Reply to Baboo Keshub Chunder Sen

J. N. Darby.

<42050E> 279

(Notes and Comments Vol. 2.)

{Reply to a lecture entitled "Who is Christ; India asks - Who is Christ?" delivered by Baboo K. C. Sen, on April 9th, 1879, in the Town Hall, Calcutta, before the Bishop of Calcutta; reported in the Indian Mirror (special edition), Calcutta, April 14th, 1879.}

Mr. Sen had no need to tell us he was not a Christian. That the blessed Lord "led a life of perfect self-abnegation," every true Christian owns; it was perhaps the first thing which struck me in Christianity. But if there be self-abnegation, there is a self there to deny - not a sinful self, but a self. Mr. Sen's statements are old workings of the human mind mixed up, as was not unnatural, with Hindoo pantheism. As to Christ it is what was in early Christianity called "Monothelism," or really the Monophysite heresy - one will, or one nature, and a new form of Arianism with what was called the word eudiathetos (well disposed) and prophorikos (set forth) i.e., in God, as a quality or part of His nature or coming forth personally, with this difference, that those who went by these Greek names held He became personal at Creation, not at His birth as Mr. Sen does. I do not at all suppose Mr. Sen borrowed these ideas - probably knew nothing of them; but they show the same workings of the human mind. Our business is with the Person of the Lord.

The system of Mr. Sen is this: "Did not Christ say - Before Abraham was, I am? Did he not say distinctly - Before Abraham was, I am? How then and in what shape did Christ exist in heaven? As an idea, as a plan of life, as a predetermined dispensation yet to be realised, as purity of character, not concrete but abstract, as light not yet manifested. That was the form in which Christ dwelt from all eternity in the bosom of the Father; looking at Himself in this light, the Christ could not but believe in His pre-existence. His earthly life had certainly a beginning but the divine life in Him could not possibly have had a beginning. Holiness assuredly has no beginning; wisdom has no beginning; love can have none; truth can never commence to exist. For these existed through all eternity in God Himself. Whatsoever is good and true is co-eternal with God. Though the human Christ was born, all that was divine in Him existed eternally in God. In fact, Christ was nothing but a manifestation on earth in human form of certain ideas and sentiments which lay before in the Godhead. Let me explain this more fully in two or three words. Before the world was, the Eternal God existed, and in His bosom slept Jesus, or rather the ideal Jesus. Yes, Christ was there with all His disciples, and all His apostles and prophets were there - yea, the whole picture of the economy of Providence in relation to the Christian dispensation."

280 This is mere Platonic idealism.

"It seems to me to be beyond all doubt, that Christ's religion was pure, natural, and perfect idealism. He was not a materialist, but a true idealist. He saw His own Spirit and He saw the divine Spirit also, and in deep communion He found the two identified. He felt He was but a drop lost altogether in the vast ocean of the divinity. Never did He think of Himself. There was no self at all in Him."

Now all this is a denial of the true Christ in both parts of His Being, i.e., the divine and the human. It openly denies His personality as a divine Being existing before the worlds. He all through, as did the Holy Ghost in His apostles, formally asserts His personal existence. For Mr. Sen these were qualities in God - Christ and the Christian Scriptures assert the "He" existed. In Mr. Sen's discourse I read "He existed in Heaven before He had an earthly existence. Did not Christ say that He existed long before Abraham lived?" Here we are merely deluded by words. No one existed - ideas did in God. "In what shape" it is asked, "did Christ exist in heaven? As an idea … yet to be realised, as purity of character," etc.; but that is not "I." Now I shall show that Christianity affirms uniformly the existence of Somebody, and His existence before the worlds.

Take this very passage, "Before Abraham was, I am"; not, "holiness was in God." "I" is somebody, not something which existed when "I" did not. "Holiness existed when I did not" is not I existed, and existence in its absolute character, not "I was" but "I Am." "I was" is in time - "I am" is eternal. If Christianity be true, if Christ spoke the truth, He - not "an idea to be realised" - had an eternal existence. And this the Jews felt and took up, stones to stone Him for making Himself God.

"The same was in the beginning with God." Here I find not a quality of God, but some one with God - unity of nature and Being, but distinctness of Person - "He was God," but "He was with God." This Word was made flesh - became a man. But where the unity of the Father and the Son is stated, personal distinction is carefully maintained. "I and my Father are one"; no doubt in the mysterious unity of the Deity they are one, but there are Two who are so. "The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world." He did not send an idea merely. There was a living Person there who said He was sent. Nor was it merely when in this world, that He was sent for He says: "I came forth from the Father, and came into the world; and again I leave the world and go to the Father." "Glorify Thou me with Thine own self, with the glory I had with Thee before the world was." "Lo! I come in the volume of the book it is written of me, to do Thy will, O God." Here we have a Person, an "I" who has an intention, a purpose, and comes to fulfil it. Again "For I came not to do mine own will, but the will of him who sent me." "If it be possible, let this cup pass from me, nevertheless not my will but Thine be done." Holiness had not a will which was not to be done, nor love either.

281 All these texts, and a crowd of others that might be quoted and from Christ's own mouth - who, Mr. Sen admits, speaks the truth - proclaim a living, existing One who could say "I," and that before the worlds; not "an idea," but One who existed with God, and who was God, and who was in the Father's glory before the world was - One who could say "I."

That this blessed One did reveal the Father (Mr. Sen says He did not, but only the Son) - that He was holy, pure, the manifestation of divine love, and that He who had seen Him had seen the Father - every true Christian owns; but there was a "Him" to see, who could declare He had been in glory with the Father before the world was. That He and the Father were one, every true Christian owns, but the same verse teaches him there was "He" and the Father.

That "in two thousand years man's intellect," nay, the Christian's as taught of God, "has not fathomed this" is true, and that two thousand more will not suffice the Christian owns, but he knows more. "No one knows the Son but the Father." Now that He has clothed what is divine, in human nature, none can fathom it. The Father we do know by the Son's revelation of Him, "The only-begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him"; and again, "No one knows the Father but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him," but this is not added as to the Son - Mr. Sen says "He did not manifest the Father but the Son"; the Scripture says "The Son but the Father."

282 But the divine glory of His Being is maintained and secured, when He became incarnate, by the incomprehensibility of His Person. But here too the Father and the Son are carefully distinct. But though I might multiply quotations proving the personality of the Lord before the worlds, this is not quite all - He created the worlds as He upholds them. Thus, in a passage I once had the pleasure of quoting to Mr. Sen, I read: "God … has in these last days spoken to us by (his) Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his Person,* and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high." Here I have, so to speak, the whole career of Christ, down here to speak to us, and gone up and sat down on the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens. But it is the same by whom God created the worlds - He upholds all things by the word of His power - He is a divine Person, with divine power, but One by whom God made the worlds.

{*Or substance.}

Nor is this all. We find that He holds His place of glory as Head of Creation because He created all things. I read, Colossians 1, "The Son of his love … who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by him were all things created that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers: all things were created by him and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the Head of the Body, the Church." I add this last that there may be no question as to the Person spoken of. "All things were created by him and for him." Christianity is not Pantheism either. It is not emanation - it is not evolution - though it does tell us far more, it tells us things were created, and that there was a Creator who now upholds all things by the word of His power; and this Creator was the Son.

Nor are these the only testimonies, though Creation be not the proper subject of the New Testament, but Christ and redemption; still as part of His glory it is introduced. I read in John 1, of the "Word who was with God, and who was God" … "All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made." Nothing existed but by His fiat. All that had a beginning had its existence by the power of Him who had none, who was when everything that had a beginning began. But it is not simply formal passages which speak doctrinally, but all the teachings of the Scriptures refer to Him as a personal Being. Thus: "Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men." This is said of somebody, and of somebody who was in the form of God, and did something with Himself - came into such a form as to be able to die, as in Hebrews 2. He is "made a little lower than the Angels for the suffering of death." Are "holiness and love," "qualities in God," "ideas," made lower than the angels? The ideas are always the same. It would be wickedness to talk of God's holiness and love being lowered. When Christ humbled Himself to death, the death of the Cross, holiness and love were exalted, at least in their greatest display.

283 So I find in 2 Corinthians 8, "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that when he was rich, for our sakes he became poor that we through his poverty might be made rich." Can the holiness, love, truth, which Mr. Sen affirms to be "co-eternal with God," be ever anything but what they are in themselves? But here is One who was in the form of God, the very status and condition of divinity, and takes another form and goes down to death, even the same divine Person, never proved more so than in His humiliation, but who became something ("was made flesh"). With a quality that is impossible - it is always the identical idea it was before, if not it is not it. The Word become flesh, did not cease to be the Word, but was what it was not before - became something - and subsequently took manhood into divine glory. Personal identity can change its state and form - ideal identity must remain what it is or identity is gone. But when John said "He that cometh after me is preferred before me for he was before me," he spoke of somebody to whom he was a witness - not of holiness and love.

284 Connected with this is another statement I must notice, in which the system approaches Arianism though not the same; a statement sufficiently obscure, but which will serve to show the untenableness of a system whose birthplace is human imagination mixed with traditional Hindoo pantheism and not divine truth. "The Lord took away," we are told, "if I may use the expression, the lower half of His holy nature, that much of it which related to the moral relationship of Son, and He invested the same with flesh and bones and blood, and sent it into the world. All holiness and truth dwelt in the Father, the eternal fountain-head of all that is true and good and beautiful. It comprehended all manner of holiness. It had in it the germ of all forms of virtue and righteousness. Purity of life dwelt in Him in its fulness and integrity. Out of this substance the Lord took out only one form of purity, that which applies to the Son in His relation to the Father and His brethren, and comprises human duties and virtues, and having given it a human shape, said: Go and dwell thou in the world, and shew forth unto nations divine sonship."

Now, if it be "the lower half" of His divine nature and it was no divine Person but "ideas of holiness, love, truth," etc., then we have a lower kind of holiness, love and truth. He who has seen Christ has not seen the Father, but only "the lower half of His nature." But it was "to teach us Sonship or true loyalty to the Father"! But He was no divine Person before, and had "as much of His power and wisdom and purity, as the Son needed for manifestation on earth … Thus was the Son incarnated, and not the Father"! But there was no one incarnate He tells us, only an inferior part of God, ideas were given a body, and that was the Son, "as much of His power and wisdom and purity as the Son needed for manifestation upon earth." It could not thus be said "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father"; it was only "the lower half," as much specifically as was needed to manifest divine humanity, loyal obedience. We might as well say "My foot is my mind because it obeys it, and by the nervous system is connected with it!" We, Christians, have a Christ who revealed the Father - the only-begotten Son who declared Him - One in whom dwells all the fulness bodily.

There is the same want of all reality in His humanity. Mr. Sen says, "Touch the human, bodily Christ, Christ as a self and a distinct individuality, and it vanishes, so unreal it is." Now the true corporeal existence of the Man Christ is carefully insisted on in Scripture. Not only is it said "The fulness of the Godhead bodily," but the reality of flesh and blood is constantly and formally insisted on as vital. "The word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us," John 1. "He was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death." "For both he that sanctifieth and they that are sanctified are all of one, for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren." This goes further, but it introduces what follows, "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death … Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren." He was a real, true man, only knew no sin, and a divine Person incarnate - a perfect revelation of God, and of the Father as only-begotten Son - "All the fulness of the Godhead," or that bodily.

285 But I continue. "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled of the Word of life," 1 John 1. He insists on having handled Him; nor had He evaporated to his mind; he insists it was no unreality as to His true bodily human nature. And after His resurrection, in those beautiful and touching words, "Why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have" - He is as much a Man now as ever, though with a spiritual body and glorified. "I see," says Stephen, "the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God." God has made Him, whom the Jews crucified, Lord and Christ.

But further. It is insisted on as vital in 1 John 4 that he that "confesseth not Jesus Christ come in the flesh is not of God"; and in 2 John, he that "confesseth not Jesus Christ come in the flesh" is a deceiver and antichrist. The real proper human humanity is insisted on, a divine Person - no doubt the Word made flesh, but partaking of flesh and blood because the children did, only without sin. Mr. Sen will say, "I teach that He took flesh and blood." No doubt. But it is in itself "a volatile, ethereal something which will hardly bear the gentlest touch. Touch it and it evaporates. Touch the human, bodily Christ, Christ as a self, and a distinct individuality, and it vanishes, so unreal it is. The divine idea, the divine life, which is embodied in Christ, that is His substance, that alone liveth and abideth for ever." "He saw Himself abiding eternally in God, before creation and after death. So the life of Christ springs from divinity, and into divinity it goes back. His thoughts and sentiments, His wisdom and light, His energy and vitality emanate from the divine spirit, and return to the divine spirit"; just after this follows what I have already quoted, "How did He exist? As an idea, as a plan of life." Let not the reader be deceived by "He" and "Him." There was no "He," no "Him." There was holiness in God, in the Father, and truth and love and other perfections, but no personal Being who became anything. The Father put "the lower part" of Himself into flesh and blood (yet it was only an idea) and hence Christ! And yet the flesh and blood was unreal, "so unreal that it evaporated at a touch." It is no self, no distinct individuality - touch it and it vanishes! The divine "idea," no Person mark, which is embodied in Christ, that is His substance. Now this is no true Christ at all. Now John boasts that he not only heard and saw Him, but touched Him, and He did not "evaporate" nor "vanish"; he just states the exact opposite to show He was a real bodily Man in flesh and blood, and declares that it is antichristian not to own Him come in flesh.

286 But this is not all. After His resurrection He did not "return into divinity" - He never ceased to be God. It was in flesh He said what Mr. Sen quotes, "Before Abraham was, I am"; but He says to His disciples "Handle me and see that it is I myself," and showed them His hands and His feet saying "I myself" - was formally insisting on His being "a self and an individuality." It is not merely an induction, it is insisted on as a fundamental truth. He returned into the glory which He had with the Father before the world was, but He returned as Man, a glorified Man.

Holiness does not die, an idea does not die, nor does it rise from the dead save metaphorically; but "if Christ," this Person who died for our sins "be not risen, our faith is vain, we are yet in our sins." He was equally a divine Person before, as we have seen - the Word who was, who created the worlds "All things were created by him and for him," and that Word was made flesh. "He was with God and was God," and "made himself of no reputation" - gave up the form of the divine glory to take the form of man - and "In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily."

287 On each point - it is not merely that Mr. Sen is not a Christian - his system denies the Christ of God; He is "an idea in divinity," and He is "unreal, and evaporates in humanity" - I use his own words. He is "an inferior part of the Father," and the inferior part is embodied in a man, not to manifest the Father as the Christian Scriptures positively state, but the Son amongst men to show what men ought to be.

Note also, all love of Christ is lost; I read "The love of Christ constrains us" - "the love of God which was in Christ Jesus our Lord" - but an idea cannot love us, an idea cannot give Himself, for us an idea "returned into the divinity cannot be "the firstborn among many brethren," an idea cannot be the "Heir of all things" having created them, an idea with a shadowy body cannot die for us. All that is said of Christ in His interest in us cannot be said of an idea - it supposes a living Person, divine in His nature but made flesh.

I have spoken of the Person of the blessed Saviour, however briefly and imperfectly, in the main of John's teaching as to Christ. But there is another side of the truth - His work wrought for us; mainly Paul's presentation of Him. For, though all teach the same truths as Paul says, 1 Corinthians 15, yet characteristically John brings down God to us - Paul brings us up, accepted in Christ, to God.

A few introductory remarks as to man's state, in view of Mr. Sen's system may introduce this part of our subject. "Christ's pantheism," we are told, "is the conscious union of the human with the divine spirit in truth, love and joy." As to what man is, we are told, "you cannot resist His influence, you may deny His doctrines, you may even hate and repudiate His name, but He goes straight into your hearts and leavens your lives. He does not care to enquire what doctrine you believe, or what dogma you accept, nor even what sort of life you lead. You may be the basest of sinners. You may be intellectually opposed to many of His doctrines. The truth that is in Christ will perforce overcome and penetrate your souls in spite of your perverseness, and secretly influence your character."

But alas! though with how rich blessing in result, history tells us the falseness of all this. The One whom "every heart must receive" was crucified - He was "The despised and rejected of men … we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised and we esteemed him not"; Jews and Gentiles join in crucifying Him; one of His disciples betrays, another denies Him, and all abandon Him. History proves the contrary of Mr. Sen's statements. That conscience may be struck by the perfectness of Christ, a perfectness seen there only - intelligence convinced by proofs, and even the heart weep over innocence, is true - but all this Christ disowns as of no avail; the revelation of God draws out the enmity of the human heart. Faith simply founded on intelligence is counted nothing worth, John 2:23-25, though the judgment was right. Man must be born anew. Feeling, and just natural feeling is nothing worth when Christ is in question; Luke 23:27-31. Nor, comes closer home here, does just admiration of Christ's perfectness, and a loveable character; Matthew 20:16-26; Mark 10:17-27. We must be born again.

288 And let us now see how Christianity treats this question of man's disposition. "Wherefore," says Isaiah prophetically, "when I came was there no man, when I called was there none to answer." And in the New Testament it is stated doctrinally. Speaking of Christ as the life that was the light of men, "The light shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehended it not." If there were some that did through grace receive Him, they were "born of God." And the Lord, John 3:11, "We speak that we do know and testify that we have seen, and ye receive not our witness." And in verse 19 the secret comes out, "This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil"; and again in verse 32, "And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth, and no man receiveth his testimony." So chapter 8:45, "Because I tell you the truth, ye believe not." And the result is seen in chapter 15:22-25, and in one word there, "But now they have both seen and hated both me and my Father … They hated me without a cause." He came into the world, and "the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came to his own and his own received him not."

The view that Mr. Sen takes of human nature, in relationship to the manifestation of what is divine in Christ, is contrary alike to fact and the testimony of Christianity, and it is still true: with the name of Christ upon them "They see no beauty in Him to desire Him." Money, pleasure, ancient superstitions, power, and a thousand other things attract the heart, not Christ. But this rejection of Christ leads us to another part of Christianity, not the manifestation of what is divine to man specially known in the Person of the Lord Jesus, but what He did for man as a Saviour. Of all this - there is no trace in Mr. Sen's system.

289 Christianity treats man as lost, "enemies in their minds by wicked works," "by nature children of wrath" - the worship of Vishnu, and Siva, of Kali, or even of Sudra and Agni has not proved the contrary, nor the state of Christendom where Christ is professed; all around us, East or West, proves that we have had a bad Creator or that we are a fallen race. To show good in the midst of it does not change - has not changed this. It has been shown in Christ and rejected. Christianity is founded on the rejection and death of its Head. Not that God's plans were frustrated; the Son of Man came, when man's state was fully proved by His rejection, to give His life a ransom. Divine love was shown in the gift of the only-begotten Son, and man's necessity and God's righteous judgment of sin, in that the Son of Man must be lifted up. Nowhere but in the Cross are the infinite love of God and His righteous horror of sin fully shown, both; but in the Cross God's nature was shown - sin intolerable but the sinner loved. "Hereby know we love, because he laid down his life for us" - hereby know we what sin is, when it was thus dealt with in Him who was made sin for us. But all have sinned, every mouth is stopped, and all the world guilty before God. There is corruption, violence, oppression in the world as a fact - Mr. Sen does not deny it. The motives of men are the opposite of what even Mr. Sen ascribes to Christ, even when there is no open profligacy. Man "must be born again," not in the unreal sense of Brahminism, not with a cord round the waist, but a new and holy life, and a cord round every evil passion, to abide with and have communion with God, "Without holiness no man shall see the Lord." Is it fitting, nay! is it possible he should? Can miserable passions be the happy and loving companions for any of a holy Christ? Man must be really and truly born again.

But this is not all. There must be a judicial putting away of all our sins - a purged conscience as well as a pure heart; where the conscience is not purged, the heart cannot be free. It is indeed a felt want whenever the conscience is not hardened, and then even easily awakened - of this Christianity largely speaks. On this, the first of realities, Mr. Sen is wholly silent. There is nothing as to guilt, though he speaks of evil; how should there be, if we also are part of God, which is pantheism? There is nothing in his system that meets the sinner, and sinners we are. He speaks of various wickedness, and of man's estate, and of his own even in a general way, but not a word of what is to meet it. Scripture does - it tells us how "Christ died for our sins," "was made sin, He who knew no sin" - Christ is set forth as "a propitiation through faith in his blood," and as to those who believe, it tells us how "we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins," how "His blood purges the conscience from dead works to serve the living God," how it "cleanses from all sin," how He was "delivered for our offences and raised again for our justification," and that thus "repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name." Thus a moral change, and indeed a new life in us on the one hand, and a righteous forgiveness of all our sins on the other, form the practical basis of Christianity. Is this, or telling people that they "love Christ at bottom, even if they hate His name and reject His doctrine and live in sin," the most true?

290 Christianity, then, where it is real, gives peace in the conscience and purifies the heart by faith.

But we have named another truth which has no place in Mr. Sen's system - the resurrection; and now I speak only of believers though all will be finally raised. There man appears in a wholly new state, out of the whole state and condition of this world and mortality - no sin - all his sins gone for ever in the Cross - he is for ever past death, past the sphere of Satan's power, actually suited for God's presence, not merely spiritually enjoying as the believer does here, but body and all rendered fit for the habitation of glory - what is called by Christ His "Father's house." There He is already entered as Man, glorified with the glory He had with the Father before the world was.

Faith knows its standing now before a holy God, partaking of the life in the power of which Christ lives as risen, when "He had by himself purged our sins," and obtained the glory for us. When the time comes for all to be complete, we shall be like Christ, raised in glory, and with Him for ever where He has gone to prepare a place for us.

291 I have spoken of the work of Christ as affecting ourselves, dying for our sins and purging our conscience. Mr. Sen says: "Of what use is a dead Christ to us?" If He remained dead, as the Apostle teaches us, He would be of none.

"Jesus came down in all His glory from heaven to teach us sonship in true loyalty to the Father" - "To manifest that life was His mission" - and "His beloved Son was one with Him because He was made of divine humanity."

But Mr. Sen sets aside the importance of Christ's death as much as possible - "To that home He would return after finishing His earthly career."

The Lord, after saying He was the "bread come down from heaven to give life to the world," tells us "Except ye eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Man, ye have no life in you," making the realisation of His death essential to having life, for the blood separate from the flesh is the state of death; to which He adds, "What and if ye shall see the Son of Man ascend up where he was before." This is the more definite because in the preceding chapter He presents Himself as giving life with the Father, "Quickening whom he will" - here as the Object of faith, incarnate, dead, and going back to heaven, only the last in a new state in which man never was before.

Of this Mr. Sen makes the following: "On the occasion of the Last Supper He commended Himself to His disciples and the world at large as mere bread and wine to be assimilated to the soul, as mere leaven that in time leaveneth the whole mass"! Of this there is not a word in the passage. "As leaven He lives to-day; He is not dead. For two thousand years men have tried to find out the dead Christ under the stone. But the Spirit of God has marvellously rolled away the stone, and Christ is not there. Even for three days Christ would not consent to live on earth as a dead Christ buried under the stone. So the Lord took His Christ unto Himself, and has in all ages discomfited and disappointed those that have searched for a dead Christ on earth. Where then is Christ now? He is living in all Christian lives, and in all Christian influences around us. Of the dead Christ I speak not. Of what use is a dead Christ to us or to our nation?"

292 Now with a great deal of rhapsody, to which it is hard to attach any sense, it is perfectly clear that the object of this passage is to destroy all the importance of Christ's death. Now Christ Himself attaches all importance to His death - "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die it bringeth forth much fruit." He is "the Lamb of God," "Therefore," He says, "now doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life that I might take it again." He gives His "flesh for the life of the world." "Now," He says, "is the judgment of this world: now is the prince of this world cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die." The people would have it that Christ was to abide for ever, and the saying was unintelligible to them, as it is to Mr. Sen. But it is Christ's death which is the means of drawing all unto Him. I may recall the passage already quoted: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life." He has "made peace by the blood of his Cross." "For without shedding of blood is no remission."

Why have we so large an account of His death, if it be "of no use"? A living Christ, though much more, was the accomplishment of promise to the Jew - a dying Christ opens the door to every poor sinner. It is not a dead Christ but a Christ's dying which is of use. The Word of God made flesh, and His coming into our place of sin (knowing no sin, but made sin for us), of death, of Satan's power, of God's judgment, and "bearing our sins in his own body on the tree," and glorifying God there in dying - that is of value.

The Cross of Christ is morally the end of man's history, the beginning of God's. There the enmity of man against God was fully shown in rejecting Him in Christ, manifested in goodness; sin and law-breaking being already there, the infinite love of God towards man who did it was manifested there too. The risen Christ takes the new place for man which He has obtained for those that believe - reconciled to God by His precious blood. He came to give His life a ransom for many. He who was the "brightness of God's glory, and the express image of His Person, when He had by Himself purged our sins,* sat down on the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens." I have already quoted these passages as to His Person, I repeat them here as to the object of His incarnation: "He was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death" - "Through death he destroyed him that had the power of death," i.e., He annulled his power.

{*"Made the purification of our sins."}

293 I should quote the whole of Hebrews 9, and the blessed effect in chapter 10, were I to adduce what applies to this subject; anyone can read it, but "A testament is of no force at all while the testator liveth." "By his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption." It is by means of death that we receive the promise of eternal inheritance. I quote further these two passages: "Now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment; so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation." The veil is rent; and "We have boldness by the blood of Jesus to enter into the holiest." We are sanctified by the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. "For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." He sits continually as Man at the right hand of God until His enemies be made His footstool. Citations might be multiplied, but these suffice to show the place Christ's death has in Christianity.

I close this part of my testimony by citing what is a summing up of the whole course of the blessed Lord. "Christ Jesus, who when he was in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." And, note, "He made himself of no reputation" when "in the form of God" - He "humbled himself," being in the form of a man. It was not "an idea" that did this, but One in the form of God, who could say "Lo! I come." It was One who had a mind in Him when in the form of God - not "an idea in the mind" of another.

294 There would be many details to notice, but I have no wish to break the great lines of truth by details. Thus Mr. Sen tells us: "Christ said, There is none good but the Father" - Christ never said so, He said, "but God." But God, Father, Lord, are all confounded in Mr. Sen's discourse. God is the name of a Nature and Being - Father, of a relationship. If we make the difference of Persons, and do not say merely God in the unity of nature, Creation is attributed in Scripture to the Son and the Spirit, not to the Father. Next, Christ is never, by Mr. Sen in his discourse, called "Lord," which is of the essence of Christian truth.

Further, we all existed eternally as much as Christ! "Christ was there with all his disciples, and all the apostles and prophets were there - yea, the whole picture of the economy of providence in relation to the Christian dispensation!" I do not know what "part of Himself" the Father took, for all of us to be incarnate. Mr. Sen says "Christ took only a lower part"; we must have been some bad part, for men are wicked - for we were "all there as well as Christ." What "idea" in God were we?

The thought of a Saviour is wholly lost and absent from Mr. Sen's mind. In result, Christ's divine existence before incarnation was merely "An idea in God" - He did not exist at all! His "remembrance of His pre-existence" is merely trifling with words - there was no "He." "He knew that holiness was in God" - so do I, but that is "all He knew, for that was all there was"! But where "The Father sent the Son," there must be somebody to send.

The humanity of Christ is equally unreal. "Touch it," as Mr. Sen says, "and it vanishes." The real true humanity of Christ is as fully denied as His personal divinity.

The death of Christ is not merely passed over, but carefully made nothing of.

His resurrection and entrance as Man into glory is all left out - the resurrection of that true "human Christ," the same though in a new estate.

All Christianity is denied in what is diligently insisted on as fundamental in the New Testament.

But it will be said: "But Mr. Sen tells us he is no Christian." True! But he professes to give us an account of what Christ was, and it is a false Christ - false in every thing essential to His existence, Person and work - a laboured denial of all that constitutes a true Christ. And let me suggest to Mr. Sen here, that the true Christ, the Saviour, is neither Oriental nor Occidental; as far as He was externally the former, He has been rejected by Orientals and Occidentals. As a Saviour, He came down from heaven and revealed the Father - told what He had seen, and spoke what He knew (John 3), and, rejected by all, died for us to save us, and, as Man, is gone up to heaven where He was before. A heavenly Christ, lifted up from the earth, is alone a Saviour for West and East.

295 Mr. Sen contradicts himself constantly, but into this I do not enter - the subject is too serious to make it a mere debate. He says, "India craves the knowledge of what Christ is," and he gives it a false one suited to local prejudices, and not the expression of eternal Truth.