« AnteriorContinuar »
to be stereotyped in the forming of all modern trusts, for they invariably start out with asseverations of piety and good-will, but the claw is soon revealed, and the price to consumers is advanced. Organized capital is thus little by little eating its cankerous way into the very vitals of this splendid republic. Christianity is as yet powerless to help. Members of churches, elders, deacons,—all fall down and worship the golden calf. This may not be true in smaller cities and villages, but in cities like Chicago it is absolutely true with scarcely any exception. Gospel good-will and economic ill-will do not seem to be hostile to each other in the opinion of many. And yet the statutes are plainly against just such actions, and the men who do these things are criminals under our laws. Is it not time for the pulpits to cry out against these evils?
ONE OF CHICAGO'S ASSESSORS,-"GUILTY.”
Z. S. H.
FOR nearly a year the Taxpayers' Defense League of Chicago has been prosecuting the assessor of the South Town for criminal conduct in managing the affairs of his office. Three indictments were secured: the first, for soliciting bribes, in the trial for which a jury found him not guilty. The second was for malfeasance in office, and upon this he has been found guilty. The penalty is a fine. The trial under the third charge is yet to come, for conspiracy. Few people realize the importance of this victory over an abuse that has threatened the integrity of the commercial life of Chicago. Before the last election of assessors, the League obtained pledges from all but one of the candidates, that assessments for 1898 should be made upon a uniform and equitable basis.
NOTICES OF RECENT PUBLICATIONS.
ESQUISSE D'UNE PHILOSOPHIE DE LA RELIGION: D'après la Psychologie et l'Histoire. Par AUGUSTE SABATIER, Professeur de l'Université de Paris, Doyen de la Faculté de Théologie Protestante. Pp. xvi, 412. 8vo. Paris: Librairie Fischbacher.
The author has divided this exceedingly interesting volume into three books, of which the first deals with Religion and its origin, the second with Christianity and its essence, and the third with Dogma and its nature. Although the point of view throughout the work is necessarily a philosophical one, it in no way prevents a deep religious tone from pervading the entire volume, while the author's reverence for his subject is plainly manifested in many ways. In the first book, after considering the utter inadequacy of such theories as refer religion to a political invention or to a mythological source, he proceeds to show that religion is born of the sentiment of distress, that the feeling of dependence is that of the presence of God in us, that religion is immortal, that it is the prayer of the heart, that it contains a passive element of dependence and an active element of the movement of liberty, and, finally, that it is an essential characteristic of human nature. Turning to the idea of revelation, he shows that it has gone through three stages,-a mythological, a dogmatical, and a critical. In the first, the imagination was freely used; in the second, the outward form was unduly exalted; while in the third, the psychological element predominates. There is, he says, in all piety a certain manifestation of God, and revelation is therefore evident, internal, and progressive. "In Deo vivimus, movemur et sumus." Ancient and modern ideas of a miracle and the history of the word are next treated in a lucid and helpful manner, and the subject of revelation is still further considered. Religious revelation is nothing else than an organic penetration of man by God; but it is to be noted that it is by a God wholly internal, so that, when the process is complete, the man finds himself more really and more fully himself than ever before. This brings the author to the religious development of humanity. Religion is a social and historical phenomenon, and the secret of the future of a race is concealed in its religion. Progress in the framework or plan of religion, he illustrates by historical examples of the union or development of various cults and creeds. In the conception of the divine there has also
been a development, dependent on general progress; for man has had no resources outside of himself in forming his conception of the divine. Sacrifice was originally a form of prayer, and the savage beats his fetich, when it is not sufficiently obliging; while the Christian ideal of prayer is, "Thy will be done." Absolute religion and absolute moral life are identical terms.
The second great division of the book begins with a brief study of Judaism from the standpoint of the higher criticism, after which the author turns to his real problem, namely, the essence of Christianity. In its diverse modern forms, the root of Christianity is hard to get at; but history and psychology clear the problem. Christianity is a perfect religion. The religious consciousness of Jesus determines the Christian principle. He knew himself as a son of God, and he knew God as his father. This is the essence of Christianity. But the gospel of Jesus is internal in its nature, and it is only for those who wish to share in it. At peace with God, Jesus was at peace with the universe. Justice and mercy were reconciled on the cross. A distinction must here be made, according to the author, between the purely moral essence of Christianity and all its expressions or historical realizations. There may be things which have been imperfectly comprehended or imperfectly related, things expressed in an oriental or contingent form which needs an interpretation in modern speech. Then, too, there has been progress in Christianity, though the past affects the present. Christianity is not only the liberty of God but it is also his holiness and all his other characteristics; it is, in short, the union of morality and religion. The evolution of the Christian principle has been marked from the start by conflict. No one form of Christianity has a monopoly of the truth. The apostolic church came out of Judaism and was a messianic church. In time it gave place to Catholicism, to which heathen religions contributed liberally. The famous statue of Peter itself in Rome, was once a statue of Jupiter. Christianity was thus transformed into a sacerdotal theocracy. The reaction came in Protestantism, a sort of semi-rationalism seeking to know how sinners may be justified before God. The reformers had their limitations; but “The just shall live by faith" produced the grandest religious evolution since Christ himself. Catholicism deals with externals; Protestantism, with internals. Protestantism is more than a doctrine: it is a method which aims at internal self-government.
In his treatment of Dogma, the author has been most happy. He shows not only its limitations but also its excellences, its nature, its necessity in religious life, and its genesis. He defines the word as 'a doctrinal proposition which has become, in a religious society, by reason of the decision of competent authorities, an object of faith and a rule of beliefs and morals.' From the Catholic standpoint, a dogma, of necessity, was regarded as the word of God, and heresy was therefore most detestable. Such a notion cannot exist with a Protestant idea of religion. The
Protestant church has no other mission than to lead souls to its Master. The divine and human elements in the Bible cannot be separated. Dogma is needed to propagate religious life and to edify the church; but its authority is neither absolute nor eternal. Dogmas are therefore not immutable, they are not at once destroyed by criticism, and they are not the essence of religion. They are an expression of faith. Dogma contains a mysterious and practical element, properly religious, which comes from the experience or piety of the church, and an intellectual or theoretical element, a judgment of the spirit, a philosophical proposition, which serves to clothe and express the first. Dogmatics is accordingly a mixed science, related to both the church and philosophy. It follows the life of the one and the vicissitudes of the other. Humanity is building an eternal temple of which the main columns are science and a holy life. Religious knowledge, therefore, is subject to the law of transformation which rules all manifestations of human life and thought.
H. W. MAGOUN.
THE CHRIST OF HISTORY AND OF EXPERIENCE. Being the Kerr Lectures for 1897. By Rev. DAVID W. FORREST, M.A., Wellington Church, Glasgow. Svo. Pp. xx, 479. New York: Imported by Charles Scribner's Sons. 1897. $4.20.
In this volume we find very helpful discussions of The Uniqueness of Christ's Moral Self-Consciousness"; "Christ's Self-Consciousness as interpreted by his Claims"; "The Growth of Christ's Self-Consciousness, and the Method of his Self-Manifestation. Jesus and the Twelve"; "The Transition from the Historical to the Spiritual Christ"; "The Person of Christ and his Revelation of the Godhead"; "The Objective Element in the Redemptive Work of Christ"; "The New Life in Christ and the Conditions of its Realization"; "The Relation of the Spiritual to the Historical in Christian Faith"; "The Conditions of the Final Judgment Is Faith in Christ necessarily Conscious?"
It is rarely that we have met more sound learning, discriminating statement, and felicitous answers to objections than are welded together in this noble defense and exposition of the things most central to the Christian faith. One of the many striking original arguments in the books is that in favor of his sinlessness, drawn, in the first lecture, from
Christ's habits of prayer. "Christ's last prayer was a prayer not with them, but for them. . . . There is not a whisper of contrition; only the spirit of a perfect confidence, and the ring of an assured triumph. The best of men hopes to enter heaven, but as a humble penitent; Jesus enters it as a conqueror" (p. 26). The author's confidence in the reality of Christ's resurrection is ably maintained in the fourth lecture. “The disastrous close of the career of Jesus would have paralyzed whatever confidence they [the disciples] had in his triumph, had it not been for the indisputable proof of his risen appearances" (p. 162). A single par
agraph upon the subject of future probation is sufficient to illustrate the author's clearness of view and felicity of statement: We delude ourselves if we imagine that by any hypothesis as to the future we can redress the inequalities of earth, and secure what we would call a fair and equal opportunity to all men. Even though you postulate an environment after death wholly free from the thousand evil influences that here have degraded a soul, yet that soul bears its degradation with it into the life to come. It does not start under its new conditions where many others start. But if there be still that germ of good in it remaining from its earthly life, which is capable of development into a true faith in Christ, then God, 'in whom is no before,' does not need to await its development after death to adjudge to the soul its true destiny" (p. 376).
THE CHRISTIAN VIEW OF GOD AND THE WORLD as centering in the Incarnation. Being the Kerr Lectures for 1890-91. By JAMES ORR, D.D., Professor of Church History in the United Presbyterian College, Edinburgh. Third Edition. Pp. xx, 480. Crown 8vo. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 1897. $2.75.
The continued demand for this volume of lectures by Dr. Orr is a hopeful sign of the times. With ample scholarship and abundant references to the literature, the author presents an extremely satisfactory and indeed unanswerable defense of the evangelical system of doctrine of Christianity as embodied in the most positive creeds and most vigorous life of Protestantism. Every page bristles with apt literary references; while the whole is so thoroughly digested that the reader feels no lack of conclusiveness, even if he omits the notes and references altogether. It is one of the books that can be unhesitatingly recommended for a place in the personal library of those who are subject to the infection of modern doubt. The volume treats of the central place of Christ's Person in religion; Christianity as a theistic system; the Christian view of the nature of man, of the disorder of the world, of the incarnation of God in Christ, of the incarnation and the plan of the world, the incarnation and the redemption from sin, and the incarnation and human destiny. The discussion is specially aimed at the illusory and disappointing generalizations of the Ritschlian theology, which dissipates the foundations of reality underlying the Christian system, and resolves it into a collection of subjective "value judgments.”
THE ANCIENT FAITH IN MODERN LIGHT. A Series of Essays by T. VINCENT TYMMS, EDWARD MEDLEY, ALFRED CAVE, SAMUEL G. GREEN, R. VAUGHAN PRYCE, SAMUEL NEWTH, JOSEPH PARKER, WILLIAM BROCK, J. GUINNESS ROGERS. and the late HENRY ROBERT REYNOLDS. Pp. xxvii, 416. New York: Imported by Charles Scribner's Sons. $4.50.
These essays are from well-known conservative scholars, and deal with topics which are uppermost in the minds of the English-reading public.