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of the Incarnation are characteristically oriental. Speaking philosophically, the god of an apotheosis is a creation of human thought or of human fancy; the God of an incarnation is presupposed as an objectively existing Being, Who manifests Himself by it in the sphere of sense. Speaking religiously, belief in an apotheosis must fatal to the primary movements of piety towards its object, whenever men are capable of earnest and honest reflection; while it is incontestable that the doctrine of an incarnation stimulates piety in a degree precisely proportioned to the sincerity of the faith which welcomes it. Thus the ideas of an apotheosis and an incarnation stand towards each other in historical, philosophical, and religious contrast. Need I add that religiously, philosophically, and historically, Christianity is linked to the one, and is simply incompatible with the other ?
No: the Divinity of Jesus is not such divinity as Pantheism might ascribe to Him. In the belief of the Church Jesus stands alone among the sons of men as He of Whom it can be said without impiety, that He is not merely divine, but God. Such a restriction in favour of a Single Personality, contradicts the very vital principle of Pantheistic thought. Schelling appropriately contends that the Indians with their many incarnations shew more intelligence respecting the real relations of God and the world than is implied by the doctrine of a solitary incarnation, as taught in the Creed of Christendom. Upon Pantheistic grounds, this is perfectly reasonable; although it might be added that any limited number of incarnations, however considerable, would only approximate to the real demands of the theory which teaches that God is incarnate in everything. But then, such divinity as Pantheism can ascribe to Christ is, in point of fact, no divinity at all. When God is nature, and nature is God, everything indeed is divine, but also nothing is Divine; and Christ shares this phantomdivinity with the universe, nay with the agencies of moral evil itself. In truth, our God does not exist in the apprehension of Pantheistic thinkers; since, when such truths as creation and personality are denied, the very idea of God is fundamentally sapped, and although the prevailing belief of mankind may still be humoured by a discreet retention of its conventional language, the broad practical result is in reality neither more nor less than Atheism.
You may indeed remind me of an ingenious distinction, by which it is suggested that the idea of God is not thus the sense of Pantheism.
sacrificed in Pantheistic systems, and on the ground that although God and the universe are substantially identical, they are not logically so. Logically speaking, then, you proceed to distinguish between God and the universe. You look out upon the universe, and you arrive at the idea of God by a double process, by a process of abstraction, and by a process of synthesis. In the visible world you come into sensible contact with the finite, the contingent, the relative, the imperfect, the individual. Then, by a necessary operation of your reason, you disengage from these ideas their correlatives ; you ascend to a contemplation of infinity, of necessity, of the absolute, the perfect, the universal. Here abstraction has done its work, and synthesis begins. By synthesis you combine the general ideas which have been previously reached through abstraction. These general ideas are made to converge in your brain under the presidency of one central and unifying idea, which you call God. You are careful to insist that this god is not a real but an ideal being; indeed it appears that he is so ideal, that he would cease to be god if he could be supposed to become real. God, you say, is the “Idea' of the universe ; the universe is the realization' of God. The god who is enthroned in your thought must have abandoned all contact with reality ; let him re-enter but for a moment upon the domain of reality, and, such are the exigencies of your doctrine, that he must forthwith be compelled to abdicate his throne 8, But meanwhile, as you contend, he is logically distinct from the universe; and you repel with some warmth the orthodox allegation, that to identify him substantially with the universe, amounts to a practical denial of his existence.
Yet after all, let us ask what is really gained by thus distinguishing between a logical and a substantial identity? What is this god, who is to be thus rescued from the religious ruins which mark the track of Pantheistic thought ? Is he, by the terms of your own distinction, anything more than an 'Idea'; and must he not vary in point of perfection with the accuracy and exhaustiveness of those processes of abstraction and synthesis by which you undertake to construct him ? And if this be so, is it worth our while to discuss the question whether or not so precarious an 'Idea' was or was not incarnate in Jesus Christ ? Upon the terms of the theory, would not an incarnation of God be fatal to His
a Cf. M. Caro's notice of Vacherot's La Métaphysique et la Science, Idée de Dieu, p. 265, sqq.; especially p. 289, sqq.
logical,' that is to His only admitted mode of existence? or would such divinity, if we could ascribe it to Jesus Christ, be anything higher than the fleeting and more or less imperfect speculation of a finite brain ?
Certainly Pantheism would never have attained to so strong a position as that which it actually holds in European as well as in Asiatic thought, unless it had embodied a great element of truth, which is too often ignored by some arid Theistic systems. To that element of truth we Christians do justice, when we confess the Omnipresence and Incomprehensibility of God; and still more, when we trace the gracious consequences of His actual Incarnation in Jesus Christ. Christians know also that the Great Creator is essentially distinct from the work of His Hands, and that He is What He is, in utter independence of the feeble thought whereby He enables us to apprehend His Existence. We know that all which is not Himself
, is upheld in being from moment to moment by the fiat of His Almighty Will. We know that His Existence is, strictly and in the highest sense, Personal. Could we deny these truths, it would be as easy to confess the Divinity of Christ, as it would be impossible to deny the divinity of any created being. If we are asked to believe in an impersonal God, who has no real existence apart from creation or from created thought, in order that we may experience fewer philosophical difficulties in acknowledging our Lord's Divinity, we reply that our faith cannot consent thus propter vitam vivendi perdere causas.' We cannot thus sacrifice the substance of the first truth of the Creed that we may retain the phraseology of the second. We dare not thus degrade, or rather annihilate, the very idea of God, even for the sake of securing a semblance (more it could not be) of those precious consolations which the Christian heart seeks and finds at the Manger of the Divine Child in Bethlehem, or before the Cross of the Lord of Glory on Mount Calvary.
No: the Divinity of Jesus is not divinity in the sense of Socinianism. It is no mere manifestation whether of the highest human goodness, or of the noblest of divine gifts. It is not merely a divine presence vouchsafed to the soul; it is not merely an intercommunion of the soul and God, albeit maintained even ceaselessly—maintained in its fulness from moment to moment. Such indeed was the high grace of our Lord's sinless Humanity, but that grace was not itself His Divinity. For a work of grace, however beautiful and perfect, is one thing ; in the sense of Socinianism.
an Uncreated Divine Essence is another. In the Socinian sense of the term, you all, my Christian brethren, are, or may be, divine; you may shew forth God's moral glory, if less fully, yet not less truly, than did Jesus. By adoption, you too are sons of God; and the Church teaches that each of you was made a partaker of the Divine Nature at his baptism. But suppose that neither by act, nor word, nor thought, you have done aught to forfeit that blessed gift, do I forthwith proceed to profess my belief in your divinity? And why not? Is it not because I
may not thus risk a perilous confusion of thought, issuing in a degradation of the Most Holy Name? Your life of grace is as much a gift as your natural life; but however glorious may be the gift, aye, though it raise you from the dust to the very steps of God's Throne, the gift is free gift after all, and its greatness does but suggest the interval which parts the recipient from the inexhaustible and boundless Life of the Giver.
Most true indeed it is that the perfect holiness which shone forth from our Lord's Human Life has led thousands of souls to perceive the truth of His essential Godhead. When once it is seen that His moral greatness is really unique, it is natural to seek and to accept, as a basis of this greatness, His possession of a unique relationship to the Fountain of all goodness b. Thus the Sermon on the Mount leads us naturally on to those dis
b "Je mehr sich so dem erkennenden Glauben die Ueberzeugung von der Einzigkeit der sittlichen Hoheit Christi erschliesst, desto natürlicher ja nothwendiger muss es nun auch von diesem festen Punkte aus demselben Glauben werden, mit Verständniss Christo in das Gebiet Seiner Reden zu folgen, wo Er Seiner eigenthümlichen und einzigen Beziehung zu dem Vater gedenkt. Jesu Heiligkeit und Weisheit, durch die Er unter den sündigen, vielirrenden Menschen einzig dasteht, weiset so, da sie nicht kann noch will als rein subjektives, menschliches Produkt angesehen werden, auf einen übernatürlichen Ursprung Seiner Person. Diese muss, um inmitten der Sinderwelt begreiflich zu sein, aus einer eigenthümlichen und wunderbar schöpferischen That Gottes abgeleitet, ja es muss in Christus, wenn doch Gott nicht deistisch von der Welt getrennt sondern in Liebe ihr nahe und wesentlich als Liebe zu denken ist, von Gott aus betrachtet eine Incarnation göttlicher Liebe, also göttlichen Wesens gesehen werden, was Ihn als den Punkt erscheinen lässt, wo Gott und die Menscheit einzig und innigst geeinigt sind. Freilich, man lässt sich in diesem Stücke noch so oft durch einen abstracten, subjectiven Moralismus irre machen, der die Tiefe des Ethischen nicht erfasst. Aber wer tiefer blickend auch von einer ontologischen und metaphysischen Bedeutung des Ethischen weiss, dem muss die Einzigkeit der Heiligkeit und Liebe Christi ihren Grund in einer Einzigkeit auch Seines Wesens haben, diese aber in Gottes Sich mittheil. ender, offenbarender Liebe.' (Dorner, Person Christi, Bd. ii. pp. 1211, 1212.)
courses in St. John's Gospel in which Christ unveils His Essential Oneness with the Father. But the ethical premiss is not to be confused with the ontological conclusion. It is true that a boundless love of man shone forth from the Life of Christ; it is true that each of the Divine attributes is commensurate with the Divine Essence. It is true that he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. But it is not true that every moral being which God blesses by His Presence is God. The Divine Presence, as vouchsafed to Christian men, is a gift superadded to and distinct from the created personality to which it is accorded: there was a time when it had not been given, and a time may come when it will be withdrawn. Such a Presence may indeed in a certain secondary sense divinize' a created person C, robing him with so much of moral beauty and force of deity as a creature can bear. But this blessed gift does not justify us in treating the creature to whom it is vouchsafed as the Infinite and Eternal God. When Socinianism deliberately names God, it means equally with ourselves, not merely a Perfect Moral Being, not merely Perfect Love and Perfect Justice, but One Whose Knowledge and Whose Power are as boundless as His Love. It does not mean that Christ is God in this, the natural sense of the word, when it confesses His moral divinity; yet, beyond all controversy, this full and natural sense of the term is the sense of the Nicene Creed.
No: Jesus Christ is not divine in the sense of Arius. He is not the most eminent and ancient of the creatures, decorated by the necessities of a theological controversy with That Name which a serious piety can dare to yield to One Being alone. Ascribe to the Christ of Arius an antiquity as remote as you will from the age of the Incarnation, place him at a height as high as any you can conceive, above the highest archangel; still what, after all, is this ancient, this super-angelic being but a creature who had a beginning, and who, if the Author of his existence should so will, may yet cease to be? Such a being, however exalted, is parted from the Divine Essence by a fathomless chasm; whereas the Christ of Catholic Christendom is internal to That Essence; He is of one Substance with the Father-óuocúolos tỘ Harpí: and in this sense, as distinct from any other, He is properly and literally Divine.
This assertion of the Divinity of Jesus Christ depends on • 2 St. Peter 1. 4: ίνα διά τούτων [sc. επαγγελμάτων] γένησθε θείας κοινωνοί φύσεως. .