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ARTICLES IN THE RADICAL.
IDEAS AND INSPIRATIONS. October, 1866. pp. 65-75.
WHO IS OUR SAVIOUR? February, 1867. PP. 347-352.
THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS. May, 1867. Vol. II. pp. 558-571.
THE DOCTRINE OF PRE-EXISTENCE AND THE FOURTH GOSPEL. April, 1868. Vol. III. PP. 513-525.
THE DOCTRINE OF DIVINE INCARNATION. June, 1868. Vol. III. pp. 673-688.
CHRISTIANITY AND ITS DEFINITION. February, 1870. Vol. VII. pp. 81-108.
THE DOCTRINE OF IMMORTALITY IN THE LIGHT OF SCIENCE. June, 1871. Vol. VIII. pp. 314-336.
THE NEW PROTESTANTISM: ITS RELATION TO THE OLD. (Discourse before the Alumni of the Divinity School of Harvard University, June 27, 1871.) September, 1871. Vol. IX. pp. 105-128.
ARTICLE IN THE RADICAL REVIEW.
THE TWO TRADITIONS, ECCLESIASTICAL AND SCIENTIFIC. May, 1877. Vol. I. pp. 1-24.
RELIGIOUS SENTIMENT IN THE LIGHT
PROBABLY there is no utterance of Hebrew piety which has come down to us that would be so generally accepted as the very quintessence, in expression, of the religious sentiment in one of its purest and most poetical forms as the Twenty-third Psalm, beginning, "The Lord is my shepherd." In the midst of perplexities, trials, sorrows, it breathes the innermost spirit of trust, confidence, serenity, hope, and peace. When we want words of comfort and calmness, we inevitably turn to it. Its sentences abide easily in the memory with a soothing charm. When read in the chamber of sickness, they have power to hush the moanings of pain. In the house of death they have power to subdue into reverent stillness, at least for the moment, the complainings of bereaved hearts. Over the grave they arch in a rainbow of promise. To many a man and oftener to woman, struggling to the verge of despair against life's actual hardships and bitterness, they have come with a strengthening of purpose, of courage, and of hope. It would be difficult, indeed, to find anywhere else, in so small a compass, throughout the whole range of religious literature, an utterance so completely
covering all the hard exigencies of human life, and yet so charged with a confident belief in a ruling and overruling Providence for human personal good. We shall find the ethical side of religion more fully expressed elsewhere, as in the Beatitudes of the New Testament and in certain utterances of other religions,—as in Marcus Aurelius and Seneca and in Buddhism and the writings of Confucius and Mencius. We may find heroic appeals to religious action in some of the Hebrew prophets and in Brahmanism which are of a very high order of spiritual nobility, yet they strike a different key. But as a poetical expression of the religious sentiment per se, in all its fulness, ranging through the whole gamut of spiritual experience in the face of life's problems of good and evil, I think that the Twenty-third Psalm must stand as the classical masterpiece.
To the investigating rational understanding of the present age, however, clothed with scientific authority, there is no Holy of holies too sacred to enter. There is no veiled Shechinah from which modern reason dares not to lift the curtain; no traditional form of the religious sentiment, however venerable for its age or closely intertwined with the tendrils of the heart's holiest memories, which this same reason does not claim the right to approach and analyze. And this right must be freely granted. A human belief or a human institution, even on the theory that they were directly created by Almighty Power, cannot in themselves be re
garded as more sacred than the plant or the mineral, which we unreservedly give up to science; for, on the same theory, the plant and the mineral were. directly created by the Almighty Power. If the latter be a fit subject for scientific investigation, why not, then, the former? [For one, I can have no sympathy with those persons who appear to be afraid lest modern rationalism is going to discover some disagreeable truth about the religious beliefs and usages they have been wont to hold. If it be truth, they should want to know it; for nothing can be more divine, more absolutely real, than that. It is on the presumption that these beliefs and usages have been supernaturally revealed as true that they have been adhered to. If not true, they are not what we have taken them for; and, if this be clearly shown by rational and judicial inquiry, we ought to be ready to discard them as errors, and not mourn for them as lost truths.] And we should be thus ready, were it not that we often grow to love our own accustomed opinions more than we love the truth. When, therefore, this modern spirit of rational inquiry approaches the holiest shrines of our most cherished sentiments; when it asks, as it now does, for the reason of this or that usage in familiar forms of worship; when it studies, as it would other books, the most revered oracles of Scripture; when it takes even such an exquisite classic of religious literature as the Twenty-third Psalm, and, becoming more special and personal in its inquisitions, asks us here,