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a religion of the spirit, a religion of inwardness and freedom. It does not bind to sacred places or times, it knows no sacrifices or ceremonies, no forms or formulæ as in themselves pleasing to God. Nothing is of value in it but the pure heart, the love of God, and what that love calls forth in the heart of man. And yet it is capable of the most vigorous outward expression. It, too, has forms of the religious life, personal as well as social, but they have value only in so far as they call forth or fulfil the free impulse of the heart. Again, it is the perfectly moral and morally perfect religion. Everything in it has its ethical side, its moral fruits, without which it is of no value in the sight of God. And the moral demand which this divine faith makes is the highest, the strictest, the most comprehensive conceivable. Over and above every outward and particular deed of obedience, it claims the whole inward man for God and His commandments. It recognises nothing but the highest and purest motives, and follows sin into the inmost recesses of the heart, to the uprising of anger and the motion of evil desire. And this religion of inexorable moral strictness is at the same time a religion of salvation, a religion of grace in the most comprehensive sense of the word. From the same idea of God as the absolutely Good One, out of which springs the absolute demand, “Be ye perfect, even as the Father in heaven is perfect,” arises, at the same time, the glad message of His unlimited fatherly mercy which goes in search of the lost son and meets him with forgiveness,-out of it there flows the idea of a kingdom of God and a communion with God, which can be given only to the poor in spirit, those who have a real feeling of need, because its desire is to make the poor rich, and satisfy with righteousness those who hunger and thirst for it. Finally, the gospel of Jesus is the religion of eternal life. It restores man to his lost eternal home, makes him at home as no other faith can in the invisible world of perfection which his soul craves, and thereby lifs him above the imperfections of his earthly existence. But it does not do so in such a way as to depreciate this earthly existence and induce men to flee from the world, or long for death. It rather consecrates this earth as a vestibule of heaven, and its sufferings as a school of eternal life. The idea of the kingdom BEYSCHLAG. - 1.


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of heaven, the idea of a kingdom of God, sown in time and ripened in eternity, removes the antithesis of this world and the next-of life and death.

§ 4. ORIGIN OF JESUS' TEACHING If this is the peculiarity of the religious teaching of Jesus, there can hardly be any reasonable doubt about its origin. It bears throughout the impress of the highest originality, of originating immediately in His own inner life; but it does So, not in the sense of being the outcome of His subjective fancy,—in that case it would be the most insoluble of psychological and historical riddles,—but as an immediate gift to His soul from above, a revelation of God in Him and through Him. That at least is the consciousness which He Himself had of His doctrine. “ All things are delivered unto Me of My Father.” “My doctrine is not Mine, but that of Him who sent Me” (Matt. xi. 27; John vii. 16). In point of fact it is impossible, often as the attempt has been made, to deduce the consciousness of Jesus and the contents of His teaching from any spiritual power which existed in His day. Even though a contact of Jesus with the Hellenic world had not already been excluded by outer facts of His life—how could He have kindled His inner light and life at this hearth? The religion of classical antiquity, even in its noblest manifestations, and its then foremost living mysteries, was the worship of deified nature, and therefore the direct opposite of the religion of Jesus. And the philosophy of antiquity, even where its highest presentiments of truth approach to the gospel, was just philosophy and not revelation,—a wavering, doubting question addressed to heaven, not a certified answer from heaven such as Jesus gives. But even the Jewish religion in which He was born and trained is no key to His own. That religion is dominated by pretty much the opposite of all those characteristics of the religion of Jesus on which we have been insisting. The Jewish religion in the days of Jesus, with all its proselytising and dreams of a world dominion, was just as narrow-hearted and national as could be, and notwithstanding a certain spiritualising of its worship in the synagogue, it clung more tenaciously than ever to outer forms and postures. It could not indeed deny its inborn ethical character, but it externalised and made it as superficial as possible. And instead of referring its likewise inborn belief in salvation to the redemption of the inner man, it referred it to redemption from outer natural and political restraints. It certainly developed belief in another world, departing thus from its earlier tradition, but in such a way as to fill that other world with earthly sensuous dreams, instead of making this world spiritual by having aims above earth. In a word, the living religion of the Jewish people of that day is just that which we find expressed more consciously and formally in Pharisaism. And in view of our Gospel records, there is no need for wasting words in seeking to prove the depth of the contrast that existed between Jesus and Pharisaism, a contrast that excludes any original affinity or sympathy. Nor is there any affinity of spirit between Jesus and the other well-known types of current Judaism. Sadduceism, that worn-out aristocratic priestly conservatism which was entirely opposed to the religious development of Judaism, and possessed no positive religious principle at all, could only, with its denial of eternal life, have been an offence to Jesus. Neither has Jesus made any allusion even in word to Essenism with which so many would like to connect Him. Deeper religious needs, it is true, lay at the basis of Essenism, but they were satisfied in a way that was completely foreign and offensive to Jesus, the way of monasticism and mysticism springing out of a view at bottom dualistic and ascetic, of which we can find no trace in the teaching of Jesus. There is just as little trace of Alexandrianism in Him,—that artificial theology of mediation between the Old Testament religion and Greek philosophy, which is related to the teaching of Jesus as cistern water to the living fountain. Now there was, of course, among the Jews of that day, besides these degenerate tendencies, a more genuine succession of the psalmists and prophets, those “poor in spirit” and “quiet in the land,” to the circle of whom Jesus and His family undoubtedly belonged. But the purer and deeper that genuine issue of Old Testament religion was, the more must there have been impressed on it a feature which was completely foreign to Jesus personally, which was indeed the very opposite of His peculiar consciousness, that fundamental feature of the consciousness of guilt, the deeply felt discord between the holy God and sinful Israel of which we have a directly typical example in John the Baptist. This feeling of estrangement from God, of sin and guilt separating God and man from each other, might indeed be felt by Jesus in compassionate sympathy, and perhaps His submitting to the baptism of John may be explained by this sympathy.

But it is so completely foreign to Him personally that the groundtone of His whole self-consciousness is rather the undisturbed sense of communion with God, the blessed consciousness of divine Sonship.


This brings us to the real mystery of the personality of Jesus which forms the salient point of His whole teaching, and which explains and confirms on all sides its peculiarities as described above. He did not preach a union of God with all men which is either inherent in all or reached by way of selfdevelopment, but He is immediately and originally certain of that communion only for Himself. But out of it, out of the consciousness of being in a unique sense the Son of God, grew His consciousness of being the Saviour, and His sense of a vocation to help His brethren to a similar communion with God, or—what is the same thing—to receive them into the kingdom of heaven that appears in Him; and from this point His “evangel," His teaching and preaching, unfolds itself on all sides. We are only incidentally reminded here, where the object is merely a sketch, not a justification of the teaching of Jesus, how impossible it is to resolve all that enduring groundconsciousness of His into a fanatical dream, how firmly it must be founded on the truth, on a fact which not merely lets Him have a revelation, but makes Himself a personal revelation of God. For this self-consciousness of Jesus did not grow on the soil of a Hellenic self-deceptive intermixture of the divine and human, but on the basis of the law and prophets, on the basis of the ethico-metaphysical distinction between God and man, on which it is not conceivable except as the reflection of an inner life which absolutely does not know that which separates the holy God and the heart of man, viz. sin. The character of His teaching, however, directly furnishes a twofold proof of the truth of that self-consciousness. The first is more of a formal nature. The teaching of Jesus as a teaching of religion resting on revelation may be most readily compared with the teaching of the prophets; though there obtains here an important difference. The divine inspiration comes upon the prophet by fits and starts, as a power half-foreign, which falls, as it were, upon him in specially elevated moments of his life. But in the case of Jesus everything is equable. He knows no difference between hours of inspiration and ordinary hours. The spring of divine revelation wells up in Him quietly and constantly, not while He is exalted above Himself, but while simply Himself and giving Himself. It is the eternal foundation of His personal life from which His words of eternal life at all times flow. The second proof to which we refer, leads us into the contents and central point of His teaching. He is not merely, like Moses, the prophet of His religion ; He Himself is its living content and basis, as His person supports, guarantees, indeed first makes possible His entire teaching. If communion with God, “the kingdom of God,” had not been personally realised in Him, His whole proclamation of it would have been destitute both of truth and meaning; nay, as a child of His people and its religion He could not have even grasped the idea of a kingdom of God, the dwelling of the holy God with the sinful sons of men, had it not originally been realised in His absolutely pure communion of heart with God. But then we comprehend how all the great characteristics of His teaching, emphasised above, are nothing else than the natural manifestations of His personal consciousness, the simple issues of the fact of His unique and ideally perfect relation to God. Because He has the pure heart of the perfect child of God, He is able to see the Father in heaven as no prophet before Him and no apostle after Him, and all the mists of national limitation and legal externality fall away from the eyes of His spirit. Because the eternal Good, the eis åyaós (Mark x. 18), with His holy love, lives and moves in Him, He can, on the one hand, clearly unfold the holy demands of that love to the judging even of heart

1 Cf. my Leben Jesu, i. p. 182.

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