Need Of A Mental Reconstruction Of The Human Nature Of Christ

As the interval of time widens, separating Christians from the human

life of their God, the more urgent becomes the obligation to put forth

a constructive effort of the historical imagination. The attempt to

keep that memory green grows harder and harder as the centuries pass;

but Christians must make it; otherwise the historical character of

their religion will perish. There need be no fear that the interests

of spi
itual religion will suffer. Amongst moderns the danger of

idealising the human is greater than that of humanising the divine. An

intelligent appreciation of Christ's human life draws out love and

kindles reverence towards the divine personality who condescended to

the level of mankind. We may point by way of illustration to the

effect of biblical criticism. Christians of a previous generation

dreaded the touch of criticism. They thought it profanation. They

refused to admit any human element in the bible. Criticism, however,

had its way. Bibliolatry had to go. The result is that the bible is a

living book to us to-day. In spite of the fears of the devout there

was little to lose and much to gain by recognising the human element in

the bible. As with the written word, so with the living Word. Without

a recognition of the human element in His being, a full assimilation of

His teaching and an intimate perception of His real presence are

unattainable. If this recognition be accorded, the great past will

live again in the present. Hostile critics study the life and

character of Christ and the records of them with a view to proving that

He was merely man. Believers may adopt their method with a different

object. They may undertake the same study in order to comprehend the

wonder of the Man, and so rise to some conception of the wonder of the

God. The gospels are read mainly as a handbook of devotion; they

should be studied as the biography of a hero. The face-value of its

incidents is often neglected, while the reader seeks allegorical and

mystical interpretations. To form a mental picture of Christ in His

environment, to read ourselves back into His world and then into His

ways of thought, such efforts are more than ever needed to-day, and

they are more than ever absent. Historic sense and imagination should

be allowed to play upon the recorded acts and sayings of Jesus, until a

great temple to His memory rises in the high places of the mind,

dominating thence the whole intellectual and moral life. Such an

enterprise would infuse life and meaning into the Christological

formula, and would effect, so to speak, a reconstruction of the human

nature of the historic Christ. The Christian's attitude towards the

Man Christ Jesus is the "acid test" of the sincerity of his faith. No

one can bring intellectual difficulties to a being to whom cognising

was a foreign process, nor moral difficulties to one who knew no

conflict of wills, nor sorrows to one "all breathing human passion far

above." If we picture the ideal of all mankind as thinking our

thoughts, willing as we will, feeling as we feel, we are united to Him

by an intellectual, moral and emotional bond of sympathy. Such a

threefold cord is not quickly broken. Communion with such a Being

leads the worshipper to the heart of the Christian religion.