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Our Father, God; our brother, Man:
Now o' days, the common sense discountenances the logic dilemma of the Mohammedan that burned the Alexandrian library: namely, if the books accorded with the Koran, they were superfluous; if not, they were pernicious. Rather pleasanter to contemplate is the humor of the late Hebrew Lord Mayor of London, who, in making the customary contributions, cheerfully included the one to the Society for the Conversion of the Jews. No doubt, he parted with the jewel consistency; but, in his reciprocity,- his recognition of the good which Christianity does for "sheep on the other side of the fence," he kept the Koh-i-noor of the crown of his heart-treasure. Fishers of men may properly "fling a sprat to catch a herring." Bishop William Warburton lost nothing by his playfully whispered concession to Lord Sandwich, puzzled for a definition in the debate on the Test Law: "Orthodoxy is my doxy; heterodoxy is another man's doxy." Nor President Hayes, by saying in the face of partisans, “He serves his party best who serves his country best." It is becoming a popular sentiment that nothing is gained to religion by branding Justin Martyr "heterodox," though he declared the Logos was manifested before it appeared in Jesus. Not in secular politics alone do whole congregations "wander and apply" Goldsmith's animadversion on Burke,
Who born for the universe narrowed his mind,
W. H. H. Murray's remark, "To abuse another man's piety is a sorry way to prove your own," was also a seed dropped in good soil: it outgrows hostile sowings of tares, and finds welcome garners. More and more is getting appreciated the generous exclamation of O. B. Frothingham: "How cheering the summons to render full justice to the aspirations of mankind; to bring harmony out of the discordant utterances of faith; to demonstrate the fraternity of earnest thinkers and deep feelers in all time!" And clear and sunny above dispersing fogs of olden dark days-above both odium theologicum
and odium scepticum · - stand forth wise words of Jefferson: "Error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.” And of Lincoln: “With charity for all, with malice toward none, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right." And of Judge Thomas Russell, at the recent Plymouth celebration: "And we, honoring where we cannot always follow, admiring where we cannot all agree, reverence the belief of our fathers. And to all attacks and to all ridicule we reply,- and we love to repeat it,- The excesses of faith are better than the best thoughts of unbelief, and even the errors of faith may be imputed to the founders of a nation for righteousness and power." And, finally, the accordant harmony of Tennyson:
O thou that after toil and storm
Mayst seem to have reached a purer air,
Nor cares to fix itself in form,
Thus much as to toleration and reason.
But, at the threshold of
our study of the subject, we are met by another preliminary inquiry; namely, as to the relation of reason and faith. This, then, shall constitute the topic of the first chapter.
SOUTH BOSTON, Feb. 22, 1883.
B. F. B.
What two views concerning the development of Christ's character and mission?
What other explanation of the fact of Christ's use of approximative language?