BY APOSTOLOS MAKRAKIS
Delivered in Concord Square the City of Athens, Greece – July 20th, 1866
The last speech based upon the words of St. Paul, God’s chosen vessel, and David, the forefather of our Lord, taught us aptly how our ungodly enemy who was exalted as the cedars of Lebanon shall be slain and totally destroyed. As to the time, however, when the abomination of desolation is slain and devastates the holy Temple of God, as stated by the prophet Daniel, or, to speak within a political context, as to the time of the solution of the Eastern Question, this will be revealed to us in today’s discourse based upon the words of the prophet Habakkuk, as we promised. Now this prophecy states as follows: “Lord, thou shalt be known in the midst of two animals; as the years draw nigh, thou shalt be known thoroughly; as time passeth, thou shalt be shown forth.”[Habakkuk 3:2].
We explained in the third oration just what the two animals are and how Christ is known in their midst. It was in the same speech that we proved scientifically the divinity of Christ. But now we come to ask: what difference is there between gnosis (knowledge) and epignosis (thorough knowledge)? And what does the prophecy mean by saying, ”as the years draw nigh, thou shalt be known thoroughly”?
An object is simply known when it is apprehended by the intellectual powers of the soul, i.e. by conscious and sense perception. But an object is known thoroughly when through analysis and scientific reasoning its nature is clearly proven and defined as to what it is and what it is not. For example, an animal or a plant comes under my mental apprehension, and I come to know it. But if through analysis I come to know the nature of the animal or of the plant, and I define what it is and what it is not, then I not only know it, but I also know it thoroughly. Everyone can have a simple knowledge of things; But only scientists can acquire thorough knowledge. All people receive knowledge of whatever object, once the object is apprehended. Not all people, however, have thorough knowledge of those things which they perceive every day, but only those people who examine and study things scientifically. Everyone by nature knows himself, that is, he is conscious of his own existence. Not everyone knows himself thoroughly, however, but only he who is scientifically versed in psychology and philosophy. “Know thyself,” which the ancients said is the most difficult thing to do, means to attain to thorough knowledge of oneself and not simple knowledge; it means to know what is the nature of man, and what it is not.
Such being the difference between knowledge and thorough knowledge, let us now ask: is Christ known and known thoroughly, or is He not? That He is known by all men, and that He is the object of knowledge no one will deny. For Christ came in the midst of two peoples, the Jews and the Greeks. On the one hand, He was crucified by the Jews as a liar and a fraud; on the other hand, He was glorified by the Greeks as “very God of very God.” Christ, therefore, was and is an object of knowledge as one suffering contrary things in the midst of two peoples.
Is this object of knowledge, however, known thoroughly? That is to say, has the nature of Christ been scientifically defined as to what it is and what is not? The academies and the universities of sage Europe, and the disciples of Voltaire, Strauss, and Renan respond to this question as follows: the Divinity of Christ was proved to be a superstition and a chimera: It was confirmed by science that the Son of Mary is, like every other man, a child of nature (“enfant de la nature”). This opinion of those who think themselves wise is employed as a ready criterion to distinguish the unlearned from the wise man, the enlightened from the superstitious man. Does anyone call upon the name of Christ, while hoping to gain eternal life from Him? Such a person is one of limited intelligence, unlearned, superstitious, a man of the Middle Ages, and not of the nineteenth century.
Does anyone, to the contrary, consider the Son of Mary as another Socrates, or Confucius, or Mohammed, and does he reject the religious truths as myths? Such a person is a great intellect, a wise man, a scientist, free from prejudice and superstition; in a word, he is a man of his age, worthy of the era in which he was born. Now as to what degree people who say such things know what they are saying, and as to what degree they who slander the nature of Christ in the name of science are versed inscience, this shall become very obvious, if we seek to learn what it means to speak scientifically, forensically, and sophistically.
To speak scientifically consists in setting forth all the reasons for which a certain judgment is held to be true, and for which the contrary position is said to be false. In the third speech we followed this rule precisely, and proceeding scientifically, we listed the reasons why the judgment of the Council of Nicaea* [*reference to the First Ecumenical Council of 325 AD, which formulated the dogma of the Divinity of Christ] is truthful, and why the judgment of those around Annas and Caiaphas is necessarily false. As you recall, we accepted the decision of the Greeks as truthful, and rejected that of the Jews as false, not out of chauvinism or to save face, but rather, on scientific bases, with no regard for our personal feelings, pro or con.
To speak forerisically consists in stating before judges things of benefit to the client, but not necessarily truthful things. The motto of lawyers is altogether different from that of judges. The motto of judges is: “Do not judge before you hear both sides of the story,” while that of lawyers is: “I shall not cast out him who comes to me.” If you state your case before a judge thinking he should justify you, you hear from him: “I must hear also your opponent in order for me to determine whether or not you are justified.” If, however, you present your case before a lawyer, you immediately hear that you are in the tight, without any need for the opponent’s account to determine ·who is really justified. This is precisely why the law ratifies only the decisions of the judges, and in no way those of the lawyers; the law rather only submits the lawyers’ statements for the sanction of the judges. Now to speak sophistically consists in reasoning falsely rather than authentically, and presenting falsehood as the truth.
Let us now ask: do they who deny the divinity of Christ do this scientifically or only sophistically and forensically? Their writings testify that they who slander the Divinity of Christ in the name of science have nothing in common with science; rather, being the sophists and skillful lawyers that they are, they exploit the august name of science in order that they may deceive those who, while respecting the name science, do not even know what science is, nor what the task of the scientist is. Rather than taking Christ as an object of knowledge and through a precise analysis arriving at a thorough knowledge of Him, defining scientifically who He is and who He is not; rather than weighing the reasons pro and con, and as unbiased judges rendering a verdict befitting rational thought; in the manner o lawyers they assume the defense of Annas, Caiaphas, and Judas Iscariot stating nothing truthful, but only those things demanded by their clients’ and their own self-interest.
I was sojourning in Paris when the notorious work of the academician Renan against the Divinity of Christ was published. Even before this infernal work came to light, the bribed press advertised that there was to be published a book worthy of the enlightenment and the science of the nineteen century. For this book supposedly reveals the things hitherto unknown; and a mortal blow this is dealt the superstition of the Middle Ages. The cartoon of the newspaper depicted Christ having a deadly arrow through His heart to show that while He was crucified by the Jews and died bodily, He was wounded by the Judaizing academicians and died ethically.
However, just as the glorious Resurrection followed Christ’s physical death, so too shall the thrice-glorious ethical resurrection follow His ethical death. The death and the resurrection of Christ from both perspectives become for us a mirror of injustice and justice, of falsehood and truth. The power of injustice killed Christ bodily, but the power of righteousness resurrected Him and did away with the unrighteous act. This means that the power of justice reigns supreme, not that of injustice; and that they who give credence to injustice and reject justice are censured as senseless and fools. The power of sophistry killed Christ ethically anew; but the power of science resurrects Him, and does away with the result of the power of falsehood. The power of the truth thus reigns supreme in the hearts of men forever; the force of falsehood only temporarily deceives those who are mentally infants; and they who have faith in falsehood resemble those who base themselves upon a puff of smoke.
The joy of those who crucified Christ ethically is like the joy which they who crucified Him bodily experienced. Those around Caiaphas shouted in joy, seeing the One whom they hated dead without cause upon the Cross and forsaken by all. Today they who espouse the thinking of Renan also cry out in glee, seeing the truth forsaken and slain, as it were, by the pointed arrow of sophistry. However, just as the joy of the Scribes and the Pharisees turned to bitter disappointment at the report of the Resurrection, the same and an even greater disappointment shall the pharisaizing sophists experience at the report of the ethical resurrection, brought about by the power of true science by which they are also censured as sons of falsehood and foolishness. The arrows of sophistry are crushed and set at naught by the words and the proofs of science; and around the forsaken truth is arrayed the Church which shall cover the whole earth. Let us confirm our statements with deeds, asking, what are the arrows of the sophist Renan, and how valid are they before science?
Renan, thinking he is a valid are scholar, tries before to prove in his book that Christ is a man, and not the God-Man. He reasons in the following manner: the Gospels, he says, although containing a certain historical truth, underwent many interpolations and omissions. But where? When? And by whom? He omits these questions, for it is not to his interest to answer them. In order to predetermine his case, he says only that science does not accept the supernatural (le surnaturel), but the natural (le naturel). Now since the Gospels attribute to Christ supernatural works, the Gospels lie in as much as they contradict science which accepts only the natural, and not the supernatural. If the Gospels lie as regards their supernatural content, it is clear that Christ is a natural man, and not the God-Man.
At this point, the wise academician assumes as axiomatic that which he proposes to prove. He proposes to prove that Christ is simply a man; and then taking as certain that Christ as a simple man could not have performed the miracles attributed to him by the Gospels, he finally concludes that Christ is simply a man, and not the God-Man. All the verbosity of Renan’s voluminous work revolves around this sophistry, which according to Aristotle is called a foregone conclusion, since it stems from one’s inability to distinguish the premise itself from the conclusion. The miracles recorded in the Gospels are the natural result of Christ’s divine nature. Given that Christ was merely a man, it follows that the Gospels lie for attributing to Him a ministry surpassing His power and nature. Given, however, that Christ was the God-Man, there is nothing more logical and truthful than the Gospel records. In order that we may better censure the senselessness and foolishness of the academician under consideration, let us clarify the term “natural” and “supernatural.”
That which happens according to nature is nothing else but the effect analogous to the cause which produced it. For example, the invention of the steam engine is the result of a man’s ingenuity; and I can say that one mechanically orientated invents the steam engine naturally. I cannot, however, say that a certain steam engine is the invention of an ass’s brain, for this brain is quite incapable of producing steam engines. I thus speak irrationally, should I say that an ass’s brain invented the steam engine. But I speak rationally if I attribute this result to its natural cause.
Just as I cannot attribute the steam engine to the brain of an ass, so by the same token I cannot attribute the mechanism of the whole world to the intelligence of a man, for it is quite irrational to do so. It is, therefore, quite necessary to admit of a cause analogous to the obvious result; and we call this cause God who is omniscient and omnipotent. God, as the cause of the existence of life of so many beings, as the cause of the mechanism of the universe, is able to create ex nihilo, to vivify the dead, and to effect a myriad other things which bespeak His analogous wisdom and might.
The miracles, or rather, the works of Christ, as attested to by all our contemporaries, and especially the Jews, are happenings which only God can bring about. I speak rationally if I say that Christ, who did these things, was the God-Man; but I speak irrationally if I say that He was merely a man. A man cannot raise from the dead one who has been lying in the grave for four days and is decomposing, for this is either an unnatural or a supernatural feat. It is, however, natural for the God-Man to be able to do this. A man cannot fill five thousand men with five loaves of bread, and then even fill twelve baskets with the remaining bread. But God through whom all things were made can do this quite naturally.
The scientific axiom of Renan, therefore, that science accepts what is natural and not what is supernatural, turns against Renan. While this axiom excellently defends the Divinity of Christ, it censures this man who fights God as bringing upon himself the imputation of the worst kind of foolishness and being ignorant of the very axiom upon which he bases himself.
Renan asserts that the Gospels underwent interpolations and omissions; every act, however, occurs in time and place, and is effected by one or more persons. We ask: did the corruptions in the Gospel texts take place with the consent of all the Christians, or only of a few? If these were done with the consent of all, there must have been held an Ecumenical Council for this purpose. For in what other manner could all the Christians have reached unanimity on the matter? But if the changes in the Gospel texts were effected with the consent of only a few people, they who were displeased should have protested, and there now should be both corrupt and unadulterated Gospels extant.
Since history, however, accounts for neither of the consequences which must follow the alleged textual corruptions, we conclude that the holy Gospels are intact, and that both the academician and those who believe him are mentally unsound. The holy Gospels are indeed intact, and the nature of Christ remains also intact, both His divine and His human nature. We know Christ thoroughly as the God-Man, not a simple man, and in the name of science we charge the chattering sophists forever to hold their peace. Unscientific men who are nothing but sophists and perverted lawyers have no right to speak and slander the truth in the name of science. I call a lawyer perverted who destroys his own client by presenting before the judge that which he later intends to refute. Renan is such a lawyer, for he pleads for the Jews who also reject the Divinity of Christ; however, he tears down Judaism which is based upon the supernatural miracles which God performed in the midst of Israel.
Then, proposing to refute the Divinity of Christ, he ends by defending it in attributing to Christ a supernatural ministry. He admits that Christ executed a ministry which no one else has ever carried out, and one which no one can duplicate. Renan says that Christ captured the hearts of so many men and women, that many tears and much blood was shed for His sake is still being shed; and no power can abolish the power of the Cross and take away from man his veneration for the Crucified one. According to Renan, no man like Christ has or ever shall come to the world. Before Christ both he and his academic colleagues are as dwarfs before a giant, he affirms. And he goes on to say many other such things against himself and for Christ, thinking, according to the prophet, in the machinations with which he is plotting.
Now why have we here censured Renan? We did this to prove that the prophecy speaks the truth. That is, while hitherto some people have known and believed in Christ, others have slandered and disbelieved Him while not knowing Him thoroughly. For until now the question of the nature of Christ has not been resolved scientifically, so that the lips of those who hate Christ and think foolishly may be sealed altogether. According to the prophecy, this matter must be resolved at the present time when the solution of the Eastern Question draws also nigh. This is why the prophet states, “Lord, thou shalt be known in the midst of two animals; as the years draw nigh, thou shalt be known thoroughly.”
The prophecy means first that the thorough knowledge of Christ shall be attained progressively by man as the years go by. To what is this passing of time leading? To the solution of the Eastern Question which consists in the fall of the anti-Christ and the exaltation of Christ. This is obvious in the following passage: “As time passeth, though shalt be shown forth.” That is, when the time of the iniquitous reign of the anti-Christ is fulfilled and the time of our kingdom arrives, then Christ shall be exalted and shall be acclaimed our as the King of the earthly kings. As the years of the fall of the anti-Christ draw close, the nature of Christ shall become thoroughly known. And when the time is fulfilled and the opportune moment comes, Christ shall be shown forth, and Christian jurisprudence together with the Christian civilization shall prevail everywhere.
Thus, with three words the prophet Habakkuk foretells three great events: first, the advent of Christ in the midst of two animals and the simple knowledge of Him. Second, the thorough knowledge of Christ’s nature as the years draw near, i.e. when the time for the solution of the Eastern Question approaches. Third, the exaltation of Christ and His universal rule when the years are fulfilled and the opportune time arrives.
The first event cited above has already come to pass. The second is occurring presently, and when completed, the third event will come. Christ is thoroughly known to us today, and it is scientifically proved who He is and who He is not. It is mandatory, however, that this thorough knowledge be imparted to all men so that all may learn that it has been proved scientifically that Christ is the God-Man, and not simply a man. It is the latter false doctrine that the sophists of the West propagate. Deceived as they are, they deceive others also. Once the thorough knowledge of Christ has become a universal fact and all men unhesitantly believe that Christ is “very God of very God,” the Turks shall be driven out of glorious Constantinople, and the Cross shall be raised in the Church of the Holy Wisdom of God.
When, one may ask, will the Eastern Question be resolved according to the prophecy of Habakkuk? At the present time, as soon as people begin to gain a thorough knowledge of Christ. The remaining days of Turkish rule in the East are commensurate with the time required to make man’s thorough knowledge of Christ a universal fact. In accordance with the interpreted prophecies of Daniel and St. John the Divine, the required period of time is either six or sixteen years, depending upon which date is designated as the beginning of the one-thousand two-hundred sixty years of the horn and the beast. It is possible within this period of time to disseminate the thorough knowledge of Christ everywhere. Thus all three prophecies agree in the most wonderful manner as to the time of the solution of the Eastern Question.
The prophecy of Habakkuk interpreted above impresses upon our minds the practical truth that the barbarians cannot be driven out of our paternal inheritance before man’s thorough knowledge of Christ becomes a universal fact. This truth serves as an adequate explanation to friends who have observed that while I began these speeches on a political note – how the task of 1821 can be quickest and best brought to completion – I have dealt at length with religious matters. They have noted that I have had much to say about Christ, not from the pulpit of the Church, but rather, from the rostrum of Concord Square. Since Christ, however, identified Himself with us to such a degree that without Him we can do nothing; since thorough knowledge of Him, according to the prophecy, is indispensable for the completion of the task of 1821; how could I, proposing from the outset to speak about the completion of this feat, overlook speaking about Christ and thus contradict my original intention?
The struggle-of 1821 began in the name of Christ, and it cannot be consummated except through Christ. It is a betrayal of the fight for one to disdain the very principle of the struggle and the necessary means for its success. We cannot serve the interests of our fatherland in any way other than by acquiring a thorough knowledge of Christ who enlightens and guides us to the path of righteousness and duty. And as much as we disseminate this thorough knowledge, so much do we tear down the might of our enemy and fortify our fatherland.
There is nothing improper about speaking concerning Christ from this political rostrum, for Christ is the guiding principle of religion, of government, and of philosophy. Thus one should speak of Christ not only in churches, but also in the city squares, in the schools, in homes, and everywhere. For, as the prophet states, His virtue covered the heavens, and the whole earth is filled with His praise, This is enough of an account for what I say; and all my listeners deem that I am justified. Now since from what has been said we have adequately come to know who our enemy is against whom we must wage war, next time we must also speak about our other foes. Because he who fights must know all related facts – all of his adversaries, and not only some of them.