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trace the theological bearings of our propositions; we desired to commit that task to more skilful hands. We did not define Christianity, nor attempt to abolish old definitions; we simply offered our views indicating elements of Christianity which the old definitions did not adequately cover and recognise. We did not anticipate that our illustrations would be taken for our positions. We did not attempt to present the whole of Christianity, but to indicate its bearings on humanity, its aspects on the side of humanity; we sought not to subvert sound doctrine, but asked to have the doctrine of charity or love to our fellow men incorporated with evangelical theology.
Though we are firm in that system of belief in which we have been educated, we do not hesitate to scrutinize both creeds and summaries, and to subject every such production to comparison with the Inspired Standard. Our faith was not diminished as we examined with increasing boldness the foundation on which it stands. Christianity has lost none of our admiration nor of our affection as the only way of eternal life, since we have perceived more clearly its adaptation to ameliorate the lot of men in this life. We receive and hold it none the less cordially and purely with its promise of a final resting
place in mansions not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, now that we believe it is intended to secure as much rest, peace, and happiness in this world, as men under divine guidance are capable of conferring upon each other. We rejoice to extend our vision even to a wider field than our fathers beheld. We desire to know more and believe more. We rejoice to understand and believe that Christianity has
obligations and instructions which, if attended to, would change the whole face of society, and amend the condition of all the sufferers on earth. In enlarging the sphere of Christian duties toward man, we would not diminish one iota the sphere of those which refer to God.
If we have appeared to regard Christianity only from one side, we intended no more. We were regarding it from one point which had been, as we believed, neglected; all that we say is to urge what is not an exclusive, but should be an integral characteristic of our system. He who discovers, or thinks he has discovered, a new mineral or a new law in chemistry, has no need, even if he were capable, in announcing it, to write out an entire treatise upon the kindred sciences. The responsibility of gathering up the fragments of knowledge and reducing them all to their proper order lies upon those who devote themselves to systematic teaching. It cannot be wrong to offer a contribution, though we may not be able to fill the treasury
The grand peculiarity of Christianity is that it is the work of God: the corresponding peculiarity of Protestantism is, that it is the work of man: it is man's explanation of his Creator's doings. Michelet, the eminent French historian, referring to his intended history of Christianity, by which he means the Catholic church, is deterred from attempting it by such considerations as this: “Touch Christianity ! it is only they who know it not, who would not hesitate. . . . . For me I call to mind the night when I nursed a sick mother. She suffered from remaining in the same position, and would need to be moved, to be helped to turn in her bed—the filial
hands could not hesitate, but ah! how move her aching, lecayed limbs!" .... Children of Protestantism should have no such fear: their parent, being of a sturdier frame, san bear not only to be turned in bed for ventilation and purifying, but to be vigorously shaken and exercised for development of her powers and to prevent stagnationcan endure every operation needful for restoration, and
addition needful for growth; born and nurtured in freedom of mind and boldness of tongue, Protestantism must ever flourish most with free handling and candid speech.
It is not mere almsgiving for which we contend, although there is space on Protestant shelves for a vast number of volumes on the Christian side of that subject. We carry the obligations of the Christian higher and wider than this virtue implies. Every thought, every word, every act, every motive, and every feeling that tends to human advantage bears upon the conscience of the Christian. He must not look for gratitude nor expect reward; his good deeds, like the rain which descends in equal measure upon the just and the unjust, must be for all to whom he has access, direct and indirect. He must not merely be ready to bestow alms where they are needed, he must lend his hands, his time, and his talents to help every member of that family, each individual of which has the privilege of. saying, “Our Father in heaven.”
But this is not announced as Christianity, it is only an essential ingredient.
We are far from undervaluing the achievements of Christianity, under the banner of Protestantism, to the extent that some have understood us. It was not the task
before us to indulge in a definite appreciation of the good that has been done since the Reformation, to which we are far from being blind, but to inquire faithfully why Christianity has not, with its present advantages, made still greater progress. We are far from being insensible to the pious and self-denying labours of elergymen abroad and at home: but we were looking at what might have been done and could now be done by the whole body of evangelical clergy. We believe that the more earnest and exemplary labour at vast disadvantage, and with results widely disproportionate to their efforts, for the reasons urged in this volume. Their horizon of duty wants enlarging on the side of humanity. It is because we look upon the whole body of the evangelical ministry, and consider what they might do, and what they seem in no way disposed to do, that we feel and express ourselves strongly. On this topic, exaggeration of the evil is scarcely possible. Can any man or minister be absolved from what he owes to society and the world, by mere zeal for his peculiar denomination ? . Can those ever attain to clear views of man's duty to man who regard the subject only through a denominational medium ?
We cannot admit that all that sail under Protestant colours must go unquestioned and without search : we do not concede that we must swallow all that is called Protestantism for conscience' sake. A mighty work has been achieved under its banners; but, as Protestants, we are not absolved from future responsibilities upon the ground of good works we have already done. By the favour of God, Protestants have done thus much-will any pretend they have performed their whole duty ? Can the fabric
of Protestantism be endangered by any scrutiny to which it can be subjected ? With the sacred volumé as a lighted candle may we not safely search the innermost recesses and darkest corners as well as 'make careful surveys of the tout ensemble of the building. Nothing more grand, more severely majestic and imposing has been seen on the earth since the early days of Christianity; but our admiration must stop short of making Christianity responsible for all that may and does pass under the name of Protestantism. Christianity is one thing, Protestantism may be, and is sometimes another thing. Let us beware of canonizing the latter, whilst the former stands before us revealed in the clear outline of inspired penmanship.
It is possible that, in endeavouring to point out why more has not been done, and what is to be done hereafter, we may have seemed to disparage the past. It was not our intention greatly to depreciate the past, except in comparison with what might and should be accomplished. Nor did we intend any comparison with Romanism unfavourable on the whole to Protestantism. We merely presented such topics and incidental points of comparison as appeared fitted to stimulate Protestants to vigorous self-examination, and to the exercise of a more humane piety. It must be wrong to assume that past efforts are to be the measure of future exertion, or that past knowledge is to be the measure of future attainment. The depths of divine wisdom in Revelation are not yet all sounded; divine truths have not received all their applications to the concerns of men of which they are capable. The teachings of Christ, in their bearings on social questions, require to be further studied, developed, and applied.