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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 209 pages of information about The Jesus of History.
of my life fall to pieces—­my whole scheme of things for the world, my whole body of intellectual conceptions?  And the man to whom this happens may well say he is afraid.  He is afraid, because it is so strange; because, when you realize it, it takes you into a new world; you cannot grasp it.  A man whose instinct is for truth may hesitate—­will hesitate about a conception like this.  “Is it possible,” he will ask himself, “that I am deluded?” And another thought rises up again and again, “Where will it take me?” We can understand a man being afraid in that way.  I do not think we have much right not to be afraid.  If it is the incarnation of God, what right have we not to be afraid?  Then, of course, a man will say that to follow Christ involves too much in the way of sacrifice.  He is afraid on lower grounds, afraid of his family, afraid for his career; he hesitates.  To that man the thing will be unintelligible.  The experience of St. Augustine, revealed in his “Confessions”, is illuminative here.  He had intellectual difficulties in his approach to the Christian position, but the rate of progress became materially quicker when he realized that the moral difficulties came first, that a practical step had to be taken.  So with us—­to decide the issue, how far are we prepared to go with Jesus?  Have we realized the experience behind his thought?  The rule which we laid down at the beginning holds.  How far are we prepared to go in sharing that experience?  That will measure our right to understand him.  Once again, in the plainest language, are we prepared to follow, as the disciples followed, afraid as they were?

Where is he going?  Where is he taking them?  They wonder; they do not know; they are uneasy.  But when all is said, the figure on the road ahead of them, waiting for them now and looking round, is the Jesus who loves them and whom they love.

And one can imagine the feeling rising in the mind of one and another of them:  “I don’t know where he is going, or where he is taking us, but I must be with him.”  There we reach again what the whole story began with—­he chose twelve that they might “be with him.”  To understand him, we, too, must be with him.  What takes men there?  After all, it is, in the familiar phrase, the love of Jesus.  If one loves the leader, it is easier to follow him.  But, whether you understand him or whether you don’t, if you love him you are glad that he chose the cross, and you are glad that you are one of his people.

CHAPTER IX

THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH IN THE ROMAN EMPIRE

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