Parish Papers eBook

Norman Macleod
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 319 pages of information about Parish Papers.
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!

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Parish Papers from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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