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In what is here written, we have followed the direction of our authors, rather than the order of the Bible narrative. We have had occasion, however, to refer to many of the leading events mentioned in the Old Testament, ranging from the early chapters in the Pentateuch to the predictions of the later prophets. And it would be easy to mention other cases in which the statements of the Bible have been corroborated, and other instances in which the objections of skeptics have been refuted ; but we have already occupied more space than was originally intend. ed, and these pages must be closed. We rise from the writing, however, with some degree of regret, for the preparation of this article has, if possible, strengthened our confidence in the genuiness and truthfulness of the Old Testament, and led us more fully to believe that there are no real contradictions between the facts in science or the revelations of history, and the word of God. Skeptics ought to be admonished by the unexpected refutation of many of their leading objections, not to be too confident or hasty in their conclusions. If there are still apparent discrepancies between the present results of modern discoveries and the dates and events given in the Bible, they must at least concede that these are becoming less as knowledge increases. We only need more light. And when we consider how much the first half of this century has shed upon the sacred records, the friends of the Bible have occasion to “ thank God and take courage.”
W. H. R.
to the praccept lation of ked of
THE best things in modern civilization are connected with the preaching of Christ. This is a true saying, whether we accept it as signifying Christ's own preaching, or the commendation of his truth by others. An era of humanity is distinctly marked off by the introduction of
new forces for individual growth and social culture; and so completely is the evidence of this interwoven with all life, that you can take up the examination of no department of human activity without seeing that when Christ was preached, new truths were given to man, new hopes were inspired, new possibilities were opened, new aspirations were kindled, and a diviner excellence looked down from loftier heights of virtue and holiness with encouraging beckonings to our race to advance, to struggle and achieve.
Evidence of this dawns upon us where we might least expect it; and I have felt it as profoundly in reading the History of Logic as in studying the Social Questions of the Christian centuries. All along the march from the Olivet of the Ascension to the heights of the civilization of our own age, we see, like the memorials of the ancient conquerors, the trophies that tell “ Christ is Preached.” Yes, preaching has been God's grandest instrumentality for affecting the condition of man and society; and there has been no dethronement of unjust power so effectual, as where it has been “ shot through and through with cunning words,” reminding us of the grand prophecy, “He shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked." He that does not « rejoice” that Christ has been preached, and is preached, is dead to the sublimest forces that act in behalf of the well being of man.
But how is it that we are able to trace the effects of Christianity upon the individual and society through all the ages since the work began ? Is it by an exclusive or by a liberal standard ? Is it by taking the single standpoint of some one church or party, and regarding only what comes within the scope of our vision there? To do this
-to occupy such a position, as a church historian, would bring upon the man the censure of all good and true men. More and more is the demand made, that a generous comprehensiveness shall mark the historian's page; that he shall remember that good men and good efforts belong to the church universal, and not to any particular branch of that church. Hence it is that a nobler spirit of criticism is taking possession of the minds of the wise and learned, and the memory of the great is not now so much abused by being claimed exclusively for that department of Christ's church which was specially favored by them. Religious biography is assuming more attractive proportions; and the graces and powers of the Christian life look out upon us from all the various sects, and are greeted as helpers of our joy-as expressions of what a unity of virtue and goodness is possible, despite the diversity of creeds and articles of faith. Christ is preached by them all, and he knows nothing of the true Apostolic Succession ” who does not rejoice as Paul did, in all ways in which Christ was preached. (Phil i. 18.)
It is instructive to notice the argument made by various churches against a common foe-the skeptic or unbeliever. To meet the skeptic or unbeliever, and to glorify what Christianity hath done, and thus vindicate its claims to the attention of every soul, what is the course pursued ? A course quite commendable—a method that takes a comprehensive view of the church, and that recognizes the one spirit of adherence to Jesus amid the diversities of operations and administrations. Like the true artist, who goes through the hall of genius to study excellence everywhere, to catch the presence of the beautiful wherever it may beam upon him, so the church, animated with a new love for whatever is really good and can be brought out against a common adversary, is less inclined to ask for names and titles, the length of the creed or the number of the articles of faith, and pours the gathered wealth into the treasury of the Lord. A broad and generous meaning is thus given to the idea that Christ is preached ; and the rejoicing is great because it is the joy of Apostolic Comprehensiveness.
Now the question is—and it is the question of this hour and this age: Why may not this same principle be applied to the present activities of Christians? Why should we not employ the same comprehensiveness of judgement in reference to living saints, as is employed in reference to the dead? Why should we not recognize Christ as really preached amid the diversities of sects now active, as amid the diversity of past ages ? Must it ever be that « 'tis distance lends enchantment to the view ?” Shall we require the sanctity of death in order to be just to our fellow Christians ? ' Must the Church be like the State in
asking that the true and faithful be removed from the possibilities of ambitious effort, before devotion can be recognized or regard cherished for true excellence ? This spirit of selfishness should be rebuked. It does much to hide from the seeking soul the triumphs of the gospel, the greatness of Christ's conquests, the encouragements to noblest effort; and Christians are continually re-enacting the scene of Elijah under the juniper tree where he wished to die, because he imagined he alone served the Lord. Jehovah fed him and took him to Horeb, and there showed him what came for him to worship after the strong wind, the earthquake, and the fire had passed. He found he was only one among seven thousand; and how crest. fallen must he feel who imagines he is the only one “ faithful; found,” when, unknown or unrecognized, there are seven thousand !
A new era of endeavor and success will dawn when, rising to loftier heights of comprehension, Christians shall become like that same Elijah when looking up to the mountain, in the cool morning air, he knelt and prayed that the eyes of his servant might be opened to see that there were more for him than against him. Then shall " the mountain of the Lord's house” expand ; and to Christians, beholding and estimating aright the vast variety of sincere efforts to preach Christ, shall the joy of Pentecost return, the joy of Paul's heart when, amid persecution and bigotry, he looked steadily at the combination against him and wrote, “ Christ is preached, and therein I rejoice, yea, and will rejoice."
There is something exceedingly genial in this expression of Paul's comprehensiveness. He had a greater breadth of mind than any other of the apostles; and while he was the greatest logician, he was also the best preacher of charity. True greatness of mind is always liberal. It can afford to be generous. It has no Diogenes spirit, that says, “Get out of my sunshine," but recognizes the sunshine as made for all, and is glad when others can enjoy it. It breathes a sympathy for all excellence, and regards every new exhibition of moral power as so much added to the common stock for enriching the world. It says, “I am debtor both to the Greeks and to the bar., barians, both to the wise and to the unwise,” because it
beholds its own wealth of mind as the contributions of the past and as a trust for the future. Like the gorgeous clouds that seem to know they rose from the earth to their height of splendor, and at length give rain to the earth that it may give “ seed to the sower and bread to the eater," so truly great minds give back from their elevated stations the richness that has glorified them by enriching mankind. And what can be nobler than the position assumed by the apostle where he regards opposition to himself, on the part of some Christians, without dissatisfaction, because That opposition gave a new energy to their efforts and increased their zeal. "Some indeed,” he says, “preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds; but the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then ?” he continues,—What position shall I take ? or what method shall I pursue? “Notwithstanding every way, whether in pretence or in truth, Christ is preached ; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.” What he wanted was to get Christ before the world—to have his truths proclaimed-his claims set up—men called to him—the attractions of his cross sent forth as electric currents to vivify the moral nature, and rouse to moral glory the lethargic soul. He knew that the world was thirsting for the water of life, and he did not wait till only golden cups were brought, chased and embossed after his individual taste; but he was glad to see the water received, though the hand tendered a poor vessel and shook with passion as it gave it.
That to preach Christ of contention is wrong, we all know; but the grand point is here. More or less human imperfection will mingle with the administration of the gospel, and it is for us to rejoice, rather, that Christ is preached, than to dwell only on the modifying imperfections. But how is it with Christians now? Is there not rather a looking after the mote in the eye, than a readiness to see the expression of the soul as it is given in the eye? Is there not a throwing away of the elixir of life because the cup is not what we recognize to be a chalice ? We “look through a glass dimly," rather than shattering the glass and seeing face to face.
When Webster made his grand effort in reply to Hayne,