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tions to Him, by its scheme of redemption from sin through Jesus Christ, by the "power of an endless life" which it sets up in the soul. What zeal for righteousness it has thus kindled in noble hearts, what patience under suffering it has generated in weak souls, whose trials, whose victories, and whose names are unknown to us! What crucifixions for the love of others it has enabled men to endure with songs on their lips, what errands of mercy for mankind has it sent saints upon, how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of its messengers as they publish their glad tidings to-day over all the world, what heroism, what self-sacrifice, what unselfish devotion to the right it has stimulated throughout Christendom!
But all these rich spiritual fruits of Christianity I pass by for the present, though I do not see how any but the most determined agnostic, who denies the possibility of knowing anything of God or of the future life, can fail to perceive how far higher are the inspirations of Christian revelation than those of the sensual paradise of Mohammedanism or those of the abstruse metaphysics or crude absurdities of the Hindu faiths. I have confined myself to some of the purely ethical, social, political and intellectual gains which it has brought to the race.
A religion which, beyond all others, fosters the fundamental virtue of truthfulness, which places woman in her true position, which fills the world with the blessed fruits of public and private charities, which has planted the germs of civil liberty by recognizing the worth of the individual and his true relation to the State, which has largely substituted for war the regulating power of Christian ethics in determining the relations of nations, and which recognizing God as the author of all truth and the creator and governor of all things in the universe, stimulates the reverent and ardent search for all truth in the confi
dent faith that there is no breach or schism in the kingdom of truth, a religion, which in these respects is clearly far superior to any or all others, is certainly not to be classed with them as one of several religions equally good, or as a local or a race religion, good for the west, but not better than Buddhism or Confucianism for the east.
Its stamp of superiority is in its work, in its whole history, in its present triumphs, in its great tendencies, in the prophecies of good to all mankind, with which its life is eloquent. It is in the study of its essential character, in the contemplation of what it has actually done, that we read no less clearly than in the promises of Scripture, the prediction of its ultimate triumph over the whole earth. Its progress may seem to us slow But all history, sacred and profane, shows us that the human race moves and has always moved forward at a rate which seems to our impatience slow It is entirely probable that in some respects Christianity will take on a different coloring in different parts of the world. But that in some form, in which its fundamental characteristics are retained, it must at last supersede the inferior religions of the world, no one can doubt who believes that ultimately the highest and best truth, the truth which is most beneficent to man, will by its inherent force prevail throughout the world. We may well hope that while unchanged in its essential traits, it may, when interpreted by the various temperaments and experiences of oriental and African peoples, take on a richness and depth and beauty and fulness of significance to which we are now strangers. The world will then at once have discovered and demonstrated that Christianity is not merely a religion, but the religion, not a Judean or Galilean sect, not merely a western religion, but the one universal religion, including all that is good and rejecting
all that is bad in all other religions, the one and only best faith for all kingdoms and states. Then shall be fulfilled the prediction of our Lord, that there shall be one flock made up of many folds, and there shall be one shepherd blessed for ever
PRIMITIVE AND MODERN CHRISTIANITY.
PROF. FRANCIS W. KELSEY.
Delivered May 8, 1892.
Christianity is no experiment. For more than eighteen centuries it has been tested by the demands arising from every phase of human experience. It has witnessed the passing of over fifty generations of men. It has outlived the civilization, the political, social and moral conditions in which it originated. It has survived the destruction of states and institutions with whose life its own existence seemed inseparably connected. Yet to-day its influence is more widely extended and more potent in the world than in any previous time. It is well to turn for a few moments from the present outlook, to see what were the beginnings of that which has become so important a factor in human progress.
To all appearances, Christianity at the start was doomed to immediate and irretrievable extinction. Its founder avoided centres of political authority, and sought to gain no influence as a diplomat. He gathered no army to enforce his claims, but taught his followers to be long-suffering under oppression. He founded no school of philosophy, whose members would cherish and proclaim his teachings. He left no writings that might be referred to in the future as an authentic statement of his doctrine. He did not even select a body of trained minds to interpret and transmit his message; the men he chose were for the most part unlettered. After only three years of labors, that
to most of his contemporaries seemed folly and failure, he was seized and executed, suffering the most ignominious death known to the times. His defenceless followers, without organization, without full comprehension of their master's work and purposes, were dismayed at the fact and manner of his death. Thus Christianity had its origin in a career and amid circumstances to which history presents no parallel, which seemed utterly inconsistent with all conditions of success.
Hardly less remarkable was the early and rapid extension of Christianity No powerful princes espoused its claims and promoted its interests. No richly endowed theological seminaries sent forth each year their eager throngs of earnest and trained preachers. No Bible societies scattered copies of the sacred documents wherever men would read them. No ponderous volumes of theological lore summed up for the inquirer the results of the investigations and reflections of the most learned men. Simply from mouth to mouth the word was passed. One believer told another the story of the Christ and the new life. Slaves, peasants, soldiers, traders transmitted the message to their fellows. Men and women of higher rank became interested. Within a hundred years after the crucifixion of Jesus as a malefactor, Christianity was known and professed in all parts of the Roman empire, and had counted among its adherents at least a few who stood near the throne of Rome.
And this progress was not without opposition. For three centuries the rising church was in the midst of constant and deadly conflict. Whatever the indebtedness of Christianity to Judaism at the beginning, short time passed before Judaism joined hands with paganism to crush it out. Nor was the strife with paganism simply a war of creeds. Paganism was