The Legal Quest Among The Jews
( Originally Published 1916 )
IN turning from the gentile to the Jew we pass from the region of speculation to the domain of revealed religion. The primitive religious impulse has been defined as "man's effective desire to be in right relation to the Power manifesting itself in the universe." The imperious need for adjustment led to certain quests or pilgrimages. Hither-to we have considered the pilgrimage of the imagination which culminated in the mystery religions, and the pilgrimage of the mind which manifested itself in the ethical speculations of the Greeks and Romans. We now take up the pilgrimage of the conscience which reached its climax in the legalism of the Jews.
The consideration of this question, however, has certain limitations. We are not to ask what the religion of Israel was intended to be under the providence of God; nor what that religion was in the teaching of the prophets, but what it came to be under the distorting influences of Jewish parties. We wish to understand why the Jew rejected his Messiah in the age when Christianity began its westward movement.
The failure of the Jew is one of the great tragedies of history. Christianity met with greater receptivity among gentiles than among Jews ; Godfearers pressed into the kingdom ahead of the chosen people, and a race that God had trained for centuries rejected its Messiah while heathen peoples received Him gladly. How shall this failure be accounted for? The explanation lies deep in the history of the past.
In becoming the special object of Divine providence the Jew had three distinct advantages over other peoples. In the first place he had a revelation of the true God. The monotheism of Israel was the direct outcome of revelation and not the product of a slow evolution. Not only did the Jew have the idea of one God, but this notion of Deity was founded not as among heathen peoples on unlimited power, but upon character. The one God was a holy and righteous God. In the second place, the Jew enjoyed a covenant relation to God; he was a chosen instrument of Divine providence. In the third place the Jew was in possession of a Divine law. All these features gave him a distinct advantage over other peoples.
What then was the notion of salvation held by the average Jew? How did he answer the question of getting right with God? This is a fair question, and cannot be answered by a study of the prophetic teaching, or of the function of the law as it was interpreted by special revelation. Our question is rather with the notion of religion as it lay in the popular mind. The religious problem of the Jew was less complex than that of the gentile. The gentile had to determine the nature and attitude of the power manifesting itself in the universe from speculations of various kinds; and he never could be sure that he was right. With the Jew, on the contrary, the problem was very simple. The power manifested itself in a revelation. The supreme God had chosen Israel for a special destiny and given it a law. How then did the idea of right relations with God appear to the average Jew?
Apparently it passed through two distinct stages. From the settlement in Palestine to the return from the Babylonian exile, the ordinary Jew had a very simple answer to the question of right relations. Being a member of the chosen race and a child of Abraham, he reasoned that he was born in right relation with God. Believing that he was the heir to all the covenant promises, he does not appear to have seriously questioned his religious status. Eventually this led to the development of a conventional morality in harmony with the ritual and legal requirements of the law of Moses; and finally this notion of ritual obedience came into conflict with the moral sense of the race, especially with the teaching of the prophets. We are quite familiar with the stubborn resistance of the popular religion to all forms of prophetic influence. It was not possible for the average Jew to question his religious status so long as he believed that he was born in right relations with God. The question of safe conduct as an individual problem does not appear to have been raised until after the exile.
But the Babylonian captivity produced very profound changes in the Jewish view of religion. It had much the same general effect on the Jew as the collapse of the city-state had upon the spirit of the Greeks and Romans. So long as Jerusalem stood inviolate the average Jew lived undisturbed in his national exclusiveness. He was deaf to the warnings of conscience, and equally indifferent to the prophetic teaching. But when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians it meant the end of the old theocratic state. The death blow to national security brought the question of spiritual relationships definitely within the ken of individual consciousness.
The exile sharpened the sense of ethical monotheism ; it made the average Jew aware of the spirituality of God; it brought the will of the Al-mighty into direct contact with a sensitive conscience. The natural result was to intensify the conception of spiritual reality.
The new sense of spiritual reality broke down the two barriers which hitherto had enabled the Jew to lite at ease in Zion. On the one hand' it substituted the church for the state. The old theocratic state having ceased with the fall of Jerusalem, a new notion, that of a spiritual community, came into the mind of the Jew, and right status with God was conceived as a personal rather than a national one. On the other hand, by placing emphasis on the moral rather than the ritual aspects of the law—since with the fall of Jerusalem he also lost contact with the temple worship—it sharpened the sense of individual responsibility and made the quest for safe conduct a personal one. For the first time, the average Jew became aware of the force of prophetic teaching. It was better to obey than sacrifice, and righteousness was believed to be more acceptable than burnt offerings. The new feeling of spiritual reality had destroyed communal morality and developed the notion of personal morality. The primacy of individual life was distinctly taught by Ezekiel. One of the common complaints of the exiles was that they were suffering for the sins of their fathers. "Our fathers have eaten sour grapes," they said, "and our teeth are set on edge." But Ezekiel told them that this proverb should no longer be current in Israel, for "the soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him."
The net result of the exile was to bring the question of safe conduct to the front as a problem for the individual. This led to a development of vast significance for the future of Israel.
From the beginning of their return from the Babylonian captivity, the Jews were troubled by two tendencies—a nationalist tendency and a cosmopolitan tendency. On the one hand some wished to keep Israel exclusive and separate from other nations; they were ambitious to restore the race to its old position as a separate state. On the other hand some felt the attraction of Persian influence. They were in favour of a more liberal policy of dealing with other peoples. One was a tendency towards spirituality, the other a drift towards secularism.
This difference of opinion was very acute when Ezra began his work of reform. His problem was a dual one. It was important at the outset to secure national solidarity. He was afraid of the cosmopolitan tendency because he believed that if this policy should prevail the Jew would lose his racial distinctiveness. But it was clear that the old city-state could not be restored. The bond of union, then, could not be a political one. It must be distinctly religious. He solved the political difficulty by dealing with it from the standpoint of a religious reformer. But the idea of religion needed definition, because the spiritual experience of the exile had subordinated ceremonialism to moral considerations, and the problem of right relations had become a matter for conscience to determine. Obviously he could not base his religious hopes on a repetition of the old temple services; these were still important, but they were not then fundamental. Ezra, therefore, determined to make the moral law the basis of national solidarity; and this was highly expedient, since it was in harmony with the new spiritual requirements of the individual. The Jew could no longer be satisfied with a communal morality; neither could he satisfy his conscience by the reflection that he was right with God because he was a child of Abraham. He had outgrown this view. He must find a basis of right relations in something that he could do. But since he could not be content with ritual observances he was compelled to develop his religious activities in harmony with the moral aspect of life. In brief he must find an ethical sanction for conduct.
Ezra rightly comprehended the need of the time, and endeavoured to satisfy it with a fresh promulgation of the law of Moses. Under the pre-exilic régime the ordinary Jew was content with racial relationships ; but under the post-exilic régime he adjusts himself to God through legal relationships. This new basis for national separateness, conforming as it did so accurately with the need of the times, sufficiently accounts for the success of Ezra's reforms. The secular party, which desired more liberal relations with gentiles, was defeated by the religious party which desired to preserve racial exclusiveness by means of a legal bond. The secularists gravitated to-wards the temple and its ritual services and eventually assumed the duties of the priests, while the religious party, being in the majority, gravitated towards the law, and eventually became the dominant influence in the synagogue worship.
But a new development immediately set in, because the law had to be interpreted, and the new order of Scribes arose in Israel, whose duty it was to expound and explain the law. But the law not only required exposition, but also adjustment and expansion to meet the constantly growing needs of the people. In pre-exilic times this was the work of the prophets, but since in post-exilic times the voice of prophecy was silenced, the duty came into the hands of the Scribes. And the interpretations and expansions of the Scribes developed a body of oral tradition known as the unwritten law, and was so closely identified with the written law as to be regarded of equal importance; and the composite structure was finally accepted as the standard authority for Jewish religion.
As time passed the religious and secular tendencies drifted further apart and began to crystallise into distinct parties with different policies of government and conflicting national ideals. The secular party identified itself with the temple services, while the religious party concentrated its interest on the interpretation of the written and oral law and the development of the synagogue worship; until towards the close of the second century, B. C., we find them with specific names. The secular tendency associated with the temple worship developed into the party of the Sadducees, while the religious tendency associated with the synagogue developed into the party of the Pharisees ; and these parties were directly responsible for the tragic failure of the Jew.
The Sadducees were the direct descendants of the priestly party which towards the close of the Greek period wished to Hellenise the Palestinian Jews.' They were a cosmopolitan party whose religious interests were limited to the conservation of the temple ritual and the enjoyment of priestly privileges; and for the preservation of these rights they were always willing to compromise with gentile influences in behalf of the status quo. As a rule they were of the nobility. Religion was an expedient in the interest of worldly position. The Sadducee ordinarily was a man of culture and refinement, a creature of loose and often sceptical views and at heart a secularist. His opposition to Jesus was based less on a religious than a political ground. He advocated the crucifixion of the Saviour on the ground that His mission was a seditious one. It was better, in his view, that one man should die than that the whole nation should perish. Apart from this aspect, his influence on the problem of safe conduct was negligible.
The Pharisee, on the contrary, is the most interesting, as he is the most pathetic figure in Jewish history after the exile. From the beginning of that momentous experience there had been a religious or separatist party in Jerusalem. During subsequent changes of fortune, this party had consistently exalted the written and oral laws above ritual performances; and as consistently feared and opposed every attempt to bring Judaism into harmony with the cosmopolitan tendencies of the age. The world had outgrown simple conceptions of government, and since Alexander's conquests the East and West had been in intimate contact; still there were many Jews who honestly believed that the wave of cosmopolitan-ism could be successfully resisted ; and as the gentile world pressed hard upon the little nation, the party of separation persistently emphasised a le-gal relation to God as the basis for racial solidarity. Towards the close of the second century B. C., the tendency of separation had developed into a powerful party known as the Pharisees.
The Pharisees differed from the Sadducees in many important particulars. Fundamentally they were a religious party, while the Sadducees were secularists. But there were other differences. The Pharisees stoutly maintained the authority of the oral law and put it on a level with the law of Moses. They were full of missionary zeal. Our Saviour said that they would "compass sea and land to make one proselyte." 5 They were men of the synagogue rather than of the temple, but were chiefly distinguished by their principle of separation. They took solemn vows to have no dealings with gentiles, and they were not willing to give religious privileges to the "people of the land." They were zealously interested in the interpretation of the written and the oral law, and in the time of Christ the traditions of the elders had assumed such a complicated form that it was difficult to distinguish them from the original de-posit of revelation. Moreover they had enlarged the sphere of the ceremonial law until it comprehended the most minute phases of conduct.
The Pharisees were the most religious men of their age, the Puritans of the first century before Christ, and we are obliged to recognise their earnestness and sincerity. They preserved a spiritual view of religion in the era of syncretism which followed Alexander's conquests, when so many religions and philosophies lost their distinctive character. Moreover we must admit that the vices of the Pharisees were not personal, but those of the system. They were victims largely of conscientious wrong-headedness, and their influence over later Judaism was paramount.
What was the source of Pharisaic influence? To answer this we must return to the question raised by the Babylonian exile. That question was: How can a man get right with God? The exile had taught the Jew that the old notion of right relations through Abrahamic descent was not sufficient. A new feeling of individual responsibility forced him, to seek for a personal method of satisfying his conscience. The strength of the Pharisee's position lay in the fact that he answered this question in a way that was in many respects adequate for the needs of the time.
The Pharisee held that a right relation with God could be obtained by means of legal obedience to a revealed law. Originally the law was contained in the ten commandments, but since prophecy had ceased it became necessary to elaborate the original law so as to meet new conditions; hence had developed a vast body of traditions and interpretations known as the oral law. The law, written and oral, was the only rule of faith and practice. The law had the advantage of being concrete. Men felt that they must do something to be saved. It was this feeling that gave such great influence to the Scribes and Pharisees. The great tradition eventually assumed a Divine significance and the Pharisees began to teach the doctrine of the eternity of the law. From many points of view the real God of the Pharisee was the law.
But the law was given to the chosen people only; obedience was the religious bond of the Jewish race, and its perfect working seemed to depend on a restoration of the state to its former independence. The supremacy of the law was bound up with a revival of nationalism, and this conception of the mission of the Jew determined the characteristic points of view of the Pharisee in the time of Christ. First, he insisted that man was saved by the law, that the law was eternal and unchangeable, and he was determined to resist any change or innovation. He consistently opposed Jesus because He would not accept his view of the law. The intense patriotism of the Pharisee led him to interpret destiny in national rather than in spiritual terms; at least he regarded spiritual dominion as conditioned by national in-dependence, and this led him to think of his Messiah as an earthly rather than as a spiritual ruler.
Both powerful parties among the Jews expected a Messiah, and both looked for national security as a result of His reign. But while the Sadducee thought of political security as an end, the Pharisee regarded it as a means only. I think the Sadducee would have been content with a Messiah subject to Roman rule. He would have been satisfied with any phase of political life that allowed him to enjoy unmolested his priestly privileges. If this new relationship permitted him to indulge his cosmopolitan tendencies, so much the better.
But the Pharisee held a sterner view. Political security was a necessary means of attaining spiritual dominion, and he would have been content with nothing less than a restoration of the old theocratic state, and a complete separation of the Jew from gentile influence. He was not afraid of a revolution. In fact he wished for it, and probably expected the Messiah to begin it. The Sadducee feared nothing so much as sedition; hence the secularist opposed Jesus because His principles seemed inimical to the status quo; the religious enthusiast opposed Him be-cause His teaching was hostile to Pharisaic interpretations of the law.
It is easy to understand why the Pharisee mis-conceived the Messianic mission; it is also easy to comprehend his failure to accept Christianity. But his failure was significant of another thing. It was significant of the breakdown of the idea of salvation based on legal observances ; and it is with this aspect of the question that we are mainly concerned.
The Pharisaic system was the best product of later Judaism; in fact it was the best the Jew could offer to gentiles; and its failure to accomplish the desired result is an impressive illustration of the failure of the third great quest for safe conduct, which was one of the distinguishing features of the religious situation during the westward movement of Christianity.
The Pharisaic system failed for three reasons: it misconceived the law of Moses; its conception of religion could not satisfy the moral sense; and it could not successfully resist foreign influences.
The Pharisee misconceived the law of Moses. He believed that the law had been given as the way of salvation, but this is contrary to the teaching of the Scriptures. What was the Biblical function of the law? This is an important question, and can be answered, I think, in a simple way. The function of the law was a dual one : it was that of a diagnostician and of a schoolmaster.
In the first place the law was given in order that it might diagnose a moral situation that called for redemption. A law was needed to define sin, since where there is no law there is no clear consciousness of sin. From the beginning man had been haunted by a sense of evil; by a feeling that he was not right with God. It was moral uneasiness that developed the primitive religious impulse into "an effective desire to be in right relations to the Power manifesting itself in the universe." A law written on the heart, while effective in making man uneasy, could not without further definition work a spiritual change in his view of his need. The function of the law was to diagnose the trouble, to create the notion of sin. It did this in two ways. The Shorter Catechism defines sin as "any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God." On the one hand, sin has a horizontal aspect. Before the law came man did what was right in his own eyes ; lines of behaviour crossed and recrossed each other without interference; but when the law was given, a straight line was drawn through human conduct, and at every point man's actions appeared crossing and recrossing this line. That is the meaning of transgression. The law created the notion of sin as disobedience and lawlessness ; it revealed sin in its positive or commission aspect. On the other hand sin has a perpendicular aspect. Before the law came man was aware of not being in right relations with God. Something was wrong with his character structure, something lacking, but what he could not tell but vaguely; but when the law was given, a plumb line was dropped down beside the character structure and it was seen to be out of plumb. This created the notion of sin as a want of conformity, of sin in its negative or omission aspect. The effect of the law was to sharpen and make definite what was implicit in experience. Transgression and want of conformity were the elements always present in the life of a fallen man.
In the second place the law was given to act as a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. A school-master in the old days was not a teacher, but an attendance officer. It was his duty to bring the pupil to the school, and when he turned him over to the teacher his work was done. This is Paul's argument in Galatians. The law revealed man's desperate situation. It was a situation calling for remedy. The moral law diagnosed the situation, and the ceremonial law, through its types and sacrifices, was a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. Christ was the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world. And the law was most efficient. If the moral law made man aware of his need, the ceremonial law suggested an adequate remedy.
But the Pharisee misconceived the law. Instead of regarding it in its Scriptural light, he turned it into the way of salvation; and under his skilful manipulation it became a burdensome imposition upon an already overloaded people.
The Pharisaic system failed, because, by rigidly limiting the law to externals, it failed to satisfy a growing moral sense. This was a constant criticism of Jesus. The law as the Pharisees under-stood it did not go deep enough. Applied exclusively to the outer manifestations of life, it could not influence the thoughts or satisfy the con-science.
In previous lectures we have noticed a very significant phase of ethical development: how the growing moral sense of a people will turn round upon ancient religious traditions and cut them to pieces, or transform them ethically. It does not require an extended examination to discover that this process was going on within Pharisaism it-self. Take the case of Saul of Tarsus. Externally his career as a Pharisee appears satisfying. Believing himself blameless before the law, he does not seem to question his religious status. But an examination of some of the autobiographical references in his epistles raises a question whether, after all, his satisfaction did not mask a profound uneasiness, as of a sense of something lacking, of an experience inconsistent with his ideals.
It is difficult to say to what precise period we may assign that remarkable analysis of experience contained in the 7th chapter of Romans. This chapter is a "chamber of horrors and an Iliad of woes" and there is much in it that seems to refer to his pre-Christian experience. As a Christian he boasts of the freedom of his spirit ; he is conscious of a feeling of harmony within himself produced by faith in the gospel; while the chapter under review indicates a mighty struggle between a law in the members and a law in the mind, quite out of harmony with his professions of liberty. For my own part, I am convinced that this chapter refers in some measure at least to his experience under the law. If he could look upon the law as limited to externals, he might be content ; but this was precisely what so earnest a nature could not do. In spite of his Pharisaic training the law became spiritual and inward; it ceased to be a mere preceptive influence and became a power that searched his very soul. A diagnostician is often incapable of suggesting a remedy, but he can make his patient profoundly uneasy by telling him what is the matter with him. In Paul's case the law worked better as a diagnostician than as a sehoolmaster. We have noticed how the growing moral feeling among Greeks and Romans tended to widen and deepen the rift in the soul, and to produce a feeling of conflict between flesh and spirit. Aristotle expresses it as a conflict between reason and passion in these words : "It is clear that there is in man another principle which is naturally different from reason and fights and contends against reason. For just as the paralysed parts of the body, when we in-tend to move them to the right, are drawn away in a contrary direction to the left, so it is with the soul; the impulses of incontinent people run counter to reason." ?
What speculation was doing for the gentile, the law was doing for many Jews as earnest as Saul of Tarsus. How accurately he sums up the case in the familiar phrase: "To will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good, I find not." s This is a confession of a need for a virtue-making power; a demand for a remedy adequate to meet a situation created by the law. It is also a confession that power to meet this need is not to be found in human nature. And this was practically the same conclusion reached by ethical thinkers from Plato to Seneca. Speculation developed the conviction in the gentile mind, and the law created it for the Jew, and both were brought to the same level. Pharisaism failed simply because it could not meet the growing demands of the moral sense, and this failure is significant of the failure of the quest for safe conduct by means of legal obedience. A man might keep the external demands of the law, and still be far from attaining peace. He had to reckon with an inner experience which the law could sharpen and intensify, but in no wise relieve, save as by suggesting submission to Christ. I do not mean to assert that thinking alone would have made Paul a Christian; but I do believe that a profound feeling of dissatisfaction with the Pharisaic programme made it easier to yield to Christ, when he was convinced that He had risen from the dead. In his epistles he attacks the law in no academic spirit. His passionate assertion of the freedom of the Christian against the tyranny of tradition is the offspring of a conviction that the Pharisaic conception of the law was not only inadequate, but positively harmful. But he gave the law credit for performing its divine function; it was an attendance officer to bring men to Christ. When this was accomplished its work was done.
Pharisaism failed in the third place because it could not successfully cope with foreign influences. This is apparent from the history of the Jew of the dispersion. The power of the Pharisee was exercised in the synagogue. The Sadducee was a man of the temple; as an ecclesiastical politician he had little interest in provincial enterprises. The Pharisee, on the contrary, vitally influenced the life of the provincial Jew because the bond of racial solidarity was the synagogue service. But in spite of this the Pharisee found it difficult to plant legalism in gentile soil. The Jew of the dispersion emphasised the ethical rather than the legal aspect of religion. Separated by time and distance from the temple services, he was less interested in ceremonial observances than his Palestinian brother. Moreover, he was less susceptible to Pharisaic exclusiveness and more open to cosmopolitan influences. This is indicated by the speech of Stephen, a Jew of the dispersion. He devoutly believed in the temple and the law as divine institutions, but clearly saw that they had been superseded by Christianity. Under such circumstances the notion of ethical monotheism as the foundation of spiritual religion became clear and explicit. But the enlargement of the moral significance of God tended to educate the con-science and intensify the struggle between the human will and the ethical imperatives of the law; and the net result was a sense of inadequacy in the old way of salvation. The Jew of the dispersion was far more willing to receive Christianity than his Palestinian kinsman, not only because his mind was open to new influences, but because the new religion adequately met the demands of the ethical nature.
In these particulars we have an explanation of the failure of Pharisaism. By misconceiving the law, so far from providing a way of salvation, the Pharisee actually made the quest for safe conduct more acute, since the law developed the moral sense and made man aware of the inaptitude of external righteousness. Our Saviour told the disciples that unless their righteousness should exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees, they could not enter the kingdom. Possibly many Jews of the dispersion felt the same thing. The growing ethical feeling of the time made external methods of salvation unfit and useless, and created a demand for a virtue-making power that could give man an undisputed status before the most High God. The failure of Pharisaism was the failure of the third phase of the quest for safe conduct.
Our consideration of the background of early Christianity has been limited to a study of certain persistent forms of spiritual experience. The primitive religious impulse is "the effective desire to be in right relation to the Power manifesting itself in the universe." We have examined three historic answers to this imperious need. Some sought adjustment through ritual, others through ethical reflections, and others, as in the case of the Pharisee, through legal observances; and the quests for safe conduct failed because they could not provide a virtue-making power; they were unable to evolve a moral dynamic of sufficient force to meet the requirements of a growing ethical passion. Every endeavour to attain peace naturally increased the moral urgency of the quest, and in the period under review this feeling was paramount. Where in the midst of this welter of religions, philosophies, and rituals could man find a virtue-making power? The age was too impatient to listen to argument ; it was beginning, too, to weary of mere dogma. It most intensely craved the appearance of a power manifest in experience and working its will in historic forms and comprehensible ways. The most pathetic figures of the time were men like Seneca or Marcus Aurelius, representatives of the ethical quest ; or men of the Pharisaic type, who held the impossible hope of a restoration of the ancient national exclusiveness. But they were men of the past. The more promising figures of the age on the other hand were Jews of the dispersion, and God-fearing gentiles. They were men of the new age, who could hope and aspire and grow. This was the harvest which our Saviour could see. It lay out there in the gentile world, prepared by centuries of struggle and deferred hopes, of inapt speculations and unfruitful moral experiences.
What could Christianity do for that age? What could it say of the need for moral power? Could it satisfy the passionate desire for safe conduct? Was it too a mere theory, or a religion of myths and symbols and ritual performances? Was it another ethical philosophy, or new legalism—another link in the chain of bondage or was it a virtue-making power, a story of a Mighty Personality that had come into the world, to seek and to save?
This was the inspiriting situation that con-fronted the many-sided mind of Paul when he looked beyond the narrow confines of Judaism to the Groeco-Roman world. And this vision of opportunity is the explanation of his confidence when he writes to the Roman Christians : "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first and also to the Greek." In the first epistle to the Corinthians he summons the ancient world to debate the question of safe conduct with him: "Where is the wise? 'Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? 'lath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world, for after that in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." 11 For several centuries God had permitted the old world to think about the question of safe conduct, and while the moral strenuousness of life had become explicit, and ethical passion stimulated, no dynamic to meet the need had been devised. The scribe and the philosopher and the disputer of this world were silent in the face of this tremendous demand. But a new and entirely different force had come into the world. It did not rely on the enticing words of man's wisdom, or depend on an ornate ritual, but was communicated to man through faith in a historic Person, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Mighty to save.