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reactionary clergy distrust and try to suppress its influence. Were it clearly understood that the National Conference of Unitarian and other Christian Churches could hold itself firmly planted on its present most catholic platform ever yet attained by a Christian body, and would not be coaxed or forced off into an ignoring of the Christian religion in any form, we should behold a facing towards it from all quarters of the land, by all the friends of progressive Christianity. If that goes by in some gush of amiable optimism, its place will be taken instantly by a new set of men, perchance less gifted with mental wealth and refinement and a morbid conscience, but with broader shoulders, better spines, and more stalwart limbs, able to "fight it out on the line" of a religion that beholds in the faith of Christ the uttermost liberty consistent with a manhood consecrated to the immutable verities of the eternal life.
Unless all the present signs are delusive, the most vital elements in all the Christian bodies of the United States are now tending towards a virtual union of religious life in a not far-distant future. What are to be the principles of that American form of the church of Jesus Christ?
1. It will be a church founded on a religion. High Church ecclesiasticism centres on the authority of a class of men to represent God to the world,—a pretension essentially secular. Individualism in religion centres on a worship of self, in which there is no religion. There can be no genuine religious faith until the soul has given itself away in self-surrender and perpetual sacrifice to the one infinite love; to man, child of God; to truth and duty. Its very essence is the going out in quest of something grander than self; and the new tendency in the churches is all in that direction. It is utterly vain to attempt to move this great country by any power that begins and ends in a self-evolved speculation or morality. What can a young man do with such a creed in a great Western city, -a seething multitude of all the races, tribes, and tongues on earth, in every state of brutality, ignorance, vice, up to the loftiest intelligence and virtue; unfused, often with hardly a common idea of life on which to
stand together, with sensuality, dishonesty, public crime and social infidelity weltering in a chaos all about him? Can any little philosophy of life, spun out of a student's brain or adopted from an admired leader, make an impression on that crowd, arrest it, and lift it up to newness of spiritual life? Every preacher of such a type utterly fails among us, and finally comes back to dwell under the shadow of the critical schools, or falls away into a secular occupation. Our people recognize the real quality of manhood. They admire intellectual dexterity and appreciate learning, and are curious to hear all the new things under the sun. But they give their hearts and confidence only to the man who comes in the strength of self-forgetfulness, and takes hold on the deep faiths that underlie their noisy, superficial activities. It is these few quiet, patient, all-enduring, and ever-toiling people, that are slowly fashioning that civilization to which we all aspire. America cannot live on a mental or moral philosophy, a science, a sentimentalism, or any thing less mighty and allembracing than a religion; and towards the Christian religion of love to God and man the best mind and heart and hand of the country are tending, beneath the upper conflict of theologies and forms.
2. This religion must propose the ideal liberty of perfect love, and in all its theories and phases recognize the law of progress. Perfect freedom there cannot be till the coming of perfect love. Wherever sin and selfishness - however refined or pretentious prevail, is bondage under any creed. Religious freedom is not possible to a priesthood imprisoned in the conceit of infallibility, or to a soul that cannot flow out in an all-comprehending reverence and love for that which is above itself. Isolation from the church and Christianity is not necessarily liberty; it may be a sentencing to the gloomiest dungeon of a mind content with itself and incapable of breaking the chain of its own petty conceit. The way to freedom in American religion lies not in the path of every will-o'-wisp of private speculation, but in the track of inspira tion for the union of all good men in a consecration to God and man; and this religion bears and forbears with the narrow
ness and infirmity of real men, glad to secure any vantageground of practical deliverance from old prejudice, content to lead men as fast as they can safely be led up to those airy heights where only a soul filled with truth and holiness can abide. The idea that any freedom is really gained faster than men grow into the manhood of which Jesus Christ is the type, is a fallacy very captivating to certain orders of minds, but exploded by every new experience of human life.
3. And this religion of love, in its progress to liberty, always centres on a personal faith in God, in man, in Christ, as the best historical and ideal representative of both. Impersonal religion is a thing often praised, but so rarely seen that it may well be reckoned among the fancies of mankind. There are plenty of people who have dispensed with a personal God and Saviour, and suppose themselves founded upon a lofty idea; yet any wise observer can see they have only cast out the highest personalities from their society to follow some leader of the hour, or perhaps the most unreliable of all leaders, their infallible self. When we begin to make creeds about that personality in God and Christ which can become the centre of such a union, we fall into intellectual confusion and spiritual distraction; and why should we be surprised at this? Is any great and good man the same to any two of his lovers? Does not every soul that follows him build up an ideal man upon the corner-stone of his character and life, perchance assailable to criticism at every point? Do not the estimates of all his friends differ so curiously, that it can be proved by logical process that the existence of his personality is a myth? And yet does all this affect the real man? There he stands to be revered and followed by every loving spirit, the strongest bond of union to multitudes of people who, but for him, would have dwelt for ever apart. So does the glorious personality of the Christ attract, charm, inspire, and bring together in sublime accord all the families of the earth; and in this New Republic, where races hitherto only tied together by force and fraud must live in the harmony of equal rights, what power less potent than that matchless divine manhood of his can bring men of every clime, of opposing orders of
mind, of hostile temperament, together into the unity of spirit in the bond of peace? To say that a religion which casts out that personality can lift.up and unite such a mass of contending peoples, is to repudiate all the experience of men. The American people followed Washington and Lincoln through the two revolutions that landed them on the shore of civil liberty. Every church in America is built around a group of saintly men. The religion that can save us now will centre upon that Christ the Lord, who never was defined aright, who has been expelled from existence or deposed from his offices in every age, but who abides to-day,-yea, to-day seems first emerging in his real glory from out the cloudland of the creeds, in full sight of all mankind.
4. And this religion must be an organized church of Christ to unite the people in saving the New Republic. A man who cannot work religiously with other men either lingers in the pettiness of the first, or is declining into the decrepitude of the second, childhood. Our individuality is the lower side of our manhood; and no man dreams of what he really is capable till he feels himself a wave leaping up to the sun with the whole ocean of humanity thrilling the very spray that fringes its edge. That church which obstinately holds aloof from the best attainable fellowship bears the seed of death in its bosom, or lives at all only by the privilege of an active fellowship it perpetually disowns. These sects, like the Friends and the Swedenborgians, that draw off in dainty separation from the best religious life of their age and time, may be praised in literature, but are out of account in the forces that move the world. It is high time that American Unitarianism should choose its destiny in this regard; for only that section of it will abide which is able to offer practical, organized, working fellowship to all of Christendom that will gather about a Christian religion of liberty and love and increasing service of God and man.
Such we believe the American Church of Christ will be,— the church that shall finally include the people who are the responsible supporters of our American order of society, its defenders in peril, its protectors in peace. And into that
church will come all religious men who are not smitten with the insanity of spiritual dominion, or paralyzed with the cold palsy of the adoration of self. All of the High Church in whom self-sacrificing love overpowers the lust of power will come, bringing the best of their symbolism, which is the type of the union of all men to Christ and God. All of the radical schools will come, in whom self-sacrificing love for any thing higher than self at last prevails. There will be left an aristocracy of despotic priests, and a guild of philosophers and savans in whom the literary and scientific tendency has conquered the religious life; and they will only be left out because they will not come in. But as the years go on, and our national life evolves in grander relations to the life of mankind, it will be more profoundly realized that only one central force can hold us united, and shape all our diversities into graceful variations on the themes of liberty and order, love and law. Blessed be God that we can prophesy this new coming of Christ, with no reservation for ourselves; ready to be taken up just as we are by the incoming wave, and mingled with the mighty waters that shall ebb and flow around the earth till this world shall be called the Kingdom of Heaven.
ART. V. DR. NOYES'S TRANSLATION OF THE NEW
The New Testament: Translated from the Greek Text of Tischendorf. By GEORGE R. NOYES, D.D. Boston: American Unitarian Association. 1869.
THE Common Version of the New Testament, it is well known, is, in the main, a revision of Tyndale's translation, the first edition of which was published in 1525. "The peculiar genius which breathes through it," says Froude, "the mingled tenderness and majesty, the Saxon simplicity, the preternatural grandeur, bear the impress of one man,- William Tyndale. Lying, while engaged in that great office, under the