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authoritative revelation as has been given through Jesus Christ, than when I read the strange combinations of truth and error which are found in the Sacred Books of the East. I look
the Biblical revelation, culminating in Jesus Christ, as the fulfilment of all the incomplete disclosures mixed with so much that is irrelevant and misleading and uncertain, which are found in the non-Christian religions.
Q. Of the accepted religions Mohammedanism is the latest faith and as such has the best claim for general acceptance ?
A. According to this logic if a religion rises in the 20th century and is widely received it would have the best claim for general acceptance, even if its ethical and spiritual plane were far lower than that of Mohammedanism. No. It is manifestly absurd to declare that the latest in anything is necessarily the best. On this foolish supposition one might claim that every picture which is received and admired to-day in the Salons of Paris is a better work of art than the Sistine Madonna, or that the latest great poems which become popular in our time must surpass the plays of Shakespeare and the Iliad of Homer. According to this logic Mormonism and Sikhism are—because later-superior to Parsiism, Judaism and Mohammedanism. But the best claim to general acceptance belongs, of course, to that religion whose disclosures of truth are the highest, completest, most certain and most authoritative; whose fundamental and central teachings in regard to God and man are the purest and most life-giving, whose ethical ideas and spiritual conceptions are the freest from anything ignoble or merely transient; whose spiritual dynamics through which its ideals are realized are the most potent, whose best effects are the loftiest and most divine; and whose average results, through long centuries of testing, have shown its ability to give enlightenment, liberty and progress, elevation, hope, and inspiration to great masses of people. Judged by these proper tests Mohammedanism, which owes what is best in it to Judaism and Christianity, does not occupy the highest place, and does not deserve acceptance by those who have the opportunity to receive the perfect religion in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Q. Are Americans more religious than Hindus ?
A. The answer depends upon what is meant by religious. If, by religion, is meant religious ceremonials, performed through the force of immemorial custom; if, by religion, is meant terror before unknown sapernatural powers and fear in the presence of threatening priests ; if, by religion you mean bondage to superstitions which educated Indians are rapidly casting off, then the Hindus are more religious than the Americans. But if by religion is meant, with the Apostle James, “ visiting the widow and the fatherless in their affliction" and keeping oneself “unspotted from the world;" if by
religion is meant, with Jesus Christ, supreme love to God the Father and fraternal love to all men; if by religion is meant, with the Apostle Paul, the attainment of a complete manhood under the inspiration of the highest ideals, then the Americans, with all their faults and shortcomings are, in my judgment, more religious than the Hindus. Religious sentiment and conviction have entered into our national life and institutions. With us, because we are Christians, ethics is an essential part of religion, and religion must be realized ethically. There is a national conscience which is smiting the chief evils which still afflict us. Men more and more feel their obligation to show their love to God by gifts, efforts and prayers behalf of the destitute and darkened and unfortunate in our land and in all lands. Emerson calls Sunday “the core of our civilization.” It is a day dedicated to the higher things of the soul. It is a day for intellectual and spiritual enlightenment, and for benevolent service. Religion, with us, has its expression in the building of hospitals as well as churches, of Universities as well as Sunday Schools, in College settlements for the advantage of the poor in our great cities as well as in the scores of millions of dollars which have gone to the sending of Christian Missionaries, teachers and physicians into distant lands.
Q. Is material improvement an impediment to religious improvement ?
A. On the contrary it is often a help to it. In America and Great Britain we strive to better the condition of the poor along with our efforts to reach them with the Gospel. A man who is hungry and sick and ill-housed needs bread and medicine and comfort and often the betterment of his physical condition is a door open to a higher life. Those who live on the verge of starvation and physical barbarism have not the best surroundings for that nobler life which is worthy of the name of religion. In my own country the progress which Christianity has made in the last half-century has been, according to the investigations of the most careful students, great. The material advancement of the people has also been noteworthy.
Q. Do you think austerity will help religion ?
A. I suppose you mean by austerity, asceticism, a life of extreme physical impoverishment and self-denial. This sort of asceticism may help a low and unworthy kind of religiousness. Men who are delivered by Jesus Christ from bondage to fear and form, and who realize that He came to give us an abundance of all the better treasures of life, cannot praise asceticism. There is a self-denial that is genuine and spiritual, and that is to be commended. A A self-sacrifice that finds expression in loving service to others is Christlike and essential to the highest religion. But Christianity, be it ever remembered, is not an ascetic religion. Jesus Christ, its
founder, who gave His life for the world's redemption came“ eating and drinking," and moving about among men as a friendly spirit, healing the sick, feeding the hungry and sharing the joy of the wedding feast. He was poor but not abject; He was persecuted by others but was “ anointed with the oil of gladness above His fellows.” It is enough for the Christian to be as His Master, living in the world, faithful to all human relationships, blessing all 'men and keeping himself so pure, healthful, vigorous, brave, noble and, in the truest sense, prosperous that he may be a blessing to all men. As one has said : “ He is to live such a life and be such a man that if all men were like him this world would be God's Paradise.”
Q. Is a Mediator an essential of religion ?
A. Men have generally thought so, for some form of Mediatorship inheres in many religions. The priesthoods of the world indicate the general human thought that men need some one or something like a sacrifice to stand between them and God. Christianity puts Mediatorship in the very heart of God; “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself.” Christ the Mediator is central in the Christian religion. He was apparently conscious of perfect unity with God and man. Knowing Him we know the Father. He makes God real to us by showing us the Divine heart of God in Himself. Hindus have sometimes said that Jesus Christ added to their knowledge of God. I believe that only through the medium of Christ's life and teaching can men get their best apprehensions of the Divine nature. I think that men should appreciate Christ's mediatorship in this broad sense. While I believe that in a stricter and more limited sense, He is a Mediator by whom every obstacle to human salvation has been removed, I would also have the world look at him as the Supreme Revealer of the Divine love, that love which in Him and through Him takes from human hearts the burden, the pollution and the desire of sin. I have found in India intellectual and religious unrest. Men are not satisfied with their inherited creeds. They are looking around, within and abore for something which heals and contents the soul, and I shall be grateful and happy if my visit to India shall induce some of its open-minded and lovable people to consider attentively and candidly the peerless Christianity of Christ.-The Hindu, Feb. 8th, 1897.
INTERVIEW WITH REV. JOHN HENRY BARROWS, D.D.
IMPRESSIONS OF THE COUNTRY AND PEOPLE. The following account of an interview our Poona Correspondent had with Dr. Barrows will be read,-if not with entire approval of the views and sentiments expressed by the learned doctor,-at any rate with interest:
Q.-What is the difference between your standpoint and that of what is called the orthodox Christianity ?
A.—My standpoint is that of Comparative Religion which I believe to be the demonstration of Christianity. The orthodox church in its more enlightened and progressive representatives is quite ready to occupy a similar standpoint.
There are orthodox Christians who do not believe in the methods of Comparative Religion, but it seems to be the best means of advancing the Kingdom of Christ.
Q.-Is Unitarianism spreading in America ?
A.—The Unitarian Church is making little, if any, progress in America. I doubt if it is as strong to-day as it was at an earlier period. Unitarianism embraces noble, scholarly and philanthropic men, and the Unitarian movement rendered sôme good services in modifying the spirit and teaching of the old orthodoxy. But it lacks in my judgment, what is essential to a growing and sufficient Christianity. According to the last census, the proportion of evangelical church members in the United States to non-evangelical is as one hundred and three to one.
Q.—What impression have you formed of our country and our people ?
A.—I can only answer in the briefest way such comprehensive inquiries. India is a land of wonders and of anomalies. My interest has been deepened and my affection quickened during these two months in which I have had the pleasure of conversing with many of your most enlightened people. My heart goes out to this country in its present deep distress, and I pray that the terrible affliction of famine and plague may soon be removed. It
take very much longer to remove the darkness of superstition and ignorance covering most of the many millions of the country. It appears to me that your enlightened leaders instead of fostering the national, exclusive spirit which is unwilling to receive the best things from whatever source they may come, would do well to direct the mind of the educated youth and others towards the main sources of India's present helplessness, sorrow and distress. I am profoundly impressed with the lack of unity prevailing in India. It is an aggregation of the peoples, governments, religions and classes where the divisions are woful indeed. It is perfectly evident that, if the wise, restraining hand of British rule were removed, chaos would prevail and the Hindus and Mahomedans in some places would be flying at each other's throats. There are few countries where religious intolerance seems so general and cruel as here. India is living in a state of society which, so far as religious tolerance is concerned, appears to us Americans most distressing. The alphabet of true toleration has yet to be learnt by great sections of the community. I know that Hinduism is willing that men should hold a variety of in
congruous creeds, but religion is not merely a creed; it is also a life where the conditions and environments ought to be in barmony with the inner convictions. The religions of India have been trying here, as at the Parliament of Religions, to make themselves as Christian as possible. But when members of the Hindu community convinced of the truth and rightful claim of Christianity prepare to confess Christ and enter into fellowship with her people, these Christian disciples still meet relentless and often cruel opposition. They are sometimes disowned, prohibited from seeing their own relations, deprived of just inheritances, assailed with falsehood, with blows, and now and then tortured. Some of the noblest specimens of human character and some of the finest and most enlightened intellects which I have met in any land are in the Native Christian Community of India. And I have reason to believe that there are many thousands of educated youths who are convinced that Christianity is true but who are still held back from declaring their faiths openly by reason of the cruel intolerance still prevailing.
Q. If you will please allow me to ask you questions not germane to your subject
will you tell me whether the joint-school system is a success in America ?
A. I think the joint-school system, by which I suppose you mean the co-educational system, is very largely successful in America. Co-educational schools grew up at first partly out of convenience or necessity. It was determined that all the children should be educated and it was not possible or easy to have separate schools. Experience has justified the system of co-education and that system has been continued.
Q. Is the position of women in America higher than that of those in England ? Are all professions open to them ?
A. I think the position is substantially the same. All professions are open to women in America. Not all the churches, however, admit women to the Christian office of preaching.
Q. Do American people feel any interest in questions affecting people in this country ?
A. They feel a deep interest especially in the social and religious condition of India. The position of many classes of Indian women has aroused much interest in America and my countrymen by their large gifts to Christian schools and missions and by the coming of hundreds of Christian educators have manifested their deep concern for the moral welfare of India. Q. Can
offer any suggestion as to the means that may bring about closer relations between the two peoples ?
A. I should like to have some of your brightest youth trained in our American technical schools. Thus they might do for India