The Present Attitude Of Evangelical Christianity Towards The Prominent Forms Of Assault -- By: S. C. Bartlett
BSac 25:97 (Jan 1868) p. 152
The Present Attitude Of Evangelical Christianity Towards The
Prominent Forms Of Assault1
The book we call the Bible occupies, materially, a narrow space. Its life of Christ is among the shortest of biographies. Compared with Kant or Mill, its Utterances of truth make a very humble show. We do not learn that a written word ever emanated from its chief personage, except as we read, in a disputed passage, that he once wrote with his finger on the ground.
But that volume has been the seed-grain of libraries and literatures, the spark of intellectual life and strife, the battlefield of the world’s intellect. That system has stood like a huge lodestone among all other systems, as in their attractions or repulsions they have pointed towards it or away. And from his early tomb that personage has perpetually raised himself up through the wreck of empires and the oblivion of ages, and he calmly faces the world today with those memorable words: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”
Eighteen hundred years of assault, culminating now, have spent their strength upon Christ and his gospel. Every joint and rivet of the celestial armor have been struck. If there are accumulations of force or of reasoning, of science, wit, or scoffing, of philosophy, history, or criticism; if there is keenness of intellect or breadth of learning which have not yet shot their shaft, who will tell us in what shape or from what quarter they can come? At this stage of the conflict, therefore, I propose to take a brief survey of the field, that we may
BSac 25:97 (Jan 1868) p. 153
make some estimate of the present attitude of evangelical Christianity towards the prominent forms of assault.
By evangelical Christianity, I mean the system which asserts the supernatural interposition of God through Jesus Christ, as recorded in the sacred scriptures, and of which those scriptures are a part, for the recovery and forgiveness of sinful man.
The scheme of redemption includes alike the mission of the Word and the mission of the Spirit. A series of grand historic facts became the germ of a mighty living power. The visible fruit in the present tells of the unseen root in the past. But for the fact of redemption, our assurance of forgiveness is a dream; but for the outstanding promise of a divine help, our hope of perfect union to God, but a mocking mirage. The work of the living Christ rests evermore on the work of the dying Christ. For a generation past it has been quite fashionable to disparage the “evidences” and apologetics of Christianity. But it is well to remember that from Coleridge to Baden ...
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