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CHRIST AND CHRISTIANITY., Issue 7964, 20 July 1889, Supplement
CHRIST AND CHRISTIANITY.
TO THE EDITOR. Sir,—The Rev. H. R. Haweis, incumbent of St. James's, Marylebone, is a member of the Broad Church school in the Anglican establishment. He has published a variety of books— e.g., 'Thoughts for the Times,' ' Speech in Season, ' Current Coin,' 'Arrows in the Air,' 'Poets in the Pulpit,' 'The Key for 1884,' ' Winged Words,' ' Unseotarian Family Prayers,' 'Musio and Morals,' 'My Musical Life,' 'American Humorists,' 'Ashes to Ashes,' 'Pet, or Pastimes and Penalties.' And now here are two new volumes from the same prolific pen. 'The Story of the Four Gospels' is an eclectic production. The author is, indeed, in the wrong shop, for at heart he is a Unitarian. He gives us bis surmises about the dates and authorship of the Gospels, the Acts, and the Apocalypse. The Gospels—as we have them now—were not written till a.d. 150. From the haze of the first century stepß out the luminous figure of the God • man. The action of divine inspiration on the soul is impartial, and freely given to all, according to their measure of receptivity. The author subjects the books to historical criticism, and gives us the results of his researches. Truth, religious or scientific, is always in harmony with itself, and with every other truth. Till 160 a.d. we never heir about the infallibility of the canon of inspiration. We hear of a Son of God, but not of tht Son of God. Theophilus of Antioch first announced the dogma of the Trinity. Mark, who dwells rather upon the acts than the discourses of Christ, first gave us his version about 70-75. Matthew wrote his gospel between 80-90. He dwells more upon the words (which are spirit and life) of Christ. Luke wrote his account about 94 a.d. His gospel emerged out of a mass of oral and written tradition. It is the Broad Church Gospel which satisfies our author, who wishes to throw off the accidentals and adhere to the essentials of Christianity. The eternal elements are a belief in a God of love—a conviction that He has revealed Himself through human nature—belief in a God-communion, etc. Christ is the medium of exhibiting to man what God was, what God meant, as far as it was possible for us
to lay hold effectively of Him and to con' ceive of His human side at all.
John's Gospel was redacted out of his memorabilia. It is saturated with Gnosticism, Gnosticism has given to Christianity a metaphysical framework. It was written in the beginning of the second century. The Acts may have been written in the year 90. They constitute the Broad Church commentary. The Book of Revelation was written in the year 69. It has been the subject of the wildest interpretations. We should, however, read Tacitus and Suetonius by the side of St, John; study the New Testament intelligently by the light of ita contemporary history. We are, after all, in the midßt of darkness, confusion, and conjecture regarding the story of the four Evangelists. In the next volume Haweie gives us the picture of Jesus. Wo get a panoramic view of the salient events of His life. " For the first 300 years there was no authoritative definition of Christ's divinity." That was reserved for the Council of Nice. Christ had not the fulness of Deity in himself, any more than a bay of the sea, albeit the bay is sea, but not all the sea; a cupful of the Bea, but only a small drop of it, according to its capacity. Our author is very heretical, I fear, for an Episcopalian minister. For thirty years Christ led a retired life. Si vis Divinus esse late ut Dens. He gave himself forth as the Revolator of a divine union between God and man—the divine power revealed in every man, as he is able to receive and use it. What you are, not who you are ; what you do, not what you've got, is the question as to our fitness for His kingdom. In Him we have an ideal standard of perfection—practical and inspiring. " In Christ Divinity is seen to be human and Humanity divine. Not only does He present the real character of God to usward as that of an affectionate and moral being, but He represents man before God, made perfect like God, our expectation and hope that * we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.'"
Jesus pushed aside asceticism, ceremonialism, and sanctimoniousness. "To live amongst men and do right, and if necessary to die for right on the Cross—that is Christi anity." His teaohiug was simple and sublime, humane, and loving; but at times vigorous and rigorous. Atonement, inspiration, baptismal regeneration, Apostolical succession are excrescences of an aftergrowth. The sin against the Holy Spirit is giving the lie to the moral sense. He enthroned goodness above all things. His kingdom is within the formation of habit, impression, lifediscipline, prayer, aspiration, spiritual communion.
"In Jesus God made a special use of human nature to reveal to man the moral and affectional—the human side of His own being—all of God that could be bo expressed."
His teaching had breadth and clearness. He denounced unsparingly the religious shams of his day, and assured the people of the divine and present sympathy of a Heavenly Father. In short, he gave us a high ideal of life. He saw at a glance the difference between true and falpo teaching, real and sham religion. He displayed tact and presence of mind in his controversies with his adversaries. In Judas and Pilate we see the danger of libing on a low moral plane. They were, however, primary blunderers and only secondary criminals, according to Haweis. Regarding His resurrection, Haweis puts it on a very low plane indeed. " The evidence for the reappearances of soire who have passed away is logically as strong, perhaps stronger, than the evidence attainable for any of the New Testament miracles, including the reappearance of the Saviour!" Poor Haweis! see how a clever man may be bamboozled himself, and befool others! " Even if you cannot prove absolutely that Jesus reappeared, you certainly cannot prove that he did not reappear." I have read all his bookß with pleasure, with some profit, and with not a little disappointment. His writings will not be read by the orthoi dox, and the learned will, perhaps, peruse them in a leisure hour, and then go their several ways. At all events, Haweis should join the Unitarian Communion ; for, where he is at present, he is verily a wolf in sheep's clothing. Come out from the English Church, and be consistent, and act honestly and nobly.—l am, etc., J. G. S. Grant. Dunedin, July 16.
CHRIST AND CHRISTIANITY., Issue 7964, 20 July 1889, Supplement
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