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not less ashamed of many of the arguments, with which certain reverend pettifoggers are in the habit of “ defending the Bible" against the honest doubts, or inevitable perplexities of thoughtful and respectable men. As though a man who does not cordially believe what he has little or no conception of, ought to be faced with the insolent cant of uplifted eyebrows! As though a man who is perplexed by the discordant din of conflicting interpretations, were an enemy of Divine revelation! As though the bland assent of a mind too torpid to stir the sediment of doubt, authorized a dogmatism that would be offensive (if possible) in a sage!

We have three facts to impress upon our readers, before we draw this section of our paper to a close.

I. That the scepticism which Christians have now to face is not mischievous or malignant, but serious and irrepressible the effect of new circumstances and enlarged knowledge.

II. That the administrators of religion must cope with the crisis - not ignore or evade it.

III. That both parties in the controversy have an equal interest in the truth, and that no inferior or subordinate interest should be allowed to impede the settlement of the points at issue.

To those ductile conformers to tradition, who persist in in regarding the sceptical movement of our time as a mere revival of the coarse infidelity of the last century, we commend the following observations from Mr. Wilson's contribution to the “Inquiries : ” “ There may be a certain amount of literature circulating among us in a cheap form, of which the purpose, with reference to Christianity, is simply negative and destructive, and which is characterized by an absence of all reverence, not only for beliefs, but for the best human feelings which have gathered around them. .. But, if those who are old enough to do so would compare the tone generally of the sceptical publications of the present day with that of the papers of Hone and others about forty years ago, they would be reminded that assaults we

were made then upon the Christian religion in far grosser form than now, and long before opinion could have been inoculated by German philosophy, - long before the more celebrated criticisms upon the details of the evangelical histories had appeared. But it was attacked then as an institution. The anti-Christian agitation of that day in England was a phase of radicalism, and of a radicalism which was a terrific and uprooting force, of which the counterpart can scarcely be said to exist among us now.

The sceptical movements in this generation are the result of observation and thought, not of passion. Things come to the knowledge of almost all persons, which were unknown a generation ago, even to the well-informed. Thus the popular knowledge, at that time, of the surface of the earth, and of the populations which cover it, was extremely incomplete...: We have recently become acquainted, intimate, with the teeming regions of the Far East; and with empires, pagan or even atheistic, of which the origin runs far back beyond the historic records of Judea or of the West, and which were more populous than all Christendom now is for many ages before the Christian era. Not any book-learning, not any proud exaltation of reason, not any dreamy German metaphysics, not any minute and captious biblical criticism, suggest questions to those who on Sundays hear the reading and exposition of the Scriptures as they were expounded to our forefathers, and on Monday peruse the news of a world of which our forefathers little dreamed,—descriptions of great nations, in some senses barbarous compared with ourselves, but composed of men of flesh and blood like our own ; of like passions ; marrying and domestic ; congregating in great cities; buying and selling, and getting gain ; agriculturists, merchants, manufacturers ; making wars, establishing dynasties, falling down before objects of worship, constituting priesthoods, binding themselves by oaths, honoring the dead. In what relation does the Gospel stand to these millions ? Is there any trace on the face of its records, that it even contemplated their existence? We are told that to know and believe Jesus Christ, is, in some sense, necessary to salvation. It has not been given to these. · Are they, will they be hereafter the worse off for their ignorance? As to abstruse points of doctrine concerning the Divine Nature itself, those subjects may be thought to lie beyond the range of our faculties.

But, with respect to the moral treatment of his creatures by Almighty God, all men, in different degrees, are able to be judges of the representations made of it, by reason of the moral sense

which he has given them. As to the necessity of faith in a Saviour to these peoples, when they could never have had it, no one, upon reflection, can believe in any such thing : doubtless they will be equitably dealt with. And, when we hear fine distinctions drawn between covenanted and uncovenanted mercies, it seems either to be a distinction without a difference, or to annount to a denial of the broad and equal justice of the Supreme Being. We can not be content to wrap this question up, and leave it for a mystery, as to what shall become of those myriads upon myriads of non-Christian races. First, if our traditions tell us that they are involved in the curse and perdition of Adam, and may justly be punished hereafter, individually, for his transgression,—not having been extricated from it by saving faith,—we are disposed think that our traditions can not herein fairly declare to us the words and inferences from Scripture : but if, on examination, it should turn out that they have, we must say that the authors of the scriptural books have in those matters represented to us their own inadequate conceptions, and not the mind of the Spirit of God; for we must conclude with the apostle, Yea, let God be true, and every man a liar.'” 11

The indication here given of the grounds and temper of the existing scepticism, applies to the mass of alienated minds in America as well as to those of England; and we submit that it is scepticism that deserves to be respectfully, candidly, and intelligently met.

The second fact we wish to impress, is, that the accepted administrators of religion can not longer evade the issue, without aggravating the estrangement of the best minds from the churches, and inflicting incalculable injury upon the spiritual interests of men. No possible rashness of criticism, or temporary panic consequent thereupon, can be so disastrous as the tacit confession of weakness implied in dodging the array of difficulties. Mr. Goodwin, whose scruples prevented him from becoming a clergyman, tells us pointedly in his essay, that, while physical science goes on unconcernedly, pursuing its own paths, theology, the science whose object is the dealing of God with man as a moral being, maintains but a shivering existence, shouldered and jostled by the sturdy growths of modern thought, and bemoaning itself for the hostility which it encounters." 12 Is it any consolation to a theologian, or any help to a humble Christian believer, to labor or live in a church lying under such an imputation? Or, is it any mitigation of the discreditable dilemma, to be advised by Mr. Mansel 13 to take shelter under metaphysical finesse, stolidly exclude reason from any examination of the contents of scripture or of dogmatic beliefs, and so weather the gale by clinging fast to an ecclesiastical ipse dixit ? For one, we are not enamored of the alternative presented by the Oxford conservative. When repudiation is proposed on the part of man, or state, or system, it impresses us with confidence neither in the plenteousness of the resources, nor the integrity of the debtor.

11 Recent Inquiries in Theology, pp. 170-173.

No; rather would we have reason survey the antagonism of knowledge and faith in all its length and breadth. Rather would we have every difficulty plainly stated on one side, and equitably weighed on the other,-confiding in a prospective solution that shall render essential justice to both the questioning head and confiding heart, and remembering that whatever limited tabernacles, created for transient shelter, may be struck from over us, the expansive temple of truth remains.

What we have already said will derive additional force by considering, under the head of our third specialty, that the advocate of knowledge and the advocate of faith have a common interest in settling the controversy in an equitable manner. It is not for the real interest of a theologian to hold an untenable conservatism, nor is it any advantage to the man of science to propagate an untenable radicalism. Nothing abides that is untrue, and what profit can any society of men derive by making investments in fallacies? And yet, the spectator of learned controversies must deplore, in all ages, a redundant passion for pettifogging, mingled with a fraction of the candor and impurturbable truth-seeking that mark the judicial office. How rarely, and by what a pure fortuity, has any one struck the golden centre of a truth, while aiming at victory, or wrangling to reach a party point. A man or a church that would contribute real wisdom to the permanent settlement of a great controversy, must be in the pay of no interest less munificent than the interest of truth, must have no client inferior to the majesty of humanity, and look for no applause less precious than the approbation of God.

12 Recent Inquiries, page 238.

13 The Limits of Religious Thought Examined in Eight Lectures delivered before the University of Oxford. By Henry Longueville Mansel, B. D.

As a humble friend and teacher of Christianity-acknowl. edging its authority, but sympathizing with those who are doubting and being estranged from it; testifying to its renewing power on the heart and to the consecrating glory it spreads over the beauty of the universe, and yet confessing the errors that impede its course and the crudities that confuse its records—we earnestly insist that those who may undertake to adjust it to our larger knowledge, and re-construct its doctrinal formularies on a scale corresponding to the expanded horizon of the age,-shall enter upon the work in the spirit of the judge, not of the advocate ; indulging in no special pleading; assuming nothing that can or that ought to be proved ; impugning no motives ; appealing to no prejudices; trusting to no rhetorical effects; stimulated by no private rewards ; swerved by no professional bias ; dazzled by no hopes of personal triumpli; but balancing the great account in the scales of an even-handed wisdom, not for the satisfaction of a day, but for the assurance, if possible, of all coming time. Is it too much to hope for an adjustment of the points at issue, through the intervention of such a masterly spirit ? If so, where is our hope of concord, amid the dissonant war that shakes the kingdoms of knowledge and faith? We wait for God to send us the wisdom of reconciliation, making the crooked things straight, and the rough places plain, so that all flesh may behold his glory.

Meantime, there are other causes that tend to alienate large numbers of good men from the churches, apart from any direct questions touching the authenticity or credibility of our ecclesiasticism. The most potent of these we believe to be the moral infidelity of the churches themselves. In order to indicate clearly our meaning, and at the same time sustain the indictment beyond the power of appeal, we must ask our readers to consider the primary, divine idea of the church.

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