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His teaching may have been true, but hold that we have so imperfect a report of His words, we cannot now obtain a true likeness of the original. Others, more foolhardy, deny that the Master Himself was infallible, and argue that His sayings may be criticised like Shakespeare's, and the wheat separated from the chaff by a process of eclecticism. Some base their arguments mainly on the corruptness of the sacred text; others on the ignorance of the men who wrote it; some accept the moral teaching, but reject the Supernatural ; others find fault even with the morality. It would be wearisome and out of place here to review all the phases of modern unbelief; suffice it to say that their name is legion, and their influence is diffused most widely even among Christian society. It has struck the writer that the vigour of the defence has not been proportioned to the vehemence of the attack, and that more might be urged in favour of a sound and hearty faith in Scriptural Christianity than has yet been done. At all events, the arguments of apologists are too much confined to detached points of the system, and fail to set forth with sufficient emphasis what must always weigh most with the average of human minds, viz., the credibility of the Christian revelation as a whole. We propose to consider in these pages some of the practical aspects of Christianity which recommend it to the unsophisticated human mind, and point out how irreconcilable are many of the modern objections with any plan of revealed religion that could possibly meet the wants of the human race.
THE NECESSITY OF A REVELATION PROVED BY
UT first we are told by many that a revelation
is unnecessary. Has not God-say they given to all men reason and conscience, and does not His spirit work in all hearts, leading them, if they choose, to the knowledge of His will? Has not the spirit of God spoken through Socrates and Plato, as well as Christ? May not even Buddha and Confucius have heard His sacred voice, and proclaimed to the myriads of the East all that they require to know about their Maker? It is a favourite view with many that God has been speaking in all the ages, and manifesting Himself through prophets equal in authority to, or at least as truly inspired as, Jesus Christ. Those who hold this view of course repudiate the exclusive claims of Christianity; their theory is absolutely income patible with those in numerable sayings of Christ, in which He demands absolute allegiance from all men, and announces that He, and He only, is the Lord of quick and dead, the only begotten Son, the Saviour of the world. Either Christ had as little right to make these claims as Mahomet, or his real teaching has been so lost amid a cloud of tradition that we can only trace a few faint outlines. It is perfectly clear that this view as to the equality of all re velations, or rather the necessity for none, is equivalent to the rejection of the Christian scheme, and the Bible can never maintain its authority among men if it be allowed that the Koran, or the Vedas, or the Golden Book of Mormon, are to divide with it the honour of being the utterance of God.
But what does history say to this theory of an all-prevading and ever-present manifestation of God? Do we find that in all ages and in all climes the spiritual and moral state of mankind has been steadily advancing? Do we find that a higher civilization has been steadily supplanting the lower, and that mankind in all parts of the world have been coming by consentaneous movement to the recognition of those sublime truths that we have learned from the Bible? All this we would have a right to expect if God had manifested Himself alike to all people, and in all times. We find just the opposite; we find nowhere a steady advance of humanity, except under the influence of Bible teaching and Christian morality.
In support of this assertion, let us first glance at the religions of the East. We find the Hinduism of modern India a vile and corrupting system, incapable of regenerating mankind, and showing no advance, but a retrogression from the comparative purity of the Vedic hymns; we find even now widow-burning and self-torture sanctioned, nay enjoined, by the Brahminical priesthood; and till Christianity had cast its pure rays on that darkened race, there did not arise among the two hundred millions of India a single teacher who could shake the hoary fabric of superstition. Let us turn to China, and we find another effete religion of nature, perhaps not so noisome in its doctrines as Hinduism, but equally incapable of elevating the moral life of the people, or bringing them into anything like a noble and progressive civilization, It is not our intention here to examine the