That wisest of teachers, Jesus of Nazara, expressly recognised this distinction when he told the Jews of his own day that their lack of ethical enthusiasm, "their hardness of heart," as he accurately expressed it, the emptiness of their souls of everything save narrow nationalism and religious formalism an emptiness by no means peculiar to them was the sole reason which justified a departure from Nature's great ideal.
Year by year the vast majority of religionists in this Western world are seriously engaged in the commemoration of a transcendent mystery, the humanisation, or incarnation, of the Deity in the person of the Prophet of Nazara.
It was of the male kind, and was born in France, in the year 1597, at a town called Arles in Provence, and lived a few days, frightening all that beheld it. It was looked upon as a forerunner of desolations which soon after happened to that kingdom, in which men to each other were more like brutes than human creatures. There was a monster born at Nazara in the year 1530.
We may now enter on the further inquiry whether Christianity, meaning thereby the religion personally professed and practised by Jesus of Nazara, was a sacerdotal or sacrificial system in the sense already explained.
This siftage made about her a welter of glowing and intermingling colours, above which her head shone with a clear halo. This much Ahasuerus noted. He said, "You offer tears to Miriam of Nazara. Yonder they are sacrificing a bull to Mithras. But I do not make either offering or prayer to any god. Yet of all persons in Nacumera I alone am sure of this day's outcome." Thus spoke the Jew Ahasuerus.
Such enterprise is too great for all but the greatest, and amongst these may possibly be classed the poet-prophet of Israel, Isaiah, the writers of some of the Vedic hymns and Hebrew psalms, and Jesus of Nazara, whose soul was full of music, and whose thinking and preaching will probably fill the thoughts of man throughout all time.
In 1864 was published also Weizsäcker's contribution to the life of Christ, his Untersuchungen über die evangelische Geschichte. To the same year belonged Schenkel's Charakterbild Jesu. In the years from 1867-1872 appeared Keim's Geschichte Jesu von Nazara. There is something very striking in this recurrence to the topic.
And next, the holiest hearts, the spirits of the just made perfect on earth were not adversely influenced by it. In spite of it all, an elect spirit, such as Jesus of Nazara, could patiently endure a life of austerity, and meet a death of unspeakable anguish with a calmness and resignation seldom equalled and never surpassed.