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fects and in a more deserving form, it was theirs to receive them in a better spirit. Their reception, whether favourable or otherwise, has clearly shown it was time to bring the subject prominently into discussion. There is a longing on the subject of Christian Charity which demands some gratification; there is an unwillingness to touch it which should be overcome; there is an incapacity to grasp its scope and obligations which requires to be familiarized with the topic and to be instructed. If some believe that it has all the prominence it deserves in Protestant systems, let them not discourage the discussion, nor denounce those who differ from them in opinion. It would form a strange medley of praise and censure and of direct contradictions if we should spread before our readers what has been said and written of this little volume. Upon view of the whole, we are satisfied that much more good than harm will come of its publication, and that we are not responsible for all the misconceptions to which it has given rise. Many of these are due, in part at least, to faults in the reader, and not wholly to the fault of the writer. On our side we know there are many faults; there may be some on the other.
Without attempting to remove the various mistakes as to the aim of the work which have come under our eye, we offer the following remark, from a notice in the Church Review, as evidence that some could very fairly, if not fully interpret our design:
“ The theory of the author under review, may be thus stated :-In apostolic times, it was the motto of the church, “now abideth these three, faith, hope, and charity; but the greatest of these is charity. In these latter days
the text is virtually altered, so as to read the greatest of these is faith."
It was our purpose to insist that the doctrine of Christian Charity is not sufficiently prominent, if it be not wholly omitted in Protestant standards, creeds, confessions, catechisms, and articles; that it did not hold the place due to its importance in Protestant theology and literature; that our Protestant theology was not sufficiently imbued with the precepts and teachings of our Saviour himself; that the moral law—the rule of Christian life and conduct-could be more safely drawn from the very words of Christ, than from any uninspired development of the Decalogue; that it was wrong, very wrong, to pass over in silence or in neglect, the language of our Lord covering the whole ground of moral obligation, of duty to God and duty to man; and attempt to develop the doctrine of charity or love from the Decalogue; that the moral law was re-enacted in a new commandment, and set forth by Christ himself with such fulness, such searching power, such deep discrimination, such ample comprehensiveness, that it savours of profane hardihood, if not criminal oversight, to attempt the deduction of Christian obligations by any mere human commentary upon the Ten Commandments.
We meant to urge that no document, proceeding from the Reformers or from the founders of any of our leading Protestant denominations, contains any adequate, or even fair statement of the Christian law of Charity as proclaimed by Christ and taught by his apostles ; that this omission in Protestant teaching had led to serious mistakes and omissions in Protestant modes of administering
charity, and to a very inadequate conception of the obli. gations of Christians to their fellow men; that the commands to love our neighbours as ourselves, and to do to others as we would have others do unto us, have not and are not receiving that close, faithful, and adequate application to the business and conduct of men in the various relations of life to which they are entitled at the hands of the Protestant clergy; that no such application is to be found in our religious literature; that it does not comply with the law of Christian Charity to look upon our · fellow-men merely as so many sinners -as so much material for conversion, or to be moulded and worked up into congregations—as so many subjects, upon whom the ecclesiastical organizations and their several modes of teaching should be brought to bear; that this law clearly enjoins not merely loving our Christian brethren of the same denomination, or of any denomination, which is rising no higher in the scale of charity than the requirements of Free Masonry and Odd Fellowship, but it enjoins loving those who do not love us—even our enemies and those who despitefully use us. It is not enough for the Christian to be concerned only for the interests of men in the world to come, but for their best interests in this world. If a heathen poet could exclaim :
Homo sum : et nihil humani a me alienum puto;
(I am a man: every thing that is human concerns me ;) the Christian must realize that the law of his charity carries him higher and farther, in regard for humanity, than any heathen conception could ever attain.
We maintain that Christ himself should have the chief voice in defining Christianity, and that this has been de
nied him in most, if not all the compends and summaries of Christian doctrine which are the bond of Protestant churches. Let them all be examined to see if a single one contains any full recognition of what Christ taught in his own ministry.
Our statements and expressions appear exaggerated to a certain class of minds. It may be that strong feeling has made them so, or to appear so in many instances; but we are sure that in many cases we have fallen far · short of the truth in what to some appears exaggeration. Our views and feelings are the result of many years' careful investigation of social questions regarded from the Christian side: we have met with few who have explored a wider region of thought and fact on this subject than we have. We are disposed to think that any sweeping charge of exaggeration is most likely to be made by those least prepared to decide.
Then, as to the responsibility of speaking plainly: it is hardly greater than that assumed in asserting that one man, or many men, two or three hundred years ago explained the Scriptures so unerringly that not a word is now to be added to or taken from that exposition; or in assuming that any uninspired man can set bounds to the meaning of Revelation with such certainty as to claim the assent of all other men. We believe, and therefore say, that the law of Christian Charity, as developed and taught by Christ, has not its due place in our Protestant systems. It is sheer error to allege that the Holy Scriptures were as well understood within two hundred years after the Reformation as they are now; and it would be equally wide of the mark to say they will not two hun
dred years hence be far better comprehended than now. Our compends of Christianity should then keep up with the advance of Christian knowledge and Christian expeperience. The disposition to cling to the past may, within proper limits, be commendable; but it must be remembered that is the trait in human nature which maintains ancient error until it become doubtful whether a just change may not inflict more injury than the continual sufferance of old abuses. Can Protestants safely assume that all is right in their camp; that there are no mistakes, no omissions, no imperfections in their systems? Certainly not. Can any denomination claim such exemption from error? Certainly not. It may be presumed, indeed, without any dangerous departure from the truth, that those churches which most confidently proclaim their freedom from error, are, if not the deepest in sin, at least the most ignorant of themselves. Should not all Protestants then, trusting, as they do, in the right of private judgment and private interpretation, be ever willing with perfect frankness and earnestness to engage in the work of self-examination, and be ever open to the voice of suggestion, or even of animadversion? The Christian man does not attain his spiritual growth but by slow degrees; and Christian churches do not attain all their knowledge of the truth at once; they must long grow and increase in knowledge before the building, of which Christ is the corner-stone, shall be perfected.
We did not specially define our theology, nor did we affix the name of the writer, trusting that the views advanced were entitled to some consideration without reference to the author's creed or position. We did not