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truth of His Person. It is a connection with the Risen Christ on which Paul insists as alone of worth, because alone securing for us those blessings and benefits that are moral and religious in their character, and have nothing to do with distinctions that arise out of the life of sense. As belonging to the sphere of the Spirit, Christ is now loosed from those relations that are rooted in the flesh. And in union with Him all differences pertaining to the lower sphere, whether of nationality, culture, social position, sex, are seen to be only provisional and temporary, and to be now merged in the higher unity of the Spirit and of those spiritual relations that bind together into one fellowship all who share the one Perfected Humanity of Christ. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free, male nor female, but ye are all one in Christ Jesus." 1
The universalism of Paul's Gospel is closely connected with the significance he attaches to the Person of Christ as the Second Adam, and as forming a Type of spiritual Manhood that is universal and final. There are some, indeed, who would have it that in thus presenting the Risen Christ as the ideal for man, Paul has substituted for the Jesus of history, who is rich in human qualities of character, a bald conception of Manhood stripped of all definiteness and points of contact with reality. They criticise his conception of the Second Adam as being little more than the abstract idea of a Man who, having no longer any connection with the earth or the circumstances of an earthly life, is consequently destitute of those features of interest by which human beings are distinguished, and which are necessary to give warmth and colour to our ideas of human character. But it would be a great mistake to imagine that in placing the Risen Christ before our faith Paul has exalted a mere
1 Gal. iii. 28.
ideal, or has sacrificed historic truth to the demands of a speculative system. Christ was in no sense whatever an abstraction to him. Some of the expressions used of Him, such as the "Son of God" and "the Power and Wisdom of God," might be familiar to Jewish ears and readers of Rabbinical theology. But to Paul Christ was no incarnation of a Divine attribute. Although He was indeed divested of those characteristics and accidents of time and place by which human personalities are marked, He remained, in the ground-work of His human character, the same that He was on earth, unaffected by the change that followed death, possessed of a Personality so intense, so vivid, as to excite the most ardent affection, for " never man," as one has said, " loved Christ with so absorbing a passion as did Paul." His love for Christ is indeed without a parallel in the history of religious emotions. He never lost the vision of Him whom he saw but once on the way to Damascus. Dedicating his whole being to the Christ "who had loved him and had given Himself for him," he had no thought but to please Christ, no aim but to advance His glory. All this is evidence that he did not regard his Master as having undergone the deprivation of those qualities that evoke the boundless love and adoration of the human soul, or as having suffered the loss of aught essential to His true humanity, when He died and rose again, to be no longer a mere individual member of the race, but invested with universal significance as the Second Adam.
The truth is, as has often been pointed out, the character of Christ as depicted in the Gospels themselves is entirely independent of those peculiarities, arising out of circumstances of time and place, that are incident to the best human characters, and prevent any one of them being typical for others. The type of excellence realised in Jesus escaped all onesidedness and taint of peculiarity that could disqualify it from being the ideal. Although set in the mould of special circumstances, the life of Jesus issued in an example of goodness that included in it every essential feature of man's nobility, and that had in it nothing national, limited, isolated, or that was adapted to certain persons more than to others.1 It was the essence of man's moral nature embodied in a personality intensely individual, and capable of arousing the deepest affections of the soul, and at the same time free from any idiosyncrasy that could affect its universal import. And Paul, in investing the Risen Christ with the powers and prerogatives of a Second Adam, is just recognising the truth of what the records of the historical Jesus themselves bear witness to, of His possession of a humanity that was without one "transitory touch of time or kindred or aim," and is therefore of a universal significance. "If," as one has said, "the Christ of the Church is an Ideal Being, it was Jesus who made the Ideal. The Ideal in Him is simply the result of that disengagement from the earthly vestiture which death and distance work in all who live in history;" only, in the present instance, it was the Resurrection even more than the Death that revealed the inner life of the historic Jesus and illustrated His fitness to be the Second Head of the race.
But wherein does this fitness consist? Paul's designation of Christ as the Second Adam means that He is to be regarded as the true Type or Ideal of Manhood, that He is and possesses in Himself that which constitutes Him the Pattern after whom humanity is to be remodelled. And that statement calls for some explanation. There are various functions and activities of
1 Bishop Westcott emphasises this point in his writings. See in particular his The Gospel of Life, pp. 299-301 ; and the Victory of the Cross, pp. 43-46.
human nature, and we must distinguish amongst them if we would have a clear idea of the sphere in which Christ is to be recognised as Supreme, the Ideal to be followed as a Pattern. There is the sphere of Science and that of Art; and great names might be mentioned, of whom our race is proud, who have excelled in these forms of human activity and may be regarded as having reached an ideal greatness. But we do not think of Christ as the Ideal of Knowledge or of Art, because we know He did not come either to enlarge our knowledge of the world or to furnish conceptions of beauty such as we owe to the imagination of natural genius. He came to meet the moral and religious needs of the race that are far deeper and more imperative than those to which the scientist or artist makes his appeal. And it is in this moral and religious sphere that He is to be recognised as the Ideal, who lays on every man the obligation, and inspires in every man the hope of being what He is. For, while Newton and Shakespeare and Darwin obtain our admiration, they do not make us feel it is our duty to follow them, still less do they suggest that each one of us has that capacity of thought and imagination that can ever bring us into equality with them were we to make the attempt. But to understand what Christ is, and to have our eyes opened to His greatness, is to feel at the same time, amid all that humbles us in the discovery, this is what I was made for, what I ought to be, — to love as Jesus loved, to live as Jesus lived. What we mean by Christ being the Ideal Character is that He presents to us human nature in its typical or ideal form, related to God and to men as human nature ought to be, under which He is recognised to be the law for everyone, in obedience to which everyone reaches the true end of his being. There is no human being who may not see in Him the Divine Idea and Purpose, the true conception and end of himself. He js God's truth and word to every man of himself.
And if the further question be asked, in what respect does the apostle teach us so to regard Christ, the answer is suggested by the view of the constitution of the Person of our Lord that was sketched in the beginning of this lecture. That indwelling of the Spirit of God that was the moulding principle of His Person secured that He was all that a man ought to be, both in His relation to God and to His fellowmen, both as a Son of God and a Brother to man. And accordingly we find in the letters of the apostle references to His commanding importance both as the Religious and the Moral Ideal for men.
He is the Religious Ideal. He is the Son of God; in Him we behold, in a perfect form, the true relation of man to God. Paul does not dwell on the Sonship of Christ or on its ideal character, on the trust, the childlike obedience, the humility and sincerity in which it was manifested. His Epistles seem to take for granted the readers' familiarity with the Gospel Picture, and simply refer to the Sonship of Christ as an essential part of the good that comes to believers, a religious ideal realised in Christ that it might be realised in those who connect themselves with Him—" as many as put on Christ," by faith and love, " have become sons of God."1
He is also the Moral Ideal. The Spirit of God, the principle of the Personality of Christ, is in fact the Spirit of Love. In asserting the supremacy in Him of the Spirit over the flesh, Paul meant that in Him the Spirit of Love was supreme. The life and character of Christ were the incarnation of grace to sinners, of sympathy, of humble, loving service. And therein is He the Ideal for us in our social relations. But neither on this does Paul enlarge. The history of Jesus was known to his readers. It was universally recognised as an imperishable memorial of pure
1 Gal. iii• 22.