I’m reading B. F. Westcott for my book project on “Anglican Approaches to the Theology of Religions.” As some may know, Brooke Foss Westcott (1825-1901) was an English biblical scholar, theologian and bishop, who served as Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge and Bishop of Durham.
I’m currently reading his book Christus Consummator, which was first published in 1886. I came across this passage (below) which is quite lovely, and, I rather think, still relevant.
There is a picture with which we are all familiar, in which Christ seated in glory is represented as dispensing His gifts to the representatives of suffering humanity. From His hands the slave receives freedom and the sick health: the mourner finds rest in His sympathy, old men peace, children joy.
“Christus Consolator” is indeed an image which touches every heart. But it is not the whole Gospel; it is not, I venture to think, the particular aspect of the Gospel which is offered by the Spirit of God to us now for our acknowledgment. Sin, suffering, sorrow, are not the ultimate facts of life. These are the work of an enemy; and the work of our God and Saviour lies deeper.
The Creation stands behind the Fall, the counsel of the Father’s love behind the self-assertion of man’s willfulness. And I believe that if we are to do our work we must learn to think, not only of the redemption of man, but also of the accomplishment of the Divine purpose for all that God made. We must learn to think of that summing up of all things in Christ, in the phrase of St Paul, which crowns the last aspirations of physicist and historian with a final benediction. We must dare, in other words, to look beyond Christ the Consoler to Christ the Fulfiller. Christus Consolator—let us thank God for the revelation which leaves no trial of man unnoticed and unsoothed—leads us to Christus Consummator.