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tianity. Not merely does this appear in such New Testament texts as these: “God is spirit,” “The letter killeth, the spirit giveth life”: not only does the New Testament just graze and escape Pantheism in such passages as “From whom, and through whom, and to whom are all things,” “Who is above all, and through all, and in us all,” “In him we live and move and have our being," but the whole history of Christianity is the record of a spiritualism almost too excessive. It has appeared in the worship of the Church, the hymns of the Church, the tendencies to asceticism, the depreciation of earth and man. Christianity, therefore, fully meets Brahmanism on its positive side, while it fulfils its negations, as we shall see hereafter, by adding as full a recognition of man and nature.
The positive side of Buddhism is its cognition of the human soul and the natural laws of the universe. Now, if we look into the New Testament and into the history of the Church, we find this element also fully expressed. It appears in all the parables and teachings of Jesus, in which man is represented as a responsible agent, rewarded or punished according to the exact measure of his works; receiving the government of ten or five cities according to his stewardship. And when we look into the practical working of Christianity we find almost an exaggerated stress laid on the duty of saving one's soul. This excessive estimate is chiefly seen in the monastic system of the Roman Church, and in the Calvinistic sects of Protestantism. It also comes to light again, curiously enough, in such books as Combe's “ Constitution of Man," the theory of which is exactly the same as that of the Buddhists; namely, that the aim of life is a prudential virtue, consisting in wise obedience to the natural laws of the universe. Both systems substitute prudence for Providence as the arbiter of human destiny. But, apart from these special tendencies in Christianity, it cannot be doubted that all Christian experience recognizes the positive truth of Buddhism in regarding the human soul as a substantial, finite, but progressive monad, not to be absorbed, as in Brahmanism, in the abyss of absolute being. The positive side of the system of Confucius is the organization of the state on the basis of the family. The government of the emperor is paternal government, the obedience of the subject is filial obedience. Now, though Jesus did not for the first time call God “the Father," he first brought men into a truly filial relation to God. The Roman Church is organized on the family idea. The word “ Pope” means the “ Father”; he is the father of the whole Church. Every bishop and every priest is also the father of a smaller family, and all those born into the Church are its children, as all born into a family are born sons and daughters of the family. In Protestantism, also, society is composed of families as the body is made up of cells. Only in China, and in Christendom, is family life thus sacred and worshipful. In some patriarchal systems, polygamy annuls the wife and the mother; in others the father is a despot, and the children slaves; in other systems, the crushing authority of the state destroys the independence of the household. Christianity alone accepts with China the religion of family life with all its conservative elements, while it fulfils it with the larger hope of the kingdom of heaven and brotherhood of mankind.
This idea of the kingdom of heaven, so central in Christianity, is also the essential motive in the religion of Zoroaster. As, in the Zend Avesta, every man is a soldier, fighting for light or for darkness, and neutrality is impossible ; so, in the Gospel, light and good stand opposed to darkness and evil as perpetual foes. A certain current of dualism runs through the Christian Scriptures and the teaching of the Church. God and Satan, heaven and hell, are the only alternatives. Every one must choose between them. In the current theology, this dualism has been so emphasized as even to exceed that of the Zend Avesta. The doctrine of everlasting punishment and an everlasting hell has always been the orthodox doctrine in Christianity, while the Žend Avesta probably, and the religion in its subsequent development certainly, teaches universal restoration, and the ultimate triumph of good over evil. Nevertheless, practically, in consequence
of the greater richness and fulness of Christianity, this tendency to dualism has been neutralized by its monotheism, and evil kept subordinate; while, in the Zend religion, the evil principle assumed such proportions as to make it the formidable rival of good in the mind of the worshipper. Here, as before, we may say that Christianity is able to do justice to all the truth involved in the doctrine of evil, avoiding any superficial optimism, and recognizing the fact that all true life must partake of the nature of a battle.
The positive side of Egyptian religion we saw to be a recognition of the divine element in nature, of that plastic, mysterious life which embodies itself in all organisms. Of this view we find little stated explicitly in the New Testament. But that the principles of Christianity contain it, implicitly, in an undeveloped form, appears, (1.) Because Christian monotheism differs from Jewish and Mohammedan monotheism, in recognizing God“ in all things” as well as God “above all things.” (2.) Because Christian art and literature differ from classic art and literature in the romantic element, which is exactly the sense of this mysterious life in nature. The classic artist is a frontńs, a maker; the romantic artist is a troubadour, a finder. The one does his work in giving form to a dead material; the other, by seeking for its hidden life. (3.) Because modern science is invention, i. e. finding. It recognizes mysteries in nature which are to be searched into, and this search becomes a serious religious interest with all truly scientific men. It appears to such men a profanity to doubt or question the revelations of nature, and they believe in its infallible inspiration quite as much as the dogmatist believes in the infallible inspiration of Scripture, or the churchman in the infallible inspiration of the Church. We may, therefore, say, that the essential truth in the Egyptian system has been taken up into our modern Christian life.
And how is it, lastly, with that opposite pole of religious thought which blossomed out in “the fair humanities of old religion " in the wonderful Hellenic mind? The gods of Greece were men. They were not abstract ideas, concealing natural powers and laws. They were open as sunshine, bright as noon, a fair company of men and women idealized and gracious, just a little way off, a little way up. It was humanity projected upon the skies, divine creatures of more than mortal beauty, but thrilling with human life and human sympathies. Has Christianity anything to offer in the place of this charming system of human gods and goddesses?
We answer that the fundamental doctrine of Christianity is the incarnation, the word made flesh. It is God revealed in man. Under some doctrinal type this has always been believed. The common Trinitarian doctrine states it in a somewhat crude and illogical form. Yet somehow the man Christ Jesus has always been seen to be the best revelation of God. But unless there were some human element in the Deity, he could not reveal himself so in a human life. The doctrine of the incarnation, therefore, repeats the Mosaic statement that “
man was made in the image of God.” Jewish and Mohammedan monotheism separate God entirely from the world. Philosophic monotheism, in our day, separates God from man, by teaching that there is nothing in common between the two by which God can be mediated, and so makes him wholly incomprehensible. Christianity gives us Emmanuel, God with us, equally removed from the stern despotic omnipotence of the Semitic monotheism and the finite and imperfect humanities of Olympus. We see God in Christ, as full of sympathy with man, God “in us all ”; and yet we see him in nature, providence, history, as "above all ” and “through all.” The Roman Catholic Church has, perhaps, humanized religion too far. For every god and goddess of Greece she has given us, on some immortal canvas, an archangel or a saint to be adored and loved. Instead of Apollo and the Python we have Guido's St. Michael and the Dragon ; in place of the light, airy Mercury she provides a St. Sebastian; instead of the "untouched” Diana, some heavenly Agnes or Cecilia. The Catholic heaven is peopled, all the way up, with beautiful human forms; and on the upper throne we have holiness and tenderness incarnate in the queen
of heaven and her divine Son. All the Greek humanities are thus fulfilled in the ample faith of Christendom.
By such a critical survey as we have thus sketched in mere outline it will be seen that each of the great ethnic religions is full on one side, but empty on the other, while Christianity is full all round. Christianity is adapted to take their place, not because they are false, but because they are true as far as they go. They “know in part and prophesy in part ; but when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away."
§ 8. Comparative Theology will probably show that Ethnic
Religions are arrested, or degenerate, and will come to an End, while the Catholic Religion is capable of a progressive Development.
The religions of Persia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, have come to an end ; having shared the fate of the national civilization of which each was a part. The religions of China, Islam, Buddha, and Judæa have all been arrested, and remain unchanged and seemingly unchangeable. Like great vessels anchored in a stream, the current of time flows past them, and each year they are further behind the spirit of the age, and less in harmony with its demands. Christianity alone, of all human religions, seems to possess the power of keeping abreast with the advancing civilization of the world. As the child's soul grows with his body, so that when he becomes a man it is a man's soul and not a child's, so the Gospel of Jesus continues the soul of all human culture. It continually drops its old forms and takes new ones. It passed out of its Jewish body under the guidance of Paul. In a speculative age it unfolded into creeds and systems. In a worshipping age it developed ceremonies and a ritual. When the fall of Rome left Europe without unity or centre, it gave it an organization and order through the Papacy. When the Papacy became a tyranny, and the Renaissance called for free thought, it suddenly put forth