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The Greatness of Jesus.

The Greatness of Jesus.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY JOHN RHEY THOMPSON D.D.



And the Jews marveled, saying, How knoweth this man 'etters,
having never learned? Jesus answered them, and said, My doc-
trine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his
will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether
1 speak of myself. — John vii, 15-17.

For such a high-priest became us, who is holy, harmless, unde-
filed, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens. —
Heb. vii, 26.
BY JOHN RHEY THOMPSON D.D.



And the Jews marveled, saying, How knoweth this man 'etters,
having never learned? Jesus answered them, and said, My doc-
trine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his
will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether
1 speak of myself. — John vii, 15-17.

For such a high-priest became us, who is holy, harmless, unde-
filed, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens. —
Heb. vii, 26.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Apr 09, 2014
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THE GREATESS OF JESUS. BY JOH RHEY THOMPSO D.D. And the Jews marveled, saying, How knoweth this man 'etters, having never learned? Jesus answered them, and said, My doc- trine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether 1 speak of myself. — John vii, 15-17. For such a high-priest became us, who is holy, harmless, unde- filed, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens. — Heb. vii, 26. The intellectual doubter of the nineteenth cent- ury is accustomed to speak of Jesus in terms of high laudation. He extols his singular purity of character, his gentleness and graciousness of de- meanor, his kindness and patience and forbearance to those who opposed themselves, his tender sym- pathy with the poor, the weak, the wronged, and the suffering, his devoted, disinterested life, and the meekness and mercifulness of the spirit in which he met his death. He is spoken of as "the greatest Hebrew," yea, as " the greatest man " who has ever appeared in the entire history of the world; he was a great reformer, a great religious teacher, a pro- found moral philosopher. The human race is vastly, yea, immeasurably, indebted to him ; he has inspired and stimulated and directed the progress, the moral progress especially, of mankind, as no other char- acter known to us ; his contributions to human vir- tue, and hence to human happiness, have been The Greatness of Jesus. 215
 
greater than those of any other single member of the race. These are the expressions frequently found on the lips of those who preserve either a neutral or a hostile attitude to the divine claims of Jesus Christ. Our Lord was once buried in a rock- tomb ; he is in danger now of being buried in a grave of flowers — beautiful and fragrant flowers they are, but they have been secretly sprinkled with concealed deadly poison. We who own him as the Master of our souls, as the supreme Lord of our worship, and love, and duty, and life, are not thus tamely to surrender him to his foes. He is more than a great Hebrew, more than an inspired prophet, more than an acute and eminent religious reformer, more than a pro^'ound moral philosopher, more than a highly gifted moral genius—'* He is over all, God blessed for evermore ! " In seeking to-night to ascertain who and what he was, in a calm and reverent and earnest way, I assume the fewest possible number of universally conceded facts. I assume that there was born in Palestine, nearly nineteen hundred years ago, the person we call Jesus ; that his reputed parents were plain, ordinary, humble Jewish folk, without either genius or rank or wealth; that he spent his youth and grew to manhood in the contemned and de- graded province of Galilee ; that at the age of thirty or thereabout he publicly assumed the functions of a religious teacher; that four short sketches of his life were written either by men who companied with him from the beginning or who had access to original 2i6 Christian Manliness. sources of information ; that these sketches contain a reliable account of what he said, of how he lived, of the substance of his teaching, of what manner of
 
man he was ; that the leaders of the Jewish people believed him to be a disturbing, dangerous, and rev- olutionary teacher, and that, prompted by the mixed motives of religious zeal, selfishness, and envy, they brought about his death under the procuratorship of Pontius Pilate ; and that the Christian religion, with all that these great words imply, sprang from what he said and did and was. I do not, for the purposes of this hour, take for granted the reality of any of the supernatural works that the writers of these lives ascribe to him. I simply assume that he appeared, acted, and taught in substance as these lives record ; and on this strong basis of solid fact, now conceded by all competent scholars and think- ers, I ask you candidly and dispassionately to study with me his intellectual and moral greatness, and see if they do not significantly point with great, ever-increasing, and at last convincing force to his superhumanity in nature and origin. The intellectual greatness of Jesus will appear if we consider his entire independence of circum- stances. Intellectual greatness is not an uncaused phenomenon. To beings like ourselves, with our faculties and range of vision, whatever is must come from something that has been. We are not living in a blind, an orderless, a causeless universe. It is the latest dictum of science itself that for every phenomenon there must be some adequate explana- The Greatness of Jesus. 217 ation — not only that every effect must have a cause, but that every effect must have a rational and com- petent cause. Intellectual facts or phenomena do not constitute an exception to this general rule. They, too, are in the vise of law. Intellectual power has its conditions, its necessary antecedents. You

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