A Unitarian Conception of Jesus

Christian Register

I ask you, I entreat you, keep in your thoughts and hearts that which those hearts cannot help loving and cherishing. And by this I do not mean those things that all the world, even those who patronizingly rank Jesus only as one in a long line of many prophets, are forced to allow. It is not his unerring knowledge of man, his matchless insight into the Divine, his spotless life, his precious example, his fiery denunciation of sin, his tender sympathy for the sinner. It is not merely his martyr's death or his hero's crown. Cherishing and clinging to all these—cherishing, too, what no self-complacent critic shall prevail on me to reject, his mastery over every form of physical and moral suffering and evil, even unto death and the grave; believing, as I do, that death could not hold his spirit nor earth retain his spirit—it is something else of his that makes me cling to him as the way, the truth, and the life. That something is himself, his person, his nature—that exalted, unique, being, who is to me more than parents or brethren, more than teacher or example, my living, real, present friend, in whom I live, through whom I come to God.

Friends, the world has seen a long line of glorious prophets. They have gone on from age to age manifesting the truth, and commending themselves' to men's consciences in the sight of God. For their precepts and their examples, their lives and their deaths, we are grateful. Whether their teachings are recorded in books as among the great of earth, or whether they have made their kindred better by that modest and unseen influence which a record would only stain, we are grateful. We bow the knee in gratitude to our Father that He has given them for our help. But, however much we owe to them, of all of them we must say, "They were, they have been, they are not now." Whatever faith or reason tells us of their existence in other and higher spheres of service or of glory, to us they are not; we may read of them, we may love to recall them, but to us they are gone. But he, he our Lord and Master, Jesus the Anointed, is. We cannot think of him as gone in the way those others have gone. Superstition has looked for his second coming. It has come, he is with us; he is with every soul of man that turns in trembling love and tender awe to that Father of whom he first taught us as no other teacher ever did. From the story of his gospel, from the experience of his saints, from our own inmost lives, our dear Lord comes forth in his own person, beyond, above, beneath, behind all criticism and all doubt, shining at the portal of that way which he has opened behind the veil, our living friend and brother, manifesting the truth which is himself, commending himself to every man's conscience, in the sight of his Father and our Father, of his God and our God.

Dr. William Everett.
Christian Register.

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Power of Habit
October 26, 1899

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