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in one important respect of very different character. The first is quite simple: Is the conception of the Christian religion which prevails and has always prevailed in the Church borne out by the New Testament? As we know it, and as it has been known in history, the Christian life is the life of faith in Jesus Christ: is this what it was in primitive times? Does the New Testament throughout give that solitary and all-determining place to Jesus which He holds in the later Christian religion? This is a simple question, and no difficulty can be raised about the proper method of answering it. All we have to do is to go to the New Testament and scrutinise its evidence. The laws of interpretation are agreed upon among intelligent people, and no difficulty about 'presuppositions' is raised. But the second question is of a different kind. It has to do with what is historically known of Jesus, and here the difficulty about 'presuppositions' becomes acute. It is possible to argue that much of what the New Testament records concerning Jesus cannot be historically known-that it transcends the conception of what is historical, and must either be known on other terms than history, or dismissed from the region of knowledge altogether. It is not necessary at this stage to raise the abstract problem; when we come to the second question it will be considered as far as the case requires. Here the writer would only express his distrust of à priori determinations of what is possible either in the natural or the historical sphere. There is only one universe: nature is not the whole of it, neither is history; and neither nature nor history is a whole apart from it. Nature and history do not exist in isolation; they are caught up into a moral and spiritual system with which they are throughout in vital relations. It is not for anyone to say offhand and à priori what is or is not naturally or historically conceivable in such a system. Its possi
bilities, in all likelihood, rather transcend than fall short of our anticipations; we need not be too much surprised if experience calls rather for elasticity than for rigidity of mind. If anything is certain, it is that the world is not made to the measure of any science or philosophy, but on a scale which perpetually summons philosophy and science to construct themselves anew; and it is with the undogmatic temper which recognises this that the problems indicated above are approached in this book.
CHRISTIANITY AS IT IS EXHIBITED IN
Ir has been said above that in the New Testament we are confronted with a religious life in which everything is determined by Christ, and the question we have to consider is whether this is really so. Is there such a thing as New Testament Christianity, a spiritual phenomenon with a unity of its own, and is this unity constituted by the common attitude of all Christian souls to Christ?
The instinctive answer of those who have been brought up in the Christian faith is in the affirmative. They cannot doubt that New Testament Christianity is one consistent thing. They are equally at home in all parts of the New Testament; they recognise throughout in it the common faith, the faith which gives Jesus the name which is above every name. This instinctive assurance of the unity of the New Testament is not disturbed by even the keenest sense of the differences which persist along with it. Criticism is a science of discrimination, and the critical study of the New Testament has had the greater part of its work to do in bringing into relief the distinctions in what was once supposed to be a uniform and dead level. The science of New Testament theology, if it is a science, has defined the various types of primitive teaching by contrast to one another; it has taught us