Faith In Christ - Part 2
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
Thus, then, did Jesus seek to transform the immense materialising Aberglaube, into which the religion of Israel had fallen, and to spiritualise it at all points ; while in his method and secret he supplied a sure basis for practice. But to follow him entirely there was needed an epieikeia, an unfailing sweetness and unerring perception, like his own. It was much if his disciples got firm hold on his method and his secret ; and if they transmitted fragments enough of his lofty spiritualism to make it in the fulness of time discernible, and to make it at once and from the first in a large degree serviceable. Who can read in the Gospels the comments preserved to us, both of disciples and of others, on what he said, and not feel that Jesus must have known, while he nevertheless persevered in saying them, how things like : ` Before Abraham was, I am,' or : I will not leave you comfortless, I will come unto you,' would be misapprehended by those who heard them ?
But, indeed, Jesus himself tells us that he knew and foresaw this. With the promise of the Spirit of truth which should, after his departure, work in his disciples first, then in the world, and which should convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment, and finally transform it, we are all familiar. But we do not enough remark the impressive words, uttered to the crowd around him only a little while before, and of far wider application than the reporter imagined. `Yet a little while is the light with you; walk while ye have the light, lest the darkness overtake you unawares ! The real application cannot have been to the unconverted only ; a call to the unconverted to make haste because their chance of conversion would soon, with Christ's departure, be gone. No, converts came in far thicker after Christ's departure than in his life. The words are for the converted also. It is as if Jesus foresaw the want of his sweet reasonableness, which he could not leave, to help his method and his secret, which he could leave ; as if he foresaw his words misconstrued, his rising to eternal life turned into a physical miracle, the advent of the Spirit of truth turned into a scene of thaumaturgy, Peter proving his Master's Messiahship from a Psalm that does not prove it, the great Apostle of the Gentiles word-splitting like a pedantic Rabbi, the most beautiful soul among his own reporters saddling him with metaphysics ;—foresaw the growth of creeds, the growth of dogma, and so through all the confusion worse confounded of councils, schoolmen, and confessions of faith, down to our own two bishops bent on ' doing something' for the honour of the Godhead of the Eternal Son !