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own. How much of God have you brought to bear upon the total life of humanity? Now, judged by the standard that we have been raising, how much of God did Mr. Gladstone bring into the life of England ? “Only a man ”—but I do not wish to separate him from what I know of God. How much did Mr. Spurgeon bring, how much did Dr. Parker bring, how much did Hugh Price Hughes bring? “Only a man cease talking about mankind as though it were something different from Deity. The difference between man and God is a difference not in kind, but in moral height. From the side of God there is no line drawn between humanity and Deity at all.
Now this will help you when you come to deal with such questions as that now before us. Jesus is only a man, but He is the Man of men; Jesus has enfolded humanity. His is the only life that you can say covers the whole territory of humanity. None other could have spoken as Jesus did without blasphemy. He stood for God when He looked at men, and those who stood nearest to Him were compelled involuntarily to ask themselves: “What manner of man is this? Never man spake like this man; He has the words of eternal life.” We have read in our lesson this morning of the feeling with which the disciples, even him whom we are accustomed to call the doubter, regarded One whom they addressed as Master and Lord. Do you think that the disciples who first saw Christ thought of Him as you and I think of Him to-day? Nothing of the sort. Their creed was never imposed from without, it sprang from within. Before ever Church Councils were heard of, disciples were putting into life and practice what they knew of God through
Jesus Christ. “ Master and Lord,” they called Him.
Ye say well, for so I am,” He replied. “ Master and Lord,” but “only a man.' “Shew us the Father, and we shall be satisfied.” "I and My Father are one.'
The vision of God which Jesus brought to these men in the upper room, which changed all their life, their history, their character, their conduct, holds for all time. The worst man as well as the best recognises it. When you think of God you are really thinking of the character of Jesus enthroned at the heart of the uni
You never can dissociate the two. All you know or think you know of the Father you have seen in looking into the face of the Son. Put theology from you; let the Man stand for his full value as you draw it from the New Testament; and when you have asked yourself the question, "What think ye of Christ?" can it be that you can answer in any other terms than those of the doubter when he saw Him again-the very same, the Jesus of Galilee, “My Lord and my God”? The humanity of Christ rises up-not that He had to climb there, He was there—until it becomes Deity to us, and we cannot, if we would, separate our conception of the humanity of Christ from our confidence in His Godhead.
This is a matter of simple, every-day experience. Let me state it in another way. Supposing you had never heard of such a man as Christ, reigning for and through and over humanity, humanity would be asking for Him to-day. This is exactly what you are looking for. We have never seen a Man but once. I have seen many attempts at manhood, but I have never seen a Man save in the New Testament. “Behold the man ”—the only one. When I have said that, like Thomas, I have cried out, “My Lord and my God." Fulness of the stature of manhood brings me God, all the God I am capable of receiving, and still the Christ, who is the Humanity of God, is looking up into the face of the Father. To all eternity it must be so. Down with your metaphysics, lift the devotion of the heartour Man to all eternity, our King, our Master, our Gateway into God, our God.
That this has been echoed in all experience when it has reached its highest needs no proof. Now I want to make an appeal on the strength of it. There are men in this church who think less of Christ than I do; and the reason we are here this morning is to try to make you think as we do. Supposing Pilate and Thomas could have met and joined hands, and Pilate in a moment of penitence could have said: “I have by my cowardice slain a man, the grandest man I ever saw.” And Thomas could have answered:
True, you did, and I loved that man, loved him so that I wanted to go and die with Him, but I deserted Him and fled in His moment of need. We are both criminals, Pilate, you and I ; let us join hands. I have discovered something for you, I have seen Him; He is my Lord and my God. He and He only it is who is the answer to my need and the Saviour from my sin." There was a new experience born then; the perfect humanity was discovered that redeemed ours.
“ If Jesus Christ is a man,
And only a man, I say,
And to Him will I cleave alway.
“ But if Jesus Christ is God,
And the only God, I swear,
The earth, the sea, and the air.”
For that Saviour has never failed mankind. The experience that was born in the upper room, in the ejaculation compelled from the breast of a man who loved and thought he had lost his Lord, has never failed humanity since, has never been absent. Observe that the greatest holiness, the grandest nobleness, the sublimest achievement of humanity at its best, has been associated with that view of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. We are asking daily for a Saviour, in sin and in sorrow, and in human problems and in human need, and the Christ who, nineteen hundred years ago, was so precious to men has still power to compel the adoration and trust and love as none of the sons of men has ever done or can do.
Only a man.” Now, put Gladstone beside this Man; put Hugh Price Hughes beside this Man; put Charles Haddon Spurgeon beside this Man, and Joseph Parker in his dying moment beside this Man, and listen what they have to tell you. The first-named preacher, dying, said: “Put on my coffin, 'Thou, O Christ, art all I want.' ” And the last said: “My love to my Jesus all the time.” Galilee does not hold Him now, nor can; and no tomb was ever invented that could enclose the Christ, and death could not enchain Him. He lives. Because He lives humanity shall never die. It is pleading at the throne of God.
“ The healing of His seamless dress
Is by our beds of pain ;
We touch Him in life's throng and press,
And we are whole again.
Through Him the first fond prayers are said,
Our lips of childhood frame ;
Are burdened with His name.
“ We may not climb the heavenly steeps
To bring the Lord Christ down ;
For Him no depths can drown ;
“ But warm, sweet, tender, even yet,
A present help is He,
And love its Galilee."
Here is a stupendous fact, never to be explained away. For this Jesus in whom we trust conquers. Come, you who don't believe in Him, is it Jesus? If not, who is it? If we are believing in a lie that still conquers, that makes men holy, but a lie all the same then God help us; for the whole universe is wrong. But it is not wrong.
“Behold the Man that sitteth upon the throne.”