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he "was given the command over all the Confederate armies a month or two only before the final collapse."
3. Lord Wolseley with superfluous inaccuracy strips Mount Vernon of its historical associations and moves them up the Potomac to General Lee's home of Arlington, which he describes as "General Washington's beautiful property" and as "the cherished home of the father of the United States."
4. With calm fatuity he mentions a Confederate "folly" which "led to a serious evil, namely, the enlistment of soldiers for only ninety days"; and he adds that "Lee, who understood war, pleaded in favor of the engagement being for the term of the war, but he pleaded in vain." It is true that Lincoln issued a call for 75,000 three-months men, but at that time Virginia was disregarding the "call of Abraham”; nor is there any record that Lee made an opportunity to plead with Lincoln on the subject. Lee was soon after busy with the organization of the forces of the State of Virginia, that were required to enlist for twelve months or for the war. Most of them favored the longer term because public as well as military opinion favored it, and public opinion at the South was inexorable. Anybody who entered the Southern army was in effect enlisted for as long as he could get about and shoot.
5. Lord Wolseley recalls that in describing to him the constitution of his army General Lee most deplored the fact that the politicians insisted upon the officers being elected by their men. In this his lordship would appear still to have one leg on the Federal side of the line, for such things were done at the North. In Virginia, as General Lee's orders show, all field-officers were appointed, "in conformity to the ordinance of the convention," by the "Governor and Council." In fact, after the demand for field-officers had been met, there were no professional soldiers left in Virginia to fill the captaincies, even if it had been desired to do so by appointment.
6. He states that Lee in two months “created a little army of 50,000 men," though Lee's report to Governor Letcher of June 15th-seven days after the State troops had been transferred to the Confederate authorities estimates the Virginia forces at, surely, 35,000, and possibly 40,000. This error would be trivial but for the aberration to which it leads, for with this army of 50,000 in his mind, Lord Wolseley adds that "in another month this army at Bull Run gained a complete victory over the Northern invaders, who were driven back across the Potomac like herds of frightened sheep." The Union soldiers who were there remem ber the precipitation. But Confederates will wonder whether his lordship, in omitting to state that Johnston and Beauregard led the Confederates to that victory, intended to imply that the credit belonged to General Lee. Lord Wolseley will surely pardon a little doubt as to the meaning of his omissions when the fog of uncertainty so completely shrouds his explicit information.
Nor was it the army that Lee had created which fought the battle of Bull Run. The State troops were scattered at points between Norfolk and West Virginia, and were blended with forces from other Southern States. Of the 50 regiments in the armies of Johnston and Beauregard, only 20 were Virginians.
ure to follow up the Bull Run victory by seizing Washington. He ascribes it to "political considerations at Richmond," where the politicians, as he conceives, were engaged in an "attempt to allay the angry feelings of the North," while the dogs of war were being held in. Lord Wolseley evidently has not read the writings of Johnston, Beauregard, and Davis on this subject, or he would know that the political power in Richmond ascribed the failure to the dilatoriness of the generals, while they, on their part, claimed that there was a lack of resources for such an enterprise.
8. In some places Lord Wolseley's aim is more wild than in others, but he sweeps the whole horizon in the remark that "a battle to the Confederates meant a new supply of everything an army required. It may be truthfully said that, practically, the Government at Washington had to provide and pay for the arms and equipment of its enemies." To be sure, there was considerable exchange of the materials of war, and in the East, Lee's army got rather more than its share; but in the West the Confederates had to make the Eastern reckoning more than good. The Federals were wasteful of clothing, and the Confederates were economical by dint of bitter want that drove them even to the dead. Union soldiers did not covet the threadbare raiment of the Confederates, or find much use for their equipments, unless the surrendered muskets and cannon had been made by Federal means or, as often happened, were of the newest English brand.
"What most strikes the regular soldier," continues his lordship," in these campaigns of General Lee is the inefficient manner in which both he and his opponents were often served by their subordinate commanders." If General Wolseley might have had another conversation with General Lee, after the war, that magnanimous chieftain would have told him something about Stonewall Jackson, Longstreet, D. H. Hill, Ewell, A. P. Hill, "Jeb" Stuart, and scores of other able subordinates who were maimed or killed in the performance of brilliant deeds. Only one opinion, we believe, prevails either North or South with respect to Lee's army: It was a splendid body of fighters, surprisingly well officered.
10. Lord Wolseley has cultivated the belief that Lee's strategy and tactics were always "everything that could be desired, up to the moment of victory, but there his action seemed to stop abruptly.” True, the Confederates were not Titans. They seemed never to be wound up for more than a week or more of hard marching on scant rations, followed by two or three days of continuous battle, usually against superior numbers, which left them at the end without fresh reserves. After a terrible and exhausting victory a longing for rest seemed to overcome them. General Lee could not furnish physical strength to his men from his own sinews, but he did know how to fight them to a shadow and then how to keep them going on something that from the other side of the line looked like very thin hope. Once, as Lord Wolseley recollects, but with vagueness as to its events, there were seven days of continuous fighting near Richmond. Lee with sublime daring dashed his columns time and again upon McClellan's superior but separated forces. His losses were frightful, but the bravery and energy displayed by his troops were tremendous, and possibly might have proved fatal to his cause if
7. Lord Wolseley offers a novel reason for the fail- McClellan had assumed the aggressive after Malvern
Hill instead of retiring six miles to a secure position grappled for the death-struggle from the Wilderness at Harrison's Landing. to Appomattox were sufficiently "regular" as regards discipline, experience, and valor?
11. Yet Lord Wolseley exclaims: "Was ever an army so hopelessly at the mercy of another as that of McClellan when he began his retreat to Harrison's Landing after the Seven Days' fighting round Richmond?" For succinct ignorance, there is something unexampled in this statement. Malvern Hill was a staggering repulse to Lee's exhausted infantry, who were not able to confront McClellan at Harrison's Landing until the third day after that battle. And even then Lee withdrew, as he says, on account of "the condition of our troops." McClellan was well-nigh impregnable at Harrison's Landing. If Lee had been able to get at him there, the military situation would have improved, for the Confederates could not long stand such destructive fighting as “the Seven Days'." But Lee preferred to leave McClellan in his camp security resting at the outer gate of Richmond, while he started in the opposite direction to bowl over Pope and startle Washington. 12. Equally remarkable for visionary confidence is Lord Wolseley's next question, "What commander could wish to have his foe in a‘tighter place' than Burnside was in after his disastrous attack upon Lee at Fredericksburg?" Lee has explained in his reports, in effect, that he was so much pleased with the tight boot Burnside was wearing, so long as Burnside was the aggressor, that he had no thought of exchanging footgear with his enemy, as he surely would have done if he had attacked Burnside within range of the Union cannon on Stafford Heights, across the river. So secure was Burnside at the town that when it was proposed, on deciding to recross the river, to keep hands on Fredericksburg the council of officers believed that 10,000 men was a sufficient force for the purpose.
With less particularity but more discretion, Lord Wolseley concludes the subject with the remark, "Yet in both instances the Northern commander got safely away, and other similar instances could be mentioned." 13. "The critical military student of this war," says his lordship, with a fine compliment to himself, "will, I think, agree that from first to last the cooperation of even one army corps of regular troops would have given complete victory to whichever side it fought on." There is something in this suggestive of Gilbert and Sullivan's "modern major-general." Inasmuch as this was an American war, it had to be fought in the American way. As neither side had a standing army of any importance, each side must create an army out of nearly raw material. But there are those who remember that American" raw material once battled with "regular" troops, during the scrimmage of 1776, and again at New Orleans in 1815, and that the "regulars" did not then complain of the inferiority of their foes. McClellan's army had a splendid division of regulars, well officered, that did good service, but their deeds do not shine brighter than those of the volunteers on either side. It was not the need of "regular "troops which prolonged the war, but the equality of grit, and daring, and skill, and devotion to ideas. Lord Wolseley cannot "blind himself to the hyperbole of writers who refer to these armies as the finest that have ever existed." It is true that they were not handled in the "regular" European fashion; for the rough, wooded country over which they fought would not permit; but will he deny that the two armies which
14. With Lord Wolseley's historical method, an anecdote or two is sufficient data for such a statement as this: "The usual proportion throughout the war between the contending sides in each action ranged from about twice to three times more Federals than there were Confederates engaged." His lordship would appear to be unaware that there were Western battles in which almost equal numbers fought terrible battles with surprisingly equal losses. But to confine our examination, with him, to the Eastern armies, the records tell us that, save at Antietam, Lee always had on the field of battle within a fourth or a third as many men as his opponent, and that when he was the aggressor he was clever enough as a soldier to strike his blow with forces superior to the wing or detachment smitten; as witness Gaines's Mill and the blow on the Eleventh Corps at Chancellorsville. When Grant began his Wilderness" campaign of attrition," the Army of the Potomac was for once twice as large as the Army of Northern Virginia, and, considering the relative advantages of assault and defense and the steel-like temper of the Confederates, Grant's army was none too large for the job. But his lordship condenses his opinion of those veteran armies in this complaisant simile: "A trial heat between two jockeys mounted on untrained horses may be interesting, but no one would ever quote the performance as an instance of great racing speed."
15. In repeating Lincoln's playful reply to the man who wanted the President's opinion of the number of Confederates in the field, which Lord Wolseley does "with reference to the relative numbers employed on both sides," the drift of Lincoln's humor would have been more apparent if his lordship had stated a fact which has interested students of the "Seven Days' fighting." The day before the battle of Gaines's Mill Lincoln telegraphed to McClellan acknowledgment of three dispatches received the day before, and added, "The later one of 6.15 P. M. suggesting the probability of your being overwhelmed by 200,000, and talking of where the responsibility will belong, pains me very much." But McClellan on July 11th, when safely encamped at Harrison's Landing, returned to the subject with this: "Prisoners all state that I had 200,000 men to fight. A good deal more than two to one, and they knowing the ground." Lincoln did not need the after-testimony of the Confederate records to convince him that this was nonsense; and he must have been aiming at that unique incident when he waggishly said, "Whenever one of our generals engages a rebel army he reports that he has encountered a force twice his strength. Now I know we have half a million of soldiers in the field, so I am bound to believe the rebels have twice that number."
16. But the most surprising of Lord Wolseley's conclusions on the Confederate war pertains to Lee's "faults," such as his "softness of heart," his "devotion to duty and great respect for obedience, [which] seem at times to have made him too subservient to those charged with the civil government of his country"; also his appearing "to have forgotten that he was the great Revolutionary chief engaged in a great Revolutionary war" when" the South could only
hope to win under the rule of a Military Dictator." In other words, his lordship is disappointed that General Lee, after obeying the commands of his native State to fight for a new constitution and government, did not prove a traitor to the trust reposed in him. After this confession of the character Lord Wolseley would have preferred to find when he visited General Lee, if his lordship's shade (when there is no longer waging or studying of war) should seek to renew the acquaintance with the calm spirit that bowed its head, in honor, at Appomattox, it is to be feared the insulted chieftain would exclaim: "Insatiate Englishman, will not one Benedict Arnold suffice?"
17. Lord Wolseley has as little sympathy with General Lee's real virtues as with his illusory "faults." Apparently he is far away from any possible comprehension of a great leader raised up to command wisely and unselfishly an army of democratic freemen. Nor can he appreciate how General Lee would feel, to know that the most famous English general of the time has written about him as though there were only one side to the civil war, and that the Confederate; and only one soldier on that side, and he Robert E. Lee.
Landscape-Gardeners Needed for America.
THE architectural profession, we are told, is already crowded, and bids fair soon to be so overcrowded that even creative ability will find it hard to make a path for itself, and executive intelligence will be a drug in the market. Demand strictly limits supply in this art at least; whenever it comes to pass that there are not enough architectural commissions to "go round," some aspirants will be compelled to turn to other tasks. But, fortunately, the demand for the services of a sister-profession seems to be fast outgrowing existent sources of supply. Our landscape architects are very few, and we are yearly awakening to a clearer recognition of our need for them.
As yet we do not recognize it half clearly or half generally enough. But it is only a few years since the case was even worse with the architects themselves,in their true estate as differentiated from the “builder." And ideas develop rapidly in America- wants and wishes define and extend themselves with marvelous celerity when once a first faint prompting has been felt. Therefore that young American will be wise in his generation who takes note of current signs and now begins to fit himself to answer the imperious call that will soon be made upon the art of the landscapearchitect, or, to use the older, equally dignified, and exacter term, the landscape-gardener.
It is interesting to remember that far as it lags behind to-day in the number of its professors and in the degree of public interest which attends it— this art showed earlier promise of vitality in America than architecture. Downing wrote excellently of landscape almost forty years ago, when certainly no American had written well of brick and stone; did admirable landscape work when our building was at its very worst; and published helpful illustrations of schemes of planting side by side with the most helpless and hideous designs for cottages and villas. The Central Park, which was planned in the 'fifties, when Richardson was still at college, may be called-considering the difficulties of the site, and allowing for the incomVOL. XXXIV.—44.
plete way in which first intentions have been carried out—almost as great a work of art as any Richardson created. But the public, now so quick to recognize success in the one art, did not then, and does not now, really appreciate success in the other. As a consequence, a hundred aspirants are ready and eager to tread in Mr. Richardson's footsteps, while the path which the success of Messrs. Olmsted and Vaux ought to have made tempting remains almost untrodden by younger feet. If we name these artists, Mr. Parsons, and but one or two others, we name all who are known by repute, it appears, even to those architects who are seeking help, - certainly all who stand visibly before the public as professed landscape-gardeners, anxious to work, as the landscape-gardener always should work, hand in hand with the architect.
Yet how vast is our need for the ministrations of such men. How immense is the number and how various the nature of the tasks which should no more be intrusted to the gardener-artisan than should the construction of public buildings and beautiful homes to the carpenter or mason. A whole huge continent has been so touched by human hands that over a large part of its surface it has been reduced to a state of unkempt, sordid ugliness; and it can be brought back into a state of beauty only by further touches of the same hands, more intelligently applied. Public parks are yearly being laid out in our larger towns. Our customary schemes of village building call imperatively for the landscape-artist's help. And there is an evergrowing demand for country homes of a more sumptu. ous sort, where the best of architects can but imperfectly do his work if he must do it quite alone. Look at the châteaux of France, for instance; at the older country homes of England; at the villas and palaces of Italy, and we see how intimate a union of the two arts produced their magnificent charm. We find it hard to decide where the work of the architect ended, the work of the gardener began. But we find it easy enough to imagine how infinitely less would be the impressiveness of the architect's work had not the gardener's been as good,— had he not set off and emphasized constructed beauty by making nature beautiful about it, and helped to connect and unify the two by an intermediate arrangement of terraces, fountains, balustrades, and more or less formal plantings.
Let it not be supposed that because the landscapearchitect works with and in deference to nature, he can trust the light of nature to teach him how to work. The training he needs is as long and as serious as that needed by the architect, and even more varied in its character. He must begin- since his work so emphatically demands good taste- by cultivating himself in every possible way, and especially by cultivating his powers of observation and that feeling for natural beauty which comes by effort quite as often as by birth. He must study botany,- must acquaint himself not only with the aspect but with the habits and needs and idiosyncrasies of all sorts of plants, and in particular of all sorts of trees and shrubs. He must know of soils and drains and exposures and fertilizers, and all such matters, as the practical agriculturist knows of them. He must study architecture in a general but not a superficial way. He must travel widely, in his own land to see how nature works towards beauty, and in older lands to see how men have worked
with her materials and with architectural materials towards the same great end. He must go through a term of pupilage in a busy office like Mr. Olmsted's to learn how the new problems of our own day may be met, how complicated are the considerations which affect any large problem, and how fully it must be worked out on paper before a spade is lifted. He must cultivate patience and imaginative power,- for his works will grow very slowly to completeness, and their final estate will be scarcely foreshadowed in their first. And he must cultivate tact,- the art of dealing with men,— even more diligently, perhaps, than the intending architect must; for he will have to
meet and often "manage" not only the client and the artisan, but the architect himself.
All this is slow work and costly work. But most of it will be found pleasant work, provided pleasant is not thought a synonym for easy. And once well accomplished it will open a delightful life, an ample outlet for the broadest and deepest artistic endowment, and, we believe, a surely prosperous career. The day is very certainly at hand when the gardener-artisan must and will be relegated to his proper place,- beside the builder; and wise, we repeat, will be the youth who will then have fitted himself to stand in this artisan's former place, beside the architectural artist.
FROM A UNITARIAN POINT OF VIEW.
'HE simple truth seems to be that Christian Unity exists in America now, for any one who wants it. Those people have it who were born, out-of-doors, in the open-air freedom of the Christian church, and those also who, having been born in one or another Egypt or closed tabernacle, have had the courage to go out into the freedom of the world of God.
This would never be doubted, but that, as I dare say you have seen, people not used to the freedom of the open air are at first a little puzzled by it. It is somewhat as, on your summer "outing," you have seen people who have been so much shut up in the winter that they do not at first enjoy the strong light of the sea-shore or the open pastures. But, indeed, they soon learn. Most people really want Christian Unity. I observe that most of your correspondents do. But some people are hand-tied, and, may be, tongue-tied, by some old shred of what is called a symbol, written in a dead language and in another time, which they are expected by somebody to subscribe in good faith. So you may see a boy on the sea-shore who wants to go into the ocean, but does not, because he is afraid to wet his clothes.
But when there is any real Christian work to do these people almost always strip off enough rags to be able to plunge into God's own infinite sea, and help the others who are doing it. At first, very likely, some stickler, or Pharisee, insists on a formula to say who may come and help and who may not. The word "Pharisee" means sectarian or lover of division. But once past this reef at the harbor's mouth, when they are all out on the infinite ocean, the initial difficulty is all forgotten. I belong to a society which had to meet many times before it could adjust the delicate balance of its formula. It discussed, even to a syllable, the language of its constitution. Finally, all were happily agreed, and it went to work. It has now been at work for nearly a generation. New members have joined it, eagerly, without so much as asking what was the language of its constitution. If they did ask, they would
* See Professor Shields on "The United Churches of the United States," CENTURY for November, 1885; also subsequent Open Letters from ministers of various denominations.
not learn. For I have put away my copy so carefully that I do not know where it is, and the secretary's was burned in the Boston Fire; but fortunately he does not know that. There are no other copies. The society itself, all the same, does good work for God and for man, every day. It is judged by its fruits, as everything else is judged and must be judged, in the heavens above or in the earth beneath. And yet no man can tell in words what are the conditions of membership.
Any one who wants Christian Unity in America at the end of the nineteenth century has simply to walk out of his own house and go to work with other men in some enterprise which the good God wishes to have carried through. He will find all the unity he wants. This is nobly illustrated in the charity organization societies which are now at work in all the larger cities of the country.
A man may enter any one of these charity organization societies, whether he be Arminian, Baptist, Calvinist," Disciple," Episcopalian, Free-Baptist, Greek, Gentile, or Galilean, Hicksite, Independent or orthodox Friend, Jew, Karaite, or Coptic, Lutheran, Methodist, New-Church, orthodox, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, or Reformer, Sandemanian, or Supralapsarian, Trinitarian, Unitarian, or Universalist; or, indeed, if he be one of those Variorum or Wild-Cat come-outers, the unorganized and un-creeded believers in Xavier, Yahveh, or Zinzendorf, or Et-cetera himself, who bring up the alphabet of the older and the younger churches.
All these people are eagerly welcomed in any of these practical organizations. Dr. Wayland's rule was, is, and will be, the only working rule. "Can they cast out the devils?" he used to ask. If they could, he did not push his questions further. Before the charity organization has been running three months these people are at work together, without a thought of the verbal or technical formulas by which, on occasion, they could divide into their several companies.
It is easy to say that the work of the church is better done by its several sections when they keep up a strict organization among themselves, and each lets the other sections severely alone. But this is only "say so," and Americans are not ready or apt to believe it. They have read their own history enough to understand the lesson taught in the twelve years between 1775 and 1787, when Massachusetts governed herself, and kept
up her own army and navy; when New York did the same, and Virginia the same. The common enemies were not kept at bay as they are by the United States. Now there are so many common enemies that the United Church may well wish to act as a unit in the business of advancing against them and securing the advance of God's Kingdom. I suppose it was Dean Stanley who, in England, first of all, devised that real Union of the Church for one purpose, which was brought about when a commission of members, from every communion, united for the Revision of the Bible. The objective result, an improved English Bible, is a great reward for that enterprise. But the great truth, that the church can unite for such a purpose, is a result still nobler.
There is no lack of similar enterprises which the United Church can undertake in America. This of charity organization is one, and the result, in the harmony and good-fellowship which it brings about, is admirable. Such work might be pushed a great deal further, and will be.
Take Castle Garden, to-morrow, for an instance. There will arrive there, probably, one or two thousand exiles from Europe, perhaps five or ten thousand. If by good luck they are Mormons, they will be met at the landing by kind, intelligent, and skillful agents, who know they are coming and where they are going, who are on friendly terms with the officials, who are experienced in the whole matter. Within three hours, perhaps, of their arrival, without one hitch or jerk, they will all be on their route, under competent superintendence, to their new homes.
But what if, by bad luck, they are not Mormons? What if it chance that they are only "Christians"? Nay, it may happen,― by bad luck that they are only sons and daughters of the good God. Is there not in the Christian church of America intelligence enough, love enough, tenderness enough, resolution enough, to treat these poor people as well as if they happened to swear by Joseph Smith's Bible, or to believe it? And if the Christians of a dozen different communions chose to unite, to maintain at Castle Garden a ministry of welcome, such as the Mormon church alone does choose to maintain there, does any one believe that the difference between Ultra-Montanism and ultramontanism will prevent the two extremes of Christianity even from harmonizing in such an enterprise?
Or if this reader, by good or bad fortune, as he may consider it, does not live in the city where THE CENTURY is published, let him lay down this journal and look in the Police-Report in the daily paper of the city nearest to him. It is certain that he will read the names of one, two, or three poor creatures who have been sent, on the yesterday, to the nearest House of Correction. Would he not return to his CENTURY the more cheerfully if he knew, as he does not, that there was waiting at the court which sentenced these poor criminals an official minister, sustained by the United churches of that city, simply and only to go to the families of the criminals, and to make sure that punishment does not fall where it is least deserved. There is a place where Christianity, pure and simple, may be at work every day, without the slightest danger of quarrel about symbol or formula.
Such are my reasons for saying that when people want Christian Unity they can find it by going
out-of-doors. But if they prefer to live in their tabernacles or badger-skins, they will probably not find it.
Edward E. Hale.
CHRISTIANITY in the concrete, as believed and professed by the various sects calling themselves Christians, consists of Divine truth on its manward side, Divine truth on its Godward side, and the forms and observances by which Divine truth is made efficient for man's moral and spiritual well-being. Under the first head we must of course include the attributes of God so far as man is affected by them, the relation of Jesus Christ to man, the consequences of moral good and evil, and the eternal life of the soul. These all have an essential bearing upon character, furnishing man with adequate reasons for doing, and, still more, for be coming and being all that is just and true, pure and good. God's attributes are motives to trust and love, praise and prayer, obedience and service. Christ in the divineness of his humanity shows all that man can fully know of God, and all that he must be in order to make his own humanity in any humble measure Divine; and by his sacrificial life and death he in the intensity of his love makes the strongest possible appeal to man's emotional nature in persuading him to repentance, virtue, and holiness. The certainty of retribution not only works upon man's hope and fear, but - what is of ineffably more importance - it affixes to moral distinctions the seal and sanction of Omnipotent Wisdom and Love, thus making the characteristics of the right and the wrong not arbitrary and mutable, but intrinsic and indelible. The eternal life alone can attach their true value to objects of desire and pursuit in the present life, so as to give the due preponderance to the interests of man's moral and spiritual nature over those of his brief and precarious earthly being.
As to these truths there is a virtual and—when technical terms are excluded-even a verbal agreement among persons belonging to widely different Christian bodies. It might not seem so at first view. Thus the several creeds of Christendom give statements as to the nature of Christ that appear mutually inconsistent and irreconcilable; but yet the phrase " Divine humanity" expresses all that Christ can ever be to man in this world, and embodies what is felt and owned by those of every name who are conscious of Christian discipleship. So, too, the human side of all the various theories of the atonement resolves itself into this,— that there is between the deserts even of the penitent and believing soul and the pardon and blessedness for which it hopes an immeasurable distance, an impassable chasm, which can be spanned and filled in only by the mercy of God as revealed and manifested in Christ.
Still further, Christians, however far apart they seem, agree in defining the Christian character as consisting in the soul's vital union with Christ, in fine, in its conscious Christlikeness. Now this Christlikeness those who possess it cannot but recognize in every section of the visible church, and with equal distinctness and with equal beauty of holiness in Ritualists and Quakers, Calvinists and Unitarians, Romanists and Swedenborgians. What is common to them all is what they have received from Christ, and this common part of their Christianity is confessedly the greatest part,— that without which the soundest belief or the most