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trast with the barbarism of other nations, was favorable to Christianity. Greek culture was far in advance of Jewish culture, and it was broader too. Hence as Dr. Clarke says : “ As a matter of fact we find believers in the Greek religion more ready to receive Christianity than were the Jews. All through Asia Minor and Greece, Christian churches were planted by Paul; a fact which shows that the ground was somehow prepared for Christianity.” “ The large culture of Greece was evidently adapted to Christianity. The Jewish mind recognized no suchi need as that of universal culture, and this tendency of Christianity could only have found room and opportunity among those who had received the influence of Hellenic culture.”1
Professor Cocker, in his work on “ Christianity and Greek Philosophy," reaches the same conclusion. The progress which the Greeks had made in literature, art, taste, refinement, trade and philosophy, fitted them more easily to receive Christianity. It “must have some connection with the reason of man, and it must also have some relation to the progressive development of human thought in the ages which preceded the advent of Christ.”. Christianity inaintained a connection with the past. “It proceeded along lines of thought wliich had been laid through ages of preparation ; it clothed itself in forms of speech which had been moulded by centuries of education, and it appropriated to itself a moral and intellectual culture which had been effected by long periods of severest discipline. It was in fact the consummation of the whole moral and religious history of the world.”
Aya'n, the peculiar characteristics of the Greeks, their love of the beautisul, their æsthetic taste, their reverence for the divine, “a ripe and pervading culture which lias made Athens a synonym for all that is greatest and best in the genius of man,” – all these enter into the very idea of Greek civilization, and they “contributed to the spread of the Gospel.
?Ten Great Religions, 310, 312. 2Christianity and Greek Philosophy, 461-2, 466-6. As bearing in the same direction also, sec Neander's Church History, Vol. 1; Cudworth's Intellectual System of the Universe, and the Alexandrian Fathers, Cleinens and Origen.
One reason that may be adduced for the decline of the Christian religion after it had gained a foothold in a large portion of the civilized world during the first four centuries, is the fact that schools declined, education was neglected, and intellectual as well as moral darkness settled down upon Christendom. If Christianity triumphis in the realın of the emotions, but has no hold upon the reason and the understanding, it must soon be numbered with the things that “ perish with the using.” This is verified in our own land and in our day. Converts that come into the church through appeals to the feelings simply, seldom“ persevere unto the end." They may be very zealous at first, but their “zeal is not according to knowledge," and they soon “ backslide." Christianity is the child of light and not of darkness, and it thrives the best in the blaze of the brightest mental illuinination. It declined during the long night of the “ dark agcs," but it caine forth with new energy when the light of the Renaissance beamed upon Europe. And it is a noteworthy lact that the Reformation in Italy, Gerinany, Switzerland, Hol. laud, France and England, in the sixteenth century, followed, or was accompanied by, the revival of letters. The Humanists and the Platonists co-operated with the monks and the theologians in bringing in the new and reformed religion. The gospel in its purity and fulness flourishics most ia those nations which pay special attention to the cultivation of the mental powers through the aid of literature, science and pliilosophy. Professor Van Dyck was right in his remark. Bring Palestine back to its foriner enlightenment, and the religion of Jesus who taught on its hill.tops and through its vales, will gain victories there once more, as in days of the past. Even now, where this religion has gained the firmest hold, as in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, and other cities and villages there, we find the people the most intelligent. As Canon Farrar, while contrasting the vigor of Christianity with the fatal apathy" and “gradual decay” of Islam, says: “the traveller in Palestine may be shocked to see even the fair hill of Nazareth surmounted by the white-domed Wely
of an obscure Mohammedan saint; but he will be re-assured as he notices in every town and village, where Christians are, there is activity and vigor, while all the places which are purely Islamite, look as though they had been smitten as with a palsy, by some withering and irreparable cuirse.”3
Grecce excels Turkey not merely because she professes the Christian religion, but because Athens has her State University, while Constantinople lias 110 institution of the same grade, but relies upon the Greeks who are educated at Athens to fill the learned professions. For it is a well attested fact that some three-fourths of the teachers, physicians and other professional men of Turkey, are educated Greeks. Such a fact will some timc tell upon the destiny of the two countries and the different forms of religion which they profess. One great benefit which our foreign missionaries conser upon the barbarous nations which they visit, is the establishment of high schools and c:lleges, where the natives acquire varied learning as well as Gospel truth and salvation. They say that they can do little towards securing the permanent establishinent of the Gospel until they awaken in the minds of those whom they seek to couvert, a desire for knowledge. This fact has an important bearing upon the choice of means and methods for converting the world to Christianity.
Where has Christianity made the most rapid progress and gained the greatest victorics? In those countries like England, Gormany, Switzerland, other parts of Europe, and the United States, where it is generally admitted that the human mind has made the greatest attainments in literature, art and science. History illustrates and substantiates our position.
Great intellectual achiererents sometimes generate pride of learning in the heart which may induce some to substitute culture for Christianity. This is sciolism and folly, and results ever in a disgraceful failure. Intellectual attainment is not religion. It never can satisfy the demands of the relig. ious nature. It is only a preparation for religion. True culture is devont. It takes hold of the licart and affections
8 The Witness of History to Christ, 114.
as well as the intellect. It looks upon literature and science as the allies of faith. The true scholar knows the value of human learning, and always holds it subordinate to man's. spiritual nature, which he acknowledges to be the kingly element of his mind. This does not cheapen learning, but makes it the most valuable means for promoting the highest form of truth ever revealed to the human mind.
Christianity is Heaven's best gift to man. While it is adapted to all classes and conditions of humanity, it finds a secure lodgment in cultured intellects and satisfies their utmost needs. This is additional evidence of its divine origin. If it was fitted to meet the demands of the undeveloped soul only, it would detract from the wisdom of its great Founder. He has opened the fountains of Gospel grace to the lear:red and unlearned, the wise and the unwise, and taught us to value his spiritual gifts none the less because they are designed for all. But the more faithfully we use the means placed within our reach for disciplining and expanding the faculties of mind, the clearer will be the view we shall obtain of the great system of divino truth, and the deeper and broader our appreciation of its far-reaching and universal scope.
J. S. Lee, D. D.
The Intellectual Supremacy of Jesus Christ.
We do not propose, in this article, to discuss the relative rank of Jesus Christ. The unexplainable doctrine of the Trinity, as formulated in many creeds, is too absurd for belicf. The extreme humanitarianism of inodern skeptics is equally offensive. The first is a perversion of Scriptural teachings; the second is a violation of historical evidence. Nor dues popular sentimentalism give us a very clear and ennobling conception of Him in whose name the Christian
worships. We are told of “the weeping Christ," " the man of sorrows,” and “the poor wayfarer.” We admit that tenderness for wandering prodigals, sorrow for human suffering and worldly poverty, were characteristics of Christ. Saint and savage, the wise and ignorant are drawn toward Him because they have human hearts. But may not earnest be. lievers lay too much stress on these phases of Christ's character? And, as a logical deduction, from such premises, the greatest of modern skeptics, Renan, condescendingly remarks that “ He was a youth well calculated to win the love of children and Syrian maids.” But tenderness, humility and tears do not revolutionize society, organize empires, and establish moral codes and religious systems. They do not give an impetus to the human soul which deepens and broadens as the centuries go on. They do not meet every human being on his own level, and stimulate him to heroic efforts by revealing glimpses of a higher life. This universality of Christ, though an unsolved problem to the greatest intellectual prodigy of earth. Napoleon, is to us, at the present day, a simple truth. Clirist alone, of all reformers, was able to measure the extent of human possibilities. To the leaders of huinan thought the human soul was linited in its capabilities, while the truth is that, like its Author, it is past finding out. Its grandest achievements, in any department of action or knowledge, from the earth beneath to God above, instcad of exhausting its powers, only qualifies it for more vigorous efforts. Before the Advent the wisest and best failed to recognize this important fact. They might boast that what man has done they could do, but failed to perceive that what any one man has done, only prepares other men to do inore. And this, apparently, limitless power of the human soul Christ was the first to discover, and it became the central force of his system. And the intellect that could discover this truth, which Plato and Socrates failed to see, raised him above the most favored of the race ; while tlie perception that the worth of the individual is not dependent on condition, made him the friend of sinners.” He could pause in a