Paths To Power - The Power That Unifies
( Originally Published 1905 )
"And Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS..... and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin." John xix. 19, 20.
EMERSON says, "Language is fossil poetry." In this sentence our American seer states but one of the interesting features which studious minds recognize in that marvelous product of human life called language. For, elsewhere, he himself intimates that language is the unconsciously written history of man; and therefore it is the chronicle of the more prosaic events and movements in the long experience of humanity. There is much that is unpoetic in man's past; but it all survives in language. It would be interesting to illustrate this proposition by looking into those words and they constitute a multitude each of which has been called into being by some crisis in the life of man, a crisis of which each is the description, words which are sparks struck from steel and rock as they have sharply collided in the experience of the race. Every great and many an insignificant hour has furnished to the vocabulary of our race its word a word all instinct with the forces which gave it birth, a word which forever records the fact that at its birth-hour the lips of man moved with an experience which could lie unexpressed in the soul no longer. It would also be instructive to go more profoundly into the modifications through which each great word passes, and into the transformation through which many an old word has gone, into variations of mood and tense, voice and termination, and to note how the whole manifold life and spirit of man has told its story with artless honesty and absolute accuracy. We are told that every word is like a ripple of sand left upon the vast beach of the soul's life, telling how high the tide has risen, how furious or how calm was the mounting wave, what strength manifested itself in the urgency of this impulse from the heart of the ocean, what celestial forces attached themselves to the quivering drops and dragged them noisily along in a mass, to tell the tale of the sea in that wavelet of sand which was left when the tide ran out. Even the separate peoples of the earth are studied with most satisfactory results in their language. The smallest difference in construction, the slightest contrast in method of expression, and the most subtle variation in relationship of parts of speech, mark the very character of one nation from that of another. A language may be as dead as the people who spoke it, or as living as the man at your side, yet the disposition of its words with reference to one another, the way in which the mind chooses names for its facts within and its facts without, and above all, the manner according to which it puts into these words its experiences, are the tell-tale of the mind's own nature. They are the soul's mirror which reflects its own features, the sensitive plate which registers the operation of all its powers and shows what energies are uppermost and what motives ply their influence.
Every crisis of life is sure to develop such a moment in the development of its language as may mark the advent of a new word. This is true for the same reason that every great crisis in human affairs so commands the human soul, which lies behind all language, whose partial expression all language is, that a study of the languages of men, in that critical hour, will reveal the strong lines which give special character to every feature of human nature. Only a really great event commands the soul so authoritatively and fully as to bring out all its powers. Then they stand like soldiers in orderly line, one phalanx for duty. The study of any time like the period of the Crusades, or that of the Renaissance, or that of the Revolution in France reveals this interesting fact. The bolder features of humanity come out clearly. At such times the whole kingdom of the human spirit is roused to a degree quite wonderful; and then the intellect of man, the sensibilities of all humanity, and the will of the race are so manifested and yet so unified, that all humanity appears as a great soul in which thought and feeling and will are one. A really great event seems to gather together the dissevered and scattered lights of the spirit, various in color and intensity as they are, and to mass them, each in proper order; and thus to prepare the soul to fling its total energy of illumination upon the problems which confront it. At such a time some intense and capacious human being usually comes to stand where all humanity may pour into him the intellect and the feeling and the will of a race. He becomes the spokesman of his kind. His vocabulary testifies of the completeness with which his spiritual horizon takes in all human nature. In one of these hours, Martin Luther united the thought, the feeling, the will of an imprisoned humanity. He stood and spoke with something like the total breadth of our human nature. He thus recreated the German language, so that Goethe's intellect and Herder's emotion and Bismarck's will might use it with a sense of freedom and of power. It is, let it be remembered, an exceedingly significant fact that the language of a people should always in these ways attest the greatness of its experiences and triumphs.
In the event which our text records, we have the loftiest example of the power of great events or crises to command the whole kingdom of man's character. Here, and only here, do we behold in history an illustration of the absolutely complete homage which the greatest of crises and the most supreme of events obtains from the soul of man. These well-known crises and events to which I have referred as illustrations of how the various powers of the soul are brought together by a commanding fact, would never have occurred without the hour and reality of Golgotha the event and crisis of Calvary. Crusades to Holy Sepulchers, a matchless morning-tide for the Europe which could not easily get away from the old Cesarism, a tumultuous rebellion against self constituted authority and tyrannical privilege each and all of these had their impulse in the cross of Jesus. If either of these, like a fancied lens, had the function not only to gather the scattered beams of the soul's power, but also to dissolve them again, so that the glory of man' s tri-personal nature a being of thought, of feeling, and of will should appear, how much more surely might this greatest crisis, marked forever by Calvary and the cross, so command the soul that it should stand before it in that awful grandeur of celestial light, with every, feature distinct. Then surely must every energy be manifest, and every fragmentary province of its mighty kingdom be so profoundly and vitally connected with the others that, at Ieast once in the long career of the human spirit, this god-like tri-personality of intellect, sensibilities, and will should reveal its supreme unity and glory.
Now I do not assume that the division, hard and fast, of human nature into three compartments is either of the Bible or of science. But it is of observation and of significance that these three aspects of man's interior life thus open upon consciousness, and I believe a truth of value lies in this old nomenclature which I shall use.
What a crisis that was on Calvary! The age-long battle between evil and good had reached Waterloo. The hour had struck for the decisive conflict. Every contest which the soul of man had felt from the beginning, every silent advance of right upon retreating wrong, every sharp defense of truth against error, every dreadful fight against sin, every bloody march upon selfishness, every terrible charge upon the beast, every defeat, every triumph, was but a prelude to this awfully tragic moment when the Son of God, nailed to the Cross, was first to hurl the arrogant power of sin from that solemn height, and next, to make the cross His undisputed throne. Is it wonderful that such an hour should bring the human soul into such a definiteness of outline that its deepest nature and loftiest possibility should be seen?
Jesus came to be the Saviour of the human soul -the whole man. He could never be content to redeem merely the intellectual life, or the life of the sensibilities, or that of the will. At His cross, as a trinity in unity, stood the godlike soul. Thought came in the language of Greece, the land of the intellect; sentiment and feeling came in the language of Hebrewdom, the land of the sensibilities; will came in the Latin tongue, the language of imperial Rome, where human purpose had made its arches of triumph. In all these, and by all these, came human nature, once dissevered, but now to be united before the cross of Jesus of Nazareth.
I do not forget customary explanations of this text, which are true as far as they go. I am aware that this inscription was presented to the eye of the foreigner in Greek that he might understand it; that it was given to the Jew in Hebrew, because Jerusalem and Calvary were located in the province of Judea, an Hebrew country; that it was put into the Latin language because this same Judea was a Roman province, and Latin was the official tongue. I do not forget that the assertion it contained was probably made in bitterest irony. But behind these facts lies a greater fact. These three particular languages were there. The powers which make history had so moved in the past and were so moving in the present, that these three great streams of human life and experience met upon that crucifix, as they had taken their rise long ago in the deep springs of the human soul. The truth is this, that there was a wondrous drawing power in that cross. Human nature had been dissevered by evil. Human life was everywhere fragmentary. The soul of man was to be reconstituted. The powers of human nature were to be rebaptized. To sate man at all, he must be delivered from a fragmentary life. Jesus was still saying, "Wilt thou be made whole?" All the energies of history were in sympathy with the work of Christ. Every force carried the soul carries it still to the spot of its redemption. As we seek to find in Golgotha a center for human history, the circle around Calvary seems very large at times, but smaller and smaller does it grow until at last it has massed humanity its intellect, its feeling, its will under Roman eagles, and holds the central position at the cross; until, in the three languages which most truly stand for the life of this tri-personality man it announces in the death of Jesus the new life of mankind.
I. Let us notice how truly these languages express the tri-personal life of man.
(a) Greece was the land where the flowers of human intellect grew most abundantly; the Greek language is the language of human thought. In the life of a Greek word lie chapters in the history of philosophy. In the career of a single Greek syllable are oftentimes to be found the results of discussion after discussion in the realm of metaphysics. Dialectical skill, the subtleties of logic, brilliant insight, keen critical power, penetrating analysis, metaphysical genius, the energies of mind which behold the features of every shadowy abstraction all these are revealed in that supple, manifold, and incisive tongue. Lists of words which would consume our morning hour might be given, each of which shows some of the experiences of the intellect in its search for truth. Many words contain the whole story of how the power of thought has struggled up some frowning height of knowledge and found in sinuous paths the surest approach to truth. The countless transformations of one of the names which the Greek applied to some fact or idea simply indicate the litheness of his thought, as he moved from one to many points of view. The richness of his vocabulary in words which are names for facts of which the brain is most conscious, attests the vigor of his intellectual life. A Greek verb can never be so poor as not to show how large a volume of pure thought may circulate from soul to soul in the slight viaduct of a word.
Behind this facile, rich, ductile, strong language, the human intellect was supreme. I do not mean to deny to Greece the glory of warm sentiment. I certainly may not with success assume that her history and language, art and life, furnished no records which show how mighty was the will in Greece. But surely her supremacy was not that of will or feeling; it was that of the intellect. Her triumphs were those of the brain. Plato was greater than Pericles, though Pericles was, above all things else, a statesman of intellectual power. Aristotle was a mightier conquerer than Alexander. Socrates is a name before which all the triumphs of heart and will in Greece grow pale. Athens was the paradise of the intellect. Of course Sappho's song and the art of Phidias are full of sentiment; the comedies of Aristophanes, the epic of Homer, the verses of Hesiod, are redolent with the heart's perfume, but these are not pages from the literature of the heart, save as the brain leads and commands. The OEdipus of Sophocles, the Prometheus of AEschylus, stand at the head of a literature unsurpassed by their modern representatives, Faust and Hamlet. Herodotus and Xenophon write in the atmosphere of clear thought. The art of Greece had its triumph, not in painting, but in sculpture; and colorless intellect sharpened the chisel edge which was held by hands believing Athene to have been born full-armed, not from the heart, but from the head of Zeus. To-day the problems of human thought seem a revival of the questions which stood before Paul as he entered Athens and beheld porch and academy; and the intellect of the present, in the midst of her victories, often sings of her golden age afar behind where the archaeologist digs in the city of Athene.
(b) Palestine was the land where the flowers of human sentiment have blossomed most abundantly; and the Hebrew language is the language of the human heart. In the life of a Hebrew word lie chapters in the history of man's best emotions. The whole ocean of human feeling has registered its tides, in stormy grandeur and in solemn calm, in words of Hebrew. The religious sentiment has made its peculiar construction and richness a testimony to its fruit-fulness. As the heart knows God in and through the religious feelings, it is not strange that any slightest study of the Hebrew language will reveal a vocabulary at once sensitively open to the approaches of God to man, and powerfully expressive of man's approach to God. A beautiful story is told by Mr. Arnold in his "Robertson of Brighton." "A curious conversation, " he says, "is related, which once passed between Grimm and Diderot. The two men were walking one day in the fields. Diderot had plucked an ear of wheat and a blue corn-flower, and was attentively regarding them when Grimm asked him what he was doing. 'I am listening,' was the reply. 'But who is speaking to you?' 'God.' 'Indeed!' 'It is in Hebrew; the heart understands, but the intellect is not raised high enough.' " Other nations have performed other services, but Hebrewdom has uttered the heart of man. The result is that every characteristic of the emotional nature is impressed upon that language. The spirit of Palestine might fitly look out upon the Pyramids of Egypt and the Stadia of Athens, and say, with Tennyson:
"If e'er when faith had fallen asleep,
I cannot deny that the Book of Job furnishes to the intellect of mankind an impulse and an instruction almost unmatched by the Prometheus of AEschylus. But is it certainly an Hebrew book? The laws of Moses and the statesmanship of that leader, the thoughts of Isaiah and the Proverbs of Solomon, are witnesses to the strength and depth of mentality which ran through Hebrewdom, but the chief movement of that current came from the fountains of feeling, the unsounded depths of the heart. There seems to be no lack of purpose in the personality of Noah, or Abraham, or Moses, or Saul, or David. Surely Hebrew history reveals a people surrounded with enemies, and contesting every inch of soil with courageous will; but the supreme energy behind all these exploits and feats of valor was the Hebrew heart, filled with the sense of omnipotence and resistless with a passionate religiousness. The story of their religion is the story of the heart. Myth and legend may have come into its sweet chronicle, but when you pluck them out with the cold finger of the intellect, the heart bleeds. David's songs are tremulous with emotion. There are tears in the tones of Isaiah, and Jeremiah is the lyrist of the heart. All the sorrow of the soul of man, the disaster of a lost paradise, the perpetual cry of the heart for a sinless life, and the weary weeping for sin, these made the great portion of Hebrew song. All the desire and yearning of the soul of man, the feverish unrest, the heart-breaking sobs of deathless hope, the noble feeling after the Christ of God, these made not only unequaled poetry, but these builded temples which were heart-throbs in stone. These strung together all the events of their personal and national life upon Jewish heart-strings. Athens was the city of the brain: Jerusalem was the city of the heart.
(c) Rome was the social center of a land where the flowers of human purpose and achievement grow most luxuriantly, and the Latin language is the language of the human will. Countless Latin words mark the advent of a new energy in the life of humanity contributed by the all-conquering will of the Roman people. Wherever, in our own English and American life, some superb purpose leaps to the front with the word of command, it is almost sure to choose a term of expression whose roots run back into the imperial soil of the Caesars. About to deliver his burdened soul, Seward hesitated long, taking up and refusing as inadequate word after word, but at last came the word "irrepressible," and it described the conflict before our nation. Though we are told that "the inhabitants of the Hellenic and Italic peninsulas were ethnically connected and constituted in reality but a single race," the language soon told by the construction of each sentence how thought dominated in Greece and will in Rome. Wherever the Latin tongue met the Greek, in any of Rome's conquests, the Greek proved that Athenian life flowing along over its way so long had made it a matchless conduit for the advancing intellectual life of man. So truly was the Latin tongue the tongue of action and achievement only, that Cicero, who essayed to be a philosopher, occupied himself for days in finding a proper phrase or word for his idea and its belongings. But whenever the supremacy of human will asserted itself, whenever the energy of some purpose was to be named, wherever the sovereignty of conquering volitions felt itself flowing and eager for statement, in military or civil life, in the subjugation of peoples, and in the building of huge works of art and of defense, this stately, concise, and sinewy language, echoing yet, as it does, with the tramp of armies and the sounds of victory, proved itself to be indispensable.
Behind this great language was a people which gave it these unmistakable characteristics. Rome, in all her grandeur, was incarnate will. Every triumphal arch, every sacred temple, every sumptuous palace, every Appian Way, every contribution of territory wrested from a subdued people to make up the gigantic empire of Rome, was a witness to the power of the human will. I do not, of course I could not, deny that a noble intellectual life had its seat at Rome. Another array of great names Plautus and Terence, Ovid and Horace and Virgil, Lucretius and Martial, Cato and Manilius, Cicero, Tacitus, Livy, and Caesar would rebuke me if I should. But behind this literature was Greece, and along with it were conquests of will in Rome which far outshine any conquests of the Roman intellect. Certainly no one would think of comparing the emotional life of Rome, its record of the yearnings and struggles of the heart, with that volitional life, that unique record of the will which made her empress of the world. Even the later Rome called her chief citizen Pontifex Maximus the greatest bridge builder. Rome's characteristic citizen was Julius Caesar. When we say to Rome, show us your man! Caesar appears, "the foremost man of all this world." All the intellectual qualities of Rome met in him; saga-city, learning, a noble imagination, an industrious power of thinking, and a reverence for truth without a love of it for truth's sake. He had Rome's lack of moral feeling. His heart was never passionately warm toward righteousness. But he had also something positive Rome's fearless energy of will, her indomitable purpose, her terrible movement, her resistless diligence. Rome was personified in Caesar, and in Caesar's hand the will of man attained its greatest power.
II. Now, because man is a being of intellect, sensibilities, and will, every social organism or national life which is more the embodiment of one of these, than of any of the other powers of the soul every such effort at civilization has failed. Each of these languages which came to that cross was the language of a civilizing enterprise which had failed, because it did not include the whole life and possibility of humanity.
(a) Greek civilization failed. It failed to produce a full-orbed humanity. It produced no symmetrical type of man. Plato had intellect enough to see the golden rule; he lacked the power of heart, love, and the force of will, the feeling and the purpose, to make it walk the streets of Athens. The statesmanship of Pericles is unmatched in all the forecast and comprehensiveness of the intellect; but it lacked the beating of the human heart and the sovereignty of the human will. When, up to that cross on Calvary, this plastic, flexible, and powerful language came, it bore upon its every feature not only the triumph of thought, but also testimony to the fact that the most splendid thinking the world which has ever known could not and did not lay permanent foundation for the civilization of humanity. Just as Greek society, Alexander's empire, went to pieces before Roman purpose and power, so a merely intellectual life has never been able to produce and support a complete and victorious manhood. Even the history of learning furnishes the saddest illustration of the fact that the Greek spirit alone is not sufficient for the widest and deepest culture. Intellect is analytic. Life is synthetic. The dominance of thought over feeling and will makes the critic, not the builder, of institutions. A soul in which the intellect is supreme is rationalistic, skeptical, and it hesitates in the presence of its own great ideas.
What testimony do the fragmentary life and the partial results of many a soul give to these truths! Just as the Hamlet of Shakespeare stands for that brilliant incompetency of soul which comes to any man whose power of thinking outruns the purposes or sentiments of his nature and life, so the Paracelsus of Robert Browning stands for the failure of that high but lonely intellectualism in which the enthusiasm of emotion and the strength of courageous will are left out of character and action. In less lasting portraiture, many a sad and wrecked life tells the same story. It is impossible to get manhood so long as the heart is exiled and the will is powerless. Said Coleridge, sadly, "I am Hamlet."
(b) And Hebrew civilization failed. That which preserved it for so long was its feeling for the Messiah. It did not so picture Him as the Saviour of the whole soul. Therefore, there was not waked up within itself a life of intellect and a life of will equal to and coexistent with its life of feeling. The, entire manhood of man did not grow at Jerusalem. Their expectation of Messiah lived at last in the sentiment of patriotism, just as the Greek dream of the coming man-deliverer lived in the imagination and made him chiefly a great philosopher.
Each was fragmentary, and each failed. No depth of sentiment, or strength of emotion, can guarantee completeness of character. The man of mere sentiment becomes a sentimentalist; and his life has no power of production, more than a boiler bursting with unworked steam. The whole realm of thought and the whole kingdom of the will, in all true hours of every life, beg to be united with the vast province of feeling, the heart-life, that this tri-personality, man, intellect, sensibilities, and will, may be complete and true. Feeling needs thought to solidify and mold its warm possibilities; and then will must send the idea to the mark. A single character of Hebrew history will illustrate these truths. David was a soul of imperial proportions; but David's intellectual and volitional life were, neither of them, equal to his emotional life. Every man, probably, is tempted on the side of his powers. David's power was in his heart; and David's weakness was, also, on the side of sentiment. He shed tears enough tears of joy, tears of sorrow, tears of repentance, tears of love, perhaps also tears of anger to have emptied any other heart. But he lacked thoughtfulness, deliberateness, judgment, the intelligent Greek spirit. He also lacked purpose, courage to equal his sentiment of love, will-power to control his passion. He lived all his life in his heart, as his poems and life attest; and when it was broken, he died. Man, to be as he ought to be, to be saved in all his possibility under God, must be a trinity in unity. His life of intellect and sensibility and will must be one life. The trinity in God must be reflected in his tri-personality, if he is to be godlike.
(c) And Rome failed. Goth and Hun and Vandal waited her hour of weakness and made her an easy captive. Never so strong in sentiment, or in thought, as in her purpose, when luxurious iniquity had broken that purpose down, all was gone. The intellect and heart had never been honored in her career; and they refused to defend her gates against the barbarian. No nation is safe without moral sentiment, aflame from the altars of the heart's love, which welds national purpose and national thought into one invincible energy. Rome had not a sound and healthful heart-life. No nation is safe whose movement from the center is out of proportion to her intellectual life within. Rome never made her brain equal to her strong right arm. As with nations so with men; that is a fragmentary and weak character in which will is absolute despot, by the exclusion of intellect and emotions. Such a man is sure to become both reckless and stubborn. His very achievements make him their victim. He cannot hold and rule his own conquests, and at last, as in Rome, he has no sentiments to warm his soul, nor has he intelligence sure enough of itself to keep his victories; and Goth and Vandal conquer him.
III. At the Cross of Jesus, each of these kingdoms of the soul thought, feeling, and will had found its Sovereign. This Sovereign was discovered simultaneously.
(a) The presence of the Greek language upon that bloody crucifix was a silent testimony to the kingship of Jesus. The very tongue which registered the finest achievements of the intellect of man, and, at the same time, had made memorial of the fact that they alone did not, and could not, satisfy man's dream of himself, then made itself witness of the truth that the powers of reason and thought in the human soul had their king in the crucified Nazarene. What a moment of trial was that! Greek philosophy which brought its sages about that cross, when, in the language of the foreigner, this bitter irony was placed upon its summit, seemed to wake all the old problems and to offer once more in vain all the old solutions. The wisdom of Athens was to be judged by, as it judged, the wisdom of the Christ. The grandeur of that contribution which Jesus made to the intellectual life of man is never so surely seen as when we stand with the problems of the world and the soul, which called the cross of Calvary into existence, and we behold how philosophy fails and Christ succeeds in their solution. His gift to the brain of man of great ideas and a fundamental conception of God, the universe, and the soul —this was so mighty, that Homer and AEschylus, Euripides and Aristotle, Thucydides and Plato, all classic life, simply serve, by their intellectual work, to develop a language in which His thoughts and the musings of Paul may reach the minds of men. Jesus on his cross confronts the hitherto bewildered reasonings of the race as to the meaning of "the groaning creation." He offers Himself the reason of God by Whom the worlds were made at the first. He is the explanation of the universe. All the abstractions of pure thought bow before this matchless fact, this glorious Personality. All the roadways which have been traveled by human feet, in the weary search for truth, seem to have a common meeting point, as He says, "I am the Truth." He has met the intellect with its passionate thirst for truth, and furnished it with a more quenchless desire. He has come to the imagination of man and wooed it out into the region of infinity, as he has familiarized it with a fine sense of God. He has met the judgment of the race and taught it from the heart of the Eternal Justice. The Greek spirit has felt in Him its real king and leader.
Plato's highest speculation is as authoritative as a law of God from His divine lips; and, as He dies, the language of Socrates, which is used to perpetuate and publish the sneer of Christ's foes, has, then and there, with this same Nazarene, an assurance of immortality such as was never given to it in the songs of Homer or the orations of Demosthenes. At last the intellect had a Saviour and a Lord in Jesus of Nazareth.
(b) The presence of the Hebrew tongue upon that cross bespattered with blood, was another silent testimony to the kingship of Jesus. All the prophecies with which the heart of man has been stirred since the loss of Eden were at last actualized in Him. All the far-reaching yearnings which in storm and sunshine had gone forth from the human heart at last touched a reality which must satisfy them in Him. Every sentiment of human nature which bound man to God received a divine impulse at that cross. He made the pitiless pitiful, at that death-scene, by revealing the everlasting pity of God. Humanity's heart was breaking with His, when He cried: "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" He made the vicious, hard life of a thief responsive to His compassion when He manifested in His own blood the compassion of Jehovah. The heart of mankind learned a new and more powerful movement, when He cried, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." All the way through His life, He had been toiling at the heart of man, seeking to attach it to the throne of God. "Blessed are the pure in heart," He said, "for they shall see God." He made the moral motive power of His kingdom from His own sacrificial and bleeding heart. Love that master emotion became "the fulfilling of the law." He gave Himself in love and to be forever the object of love. "Lovest thou me?" this was the new question the deepest man ever heard. Into the heart of man He carried His cross, to move it with holy enthusiasm and passion of self-sacrifice, and to found there His throne; and today our world moves heaven-ward by the hearts which are ruled by His Iove.
(c) The presence of the Latin language upon that cross suggests the fact that the will of man had found its rightful sovereign in the Christ of God.
He came into a world whose moral motive-power was worn out. He met our exigency.
He gave to the will a new moral motive-power. It had all the charm of personality. He presented Himself. It touched every force within the will and roused it to action. He made man see both God and man in Himself; and, beholding these, man has found out the way to a godlike humanity, in the willing surrender of his will to that of his Saviour. The human will has never felt itself so strong for great deeds, as since giving itself up to the outworking of the will of God under Christ's leadership. It has been able to realize that God's will in Christ for each man is the best will he can have, or adopt, concerning himself. To adopt God's will is to put one's self in the line of omnipotence and to ally one's life with the infinite energies. With this perfect will of God, as it is manifested in Jesus of Nazareth, the loftiest dream of the pagan is in harmony; and the noblest Christian attains his truest manhood when he has learned to sing:
"My Jesus as Thou wilt,
IV. In the character of Christ, as our Redeemer and King, we behold ideal humanity, and it is to this godlike manhood that He comes to deliver us.
Powers of thought, powers of feeling, powers of will, are equally manifest in His character and career. His ideas are the flashings of the truth of God; His feelings are the throbbings of the love of God; His volitions are the echoes of the will of God. God had perfectly filled Him, and He was God's revelation of Himself, and God's revelation of ideal humanity humanity filled to symmetricalness and entireness with God. In Jesus of Nazareth, you do not see a fragmentary life. He is the monarch of the intellect, the heart, and the will. His thoughts outrun the philosophies, while He weeps at the bier of a Lazarus-like race, and pushes. his divine will over the altars of Calvary. There was no discord in Him, because of the dominance of one set of powers over another. Every tone of thought and feeling and will sent its richness into the full melody of that soul. By the side of this peasant, with His commanding powers all contributing to His career, the soul of Plato, the soul of David, the soul of Caesar, seem but magnificent sections of a man entire. Jesus Christ stands for a complete humanity. His cross is the spot where He is surest to save each of us from fragmentariness to wholeness, from the sins which come of partialness of character and life, unto the holiness (which is wholeness) which comes of completeness of soul. God must fill us with Himself, in order that every faculty may be brought out. The cross of Jesus alone has been able to attract and develop the thought, the feeling, and the will of mankind and of men. Let us each stand adoringly before it, until our manhood is complete.
V. O, ye who teach men, let us try to bring our civilization within the influence of the one fact in all the universe which has been able to fully reconstitute the soul, to mass all the forces of human nature and to unify them, to command and develop, along with all others, every power of our common humanity. Society is man at large, and has his qualities, powers, and problems. Each faculty, perhaps, has its characteristic institution. Let us look at them.
(a) Into the school goes the intellect, searching for knowledge, formulating experience, comparing judgments, penetrating mysteries, answering the old and proposing new questions. Thought incarnates itself in these institutions of learning; and just as thought alone is fragmentary, the school is too likely to do work for the intellect alone, and fail. Our education needs the cross to extend it to heart and hand that our culture may be loving and effective.
(b) Into the church go the feelings, trembling under the consciousness of sin, quick with remorse, or yearning for sympathy and comfort, loving God and man, in joy and grief. This institution is the temple of the emotions. There the heart is priestess forever; and just as the feelings are but a part of a man's self and life, the church is likely to do only a sentimental work, and fail. Our religion needs the cross to command the intellect and will that it may be intelligent and active.
(c) Into the state goes the will. Its laws are the will's mandates; its government is the will's expression. The state embodies its purposes, choices, and power. The nation is the will's temple. There the will has her holy of holies, and just as the will is but a part of human nature, the state is likely to become simply an incarnate will, without culture and without heart. Our statesmanship needs the cross of Christ to include the emotions and the intellect that it may be true-hearted and clear-headed.
Let us bring all these institutions up to His Cross, that each may behold a rounded, complete manhood in Him, that each may get His manhood as an ideal, that each may be so full of God that their ministry shall, under Christ, bring forth the ideal humanity.