Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon, than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness, that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel.
the phantom of the man-who-would-understand,the lost brother, the twin ---for him did we leave our mothers,deny our sisters, over and over?did we invent him, conjure himover the charring log,nights, late, in the snowbound cabindid we dream or scry his facein the liquid embers,the man-who-would-dare-to-know-us?It was never the rapist:it was the brother, lost,the comrade/twin whose palmwould bear a lifeline like our own:decisive, arrowy,forked-lightning of insatiate desireIt was never the crude pestle, the blindramrod we were after:merely a fellow-creaturewith natural resources equal to our own.
God sends his Son – here lies the only remedy. It is not enough to give man a new philosophy or better religion. A Man comes to men. Every man bears an image. His body and his life become visible. A man is not a bare word, a thought or a will. He is above all and always a man, a form, an image, a brother. And thus he does not create around him just a new way of thought, will and action but he gives us the new image, the new form. Now in Jesus Christ this is just what has happened. The image of God has entered our midst, in the form of our fallen life, in the likeness of sinful flesh. In the teaching and acts of Christ, in his life and death, the image of God is revealed. In him the divine image has been re-created here on earth. The Incarnation, the words and acts of Jesus, his death on the cross, all are indispensable parts of that image. But it is not the same image as Adam bore in the primal glory of paradise. Rather, it is the image of one who enters a world of sin and death, who takes upon himself all the sorrows of humanity, who meekly bears God’s wrath and judgment against sinners, and obeys his will with unswerving devotion in suffering and death, the Man born to poverty, the friend of publicans and sinners, the Man of sorrows, rejected of man and forsaken of God. Here is God made man, here is man in the new image of God.
Presumptuous Man! the reason wouldst thou find,Why form'd so weak, so little, and so blind?First, if thou canst, the harder reason guess,Why form'd no weaker, blinder, and no less!Ask of thy mother earth, why oaks are madeTaller or stronger than the weeds they shade?Or ask of yonder argent fields above,Why Jove's Satellites are less than Jove?
Know then thyself, presume not God to scan,The proper study of mankind is Man.Placed on this isthmus of a middle state,A being darkly wise and rudely great:With too much knowledge for the Sceptic side,With too much weakness for the Stoic's pride,He hangs between, in doubt to act or rest;In doubt to deem himself a God or Beast;In doubt his mind or body to prefer;Born but to die, and reas'ning but to err;Alike in ignorance, his reason such,Whether he thinks too little or too much;Chaos of thought and passion, all confused;Still by himself abused or disabused;Created half to rise, and half to fall;Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all;Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurl'd;The glory, jest, and riddle of the world!Go, wondrous creature! mount where science guides,Go, measure earth, weigh air, and state the tides;Instruct the planets in what orbs to run,Correct old time, and regulate the sun;Go, soar with Plato to th’ empyreal sphere,To the first good, first perfect, and first fair;Or tread the mazy round his followers trod,And quitting sense call imitating God;As Eastern priests in giddy circles run,And turn their heads to imitate the sun.Go, teach Eternal Wisdom how to rule—Then drop into thyself, and be a fool!