Page:Satires and profanities -microform- (1884).djvu/97
JESUS: AS GOD; AS A MAN.
"These hereditary enemies of the Truth… have even had the heart to degrade this first preacher of the Mountain, the purest hero of Liberty; for, unable to deny that he was earth's greatest man, they have made of him heaven's smallest god."—Heine: Reisebilder.
The doctrine of the divinity of Jesus, which, in whatever relation regarded, is full of self-contradictions and absurdities, is, above all, pernicious in its moral and spiritual results. Most myths have a certain justification in their beauty, in their symbolism of high truth. This one distorts the beauty, degrades the sublimity, stultifies the meaning of the facts and the character wherein it has been founded, taking away all true grandeur from Jesus, benumbing our love and reverence.
Jesus, as a man, commands my heart's best homage. His words, as reported by the Evangelists, are ever-flowing fountains of spiritual refreshments; and I feel that he was in himself even far more wise and good than he appears in the gospel. What disciple could be expected to report perfectly the words of a teacher so mystically sublime? The disciple intends and endeavors to report faithfully; but when he hears words which to him are without sense, because they express some truth whose sphere is beyond the reach of his vision, he makes sense of them by some slight change—slight as to the letter, immense as to the spirit; for the sense is a truth or truism of his own lower sphere. And when