Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Parish Papers by Norman Macleod

Part 1 out of 5

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.5 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.





One of Her Majesty's Chaplains for Scotland;







As Their Pastor.



1. What is Christianity?
2. Who was Jesus Christ?
3. What can we Believe if we do not thus Believe in Jesus?
4. What if Christianity is not True?

1. The Judge
2. Who are to be Judged?
3. "The Books shall be Opened,"
4. Results of Judgment

1. Our Physical Life in Heaven
2. Our Intellectual Life
3. Our Devotional Life
4. Our Social Life
6. Our Active Life





1. Their Need
2. Objections to Revivals






Advices on Entering a New Year





This question refers to a matter of fact. I do not ask whether the
Christian religion is true, but only, What is the Christian religion?
What is that religion which has existed for eighteen centuries; which
is professed by Christendom; and which has been more precious than
life itself to millions who have died in its faith, and is so still to
millions who possess it as their peace and joy?

But how are we to obtain a satisfactory reply to this question? Are
we to examine the opinions of all the various "churches," "sects," or
"bodies," professing Christianity, in order to determine what it is
they profess? If we adopted such a process of investigation as this,
I believe we would reach, by a longer road, the very same point which
may be reached by a shorter and more satisfactory process.

For I suppose it will be admitted that the Christian religion is what
Jesus Christ and His apostles taught, and that we may rely upon the
information conveyed to us in the New Testament as to the sum and
substance of that teaching.

I do not even insist, as essential to my argument, upon the
inspiration of Scripture, according to any theory whatever of that
doctrine; but assume only that we have in the New Testament a true
account of the teaching of Jesus Christ and His apostles, and that
we are able, therefore, to ascertain from its pages what their
Christianity was _as an historical fact_, with as much certainty,
surely, as we can learn from the Koran what Mohammedanism was as
taught by Mohammed, or from any work of philosophy what were the
opinions of its author.

Now, if we read the New Testament with ordinary attention, we must,
I think, be struck by one feature which is repeated in almost every
page, and is manifestly the all-pervading spirit and life of its
teaching,--that is, the peculiar place which Christ occupies in
relation to all other persons mentioned there. This person, Jesus
Christ, whoever He was, stands out prominently before every other
_teacher_ of Christian truth. The apostles speak of _Him_, point to
Him, plead for Him, labour for Him. He is not the greatest Teacher
merely among themselves, but the _only_ Teacher, and they but His
scholars, who glory in having nothing of their own to impart, and in
being ministers, "stewards," only of what they have received from Him
their Master. The subject of all their preaching is this Person--not a
system of morality, or doctrines, or truths, apart from, but embodied
in Him who was _the_ Truth and _the_ Life--Jesus Christ. The text of
all their teaching is, "God forbid that we should know anything among
you save Jesus Christ." In order to see this, take up any epistle, and
mark how often the name of Jesus Christ appears as the ever-present
thought, the centre of every idea.

Again, consider how this Person is inseparably connected with every
motive, every duty, every joy and hope of the Christian as he is
described in the New Testament. Christian love is there, not love
merely in the abstract, (if such is in any case possible,) but love to
Jesus Christ, and to all men because "in Christ" The grand question
proposed is, "Lovest thou ME?" Christian obedience is not obedience
merely to a code of moral precepts, but to Jesus Christ and "_His_
commandments." Christian faith is not faith in "mysteries," or things
unseen, or truths revealed, though such faith may be Christian, but
its essence is faith in Jesus Christ the living Person; the supreme
command being, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ." The Christian's
hope is "hope in Christ;" his joy, "joy in Christ;" his peace, "peace
in Christ;" his labour, "labour in Christ;" his strength, "strength in
Christ;" his life, "life in Christ;" his death, "death in Christ;" his
immortality, "rising in Christ;" his salvation, "salvation through
Christ;" and his heaven, "to be with Christ!" On the other hand, all
that is evil and disastrous to the soul is summed up in being "without
Christ." To reject Christ, not to believe in Christ, to be enemies of
Christ, to despise Christ, to be ignorant of Christ, to lose Christ,
to be commanded at the last to depart from Christ--these are the
characteristics of the wicked and lost: for "there is no other name
given among men whereby man can be saved than the name of Jesus

You will observe that I am not at present discussing what Christ has
done for us, but what, as a matter of fact, Jesus Christ claimed from
us and from all men, and recognised to be the religion which He came
to establish upon earth. I repeat it, therefore, that whether these
claims were founded on fact or fiction, whether the religion which He
taught was true or false, in accordance with, or opposed to, the will
of God, that nevertheless its sum and substance is _supreme love to
Jesus Christ_.

Now, if this, or anything even approaching to this, is true, my reader
will, I am sure, acknowledge that it is not possible to separate
Christ from the Christianity of the New Testament. The person and the
"religion" become, in fact, identical--so far at least that both must
be received or rejected. That a code of morals may be extracted from
the New Testament, and Jesus himself, as its centre, be put aside, is
quite possible; or that the character of Jesus may be recognised as
a perfect example of what He taught, a living embodiment of His
"beautiful precepts," is also possible, without recognising His claim
to the supreme love and unlimited obedience of every human being; but
the question still remains, whether this "philosophic" or "rational"
system--_this_ Christianity is really the Christianity taught by
Christ, or by Peter, Paul, and John? I do not argue as to which
"religion," "system," or "Christianity" is the best, but ask only a
question of fact, Which do you candidly believe to be the Christianity
of the New Testament? If you hesitate ere you reply to this question
of historical fact, open again the New Testament, with a manly
resolution to examine it, and obtain information, and ask its
pages, _What is Christianity?_ Read even such passages as the
following:--John x., xiv., and xv.; Acts. first four chapters; the
Epistles to the Ephesians and Philippians--portions of Scripture which
may be read almost in an hour or two. You do not require to master the
whole world of truth which is there revealed, but only to notice the
_Sun_ of that world; and say, is it not faith in Jesus, love to Jesus,
obedience to Jesus as to no one else in the universe except to God

I at once frankly express my earnest conviction that this, if true,
involves the truth of what are recognised to be the other "peculiar"
doctrines or facts of Christianity--such as the divine, as well as
holy and perfect character of the Person so loved;--His atoning work,
as the grandest expression of His love to us, and that which most
of all kindles love in us to Him;--the teaching of the Holy Spirit,
through whom alone we, who are spiritually blind, can so perceive the
spiritual character and glory of Jesus as to admire and love Him;--and
prayer, by which we can hold actual, personal intercourse with, and
thus come to know and love Jesus more and more from experience: these,
I say, and other doctrines appear to me to be involved in the very
idea that Christianity is supreme love to Jesus Christ. But I shall
not consider any of them except one, the first and all-important, the
very pillar and ground of the truth--viz., the divinity of Christ's
Person. Let us therefore inquire--



A more important question cannot be proposed for our consideration!
Who is this, I ask with absorbing interest, whom I am commanded
to honour as I honour the living God? Who is this who claims my
unreserved faith, my unlimited obedience, my devoted love? Who is this
who promises to pardon my sins through faith in His blood; to purify
and perfect my nature through faith in His power? Who is this in whom
I am to abide in life; into whose hands I am to commit my spirit, and
the spirits of all who are dear to me, in the hour of death; whose
voice is to call me forth from the grave when He comes again, and who
is finally to judge me, and to determine my eternal condition?

That Jesus Christ _does_ make those claims upon us, and those promises
to us, is certain; and it is equally certain that they have been, and
are, joyfully acquiesced in by the Christian Church. The question,
then, which I have proposed for your consideration, is confessedly one
of equal importance with the truth of Christianity. We cannot, with
sincerity and intelligence, profess a willingness to examine into the
nature of the Christian religion, much less profess faith in it, and
yet reject the consideration of the question regarding the Person of
Jesus Christ as being unimportant or unnecessary.

But before proceeding further in this inquiry, let me remind you, and
be myself reminded, of the moral importance of _truthfulness_. I do
not allude to the truthfulness which despises all hypocrisy in _word_,
and seeks to maintain with sacred care an exact harmony between what
is believed in the heart, and confessed with the lip; or which boasts,
perhaps, of the honesty that never conceals a creed, however offensive
its doctrines may be to others. Let us not undervalue this kind of
honesty when real. But, alas! how often is it only apparent, while
the real feeling is selfish vanity craving notoriety, or moral
indifference which is insensible to the pain of either the existence
or confession of unbelief. And thus where that truthfulness of
character exists, which cannot give to others a false impression
of what is really believed, how often is there wanting the kind of
truthfulness, so much rarer and more difficult to attain, so much
nobler and more important to possess, which seeks to harmonise not
only profession with belief, but belief with truth itself. For it is
in the innermost sanctuary of the spirit, into which no human eye
can penetrate, and where truth, as a holy messenger sent from God,
presents herself, seeking for admission to dwell there, and take
possession of the soul's temple for ever,--it is _there_ that the
reality of a man's truthfulness, sincerity, and honesty must be tried
and decided upon by the all-seeing Judge, who can alone search the
heart. How do we deal there with what claims to be truth? With what
spirit do we listen to her voice? With what care do we examine her
credentials? These are questions settled in the secret of our own
personal experience; and just as the process of investigation is
conducted before the eye of conscience, can it be determined whether
or not we are really honest. But as sure as there is in us a genuine
truthfulness of spirit, it will, by a divine instinct, recognise truth
when revealed. Like a string rightly tuned by God, the truthful soul
will strike an harmonious chord with the note of truth wherever it
sounds. The "single" eye will perceive the light from whatever quarter
it shines. When, therefore, I ask my readers to consider, with
sincerity and honesty, the teaching of the Scriptures regarding the
Person of Jesus Christ, I crave from them that _kind_ of honesty which
is evidenced by the whole tone and spirit with which they deal with
what _professes_ to come from God, and what, therefore, claims their
faith because it is true, and their love because it is good.

I. _Consider this question in the light of His own teaching._ By this
I mean, read the Gospels, and from all Jesus said regarding Himself,
say what impression did He intend to convey as to His own person.
Remember I am not asserting the _truth_ of His claims, but proposing
merely to inquire into what His claims as a matter of fact were, in so
far as we may fairly gather these from His own words. Nor do I dispute
the possibility of giving a different meaning to His words, for I
know, and most gladly acquiesce in the righteousness of the fact, that
revelation is not demonstration, which necessarily overcomes even
the truth-hater, but such evidence as by its nature may satisfy the
truth-seeker. The criticism which is essential for our inquiry is that
which will _receive_, and not _give_ a meaning. With such a principle,
let the readers peruse any one Gospel--especially the Gospel of St
John--and in the presence of God say, Was it the intention of Jesus
himself to teach that He was human only, or that He was divine also?

Now, to illustrate what I mean, and to aid the reader to follow out
this first branch of Scripture evidence for himself, let us look, for
example, at the Sermon on the Mount. This wonderful portion of our
Lord's teaching is most frequently referred to by those who profess
to admire the precepts of the gospel, but not its "doctrines," and to
accept of Jesus as a teacher of morality, though rejecting Himself as
divine. Yet is it possible to hear that sermon even without perceiving
a consciousness on the part of the speaker of an authority, a power,
a dignity, which, belonged to no mere creature? This is not so much
brought forward in distinct doctrinal statements, but is _assumed_
by Him, as that which gave to fact and doctrine all the additional
authority which could be afforded by the lips of one who had come from
God. Consider such words, for instance, as the following:--"Not every
one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of
heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in
thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done
many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew
you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Marvellous words indeed!
Who is this, we naturally ask after hearing them, who at the general
judgment is to be addressed by "many?" How should _He_ be thought of
at all amidst the awful solemnities of that day, and be singled out
and appealed to as one of such authority and power? Who is this that
is addressed as "Lord, Lord?" What "name" is this in which many
prophesied, and by which many were able to cast out devils, and to do
marvellous works? Who is this that utters the sentence, "Depart from
_me_?" and who is He that such a sentence should be an object of
dread, yea, the very climax of human woe? He who uttered these words
was a poor man indeed, a Jewish artisan, at that moment seated on a
grassy hill surrounded by many as poor and unknown as Himself! But did
He wish to give the impression that He was nothing more? "The
people were astonished at His doctrine, for He taught as one having
authority, and not as the scribes." No wonder! For what scribe--what
teacher--what apostle--what mere man who ever lived had authority to
utter such words as those we have just read! (Read also in connexion
with this, Matt. xxv. 31-46.)

Almost every chapter in the Gospels contains similar assumptions,
on the part of Jesus, of a dignity which was divine. Think of the
following assertions from the Gospel of John, every portion of which
is irradiated by the glory of His person:--"The Father loveth the Son,
and hath _given all things into his hand_. He that believeth on the
Son hath everlasting life: and _he that believeth not the Son shall
not see life_; but the wrath of God abideth on him." "For as the
Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so _the Son
quickeneth whom he will_. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath
committed all judgment unto the Son: _that all men should honour the
Son, even as they honour the Father_. He that honoureth not the Son
honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. Verily, verily, I say
unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me,
hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is
passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour
is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the _voice of the Son
of God; and they that hear shall live_." "Philip saith unto him, Lord,
shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I
been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he
_that hath seen me hath seen the Father_; and how sayest thou then,
Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and
the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of
myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works."
"Howbeit, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you
into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he
shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
_He shall glorify me_; for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it
unto you. _All things that the Father hath are mine_; therefore said
I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you." "These
words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father,
the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:
as thou hast _given him power over all flesh, that he should give
eternal life to as many as thou hast given him._ And this is life
eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, _and Jesus
Christ_, whom thou hast sent."

Again I ask, What impression regarding His own dignity were such words
as these intended to convey Consider them, and give an answer to God.

2. _Consider Christ's Person as it was seen by His enemies and
friends._ Now, I bid you observe how both received from His words the
very impression which I assume He intended to convey by them.

His _enemies_ did so, and alleged that He claimed to be Divine in the
strictest sense of that word; accordingly they attempted to stone
Him, and in the end put Him to death on the very ground that He was
a _blasphemer_. "Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty
years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily,
verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM." "I and my Father
are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus
answered them. Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for
which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying,
For a good work we stone thee not, but for blasphemy; and _because
that thou, being a man, makest thyself God_." "If I do not the works
of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me,
believe the works; that ye may know and believe that the Father is
in me, and I in him. Therefore they sought again to take him: but he
escaped out of their hand." "The Jews answered him, We have a law,
and by our law he ought to die,[A] because he made himself the Son of
God." "And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou
nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? But Jesus held
his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure
thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ,
the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless,
I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the
right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high
priest rent his clothes, saying. _He hath spoken blasphemy_; what
further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his
blasphemy. What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of
death. Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others
smote him with the palms of their hands."

[Footnote A: "And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall
surely be put, to death, and all the congregation shall certainly
stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when
he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death."--LEV.
xxiv. 16.]

Nor did the _friends_ of Jesus endeavour to undeceive His accusers.
They did not say, "You have misunderstood His meaning! He is not
guilty of such blasphemy! He is a man like us, and does not claim to
be one with God, as you understand Him to do." Instead of this, they
too recognised His claims as divine, and worshipped, loved, served,
and preached Him accordingly. I will return to this part of the
subject afterwards. I remind only the reader of it in passing.

But before the force of such teaching as this of our Lord's can in any
degree be appreciated, two things should be borne in mind: one is, the
previous training of the Jewish nation with reference to the being and
character of God; and the other is, the moral character of Jesus.

As to the first of those points, remember only how, from the very
beginning, God had revealed _Himself_--that men might know the One
living and true God; and worship and serve Him alone with heart, soul,
and strength. This was the lesson of all lessons. This was the mighty
theme of all God's teaching and training of His people, from Adam to
Christ, by patriarchs, kings, and prophets; by national blessings and
national judgments; by captivities and restorations. On the other
hand, the sin of all sins was idolatry; rot the bowing down to stocks
or stones merely, but the giving, in any degree, that glory to another
which belonged exclusively to the One living and true God. Had not
their whole history been determined by their adherence to God, or
their falling away to idolatry? Enter, then, into the Jewish mind with
reference to this training, think how hallowed God's name was above
every other name--how enshrined it was in the very holy of holies of
the national faith, and how it had become so only after a discipline
of much suffering, prolonged through many centuries, until at last
idolatry had been banished on the return from Babylon;--think! of this
while you read those utterances I have quoted of a Jew to Jews. Do you
wonder that they called Him a blasphemer? for so, indeed, He certainly
was unless He was Divine.

But could such a one have been a blasphemer? Was it morally possible
that He could have uttered what He did about Himself, unless it was
true? To establish His high claims, it might be sufficient to appeal
to His miracles, and assert that no such works of power and love could
have been done but by one who verily had God with him; as He himself
said,--"Believe me for the very works' sake. If I do not the works of
my Father, believe me not." Or I might appeal to the witness God gave
to His Son at His baptism, on the Mount of Transfiguration, and, above
all, when He raised Him from the dead, and thereby declared "Him to be
the Son of God with power." But, putting aside all this evidence, I
ask you to contemplate _the moral character of Jesus_, and say, Is
it not as impossible that such a person could have spoken untruly or
blasphemously regarding God, as that God himself can be aught else
than true and holy? Do not let us evade this awful question of
Christ's character--He was an impostor unless he was Divine! Either
Christ never uttered those things regarding Himself which are here
recorded, and so the history which we have assumed as true is false
in fact; or, having uttered them, He spoke falsehood, and was a
blasphemer, or spoke the truth, and was Divine. To deny the Divinity
of His Person is to deny the truth of His character.

If any man replies that those sayings of Christ _may_ be interpreted
differently, then I ask, What impression did Christ _intend_ to give?
If He was a mere creature, how could He have used language to which it
was _possible_ to give such an interpretation as would imply Divinity?
Only imagine any other man on earth daring so to speak that his
language could, with difficulty be interpreted as not necessarily
implying his assumption of Divine attributes! But Jesus certainly did
so speak, and did give this impression to friend and foe; and He
has left the same impression, in the form of a living faith, more
indelibly on the mind of the Church than if it were engraven with a
pen of iron on the rock for ever. If this impression is blasphemy. He
himself, and none else, is to blame for having given it to the world.

3. Consider Christ's Person as it was seen _by the apostles_. What did
_they_ believe regarding Him? Yea or nay, did they recognise Him as

While quoting from their writings, I beg my readers to keep in mind
the previous education of these remarkable men, in what may be termed
the grand fundamental principle of the Mosaic legislation,--viz., the
worship of the one living and true God.

But, remembering this, let us hear some of the things said by the
apostles about Jesus of Nazareth.

We shall begin with _Paul_. His education was, if I may so speak,
intensely Jewish. He was "a Hebrew of the Hebrews." "After the
strictest sect of his religion, he lived a Pharisee." So devoted was
he to "the religion of his fathers," so entirely one in his views of
Christianity with the priesthood and men of authority, both civil and
ecclesiastical, in Judea, that he thus describes his feelings with
reference to Jesus:--

"I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary
to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Which thing I also did in Jerusalem:
and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received
authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death,
I gave my voice against them. And I punished them oft in every
synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and, being exceedingly mad
against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities," (Acts xxvi.

Paul had never seen Jesus while He lived on earth; yet suddenly, and
to the utter astonishment of friends and foes, he becomes a believer
in His name, and ever after, for thirty years, until his death,
preaches that name as the only one given whereby men can be saved.
Now, what did Paul say of the dignity of this Person? A full reply to
this question can be given only by reading his epistles, and there
seeing how saturated they are with the Divine Presence of Jesus in
every thought, every doctrine, every command, and every hope; and how
His name occupies a place which that of no mere creature could occupy
without manifest blasphemy; and how his own past, present, and future
were seen by him in the light of Christ, without whom he would have
been most miserable. But a very few passages, out of many, may be
selected from two or three of his shortest letters, to illustrate his
teaching. In writing to the Philippians, he says:--

"Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal
with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the
form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being
found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient
unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath
highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven,
and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue
should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the
Father," (Phil. ii. 6-11.)

To the Colossians he writes:--

"Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be
partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who hath,
delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into
the kingdom of his dear Son; in whom we have redemption through his
blood, even the forgiveness of sins: who is the image of the invisible
God, the first-born of every creature: _for by him were all things
created_ that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and
invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities,
or powers; _all things were created by him, and for him_: and he is
before all things, and _by him all things consist_: and he is the head
of the body, the church; who is the beginning, the first-born from
the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence: for it
pleased the Father, that in him should all fulness dwell: and (having
made peace through the blood of his cross) by him to reconcile all
things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth,
or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated, and
enemies in your minds by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy, and
unblameable, and unreproveable in his sight," (Col. i. 12-22.)

Once more, when addressing _Hebrews_, he says:--

"God, who at sundry times, and in divers manners, spake in time past
unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto
us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, _by whom
also he made the worlds_; who, being the brightness of his glory, and
the express image of his person, and _upholding all things by the word
of his power_, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the
right hand of the Majesty on high; being made so much better than the
angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than
they," (Heb. i. 1-4.)

Could Paul, I ask, have written in such language as this, or anything
approaching to this, unless he _believed_ Christ to have been divine,
in the fullest sense of that word? But believing this with all his
heart, his whole life and preaching were consistent with such a
belief. He preached Jesus as the Person whom all men were to love and
obey as God, confide and rejoice in as in God, and to whom they were
to commit themselves, both soul and body, for time and for eternity,
as to God. What he wished others to do, he himself did. For what was
the source and strength of his life? "The life I live in the flesh, I
live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for
me." "I live; yet not I, Christ lives in me." "I can do all things
through Christ that strengtheneth me." What was the one object of his
holy ambition? "That I may win Christ." What was his heaven? "To be
with Christ." And after thirty years passed in His service, and after
having endured such sufferings as never fell to the lot of one man, so
far from uttering the language of disappointment or regret, as of one
whose early convictions had not stood the test of experience, but had
failed to sustain him when most needed, he thus writes, with calm
confidence and perfect peace, in his old age, and from a prison, to
his dear friend and follower Timothy:--

"For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not
ashamed; for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is
able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."
"Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ
Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses,
the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach
others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of
Jesus Christ." "But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do
the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. For I am
now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I
have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the
faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness,
which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day; and
not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." "At
my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray
God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord
stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be
fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered
out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me from every
evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom
be glory for ever and ever. Amen," (2 Tim. i. 12, ii. 1-3, iv. 5-8,

Was that man an idolater and blasphemer,--the dupe of his own
fancy,--deceived in his faith and hopes,--or was he the ignorant
deceiver of others?

Moreover, let it be remembered that with this mighty truth, as with a
hammer, Paul went forth to destroy the idolatries of the world, and
gave them such blows, that in Europe they finally tottered and fell.
But did he then only substitute one idolatry for another?--did he
preach to Greece and Rome love and obedience to a man, a better man,
possibly, than any of the persons whom they worshipped, but still a
mere creature like themselves? Hear Paul's memorable and glorious
words to the Athenians, and believe this if you can;--

"Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars-hill, and said, Ye men of
Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For
as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this
inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship,
him declare I unto you. God, that made the world, and all things
therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in
temples made with hands; neither is worshipped with men's hands, as
though he needed anything, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath,
and all things; and hath made of one blood all nations of men for to
dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times
before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should
seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him,
though he be not far from every one of us: for in him we live, and
move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said,
For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring
of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or
silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device. And the times of
this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to
repent: because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge
the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof
he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from
the dead," (Acts xvii. 22-31.)

If from Paul we turn to the other apostles, we shall recognise in them
the same convictions regarding the person of Jesus. Let us hear, for
example, some of the declarations of the apostle John:--

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the
_Word was God_. The same was in the beginning with God. _All things
were made by him_; and without him was not anything made that was
made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the
light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There
was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a
witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might
believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that
Light. That was the true Light, _which lighteth every man that cometh
into the world_. He was in the world, _and the world was made by
him_, and the world knew him not. _He came unto his own_, and his own
received him not. But as many as received him, to them _gave he power
to become the sons of God_, even to them that believe on his name:
which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of
the will of man, but of God. And _the Word was made flesh_, and dwelt
among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only-begotten
of the Father,) full of grace and truth," (John i. 1-14.)

"But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the
Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through
his name," (John xx. 31.)

"And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an
understanding, that we may know him that is true; and we are in him
that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and
eternal life," (1 John v. 20.)

"Jesus Christ, who is the faithful Witness, and the first-begotten
of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that
loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made
us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and
dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Behold, he cometh with clouds; and
every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all
kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. I am
Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which
is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty." "I was in the
Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a
trumpet, saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last." "And I
turned to see the voice that spake with me. And, being turned, I saw
seven golden candlesticks; and in the midst of the seven candlesticks
one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot,
and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs
were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame
of fire; and his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a
furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his
right hand seven stars; and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged
sword; and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And
when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand
upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; _I am the first and the last_: I am
he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore,
Amen; and _have the keys of hell and of death_," (Rev. i. 5-8, 10,

Could John have written such things of a mere man? Could a pious Jew
have done so without conscious blasphemy? It is in vain to reply that
I have quoted much of this from a vision. But would he have dared to
record such a vision, unless he believed Jesus to have been Divine?

I am compelled, therefore, to admit that the apostles _believed_ Jesus
of Nazareth to have been a Divine Person. I am not asserting, at
present, that what they believed was true in fact, but only that they
in fact believed this to be true.

And here I might inquire, whether there was anything in their personal
knowledge of Christ which could have suggested such a thought to those
men. We have seen that the grand lesson of their education as Jews
was, "Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord; and thou shalt
love the Lord thy God with _all_ thine heart, with all thy soul, and
with all thy might." Whatever other faith or worship did not harmonise
with this was deadly idolatry. It is true that, with the exception of
Paul, all the apostles had seen Jesus in the flesh, and John specially
pleads for His humanity, and presses it home with every form of
expression. "That," says he, "which we have heard, which we have seen
with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled,
of the Word of life." But if we lay aside all supernatural and
miraculous evidences of our Lord's person, what was there in His life
which could have produced this impression, or awakened this strange
conviction of His divinity? Not surely His lowly birth, nor the long
years in which He was known only as the carpenter's son; not the
sorrow and grief with which He was familiar, or the real though
sinless infirmities to which He was subject; not the reception He met
with from His countrymen, or the death by which His short earthly
career was ended! What was there in an earthly life so intensely
human, to convince such true, thoughtful, godly men as the apostles
that this man was one with the Holy One of Israel, the Almighty
Creator of the heavens and the earth? Yet such _was_ the conviction
of John, who leant upon His bosom at the Last Supper, watched Him in
Gethsemane, beheld Him in the judgment-hall, and stood by Him at the
cross! Such _was_ the faith of Paul also who never saw Him in the
flesh, or ever heard His voice while He tabernacled among men.
If, however, the alleged supernatural facts in the Bible are
true,--including the gift of the Spirit who was to "glorify"
Jesus,--we can easily account for those convictions, but not

And let me here notice in passing, how beautifully harmonious the
facts of this Person's life were as a man, yet also as "Emmanuel, God
with us!" These, when "called to remembrance," were such as must have
confirmed and established the faith of the apostles. If there were
evidences of a humility belonging to Him as the Son of man, there were
equal evidences of a dignity which belonged to Him as the Son of God.
He was born of the Virgin Mary, yet by Divine power. "The Holy Ghost,"
said the angel Gabriel to His mother, "shall come upon thee, and the
power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy
thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." He
was brought forth in a stable, and laid in a manger, but wise men from
the East, guided by a star, came to worship Him, and to present Him
with kingly offerings, while the hosts of heaven announced His birth
with songs of rejoicing. He was baptized of John, yet a voice from
heaven said, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
During His life, while He submitted to every trial and temptation to
which, humanity was liable, "that in all things He might be like His
brethren," yet never was evidence wanting of a dignity and glory which
were divine. He was hungry, but fed thousands; wearied and asleep
amidst the storm, but He rebuked the winds and waves, so that there
was a great calm; He was tempted of the devil for forty days, but
Satan did homage to His dignity, by offering Him as a bribe the
kingdoms of the world, while His grandeur was revealed in the
command, "Get thee behind me, Satan." He was so poor that pious women
ministered to Him of their substance, and so sorrowful that He often
wept; yet He dried the tears of thousands, healed all who came to Him
of every disease, and by a word of power raised the dead, from their
bed, from their bier, and even when corruption had begun to do its
loathsome work. He had His days of darkness, when He could say, "Now
is my soul troubled;" yet a voice from heaven even then witnessed to
His glory. He washed the feet of His disciples, yet it was at the very
moment when, "knowing that God had given all things into his hands,
that he came from God, and went to God." He died and was buried,
but though, during all the hours which marked that saddest of all
tragedies, there were signs of human woe and weakness, as if "Himself
He could not save," yet what signs of dignity and superhuman majesty!
For He was addressed on the cross as a King by a dying criminal, and
as a King He promised to save him; while the darkened sky, the
rending rocks, and all the august circumstances which attended His
humiliation, proclaimed, with the centurion, "Truly this was the Son
of God!" He lay in the grave, and His body received the tears and
affectionate ministrations of attached friends; but an angel descended
and rolled away the stone; the Roman guard became as dead men; "the
Lord was risen indeed!" and He appeared to His disciples, and so
overcame the unbelief of Thomas by His very presence, bearing the
marks of His human sufferings, that the doubter fell down and
"worshipped Him," saying, "My Lord, and my God!" Jesus remained on
earth for forty days, and we still "behold _the man_." He conversed
familiarly with His apostles, ate and drank with them, and instructed
them in the things pertaining to His kingdom: but He ascended to
heaven before their eyes, while angels announced His second coming;
and soon the descent of the Holy Ghost, with the great ingathering to
the Church which followed, testified to the truth of the apostolic
preaching, that Jesus was the _Son of God_, and that all power was
given to Him in heaven and on earth!

Now, in all this eventful history, there was that very combination
of earth and heaven, of the human and superhuman, which received an
interpretation from the fact only of Christ's divine and human nature,
and which, along with Christ's own words, and the teaching of His
Spirit, made the apostles accept the doctrine with profound conviction
and deep joy; although, without some such overwhelming evidence, the
very thought must have been to them a blasphemous idolatry. They
believed, because they had sufficient grounds, from facts, for their
belief. We cannot, therefore, think that those who rejected the claims
of Jesus, and executed Him as a blasphemer, were right, and that the
apostles, who acknowledged Him as one with God, were wrong, or that
their faith will ever be put to shame!

We have thus considered the Person of Jesus in the light of His own
teaching, as that too was understood at the time, both by enemies
and friends, and also in the light of the faith and teaching of His

4. But there is yet another aspect in which we may view this
question--viz., _the faith and views of the Christian Church_.

As to the _faith_ of the Church, using that word as expressing its
_creed_, it is historically certain that since the days of the
apostles till the present time, this doctrine has formed a _sine
qua non_ of the creed of the whole Church, whether called Popish,
Protestant, Greek, Armenian, Nestorian, &c.--of every branch, in
short, with the exception of the Unitarians. Amidst all differences,
the millions of professing Christians have agreed from age to age in
this article. No theological strifes or angry passions, no dissents or
reformations, have disturbed this truth as the foundation-stone of the
Temple. Now, if Christ is _not_ a divine person, it follows that the
Christian Church is one huge institution of idolatry. We do not,
observe, attempt as Christians to conceal our faith in Christ's
divinity, or to modify it so as to escape, if possible, such an
imputation. We necessarily accept this conclusion, unless our faith
is grounded on _fact_. We boldly declare that we believe in Jesus of
Nazareth; love Him, trust Him, obey Him, _as we do God Almighty_, and
with the same degree of faith and reverence. In the one name of the
Father, Son, and Spirit, we have been baptized, and that name we
honour as One, ascribing equal glory to each Person in the Godhead.
Such a creed as this may startle some and offend others, but it is
nevertheless the creed which is and has been the faith of universal
Christendom, which millions with ourselves believe unhesitatingly, and
confess as boldly as they do their faith in the being of God. Now what
we assert is, that if Jesus was a mere man, or was not "God manifest
in the flesh," we and all Christians so believing are _idolaters_ in
the strictest sense of that word. Our churches are idol temples where
a dead man is worshipped; our ministers idol priests, who ever preach
and commemorate this man, pray to him, sing praises to him, and
consecrate generation after generation to his service; our people
commit their souls and bodies to the keeping of this man for time and
eternity, and all their hopes are inseparably connected with him as
their Lord;--while amidst this universal defection of the human race,
this wide-spread idolatry which has taken possession of the most
cultivated and intellectual nations, and threatens to overrun the
world and absorb all other idolatries into itself, there appears but
a trifling number who maintain the pure light of theism, and preserve
the truth of God unsullied for the coming, and it is to be hoped,
therefore, for better, ages of the world. And who are these? Jews,
Deists, and Unitarians. On these depend the world's hopes of its ever
becoming regenerated by a theology of truth regarding God. Now, does
it seem probable, we ask, under the government of God, that these have
discovered the truth on such a fundamental fact in religion, while
universal Christendom for eighteen centuries has believed a lie?--and
such a lie! As a question of probability, what weight can we attach to
this testimony, balanced not against numbers merely, but numbers along
with the intellect, culture, and character of those who have believed
in, derived their soul's good from, and perilled their soul's
existence upon, Christ's divinity?[A]

[Footnote A: Mr Greg in his Essays, which at first appeared in the
_Edinburgh Review_, admits this alternative. His language is, "To
a philosophic inquirer there will appeal little doubt that
Trinitarianism and idolatry--the _worship of Christ as God_, the
worship of saints, the worship of the golden calf, have one common
origin, the weakness of human imagination and the unspirituality of
human intellect."--Vol. i., p. 61. Mr Greg also says, in a note to
the above--"To accept the orthodox view of the Christian Revelation,"
(i.e., Christ's divinity,) "is to our apprehension to deny the divine
origin of the Jewish religion." But was not "the view" of Jesus
himself and His apostles the "orthodox" one? And did _they_ deny the
divine origin of the Jewish religion? Who is right--Mr Greg or----?]

Consider also, as I have suggested, the _effect_ produced by such a
faith when real upon the religious ideas _regarding God_ of all who
really hold it. On the supposition, for example, that the Christian's
faith in Jesus is vain--that he is worshipping, loving, serving a
creature, or a mere creation of his own mind, instead of the _only_
living and _true God_,--how can we account for the actual results of a
faith so false and blasphemous upon his ideas regarding God?

It is not denied that a vast body of men and women in every age have
had sincere faith in Jesus as God, and loved Him with their whole
soul. Now, what effect has such faith upon their views of God, and
their feelings towards the Supreme Creator and Upholder of all things
whom "pure Theists" profess alone to worship? Has this faith in Jesus
as divine had the effect of producing false impressions of God on the
Christian's heart; of exciting low and degrading views of His being
and attributes, lowering as it were the Majesty of the heavens from
His throne, bringing Him to the level of our every-day humanity, and
presenting Him to the mind and imagination in an aspect which inspires
no reverence? Or has it not had the very opposite effect, and that,
too, just in proportion as the worshipper has apprehended the oneness,
in His divine nature, of the Son with the Father? Has not God, then,
appeared more glorious and majestic than ever; His throne more
elevated above every other throne; His glory more visible in heaven
and earth? Can any Jew, we ask, however devout, appreciate more fully
than a Christian the Old Testament descriptions of the unity and
perfections of Jehovah, or prostrate himself with a more simple,
undivided, and confiding heart before the God of Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob? Can the synagogue sing David's psalms with more truth than the
church? or does Unitarianism withdraw any veil which conceals the
perfections of God as Creator, Ruler, or Father, from the eyes of him
who has intense and undying faith in Jesus as the Eternal Son? Oh!
where on earth can we find more exalted and pure thoughts of the one
living and true God, as revealed in nature and in the Old Testament,
profounder admiration of His character, or deeper reverence for His
will, than among Christians who love and honour the Son even as they
love and honour the Father? But how is this to be accounted for if
they believe a lie? How has an idolatry, a baseless and profane
hero-worship, had this remarkable moral power of producing such true
and spiritual views of God, as all men must admit to be most worthy?
and producing, too, we dare to add, such strong faith and affectionate
reverence towards this God, as exist in no other human bosoms? Is it
possible that the true God can be thus apprehended and loved through
a medium so false as idolatry? On the supposition, however, but on no
other, that Jesus is really one with God, the knowledge and love of
the Son must necessarily lead to this very knowledge and love of the
Father. "He that seeth me, seeth the Father also." "If ye had known
me, ye should have known my Father also." "Ye believe in God, believe
also in me."

5. Consider, again, the Person of Christ, not only in the light of
Christian character generally, but with the addition of _Christian
knowledge as to its cause_. It will surely be admitted that, to
whatever extent the term Christian has been misapplied as indicating
character, and in however many cases it has been unworthily or only
formally assumed, yet it includes within its widest embrace the best
men and women this earth possesses, or has ever possessed. There is
a certain _kind_ of character which all men whose moral sense is not
blunted recognise as the culminating point and perfection of humanity.
They may not themselves attempt to realise it, or they may deem it
unattainable, but nevertheless the idea of what constitutes a good
or perfect man is no sooner presented to their minds than conscience
accepts it as that which _ought_ to be. Now, it is admitted even by
the atheist that such an idea is embodied in the historical character
of Jesus Christ, and in the life, consequently, of every man just in
proportion as he possesses His Spirit, obeys His precepts, and walks
in His steps. But there are, and have been in every age, persons who
have done this, if not in a perfect, yet in a more perfect degree than
by any others among mankind. Or supposing it were admitted, for the
sake of argument, that, so far as we had the means of judging, there
has occasionally appeared, without faith in Christ, a certain product
of character, apparently as pure, lofty, self-denying, loving, and
devoted to God as any which ever professed to owe its origin to Jesus
Christ; yet, where has there been on earth such a _body_ of living
persons as those Christians who, within the bosom of the universal
Church, during eighteen centuries, have manifested that kind of
character which all men profess to admire and reverence? In vain one
tries to conceive the flowers of moral beauty and glory that have
sprung up within the garden of Christendom! Being rooted in the earth,
they may have been soiled, indeed, by its dust, but they yet expanded
in loveliness to the sky, and sent forth a fragrance to the air,
peculiar to the plants raised by the Great Husbandman. Number, if you
can, the saints of the Christian Church; the young and old, the poor
and rich, who in every age and clime have been truthful, simple,
sincere, patient, forgiving, and compassionate; who have enjoyed an
inward life of peace with God, maintained an outward conduct, and
possessed a reality of abiding love to their Father in heaven and to
their brethren on earth peculiar to themselves. Their lives have been
a blessing to the world, and a happiness to their own hearts;
their deathbed has been freed from the fears of a dark future, and
brightened by the pure prospect of continued life and joy. The
Christian Church, and the Christian Church _alone_, contains such
characters; and these are the lights of our homes, the salt of the
earth, and the only security of the world's progress.

Now, to what is this great result owing? How is this product of
character, which is affecting the world's history, and gradually
leavening the whole lump of humanity, to be accounted for? What power
has originated it, or by what has it been sustained? Who are more
entitled to give a reply to such questions than Christians themselves?
They alone can know by what motives, they have been actuated, by what
strength supported, and by what hopes animated. Ask them, then, and
what will be their reply? Each and all will but echo the words of
Paul, as expressing the secret of their life: "I live, yet not I,
but _Christ liveth in me_; and the life I live in the flesh I live
_through faith in the Son of God_, who loved me, and gave himself for
me." "The _love of Christ_ constraineth us," "I thank _Christ Jesus,
our Lord_, who hath enabled me." "The _Lord_ stood with me, and
strengthened me." "_The Lord_ shall deliver me from every evil work,
and preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom, _to whom be glory_ for ever
and ever!" "I can do all things _through Christ_, which strengtheneth
me." This is the experience of the living Church of Christ, of all
lands, and of all time,--the creed of each genuine believer; of the
early martyr and mediaeval saint; of the pious Protestant and Papist;
of the cultivated Christian philosopher and the half-taught Christian
negro; of the young man who has overcome the wicked one, and of
the old patriarch who departs in peace, because his eyes have seen
salvation; of the Christian Greenlander who died yesterday, and of the
sweet Christian girl who died to-day, leaving the bosom of her mother
for the bosom of her God; of each and all the ten thousand times ten
thousand who have so lived and died, with one conviction of truth the
strongest in their minds; that whatever strength, peace, or good they
possess as true _life_, they owe all to the One source of life,--_the
Lord Jesus Christ_! What are we to conclude from these unparalleled
facts, which can no more be denied than the realities of human history
or of human experience? Have all Christians been deceived? Have they
been believing a lie, and has this great life of life in them been
sustained by a delusion? Is there no such person as Jesus Christ, the
Lord of life, the living Saviour of sinners? Is this not a fact but a
fiction? Can it be that the moral government of God exists, and yet
that it admits of such a moral anomaly as this,--the regeneration of
human character by a falsehood! Impossible! I say it with deepest
reverence,--as sure as there is a God of truth, _impossible!_ The
Christian Church has _not_ been deceived. Unbelievers in Jesus have
_not_ had the light of truth given them, while those who have loved
and served Him have been permitted to walk in the darkness of
intellectual untruth and in the vain belief of an idol! Jesus is
Divine as well as human. "He was, and is, and liveth for evermore!"



If all this evidence is insufficient to prove the Divine nature of
Jesus Christ, it may be well to consider on what religious fact or
truth we can fall back, as being based upon surer evidence, and
affording, therefore, a surer ground of faith and hope.

1. On what part of Christ's "work" on earth can we fall back? We can
no more recognise God the Father as truly revealing Himself in
Jesus as his co-eternal Son; and the whole light and life of such a
revelation in Christ, as hitherto seen and received by the apostles
and the Christian Church, is for ever extinguished and destroyed. We
can no more believe Jesus as our _Prophet_, when we do not accept the
very truths to which He gave most prominence: nor can we trust Him
as our _King_, when we believe Him to have been a mere man only, who
neither possesses nor could wield power adequate to govern the
world: nor can we trust Him as our _Priest_, for in Him is no longer
manifested the love of God in sending His own Son to be a propitiation
for the sins of the world. And who, we may add, will believe in a Holy
Spirit as a Divine Person, whose very work is represented by Jesus to
be that of convincing the world of sin "_because_ it believes not in
Him," as "glorifying Him," and taking of _His_ things to shew them to
the spirits of men?

2. Can we, then, accept of Christ as a perfect example? How is this
possible? For remember, it was the example of one who is assumed to
be a man like ourselves, but yet a man who never, by one act of
contrition or confession, acknowledged the existence of personal sin
or defect of any kind; a man rarely endowed, and yet who never once
expressed gratitude to God for His rich and varied gifts; a man who
prayed indeed to God, yet as one who was His equal, and who in His
last hours uttered such words as these--"All mine are thine, and thine
are mine! Father, _I will_ that they also whom thou hast given me, may
be with me _where I am_, that _they may behold my glory!_" Can
_we_, sinners, follow this example, as that of "our model man, _in
everything?" Dare_ we closely follow a life like this, and then end it
by voluntarily giving ourselves up as a ransom "for the remission of
the sins of many?"

3. Can we even retain _the character of Jesus?_ The atheist admits
that Jesus was the greatest man who ever lived on earth. A worshipper
of heroes says of Him in his _Hero Worship_,--"The greatest of
all heroes is one whom I do not name here." The character of this
wonderful Being has indeed been generally recognised as a bright spot
amidst the world's darkness; as the only perfect model of goodness
ever seen on earth--yea, as moral beauty itself! But unless the
history we possess of Jesus is untrue, and He was, therefore, no
historical but a mere ideal person,--or if He was a real person, as
represented in the gospel, yet not divine,--we cannot defend His
character without losing our own. For we have seen how He certainly
represented Himself as one with God,--as one who alone knew God and
truly revealed Him,--as one who demanded the same honour and love from
man as were due to God,--who required men to be willing to part with
their dearest friends, even life itself, rather than with Him,--who
asserted His right to assign to mankind their eternal destinies
according to the relationship in which each man stood to Him,--who,
when standing before an earthly judge, crowned with thorns, insulted
by the rabble, with every sign of weakness, and as if literally
forsaken by God and man, did not abate one jot or tittle of His
claims, but asserted them in all their magnitude, announcing His
return to the world in glory as its mighty Judge; and much more to the
same effect. Now, can any man, we ask, of common honesty defend such
a character as this from the charge of wilful imposition and daring
blasphemy, unless what He asserted was true? With reference to all the
good words or deeds which His professed friends may claim for Him,
yet so long as He falsely claims to be divine, we are constrained to
reject Him, as the Jews did, and to say with them, "For a good work we
stone thee not, but _because thou, being a man, makest thyself God!_"
It is not possible, therefore, to fall back on Christ's character, if
we reject Christ's divinity; for His character was manifest untruth,
and His claims an unprincipled deception!

4. Can we preserve _the character of the apostles?_ That, too, has
hitherto been considered worthy of our respect and regard. Never did
men leave such a record of moral teaching, and such an impress of a
holy life behind them, a life so pure, wise, loving, so suited,
in every respect, to bless mankind, and to make a heaven below in
proportion as it is received. In these men we can detect no trace of
avarice, ambition, or selfish aims of any kind. They lived, laboured,
and died, that the world should become better and happier, and they
have so far succeeded that civilisation can never more be separated
from their names. But what was the substance of their teaching, and
the one grand object of their existence? I again reply, without fear
of contradiction, it was to persuade mankind to trust and love Jesus
Christ as God! The first Christian teacher who died a martyr's death
resigned his spirit into the hands of this Jesus, as his Lord in
glory; and the last and oldest apostle who first knew Him as his
friend, represented Him as the Alpha and the Omega, the King of kings
and Lord of lords. But if He was not this, how can the character of
those teachers be defended? As Jews they could not be ignorant of
the being and attributes of God, nor as men of the earthly life and
history of Jesus; yet they professed to preach Jesus as divine, and
_to work miracles in His name!_ They could not possibly have been
themselves deceived, and must therefore, if their faith was vain,
have attempted to deceive others. Common sense rejects every other
explanation. Anyhow, they were the successful heralds of an idolatry
which, we may boldly affirm, will never leave the world, and of a
blasphemy whose praises will never be silent on earth. Their character
must perish with that of their Master!

5. What, then, have we left us? The _morality of the New Testament?_
No! for all that is _peculiar_ to its morality are the duties which
spring out of the assumed relationship of Jesus to mankind. The gospel
morality of supreme love to Jesus becomes _im_morality, if Jesus is
not one with God. Prayer to Christ, personal communion with Christ,
personal attachment to Christ, hymns of praise to Christ, abiding
through faith in Christ, advancing the kingdom of Christ, labouring
for Christ and keeping _His_ commandments--in one word, that whole
life of the Christian towards God and man, every portion of which is
permeated by Christ as the sunlight fills the atmosphere, can never be
separated from the morality of the New Testament.

Nor can we any longer rely upon Old Testament facts, or on anything
there revealed regarding God, as distinct from what could have been
discovered without such a revelation, if our faith has been shaken in
the facts and the characters of the New Testament. He who can reject
the Christ of the New Testament, must necessarily reject the God of
the Old; and he who cannot rely on the apostles, cannot possibly rely
upon the prophets. All must be given up, and the Bible become a mere
curious record of falsehood.

6. Is this all? Enough one would think! But can we even fall _back on
God?_ What evidence has any man of the existence of a living personal
God, stronger than what he possesses of a living personal Saviour? Can
_any_ revelation of God during _the past_, and recorded in history, be
received as worthy of credit, if _this_ alleged history of Jesus is
rejected as unworthy? If the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
is not the only living and true God, where is the true God to be
found? If Jesus neither knew Him truly, nor truly revealed Him, who
can do either? And when, moreover, we have thus lost faith in the
character of Jesus and of His apostles, from what better evidence of
moral character or moral design on earth can we henceforth reason
upwards as to the moral character of a Divine Being?

In what position do we thus find ourselves? The Church of Christ must
be given up as a great falsehood, a huge idolatry, a society of weak,
deluded, or bad men. The character of its early founders, and the
Person to whom it owes its name, must, for the same reason, be
abandoned. The Old Testament can form but a feeble barrier to the
flood which has thus swept away the New, with all which has arisen out
of the assumed truth of its history. And thus each man, cut off from
the past, is left to discover a God for himself, from evidence which,
to satisfy him, must necessarily be more overwhelming than that which
he rejects, and on which the faith of the Christian Church has rested
for eighteen centuries. Can any man be satisfied with such a basis of
religion as this? Having rejected God as revealed in Jesus, _can_ he
peril his soul in peace on the God discovered by himself? Having fled
from Christianity as a religion whose foundations are insecure, can he
repose with confidence in the building which he himself has reared?
Or, if he moves at all, must he not gradually slide into universal
scepticism, and conclude that, since he cannot believe in Jesus,
he can believe in no one else,--that if deceived by Him he may be
deceived by all,--that if there is no such Person as the Divine Son,
there is no such Person as the Divine Father,--that if he must be
without Christ, he must necessarily be without God!

He may, indeed, in such a case, profess to believe in _a_ God; but is
He the living and true God, or one who is but the product of his own
mind, the shadow cast by his own human spirit? Oh! hear the words of
Him who is truth itself: "Ye believe in God, believe also in me;" "All
things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son
but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father save the Son, and
he to whom the Son will reveal him;" "Come unto me, all ye that labour
and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest!" May the Lord's last
prayer be answered in us: "Father, glorify thy Son, that thy Son also
may glorify thee: as thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he
may give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is
life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus
Christ, whom thou hast sent."



Now to prove the Christian religion untrue, or to prove that the
evidences on which it rests are insufficient, is a more difficult task
than some of its opponents appear to imagine, if we may judge from the
boastful language in which they record their supposed achievements.

Let it never be forgotten, that the Christian religion is founded upon
certain alleged _historical facts_ that must be disposed of before it
falls.[A] The holy temple of a loving soul filled with the glory of
Christ is spiritual, but it is nevertheless based upon facts as on
foundation-stones, the chief corner-stone being Jesus Christ the
personal Saviour, "who was dead and is alive, and liveth for
evermore!" Without these facts Christianity could not exist. The duty,
for example, of supremely loving and devotedly serving Jesus
Christ, implies the truth of other facts, such as the fulfilment of
prophecies, miracles, the life and character of Jesus, His atoning
death, resurrection, &c., all of which establish His claims to our
faith. But in addition to these, and as their evidence also and
result, there is the experience of the whole living Church, derived
from faith in Jesus as the resurrection and the life.

[Footnote A: Neander, in his preface to his "Life of Christ," quotes
from Niebuhr what he calls "the golden words of one of the greatest
minds of modern times." "The man," says Niebuhr, "who does not hold
Christ's earthly life, with all its miracles, to be as properly and
really historical as any event in the sphere of history, and who
does not receive all points in the Apostles' Creed with the fullest
conviction, I do not conceive to be a Protestant Christian. As for
that Christianity which is such according to the fashion of the
modern philosophers and pantheists,--without a personal God, without
immortality, without an individuality of man, without historical
faith,--it may be a very subtle _philosophy_, but it is no
Christianity at all. Again and again have I said that I know not what
to do with a metaphysical God, and that I will have no other but the
God of the Bible, who is _heart to heart_."]

But before Christianity can be destroyed, it is absolutely necessary
to destroy the evidences of those historical facts on which it rests.
This, as I have said, is no easy task. There are many high walls, many
encircling lines of defence around the old fortress, each and all of
which must be taken, ere the citadel itself can be reached and laid
in ruins. _Now this has never yet been done_. The enemy has made many
attacks during the last eighteen centuries, and on several occasions
the last grand assault which was to decide the long campaign has been
threatened. Every method has been adopted which critical skill could
apply, which the most subtle genius could invent, and the most
untiring perseverance execute; but, in spite of all, "the strong
city," with "salvation for walls and bulwarks," still remains strong
as ever. For, to drop all metaphor, in whatever way we may account for
it, the fact is undeniable, that Christianity, in the form of supreme
love to Jesus Christ as the Son of God, not only survives, but in no
age of the world's past history has it been so strongly rooted in the
convictions and affections of so many men, nor has it ever been given
such promise of filling the whole earth.

Let us suppose, however, for the sake of argument, that by some
process hitherto undiscovered, Christianity, as the religion of
supreme love to this living Person, Jesus Christ, is at last proved to
be a fiction; that the millennium of infidelity has arrived; that the
religion taught by Christ and His apostles has become as dead to the
world as that of Buddh or Confucius is now to the mind of Europe; that
our Christian churches, like the heathen temples of Greece or Rome,
remain but as monuments of a superstition long ago exploded by the
light of science and philosophy; that all those supernatural Christian
facts and truths, which like a mighty firmament of stars, now cluster
around the name of Jesus, have departed as lights from the visible
universe; that Christian truth is as silent before the world as Christ
himself was when He stood before Herod, and answered him nothing;
until even the wailing cry has ceased of the last desponding and
disconsolate believer on earth, "They have taken away my Lord, and
I know not where to find him!" Well, then, the work is done! The
energetic teachers of the propaganda of unbelief have accomplished
their long-cherished purpose, and the professors of an earnest and
devoted faith in Christ have perished, leaving no memorial behind them
except their "curious books," or their hoary tombstones, which record
their old faith in Him as the resurrection and the life.

When such a crisis as this has at last arrived, the world will surely
pause, and count the fruits of victory. Wise men will then doubtless
consider with an earnest spirit what has been gained to humanity by
this tremendous revolution in all those opinions and ideas cherished
during so many ages; and the well-wishers of mankind will examine the
spoils which the conquerors have ready for enriching the poor and
needy as the result of this triumph over a religion that was clung to
by the best and noblest men with a tenacity overcome only when earth
was old, and time was well-nigh ending. But may we not now anticipate
such a solemn review, by asking those who are wishful to destroy
Christianity, what they intend to put in its place when their object
is accomplished. If they have anything else to give us, let us know
what it is, that we may see and judge if it is better than the old
religion; if it is better suited to meet the wants of man in every
period and condition of his varied life; if it is likely to do better
work on earth, and produce better fruit; if its truth rests on better
evidence, and if, in short, it is such a gift from heaven that angels
with songs of joy might announce this new gospel of peace on earth,
and this new message of good-will to man. Strange to say, such
questions, though often asked, have hitherto remained unanswered. If
there be a something better in store for us than what we profess, the
blissful secret has not yet been revealed. Infidelity, often so loud
in attacking Christianity, is silent as a god of iron or brass when we
ask at its shrine. If I give up faith in Christ, what wouldest thou
have me be and do, and how live and rejoice as an immortal being?

What, then, I again ask, would be lost and gained on both sides after
the war, in the event of Christianity being destroyed? We Christians
know full well what we would gain and lose;--we know that we would
gain nothing, and lose everything! We would lose all which we
most love in the universe of God,--all which makes us rejoice in
existence,--all which enables us to look at the past, present, and
future with perfect peace; and of all men we would be most miserable!
It is true that in regard to many an object of affection, it may be

"Better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all!"

But not so in regard to our love of Jesus Christ. Better never to
have seen that glory filling the heavens and earth, and making life a
constant thanksgiving and praise, than, after having seen it, to be
persuaded by any witchery that it was all a dream--a fiction of the
imagination--a ghostly superstition--which it is wisdom to banish from
the memory. For once we have lost Jesus Christ as our ever-living,
ever-present, all-sufficient Friend and Saviour, what are we to do?
Can we contentedly fall back upon our own being, or upon any other
person, and live on "without Christ in the world!" Or are we in those
circumstances to be told that we may still have comfort in "religion
without the supernatural," and rejoice in "the eternal and essential
verities of morality!" Only think of it, Christians! The living man,
the light and hope of the family, is murdered; but a disciple of pure
science and calm philosophy enters it, and tells its agonised members
that it is folly and ignorance to indulge in such grief, for science
has analysed their friend, and preserved in a series of neat phials,
which they may easily carry about with them, all his constituent
elements, his "essentials," his carbon, his silica, this and that
gas--everything, in short, which made up the substance of him whom
they were accustomed to call their beloved; therefore they may
"comfort one another with these words!" And thus would the enemy of
Christianity presume to comfort us with his "essentials," when our
living Lord is gone! Comfort indeed!

"Comfort? comfort scorn'd by devils! this is truth the poet sings,
That a sorrow's crown of sorrow is remembering happier things!"

But what can the unbeliever himself expect to gain by its destruction?
"I have nothing to do with consequences," may be his reply, "but with
truth only; let every lie be tested and exposed, whatever may be the
real or imaginary gain or loss to myself or others." Brave words! with
which we have the deepest sympathy; for if they are the utterance of
a truly sincere heart, they evidence belief, and not unbelief; they
assume that there is an order and government in the universe, which
is on the side of truth, and that we may therefore, at all hazards,
discover what is true, and cling to it in the full assurance of
faith,--that ultimately the right and true are in harmony with all
that is worth loving and worth living for. Amen! we say from
our heart. At the same time, it is well to look at some of the
consequences which the destruction of Christianity would involve even
to him who destroys it.

It is obvious, for example, that should it cease to exist to us as
a reality, other realities would remain irrespective of our belief.
Existence would remain, and it _may_ be one as eternal as the life of
God; sorrow and suffering would remain, to gnaw the heart, darken the
world, and cast deep shadows over a life which must end with that
dread event, death, and the passing away of ourselves and of all we
have from the memories of mankind as if we had never been--and whither
I Worst of all, _sin_ would remain--dark, mysterious, and terrible
sin! And "obstinate questionings" would remain to disturb and perplex
the mind in moments of earnest and silent thought. Men would still
ask, What if we are responsible to God for this whole inner and outer
life of ours, with its beliefs, purposes, and actions? What if sin
and its consequences continue beyond the grave, with no remedy there
unless found here? What if there is no possible happiness but in
fellowship of spirit and character with God; and what if this is
morally impossible for us to attain without a Saviour and Sanctifier
What, in short, if all the evils which Christianity professes to
deliver us from remain as facts in our history, just as diseases
remain though the aid of the physician, who reveals their nature, and
who offers to cure them, is rejected? or, as a vessel remains a wreck
in the midst of the breakers after the life-boat which comes to save
the crew is dismissed? or, as the lion remains after the telescope
is flung aside which revealed his coming, and revealed also the only
place of safety from his attack? For it is obvious that Christianity
does not create the evils and dangers from which it offers to deliver
us, and that these must remain as facts should it be proved a fiction.
So far, then, the infidel has gained nothing by the overthrow of our
religion. "Except truth!" does he exclaim? Yet, I again repeat it,
truth in its negative form only, as destroying supposed falsehoods,
but not in its positive form as establishing something to rest upon.

Is there any other conceivable gain, then, which would accrue to the
unbeliever by his supposed success? Does he wish, for example, to
relieve oppressed souls of some great burden which crushes them?
But what alleged truths or doctrine of Christianity, if blotted out
to-morrow from the circle of belief, would ease a single soul, while
it would unquestionably be an irreparable loss to millions? Would a
God be more acceptable, and appear with greater moral beauty, who was
different from the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? Would He
be more attractive to our hearts if He did not forgive our sins fully
and freely, or if forgiveness was not offered through such Divine
self-sacrifice? Would it be a relief to our moral being to be freed
from the privilege or duty of supremely loving Jesus Christ? Would it
lighten our hearts to be freed from the burden of having communion
with Him in prayer? Would we have more security for light, life,
strength, holiness, peace, or comfort, if there was no such Person
revealed as the Spirit of God, who freely imparts His aid to all?
Would it be glad tidings to hear that men were not to be born again,
nor to repent, nor to deny themselves, nor to do God's will, but their
own? What is there which a good man would gain by the destruction of
the Christian religion!

I have one question more to suggest with reference to the duty of an
unbeliever towards us as Christians, and it is this, Why should he
disturb our faith, or, as he might term it, our superstition? If he
retorts by asking why we should disturb his unbelief, our answer is
ready--because we wish with our whole soul to share with him the
blessings which God our common Father has for him as well as for
us; because we truly lament the loss to our brother who refuses the
eternal good which he may now enjoy with the whole family of God;
because we love our God, and his God and Saviour, and desire our
brother to know and to love them too; because it is so unjust, so
selfish, so hateful, not to love and obey such a glorious Person as
Jesus Christ, who knows us, loves us, and has died to gain our hearts!
These are some of the reasons, rudely and roughly stated, why we
desire, with all our heart, that every man should believe in Jesus
Christ. But if any man, for any reason which may be beyond our
understanding or sympathy, desires to destroy this faith in all that
is most precious to us, then I ask, not in Christ's name,--for it is
unnecessary to appeal to Him,--but in the name of common sense and
common philanthropy, why he should not only labour to do this, but to
do it without apparently any apprehension of the untold misery which
he must occasion if he succeeds in his attempt? Do not tell us, with a
boast, that "the truth must be spoken, come what may!" Be it so; but
surely the _kind of_ truth which must be spoken must ever regulate the
manner in which it is spoken? Again, I bid you picture to yourselves a
person entering a family whose members were rejoicing in the thought
of a father's return, and announcing the intelligence of that father's
death, with a smile of pity or a sneer of contempt at their ignorant
happiness! Imagine such a one professing to be actuated by a mere love
of truth! Oh! if the terrible duty has been laid upon any one with a
human heart, of announcing to others intelligence which, if true, must
leave a blank to them in the world that can never be filled up, what
tender sympathy, what genuine sorrow becomes him who breaks the heavy
tidings! And such _ought_ to be the feelings of every man who, from
whatever cause, feels called upon to announce that the Christian
religion is false. If he _must_ make known that terrible fact to
believers in Jesus; if he _must_ tell them that the supposed Source of
all their life and joy has no existence, and that their faith in Him
is vain, let this be done with the solemnity and the sorrow which a
true brotherly sympathy would necessarily dictate. If the missionaries
of Christianity are warranted in preaching their gospel with joy, the
missionaries of an infidelity which professes only to destroy and
not to build up, should go forth on their dreadful vocation with the
feeling of martyrs, and with no other notes of triumph than sounds of
lamentation and woe! For if Christianity is false, we are "yet in our
sins, all who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished, and we are
of all men most miserable!"


There is no "fact of the future" more clearly revealed in Scripture,
or more certainly believed in by the Christian Church, than that "God
hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness
by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance
unto all men in that he hath raised him from the dead."

No doubt this fact is denied or explained away by many modern critics.
But it would be difficult to say what revealed fact, from Genesis to
Revelation, is admitted by them, or what things may now be "_most
surely_ believed among us." We retain our first faith in the future
judgment, and shall endeavour to look at it in a practical rather than
in a speculative light.

There is, indeed, among mankind a general anticipation of a coming
time when the mystery of God's providence will be cleared up, and His
righteousness displayed in the final judgment to be then passed on the
evil and on the good. What the human race are led to anticipate, as
likely to occur hereafter, from the many unsettled questions here
between man and his brother, and between man and his God, Scripture
reveals to us as certain.

While, however, every Christian believes in the coming of Jesus to
judge the world as firmly as he does in the fact of His having risen
from the dead, there seems to us to be very inadequate conceptions in
the minds of many as to the designs of this day, or the ends which it
is fitted to accomplish in the kingdom of God.

It is hastily assumed, for example, that the _day_ of judgment will be
short as the period included between an earthly sunrise and sunset;
and that, during this brief interval, the dead shall rise, and be
judged before the throne of Jesus Christ, along with fallen angels. It
is accordingly asked, with doubt and wonder, what good can be gained,
or what purpose served, by this summoning those whose doom has long
been sealed to appear at the bar of Jesus, and there to receive a
formal sentence? If Judas goes to his own place, and Stephen to the
arms of his Redeemer; if the wicked rich man departs to the burning
flame, and Lazarus to the bosom of Abraham; if Satan and his angels
have long ago experienced the horrors of a state which they know to be
unchangeable, because they are themselves unchanged; what conceivable
reason can there be for appointing a day in which all the wicked and
the righteous are to be assembled, only to receive their respective
sentences of condemnation or acquittal?

I know not how such questions can be answered by those who suppose the
day of judgment to be nothing more than one on which Jesus Christ will
_publicly_ declare what the eternal fate of His creatures is to be for
ever; without any trial beyond that which has already taken place in
the court of each man's conscience, and in the presence of the living

We at once admit that the difficulty, or impossibility even, of
answering such questions, is no adequate reason for our denying any
fact clearly revealed in Scripture which may suggest them. But if
these belong, not to the fact itself, but to what appears to us to be
a wrong interpretation of it; if a different view is freed from
such difficulties, without others, more numerous and serious, being
evolved; if the information afforded by Scripture is to be received as
authentic; and if, moreover, while keeping strictly to the letter
of Scripture, it is more in harmony with the grand ends to be
accomplished by the kingdom of Christ, and discloses more of the glory
of the great King, surely a presumption is thereby afforded in favour
of its truth, though, perhaps, at first sight it may interfere with
preconceived opinions.

Instead, then, of the day of judgment being a day of twenty-four hours
merely for the passing of a righteous sentence upon the good or bad,
it seems to us to be clearly revealed in Scripture that it will be a
period of time long enough for the peaceful and orderly ongoing of
all its august proceedings;--when Jesus Christ will summon to His
immediate presence all who have been the subjects of His mediatorial
kingdom, or have been placed under His authority for accomplishing the
purposes of His reign;--when each person will be tried in the presence
of the assembled universe, and his true relationship to his King must
be proved upon evidence minute, sifting, and unquestionable;--in one
word, when the whole government of the Mediator, from the beginning
till the end of time, over men, angels, and devils, shall be fully
disclosed, and its excellence manifested to the confusion of the
wicked, the joy of the righteous, and the glory of the Triune God!

Difficulties will, no doubt, be suggested by the view we have thus
so briefly stated, as well as by the others I have been obliged to
discard. But instead of attempting to remove these, I shall at present
pass them by, leaving them to be tacitly and satisfactorily answered
by the positive truth regarding the judgment, which I shall now
endeavour to establish.


The Judge will be _Jesus Christ_:--

"We must all appear before the judgment-seat of _Christ_."

"_Jesus Christ_, who shall judge the living and the dead, at his
appearing and kingdom."

"The day when God will judge the secrets of men _by Jesus Christ_."

"The Father judgeth no man, but hath _committed all judgment unto the

Now, there are several reasons discernible by us why Jesus Christ
should thus be "appointed to judge the world."

1. From the constitution of His _person_. As God, He is possessed of
omniscience to discern every thought and intent of the heart; unerring
wisdom and unsullied righteousness to try every case; with omnipotent
power and sovereign authority to execute every sentence. On the other
hand, as "the Son of man," He will appear in His human nature, for
"every eye shall see Him." This "_same Jesus_" said the angels at His
ascension, "who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in
like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven." Men will be judged by
one who is their Brother, "who, in all points, was tried like one of
us;" "who in all things was made like His brethren."

2. Another reason why Jesus Christ will direct all the proceedings of
the day of judgment, arises from the peculiar relationship in which,
as the only Mediator between God and man, He stands to the human race.
Let us dwell for a moment upon this point.

We are informed in Scripture, that _Jesus Christ is the Creator of
this world_:--

"All things were made by him." "He was in the world, and the world
was made by him." "God who created all things by Jesus Christ." "All
things were created by him and for him."

He is also _Governor of the world_:--

"God raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in
the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might,
and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world,
but also in that which is to come; and hath put all things under his
feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church which
is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all."

To accomplish the various ends of this glorious government, He is
_King of nature_; all the elements of nature which can in any way
affect the history or destiny of the human race being directed and
controlled by Him. "The winds and the seas obey Him;" pestilence and
famine, the volcano and the hurricane, are ministers of His, that
do His pleasure. _He is the King of providence_; armies and fleets,
conquests and invasions, discoveries and inventions, migrations and
settlements,--all are under the government of His wise and omnipotent
sceptre. _He is the King of grace_; the gifts and graces of the Holy
Spirit are dispensed to the persons and in the measure which seem best
to Him. _Finally_, He is the _King of angels and devils_; so that
their power and agency, in relation to the human family, are either
controlled or guided by Him.

Now, this kingdom of Jesus Christ, which began with the history of the
world at least, will one day be resigned into the hands of God. "Then
cometh the end," says the apostle, "when he shall have delivered up
the kingdom to God the Father, that God may be all in all." But ere
that end comes, the Mediator himself will, as we suppose; disclose the
history of His kingdom to the assembled universe. He will make known
"His ways and acts" towards the children of men. He will meet friend
and foe, and disclose the real history of each person who ever lived,
from the first moment of his birth to the moment of his trial; and of
each family, and city, and kingdom, from their rise till their final
extinction in the dust; and thus the universe shall know how His
government over human affairs, in all ages and climes, has been
conducted; and in what manner His authority and power over all things
for His Church has been exercised; that it may be known on evidence,
whether He is indeed worthy to have received such honour and power in
the great and universal kingdom of Jehovah!

3. But there seems also a fitness in Jesus being the Judge, from _His
peculiar relationship to the Church._ "He created all things, that
unto principalities and powers might be known by the Church the
manifold wisdom of God." And He is now, in virtue of what He has
done as a Priest, the Head over all things for the Church as a King.
"Because he humbled himself, God hath highly exalted him." The grand
end of His whole mediatorial reign is, "that unto God might be glory
in the Church by Christ Jesus." But the work of Jesus Christ as
Mediator will not have terminated, nor will He have received His full
joy and reward, until He raises His people from their graves, and
gathers His elect from the four winds of heaven; and opens the Book
of Life, and from this biographical record adduces evidence of the
reality of their loyalty, and of their love to the King; and reveals
the glory of all His dealings towards them in every age:--until, in
one word, the living Church, of which He is the Head, which "He loved"
and "purchased with His own blood," and "sanctified and cleansed with
the washing of the water of His word," shall be presented to Himself,
not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but holy and without
blemish. His judgment of the Church will be the consummation of His
mediatorial glory, and the fulness of His reward.

As to the time _when_ Jesus Christ shall judge the world, we are
ignorant. "Of that day knoweth no man, not even the angels." We know
only that it will come suddenly--"as a thief in the night"--upon the
whole world; and that "we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be
changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last
trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised
incorruptible, and we shall be changed."

No words of man can venture upon any description of the appearance of
the Judge, or the accompaniments of that great and terrible day of
the Lord. But here are a few Scripture statements descriptive of this
solemn scene:--

"For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his
angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works,"
(Matt. xvi. 27.)

"And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven; and then
shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of
man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he
shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall
gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven
to the other," (Matt. xxiv. 30, 31.)

"For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are
alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them
which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with
a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God:
and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and
remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet
the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord," (1 Thess.
iv. 15-17.)

"And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall
be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking
vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of
our Lord Jesus Christ," (2 Thess. i. 7, 8.)

"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the
which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements
shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are
therein shall be burned up," (2 Pet. iii. 10.)

"And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose
face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place
for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and
the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book
of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were
written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up
the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead
which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their
works," (Rev. xx. 11-13.)


We reply, _men_ and _fallen angels_.

"We must all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ." If the
government of Jesus Christ over men is to be revealed on that day, it
is clear that all men, without exception, must be judged. So linked,
indeed, is the history of each man with that of others,--as, for
instance, the tempter with the tempted, the oppressed with the
oppressor, the teacher with the taught, the child with the parent;--so
necessarily is each man's condition and character affected by that of
all who have gone before him, up to his first parents;--so truly do
all human beings make up _one_ race, _one_ family, from the life of
each being more or less connected with that of all, that the knowledge
of the real history of even one man, almost implies an examination
into the real history of the whole human race. And we shall possess,
for the first time, a true history of the whole world, when we truly
understand the history of each person, family, and kingdom in it; and
so also shall we possess the true history of each individual part,
only when we know its relationship to the great whole; and the history
of events, when we perceive what bearing they have had on the kingdom
of Jesus Christ, whose history is that of the world.

It has been questioned how far the sins of the people of God, which
have been for ever pardoned, are to be revealed at judgment. But we
see no reason whatever why this should not be the case, and every
reason why it should. We might, beforehand, have thought it more
likely that God would not have recorded in the Bible, and exposed in
the light of all coming ages, the sins of His most eminent servants,
as those of Abraham, Moses, David, of Peter, or of Paul. But He has
told the _whole_ truth regarding them for our warning and instruction;
and so will the whole truth be told regarding every saint at judgment,
"that no flesh may glory in His presence;" and that the reality of the
wickedness of the old man may be proven, as well as the reality of the
holiness of the "new man created in Christ Jesus unto good works." And
what saint can be unwilling to have revealed what he was, that so the
glorious love of God's Spirit may be made the more manifest, as the
sole cause of what he has become, and will continue to be for ever and

Fallen angels shall also be judged upon that day: "For God spared not
the angels that sinned, but cast them, down to hell, and delivered
them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment," "And
the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own
habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains, under darkness,
unto the judgment of the great day." Under what dispensation those
beings first sinned against God, we cannot tell. All we know from
the information given us by God is, that they have been permitted to
exercise their power in this world, on the side of evil, ever since
the creation of man. Satan, the adversary, the tempter, the enemy, who
is the head of these principalities and powers, has been a "liar and
murderer from the beginning;" and in every age and clime, he and his
wicked spirits have advanced the kingdom of darkness with indomitable
perseverance, untiring energy, ceaseless hate, and "all deceivableness
and unrighteousness in them that perish." Fallen angels having thus
taken so dreadful a part in the history of Christ's kingdom, and being
responsible for all they do, shall be tried at judgment; and what a
revelation must their trial be of the character, the hellish plots and
machinations of those enemies of Jesus Christ and His Church!

We have already alluded to the _individuality_ of the examination at
the last day,--how "every one of us must give an account of _himself_
to God;" and "receive the things done in _his_ body, according to what
_he_ hath done, whether good or evil;" and also, how each fact must
be brought to light upon _evidence_ whose truth cannot be questioned.
Upon that day, mere assertions will not be sufficient to establish the
right or the wrong condition of any one before the judgment-seat. The
universe must know the truth! Evidence must, therefore, be adduced
which will "convince all;" and that evidence, too, will be sifted.
Before sentence is passed, overwhelming proof will demonstrate the
righteous ground on which each individual must take his place among
those on the left hand or on the right. Let us see if we can discover
any sources of evidence for the detection and discrimination of


1. _The Book of Providence will be opened_.--In this book has been
recorded, and from its pages can be shewn, by Jesus Christ, everything
which has been done to us, and for us, by Himself, since the hour of
our birth till that of our death. Every temporal mercy or
spiritual blessing--every advice given by ministers, relations,
or friends--every Sabbath which dawned upon us--every stirring of
conscience within us--every visitation of sickness or domestic
affliction--every item, in short, of that immense sum of things which,
in His providence or by His grace, was given us each successive hour
of life, and which was intended to mould our characters according to
the will of God;--all shall be revealed at judgment, that the universe
may know what Jesus Christ, the King, has really done for each one of
His subjects, and what each subject has been, and done, in relation to

2. _The Book of Memory shall be opened_.--An awful volume! It seems
almost certain that anything once known to us must for ever abide in
memory, and can never be absolutely and for ever lost. Out of sight it
may be, but never really out of mind. It may appear to be dead, though
it only sleeps, ready to start into vigorous life when touched by some
hand which can reach it in the dim mysterious recess where it lies
concealed. It is thus, before returning, after a long absence, to the
home of our early life, we are unable to discover any page in the
volume of our memory inscribed with more than a few incidents which
filled up those early years of gladness. Every page seems a blank, or
its records, if not obliterated, can hardly be traced. But when we
_do_ return, what a magic influence is exercised by every tree, rock,
and stream, and by the old home itself with which these were once
inseparably associated! The history of days and years now glow with
the vividness of first impressions, where, until now, all was so
indistinct and illegible. Old familiar voices ring in our ears,
beloved faces of the old dead gaze upon us as of yore, and their forms
flit before our moist eyes. But were not these things all the while
in our memory, although unnoticed by us until called forth by fitting
circumstances? And have we not seen evidence of the same mysterious
life of the past within us, when in extreme old age a second childhood
awakens all the incidents of the first; when memory, like a flash of
lightning, irradiates the sky, otherwise dark and wintry, revealing
the scenes of early days, which were before quite forgotten? More
wonderful still--it is certain that things once known, which in
health were as lost to memory as if they had never been, are suddenly
recalled, and appear in all their former life and freshness, when
fever touches the brain with her delirious hand. The sick man, in his
ravings, speaks perhaps a language known only in his infancy, and
recalls incidents belonging to a period which was a total blank in his
recollections during days of robust health. And what does all
this prove but the momentous truth, that anything which once was
done,--anything which we have ever thought, uttered, or known, or
was ever inscribed in the book of memory,--remains there engraven in
characters more permanent than those which, cut deep in the hoary
monuments of Egypt, have outlived teeming centuries of human history?
Darkness may cover the page, but by a vivid and mysterious flash every
letter is illuminated. That flash may be only some trifle, such as a
note of music--the tone of some voice--

"The subtle smell which spring unbends,
Dread pause abrupt of midnight winds,--
An echo or a dream!"

And thus may it be at judgment; by the extension of the same _kind_ of
power, may our _whole_ life, in its minutest details, pass before our
eyes,--each minute of it delivering its own history of word or deed,
of things done or things received,--and each recognised as true by the
possessor of them all. Accordingly, every man is now, whether he
wills it or not, unconsciously writing or _daguerreotyping_ his own
biography;--his whole life forming a work of more importance, to
himself at least, than any other in the universe,--each volume a year,
each chapter a month, each day or hour a page. At judgment memory will
read the whole, and be compelled to feel that every word is true. It
is strange, too, how rapid--reasoning from analogy--such a review may
be, without diminishing from its distinctness. States of being, or
successive acts, which occupied long periods of time, may very rapidly
be recalled in all their minute features. In moments of sudden peril,
when death seemed approaching, how frequently have men told us that
they beheld, in a twinkling of an eye, the great features of their
whole life like a panorama passing before their mind's eye! And thus
at judgment, clear, yet rapid--intensely real and vivid, yet sudden as
light--may the life of the boy, and the man, and the patriarch, from,
the first till the last moment of conscious and responsible existence
upon earth, be presented to the mind with a self-evidencing power of
truth, which cannot, which dare not, be denied or resisted! Jesus
Christ will speak _to_ the man from _within_ the man, and, with
irresistible power, say to him, "_Son, remember!_"

3. _The Book of Conscience shall be opened_.--This will afford
abundant evidence, when read along with the books of memory and
providence, of the witness in every man's soul for the moral
government of God, and that ever accused or excused his life. That
tremendous power which has dogged the murderer in his flight,
following him across the seas, tracking him to his refuge in some
solitary island or savage wilderness,--that presence which, like an
evil spirit from another world, has disturbed the guilty in the midst
of his festivities, or sat heavily on his soul, brooding over him in
his slumbers as a horrible nightmare, until he has started up in the
agony of despair,--that judge which has made kings tremble on their
thrones, and ruffians shiver in their silent cells,--that awful voice
will be allowed then to speak out with the power, as well as with the
authority, that belong to it. It will pass judgment upon all the facts
in each man's life, which shall then, for the first time, be fully and
fairly submitted to its inspection; and each page in memory's book
will find a corresponding page in the book of conscience, on that "day
when God shall judge _the secrets_ of men by Jesus Christ," A thousand
excuses will be silenced by it, and false hopes crushed, and a fiery
law go forth to destroy all the coverings which the deceitful heart
now draws over its own wilful and desperate wickedness.

4. "Another book will be opened, which is _the Book of Life_"--In
that book are inscribed the characters of all God's people, and the
evidence of the reality of their faith in Christ and obedience to Him.
"Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord: Yea, saith the Spirit, that
they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them!"
These works, which are the evidence, results, and rewards of faith,
are recorded by that same Spirit through whose power alone the soul
has lived, believed, and been enabled to bring forth such fruit to the
praise of the glory of God by Jesus Christ. In the book of life will
be found recorded by the omniscient Holy Spirit of Truth, that secret
life of every saint which was "hid with Christ in God." Then shall be
revealed the reality of their repentance and inward renewal of soul;
the sincerity of their love to God and to His people; their secret
prayers, thanksgivings, confessions, intercessions, and holy communion
with God; their plans, longings, and sacrifices for the spread of the
gospel, and for the glory of God upon earth; their deeds of charity
for Christ,--every prison they entered, every naked one they clothed;
the hungry they fed, or the offences forgiven by them from love to
Him who forgave them;--that whole _character_, in short, which is the
result of union with Christ, will be evidenced to the universe from
what is recorded of it in the Lamb's Book of Life.

And is there not another book, even "_the_ Book," which may also be
opened at judgment as a witness for the Triune God in His dealings
with mankind? How many millions of men have possessed the Bible, and
acknowledged it as the word of God! Who, therefore, among them, will
be able to plead ignorance of any truth--any duty--any danger--any
promise--the knowledge of which could essentially affect their eternal
salvation? True, they may never have opened the Bible, or have refused
to believe it, or have despised and rejected its warnings, counsels,
and reproofs; but the Bible was nevertheless given them, and their
very ignorance may be their crime. Or, if not ignorant, but only
"hating knowledge," and "not choosing the fear of the Lord,"--their
condemnation is, that they preferred the darkness to the light,
because their deeds were evil? Oh, what a witness will that Book be
against the slothful, the wilfully ignorant and unbelieving!

Are these sources of evidence not sufficient wherewith to determine,
to the conviction of the universe, each man's character at the
judgment of the great day? Should more be required, many other
witnesses may be summoned, if necessary, before the white throne.
Satan and wicked spirits are ready to accuse the sinner, and to prove
how he yielded to temptation, became habit and repute in sin, and a
willing and active instrument for destroying others. True, Satan is a
liar; but is _this_ testimony a lie? Can these accusations, if false,
be disproved? Can Christ be appealed to either as to their falsehood,
or for exculpatory evidences of genuine repentance or new life? And
holy angels, too, are there, who will be able to testify as to whether
this man ever gave them joy as a true penitent, was the object of
their ministrations as an heir of salvation, or known to them as a
fellow-worker in Christ's kingdom upon earth. Relations, friends,
neighbours, church-members, are also there to tell, at Christ's
bidding, what was the manner of his life in the family, in society, or
in the "household of God." What has this man as a father, husband, or
child, done? What example did he set? What temper and conduct did he
manifest at home? What was his influence as a companion? Did he
lead to hell or heaven? What did Christians find him to be as a
fellow-Christian? Was he cruel and covetous, slothful and indifferent,
uncharitable and censorious; or loving, zealous, and self-denying,
the author of peace and lover of concord, a friend and brother? Oh!
surely, even now we can easily see how there can be no want of means
at the great day of judgment, by which, without any revelation from
the unerring and all-seeing Judge himself, each man's character may be
searched and known to its inmost depths, and in all its minute details
be revealed.

And now, reader, before we proceed, let us here entreat of you to
examine your present life. We ask, whether you think it possible that
it can afford any evidence upon that day of sincere love to Jesus
Christ?--anything which can warrant the Judge to say to _you_, "Well
done, good and faithful servant?"--anything in your aims, wishes,
purposes, pursuits, endeavours, which evidence the existence in the
least degree of that _kind_ of life which is the result of being born
and sanctified by God's Spirit, and cannot otherwise be accounted for?

How many shrink from that examination _now_, which must take place
_then!_ But is it not wiser to know your sins, and see your danger
now, when the one can be pardoned, and the other averted, than, for
the first time, to awake to a sense of both, when your sins can never
more, as far as man can discover, be removed, and your danger, if
real, must end in ruin? We have many foreshadowings of judgment
revealed to us by Christ; and we have the unavailing pleadings of
those who desire to be recognised as among His friends. "Lord,
Lord!" cry some, "open to us!" These are not infidels, but professed
believers in Christ's supreme authority. "Lord, hast thou not taught
in our streets?--open to us!" is the plea of those who heard the truth
spoken, it may be by Jesus personally; of those, at least, who had
the privilege, and did not neglect it, of hearing the word preached.
"Lord, have we not eaten and drunk in thy presence?--open to us!"
appears to others sufficient evidence of friendship for the Redeemer,
and such as might be urged by those who followed Him in Judea, and
saw His person, heard His words, yea, sat at meat with Him as "His
familiar friends." "Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name, and in
thy name cast out devils, and done many wonderful works?--open to us!"
Thus could Judas have pleaded; and many a man, perhaps, who had the
gift of miracles without the grace of God; or many more who have had
rare gifts of talent, genius, eloquence, which have done good to
others, in spite of their own selfish motives; and who, by many
wonderful works, have cast out "evil possessions" of wicked principles
and practices from others, while evil, nevertheless, possessed

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest