Project Canterbury

The One Christ
An Enquiry into the Manner of the Incarnation

By Frank Weston

London and New York: Longmans, Green and Co., 1914.

Chapter I--Introductory

The subject of this essay is the manner of the Incarnate Life of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I. Our task will make great demands alike upon courage and faith. It requires courage to lift our eyes above the figure of the Son of Man, seeking to pierce the clouds that separate us from His eternal state. What if the question that troubles us prove to be one of those that even His revelation in humanity was inadequate to answer? The revelation of the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ is ours, made our own by the Passion and Resurrection; may we go further and claim to know the manner of His existence within the humanity? Truly, the human mind is hard to satisfy. It knows God in human flesh. It knows manhood in God the Son. It must needs ask what is the exact relation of manhood to the divine Saviour! Is it merely the organ of His self-manifestation? Or the veil of His divine glory? Or is it, in some way hidden from us, linked with the Eternal Son as Head of the Church, in His innermost relationship with the Father?

We need courage and need it sorely. For at every attempt to pierce the clouds we are baffled by our own human powers. We desire to think of Him: our minds start to form conceptions; but always we hesitate as one after another the attributes of the Divine Being press themselves upon our notice. We labour to account for what we call the omnipotence of the Son, and the claim of the divine condescension makes us modify our thought. We begin to make terms with a conception of self-emptied power and the plea of the divine unchangeableness is pressed upon our notice! Omniscience occupies our minds; men say that divine love might be capable of a self-emptying of knowledge; but at once the claims of the infallibility of a divine Person hinder us from their conclusion.

We desire to speak of Him. We utter the simplest term at our command, calling Him a Person. And at once the interpretation put upon the term by our hearers reminds us that His personality is not as ours. Personality is for us an unmeasured conception. We still dwell upon the idea of ultimate distinctness that it carries to our minds. It may be that our aspirations after social brotherhood may have a new light to throw upon it, but in the last resort a Personality that can only exist in Triune life will never find adequate explanation in human speech.

Baffled then at every turn we need a great courage to pursue our search after an explanation of the mystery of the Incarnation such as may serve us in our own age, in the light of our present knowledge.

Herein lies the power of faith to help us. Knowing ourselves to be sons of God, created in His image, positive that knowledge is ultimately one, we are prepared to make an act of faith in the likeness of our personality in some degree to that of God. If personality be the highest thing of which we have cognizance, it is no great assumption that in our own personality, if anywhere, we meet with the personal God. More than this, the Incarnate Son of God has united our manhood to Himself in His own divine personality. This personality then cannot be either essentially different from, or necessarily outside the ken of, our own personality. That which can assume manhood is that for which manhood is at least not unfitted.

Faith then assists our courage. We cannot hope for a theory of the Incarnation that shall be adequate to that venerable truth. But we may surely expect to find a theory true in itself so far as it is able to go; a theory that will take us some way at least along the right path; and leaves us, at however great a distance, face to face with the Truth.

In any case we may not be silent. In an age whose curiosity has no limits, silence is a tribute to scepticism. Reverence may suggest reserve, but it must be a reserve not of speech, but in speech.

The manner of the Incarnation has been an academic question for many centuries. It has interested the teachers of the Church as a branch subject in the great controversies of the faith, and as throwing light upon the measure of reality to be allowed to the manhood of our Lord. Traces of a discussion of it are found very early in the history of Christian controversy; it became of first importance after Nestorius had asserted the perfect entirety of the manhood of our Lord; and since the Reformation it has occupied the attention of many writers. It has grown in interest as our reverence for manhood has deepened. Yet so academic was it at first and for so long a time that it is still held to be a subordinate question of the Faith. So long as men hold fast the fact of the Incarnation, is not the manner of it merely a question for the Schools?

To this it may be replied that men as a race do not regard theology as an ordered scheme. Christology as a whole is merely a background to the particular doctrine that happens to be occupying their minds. They do not see things in their true proportion. And men of our generation seem more and more inclined to let the main fact slide from their minds, because of the difficulty of accounting for the inerrancy of a teacher who is said to wear the dress of a human prophet of the Jewish race. As of old generations of ordinary Christians lived untroubled by questions that afterwards split the Church, so it has been with our own age. All that is required to make a question vital is an awakening to the fact that we have been dwelling with a difficulty.

In this case one of the things which have helped to open our eyes is the higher criticism of the Bible. The claim that Christ's knowledge of the Old Testament is not essentially different from that of a Jewish Rabbi has made us realize the problem of the manner of His incarnate life. Is it possible for a Christian to worship Christ as God, to defer to Him as unerring in His teaching about God, and yet to class His statements about the Old Testament with the uncritical views of a Gamaliel? Such a question is widely asked. Even more widely than it is asked verbally, the lack of a satisfying answer is sorely felt.

Again, the modern tendency to belittle the supernatural and magnify humanity is making our problem a very pressing one. Formerly men rejoiced in the Incarnation as God's self-submission to His own law of evolution; they gloried in the new powers of grace and truth that He had added to the forces at work in the universe; but today they are preparing to reckon the Christ and His teaching as among the best of Nature's products. For this reason, therefore, courage and faith must be called into exercise, and attempts must be made to reassert the inerrancy of the divine Redeemer without in any way minimizing the reality of His manhood.

In this enquiry our object is to discuss theories of the manner of the Incarnation, and to seek for some explanation of the mystery which, though necessarily incomplete, may allow us to contemplate our Saviour as true God and true Man, and yet as really and truly, in person and activity, one Christ.

Now the problem of the manner of the Incarnation is ultimately that of the discovery of a relation between the Creator and creation in and through manhood.

How, then, can God stoop from the creative level to meet creation? How was manhood raised above the normal human level to find its subsistence in God?

II. We dare to frame these questions because the Incarnate has already accomplished the foundation of this new relation; and from the revelation given to us in the Incarnation we have been granted a certain true, although limited, knowledge of God that has found expression in human thought and language, inadequate as both are to the statement of the Truth.

(1) We know God as the Ultimate Being, He who is of Himself, by Himself, for Himself, because He is Himself, "Ens a se et per se." He is therefore One, and one only. There is one divine Essence, the cause and end of all being; and there is one divine Nature, which is exactly the same as the divine Essence; since in the Eternal Being there is not any real distinction between Essence and Existence, Person and Nature, Substance and Accident. God is indeed, in all respects, One.

Yet we also know God under three quite definite distinctions of personal activity. He is revealed to us by the Eternal Word, who is the Son, the Wisdom, the Image of the Father; He is revealed as unifying us with Himself, in the Word, by the Eternal Spirit, who is the Holy Ghost, the Love, the Will of the Father; and in the Eternal Word we are allowed to see the Eternal Father, who is the Source, the Fountain, the Origin of Godhead.

All that we really know of God by experience, we have learned from the Son and the Spirit; and the condition of our learning anything from either is that we believe in the essential unity of the divine Essence and Nature.

Thus we have come to discern in the Godhead three distinctions that arise from essential relations within the divine Nature.

The first two distinctions are found in the Eternal Father and the Image of Himself, who is named His Word, or Wisdom; Who is said to proceed, eternally, from yet in the Father, just as, to use a very inadequate analogy, a thought proceeds from yet remains in the mind. And since God is one, and eternal, the Word of the Father is exactly coeternal and coequal with the Father, being the true and perfect Image of the Father; of one and the same divine Essence and Nature. This internal procession within the Godhead is best described as a relation between the Source of Godhead and the Image of Godhead, or the Father and the Word of the Father, or the Father and the Son. The subject of the relation is the Father, the object of the relation is the Son, and the foundation of the relation is the one divine nature.

Thus we distinguish in the one Godhead the Father who gives Himself and the Son who is, by the Father's act of giving, the Father's express Image; while yet maintaining the essential oneness of Father and Son, as of Eternal Mind and Eternal Thought.

The third distinction is found in the Holy Ghost, Who is revealed to us as the divine Love, the Purpose that is the content of the divine Will; divine Love that proceeds from yet in the Father, and therefore, in a true but different sense, from and in the Son Who is one with the Father. Thus the Spirit also is the object of a relation to the Father, and to the Son in and with the Father, the foundation of which is the same divine Nature.

The Wisdom of God is the very Essence of God; the Love of God is also the very Essence of God; and therefore in God we distinguish three "subsistences" in the divine Essence, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Thus the life of God is the three relations in which God is Three Persons.

(2) Now the Catholic Faith is that God has found a point of contact with creation in the Person of the Eternal Word, or Wisdom, or Reason; and that in the Person of the Word as its subject humanity was constituted in Mary's womb, by the power of the Spirit of Love, in obedience to the divine Will. So that the one God in the one Godhead is the origin both of the plan of the Incarnation, and of the power that brought it to pass; but the Person who is incarnate is neither the Father, nor the Spirit, but the Eternal Word alone.

We ask, then, in what sense do we here speak of the Word as a person; for our own use of this word is not at all appropriate to that which we are now trying to describe. The Eternal Word is called a person because he stands essentially in an eternal relation to the Father that is peculiarly His own; and is therefore rightly named a person, because with us a person is one who on his own account, for his own ends, dwells in and fully possesses an intelligent nature. The Word is Eternal, He is Life and Truth and Wisdom: and because He is in the Father in virtue of an essential relation of the Godhead, and because He is necessary to that relation and is also one with the Father, we ascribe to Him the best word that we have, although it is inadequate to express His true self-existence, Intelligence, and divine Nature.

But the very fact of the word person being in a sense fitting to the Eternal Word, is a reason for accepting the Catholic dogma of the incarnation of a divine Person in human nature. For if the highest that human personality connotes can be found in the lowest human measure of the divine Person of the Word; then a point of contact is set up between the divine Nature and us fallen children of Adam.

The fitness of the Incarnation of the Eternal Word is sung by the doctors of the Church; for in the Image of the Father's Mind they have not unnaturally recognized a certain congruity with creation, viewed as His own work, the expression in material form of the eternal purpose of the divine Wisdom. For the Eternal Word is He who created all things according to the divine Plan, making evident the thoughts of God, and giving them material form. Who then but He could undertake to re-mould the ruined universe according to the divine Mind, which Mind He is?

And since He is Himself divine Knowledge, in virtue of whom all things are; for all things are because He knows them; who but He could take human media of thought and fittingly come to know by human experience the created relationships of all that is, knowing things empirically because they are?

Yet not without the Spirit, Whose agency was necessary to creation, inasmuch as He is the divine Force of purposeful Love in whose activity the divine Mind gave visible permanence to eternal Thoughts; so that in redemptive purpose the Spirit also appears as the Force of Love for which the Incarnate made plain the way, even the way of His own proper manhood, prepared for Him by divine Love in the virgin womb of Mary.

(3) What, then, does the Eternal Word bring with Him to the union? For the use of the word person is dangerous. It suggests that He is as we are: namely, persons, with certain habitual acts of will and mind and desire, performed in and expressed by our nature, no one of which is adequate to express ourselves, and all of which are really distinct from ourselves, though not able to exist apart from us.

Not so is the Eternal Word. For He is God; He is the divine Will and Mind, Love and Wisdom; He is the divine Essence; He does not "bring it with Him."

Therefore it is as useless to enquire whether the Incarnate Word uses divine Mind or Will, as it is wrong to postulate an abandonment of them by Him. He is the divine Mind and Will; and in every moment of the Incarnate's life we are bound to acknowledge that where He is there is the divine Nature, with all the powers and activities that are to be ascribed to it; there it is, a unity, the divine Essence, which is the Word Himself.

Such, then, is the first Term of the relationship that is called the Incarnation of God the Son.

III. Let us now enquire what is the manhood that forms the second term of the relationship. What, in fact, do we mean by a human being?

Man is the possessor of an intelligent nature, in which he is a responsible centre of relations with things other than himself. His nature is twofold or, as some would count, threefold.

He is manifest in the world of sense through certain material media which inhere in a unity called Body, known to us only through its material parts; and his body exists to be the agent of certain powers which inhere in a unity called Soul. Soul and Body, as a composite being, are manhood, or human nature; and what men mean by the human spirit is only the capacity for using the intellectual powers of the soul for union with God.

Thus human nature is

Soul. { Intellectual Powers. Reason. Will. Feeling.
Body { Animal powers. Sense. Appetite. Emotion.

The material media of the faculties of the soul.

But who is the possessor of this nature? Who is the Actor who manifests himself through these powers and material media?

The answer is given variously according to men's views of psychology. The fact is that science deals only with the soul and body as they are expressed in their activities, and has no possible means of getting behind them, either to assert or to deny the existence of an Actor. But human language, the evidence of which is nowhere more relevant than here, refuses to describe either soul or body in activity without mentioning a hidden Actor whom both reveal.

Thus, if we say, "I will eat food," or " I know myself to be foolish," or "I am he that was once ill," or "I shall one day see God," there is no doubt that we are asserting the existence of a Reality in whom soul and body form a composite being, and who at the same time is distinct from both; and this Reality we call the Self, or Person, or Ego, of manhood.

For in each proposition there is a thinker making a statement about himself ; there is an object of which he thinks, now himself, now another; and there is the thought expressed by the proposition. And this thinker is the Ego, or Subject, of his manhood.

Thus the human Subject, or Ego, is defined as " the individual substance of rational nature." That is, the human Person is an immaterial being, in whom are constituted soul and body so as to be his very own nature, in which he will be a responsible centre of relationships with all that is not constituted in him as its ground of being. Each human person possesses human nature, which is common to all men ; but each one possesses his nature in a manner peculiar to himself, in virtue of which it is his alone, and cannot be shared with another. The ultimate point of union between himself and another man is not his nature, but his person ; yet his person as manifested in and through his nature.

It is true that modern psychology is supposed to contradict this view of personality; but inasmuch as psychology is concerned only with the soul and its manifestations, no case against the existence of a Subject, or Ego, of the soul can be based upon its discoveries.

In any case, Christology assumes in man a certain underlying reality called "I," inseparable from soul and body in existence, yet in fact distinct from and the ground of both.
This "I" is the subject of all thought, perception, change, and consciousness; it is also capable of being object of thought, perception, and consciousness; it is the link between the change of which it is the centre, and the change of which its neighbour is the centre; and it is, in each individual case, the real ground of the solidarity of the human race.

The essential functions of this "I" require the soul, through which "I" wills, thinks, and chooses; and for its true and complete life it requires the body, the material expression of which the soul is the essential form. But the "I" is not the soul, nor the body, nor the composition of the two, but the ground in which both subsist. In fact, the "I" is responsible to another "I" outside himself for the activities of his soul and body; and the "I" cannot love unless there be another "I," without whom no love were possible.

The Catholic Church bears witness that in Jesus of Nazareth the "I" is the Eternal Word of God, and none other.

Thus, the second term of the Relation between Creator and created, of which the Incarnate Word is the first term, is human nature, soul and body.

This human nature of the Incarnate was created to be constituted, in its first moment of existence, not in a human person, or subject, or actor; but in the Incarnate Word, who has been its subject, possessor, actor, ego, person, since it came into existence in Mary's womb.

Thus the Incarnate took to Himself what is common to mankind, that He might gather mankind into union with Himself through the nature that He took.

It is agreed that had the manhood of Jesus ever been constituted in a human person, or ego, or subject, the Incarnate could not have made it His own without destroying the person who had first possessed it; at best He could have made that person like Himself in mind and will, and perhaps have redeemed him: certainly He would not Himself have been possessed of manhood in which alone He arrives at such a personal union with all men, as makes possible His act of vicarious atonement and His communication to them of His own life and power.

And if it be argued that the Eternal Word cannot so act as subject of true manhood, we ask for patience in following the discussion to its close, for it will, I hope, become plain that the Church's claim is not irrational. She assumes a certain likeness of the divine and human personalities, such as makes it conceivable for the greater to take the place of the less, modifying His self-expression to the measure of manhood's requirements.

The further objection that "what is not assumed is not redeemed" cannot be sustained in the matter of personality. For by definition, human personality exists per se, it cannot be assumed. It is created to be incommunicable to another. And its redemption is by way of self-surrender, in response to grace, to the divine Person, whose work it is to redeem manhood from sin's dominion that the penitent person can in fact make and sustain his self-surrender.

The Eternal Word can take manhood; in manhood He can exhibit the perfect life; offer the sufficient sacrifice; store up and send forth the necessary grace; erect the centre of the Spirit's activities; and pour out new life and power. This done He must wait till, under His Spirit's influence, the inner self of the sinner yields to Him. Once that surrender is made He enters upon His kingdom, and the inner self of the man is truly redeemed. Redemption by assumption is the cause of redemption by self-surrender; and the Christ assumed all that is not by nature incommunicable.

IV. The two terms of the relationship founded on the Incarnation being thus defined, it remains to approach the problem of the manner of the coming of God in human flesh. The manhood it is that we see; it is of the historic Christ that it is the present fashion to speak, rather than of Incarnate God; all the emphasis is laid upon the humanity of our Saviour. Who then is the Person, the ego, the subject, in whom the manhood of Jesus was constituted, and is, and ever shall be? In what measure does He manifest powers proper to His divine Nature? Was He, and is He, an exactly adequate subject of Manhood? If so, in what sense is He the Eternal Son? Or is there in the man Christ Jesus a Self that His manhood has never availed to express, a Self that is active, in the sphere of the Incarnate Life, apart altogether from the faculties of the humanity which He assumed to be His self-expression ?

The line to be followed is, briefly, this. In the first place, we must study with the utmost care the picture of the Christ given us in the Gospel narrative, seeking to take in each detail one by one, but each in its due proportion to the whole. This will require that we compare our own personal impressions with those formed by the Apostolic writers of the New Testament, whose view of the Christ is not only of unique interest but of primary authority. This done there will have emerged all the facts which go to make our problem.

Secondly, it will be necessary to describe shortly and to classify the various lines of thought along which men have sought a solution of the problem. It will, I think, be found that in the main the theories that have been evolved follow one of three lines.

The first line starts with the conception of our Lord Jesus Christ as existing in the state of Incarnation in the full possession of His divine powers and prerogatives. His state of glory He may not evacuate without the loss of His proper deity; yet the state of humiliation must equally possess Him if our humanity is to be thought of as really assumed and redeemed.

Starting from these postulates the theories branch off in various directions. The main position will be found to be that of the great Athanasius, who is content to be a follower of the Apostolic method of stating the facts on both sides, refusing to attempt their reconciliation. An advanced position is that of St. Cyril, which came to be very popular in the Church; the position in which the fullness of the expression of the divine powers is maintained at the cost of the reality of the manhood; some of the normal limitations of manhood appearing to be incompatible with the perfection of Christ's divinity. The most advanced position is that in which men have in varying degrees postulated a relative deification of the manhood, in order that it may be properly constituted in the Eternal Son, who is its ego or subject.

Along the second line we meet those who fail to find satisfaction in the thought of the Son in the fullness of power as the subject of the manhood. Their theories will be seen to vary between a Nestorian association of the Logos with a human individual, and a conception of a divine-human person, of one divine-human consciousness, the result of the incarnation of the divine Son. The purpose of these theorists will be shewn to be the discovery of a really human ego, or subject of Christ's manhood.

The third line is followed by those who, being convinced that the subject of the manhood is the Eternal Son Himself, seek to postulate of Him such a self-abandonment of His divine power as will reduce Him to the level upon which, in their view, His manhood can truly and naturally develop and exercise its normal powers. These theories will be seen to vary in the measure of the self-abandonment which each assumes. Some advocates of this line of thought confine the Kenosis to the sphere of the Incarnation, but others are bolder and seek to remove the Eternal Son from the sphere of His universal activities as the Word of God during the period of His humiliation.

It will also become plain that on all these lines there is assumed a complete separation between the universal state of the Logos and the state of His Incarnation.

Upon all these theories I propose to offer what remarks I can, drawing out what is useful in them and pointing out the extent of their failure to satisfy the facts.

Thirdly, an attempt will be made to formulate a theory which will allow for the reality, permanence, and coexistence of the two states of the Incarnate, without in any way providing room for a wall of separation between them.

It will be suggested that the state of the Son of God at any one moment is merely the sum of His relationships. As His glorious, heavenly state is in fact His internal relations with the Father and the Holy Spirit together with His relation to the world that His wisdom has created; so His state of incarnation is the sum of certain new relations which He has willed to form, in respect to the incarnate activities, with His creatures, and with the Father and the Spirit in so far as His peculiar indwelling of the redeemed and His office of Mediator render necessary an addition to His essential relations.

Between these two states there is no definite separation. To demand a conception of the mutual exclusiveness of the two states of activity will be found ultimately to differentiate the Eternal Son as God from the Eternal Son as Incarnate; and in doing this we reduce the Incarnation to a figure of speech. That the Person who sat wearied on the well of Samaria is personally and identically the Eternal Son of God, who upholds all things by the word of His power, must ever be maintained. Our problem is to determine how the two states of relations can exist side by side without essential separation and yet without encroachment.

Finally, I shall attempt to put this theory to a severe test and shew that it has taken account of all the evidence supplied by the Gospels, and has sufficiently explained that evidence. To do this will mean a study of several of the leading features in the picture of the Saviour, and I would beg that no judgement of the theory may be pronounced until all that I have written in its support has been weighed.

V. It is next necessary to specify the limits that must be set to speculation on this most sacred mystery of the Faith. We must accept the Creeds of the universal Church and the Definitions of its Councils, as fixing the boundaries within which it is permitted to discuss the problem.

There can be for Catholic Christians no question as to the fundamental facts of Christology. These facts comprise the essential divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ; His perfect and entire manhood born of Mary the Virgin; and the complete and permanent union of the two natures in the one person of the Son of God.

As to the manner of the union, which is the subject of this essay, all that we are told is that it is marked by four necessary characteristics.

(1) It is in no sense a mingling of the two natures. They remain separate and distinct at every moment, though both are constituted in the one Person of the Eternal Son. The union knows two terms only, and two terms always. There is no third term, no composite nature produced by the Incarnation.

(2) Each term remains in the proper possession of its attributes. There is no mechanical interaction of the one upon the other, resulting in the communication of the attributes of the stronger nature to the weaker, or in the extinction of powers of the stronger nature to make room for the exercise of the weaker. Whatever modification of activity may be postulated, it is not permissible to think of either of the natures as being removed from its proper sphere either by the addition or subtraction of any of its peculiar powers or properties.

(3) The person of the Incarnate is one. He is God the Son. He possesses two natures, and depends for His self-expression upon the unity of the two natures in action. We may not ascribe the human acts of Christ to any one but the Incarnate Son; two natures do not imply in this case two separate persons.

Nor is the person of the Incarnate composite: one who is neither God nor man, but man adopted into God. He is one only, the Eternal Son.

(4) Lastly, the union is to be regarded as permanent. To all eternity, as at every moment; on the cross and at the Right Hand of God; the manhood is inseparable from the Eternal Son.

Of the significance of these statements it is not necessary to speak now; we are at the moment only reminding ourselves that our thought about the Incarnate is to be kept within limits that are clearly fixed. [On these points see Appendix, note I.]

In thus acknowledging the right of the Church to give us definitions of the limits of theological speculation no sacrifice of reason is demanded or offered. On the contrary, reason is thus brought to its proper starting point. Every science begins with an assumption. The science of Christology assumes the Christ of the Creeds. It finds that on no other assumption can it account for the facts of the Gospel narrative, or for the collective experience of the body of Christians down the ages. The witness of the Apostolic writers and the great Christian teachers is to the Christologian a testimony based not merely upon reason but also upon corporate experience.

The definitions of the early Councils are official summaries of the corporate experience of multitudes of faithful souls during a period of some four hundred years, an experience that the Christian body of every age has ratified and confirmed.

Herein lies the validity of the primary assumption of the Christologian. In assuming the divine and human natures of the Christ we are only attributing to human experience in the sphere of the spiritual the same measure of general truthfulness which it is allowed to possess in every other sphere of knowledge. A Churchman may no more ignore the collective experience of the Church in the matter of the Incarnation than a scientist may depreciate the value of the experience of the human race, interpreted by the Royal Society, as a testimony to the uniformity of nature; or a legislator may scorn the common verdict of his nation in favour of the recognition of the moral responsibility of man.

No exception may be made as against the Churchman on the plea that his experience is not universally attested. For the validity of experience is not measured by human heads, but by its extension amongst those who are qualified to realize it. We do not admit the evidence of the insane, the weak-minded, and the faddist as against the trained observer. We discount the pleas of the immoral and the non-moral as against the common conscience. So too we may justly set aside, as being without real weight, the counterpleas against the Christ of those who are indifferent to personal communion with Him, and those who have notoriously left undeveloped their spiritual sense. Even those who sincerely hold a private interpretation of His life and being must not be allowed to shake our confidence in the testimony of the millions to whom He has become the most intimate personal friend. If experience is to depend upon unanimity, no man may hope to attain to real knowledge.

No man can measure the meaning and value of the corporate experience of the Church who does not personally appreciate the Church's grace, share her worship, and lose himself in her fellowship.

Experience, in the last resort, has its seat in the court to which Revelation makes its final appeal on earth; and the experience of the Church is voiced in the Creeds and Definitions of the Universal Councils.

These Councils, then, speak with the authority of the Holy Spirit both to Churchmen and on their behalf. For first, the Spirit, descending from above, guides and assists the counsels of Christ's mystical body, enlightening the minds of the faithful generally, and directing their teachers to a clearer view of the things of God. Each age has its proper inspiration. And secondly, ascending Godward from the heart of the redeemed race, He makes articulate before God the joyful realization by men of the once-hidden mysteries of redemption through the blood of Christ and communion with God in Him.

VI. The appeal from dogma to Scripture, which is taken to be one of the chief characteristics of the English theologian, is not from dogma as such to fact as such, nor from a theory to the life of Christ. It is an appeal from an interpretation of dogma that has proved false to the original dogma of the Church, back to the original fact on which it claims to base itself. And so soon as the appeal has been heard, if it be allowed, that basal fact will be made to carry another, but true, interpretation.

Thus to appeal to the Gospels on this particular question of the manner of our Lord's incarnate life is not to shut out from their proper place in the discussion dogmatic decrees of the Church. Rather it is to isolate a single theory of the theologians by which they hoped to explain the authoritative dogmas; a theory that does not, however, in fact harmonize with the main body of dogmatic truth. So isolated we must analyse it, and test it by reference to the particular set of facts which it attempted to explain. In so doing, and in framing the new theory that is to take its place, men must follow the guidance afforded them by that whole system of defined truth which, as we have seen, we may term either decreed dogma or summarized experience.

As, then, we enter upon our task, it will be well to remind ourselves of the awful responsibility that is incurred by those who make their way into the presence of Divine Truth. Men rush into the presence of their King without any assurance that to them will be extended the Sceptre of acceptance. It is good to consider that the end of our approach to God is the true knowledge, of which the basis is obedience to His Will and the humble acceptance of His Word. No one should dare to come into the presence of the Incarnate who is not anxious to fall down and worship Him.

Like you this Christianity or not?

It may be false, but will you wish it true?

Has it your vote to be so if it can?

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