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Man's Question About Christ.

Man's Question About Christ.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY LEONARD WOOLSEY BACON.
Matt. viii 27.
BY LEONARD WOOLSEY BACON.
Matt. viii 27.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Oct 12, 2012
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MA'S QUESTIO ABOUT CHRIST.BY LEOARD WOOLSEY BACO.Matt. viii 27.This is a sort of question which is very much asked in thegospels, and very much oftener asked than answered. On thisoccasion, it was asked by the fishermen in the boat with theLord, as he crossed the stormy little lake of Galilee, and asthey saw him make the sea a calm so that the waves of it werestill. At another time, it was asked by scribes and learnedmen, partly amazed and partly shocked that he had said to aparalytic man, "Son, be of good cheer ; thy sins are forgiventhee." " Who is this," they asked, " that speaketh blasphe-mies ? " On the Palm Sunday, when the strange processioncame marching and shouting down the mountain to escort himinto the temple, " the whole city was moved " to ask the ques-tion " Who is this ? " Sometimes he squarely put the questionhimself. He perplexed the learned theologians of the templeby asking them, " What think ye of the Christ ? Whose son ishe?" He demanded of his disciples, "Who do men saythat I, the Son of man, am ? " And then, " Who say ye that Iam ? " He puts the question, but he rarely answers it. Johnthe Baptist sends to him from his prison, wondering at thelong delay of the coming kingdom, with a tone of somethingalmost like despair in his message, asking, "Art thou he thatshojuld come ? " But even then the Master answers never aword, but. goes forward with his works of grace and might,and bids the messengers " go tell John what you have seen."He does not seem even to wish others to answer for him,68Digitized by VjOOQICman's question about CHRIST. 59
 
When men know him not, the evil spirits know and fear, say-ing, " We know thee who thou art ; " but he will none of theirtestimony ; he rebukes them into silence, and will not sufferthem to say that they know him. And when at last the fore-most of his disciples attains to an answer to this question, theMaster strictly charges his disciples that they tell no man thatthing. As if, perhaps, he preferred that men should keep onquestioning until with much asking they should receive, andseeking they should find, and knocking it should be opened tothem ; rather than they should be spared the pains and trialof the quest and come to the results without going through theprocesses.And this method of Christ himself is the method of the ewTestament. It begins with a genealogical table, on the firstpage of Matthew, and goes forward through all the first threegospels with the facts of a marvelous biography which set uswondering and questioning at every page. ot till the churchhas well learned Christ thus, from hearing the plain facts of the story, does that later gospel of John come to the churchdeclaring wonderfiil mysteries of godliness, but even thenanswering not so many questions as it raises for us to answer — or not to answer, as the case may be. It would seem as if theBible was meant to give us theology in the method in whichthe creation gives us science — throwing down before us factsin bewildering profusion, and questions that task our utmostpowers, and bidding us arrange, classify, theorize, inquire andconclude. Certainly it does invite us, with great welcome, tostudy into these things into which angels desire to look. Butcertainly, also, it does not make our salvation or our accept-ance with God to turn on the success of our theologizing. Wefind in these Scriptures (which are in nothing more wonderfuland more divine than in the things which they do not contain)no plan of salvation by scholarship, nor of salvation by logic,nor of salvation by orthodoxy, but a plain way of salvation byfaith. Take the little gospel of Mark. It is a whole gospeLDigitized by VjOOQIC
 
60 THE SIMPLICITY THAT IS I CHBIST.It was originally meant to stand alone. It is able to makewise to salvation. But there is not much doctrine in it. Infact, there is not much of anything in it besides a Saviour, — his life and death and resurrection. And we are given to under-stand that it is safe to trust all our anxieties to him, who carethfor us ; and that the man who trusteth in him shall never be con-founded. Of course to one who has thus trusted in him, know-ing him and loving him from the story of his holy and blessedlife, the fiirther study of the question " What manner of man isthis?" become thenceforward one of the most profoundly im-portant and interesting questions that can possibly occupy thethoughts. But thenceforward, also, it can not be a life-and-deathquestion. The question of life or death is settled. I knowenough of this mighty and gracious one to take him for myteacher, the guide of my conduct, the keeper of my conscience,the forgiver of ray sins, my Saviour to eternal life ; and what hehas offered and undertaken to do, I have confidence in him thatsomehow he will perform. That is the vital question, and thatis settled. And now to these other questions, as they come up,let me address myself with profoundest interest indeed, butwithout anxiety. It is not a dangerous thing for one who hasread this story of Jesus and learned to love him with the affec-tion and gratitude of a disciple, to go on and study the deepthings concerning his person and character and the method of his saving work. It is quite safe ; and you are safe. Let no manfrighten you from the perfect calmness of your delightfiil study.There are many Christians so unfortunate as to have beenbrought up to believe those shocking and unchristian state-ments of the " Athanasian Creed " that " whosoever will be savedit is necessary above all things that he believe," a certain codeof scholastic propositions concerning the person of Christ andthe Trinity, " which things if a man believe not, without doubthe shall perish everlastingly." One who believes this unscrip-tural and immoral heresy thereby becomes almost incapable of intelligently believing anything besides. He has forbidden

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