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arming opposition by a timely jest. It was
this temper that involved Him in so many
embarrassments, and finally brought Him to
the Cross.

To Lucian this seemed the extremity of
folly, and he set in contrast the sanity of his
Demonax, an eclectic philosopher who ^ ideal
addicted himself to neither of the * ifleman:
dominant and antagonistic schools of his day
the Stoic and the Epicurean but appro-
priated the good of both, and regarded the
follies of men with an easy and amused
tolerance. 'He did not,' says his biographer,
' indulge in the irony of Socrates, but his con-

* The word translated ' jesting ' in Eph. v. 4.
t Diog. Laert. ii. 32.
I Marc. Antonin. i. 16 : cwc
The Historic Jesus 8


versations were full of Attic grace, insomuch
that, when those who had held intercourse
with him went away, they neither despised
him as vulgar nor fled from the churlishness
of his rebukes, but were transported by merri-
ment, and were far more orderly and cheerful,
and had good hope for the future. Never was
he seen crying aloud or straining unduly or
irritated, even when censure was needed ; but,
while he was down upon the sins, he had indul-
gence for the sinners, and thought it meet to
take example from the physicians, who, while
they heal the sicknesses, show no anger against
the sick ; for he deemed it the part of a god
or a godlike man to correct the error. . . . And
such aid had he from the Graces and Aphrodite
herself in doing and saying all this that, as the
comedy has it, " Persuasion sate ever on his
lips." '

In illustration of this quality in his hero

Lucian produces a collection of his bons mots

caustic criticisms, like his remark

his sanity,

on a futile disputation between two
philosophers, that * one of them was milking a
he-goat, and the other holding the pail ' ; or
shrewd precepts, like his answer to a newly-


appointed provincial governor who asked him
how he would govern best : ' Never lose your
temper; talk little; and hear much.' These
things make excellent reading, but it is not for
their own sake that Lucian quotes them. Their
use is to point the underlying contrast between
Jesus and His rival. They exemplify the wise
man's sanity. He was no ascetic, glorifying
poverty, privation, persecution. He appreciated
the good things of life, and held that if a man
were wise, he had the better right to enjoy
them. ' Do you eat sweet cakes ? ' he was
once asked. ' Yes,' he replied ; ' do you sup-
pose it is for the fools that the bees store their
honeycombs ? ' He had no fancy to play the
martyr needlessly. Once, when he was stepping
into the bath, he shrank back because the water
was too hot, and, being twitted with cowardice,
he retorted: 'Tell me, was it for my country
that I was going to suffer it ? ' And he made
no preposterous claims to superiority over the
great men of the past. ' Behold,' said Jesus,
'a greater than Solomon is here.'* But once,
when Demonax visited Olympia and the
magistrates proposed to erect a statue in his

* Matt. xii. 42.


honour, ' On no account, gentlemen,' said he.
'Do not reproach your ancestors for not
erecting a statue either of Socrates or of

* Such was the manner of his philosophy

meek, gentle, and blithe ' ; and the book closes

with a description of the peace of

his felicity. . r

his latter days and his passing hence
a charming picture in striking contrast to
the tragic close of the Gospel story. ' He
lived for nigh a hundred years without sick-
ness, without pain, never troublesome to any
nor beholden to any, serviceable to his friends,
never having made a single enemy. . . . Un-
bidden, he would sup and sleep in any house
he passed, the inhabitants accounting that it
was a visitation of God and a good divinity
had entered into their house.' And what did
Jesus say ? * The foxes have holes, and the
birds of the air have nests ; but the Son of
Man hath not where to lay His head.' * * He
was despised and rejected of men ; a man of
sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and as one
from whom men hide their face He was
despised, and we esteemed Him not.' t When

* Matt. viii. 20. t laa. liii. 8.


Demonax died the Athenians gave him a public
funeral and mourned him long ; and the stone
seat where he had been wont to rest, they wor-
shipped and wreathed with garlands ; and philo-
sophers carried him to his burial. But what of
Jesus ? * They plaited a crown of thorns, and
put it on His head, and a reed in His right
hand ; and they kneeled down before Him,
and mocked Him, saying, Hail, King of the
Jews ! And they spat upon Him, and took
the reed and smote Him on the head. And
when they had mocked Him, they took off
from Him the robe, and put on Him His
garments, and led Him away to crucify

There are the rival pictures, and the heart
of humanity has judged between Lucian and
the Evangelists. It has chosen the Man of
Sorrows, and has found in Him all its salva-
tion and all its desire.

'Is it not strange, the darkest hour
That ever dawn'd on sinful earth
Should touch the heart with softer power
For comfort, than an angel's mirth ? '

* Matt, xxvii. 29-31.


At the first, however, the Man of Sorrows
was an offence both to the Jew and to the
Greek ; and here once more it appears how
alien was the evangelic portraiture from the
ideal of that generation, how remote from its

We pass into a different and less wholesome

atmosphere when we turn to the consideration

of that other rival of the Evangelic

PMlOBtratua' .

Apoiionius Jesus Apollomus of Tyana. Side
by side with the literary movement
which had Lucian for its most distinguished
representative and which aimed at the suppres-
sion of superstition, another movement was in
progress during the second century. Its most
Neo-pytna- remarkable phase was the Neo-Pytha-
goreaniBm. goreanism which arose in the reign of
Augustus, and which essayed to revive the
philosophy of Pythagoras by infusing into it
the new life of Oriental theosophy. It is
interesting to recall how St. Justin Martyr
resorted to a teacher of this school in the
course of his long and fruitless search after
truth and happiness.*

* Dial. o. Tryph. 2.


Apollonius, the hero of the somewhat pon-
derous romance which the elder Philostratus
compiled from the memoranda of

T-V / -XT* i t Apolloniua,

Damis of Nineveh at the instance
of Julia Domna, the Syrian empress of Sep-
timius Severus, was a Neo-Pythagorean. The
story runs that he was born in the same year
as our Lord of an ancient and wealthy family
in the Cappadocian town of Tyana ; and his
birth, like our Lord's, was supernatural, since
he was an incarnation of the Egyptian deity,
the changeful Proteus. He studied a while
at Tarsus, contemporary with Saul the future
Apostle, and then betook himself to the neigh-
bouring town of Mgee, where he acquired a
knowledge of medicine in the school of the
temple of Asklepios, and embraced Pytha-
goreanism. On the death of his father he
divided his inheritance among his poorer rela-
tives and set out on his travels. He visited
India, and there conversed with the Brahmans
and was initiated into their magical lore. Then
he journeyed westward again, and visited
Greece, Egypt, Rome, and Spain, attended
everywhere by a band of disciples. Wherever
he went he wrought wonders and was revered


as a god. He settled eventually at Ephesus,
where St. John ministered contemporaneously,
and vanished from the earth at the age of nigh
a hundred years, still hale and fresh as a youth.

Philostratus no more than Lucian announces
his purpose of setting up a rival to Jesus, but
a rival of ^ was unmistakable and was at once
jesuB. perceived. About the year 305 there

appeared an anti-Christian work entitled the
Pkilalethes, now lost and known chiefly by the
replies which it elicited from Eusebius and
Lactantius. Its author was Hierocles, who as
a judge at Nicomedia distinguished himself
by his activity in Diocletian's persecution, and
in recognition of his zeal was promoted to the
governorship of Alexandria. The Philalethes
was an elaborate comparison of Jesus and
Apollonius and a demonstration of the latter's
superiority. And the extravagance was re-
peated by the English Deist, Charles Blount,
who in the year 1680 published a translation
of the first two books of the Life of Apollonius
with significant annotations.

Here is an instance of the method of this
covert attack upon our Lord. It is related
that during his sojourn at Rome Apollonius


encountered a funeral procession. A young
lady of rank had died, and her bridegroom
was attending her remains to the

Examples of

tomb with a numerous retinue of tne method :
mourners. Apollonius bade them set a) a resurrec-

j A u v j 4.1. tionatRome,

down the bier and, inquiring the
lady's name, took her hand, spoke into her
ear, and awoke her from the seeming death.
She uttered a cry and returned to her father's
house, like Alkestis restored to life by Herakles.
It is Damis, the Boswell of Apollonius, who
narrates the incident, and he adds : * Whether
it was that he had found a spark of the soul
in her which had escaped the notice of the
physicians for it is said that drops of rain fell
and she exhaled a vapour from her face or
that he had warmed the extinct soul and re-
covered it, is beyond the decision alike of me
and of the bystanders.' *

There is here plainly a reference to St. Luke's
story of the Raising of the Widow's Son at
Nain,f and the purpose is to suggest the un-
reality of our Lord's miracle, after the manner
of the rationalistic explanation of the 'raisings
from the dead ' as merely ' deliverances from
premature burial.'

* iv. 45. t Luke vii. 11-17.

The Historic Jesus 9


There is indeed much in the story of Apol-
lonius that is admirable and profitable. He
was a powerful preacher, and discoursed excel-
lently to the thronging multitude on mutual
service and public spirit,* wisdom, courage,
temperance,! and other goodly virtues. And
his accustomed formula of prayer is worth
remembering : * O ye gods, give me the things
that are due.'| But there is much also in the
story that is dark and horrible. It is told how
a pestilence had visited Ephesus, and the de-
spairing citizens summoned Apol-
demoniac lonius from Smyrna to succour them.
He assembled them, young and old,
in the theatre, and among them was an
aged beggar, ragged and foul, with blinking
eyes, carrying a wallet with a crust of bread
in it. Apollonius set him in the midst, and
bade the crowd gather stones and pelt the
enemy of the gods. They hesitated, thinking
it a cruel thing to kill a stranger in so miserable
a plight, and pitying the wretch's entreaties.
Apollonius, however, urged them on, and as
the first stones smote him, fire flashed from the

* iv. 3, 8. t iv. 81.

I i. 11 : i Qtol, So/i/re ftoi ra 6<(>ti\6ueva. Cf. iv. 40.


victim's eyes and the demon was revealed. He
was promptly despatched and covered by a
hillock of stones. * Take away the stones,' said
ApoUomus, 'and discover the wild beast you
have killed.' They obeyed, and, behold, the
old beggar had vanished, and in his place lay
the battered carcase of a hound, huge as the
hugest lion, its mouth a-foam like a mad dog's.*

Now we have seen what manner of ideals
sprang up and flourished in the

. . Argument for

imagination ot that generation ; and historicity of

i . . . ., -. the Gospels.

here is the question is it possible

to believe that the Evangelic Jesus is a growth

of the same rank soil ?

It is told that after the death of the Danish
sculptor Thorwaldsen his handiworks were con-
veyed from his studio at Rome to the museum
at Copenhagen, and soon after their arrival
there sprang up and bloomed in the courtyard
of the museum sweet plants unknown in that
northern clime. They were plainly no native
products. Whence had they come ? The
creations of the master had been swathed in

* iv. 10. Cf. Ev. Infant. Arab, xxxv, where Satan leaves
the child Judas in the form of a mad dog.


straw and grass which had grown on the Roman
Campagna, and when the packing-cases were
opened the seeds had been scattered and had
taken root. Presently the flowers appeared, and
there was no mistaking their alien origin.

And it is even so with the evangelic por-
traiture. It stands unique, unrivalled, sui
generis, amid the rank growths, the religious,
literary, and philosophic imaginations of the
second century, proclaiming itself no earth-
born dream but a heaven-sent revelation. This
is the evidence of its historicity the impossi-
bility of its imagination by the mind of that


' THEY dried up all my Jacob's wells ;
They broke the faithful shepherd's rod
They blurred the gracious miracles
Which are the signature of God.

'In trouble, then, and fear I sought
The Man who taught in Galilee,
And peace unto my soul was brought,
And all my faith came back to me.

'Oh times of weak and wavering faith
That labour pleas in His defence,
Ye only dim Him with your breath :
He is His own best evidence.'




IN the opening chapter of the Fourth Gospel,
which tells the story of the Messiah's manifes-
tation unto Israel at Bethany beyond

. . ... . The sight of

Jordan, it is written how Philip, in the Jesus c<m-

/> T vincingin

wonder and joy or his great discovery, the days of
sought out Nathanael and told him
the glad tidings. 'Him,' he cried, jerking it
out in disjointed eagerness, 'whom Moses in
the Law wrote of, and the Prophets, we have
found Jesus the son of Joseph the man
from Nazareth 1 ' Nathanael would not believe
it. Himself a Galilean, he knew the ignorance
of the northern province and the evil reputation
of that rude town. ' Out of Nazareth,' said he
disdainfully, ' can there be anything good ? '
Philip eschewed argument, preferring a surer


way. He answered simply : ' Come and see.
They went to Jesus, and presently Nathanael's
incredulity was conquered, and his heart leaped
up in adoring recognition. * Rabbi,' he cried,
* Thou art the Son of God, Thou art the King
of Israel ! '

And it was ever thus with those who ap-
proached Jesus in the days of His flesh. He
seldom asserted His claims; He never argued
them. He simply manifested Himself, and such
as had eyes to see and hearts to understand
hailed Him as their Lord. He was * His own
best evidence.'

Now if the evangelic portraiture be indeed

a faithful delineation of Jesus as He appeared

to His contemporaries, it should still

His por- ... .

traiture,if cast a spell upon those who ap-

authentic, . .

should be proach it with open eyes and un-
prejudiced minds. It should silence
their doubt and compel their faith. The trouble
is that it is difficult in these days to approach it
thus. It is so obscured by traditional interpre-
tations that we can hardly see it in its simple
reality, its native beauty. Suppose that the
Gospels had been lost in early times, and were
discovered among those papyri which are being


unearthed from the Egyptian sand ; or suppose
that, like the old shoemaker in Tolstoy's story,
Where Love is, there God is also, we had never
seen them, and chanced upon a copy of them
and read them for the first time: imagine the
surprise, the wonderment, the fascination which
would take possession of our minds. This ex-
perience is denied us ; yet it is possible to attain
it in some measure by resolutely dismissing the
preoccupations alike of faith and of unbelief and
contemplating without prejudice the picture
which the Evangelists have painted, and allow-
ing it to produce its inevitable impression upon
our minds. And this is the experiment which
we shall now essay. Let us survey the evan-
gelic portraiture of Jesus as it stands before us,
and consider what meets our eyes.

It is a singular picture, and the first peculiarity
which arrests our attention is this that it por-
trays a sinless man. The Evangelic Surveyofthe
Jesus is completely human, sharing JJJJJJ^.
all our common infirmities and restric- L A sinlees
tions. He suffers weariness, hunger man>
and thirst, and pain. His knowledge is limited,
and He confesses its limitations. Once He ap-

The Historic Jesus 10


preaches a barren fig-tree, expecting to find fruit
on it ; * and again He says : * Of that day or
that hour knoweth no one, not even the angels
in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. 't
And He is subject to temptation, being * in all
points tempted like as we are.'J Yet He is
never worsted in the moral conflict. He is ' in
all points tempted like as we are, yet without
sin.' He passes through the daily ordeal stain-
less and blameless. He is among sinners, yet
He is not of them.

The marvel of this representation is twofold.
On the one hand, Jesus claimed to be sinless.
He claims to Searched by a multitude of curious
and critical eyes, He issued His
confident challenge : * Which of you convicteth
me of sin ?' He often felt the pang of hunger,
but never the sting of remorse ; He was often
weary, but He was never burdened by guilt ; He
abounded in prayer, but in His prayers there
was no contrition, no confession, no cry for
pardon. Not only before the world but before
God He maintained His rectitude unfalteringly
to the last. With the shadow of death closing

* Mark zi. 13. t Mark xiii. 82.

J Heb. iv. 15. John viii. 46.


round Him, He could lift up His eyes to heaven
and say : * I have glorified Thee on the earth : I
have finished the work which Thou gavest Me
to do. ... And now come I to Thee.'*

This is a unique representation. A lively and
keen sense of sin is a constant characteristic of
the saints. It is related of Juan de Avila
(A.D. 1500-69) that, as he lay dying, the rector
of his college approached him and said : ' What
joy it must be to you to think of meeting the
Saviour ! ' * Ah ! ' said the saint, ' rather do I
tremble at the thought of my skis.' Such has
ever been the judgment of the saints upon
themselves ; but as for Jesus, no word of self-
condemnation ever passed His lips, no lamenta-
tion over indwelling corruption, no sigh for a
closer walk with God. It was not that He
closed His eyes to the presence of sin or made
light of its guilt. Renan, being asked what he
made of sin, answered airily : ' I suppress it ! '
but that was not the manner of Jesus. His
assertion of the equal heinousness of the sinful
thought and the sinful deed t has immeasurably
extended the sweep of the moral law and
infinitely elevated the standard of holiness. No

* John xvii. 4, 13. t Matt. v. 21-30.


soul has ever been so sensitive as His to the
taint of impurity ; no heart has ever been so
oppressed by the burden of the world's guilt.
His presence was a rebuke and an inspiration ;
and to this hour the very thought of Him has
the value of an external conscience. His spot-
less life is a revelation at once of the beauty
of holiness and of the hideousness of sin.

And not only does the Evangelic Jesus claim
to be sinless, but His claim was universally
ms claim allowed. It appears that the first to
challenge it was the philosopher
Celsus, who puts an indefinite charge in the
mouth of his imaginary Jew that Jesus 'did
not show Himself clear of all evils.'* His
enemies in the days of His flesh would fain have
found some fault in Him, and they searched
Him as with a lighted candle ; yet they dis-
covered only one offence which they might lay
to His charge ; and they did not perceive that it
was in truth a striking testimony to His perfect
holiness. They saw Him mingling freely with
social outcasts, conversing with them and going

* Orig., C. Cela. ii. 41 : trt 5' eyvaXct r 'Iqyov b Ke'Xo-oc &a
TOV 'lovSdtKOv irpoffutrov <&c p.i) Seilavrt iavrov iravruv i) KUKWV


to their houses and their tables ; and they ex-
claimed : This man receiveth sinners, and
eateth with them ! ' * It would have been no
surprise to those Scribes and Pharisees had He
associated with sinners, being Himself a sinner.
Their astonishment was that He should do this,
being Himself, apparently, so pure ; and their
outcry was a covert suggestion that, for all
His seeming holiness, He must be a sinner at
heart. The fault, however, lay not with Him
but with themselves. ' In judging the Lord for
receiving sinners,' says St. Gregory, * it was
because their heart was dry that they censured
Him, the Fountain of Mercy.' They did not
understand that true holiness is nothing else
than a great compassion. Such was the holiness
of Jesus, and it was a new thing on the earth,
an ideal which the human heart had never
conceived. The Pharisee was the Jewish ideal
of a holy man, and it is an evidence of the
historicity of the Evangelic Jesus that He is so
widely diverse from that ideal.

It is very significant that our Lord's claim to
sinlessness should have been thus allowed and
unwittingly attested by those who were bent

* Luke xv. 2.


upon disproving it. Bronson Alcott once said
to Carlyle that he could honestly use the words
of Jesus, * I and the Father are one.' * Yes,' was
the crushing rejoinder, * but Jesus got the world
to believe Him.'

Another arresting feature of the evangelic
portraiture is the claim which Jesus constantly
2. ma unique maa *e and persisted in to the last
relation j-j^ ff e S f 00( i i n a unique relation

alike toward God and toward man.

He identified Himself with God. ' Therefore

the Jews sought the more to kill Him, because

He said God was His peculiar (t<W)

toward Qod,

Father, making Himself equal to
God.' * ' He that receiveth you,' He says in
His charge to the Twelve, t ' receiveth Me, and
he that receiveth Me receiveth Him that sent
Me.' He sets Himself forth as greater than the
Prophets. They were ' slaves ' ; He is ' the Son,'
* the Heir.' J They had spoken of Him, and
seen His day afar off, and longed to see Him-
self ; and He announces Himself as the fulfil-
ment of their prophecies and the satisfaction of

* John v. 18. t Matt. x. 40.

} Matt. xxi. 34-38. Of. Heb. i. 2.


their desire.* ' Beginning from Moses and all
the Prophets, He interpreted unto them in all
the Scriptures the things concerning Him-
self.' t

Moreover, He claimed to be at once the
Saviour and the Judge of men. He had ' come
to give His life a ransom for many ' ; 1

, , toward men.

He bade the weary and heavy laden
come unto Him and find rest for their souls ;
and He spoke of a day when * the Son of Man
shall come in His glory and all the angels with
Him, and shall sit upon His throne of Glory,
and before Him shall be gathered all the
nations.' || How tremendous His demands on
His followers ! He points to the dearest,
tenderest, and most sacred of human relation-
ships, and claims for Himself a prior devotion.
' He that loveth father or mother more than
Me is not worthy of Me, and He that loveth
son or daughter more than Me is not worthy
of Me.' 1 * If any man cometh unto Me and
hateth not his own father, and mother, and
wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters,

* Matt. xiii. 16, 17. t Luke xxiv. 27.

t Matt. xx. 28. Matt. xi. 28, 29.

|| Matt. xxv. 31, 32. 1T Matt. x. 37.


yea and his own life also, he cannot be My
disciple.' *

It is not merely for God, nor yet merely for
the Kingdom of Heaven, that He makes these
stupendous claims : it is for Himself. Conceive
such language on the lips of a Galilean peasant I
On the lips of Socrates or Julius Caesar it would
have seemed the language of insanity, and would
have been greeted with ridicule and reprobation.
* If Christ,' says S. T. Coleridge, t ' had been a
mere man, it would have been ridiculous in him
to call himself " the Son of man " ; but being
God and man, it then became, in his own
assumption of it, a peculiar and mysterious title.
So, if Christ had been a mere man, his saying,

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