Part 1. The Shadow of Christ in the Old Testament

Part 1
INTRODUCTION
I. THE PAGAN EMPHASIS
II. THE EMPHASIS OF LIFE
III. THE EMPHASIS OF THE IDEAL
IV. THE HAGAR NATION

Part 2
V. THOU SHALT NOT
VI. THOU SHALT NOT
VII. THOU SHALT NOT

Part 3
VIII. THUS SAITH THE LORD
IX. MILK AND HONEY
X. I AM THAT I AM
XI. THY GENTLENESS HAS MADE ME GREAT

Part 4
XII. DEEP CALLETH UNTO DEEP
XIII. WHO GIVETH SONGS IN THE NIGHT
XIV. WHEN THE PEOPLE SAW THE MOUNTAIN SMOKING THEY STOOD AFAR OFF

Part 5
XV. "WHERE WAST THOU WHEN I LAID THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE EARTH?"
XVI. CURSE GOD AND DIE
XVII. DOTH NOT WISDOM CRY AND UNDERSTANDING PUT FORTH HER VOICE?
XVIII. VANITY! VANITY! ALL IS VANITY

Part 6
XIX. THE SHADOW CHRIST
XX. THE SHADOW CHRIST
XXI. THE SHADOW CHRIST
XXII. THE SHADOW CHRIST
XXIII. THE SHADOW CHRIST

Introduction

Gerald Stanley Lee: A book is the shouting of a man's heart from the housetops.

The public is a cruel confidant. Either it hurts him who dares by not hearing what is most precious to him, for the rumbling of the drays - which is oblivion; or it hurts him when the drivers of the drays shout back - which is fame - the world's rushing compliment of misunderstanding a man instead of forgetting him.

Yet who would not dare?

No man shall lose his soul in risking it with its Larger Self.

Out into the listening darkness, where the shadow audience waits - baffling in its very welcome - this little book goes forth. By far-off lamps it seeks you, by windows never seen; past a mist of faces that answer not - and as, one by one, for their little life with the earth-light and your soul, you open these leaves of mine, each brings its greeting from a world I love - its hope and fear of you - before you fold it back into the darkened place, where it shall wait and watch for the coming of men.

A clumsy thing - a little pasteboard and gilding and type - a book - with the hum of the paper-mill lingering in it and the touch of unknowing hands. With the colors of desire and the symbols of experience - to give one's soul to paper - to have it flashed forth in bare black and white, and thrown, like the news of the night, in the dooryards of the world. Paper is but paper to the world, and a book - a book.

But the Great Spirit - who to and fro between our solitudes goes guarding the children of thought - shall read with you these broken memories of days He has walked with me; and Life - the gentle old interpreter - shall bring the meanings home, at last.

In the brotherhood of play and worship and the humor and awe of truth shall we be wayfarers together. This is not an argument, but the breath of a land that is loved, not gaining its way by a logical use of terms - nay, losing it, perhaps, in low music without words - a spirit - a passing light - like a halo on the hills - with no authority but its shining - perhaps - with no importance but its being loved, with no ambition except to be forgotten when Truth is more beautiful than now. Too reverent of the Unknown God and too proud of the spirit of man to settle anything - a book with but one hope which can come to pass - that in being read it may read you; and with one truth that can always stand - that of being true to itself.

"A man shall be as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land." (Isa. 32:2)

I. The Pagan Emphasis

LOOKING at the world with the cosmic vision that has come to us, there is a tendency to limit the moral genius of the Hebrew to a somewhat smaller place than it really occupies in the supreme civilization of the earth. The faint gleams of our own truth on the eastern horizon of thought have come to us, and it is not unnatural to mistake the afterglows of the waning visions of India for a beautiful gray pagan dawn that will soon suffuse the world and enlighten the Christ. When a strange religion floats to us across the seas, like the chant of countless peoples from the mysterious land of legend, with all the charm and theological romance that dream by the sunrise, the tendency on the part of the rarest men - the world-listeners - is to listen to other revelations overmuch, to come to conclusions that should only be reached by the study of the civilizations they have produced.

The man with an international, inter-eon insight - who has the temperament of a Japanese mirror, who sees through to China when he looks at the reflection of American life, or Buddha when he studies the Beatitudes; whose spiritual life, blending Christ and Confucius, the Koran and the Sermon on the Mount, is a world-anthology, with touches of truth from the Veda and the Old Testament, from Rousseau, Thomas à Kempis, Walt Whitman, Plato, Athanasius and Mrs. [Annie] Besant (a Theosophist, 1847-1933) - is prone to be grotesque with what would otherwise be a very beautiful conception. Being a whole world by himself, a sum- total sui generis, he does not quite know how to master it, and fails signally in the very sense of proportion which he has collected himself from everywhere to illustrate - to a provincial Christendom. His balance fails generally in the direction of his favorite ignorance. It would not be called ignorance. It would be called new knowledge; but, from the Tree in the Garden until now, new knowledge has been but the showy side of what men did not know.

It is well to listen to Omar Khayyam [11th C. Persian poet] singing like an Aeolian harp in the desert, with the winds that blow down from the stars, but the Astronomer Poet was not Persia. The Christian religion is not its deeds. The pagan religion is not its songs. Our souls are filled with the dreamy voice of [Babu Protap Chunder] Mozoomdar ["Reform Hindu" proponent, 1840-1905], and thoughts, like incense, swing to and fro out of the reverie-land of the East; but Mozoomdar is not India. As long as we judge pagan religions by their ideals and Christianity by its performances, the place we give to the legacy of the Hebrew race will be far beneath its importance.

The emphasis of the half-unveiled - the beautiful endeavor of the spirit to atone, to eke out its ignorance with kindness - ever overreaches itself. The fairer comparison of civilizations and revelations is not gained by looking down from the words of Christ to their fruits in the government of the western world, but by looking up from the fruits of the East to the fruits of the West, and from the words of Confucius to the words of Christ. Until that far-off day when words and deeds are synonyms this is the first principle of comparison. Each must be compared with its own kind.

The only way for the western idealist to vitally appreciate the Hebrew who made him possible is to be transmigrated from the Browning Club [a Victorian aristocrats club] into a sleepy little heathen Hindoo, toddling around a bungalow [originally a type of small house in India], wondering what everything is about, until, brought up to dream in the India schools, through the religion and the life of his people he moves out at last to the thought of the world and discovers Christianity.

In comparing the Hebrew and other contributions to humanity, a man born in a Christian country is at a singular philosophical disadvantage. He has to think his way backward to the pagan religions,almost as confusing and untrue as rendering "Parsifal" backward, note by note, or culminating the great drama of Bayreuth with the dark wonder of the Kundry motif, instead of the Saviour strains of the Grail, and the echoing Glaubenstema.

Mozoomdar follows the logical order of revelation. As his heart widens out he thinks his way - not backward, but forward, over dead nations and sleeping gods, to the climax of human faith. His spiritual experience is arranged by sheer circumstance, according to the dramatic unities. In expressing philosophically the Christian point of view he has but to think his life.

Canon [Frederic William] Farrar [theologian, 1831-1903], in trying to realize the pagan point of view, would have to unthink his life - if a word may be coined, the very awkwardness of which reveals its meaning. Our knowledge constitutes our ignorance of the ethnic religions. The perspectives are disturbed and the shadows are in the wrong places, but a pagan approaches Christianity the way the world did.

Every man born into the natural heathenism of being a boy follows spiritually the logical order of revelation in his own life; but [Keshab] Chunder Sen [Hindu scholar, 1838-1844], when his soul peers over the utmost of his native worship and gazes for the first time upon the vision of Judea, follows the old heartache of the world, and onward - like a miniature human race moving through his soul - through the faiths of centuries and beautiful dead ideals he passes to his God. It is a cosmic experience. The heartbeat of all the nations shall be in the love of such a man for One who, like Day and Night, shines and shadows over all lands and peoples until they know Him.

His Christianity alone can have the world-depth, to whom has come the wandering through the world to reach it. He thinks centuries, and wonders religions that we can only guess. We can never conceive the climax of the Hebrew revelation. We have not experienced it as a climax. We can state it - we can write down symbols, guessed from our unthinking - but we cannot unwind the years that are gone, and we can hear but faintly, in the far-off place of books, the footsteps of our fathers coming to our faith.

With the wistfulness of the Messiah has come to our Christianity the emphasis from above, and that which appeals to the converted Hindoo as a climax, is to us an uncompleted prophecy still seeking for its higher self, in the day when our revelation shall be our civilization, and not the token of it, and belief shall be life.

But with his actual biography of conviction the converted Hindoo enters into a religion which is a cosmic symphony, filled with the struggles and dreams of belief, retrospective, dark, and splendid with memory, and glad with the Final Word - he comes with the ethnic [i.e., pagan] emphasis - the emphasis from below.

II. The Emphasis of Life

By taking the centuries one by one into its confidence a great book lives. One year at a time it earns its greatness. It is immortal, because it never lets a moment go. The world shall be filled with no passion or question or despair it will not share. It knocks at every door. It beats down every barrier. With the flush of its mighty youth it gathers its thousand years. It throws itself upon life, the substance of which immortality is made.

A Bible lives because it strives - adapting, resisting, impelling. It lives by being lived. Renewed with each new childhood of the earth, forever in the heyday of its strength - men call it old because it has been young so long.

The assertion that he who knows the Scriptures will possess all knowledge, made with the deftly concealed autobiographical feeling of the man who is obliged to make it, is founded upon an underestimate of a book the very first principle of which is that it is so intimate with life that it cannot be interpreted by itself and requires all knowledge to show how true it is. It finds its authority in seeking out the answer of the human race. From the beginning to the end it seems to search - "Is not this true?" A divinely unfinished book, faith does not consist in repeating it. Faith is our life with it. It does not live for us. It does not see for us or see to stop our seeing. It was not inspired to stop inspiration. It will receive before it gives.

The disciples did not follow the Master because they believed in Him. They believed in Him because He made them believe in their own lives. The faith of the Son of God was His faith in the sons of men. Crying His faith upon the very cross, it is His divinity that he brought out the divinity of those who crucified Him, that he had the divine daring to give them divine work to do and divine things to see, and showed them that they could see and do them. It is His divinity that He strives with men, not through a book, but through a life that completes the book - through that greater soul, wrapped like a larger self around every man, which is the diviner half of the Bible; which, whether it be called the Christian Consciousness, or the world, or life, is at once the approach and the issue of the truth - the eternal, tireless, patient emphasis of God.

But while the pervading human life is the pathway the Father of the prophets has placed before His book, no one who has not a private door shall enter there. The youth who reads looks forward to his own soul, and to him who sees his life behind him, the story of Israel is the clumsy, halting, mimic Bible he has been himself. Egypt is his metaphor. The wilderness his figure of speech. The Leviticus period that comes to all development, the Elijah attitude, the David time of war and song, the period of Proverbs, of captivity - he has lived but these. The Isaiah spirit seeking him at last and opening the vision of faith, the Bible is God's account of him. Strange, and sad, and beautiful, and helpless, and perverse, he comes to his New Testament as the Hebrews came to theirs. He but reads the Bible with his own.

The omnipresence of the Great Book is but the omnipresence of life. It makes every century the comrade of ours, and every man its parable. The contemporaneous is history flattened out. All time covers every moment like the sea. The world is the huge mimicry of a single man. The great abstractions that govern nations are but the inventories of old histories. Theology is biography. Men are the creed of God.

An empty Bible, in an empty universe, in an empty life, - to him who dares to read a Bible by itself.

III. The Emphasis of the Ideal

BUT between the Hebrew unfolding his thousand-year vision and the insight of our modern life has arisen, under the guise of freedom of thought, a slavery to the matter-of-fact, a scientific petulance which has strangely disturbed the real spiritual values of the Old Testament.

Forgetting in the first importance of a fact (its being true) its second importance (its being kept where it belongs), the huge Moment in which we live is prone to bewilder the truth with statistics - to forget the epic outlines, the sweep, the mighty movement of that vast conception, when, thousands of years ago, down the footpath of the Hebrew soul there came a God to struggle with the nations of the earth.

He may not have come. He may not have thought of coming. Though it be from the beginning to the end, the romance of a national imagination, the sacred ghost-story of the world, it has become the most literal, the most material reality in the history of men. With every fact and every theory brought forth against it, stripped to the nakedness of a dream, the very dreaming of it is the most consummate achievement, the most dynamic event in human destiny.

If the sea is a lie, to have thought of such a sea involves the greatness of the sea itself. If Isaiah was impracticable - if, as a matter of fact, Jehovah did not attempt to put so much in one man, - it is enough to know, so far as essential truth is concerned, that He could if He would. In the mean time, combining gifts that only the divine heats of a hero's heart or the movement of great events could have blended together, Isaiah stands as an abstract of what a great man will be like when he comes - a shadowing forth of the ideal toward which we strive.

The actual is not the truth. It is the part of the truth that has been attained. The ideal is the truth - the whole truth. The criticism that makes a prophet impossible only makes the dream of such a prophet more wonderful - a prophecy in itself. Facts did not create an ideal. Facts cannot destroy it. Facts destroy but facts. If a man is apparently destroyed by being proved a dream, the dream will make a score of men to take his place. It will call to them, struggle with them, lift them to itself.

Nothing is more real than the ideal. Mountains are made of vapor, and the soil of the ground is as the dust of clouds beside it. Brick and mortar are built upon it. Bronze and steel and gold and silver - the hands of men and the fingers of machines - wait upon it. The sheer material forces swung into its mighty service - the levers with which it lifts this little earth, dictating events, dominating nations, guiding philosophies, placing a strip of sky over every life, whirling the globe to every morning - with a hope - the world itself is the massive measure of the spirit, the shadow God casts across time and space in stone and iron and fleeting things, of the dreams of men.

The peculiar coordination of powers gathered into an ideal, a hero, and called his personality, we may dissolve. We may dissolve him into the forces of his time. We may dissolve him into his ancestors. But he is there. As a logical ideal he passes into life. His spirit possesses the world. In analyzing the inspirations of the Pentateuch, in showing the several men that Moses may have been, Moses is not removed. We are but given the genealogy of his greatness. If he might have been, he was; and whether he is a prophet or the prophecy of a prophet, he is a personal actuality in human life, and one with which to live. Proving that he is a group of men cannot destroy him, any more than the slip of a scholar's pen could have created him. If it cannot be said of a man named Moses that he incarnated all of such a spirit once, it can be said that the spirit has become his incarnation, - that the incarnation of the Spirit which Christ reserved as the supreme and mightiest form of His Messiahship, has come through the lives of men to this soul of Sinai, that it has made him one of the dominant personalities in the building of a world. He cannot be ignored as a fact - one kind of fact - and he defies the necessity, the moral helplessness, of being dependent upon another. He is a father of facts, though he be a myth. The margin of the Bible does not hold the fate of its great beliefs in its calculations, and the soul of Moses does not rest upon the skill of experts.

Shakspere [Shakespeare] would be none the less a personality whether he ever existed or not. If three poets had written the plays we call by his name, they would still represent a colossal individuality - a three-poet-power spirit. Whether He who governs the disposition of forces blended the three actually into one manifold life Himself, or left it to the world and the action of events to do it - makes an interesting and important, but not fundamental, fact with regard to the content of his genius. The genius is here. It is a truth. How he came to be here is a question of fact.

The great spiritual unities, when once they have come forth and faced the earth, when they have been wrought into its experiences, when they have become the builders of its facts - have become material in the most material sense; it is only the passing phase, the morbid literalness of our scientific spirit, which could have made the nobler unities so dependent on the smaller ones as to imperil faith.

In tracing the evolution of the Christ idea, there would be a superficial and plausible convenience in arranging chronology so that Job would come between David and Isaiah; but, according to the content of his message and the unities of the truth, Job furnishes the link between David and Isaiah, though he prepared his message, perhaps, in an aloof life, and may have been singing in one wilderness while Moses was ruling in another.

Indomitably relevant, a great man places himself, like a great truth, where the tyranny of circumstance, the commands of time and place, are beneath his feet. He partakes of the ways of God. In the distinction between the truth, which is the spirit, and the fact, which is the incident of the spirit, lies the only defense of the great Scriptural ideals. Ideals can only be defended by ideals. The facts, though they have incalculable modifying value, did not create the truth. They can neither save nor destroy it.

IV. The Hagar Nation

UPON our unshamed Gentile lips there shall be no unhallowed criticism of the saddened prophet - people that walk alone before the nations of the earth, with the fire of the old expectancy still beautiful in their eyes.

Guilty, for hundreds of years, of a persecution [of the Jews] which is the vastest cowardice of history; as disgraced men, who have revenged with eighteen [now nineteen] vindictive centuries the pitiful blunder of a day, - only in the utmost humbleness, with the tenderness of the One we cherish, shall the Gentiles say, "Thou didst crucify Him," or dare accuse the mightier nation for that one vast, swift moment, which shall be forever its awful title to more love and more forgiveness than all the nations of the earth - because they took the cross that we would have had ready, and did our crucifying for us.

The silence of Christ shall descend upon our brother's head to-day from those who, in the century when He came, would have led Him as a lamb to the slaughter in one year instead of three - who were not beautiful enough among the nations to have His mother born amongst us, or great enough to gather the traditions or sing the dreams that should feed the childhood of a god.

A nation, the inspiration of whose very sins has furnished the imperative religion, and compelled the mightiest literature of the world, - a nation which has given the most sublime and consummate expression of repentance in all the unfolding of the human heart, - never to be forgiven itself, - at whose feet the peoples of the earth have learned to sing and learned to pray, - without whom never would the knowledge have come to us to condemn them, or the spirit with which to judge them, or the Christ with which to be superior to them, - that the Pharisee might be rehearsed [repeated] again.

Suffering under the supreme misfortune of being chosen of God, of being the most divinely exposed race, working out in its glowing public soul the salvation of us all, dedicating its very sins to humanity (sins sublimely remembered only because they were immortally confessed) - the Jewish nation has been condemned by those whose sins are not even remembered - ignobly forgotten; and in a world which the Jew has made possible, we look about us but to find that he is held responsible for his crimes, as if they were peculiar to himself, while his genius for God has been appropriated as the universal discovery of men, by peoples who would not have known that the crimes were crimes, had not the Jews in psalms and prophecies taught the stammering nations what sin was, until, sinning one more sin, in the shadow of the Cross, they fled from before the faces of men, with a confession which is the gospel of the earth.


The Shadow of Christ in the Old Testament

An Introduction to Christ Himself

by Gerald Stanley Lee (1862-1944), New York: The Century Co., 1896

Contents

Part 1
INTRODUCTION
I. THE PAGAN EMPHASIS
II. THE EMPHASIS OF LIFE
III. THE EMPHASIS OF THE IDEAL
IV. THE HAGAR NATION

Part 2
V. THOU SHALT NOT
VI. THOU SHALT NOT
VII. THOU SHALT NOT

Part 3
VIII. THUS SAITH THE LORD
IX. MILK AND HONEY
X. I AM THAT I AM
XI. THY GENTLENESS HAS MADE ME GREAT

Part 4
XII. DEEP CALLETH UNTO DEEP
XIII. WHO GIVETH SONGS IN THE NIGHT
XIV. WHEN THE PEOPLE SAW THE MOUNTAIN SMOKING THEY STOOD AFAR OFF

Part 5
XV. "WHERE WAST THOU WHEN I LAID THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE EARTH?"
XVI. CURSE GOD AND DIE
XVII. DOTH NOT WISDOM CRY AND UNDERSTANDING PUT FORTH HER VOICE?
XVIII. VANITY! VANITY! ALL IS VANITY

Part 6
XIX. THE SHADOW CHRIST
XX. THE SHADOW CHRIST
XXI. THE SHADOW CHRIST
XXII. THE SHADOW CHRIST
XXIII. THE SHADOW CHRIST


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