
on some part of the Mount of Olives, they saw him
for the last time. He blessed them, and while in the act of pro-
nouncing his final benediction, he was parted from them. He
ascended in their sight. He passed into a cloud. The rapt
disciples stood gazing up into that part of the heavens where they
had last beheld their Lord. Suddenly two men in white apparel
stood beside the silent group, and one said, " Ye men of Galilee,
why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus,
which is taken from you into heaven, shall so come in like man-
ner as you have seen him taken into heaven."

The disciples returned to Jerusalem with great joy. They
believed that Jesus, who had departed, was still present, and their
sorrow was gone ; and they who, forty days before, were in the
darkness of despair, now continually praised God, and waited for
the further direction of Jesus. He had become to them the glory
of heaven and of earth.




Who is this Jesus ?

I have told his story as simply and as conscientiously as possi-
ble, and have honestly endeavored to apprehend and to repre-
sent the consciousness of Jesus at each moment of his career.
The work of the historian is completed. Each reader has now
the responsibility of saying who lie is. All agree that he was
man. The finest intellects of eighteen centuries have believed
that he was the greatest and best man that ever lived. All who
have so believed have become better men therefor. We have
seen that he never performed an act or spoke a word which would
have been unbecoming in the Creator of the Universe, if the
Creator should ever clothe Himself with human flesh. Millions
of men — kings, and poets, and historians, and philosophers, and
busy merchants, and rude mechanics, and purest women, and
simple children — have believed that he is God. And all who have
devoutly believed this, and lived by this as a truth, have become
exemplary for all that is beautiful in holiness.

"What is he who can so live and so die as to produce such intel-
lectual and moral results ?

Reader, you must answer


Chronology of the Birth of Jesus. — Pp. 26-37.

By an inadvertence which I seek to correct in this Appendix, a noto
was omitted in the proper place, giving full credit for my obligation tc
A New Harmony and Exposition of the Gospels, by James Strong,
LL.D. (published by Carlton

Online LibraryCharles F. (Charles Force) DeemsWho was Jesus? → online text (page 71 of 77)