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The Christ of History and of Experience:
Being the Kerr Lectures for 1897. By the Rev. D. W. FoRREST, M.A. Edinburgh : T. & T. Clark. 1897.


The subject which Mr. Forrest has chosen for his Kerr Lectures is one of commanding and perennial interest, and continually susceptible of fresh treatment. No one can be supposed to have as yet given an exhaustive interpretation of the Life of Our Lord, or to have solved finally the great variety of questions that have been raised or may be raised in connection with it. Mr. Forrest's treatment of it cannot be complained of on the score of want of freshness, or of devoutness, or of scholarliness. The references and arguments show that he is fully abreast of the theological learning of the day, and thoroughly acquainted with the conjectures and theories put forth in connection with his subject. Like most treatises of the kind the work is largely controversial, but the tone throughout is calm and judicial. The arguments of those whose opinions are controverted are fairly stated and fairly met, and as a rule successfully. Mr. Forrest himself has no new or startling theory to propound ; his attitude is on the whole conservative ; and his lectures may probably be taken as exhibiting, so far as they go, the opinions which are most approved by the general spiritual intelligence of the denomination to which he belongs, and in which he holds a distinguished position. They are valuable, also, not only on this account, but as indicating, at least to some extent, the trend of theological opinion in Scotland on the great subject with which they deal. The lectures are in all nine, but the topics brought within their purview and more or less thoroughly discussed are extremely numerous. This will be understood when we say that the nine lectures cover over 350 closely printed octavo pages. Their number or variety, however, can scarcely be objected to, as each of them is more or less intimately connected with the subject in hand, and their discussion, if it does nothing more, at least contributes to the breadth and fulness of its treatment. In the first lecture Mr. Forrest discourses on the uniqueness of Our Lord's moral consciousness, maintaining that the moral consciousness of Christ was one and undivided, at one with itself, and altogether free from those self-contradictions which characterise the moral consciousness of men. The point is illustrated in a variety of ways, and the opinions of Dr. Martineau and others on the subject are controverted, but, singularly enough, the Temptation which one would naturally expect to come in here for discussion, is barely touched upon. In his second lecture Mr. Forrast treats of Our Lord's self-consciousness as interpreted by His claims, and discusses the character of His teaching, and the significance of the title ' the Son of Man,' and maintains with considerable force that Our Lord's consciousness of His Messianic calling was determined by His consciousness of His Divine Sonship. The question of Our Lord's miracles comes in for treatment in the third lecture. There is no attempt to minimise their importance. The miracles of healing he maintains ' were both arresting and indications of the operation of a divine will, and a revelation of its beneficent^^Ricter.' 'They were not meant to suggest,' he goes on to say, there are no proofs of God in nature ; you cannoffind Him there : He is shown only in His supercession of natural methods ;' but to confirm and correct the evidences of Him which nature supplied; to open men's eyes to the daily working of His power and wisdom in the order of the universe; and also to show that where the action of His natural laws was injurious, as in physical disease, it was due to the perversion of sin, which it was God's purpose to remove in order to restore the disturbed harmony of the world.' When treating of Our Lord's resurrection Mr. Forrest has no difficulty in showing that it was different from the resurrection of Lazarus, or in disposing of the vision theory invented by Baur, which, if we mistake not, is here attributed to Renan. But though treating lucidly and on the whole successfully of this great subject, Mr. Forrest scarcely seems to have appreciated the full significance of St. Paul's phrase, ' the power of Christ's resurrection,' or the allied phrases in the Epistle to the Romans. Among the topics discussed are the Incarnation and the doctrine of Our Lord's Person as set forth in the Fourth Gospel and in the writings of St. Paul, the doctrine of the Trinity, of the forgiveness of sin, of Justification and the New Life, of Righteousness and Law, and the Neo-Hegelian rendering of Christianity. But though treating of such high subjects the book is by no means dry or unreadable. It exhibits great richness of spiritual experience as well as much theological acumen, and if not exactly brilliant, it is at least a solid contribution to Protestant theology. At the end of the volume, we should add, there is in addition to a fairly complete index a long series of notes in which topics touched upon in the lectures are more fully discussed.

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