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by any writings whatever. It judgeth all things, but is itself judged by no man." Farther on: "We must consider Christ, not as a person, nor merely as the Spirit of the Hebrew Scriptures personified, but as speaking in the name of the Infinite Reason itself." Grand words, worthy of the radiant promise held forth by the title; but where were the Essenes who could have uttered them?
This Spirit, now, what is it? We know it by its effects. "It has brought to life in millions of men a power that has enabled them to overcome the world, raising them absolutely above the fear of death; but this can hardly be attributed to any of the direct teachings of the Bible itself." What then? What is this Spirit? It is no less and no other than the "law in the heart." If any one word must be used to define it, the author would select conscience as that word. Not that this selection is wholly satisfactory; not that conscience is the only principle illustrated in the life of Jesus; not that there may not be a higher principle; but this higher principle, if there be one, can only be found in a pure heart. By conscience is meant the moral nature of man, involving reason, affection, and will. This is the Spirit that knocketh at the door of every human heart, asking admission, and which we are warned not to grieve away. This is the Spirit which was before Abraham, whose coming has been the prediction of all time, at whose coming the world is judged. This is the Spirit which is with us in heaven, and no less in hell, the Maker of both. This is the Spirit which saith, "No man cometh to the Father but by me"; "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." This is the Mediator by whose instrumentality men are united to each other, and all are made one with God. This Spirit has a pentecostal power; it speaks all languages, and every man hears it in his own. It "He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not says, worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me." This is the Angel sent to guide us in the right way; this is the Prophet like unto Moses; this is the Spirit of truth, the Comforter. "The mystery of redemption lies in the mystery of the conscience. To awaken the conscience in a man is to awaken a principle which, faithfully
followed, may bring life and immortality to light in the soul." Simply regarded as the sense of duty, the conscience" is an undying principle, superior to all temporal power, and manifesting a divine spirit in man." But it is more than this: it is a principle of love, making duty delight, and bringing one immediately into the kingdom of heaven.
In such lofty style as this, the good soldier takes up and carries on his theme, letting us clearly perceive that his Christ is the spirit of humanity; the spirit in man that seeks the beautiful, the true, the good; the spirit of aspiration, of justice, and of charity; the spirit that is in all men darkly, that shines in them to testify that they are sons of God; that burns and blazes in them to make them so indeed. As this conception comes full-orbed into our minds, the Christ becomes something far greater than shall we say far more substantial? a being of flesh and blood. The local, the temporary, the national, is shed like the skin of a serpent. He appears in a new form, a living person in the world, not of incidents, but of thoughts. He is a symbol, but the symbol has in it the very breath of life. He is an ideal form, but yet so real that all other forms flit by it like shadows; it dilates with time, and space, and the expanding horizon of the mind; it palpitates with the heart-beats of mankind; its veins are ruddy with the tide which courses through the vital channels of the nations. It speaks, and its words are words of pure wisdom. from the oracles of the universal conscience. Its eyes moisten with tears they are drops of compassion from the universal pity. Its hands work wonders: they are wonders of the charity that never faileth. It is the form, not of a man, but of Man it is a form as of the Son of God.
Is this language extravagant? We mean it shall seem so; for we wish the reader to demand an explanation of it.
The objection is commonly brought against the doctrine of the spiritual Christ, that it is a vague and impalpable doctrine. Christ the Spirit, it is said, is really no Christ at all, but only the ghost of a Christ,- a shade, or even the shadow of a shade. Strip him of his flesh and blood, he dies, past resurrection. Take him out of Palestine, he is nowhere. Detach him from Hebrew history, and he goes flitting about over the fields of
conjecture, taking as many shapes as a cloud. Open a seam in his Jewish gabardine, and you discover nothing inside: the person has vanished. You must hoop him round with bands of very literal fact, you must bind him in parchment bonds, or you cannot be certain that you have him. The historical Christ is the only real Christ. Such is the common persuasion.
It is not the persuasion of the man who gives us this book; and it is not our persuasion. We have no purpose, saying this, to bring the historical Christ under suspicion. Leaving the historical Christ unharmed, it is nevertheless true that the historical Christ is not the real Christ: the real Christ is the spiritual, or the Spirit. Without the Spirit, the historical Christ is naught. Without the historical Christ, the Spirit is himself.
Spirit is reality; it is the substantial, the solid, the permanent, the palpable thing. It is the base of all existence. We speak of occurrences in the natural world as "phenomena," appearances, a phrase which implies that there is something beneath and behind them which is not an appearance; that something is Spirit. Creation sprung into being, say the old Scriptures, at a word; the word was the airy form of a thought; the thought was the ethereal expression of a being. The real part of the Christ is the spiritual part, by universal admission. It is his faith, his love, his humanity. What historical believer hopes to be saved by touching the hem of his Hebrew garment, by having a remnant of his seamless coat? The virtue of the miracles, even to them who believe the miracles, and believe that not to believe the miracles is not to be saved, lies in the loving will that wrought the miracles, and in the loving sentiment that informs them. Who goes to Christ for anything but his thought? Who hopes to be helped by anything but his affection? Who expects to be blessed by anything but the communion of his life? Who opens his soul to anything but the breath of his aspiration? The Christ you love, O literal and matter-of-fact brother, is, after all, the spiritual Christ. The Christ of the sectarian, of the dogmatist, is the spiritual Christ, if it is any Christ at all. It is the truth in the creed that enlightens and redeems, not the words in the creed. The
Christ of the formalist, the ritualist, the ecclesiastic, is the spiritual Christ, if it is any Christ at all. The bread and the wine would be inoperative if they were not the body of God. The prayer is not addressed to the image, but to the divinity behind the image.
True, it is replied; but the divinity would be nothing to us without the image. How could we see the spiritual Christ, if he had not flesh and bones as we have? How could we find him, if he had not a local habitation? How should we know him to be the person we were looking for, if he did not present himself with open credentials of a very unmistakable kind? The spirit must be authenticated, otherwise we shall find ourselves believing every spirit, and shall miss the true one. Now there is no mistake. This book, we know, contains the literal fact; this article, we are certain, embodies the pure truth; this shrine holds the real divinity. Are you sure of that? It seems to us that, if spirit possesses one quality above another, it is this of being self-evidencing. It is its own witness, and its own demonstration. They who know it, know it under one form as well as another. It knows its own, and is known of them. Instead of being authenticated by the form, it authenticates the form. The doctrine proves the miracle, not the miracle the doctrine. We do not accept Beelzebub on the strength of wonders, nor would any number of marvels convince us that Judas was the Christ. Scepticism always assails the letter first, even if it carries its assault further. It is harder to verify the history, than to accredit the person of whom the history tells; it is harder to legiti mate the creed, than to assent to the truth it embodies; it is harder to justify the rite, than to receive the idea which the rite symbolizes. The beauty of the Christ's moral character needs no evidence; it burns through the ages like a star; it sails through the cloudy skies of controversy like the moon. However it may have been with those who saw its earliest appearing, it has been so long with us that we know it without putting our hands into its side. That person stands out plain to all eyes, serene, majestic, well defined, not a feature erased, not a line weakened, every trait fairly and broadly marked, its glory confessed by all lookers-on, its truth ac
knowledged, its beauty admired; but among those who lovingly bend before it are some who have torn his historical garb all to tatters, who have stripped him of his Messianic robes, taken off his crown of miracle, made huge rents in the tissue of narrative on which his figure is painted, and abandoned the hope of ever knowing how he looked to the eyes of his contemporaries. The seamless coat of his history can no more be reproduced; but the spirit it clothed is abroad in Christendom. Is that spirit nothing, because the date of its advent on the stage of time is lost, and the accurate record of its deeds has been rubbed out by the flowing years? Is it nothing, because the antiquarian cannot identify the sacred places, and the historian cannot vouch for the authenticity of every recorded incident? Is it nothing, when it has become idealized by the loving sentiment and transfigured by the adoring imagination of mankind ? Is it nothing, when the mind surrounds it with a halo of splendor, when the heart clings to it with its tenderest affections, when the soul sits at its feet in humility? Is it nothing, because it is universal ? Spiritual things are not only spiritually discerned, they are spiritually propagated. Great souls require no history; it is of no consequence where they were born, when they lived, what dress they wore, what fortune they met, what wealth they possessed. Of some of them it may be said that they had no history whatever; hardly a cord of trustworthy tradition holds them attached to the earth. We have them, nevertheless; they lived, they are ours; the scantiness of their clothing permits us to see the majestic grace of their march. To be born into the spiritual world one needs not an earthly father or mother. Was not the Christ born of the Holy Ghost? The Muse of history never introduced anybody to a child of God. The best she can do is to bring one to the door. He may come to the door, and yet not be seen.
A question of priority is raised between spirit and form. One says, form precedes and creates spirit; spirit is an ef fluence from matter. The Church preserves the mind and generates the life of the Christ. It is by joining the Church that one puts himself in communication with that august soul. It is by believing in the creed that one appropriates