* * * * *
“Christ either deceived
mankind by conscious fraud, or He was
Himself deluded and self-deceived, or He was Divine. There is
no getting out of this trilemma. It is inexorable.”
* * * * *
“Who say ye that I am?”—MATT. xvi. 15.
This was our Lord’s question to His first disciples; and this, by the mouth of Simon Peter, was their answer: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And in all ages this has been the answer of the Holy Catholic Church throughout all the world. In the days of New Testament Christianity no other answer was known or heard. The Church of the apostles had its controversies, as we know, controversies in which the very life of the Church was at stake. Division crept in even among the apostles themselves. But concerning Christ they spoke with one voice, they proclaimed one faith. The early centuries of the Christian era were centuries of keen discussion concerning the Person of our Lord; but the discussions sprang for the most part from the difficulty of rightly defining the true relations of the Divine and the human in the one Person, rather than from the denial of His Divinity; and, as Mr. Gladstone once pointed out, since the fourth century the Christian conception of Christ has remained practically unchanged. Amid the fierce and almost ceaseless controversies which have divided and sometimes desolated Christendom, and which, alas! still continue to divide it, the Church’s testimony concerning Christ has never wavered. The Greek Church, the Roman Catholic Church, the various Protestant Churches, Lutherans, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Methodists, Christian men and women out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,—all unite to confess the glory of Christ in the words of the ancient Creed: “I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of very God.”