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historical criticism, lamented sincerely what he deemed its necessary applications to the Biblical writings, and recoiled from educating his son in his own principles. The Spencers and Mills of the new philosophy address themselves to Christianity with the amenity of scholars and gentlemen, if not of partial Christians.

We repeat, that we dare not accuse of simulation this new temper of the opponents of Christianity. Indirectly it may do harm by giving greater plausibility to their attacks; but, nevertheless, we accept it as a significant presage of the issue of the contest. The essential spirit and essential ethics of the Christian religion are unassailed and unassailable before these men; and that is a grand fact; for while that fact stands their assaults can never be fatal. In other words, skepticism itself has come at last to discover, in the increasing light and moral discernment of the ages, that if the historical and dogmatic claims of Christianity may be questioned, yet that for which alone its historical and dogmatic facts are claimed, namely, its inner and outer personal life, its temper and its morals, are henceforth and forever invincible and unquestionable. This is an old truth on the very face of the Bible, but it has never till now been admitted in this wise.


Were a candid and thoughtful heathen, like Confucius, Socrates, or Plutarch, to ask any Christian of common intelligence for a statement of the essential character of Christianity, not so much of its historical facts, or dogmatic or technical peculiarities as of its essential principles of moral life, inner and outer, he would be likely to cite the Moral Law, or Ten Commandments, as its "morality," the Sermon on the Mount as its "piety," the Lord's Prayer as its virtual liturgy;" he might add St. Paul's chapter on charity as a further illustration, and finally sum up his statement with Christ's compendium of the whole law, to love God supremely and our neighbor as ourselves. What would such a heathen reply? What but that this is truth itself? that nothing could be better? And his reply would not be on the authority of his own heathen faith, for it has taught him nothing equal to it, but on the authority of his moral sense thus appealed to by perfect, though new truth. No candid infidel will deny that such a statement is essential truth; that, if all the world should

live according to it, the world would be as morally good and happy as it could be; nay, moreover, that if this is not the only true religion, but the latter is yet to be discovered or revealed, it can never be better than this for all the moral needs of mankind. What is this concession, then, but an admission that Christianity must be the true religion, in respect at least to its essential moral life? And, we repeat, that all its historical and dogmatic claims are but subsidiary to this.

Such, we believe, is the conclusion to which even the skeptical investigations of our age are tending, unwittingly it may be, but surely. And this is much; but it will not suffice. A true Christian must demand more, for with M. Guizot, he knows that the so-called dogmas of his religion are but its "principles," and these he cannot waive. To him they are the very basis of the ethical system which might extort such concessions from the candid skeptical or pagan philosopher. But let him be reminded that this essential connection, of the one with the other, is a chief ground for his hope that, the one being conceded so remarkably by his present opponents, will at last compel the concession of the other. Let the essential doctrines of Christianity be abandoned and its historical authority denied, how long will its conceded spirit and morals remain? How soon will all true devotion die, and its very assemblies dissolve under the loss? How long will the activities of Christian charity survive? How long anything, specially Christian in spirit or morals? If, then, this new skepticism, new in temper at least, with its admiring acknowledgment of practical Christianity, should push its triumphs far enough, it will demonstrate the inseparable connection of Christian doctrine with Christian life; the world will witness that demonstration; reaction will follow, impelled by all the moral needs and instincts of men; and Christianity, not only in its ethics, but in all that is essential to its ethics, will again rise, as it has so often from its worst adversities, to triumphant ascendency.

Mr. Herbert Spencer has an elaborate and very striking chapter on "Rhythm," or "The Law of Oscillations," in nature, and extends it to the intellectual and moral worlds, showing that not only the planets, the tides, the seasons, etc., but systems of philosophical speculation, of artistic taste, of politics, of religious

thought, and also that religious popular feeling, are perpetually changing and reproducing themselves. Periods of religious doubt or general apathy always give way again to periods of faith and fervor. We may doubt whether his generalization is true of all religions, especially of the great oriental systems, which, having no substantially true foundations in human nature, do not so much decline and revive again, as give way to new forms of faith, as Mohammedism to Buddhism in much of the East, the system of Zoroaster and the Sabaism of Arabia to the system of Mohammed. The Greek mythology can never revive in Southern Europe against Christianity. But the law does hold good in systems which have a certain amount of vital religious truth, for the truth can never die; if buried it is buried alive, and comes forth again, sometimes with the suddenness of a divine resurrection. Christianity, especially, has again and again shown this vitality. In the Reformation, Apostolic Christianity burst from its entombment of more than a thousand years. Voltaire predicted that, in a generation from his age, Christianity would be abolished throughout the civilized world; it was formally abolished in France, but could not be repressed. Edelman and Reimarus had hardly begun the Neological controversy in Germany, from which all the continental Rationalism has sprung, when Wesley began Methodism in England, and projected a new and world-wide movement of Christianity. Rationalism declined in Germany, Methodism has not yet shown serious declension anywhere. The new controversy is analogous to the old Rationalism; it will, we doubt not, have an analogous history. The English Infidelity of the last century, represented by the mightiest giants of speculative unbelief in modern times, Bolingbroke, Hume, and Gibbon, threatened the whole prospects of British Christianity. Watt's declaration, that religion was "dying out" in the world, is well known. Butler published in 1736 the greatest defense of Christianity that philosophy has produced to save the sinking cause, declaring in his Preface that it was "taken for granted that Christianity was no longer a subject of inquiry, but was at length discovered to be fictitions." The great "Analogy" had apparently little effect on the general unbelief and demoralization; but, only three years later, dates a new epoch of the religious world; and

in less than fifteen years, while Butler still lived, the whole United Kingdom was astir with the Methodistic revival; Wesley, Whitefield, and their co-laborers, were sounding the trumpets of the Gospel in almost every town and village, and through all the British colonies of North America from Maine to Georgia; the most effective movement of evangelical religion since the apostolic age had broken forth, and in our day continues its march toward most of the ends of the world. Let us not, then, fear the issue of the present contest.

But let us not disguise the gravity of this new trial of Christianity. In some respects it is the most serious crisis that our faith has ever known. To intelligent, and especially to studious Christians, it is, perhaps, the most perilous ordeal that ever tried the personal faith of the Church. Christianity has never been without some great form of trial: persecution and martyrdom in its primitive ages; terrible distortions of opinion, mysticism, priestly supremacy and oppression, during its medieval history; contentions and the shaking of the nations at the outbreak of the Reformation; but in none of these trials was personal faith in essential Christianity seriously disturbed; in none of them were its historical facts or dogmatic truths formidably assailed; through all of them men believed with the confidence of children. To-day our most advanced intelligence is appealed to by unbelief, and the appeal is made with amenity and compliment, made, if we may so say, by christianized skepticism. Persecution and martyrdoin imposed no such dangerous trial; they tended to confirm faith and produce Christian saintliness and heroism. The trial of our age is insidious, enervating, and disarming, snatching from us some of our own best weapons; while felt generally, it can be mastered only by the few who have scientific competence to investigate its scientific logic. But the strongest security of Christianity is in the religious consciousness of its followers, and this may be as profound in the illiterate as in the cultivated. There is in this moral consciousness an inestimable and a legitimate wisdom, a wonderful discernment, we might almost say, intuition. Schleiermacher founded upon it the reaction against German Rationalism, which has saved from utter infidelity the Protestantism of Europe. The Methodistic movement was founded by Wesley in the same great moral force.

It is the basis of Guizot's high argument. The devout soul feels the legitimateness, the truthfulness of its spiritual life; it knows that to be contrite for sin, to be "meek and lowly in heart," to be pure, and patient, and truthful, and charitable, to "watch and pray," to "walk humbly, do justly, love mercy,” and to keep itself "unspotted from the world," is assuredly right; and it finds, moreover, that in order to do so it must live by "faith on the Son of God." Its spiritual life thus spontaneously leads it into all essential truth, be it dogmatic or ethical. This is God's method of saving the world, and it is divinely wise. Let then all good men who are troubled by the "religious questions of the day" find here their refuge; they cannot be fatally endangered here. Let them "perfect holiness in the fear of God," for this is the highest significance of their religion, and with this will certainly co-exist all essential orthodoxy, and from it will assuredly come a safe death and eternal life. And let all skeptics know that they can never shake away the foundations of Christianity till they can shake away this religious consciousness, this foundation of the moral world.



WHEN Constantine transferred his throne from the Tiber to the Bosphorus, and with imperial fondness built up a grand Christian capital, New Rome, that should outrival Old Rome, the pagan capital, and secured for the East a fair competition with the West, the Greek Church soon equaled and then surpassed the Latin Church. Of eighteen hundred bishops, one thousand were seated in the Greek, and eight hundred in the Latin provinces of the empire. The eyes of the Christian world were turned toward Constantinople rather than Rome. But the glory of the Eastern Empire waned at length; after the lapse of centuries the crescent triumphed over the cross. The finest Christian temples in the world were transformed into Mohammedan mosques; and for centuries an Ottoman

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