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THE CHRIST THAT IS TO BE






t"



THE NEW YOr.K
PUBLIC LIBRARY



9162.9



ASTOR, LENOX AND

TILDEW FOUNDATIONS

R 1920 L,



Copyright, 1907,
By the MACMILLAN COMPANY,



Set up and electrotyped. Published September, 1907.



Nortooott ^reas

J. b, Oushlrs: Co. — Berwick & Smith Co.

Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.



PREFACE

This book is only a series of successive efforts
to think what the gospel of Jesus really is. Each
line of thought is unfinished, and there is very
much in what is said that in a mature work
would be more carefully guarded from miscon-
struction. These fragments are only published in
the hope that those who have greater opportunity
may find in them something to refine and
complete.



CONTENTS

BOOK I
HIS THOUGHTS AND OUR THOUGHTS

CHAPTER I

PAGE

Our Need of Reformation ..... 3

Jesus meant his salvation to become universal. If the race pro-
gresses, that which will be its final satisfaction cannot have been
fully comprehended at the beginning.

An era of higher spiritual and physical life would enable us to
accept the standard of Jesus. To this end a higher level of
corporate faith is needed.

We cannot yet see our way to accept his standard, but our sin lies
in our determination to walk by sight.

CHAPTER II
The Vital Age . . . . . . .15

The converts of the first age of the Church had only such reports

of Jesus as a fair consensus of opinion among New Testament

critics now gives us.
We may find in it more vital inspiration than in the doctrinal

systems which in intervening centuries have perhaps made the

personal character of Jesus more difficult of access.
If these systems be true for us, we shall, in finding Jesus, return to

them.
Rediscovering the personal Jesus in the first reports of his ministry,

we may aspire to fill this age with as great a comparative advance

of the Church as the first century exhibited.

vii



viii CONTENTS



CHAPTER III

PAGE

The Actions of Jesus ...... 20

If '* for this world the word of God is Christ " the words the Christ

spoke can only be part of his message.
By obedience to his words we shall be justified or condemned, but

it was by his works that he asked us to judge of him.
By his actions, whose significance does not depend on their being

miraculous, Jesus teaches the power of his presence, and that the

will of God is directed against suffering as against sin.

CHAPTER IV
Faith ......... 30

Faith is a true estimate of those qualities of personality which are

hidden from sense.
A man's faith depends, not only on his own qualities, but also on

the standard of corporate faith.
A man cannot measure his own faith or that of another.
The only test of faith is its result.



CHAPTER V
Corporate Faith ....... 44

The race is a corporate unity. The laws of corporate thought are
universal, and must govern the condition of the Church.

Church and world are alike affected by mental epidemics and popular
reform movements.

Therefore the Church can only be pure in the degree that she puri-
fies the world, be at peace as she pacifies the world, comprehend
truth as she teaches the world to comprehend it.

The degree of isolation proved desirable for any community does
not counteract the invisible influence of the world's thought
upon it.

CHAPTER VI
The Doctrine of Prayer ..... 56

Jesus sets forth his doctrine of prayer in his works.

He teaches a constant procession of life from God to the world.

This life gives physical and mental health, the knowledge of

forgiveness, and the desire to live and die for men.



CONTENTS ix



God's action is invariable : the reception of his gifts depends on
man's faith. A'lan need never be uncertain as to God's will j
it is in man's will that uncertainty is found, and God will never
coerce the wills of men.



CHAPTER VII

The Place of the Kingdom in the Struggle to

Survive ....... 70

As a unit, or a part of a limited corporate unit, man survives by
fighting and getting.

But the potentially universal unit, called by Jesus the kingdom of
heaven, can only be formed by men who cultivate the faculties
of loving and giving to the atrophy of hate and greed.

Until this unit becomes universal the individualism and party
spirit of the world will oppose it. Therefore the children of
the kingdom — the Church — will suffer persecution ; but it is
only as the suffering is incidental to loving and giving, and is
freed from all spirit of retaliation, that it goes to increase the
sway of the kingdom.

It is only by accepting this plan that the human race can survive in
a higher spiritual environment.



CHAPTER VIII

Salvation by Joy ....... 76

Suffering is incidental and temporary in the scheme of salvation that

Jesus taught ; joy is of its essence.
The Christian's suffering is that entailed by the opposition of the

world-spirit to love.
The Christian is never commanded to undergo suffering for the sake

of personal improvement.



95



X CONTENTS

BOOK II
THE FATHER'S HOUSE

CHAPTER I
The Conflict of the Physical and the Moral

With the growth of a sense of sin the early animal delight in mere
living vanished. We see in history that men who strove after
righteousness easily embraced physical evil as a means to that end.

But Jesus intended his salvation to end the opposition between
moral and physical welfare.

CHAPTER II

The Use of Sin . . . . . . .103

Sin is a schoolmaster driving men to God.

Because it exists we are bound to believe that it has its place in
God's purpose for man's development. But if we believe that
it is God's will that we should sin, we part with common sense
and all true religion.

CHAPTER III
The Use of Pain . . . . . . .108

Pain is a schoolmaster driving men to God.

But if we hold God responsible for pain in any other sense than
that in which he is responsible for sin, we part company with
common sense and the doctrine of Jesus.

If we believe that God deals punitive discipline to men we shall
do the same. As we are coming to see that the infliction of
suffering does not produce reformation, we shall be compelled
to dissociate it from the thought of God's will, and the war
against all suffering will become as sacred as the war against sin.

History shows that only those nations have progressed that have
distinguished between believing that God permits sin and believing
that he wills it.

We must now distinguish between the belief that God permits
suffering and the belief that it is God's will.



CONTENTS xi



CHAPTER IV

PAGE

Fatalism and Asceticism . . . . .119

The ascription of suffering to the will of God produces a fatalism
inconsistent with the true genius of Christianity.

It also produces an asceticism founded on the idea that the endur-
ance of suffering is to be sought as a means of mere personal
improvement ; whereas the only justification for self-denial, and
the ample field for effort, is the advance of the kingdom.

The essential difference between both fatalism and asceticism and
the doctrine of Jesus discussed.

CHAPTER V
Prophets and Apostles . . . . . .132

Prophets and apostles were men of their age, whose inspiration is
seen in their lives, and may be gauged by the life they implanted
in others.

If Jesus was in any sense divine, his interpretation of God could
not have been conditioned by the mind of his age.

The divine authority and infallibility of Jesus is an intuitive assur-
ance of the Christian, but may be buttressed by reason.

Thus ( I ) the unique joy which was the early effect of his message
to the world goes to prove that he is himself unique.

(2) So does the fact that his message was transmitted by men
obviously incapable of completely understanding it, in a form
which meets the needs of successive generations and enables Jesus
himself to be increasingly understood.

Many of our conclusions are based on the assumption that the life
and words of Jesus have only an inspiration which the inter-
pretations of his forerunners and followers also possess. We
need to revise such conclusions, for we do not now believe that
the writers of the Bible either possessed the insight of Jesus or
were mechanically inspired.



CHAPTER VI

Irreverent Eclecticism . . . . , .147

We do not use Scripture reverently if we base opinions on texts
contradicted in their context.

We find two contradictory theories running through the Old Testa-
ment and the Epistles concerning God's relation to physical evil.

The only consistent doctrine is in the words and acts of Jesus.



xii CONTENTS



CHAPTER VII

PAGE

Dreams of Justice . . . . . .152

We do not think laws just which condemn the innocent to suffer
with the guilty. But in life as we know it this must always be.

Thus our notion of ideal justice never appears to be even approxi-
mately realised in the world, and, further, the doctrine of Jesus
would seem to set it aside as negligible.

We must attribute justice to God, for without it there could not
be forgiveness, but we have no conception of what divine justice
may be, and therefore we cannot comprehend divine forgiveness
from the divine side.



BOOK III
GOD'S CITADEL ON EARTH

CHAPTER I

The Devil and his Angels . . . . .165

Jesus appears to express a belief in the existence of a separate Evil
Will, subordinate to God, immanent in man's sin and suffering.

The common argument that evil cannot be an active force because
that would involve an unthinkable dualism, is equally an argu-
ment against man's free will. Therefore, if we believe in free
will, it is not impossible to believe in the Evil One.

Whether Jesus, in speaking of the devil and demons, was using
words in their plain meaning, or speaking in a parable, we
cannot determine 5 if a parable, the truth set forth must have
been more, not less, terrible than the figure which conveyed it.

CHAPTER II
The Scorn of Superstition . . . .181

We think in this age we can finally distinguish truth from super-
stition ; but ancient thought often returns disguised as a newly
discovered truth.



CONTENTS xiii



PAGE

The ancient belief about disease-demons has suggestive points of
analogy with what we now know of intrusive disease-germs.
Although this does not afford any sufficient basis on which to
build the belief that diseases of the mind may be caused by the
intrusion of spiritual evil, it suffices to teach us that suspense
of judgment is the wiser attitude.

All things have their physical explanation, but that is not necessarily
an exhaustive explanation.

CHAPTER III
The permanent Need of ** Exorcism" . . .197

The characteristic of ** possession " is loss of self-control.

Mental compulsions with this characteristic have been common in

all times. This illustrated by mental epidemics and chronic

hysteria.
We are faced with these undefined evils, half physical, half moral,

before which the Church is helpless. Whatever be their cause,

the commission of Jesus clearly includes their cure.

CHAPTER IV

Mind and Disease . . . . . .215

Progressive medical thought tends more and more to recognise the

use of mind in curing the body.
It is now maintained that functional diseases may thus be cured,

but not organic. Further consideration leads to the belief that

this is not a final word in the matter.
The unity of nature points to the universal interaction of mind and

body.

CHAPTER V
Faith and the Doctors . . . . .226

The quarrel between the mind-healer and the doctor has no bearing

on the bodily salvation Jesus offers.
Jesus did not condemn any curative agent, and no good doctor can

condemn any genuine method of cure.

CHAPTER VI

The Will of God 232

Jesus taught that health was God's will, that it was an inevitable
consequence of the right faith.



xiv CONTENTS



PAGE

This truth has been neglected, but we can neglect it no longer
when the advance of knowledge, by many voices, is telling us
that body and mind are not two, but one, and that health is
essential to the complete saint.



CHAPTER VII
History of Health by Faith .... 245

The early Church healed the sick.

Later the heathen idea that sin had its root in the flesh, which had
already influenced Judaism, triumphed over the doctrine of Jesus
that sin was spiritual. Faith in the salvation of the body was
lost ; the physical nature was neglected j and the war between
science and religion was the result.

At the time of Jesus the corporate mind easily received the doctrine
of health by faith.

To-day the corporate mind has to recover this doctrine, and till it
does so the individual, save in exceptional cases, cannot rise to it.



CHAPTER VIII
The Balance of Nature ..... 256

When the growth of physical and spiritual power do not correspond,
man becomes ill-balanced.

A Church that persists in wailing that disease is the will of God is
no worthy successor of the apostles.

The only basis for the corporate faith that will bring us health is
the acknowledgment that God wills health for every man with-
out exception, just as he wills cleanliness and goodness.



CHAPTER IX
The Nature Marvels ...... 263

The "nature miracles" are quite inexplicable, but cannot be

dissociated from the historic Christ.
They point to a development of the earthly kingdom to be realised

by future ages.
Careful consideration suggests that they will be found not to be

miraculous.



CONTENTS XV



CHAPTER X

PAGE

The Conditions of Physical Power . . .274

Examination of the conditions required for the "miracles," especially
the * * nature miracles, ' ' shows they are closely allied to the direc-
tions for successful prayer given by Jesus.

These conditions include perfect amity, individual and corporate, with
all mankind.

We cannot fairly draw conclusions from experience of the results
of prayer offered under militant conditions, or judge the doctrine
of Jesus by that experience.



BOOK IV
HIS WAYS AND OUR WAYS

CHAPTER I
Fasting and Temptation . . . . .291

There is record of two world-wide hopes — one, of a Deliverer

who would perfect man's earthly conditions j another, of a

Saviour who would deliver man from earth.
Whether earth was to be glorified or spurned was a question that

divided religious thinkers when Jesus came.
After the experience of his desert fast he never wavered in his

effort to improve man's physical condition.
He gave no encouragement to the ascetic principle, but gives

perfect satisfaction to the hope of the ascetic.

CHAPTER II

The Protest of the Parable , . . .301

The Jews were not ignorant of the beliefs and ideas of other nations
at the Christian era. Jesus saw that the attention of the religious
world was then fixed on arguments and systems of worship.



xvi CONTENTS



PAGE

In choosing to teach men only by parables Jesus said, in effect —

it is the life, not the form that is essential.
Yet form, precise and beautiful, is necessary to a parable, though

no one particular form is necessary.

CHAPTER III
The Fighting Spirit . . . . . .312

The endeavour to abolish war must begin in our own hearts. We
must not love invective. We must overcome party spirit.
Energy is better than mere inertness, for Jesus requires strength
of purpose. His purpose will utilise all a man's energies. The
result will be greater individuality, for the law of love gives full
play to all our powers.

CHAPTER IV

The Sword and the Muckrake . . . .326

Must war always exist ? The change in public opinion within the
last thirty years suggests hope that it may not.

Must greed always exist ? The question of a reform of business
principles is beset with difficulties, but here again individual
effort to live the business life on the plan of Jesus must precede
any corporate reformation, and commercial history shows that
change in the corporate ideal is possible for business men.

CHAPTER V
The Protestantism of Jesus . . . . '335

Jesus taught that sins of the lower nature do not shut men out
from his salvation as do sins of the higher nature. Of these
he chiefly condemned the spiritual pride of men who held their
religious knowledge to be perfect and final.

As this is a permanent sin of the religious nature there must also
be a permanent protest of the reformer against existing religious
standards. This, in an ideal form, is found in the life of Jesus.

The abuses of Judaism in his time were very great, but Jesus only
protests against those evils already detected by the Jewish con-
science. He only treated with neglect doctrines and practices
which his positive teaching must eventually supersede.

This principle illustrated by contrasting Jesus and Luther.

By the prophecies of his unexpected return he taught that the
Church must be ready to welcome successive reformations.



CONTENTS xvii



CHAPTER VI



PAGE



The Power of His Death . . . . .349

In the midst of his gift of complete joy — spiritual, volitional, and
physical salvation — comes the death of Jesus, the supreme fact
of his ministry.

In his death he taught us an earthly thing — to endure all things
and forgive all things rather than break the law of love. We
have as yet only partly believed this, and can consequently only
receive glimpses of the heavenly things his death can teach.

It gave new reality to the hope of immortality 5 for to feel the life-
giving power of Jesus is to know that death could be for him
only transition, and the state where his will is more perfectly
realised must be the state in which our life will be perfected if
we attain to it.

The visions of his resurrection-life show that character and purpose
pass unchanged through death. How shall we become fitted in
this life to survive in the environment of his fuller presence ?

He teaches that his own shall ever share his joy, but the manner
of his death precludes any doctrine of easy and universal bliss.

Concerning the lost, Jesus teaches that God suffers with all who
fail, and is always as kind to the evil as to the good.

The only salvation he offers us is the offer of himself — his own
character. How many of us can perceive its beauty ? how many
approximate to it ?

We do not yet know what divine justice and forgiveness are, hence
we cannot know what atonement for sin means. Yet we know
that it is the vision of the dying Christ, conquering sin and
death by love, that upUfts the sinner.

Human reason fails to hear what God says to us in the Crucifixion.
The Church strives to hear and to interpret. This must ever be
her function ; but until she has brought the world to be at one
with her and with Jesus she will not perfectly understand.



Appendix A . . . . . . . . 375

Appendix B . . . . ... . '376

Appendix C . . , , . , , • 37^

Appendix D. . , . . . . ,381



BOOK I
HIS THOUGHTS AND OUR THOUGHTS



CHAPTER I

OUR NEED OF REFORMATION

It is now admitted by New Testament scholars
that those words of Jesus which appear to treat of
the society he founded as partial in extent, and
suggest that the kingdom of heaven would include
but a few out of the many, refer only to the period
of the kingdom's growth. From the general
tenor of his teaching and outlook we gather
that he thought, not only that he was providing
a salvation for the whole world, but that his sal-
vation must ultimately pervade the whole world ;
and further, that the principles of conduct he laid
down, the character he exemplified, and the faith
he revealed, if closely wrought into the lives of
his followers would most quickly and effectually
accomplish, not only their own enfranchisement,
but the enfranchisement of the race.

Meantime, the reception and transmission of his
message of deliverance did not depend upon its being
perfectly comprehended; and the great proof we
have of the truth of the earliest traditions concerning
him is that his followers passed on an ideal which
they only imperfectly understood. There can be

3



4 HIS THOUGHTS AND OURS book i

little doubt that his figure of coming in the clouds
with power and great glory meant to him the world-
wide acceptance of his ideals, which he rightly
judged to be so far above the ideals of the time
that ages would be required for their perfect com-
prehension by human thought. This is reason-
able; he could not be the Christ of all time were
it possible for any passing generation to understand
more than a portion of his ideal. We are com-
pelled, indeed, to choose between the standard of
a past age, which must decrease, as all its preachers
must, in the evolution of life and thought, and the
God-like standard of a Christ who, because he
must continually increase, must in every progres-
sive generation be imperfectly, but less imperfectly,
understood. But a teacher imperfectly understood
may be obeyed, and the first question of any who
would understand his doctrine must be concerning
the doing of his will.

Jesus came to a suffering and vicious world,
and proclaimed a God who required from every
man, whatever his heredity, whatever his
circumstance, not only the righteousness then
acknowledged, but a far more vigorous, more
perfect life; a goodness, not only in action but in
imagination, in desire and motive, in every chance
thought; an earnest purpose of love multiplied by
every possible opportunity of doing good.

Such a God asks the impossible. Good men
on all sides, then and ever since, have arisen to
welcome the beautiful ideal and explain that it was
meant to be impossible, — a star for moths to de-
sire, a morrow which humanity would never see,



CH. I OUR NEED OF REFORMATION 5

demanded of man by God only in order that his
creature might constantly strain himself here in
attempting what he could not perform, to the end
that he might be a little bigger and a little better
hereafter. And for nineteen centuries we have
been learning more and more clearly that man,
here and now, is, and since we have any history of
him always has been, so hampered by the imperfec-
tions of body and brain, the taint of his fathers'
fathers, the accidents of his infancy and the
limitations of his age, as to be quite unable to
fulfil the law of Christ in any rounded and adequate
way. Our Christian teachers drew a kindly line
between deadly and venial sin, until the psycho-
logists and physiologists told us that some of the
so-called deadly sins are those for which men are
least responsible; and now we are taught to
distinguish between infirmities which must take a
lifetime to spend their force and thus diminish,
and faults which can be, and therefore ought to
be, swiftly cured. More and more we learn that,
so far from the doom on children's children being
arbitrary, it is inevitable, so inevitable that the
man of science and the moralist are at variance
concerning the cause and nature and cure of crime.
But Jesus taught that the demand of God for
righteousness was inexorable. We go back to the
historic Christ, and we find that he who was more
tender over human frailty than any other showed
no recognition of disciples who refused to follow
where he led. Even after making every allowance
for the figurative nature of our Lord's sayings, we
all admit that he made the most stringent demands



6 HIS THOUGHTS AND OURS book i

for earnestness of purpose, an earnestness of which
the average man is physically incapable; for a
degree of self-devotion which most men's minds are
unable to admire, much less acquire; for love of
which most men cannot conceive, let alone feel.
And we are told that he said, " Every one that
heareth these sayings of mine and doeth them
not, shall be likened to a foolish man who built his
house upon the sand . . . and it fell, and great
was the fall of it."

Truly, indeed, great is the fall ! When we
examine the boasted civilisation of Christendom
with the searchlight of the precepts of Jesus Christ,
we see only broken walls upon the sands of com-
promise. If our faith in social evolution is
strengthened by the testimony of all history that
to-day's civilisation is on the whole better than
anything the world has yet seen, we must still
admit that it is not Christian, that it is perhaps
finding its most startling development in a nation
not even nominally Christian. We cannot for one
moment suppose that our institutions, or the aver-
age life of the nominal Christian, are so planned
that our house can be said to be built upon the
rock of obedience to the sayings of Christ.

There are three objections urged against the prac-
tice of Christ's precepts, — that they are meant only
to inculcate an inward temper of heart ; that they are
meant only for a certain class ; and that they are for



Online LibraryL. (Lily) DougallThe Christ that is to be → online text (page 1 of 25)