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Life of Jesus Christ in Its Historical Connexion and Historical Developement.
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§ 2. The Truth, that Christ is God-MAN, presupposed.

What, then, is the special presupposition with which we must approach the contemplation of the Life of Christ? It is one on which hangs the very being of the Christian as such; the existence of the Christian Church, and the nature of Christian consciousness.2525   It was one of the epoch-making indications of SCHLEIERMACHER’S influence upon theology that he succeeded in stamping this phrase (Christian consciousness) as current, with the meaning that he assigned to it, in an age which (although some men, blind to the lessons of history, look back upon it longingly as the golden age of our nation) was guided only by the naked understanding, and destitute at once of faith and of true historical insight. He used it to denote Christianity as an undeniable. self-revealing power, entering into the life of humanity; an immediate, internal power in the spiritual world, from which went forth, and is ever going forth, the regeneration of the life of man, and which produces phenomena which can be explained in no other way. This phrase, and the thought which it expresses, are able to maintain their ground against that formalism of thought which is so hostile to every thing immediate, and wishes to substitute empty abstractions for the living powers that move the human race, as well as against that low and mean view of the world (impertinently obtrusive as it has been of late) which owns no power above those which build rail-ways and set steam-engines agoing. As the intuitive consciousness of God indicates to the human mind the existence, the omnipresent power and the self-revelation of a personal Deity, so does this “Christian consciousness” testify that Christ lived, and that he continues, by his Spirit, to operate upon mankind. The works of creation only reveal God to him who already has a consciousness of the Divine existence; for he who has not God within can find him nowhere. So it is only he who has a “Christian consciousness” that can recognize CHRIST in the fragments of tradition and the manifestations of history, or that can comprehend the history of CHRIST and his Church. It is one at whose touch of power the dry bones of the old world sprung up in all the vigour of a new creation. It gave birth to all that culture (the modern as distinguished from the ancient) from which the Germanic nations received their peculiar intellectual life, and from which the emancipation of the mind, grown too strong for its bonds, was developed in the Reformation. It is the very root and ground of our modern civilization; and the latter, even in its attempts to separate from this root, must rest upon it: indeed, should such attempts succeed, it must dissolve into its original elements, and assume an entirely new form. It is, in a word, the belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God in a sense which cannot be predicated of any human being,—the perfect image of the personal God in the form of that humanity that was estranged from him; that in him the source of the Divine life itself in humanity appeared; that by him the idea of humanity was realized


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