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“A Few Words about Christianity” have been multiplied into a full Confession of Faith, and as such they are published. This constitutes the sole plea that can be offered in justification of the very confident tone here taken in the advancement of views on Christianity differing widely from those generally received.
These views are especially commended to the attention of earnest inquirers of her own sex, by one in whose mind “neither now nor yesterday began these thoughts” concerning the nature and origin of pure religion.
FROM the numerous reasons which might be adduced for the popularity of “ Ecce Homo,” it is difficult to choose the one which should take the first place. This may, perhaps, be fairly given to the prominent position which theology now holds in public interest.
Foremost among the subjects included under “theology” is the inquiry, "What think ye of Christ ?” Almost any answer, so it be not strictly orthodox, is listened to, while clever writers, such as M. Renan, and the author of “ Ecce Homo,” gain a numerous and attentive class of readers. The chief attraction in the works of both is, that
they profess to represent to us“ Christ after the flesh.”
It has been well said, that “ in the view of many Christians, Christ is, after all, only a Phantom Man.” I do not see how it should be otherwise. The Bible, it is true, brings Him before us as a real man more distinctly than does the popular theology ; but the New Testament is itself affected by the popular theology and superstitions of the post-apostolic age.
The record of Christ's life was for some time traditional, and, moreover, “it does not appear that any special care was taken in the first age to preserve the books of the New Testament from injury; or to insure perfect accuracy of transcription; they were given as a heritage to man, and it was some time before he felt the full value of the gift. The original copies seem soon to have perished.”*
The preservation of sacred words is one of the “ perennial miracles which the soul worketh :"
6 One accent of the Holy Ghost,
This heedless world hath never lost." +
* Dr. Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, vol. ii., p. 506.
Embedded in much that is worthless,“ of the earth, earthy,” is the pure ore to be found by those who care to look for it. The pure Vedas of the Hindoos have been preserved amidst absurdest superstitions. The works of Plato, which so few in any one generation appreciate, “come down for those few as though God brought them in His hand."* Yet no miracle was performed by Socrates to impress the mind of Plato, or of the Athenian youths, nor does any record of miracles entice men into reading the works of Plato. The fact that “the words of Jesus are as effective now as when His mouth was first opened,” + is the “unapparent” miracle, beside which all others, could they be never so well attested as proofs of Divine power in Him, must “ pale their ineffectual fires.”
From this faith arises a perception that whatever confirms the supposition that the unmoral supernatural had anything to do with the influence exerted by Christ over the souls of men, detracts from His real, that is, His Spiritual Power.
I cannot think it would be any satisfaction to an earnest preacher in our own day, to know that the