Imágenes de páginas

existent humanity, which in its Divine or Heavenly form is laid aside at the Incarnation in order that a flesh and blood form of it may be assumed; but while, on the one view it is regarded in its Heavenly form as Eternal and essential to the Son of God, on the other view, that advocated by the author I have mentioned, it is represented as brought into existence in time and for mediatorial ends. I confess I am not able to appreciate, as the author himself does, the advantage that his view possesses over the other, or the importance he attributes to its adoption as likely to bring about a reform in our religious thinking. The whole subject belongs to a region of pure speculation, into which we may venture with our theories, if we choose, but where we are not likely to make discoveries that will approve themselves as such to any others besides ourselves.


Note A, p. 239.—Dorner On The "Idea Of Christ In The Middle Ages" {from History of the Doctrine of the Person of Christ, Div. ii. vol. i., pp. 273-275)

"But when, in opposition to Adoptionism, it had been established that Christ was the Son of God even as to His humanity, the long - repressed torrent burst irresistibly forth ; then was the humanity of Christ robbed of its proper significance, and the image of His own Person was so sublimated into the pure transcendence of the deity, that to the eye of simple faith He only bore the aspect of 'our Lord God.' Thus, whilst apparently heightened, Christology was brought to a point at which the God-man, the sympathising High Priest, who belongs to our race, practically ceased to exist; and there remained only the unapproachable holy God, as He was conceived and feared by men previous to the appearance of Christ. All that was now expected with regard to Christ was that He should come again to judgment. No marvel, then, that an Antichristian horror of death and Hades fell on Christendom,—that it sought a compensation for the loss of the sympathy of the God-man in human intercessors, whose post it was, forming as they did the ideal Church, to preserve sinful humanity from the devouring fire of the holy Judge, into whom Christ had been transformed. The loss of the historical God-man, of the Son of man full of grace and truth, thus reawakened, in the religious nature of humanity, impulses similar to those out of which had grown, prior to the coming of Christ, the myths and Christological preludes of heathendom.

"The first result of this loss of the living, divine-human Mediatorship of Christ, was that the piety of the Middle Ages created for itself, in the exercise of a phantastic imagination, by way of compensation, a host of mediators, amongst whom the Queen of Heaven occupied the foremost place. By this procedure another tendency of the natural heart found a kind of satisfaction,—the tendency, namely, to the deification of nature, that is, to the deification of humanity and its powers, apart even from Christian grace; a tendency in which are combined at once timidity and defiance, indifference and haughtiness. For Mary, the mother of the Lord, was held not to have needed redemption; and was not, therefore, on an equality with the other members of her race: she was raised above them by her freedom from original and actual sin; she was absolutely pure and holy from her very birth; and on the ground of this, her perfection, which she possessed prior to the birth of Christ, she was fitted and worthy to be the mother of God. She sets before us, therefore,—she who stood, to the piety of the Middle Ages, in a relation of such prime importance,—what human nature is capable of producing out of itself even apart from the redemption by the God-man."

Note B, p. 243.—On The Historical And
Exalted Christ

We distinguish between the Historic and the Exalted Christ, but we are apt in doing so to forget the essential sameness of the two. On this Deissmann has some good remarks, that call attention to the fact that to the apostle the distinction had not the significance we sometimes attach to it.

"The Exalted Christ is the centre of his Christian thinking. This Christ is to him indeed the same as He who, after a life of poverty, had died on the cross and had been raised again; but this Risen and Exalted Christ is to him a historic Greatness in the eminent sense of the word. When we speak to-day of the ' Historic 1 and the ' Exalted' Christ we are influenced by the modern view of the nature of historical science, for which, as is self-evident, only that life of man that lies between birth and death can be viewed as historic reality. To the man of antiquity, however, everything is history that takes place in heaven and on earth and under the earth, in time and eternity, among Gods, heroes, and men. The man of antiquity in this respect resembles the giants in battle who els yfjv e'f ovpavov Kal rov dopdrov trdvra ek/covai, rafc %epalv are")Q>S)<; irerpas Kai Spvs TrepCkapL@avovTe<;} The men of the N. T. are no exception. The statement ev dpxv Vv 0 X070? is meant for a historical statement, as much so as is that other, Kox rfj f/fiipq rfj rpiTtj ,ydfio<i eyevero iv Kava Ttj<; TaXtXato?. To expect from the Apostle Paul, a nature so completely dominated by ethical religious interests, a consciousness of the modern conception of history would be a gross anachronism. He thought drexvax;: when he spoke of the Risen Christ he did not reflect, Now I have left the ground of history and am venturing into another sphere,—on the contrary, what made him great, the remarkable energy of his faith in Christ, was rooted in this, that he was as immovably convinced of the Historic Reality of the Risen, Living Christ as he was of the historic fact that Jesus had died on the Cross, or that he himself had had a vision of Christ" {Die N. Tliche. Formel "in Christo Jesu"), p. 81.

Note C, p. 246.—The Christology Of Ritschl And His School2

The Christology of the school of Ritschl is one of the most interesting features of the remarkable movement of theological thought initiated by that theologian. The leading outlines of the master's mode of apprehension of the subject are reproduced with striking fidelity in the teaching of his

1 Plato, Soph., 246 A.

2 The edition of Ritschl's Rechtfertigttng u. Vcrsdhnung, vol. iii., to which reference is made in the following account, is the 3rd, 1888. I have also consulted Ritschl's Leben, vol. ii., p. 208-220. There is a brief account of his system by Thikotter {Darst. u. Beurth. dcr Theol. A. Ritschl, 1887) which will be found useful. Students will disciples, though there are divergences from Ritschl amongst them as well as differences from one another on points that are not unimportant. Complaint is sometimes made that Ritschlianism is one thing in one case and a different in another. And there is an element of truth in this, for it is a method common to all who have come under his influence, rather than a system that is adopted by them in its various parts. But the impulse that he has given to Christological study follows in all cases much the same lines. I must content myself with a very general account of his teaching on this subject. Ritschl's quarrel with the ecclesiastical Christology is that it proceeds on a wrong method. It defines the Divinity it attributes to Christ before it has taken account of the actual effects of the working of that Divinity in history and human experience. Not till after it has thus defined the nature of Christ and His transcendent relation to God does it inquire into the forms of activity in which it manifests itself to us. In other words, instead of proceeding on the inductive method, starting from experience and asking what the confession of Christ's Divinity means for those who make it, and what that religious experience is which originates the confession, it follows the deductive method, and begins with a so-called intellectual or scientific knowledge. We must, however, be satisfied with a religious knowledge of the subject—with one, that is to say, that is based on the experience of the religious benefits that we owe to Christ. We thus return to the position of Melanchthon in the first period of his theological activity, that the knowledge of the benefits of Christ is the starting-point for the understanding of His Godhead. The knowledge of the Divinity of Christ is inaccessible to those who come to the study of the subject with ideas of the Divine borrowed from natural religion. The true knowledge of Him flows from faith.

receive much help from the instructive work of G. Ecke, which has just appeared (1897), Die Theologische Schule A. Ritschl. It may be recommended as by far the fullest in information, as well as the fairest in tone, that has been published on the questions at issue between Ritschl and his opponents.

« AnteriorContinuar »