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expectations have been more than fulfilled. Thinking of the welcome that the Parliament of Religions has opened to me in India—to me with a distinctively Christian message, I am reminded of what the Catholic professor of Comparative Religion at Louvain, Belgium, Mgr. D’Harlez, has recently said of the Parliament," that it was a good way to promote the knowledge of truth, to assemble men of all creeds under the sky, in a princely assemblage so as to conciliate the minds of men who are hostile to each other because of a thousand misconceptions and prejudices, or hereditary, secular conflicts, and to make them acknowledge that they are all the children of one Celestial Father and Creator. This is the best means for the propagation of the true religion; this is a canal digged for the flowing of water from the purest sources. And now the missionary who enters into a heathen country is no more an enemy, not even a stranger, but a brother who comes to bring light into the land and preach the common Father of mankind." “If,” he says, “snbsequent sessions of the Parliament are to be fruitful, it must be under the condition that they deviate not from the original aim, and do not serve the purpose of religious indifference.”
Bishop Vincent wrote me not long ago of his sympathy with the Parliament and said: “I hope that a similar gathering may take place in connection with the French Exposition of 1900. Only the systems which are conscious of weakness can be afraid of an open statement concerning their own views and concerning the views of those schools which they regard as rival or antagonistic. There may be temporary embarrassment occasioned by the full publication of such varied views, but thereby investigation and careful comparison must be promoted. All honest and inquiring souls will see a large measure of truth, as the result of such investigation.” I have strong hope that a second Parliament will take place in Paris. The Catholic hierarchy of America favors the second, as it did the first. The Catholic leaders of Europe are generally hostile to the second as they were to the first; but there are Catholic laymen of great influence in France who may achieve another Congress of the Creeds.
The First Parliament has given an impetus to the study of Comparative Theology which is in truth “the demonstration of Christianity.” It has led to the founding of two international Lectureships, one in America and one in India. It has widened the bounds of human fraternity ; it is fortifying timid souls in regard to the right and wisdom of liberty in
thought and expression ; it is clarifying many minds in regard to the nature of the non-Christian faiths ; it is deepening in Western lands the general Christian interest in non-Christian nations; and it will bring before millions in the Orient the more truthful and beautiful aspects of Christianity,
I think that nearly all will agree with me in thinking the Congress was a notable event for the African, whose manhood was fully recognized; for the Jew, who has suffered various forms of persecution ; for the Liberal, who saw the truths for which he had specially contended grandly recognized; for the Roman Catholic, who came out into a new atmosphere and gained from theological opponents new admiration and respect; for woman, for there she secured the largest recognition of her intellectual right ever granted. It was a great event for the social reformer and the advocate of international justice, for the Parliament was unanimous in denouncing the selfishness of modern society and the iniquity of the opiumtrade and the rum traffic; for the Buddhist, the Hindu and the Confucian, who were permitted to interpret their own faiths in the Parliament of Man ; for the orthodox Protestant, whose heart and intellect were expanded and whose faith in the Gospel of God's grace was strengthened by the words and scenes of that assembly; and it was especially a great event for the earnest and broad-minded Christian missionary, who rejoiced that all Christendom was at last forced to confront the problem of bringing Christ, the Universal Saviour, to all mankind.
It is already evident, as Dr. Ellinwood, the President of the American Society of Comparative Religion, has said, “that the Parliament has come to stay.” These world-wide comparisons must continue. Enlightened men will have the best and truest, and the best religion must come to the front. As a Christian believer, I welcome truth from every source. I rejoice that our recent studies have added much to the spiritual panorama of human history. The mild and tolerant Buddhist Emperor Asoka, the Hindu Constantine, takes his place by the savage and shrewd warrior, who saw the Cross in the sky. Akbar the Moslem, appears unabashed in company with Charlemagne the Christian. St. Peter's looms before us the same horizon with the Temple of Heaven at Peking, and the Milan Cathedral stands by the Mosque of Omar. The waters from the well of Zemzem together with those from Bethseda are brought to our lips. The strange pictures of the Orient startle the eyes which have
seen the canvases of Fra Angelico and Titian. Moses and Mohammed walk before our vision ; saints throng round us, besides those in the Acta Sanctorum of Catholic Europe ; the monks of the Nile and the monks of Thibet look out upon us, while the Sacred Books of the Orient, an imposing library in themselves, dwarf the modest volumes of the Old and New Testaments. But we who have accepted the Christian Gospel as the world's hope and salvation need not be disturbed nor distracted,
“ For over all the creeds the face of Christ
Glows with white glory on the face of Man.” We have seen Him, who in various measure, has enlightened
, all. He is the key to history and to religion, because He is the Reconciler as well as the Redeemer, and only His Spirit, penetrating into all the earth, could have called forth such expressions of fraternity among men of wide-sundered faiths, as rejoiced our hearts in the World's First Parliament of Religions.
It has been wisely said that “the graves of the dead religions declare that not selection but incorporation makes a Religion strong ; not incorporation, but reconciliation ; not reconciliation but the fulfilment of all these aspirations, these partial truths in a higher thought, in a transcendant life.” The ethnic Faiths are not mere curiosities or moral monstrosities on the one hand, and still less, on the other, are they the final Faiths of the nations adopting them. Christianity, tolerant, because cherishing an invincible faith in her spiritual victory, not“ divorced from the moral order of history," but penetrating, explaining and crowning that order, Christianity, all luminous with Christ, is the Religion of the coming man, for Christ is the eternal Son of God, in whom Reason and Faith, the Individual and Society, Man and Woman, Morality and Religion, Heaven and Earth are perfectly conjoined and reconciled. He is, and may be shown to be, the New Dispensation, which the saintly Chunder Sen of India believed had dawned in his own heart; He is the harmony of all Scriptures, Saints and Sects, of Inspiration and of Science, of Asiatic thought and of Western activity, the reconciliation of apparent contradictions, “the invisible Westminster Abbey" where the enmities of more than a hundred generations are to lie buried and forgotten.
He came among men not to make them religious but to make them holy. The man is religious who offers rice to the hideous idols of an Asiatic temple, or beats a horrible drum to
keep away the witches from an African village, but the Pagan whether living here or in Canton or Natal, he needs a new heart. Loving sin, he must learn to love holiness. The world needs the Christian religion. India needs Christ. I speak with some confidence on this point. In the providence of God, I have given time during the best years of my life to the examination of this question, and I have had opportunities such as few other men ever had of seeing and knowing the best side of the ethnic religions. I count as my friends Parsees and Hindus, Buddhists and Confucianists, Shintoists, Jains and Mohammedans. I know what they say about themselves. I have looked at their religions on the ideal side as well as the practical and I know this, that the very best which is in them, the very best which these well-meaning men have shown to us, is often a reflex from Christianity, and that what they lack, and the lack is very serious, is what the Christian Gospel alone can impart; and I know that beneath the shining examples of the elect few in the nonChristian world there is a vast area of idolatry, and pollution, and unrest, and superstition, and cruelty, which can never be healed by the forces which are found in the non-Christian systems. Recognizing to the full the brighter side of so-called heathenism, rejoicing that the light has been shining everywhere, and that foreshadowings of the evangelic truths are discoverable among the nations, I yet see that in Christ only is there full salvation for the individual and for society. Many wise and true opinions are doubtless held by the disciples of the ethnic faiths, but opinions however true are not man's crying need. Jesus Christ is not only the Truth, but He is also the Way and the Life. Men need to know the way which is the way of the Cross, they need to feel the touch of the life, from · Him who came that men might have life. I believe that He has been every where by His Spirit, and that all that is true, beautiful and good is a part of His manifested glory. But the work of His Church, made one in Him, is to reveal to mankind the Christ of the Gospels and the Christ of personal experience, to be witnesses of His truth and love to the uttermost parts of the earth. He came to earth to lift us to heaven. He was delivered unto death for the offences of men; He was raised from the grave for the justification of our faith in Him, and thus exalted, He has promised to draw all men unto Him. And we have a moral and intellectual right, with all brotherly kindness in our souls, to ask kings and sages, poets and prophets, and all peoples to crown Him the Lord of
all. In the olden days when the German Emperor was chosen, the three archbishops of Treves, Mayence and Cologne, girt him with the sword and crowned him with the crown of Charlemagne. At the banquet the Bohemian king was his cup-bearer; the Count Palatine plunged his knife into the roasted ox and waited on his Master; the Duke of Saxony spurred his horse into heaps of golden grain and bore off a full measure for his lord, while the Margrave of Brandenburg rode to a fountain and filled the imperial ewer with water. Standing this day, as in the presence of the chief prophets and mightiest forces of the world, let us expect a new coronation of the world's living Christ, the rightful Emperor of mankind. Let the Churches, girt with his sword of spiritual power, crown Him with the royal diadem which is His due. Let Princes and Nobles be the servants of His Gospel ; let Kings and Emperors wait on Him who is the Ancient of Days; let Cities bring great measures of gold to publish His Word, and let Universities, loyal to the spirit which has founded the chief seats of the higher Western and Eastern learning, forsaking every unworthy and strange idolatry of human leaders, fill their imperial chalices from the river of the water of life, and stand attendant on their Lord.