It would be easy to show that this high doctrine of man underlies, and is involved in, the whole life and work and teaching of Jesus. It is involved in the doctrine of God. Indeed, as Dr. Dale says, the Christian doctrine of man is really a part of the Christian doctrine of God. Because God is a Father, every man is a son of God, or, rather, every man has within him the capacity for sonship. It is involved in the doctrine of the Incarnation; that stupendous fact reveals not only the condescension of God but the glory and exaltation of man. If God could become man, there must be a certain kinship between God and man; since God has become man, our poor human nature has been thereby lifted up and glorified. The same great doctrine is implied in the truth of Christ’s atonement. When He who knew Himself to be the eternal Son of God spoke of His own life as the “ransom” for the forfeited lives of men, He revealed once more how infinite is the worth of that which could be redeemed only at such tremendous cost.
Such, then, is Christ’s teaching about man. And, as I have already said, it was a new thing in human history. Nowhere is the line which divides the world B.C. from the world A.D. more sharply defined than here. Before Christ came, no one dared to say, for no one believed, that the soul of every man, and still less the soul of every woman and child, was of worth to God, that even a slave might become a son of the Most High. But Christ believed it, and Christ said it, and when He said it, the new world, the world in which we live, began to be. The great difference between ancient and modern civilizations, one eminent historian has said, is to be found here, that while ancient civilization cared only for the welfare of the favoured few, modern civilization seeks the welfare of all. And when we ask further what has made the difference, history sends us back for answer to the four Gospels and the teaching of Jesus concerning the infinite worth of the soul of man.
And now, to bring matters to a practical issue, have we who profess the faith of Christ learnt to set, either upon others or upon ourselves, the value which Christ put upon all men? Far as we have travelled from ancient Greece and Rome, are we not still, in our thoughts about men, often pagan rather than Christian? Our very speech bewrayeth us, and shows how little even yet we have learnt to think Christ’s thoughts after Him. He declared, in words which have already been quoted, that “a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” Nevertheless, in our daily speech we persist in measuring men by this very standard; we say that a man “is worth” so much, though, of course, all that we mean is that he has so much. Again, we allow ourselves to speak about the “hands” in a factory, as if with the hand there went neither head nor heart. If we must put a part for the