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 Christ.”
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