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here and there so as to transfigure them directly with its light, is keeping strictly within its sphere, though also touching a world in which it becomes properly and fairly exposed to the direct criticisms of science, and where, therefore, other and strong evidence besides the intrinsic spiritual evidence of the truth that is conveyed, must and ought to be demanded. But if this evidence is forthcoming, -and, as to the great central miracle of the resurrection at least, it is scarcely possible to conceive of stronger historical evidence than is afforded, not only by Peter and Paul, but by the joyful reanimation of large numbers of dispirited and ignorant disciples,—a reanimation which led them to cast away life, and many things dearer than life, in preaching the new gospel,-science has no right whatever to contradict the facts simply because she can, on her own empirical data, show an antecedent improbability about them. We do not deny the right of science to discuss the subject of miracle. Nay, we are disposed to suspect that as the connexion between the spiritual and physical life of man is more closely studied, phenomena not perhaps explaining, but nevertheless proving, a remarkable control exerted by the former over the latter, such as all great religious movements (the Jansenist for instance) have exhibited in some small (and often grossly exaggerated) degree, may be discovered, which will render the great miracles of the gospel somewhat less astounding to the scientific imagination, by showing that miracle, or the historically supernatural, has some definite proportion to the relative development of the spiritually supernatural, that is, to the conscious subjection of the human soul to God. But whether this be so or not-and we speak of it only as the general drift of the teaching of many remarkable periods in history, and as at least quite consistent with all we know of science,—there can be no question but that the physically supernatural in the gospel has indefinitely strengthened the spiritual faith that nature, with all its monotony, is only the instrument of God's spiritual purposes; and this physical supernaturalism has therefore a good title to be included as of the essence of revelation, if adequately supported by historical testimony. The author of Ecce Homo adds another effective touch to this consideration, though it is one which we can only use subordinately, when the main question of the validity of the physically supernatural has been decided in the affirmative. He remarks very finely on the wonderful impression produced upon those who conceded supernatural power to Christ, by the extraordinary temperance and self-imposed limitations observed in its use :-
This temperance in the use of supernatural power is the masterpiece of Christ. It is a moral miracle superinduced upon a physical one. This repose in greatness makes him surely the most sublime image ever offered to the human imagination. And it is precisely this trait which gave him his immense and immediate ascendency over men. If the question be put— Why was Christ so successful ? Why did men gather round him at his call, form themselves into a new society according to his wish, and accept him with unbounded devotion as their legislator and judge? some will answer, "Because of the miracles which attested his divine character;” others, “Because of the intrinsic beauty and divinity of the great law of love which he propounded.” But miracles, as we have seen, have not by themselves this persuasive power. That a man possesses a strange power which I cannot understand is no reason why I should receive his words as divine oracles of truth. The powerful man is not of necessity also wise ; his power may terrify, but not convince. On the other hand, the law of love, however divine, was but a precept. Undoubtedly it deserved that men should accept it for its intrinsic worth, but men are not commonly so eager to receive the words of wise men nor so unbounded in their gratitude to them. It was neither for his miracles nor for the beauty of his doctrine that Christ was worshipped. Nor was it for his winning personal character, nor for the persecutions he endured, nor for his martyrdom. It was for the inimitable unity which all these things made when taken together. In other words, it was for this, that he whose power and greatness as shown in his miracles were overwhelming, denied himself the use of his power, treated it as a slight thing, walked among men as though he were one of them, relieved them in distress, taught them to love each other, bore with undisturbed patience a perpetual hailstorm of calumny; and when his enemies grew fiercer, continued still to endure their attacks in silence, until, petrified and bewildered with astonishment, men saw him arrested and put to death with torture, refusing steadfastly to use in his own behalf the power he conceived he held for the benefit of others. It was the combination of greatness and self-sacrifice which won their hearts, the mighty powers held under a mighty control, the unspeakable condescepsion, the Cross of Christ. By this. and by nothing else, the enthusiasm of a Paul was kindled. The statement rests on no hypothesis or conjecture; his Epistles bear testimony to it throughout. The trait in Christ which filled his whole mind was his condescension. The charm of that condescension lay in its being voluntary. The cross of Christ, of which Paul so often speaks as the only thing he found worth glorying in, as that in comparison with which everything in the world was as dung, was the voluntary submission to death of one who had the power to escape death ; this he says in express words. And what Paul constantly repeats in impassioned language, the other apostles echo. Christ's voluntary surrender of power is their favourite subject, the humiliation implied in his whole life and crowned by his death.'
We may say, then, in summing up this part of our subject, that the scepticism of science is best met by first putting in the clearest possible light the imperious claims of Christ to legislate
for the spirit of man, and the marvellous concession of those claims through centuries--a concession infinitely more marvellous to any one who thinks that the miracles (which alone could have saved the three years' teaching of a Galilean peasant from oblivion) were illusions ;--and pointing out that such authoritative legislation would have been simply impossible if there were no source of knowledge but scientific induction-if there were not also a natural and instantaneous source of moral authority communicated by the mere touch of a higher character to a lower. Natural science and revelation are thus seen to grow from different roots, the one dealing with principles that are exactly equivalent, neither more nor less, to the phenomena which they explain; the other with the relation of lower to higher natures, and the tracking of spiritual light from below to its source above. Again, the natural meeting-ground of science and revelation is on the question of physical supernaturalism, where both have a claim to be heard-science, because it has studied the ordinary laws of such phenomena--revelation, because it claims to show, by the special modification of those ordinary laws under the influence of a revealed Divine will, the spiritual purpose which penetrates to the very bottom even of the physical continuity of nature, and redeems it from appearing a dead purposeless monotony. Finally, in the sublime temperance and moderation of our Lord's use of the supernatural, revelation gives a glimpse not only of the absolute subordination of nature to Divine purpose, but of the reasons why that subordination is so little obtruded upon us; why it is hidden from sight, though visible to faith; why the sun shines and the rain falls alike for the just and the unjust; why the physical order of nature is so subtly and indirectly subordinated to the spiritual order, instead of being made its more direct and visible expression. Temperance in the Divine use of the supernatural is essential to the culture and independence of the supernatural will in man. Unless the Omnipotent kept the play of His spiritual judgments partially veiled behind the constancy of natural laws, there would be no sufficient room for the moral growth and discipline of a finite free will. The spectacle of love laying aside power for the sake of man, is the highest revelation of the supernatural; and Christ, therefore, exhibited the supernatural power chiefly to show us the higher supernatural spirit involved in laying it down.
With the scepticism of science, as we have seen, our author deals rather indirectly than directly. Nor indeed does he address himself with absolute directness to the scepticism of secularism,-a species of scepticism which is not strictly scepticism at all, but rather indifference to a faith, which, in our own day, seems to have so little to say to the most urgent wants of the labouring class,—though he deals with the secular, benevolent, and philanthropic aspects of Christ's own purposes voluminously and thoughtfully. It seems strange that a faith, which was originally addressed immediately to a labouring class, and which anxiously sought out not merely the poor and miserable, but those criminal and dissolute classes who usually hem in the poor so closely, should now have lost hold, nominally at least, more completely on the highest ranks of manual labour, than on the comfortable middle class, and the luxurious aristocratic class themselves. Yet what the labouring class values more, and shows that it values more than any other living principle, is the organizing power which creates and holds together a society in practical unity; and if the Christian faith certainly generated any power at all, it was, as our author clearly points out, such an organizing power. If it developed one vital principle more than another, it was the capacity to inspire that value and respect for humanity as such, which has always been the principal craving of the poorest class, as the condition of its crystallization into an orderly society. Our author's essay is one long dissertation on the claim of Christ's legislation to inspire more than respect, ' enthusiasm,' for man as man, to sow in the heart what our author calls the enthusiasm of humanity, which bids us regard even the meanest as capable of possessing the mind of Christ himself. Here one would suppose is the very essence of a faith that could fascinate the heart of physical toil, and fit it for social unity and dignity. Our author says of Christ :
'He associated by preference with these meanest of the race ; no contempt for them did he ever express; no suspicion that they might be less dear than the best and wisest to the common Father; no doubt that they were naturally capable of rising to a moral elevation like his own. ... We have here the very kernel of the Christian moral scheme. We have distinctly before us the end Christ proposed to himself, and the means he considered adequate to the attainment of it. His object was, instead of drawing up, after the example of previous legislators, a list of actions prescribed, allowed, and prohibited, to give his disciples a universal test by which they might discover what it was right and what it was wrong to do. Now, as the difficulty of discovering what is right arises commonly from the prevalence of self-interest in our minds, and as we commonly behave rightly to any one for whom we feel affection or sympathy, Christ considered that he who could feel sympathy for all would behave rightly to all. But how to give to the meagre and narrow hearts of men such enlargement? How to make them capable of a universal sympathy ? Christ believed it possible to bind men to their kind, but on one condition—that they were first bound fast to himself. He stood forth as the representative of men, he identified himself with the cause and with the interests of all human beings; he was destined, as he began before long obscurely to intimate, to lay down his life for them.
And the greater part of the book is an expansion of this mode of conceiving the aim of Christ. Christ proposed to himself, according to our author, to awaken a fire of enthusiasm in the heart of His disciples for human nature, as represented in Himself; and farther, to organize that enthusiasm into the greatest and most practical of human institutions, for the rescue of human beings from misery as well as from sin. And yet it seems to us precisely here that our author may most fail to take hold of the mind of the great class to which he truly represents Christ as appealing. That they earnestly seek for an organizing principle and unity and self-respect, and for precisely every one of those great philanthropic ends which our author shows that Christ holds out, is as clear as that, as a rule, their class--and the highest part of their class probably most of all,—is alienated from the faith which could give them these great gifts, and look upon it as a dream of unpractical men, who had never heard of the steam-engine, the railway, or the electric telegraph. Possibly, indeed, one reason for this may be truly given in the following fine criticism :
The objection which practical men take is a very important one, as the criticisms of such men always are, being founded commonly upon large observation and not perverted by theory. They say that the love of Christ does not in practice produce the nobleness and largeness of character which has been represented as its proper and natural result; that instead of inspiring those who feel it with reverence and hope for their kind, it makes them exceedingly narrow in their sympathies, disposed to deny and explain away even the most manifest virtues displayed by men, and to despair of the future destiny of the great majority of their fellow-creatures; that instead of binding them to their kind, it divides them from it by a gulf which they themselves proclaim to be impassable and eternal, and unites them only in a gloomy conspiracy of misanthropy with each other; that it is indeed a law-making power, but that the laws it makes are little-minded and vexatious prohibitions of things innocent, demoralizing restraints upon the freedom of joy and the healthy instincts of nature; that it favours hypocrisy, moroseness, and sometimes lunacy; that the only vice it has power to check is thoughtlessness, and its only beneficial effect is that of forcing into activity, though not always into healthy activity, the faculty of serious reflection.
'This may be a just picture of a large class of religious men, but it is impossible in the nature of things that such effects should be produced by a pure personal devotion to Christ. We are to remember that nothing has been subjected to such multiform and grotesque perversion as Christianity. Certainly the direct love of Christ, as it was