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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Extracts from Amiel’s Journal
Christ’s Real Message
By Henri Frédéric Amiel (1821–1881)
 
Translation of Mary Augusta Ward

OCTOBER 1ST, 1849.—Yesterday, Sunday, I read through and made extracts from the Gospel of St. John. It confirmed me in my belief that about Jesus we must believe no one but Himself, and that what we have to do is to discover the true image of the Founder behind all the prismatic refractions through which it comes to us, and which alter it more or less. A ray of heavenly light traversing human life, the message of Christ has been broken into a thousand rainbow colors, and carried in a thousand directions. It is the historical task of Christianity to assume with every succeeding age a fresh metamorphosis, and to be forever spiritualizing more and more her understanding of the Christ and of salvation.  1
  I am astounded at the incredible amount of Judaism and formalism which still exists nineteen centuries after the Redeemer’s proclamation, “It is the letter which killeth”—after his protest against a dead symbolism. The new religion is so profound that it is not understood even now, and would seem a blasphemy to the greater number of Christians. The person of Christ is the centre of it. Redemption, eternal life, divinity, humanity, propitiation, incarnation, judgment, Satan, heaven and hell,—all these beliefs have been so materialized and coarsened that with a strange irony they present to us the spectacle of things having a profound meaning and yet carnally interpreted. Christian boldness and Christian liberty must be reconquered; it is the Church which is heretical, the Church whose sight is troubled and her heart timid. Whether we will or no, there is an esoteric doctrine—there is a relative revelation; each man enters into God so much as God enters into him; or, as Angelus, I think, said, “The eye by which I see God is the same eye by which He sees me.”  2
 
 
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