The Divinity of Christ – An Argument: Introductory

cover of the ebook 'The Divinity of Christ: An Argument', by Bishop Louis-Victor-Emile BougaudAmong the many questions which claim the attention of the human mind, there is none higher, nor upon the solution of which so much depends, as that which concerns the true character of Jesus Christ. What manner of being, then, is this extraordinary man who, rather more than eighteen centuries ago, in an insignificant kingdom, one of an obscure race, at once laid so irresistible a grasp on the world, “who founded for the whole human race the eternal kingdom of a true and perfect religion;” “this Being, the purest amongst the strong, and the strongest amongst the pure, who with his wounded hand has lifted empires from their hinges, and changed the course of the stream of ages?” What is He? Is He a God? Is He a man? Does He owe His origin to a happy accident of nature, to a sublime effort of the human race to produce at last a representative worthy of itself? Or, rather, in contemplating the incomparable beauty of His soul, the greatness of His mind, the yet more wonderful greatness of His heart, and the immense results of His extraordinary life, are we not irresistibly led to recognize in Him something more than man? Is there not a visible manifestation of God through the perfect Humanity of Jesus? And just as when we meet gifted natures, we have only to see their countenance, and to listen to their words, and we say: Here is a soul in which greatness, nobleness, goodness, and genius abide; so we have only to see Jesus, and we are compelled to exclaim: Here is a soul in which the Divinity dwells.

Such is the question. Formerly, the unique perfection of the Saviour’s Humanity was hardly studied. His Humanity was lost sight of in the splendors of His Divinity, as on Mount Thabor.

Now we pursue another method. An attraction growing stronger day by day leads us, Jesus, to Thy very sweet and very beautiful Humanity. We look upon Thy feet and Thy hands pierced for us. Thy noble brow beaming with sympathy and genius. Thy Heart beating with immense love, and thus we begin first to suspect, then to catch a glimpse of Thy Divinity, and soon to fall down in adoration.

The former method was perhaps higher; the latter more winning. The latter is better suited to an age that cares more for facts than for ideas: an age enthusiastically enamored with the method of observation, and more ready, therefore, to accept the proof which goes back from the Humanity of Christ to His Divinity. Is it not the same method, Jesus! which Thou didst point out to the troubled soul of one of Thy disciples? “Thomas, put thy hand into the wounds of my feet and of my hands – put it into the wound of my heart, and be no longer unbelieving.” Oh gentle and untranslatable noli! Thomas did not resist it. He beheld the man, and he confessed his God.

We, Jesus! are entering the same path. Do Thou help us, and grant, that through the contemplation of the human beauty of Thy mind, Thy heart. Thy conscience, Thy whole soul, we may arrive at the full certainty, at the humble and joyful adoration of Thy Divinity.

– taken from The Divinity of Christ, by Bishop Emile Bougaud