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A Tour of the Missions - Observations and Conclusions
by Augustus Hopkins Strong
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But the noblest sight of Madura is its American Congregational Mission. Beginning in 1836, the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions planned and founded their most wise and successful foreign missions. They have aimed to do one thing well: to make the Madura station not only complete but well supported, to embrace in it all stages of education and all sorts of evangelization; and to reduce the whole work to a unified system. And the result has been the raising up of a large native ministry, churches with twenty-two thousand members, schools of every grade from the kindergarten to the college and the theological seminary. We were most hospitably entertained by the principal of the college, Dr. J. X. Miller, and the other missionaries; and we met and addressed both the native church at their Sunday service, the faculty and students of the seminary, and the annual conference of Congregational missionaries. The Madura Mission is a light shining in a dark place, the darkest place indeed in India. But it is a light that cannot be hid. Like our missions to the Burmans and the Telugus, it is showing the power of the gospel to "cast down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God," and to make a spiritual desert "bud and blossom as the rose."



XII

TWO WEEKS IN CEYLON

Ceylon is not a part of India. It is a Crown Colony of Great Britain, and is administered directly from London, while India has more of independence and self-government. The relation of Ceylon to Britain is somewhat like that of the Philippine Islands to the United States, while the relation of Britain to India resembles that of the United States Government to our several territories. Ceylon, however, is very productive and prosperous. Surrounded by the sea, it is free from Indian droughts and famines. Its people are stalwart and loyal. The English language is fast becoming the easiest method of communication between Cingalese and Tamils, Hindus and Malays. Colombo is really a European city, as large as Rochester, with noble public buildings and lovely parks. Our Galle Face Hotel, on the very edge of the sea, with a great stretch of green lawn in front of it, is one of the finest hotels in the East, and our week of rest here was delightful.

Buddhism has been one of the great missionary religions of the world. It was a reform of Hinduism. But the Hindus, with their caste system, would have none of it and drove it out. The Buddhist triumphs were in Burma, Tibet, China, Japan, at the north; in Ceylon and Java, at the south. Here in Ceylon is preserved a sacred tooth of Buddha; and one of his bones, recently discovered in northern India, is to be brought next week with great pomp and ceremony to the temple in Kandy, which already ranks in sacredness next to the great Shwe Dagon pagoda in Rangoon. A temple in Java is founded upon a single hair of Buddha's head. All this superstition and imposture dates back to a couple of centuries before Christ, and there is great reason to believe that the Roman Catholic worship of relics is only an appropriation of this form of heathenism.

Christian schools and churches are doing much to undermine Buddhism in Ceylon. Colombo is especially fortunate in possessing a noble college of the Wesleyan Methodists and a strong institution of all grades with eight hundred students. The English Baptists also have a very creditable mission work under the charge of Messrs. Ewing and Charter; while Mr. Woods is the able pastor of an English-speaking Baptist church. The students of these various schools usually adopt the English dress. The barefooted pupils first put on shoes, then the coat, finally the trousers. In the end you can hardly distinguish them from Europeans. These changes are more rapid in Colombo than in Madras. Indeed, British rule is fast transforming what was first a Portuguese, and then a Dutch, settlement into a city where English is universally known and spoken.

It was gratifying to find that the Government College, where the English language alone is used, is opened every day with the reading of Scripture and with prayer. But it was unpleasing to learn that, side by side with these Christian influences, the Ananda College, a theosophical institution, allied to Mrs. Besant of Madras, was exerting an influence unfavorable to Christianity, not only by setting Buddha side by side with Christ, but by urging the claim of Buddha to be the supreme ethical teacher of the world.

Before I tell you of our visit to Buddhist temples, I must speak of the refuge from them which we found at Nurwara Eliya, sixty-two hundred feet above the sea. Colombo is only six degrees north of the equator. Here in January the sun casts hardly any shadow at noon, and the middle of the day is hot. Later in the year the heat is intense, day and night. So British officials combine with the rich of every tongue, and even with the missionaries, to make their summer quarters high up among the hills. We were transported thither on a narrow-gage railway, cut into the sides of precipices, running through tunnels, and so tortuous as to form a hundred horseshoe loops. The road seemed almost a miracle of engineering. But the views were beautiful beyond description. It was Switzerland without its ruggedness. It was Italy on the southern side of the Alps, as "Philip van Artevelde" best describes it:

Sublime, but neither bleak nor bare Nor misty, are the mountains there; Softly sublime, profusely fair; Up to their summits clothed in green, And fruitful as the vales between, They lightly rise And scale the skies, And groves and gardens still abound, For where no shoot Can else take root, The peaks are shelved and terraced round.

I am inclined to think that, of all the beautiful railway rides I have ever taken, this was the finest. From the rice-fields of the plains we passed upward through endless tea-plantations, where every inch of soil was preserved and utilized by the construction of artificial terraces. In the midst of these plantations, rubber trees were set at intervals. There were many instances when we looked down from our airy perch, on the edge of a precipice, at least a thousand feet, and saw ourselves on the side of a veritable amphitheater of mountains towering a thousand feet above us and covered with rows of tea-plants from the bottom to the top. This amphitheater was often two miles across, every foot of the ground minutely cultivated and a perfect sea of verdure. But, as we went up, the palm gave place to the pine; cold succeeded to heat; and to be at all comfortable at our hotel we were obliged to order fire in our rooms.

Beautiful for situation as was Nurwara Eliya, we were glad, on account of the January cold, to leave it. And we went to Kandy. I wonder whether our word "candy" is derived from that sweet place. I agree with some celebrated author, whose name I forget, in saying that "Kandy is the loveliest city in the loveliest island in the world." Of late years Kandy has become the resort of tourists, though the present war has greatly diminished their number. A hotel that was accustomed to entertain fifty guests now has only half a dozen. But the beauty of the place abides. An artificial lake, with an island of green in its center and winding among a forest of stately palms, is surrounded by a circlet of hills. On the summit of one of these hills is the Missionary Rest-house, founded and endowed by a wealthy Christian woman for the relief of pilgrims, as was the House Beautiful of Bunyan's story. There we were invited to afternoon-tea, and as I looked upon the fairylike landscape I almost thought the Garden of Eden had come again.

But I could not long be deceived, for at the very foot of this hill was the most famous Buddhist temple of Ceylon. If this is Paradise, it is Paradise Lost. Here Buddha's tooth is worshiped, and here a newly discovered bone of his body is to add sanctity to the temple. We attended the evening worship, which consisted of a torchlight procession of priests, with beating of tom-toms and frenzied dancing of musicians, which would have done credit to the savagery of the Fiji Islands. The temple here has no lofty pagoda. It shows what the original pagoda really was, for this temple has a number of bell-shaped structures resting on the ground. Next, historically, came the elevation of the bell upon a stone platform; and, finally, the lifting of it into the air, resplendent with gilding. Kandy illustrates the humble beginnings of Buddhistic worship, but with later accessories begotten by irrational devotion.

I should mention, however, the only sign of intelligence which I found in this Buddhist temple. It was the library of Pali manuscripts containing the sacred books and stories of Buddha's life and doctrine. Many of these manuscripts were written on palm-leaves and were wrapped in silken coverings. Some had been presented by Siamese and by Burmese kings. Some were ancient. I saw no priest who could read them, and I fancy that the sacred books are really studied only by pundits, whose vocation is that of teaching, and whose personal beliefs may be very different from those of orthodox Buddhism. It was pleasant to find, not far from the Temple of the Tooth, a little church of the English Baptists, which sends out light into all the surrounding darkness. Its pastor is a native Christian, who preaches every Sunday morning in Cingalese and every Sunday evening in English, while his week-days are devoted to the work of conducting an English boys' school.

Kandy is celebrated also for its botanical gardens. Only those of Java compare with them in completeness. The long avenues of palms of different varieties—palmyra, talipot, sago, royal, sealing-wax—and the specimens of bamboo, India rubber, and rain-tree, are unique and wonderful. The rain-tree is so called because the vast spread of its branches and the density of its foliage collect the dew to such an extent as actually to water the ground upon which it drops. Think of viewing in one morning of two hours' length, a score of trees we had hitherto known only in the tales of the tropics: the traveler's tree with its fernlike leaves, the cannon-ball tree, the deadly upas, the nourishing breadfruit, the clove, the cinnamon, the mace or nutmeg, the vanilla, the guava, the cork, the almond, the mulberry, the mango, the sandalwood! There were great screw-pines, lignum-vitae, mahogany, mimosa, magnolia trees; and the tree-fern, the giant creeper, the panama-hat plant, the Peruvian cactus, the papyrus, the pineapple, and a great collection of orchids. Only the sunshine and the moisture of Ceylon could produce such a result. A tree cared for from its first sprouting, and favored by the elements, becomes a wonder of the world. It shows what man may become under the tutelage of God.

Anurajahpura was our last place to visit. Far to the north of Colombo, it is the most important extant specimen of the ruined cities of Ceylon. Before the time of Christ it was the seat of a kingdom that embraced the whole island. Buddhism, after a life-and-death struggle, captured it and erected in it structures for worship, which for grandeur and beauty rivaled those of Burma. Two pagodas, or dagobas, of solid brick, each of them more than two hundred feet high, tower up before one as he enters the town. These structures are covered with verdure, for grasses and shrubs have eaten their way into the mortar on the sides, until the dagobas resemble conical natural hills. It is said that the brick of a single one would suffice to build a wall eight feet high and a foot thick from Edinburgh to London. One of them is being restored, and fifty men are at work upon it, tearing away the vegetation and building anew the outside covering of brick. The dagoba itself is not a temple, for it is solid and has no chamber within; but at its base is a structure, infinitesimal in size as compared with the one that towers above it, and in this structure there is a reclining statue of Buddha seventy feet long. Buddha must have been a giant, for his footprints are four feet long, and his tooth is as large as the tooth of an alligator, and surprisingly like one.

The grounds in the neighborhood of these towering dagobas are strewn with ruins. Sixteen hundred pillars of stone, seven feet high, remain to show the vast foundations of an ancient Buddhist monastery. There is also a temple excavated in the solid rock of the hillside, and adorned with curious carvings of elephants. We made the acquaintance of its high priest under very peculiar circumstances. We met him at a funeral. It was the cremation of one of his priests. On the outskirts of the village a great crowd surrounded a burning pyre. Two or three cords of rough wood had been piled up, with the body of the priest in its center and the bier on which the body had been brought laid upon its top. The fire was blazing upward, and a deafening beating of tom-toms gave sacredness to the obsequies. The awe-stricken followers of Buddha stood at a little distance around, while the flames grew fierce, and the sickening odor of burning flesh entered their nostrils. It was no wonder that they were willing to follow the high priest, when he came to salute me as a minister of religion from the other side of the world. He was eighty-eight years of age. Clothed in his saffron robe and holding with trembling hands his rod of office, he seemed the decaying specimen of a moribund religion. He presented me with an umbrella of yellow silk. It had an ivory handle with the carving of a lotus bud on its end. I could not let him make such a present without some reward, and he seemed grateful for the few rupees which my interpreter wrapped up in his handkerchief. He lifted up his fan and fanned me, as we parted, while he uttered some words of blessing. I could hardly doubt his good will, or fail to hope that some gleams of heavenly light had come to him from Christ, the Light of the world. But Anurajahpura was, like Pagan in Burma, the type of a vanishing religion, and its high priest was, like the Jewish high priest of old, the type of a priesthood sure to pass away, since Christ, the true High Priest, has come.



XIII

JAVA AND BUDDHISM

We have crossed the equator, and the Southern Cross, invisible to northern eyes, seems still to beckon us onward. But we have reached the most distant point of our journey, and henceforth we shall be homeward bound, taking China and Japan as we go. Java is not so hot as we expected. An island like Cuba, six hundred miles long and only two hundred broad, has sea-breezes enough to keep it tolerably cool. Rain falls almost every day, with an average of twelve feet in a year. As the moisture is excessive, all sorts of vegetation are luxuriant. Java is a gem of the ocean, and an emerald gem at that. Life here is as easy as anywhere on earth, and there is a swarming population. While Ceylon, similar in area, has only five millions of inhabitants, Java has thirty-five millions.

Java is the jewel of the Dutch Crown, one of the most fertile and productive islands of the world. Coffee and tea, rice and sugar, salt and spice, tobacco and corn, coal and oil, coconut and rubber, are exported in an aggregate of two hundred millions of our dollars every year, while the aggregate of imports is little more than a hundred and twenty millions. The Dutch have taken a colony whose deficits once frightened the English into abandoning it, and by the famous "culture system" of letting out the land upon wise conditions as to the kind and quantity of production, have turned the whole island into a veritable garden, and a principal source of revenue for Holland. The Dutch indeed have drawn from Java much more than they have given. The Roman Empire should have taught them that incorporation of a colony, and privilege granted to it, were the only security for permanent possession. Until ten years ago, however, the Dutch policy was one of repression rather than one of development. While Britain has tried by her schools and hospitals to Anglicize India, Holland, for many years, tried to keep the Javanese apart and in subjection, discouraging their study of the Dutch language and giving them also no share in the government. This policy has at last been seen to be suicidal; Chinese immigration has added an element of vigor, industry, and discontent; the modern movement in India and in Japan has provoked new aspirations here; even the Malay has become aware that he has rights. Dutch schools have at last begun to educate the people; the more progressive among the students are also learning English; and Java now bids fair to press forward to occupy a position in the van of national and democratic progress.

I am deeply impressed with the density and vastness of this population. Only Belgium surpasses Java in the number of inhabitants to the square mile. We have taken a ride by rail for four hundred miles through the center of the island. We have passed volcanoes actually smoking; for a long range of mountains, rising sometimes to a height of twelve thousand feet, constitutes the back-bone of Java. There are sublime and beautiful landscapes all along the way, sublime because of their occasionally rocky grandeur, and beautiful because of the minute cultivation that adorns both hillside and plain. The endless rice-fields, and the fields of sugar-cane that stretch for miles like a billowy sea, make a railway journey by day a constant source of delight. You ride in a perennial garden, and it is perfectly natural that the bird of paradise should have its habitat here. Like Ceylon, Java is sure to be the resort of innumerable tourists, for here are wonders beyond any to be found in localities more commonly visited.

And yet it is the people that interest one even more than the land they live in. We turned aside at different points, from the stations of the railways, and got glimpses of the Javanese in their country homes. I am bound to say that these homes were often primitive in the extreme, mere shacks or huts of bamboo and thatch, often without windows and with only a door in front and a door behind, sometimes standing in a pool of shallow water or lifted on stilts to escape the rain. But everybody seemed to be at work, except on market-days, when the whole population of a district gathered in a country fair. The throng and press of these trading-days, the strife and din, the variety of wares, and the sharpness of competition, were something new to us and long to be remembered. The amusements of the Javanese, their music, their shadow-dances, all show a vigor and passion, which explain their occasional use of the "kriss" or Malay dagger, and the difficulty of subduing and civilizing so ardent and imaginative a people. But they are a people sui generis, and sure, when roused and educated, to take their part on the modern stage.

I have intimated that the Dutch Government has seen its past mistakes, and has entered upon a new and more generous policy. Nothing could demonstrate this better than the botanical gardens at Buitenzorg. These are unique in the world, the most complete and the most practical. The gardens at Kandy in Ceylon are more artistically arranged and are more beautiful to the ordinary visitor. But these in Java are more scientific and more helpful to the general development of the country. They include the chemical investigation of agricultural products, as well as the testing of their nutritive value and their tensile strength. Rubber planters are shown proper methods of culture, and also improved methods of preparing the product for market. Seventy different varieties of rice have been discovered and classified; and the tillers of the soil have been shown how they can greatly increase the yield of their acreage. All the great botanical collections of the world communicate their novelties and discoveries to the Java gardens. Here at Buitenzorg there is a school of forestry and another of veterinary science, each of these with practical demonstrations. Trees and plants in the gardens are grouped in scientific classes, the palms by themselves, the pines by themselves. Here the Victoria regia, the royal pond-lily, flourishes in its proper habitat. The avenues of kanari trees, with their lofty overarching vaulting, are grander than any nave of French cathedral. It will be seen at once that the Botanical and Experimental Gardens of Java are of immense service to agriculture and to science throughout the world. We had the great privilege of being personally conducted through them by Dr. K. J. Lovink, Director of the Dutch Department of Agriculture, Industry, and Commerce.

I wish I could say as much for the religious prospects of Java as I can say for its economical and political prospects. There is even greater need of change in this regard, for the island has been a very stronghold of Buddhism, as it is now of Mohammedanism. When driven out from India, the Buddhist missionaries came to Java and here found a welcome. Javanese kings erected temples so enormous and so rich in sculpture that, defaced and decayed as they now are, they have no superiors on earth. It was, indeed, the fame of Boro Budor, that most attracted us to Java, and we made a journey of thirteen hours to inspect this renowned ruin.

Imagine a structure upon an eminence from which it is visible for miles, yet walled in on one side by a lofty range of mountains, and on the other side commanding a magnificent view of cultivated plains. Imagine a temple of brick, like the great pyramid of Egypt, more than five hundred feet square, with five broad terraces, the uppermost of which encloses an immense sitting statue of Buddha. The topmost crown of this solid structure rises more than two hundred feet above the ground.

The wonder of Boro Budor is, however, not the vastness of the structure, containing though it does an amount of material five times as great as that of any English cathedral, so much as it is the enormous amount of artistic work that has been expended upon it. Each of these five terraces has sculptured upon its side walls some representation in bas-relief of the legendary incidents of Buddha's existence, not only in the present state, but in his previous states of being. You walk, as it were, through a picture-gallery of the life of Buddha. The bas-reliefs are wrought out with such delicacy as to suggest the influence of Greek art upon the multitude of artists who toiled for years to produce them. The effect, at least, is Grecian; and the number of the plaques is so great that, if they were placed in a continuous row, the line would be three miles long.

Besides these sculptures, the terrace-walls are interrupted at regular intervals by four hundred and thirty-six niches or alcove-chapels, each with its image of Buddha facing the outside world, so that the visitor approaching the temple cannot fail to see one hundred and nine Buddhas, or one-fourth of the total number, looking down upon him. Above these alcove-chapels there are seventy-two small latticed domes, or dagobas, each with its statue of Buddha imprisoned within, as if he were preparing himself, by seclusion and meditation, for the final state in which the great chamber which crowns the structure represents him, I mean the state of passivity and bliss, which has escaped the evils of transmigration and has attained to absorption of personal existence of the impersonal world-force which the Hindu called Brahma.

It is difficult to express the emotions which are roused by such an exhibition of man's religious instinct, enlightened simply by God's revelation of himself in the natural world and in the nature of man. Here is a seeking, but not a finding, a groping in the dark, with only the faint rays of conscience to show man the way. Yet he who is the Light of the World was lighting every man, before his advent in the flesh, and even Buddha was a reformer and an advance upon the Brahmanism of his time. He preached the doctrine of unselfish devotion, but he turned it into error by ignoring man's duty to himself. He made extinction of desire, rather than purification of desire, to be the way to happiness. How different this from that thirst after God, even the living God, which animated the Psalmist, or that hungering and thirsting after righteousness which Christ says shall be filled! Buddha found in self, rather than in God, the power to overcome evil. Buddhism has no personal God to whom appeal may be made for strength, and Buddha himself has no power to answer prayer, since he long ago passed into a realm of inactivity which is practically indistinguishable from non-existence. There is no atonement for past sin nor escape from its consequences, but by the giving up of being. Buddhism is a pessimistic and joyless religion. Hence it suffers deterioration in competition with the more active systems. Close by Boro Budor, where Buddhism reached its culmination, are the temples of Mendoet and Brambanam, which show a reversion in the popular mind to Hindu Brahmanism. And when the Moslem came, with his doctrine of a personal and living God, Buddhism had no force to combat it. Boro Budor, once the center of worship for a mighty kingdom, now stands alone and desolate in a great wilderness, without priest or worshiper. Djokjokarta, the next city in size to Batavia, is to-day more Mohammedan than Buddhist. Christian schools and missions are doing much to turn this moral wilderness into beauty. To convert Java to Christianity will add to Christ's subjects the very Queen of the East.



XIV

THE RENAISSANCE IN INDIA

A recent book by Prof. C. F. Andrews, formerly of the Cambridge Brotherhood in Delhi, has arrested my attention, as the best extant synopsis of the religious history and prospects of that great country. It is entitled "The Renaissance in India." It has not yet been reprinted in America, and can be obtained only in the British Isles. I have thought it worth while to make it known among us by writing a review, and the following paper might perhaps serve such a purpose. But, in the writing, so many thoughts and illustrations of my own have suggested themselves, that I cannot credit Professor Andrews with the result, except in part, and I submit my work as my own almost as much as it is his.

Let me first, however, do Professor Andrews the justice of explaining that the Cambridge Brotherhood is a semimonastic fraternity of the Church of England, which aims to convert India to Christianity by indoctrinating its higher classes. All its members are bachelors, and their pure life as well as their learning and liberality are attractive to educated heathen seekers after God. Our author is himself a devout believer in a preexistent Christ, and he recognizes some rays of Christ's light in Buddha and in Confucius. This faith has led him to sever his connection with the Cambridge Brotherhood of late, and to connect himself with the school of Rabindranath Tagore, whom the British Government has recently knighted for his poetical gifts and for his political loyalty. Members of the Brotherhood have thought this leaving of their body a mistake of judgment, and too great a concession to a rival religion, while they still admire the self-devotion which leads their former brother to carry his advocacy of Christianity into what he regards as the most promising school of Hinduism. With this explanation I proceed to the treatment of my subject.

* * * * *

In the fifteenth century the European world was intellectually born again. The barbarian Goths and Vandals had put an end to the Roman Empire, and learning had taken refuge in the monasteries. Even that learning had become ecclesiastical. Precious manuscripts of the Greek classics had their original writing wiped off to make room for monkish homilies. The people were in ignorance and were ruled by the priests. But the Crusades had brought about a new intercourse between the West and the East. The fall of Constantinople sent Greek books and Greek scholars to Venice and to Rome. Greek art inspired Michelangelo and Raphael. A great wave of enthusiasm for the new learning swept over Europe. The printing-press multiplied copies of the old literature and put them in the hands of the poor. It was the precursor of a new civilization, and because it was a new birth of thought, we call it the Renaissance.

The Renaissance, however, needed another factor to complement it. Not merely intellect was sleeping, but also man's moral nature. Conscience and will required new stimulus. Religious reformation was necessary as much as intellectual revival. Greek books brought with them the vice, as well as the art, of the East. Renaissance without Reformation produced the Borgias and their unspeakable wickedness. Erasmus without Luther would never have saved Europe from ruin. It was the new view of Christ that showed men their sins, brought repentance and hope, purified literature, gave power to social truth, and united with the new learning to make possible our modern civilization. It was a triumph of Christianity over the powers of darkness, for Christianity involves both Renaissance and Reformation.

A similar intellectual change has been coming over the Eastern world, and has been awakening the slumbering nations. Who would have foretold a half-century ago that Turkey and Persia, Japan and China, would now have constitutional governments and legislative assemblies? The world has moved very fast during the past decade. Modern inventions have given new wings to thought, the nations have been coming to self-consciousness, freedom is in the air, even war is teaching the absurdity of committing the destiny of a whole people to the arbitrary rule of any single monarch. The success of Japan in her struggle with Russia aroused the whole East. China has awaked from the sleep of ages. And India is the scene of unrest, and will not be satisfied until her vast populations are given a larger share in her government.

India has witnessed the beginnings of her renaissance. The universities which her rulers have established have diffused the new learning. But they have also raised up a host of educated men, some of whom can find no employment except in sedition. False philosophies, imported from the West, have made these same men agnostic, and have disposed them to put evolution in place of God. Old religions have lost even their little power to control the moral life, and a vague desire for independence of all restraint has led to revolutionary and even anarchistic plots. We have some of the same dangers in our Southern States. The negro is in many cases receiving a higher education than he can utilize, and is becoming a possible leader of revolt, while there is a vast inflammable multitude of uneducated negroes whom he can incite to violence and disorder. As with us, Christianity is needed side by side with education, so in India to-day, intellectual renaissance needs to be supplemented by religious reformation.

A glance at the history of India's religious systems will help our understanding of the problem. The earliest record is that of the Rig-Veda. It is a recognition of the powers of nature, and an exaltation of them to divine honor and worship. The apostle Paul gives us the further explanation that this deification of God's works was the result of a previous unwillingness to retain the personal God in their knowledge. To worship God's manifestations is to lose the sense of his unity and his moral governance. Men preferred the sun in the heavens to the Sun of Righteousness. They lost sight of the true God in self-chosen admiration of his works. "While the Semitic mind gravitated toward the ethical and the personal, the Aryan gravitated toward the philosophic and the impersonal."

The Upanishads are the second series of Hindu scriptures. These practically identify the human soul, as well as all natural objects, with the supreme God. The self is only a manifestation of Brahma. The trend is toward absolute pantheism. The individual is lost in the whole, and the realization of this is salvation. But humanity cannot be content without the semblance of personality in God, and since everything has become divine, it was easy to regard not only natural powers, but also personal beings as gods. Polytheism was the result. Vishnu and Siva, gods of reproductive and destructive powers, came to be worshiped. Incarnation and transmigration followed. The incarnation was not the incarnation of the supreme Brahma, but of one of the subordinate deities, Vishnu, and even this incarnation was but a temporary assumption of human form—a vanishing manifestation, to be put off again like a worn-out garment when the real god returned to his heaven. The Hindu Trimurti was never the Christian Trinity; for Christ is not only the supreme God manifest in the flesh, but also the eternal Revealer of God, who takes our humanity to be a part of himself forever, the partaker of his inmost being and the sharer of his throne.

While we credit Hinduism with the idea of incarnation, we regard it as only showing this to be a necessity of human thought, and as far from satisfying man's longings for union with God. Gautama Buddha, passionless and lost in the contemplation of his own excellence, is not the Christian Redeemer, who daily bears our burdens and takes upon himself, in order that he may take away, the sin of the world. And what shall we say of the other deities of the Hindu pantheon, but that they are personifications of every human caprice and vice. The Krishna of the Puranas has infected all India with his licentiousness, and has given sanction to the worst forms of lust.

The growth of caste was another result of the loss of a personal and moral God and the deification of his works. Since all things came to be regarded as manifestations of deity, the order of society and its distinctions became fixed. The origin of caste is to be found in the superiority of the Aryan conqueror to the Dravidian aborigines. The people of light complexion looked down on the dark-skinned race, and drove them to the wall. Intermarriage between the two classes of the population became abhorrent to the ruling class, and all manner of restrictions were put upon their intercourse, till even the shadow of the outcaste falling upon the Brahman brought contamination. Let us not blame the Aryan too hastily, for in South Africa and in our own Southern States we see the same denial that God has made of one blood all the races of men, and the same exclusion of the darker race from all privileges of human brotherhood. Slave-owners were shocked when Abraham Lincoln lifted his hat to salute a negro, and Southern men protested when President Roosevelt entertained Booker Washington at his table. Christian proclamation of human brotherhood constitutes one of the chief obstacles to the success of the gospel in India.

The low place of woman and her lack of education is another obstacle which must be removed if India is to profit by the renaissance of learning. This undervaluing of the physically weak is itself a fruit of man's apostasy from God. And as Brahmanism set its stamp of approval upon distinctions of caste and fixed them for centuries, so it was with woman's position and influence. She was condemned to inferiority. She became a mere instrument of man's pleasure, or a mere drudge in his household. She never sat with him at his meals, but ate what was left after he had been served; she never walked by his side, but always followed behind, when she was not shut up in the zenana at home. One of the best signs of a new civilization in India is the growing conviction among the higher classes that woman must be educated, if her children are to emerge from their superstitions and become of use in the modern world. The suttee has been abolished by law, but child-widowhood yet remains to curse the lives of millions. There is no better proof that Christianity is permeating society with its influence than is found in the increasing number of girls who are seeking education in our mission schools and colleges. Pundita Ramabai has become a glory to her own countrymen, as much as has Rabindranath Tagore by his utterance, "The regeneration of the Indian people to my mind, directly and perhaps solely, depends upon the removal of this condition of caste." We may add that the dominion of caste and the degradation of woman will come to an end together, and nothing but Christianity will abolish them.

The renaissance of learning is not enough. A new spirit of love is needed to solve the problems of India. For there is no country of the world where racial antagonisms are so felt. Entirely apart from the distinctions of caste, which are racial in their origin, there is the distinction of Hindu from Mohammedan, which has its origin in religion. Remember that, of India's population, sixty-five millions are Moslems, while one hundred and eighty millions are Hindus. The Hindu men of caste cannot help paying some respect to the Mohammedans, for they are compelled to acknowledge their financial and executive power, just as they acknowledge, without admiring, the power of their British rulers. They cannot treat Moslems as outcastes, but they will not associate with them; and they cherish a settled antipathy to them. All this the Mohammedans heartily reciprocate. English policy has in times past cultivated this mutual dislike, lest union between the two religious sects should lead to the formation of a party too strong for British rule to keep in subjection. One religion has been used to defeat the influence of the other. Of late years only has it been true that both have been forced to recognize the impartial justice of British rule; and this recognition has been gained by the gradual admission of able men from both parties to many important judicial and administrative positions in the Indian government. But the antagonism of religions still remains, and it constitutes a most serious bar in the way of a united India.

* * * * *

There are signs of an approaching reformation in India which will supplement its intellectual renaissance. Just as the growing power of Christianity in the second and third centuries of our era was shown by the competition of new and imitative religions like that of Mithra, and by spasmodic attempts on the part of the old heathenism to interpret its mythology symbolically and to reform its moral practice; just as the growing power of the gospel in the fifteenth century led the Roman Church to slough off some of its abuses and to tolerate among its adherents reformers before the Reformation; so in India the new learning from the West and the missionary proclamation of the gospel have brought about a state of religious unrest which could only be allayed by efforts on the part of Hindus and Moslems alike to interpret their faiths more rationally and to prove that these faiths were equal if not superior to Christianity itself. The Brahmo-Somaj, which Ram Mohun Roy founded at the end of the eighteenth century, largely as a result of his horror at the murder of his sister by suttee, has led to the abolition of that cruelty. Ram Mohun Roy sought to purge Hinduism of its corruptions by appealing to its earlier and purer scriptures. He was the first to establish a vernacular press in India, and, with Alexander Duff, the first English schools. Though he did not formally profess Christianity, he studied our Christian Scriptures, acknowledged their value and influence, and published a book entitled "The Precepts of Jesus."

Another Hindu who exerted great influence during the half-century just passed was Keshub Chunder Sen. He passionately adored Christ as his true Master. Yet he was practically Unitarian, and his later years belied the promise of his brilliant beginnings. Though a member of the Brahmo-Somaj, he split the body in two by his violation of its prohibition of child-marriage, and wasted his strength in attempts to combine Western rationalism with the ecstatic fervors of the East. As the result, the Brahmo-Somaj has declined, until in numbers and influence it has now hardly more than five thousand adherents in all India. Mozumdar was one of its representatives who sought to give Oriental interpretation of Jesus, but one without ethical or saving power. The Arya-Samaj is a more consistent effort to reform Hindu religion by bringing it back to the purer standards of the Vedas. Swami Dayanand was the founder of the society. He was led to renounce idolatry by seeing a mouse eat food offered to an idol and run without hindrance over the idol's robes and hands. Of all the reforming bodies, the Arya-Samaj most retains the confidence of the masses in the north of India. But its tenets are not acceptable to the educated classes of the south, and it needs a further infusion of both science and religion.

Thus far we have treated only of Hindu progress. A word must be said of progress among the Moslem population of India. Here the Aligarh Movement demands attention. Sir Seyd Ahmad Khan was its leader. He was of noble family, entered the English service, and took part with the British in crushing the mutiny of 1857. When the Mohammedan population afterward fell under suspicion, he gathered round him a company of liberal young men and sought by educational means to bridge the gulf between Moslem and English. He claimed that British rule in India represented Christian civilization, and that this is no enemy to Islam, but only its complement and helper. He saw that only religion could heal the breach and rescue Islam from decline. He founded the Aligarh College in Delhi, and devoted himself to the cultivation of friendliness, not only between Moslem and English, but also between Moslem and Hindu. This college is one of the strongest educational forces in North India.

Returning to Hindu progress, we mark the work of such men as the Swami Vivekananda. It will be remembered that he represented India at our Chicago Parliament of Religions, where Joseph Cook challenged the priests of the Orient to answer Lady Macbeth's question, "Who shall cleanse this red right hand?" Vivekananda sought to blend Christian philanthropy with the Vedantic philosophy. Identity with the Supreme is to be attained, not only by passive contemplation, but also by active unselfish service. But this truth was mixed with strange interpretations of Scripture. Jesus' declaration, "I and my Father are one," was made to mean, "Every man and woman is God." And Vivekananda was quite willing himself to be worshiped. His fundamental error, indeed, was his lack of the sense of sin. He said to his audience in Chicago: "The Hindus refuse to call you sinners. Ye divinities on earth, sinners? It is a sin to call a man so. It is a standing libel on human nature." Yet, in spite of this deification of self and of all humanity, he did much to inspire pity for the poor, to awaken India to self-consciousness, and to give hope of national unity.

We must not ignore the work of The Theosophical Society, though it has made a name for itself more in Europe and America than in India. While it has done something to encourage education and to teach modern science, it has used the knowledge thus given as an instrument in defending superstition. The immoralities of Krishna are discussed and palliated in Mrs. Besant's Magazine for the instruction of young students. Charms, incantations, astrology, idolatry, caste, are all woven into the system, for the sake of propitiating the Indian mind, so that its influence is hostile to Christianity and to missions. Idols are to be worshiped because they are "centers of magnetism." In England Mrs. Besant predicts a second advent of Christ. But in India this becomes a new avatar of Krishna. In spite of her stout denunciation of child-marriages and her inculcation of modern science, her propaganda has not been so much a reform of Indian religion, as it has been a hindrance to reform. Hindu devotees indeed have eulogized her for what they call her successful opposition to the proselyting efforts of Christian missionaries.

And yet, even the Theosophical Society, with all its absurdities of levitation and the astral body, has been compelled to bear some witness to Jesus Christ. He is "the light that lighteth every man," and he has given even to this system some elements of truth. We do not hesitate to recognize the truth that Buddha and Confucius, taught, and to regard it as a ray of Christ's light shed forth before the rising of the sun. And it is our privilege to conclude our list of Hindu reformers with the name of Justice Renade, who recognized in Christ the source of all former revelations of God.

Justice Renade, in his social reform movement of the last fifty years, has carried the spirit of philanthropy into practice, more fully than did Vivekananda or Mrs. Besant, and without any of their fantastic self-exaltation. Renade recognized the elements of truth in both the Hindu and Moslem systems, and he saw in Christianity the influence destined to unite them. He would not throw away the old, but he would utilize it while he added the new. And with this acknowledgment that "he who is not against us is on our side," we may well close our sketch of reformers before the reformation. We sum up the lessons of history when we recognize in Hinduism the two great ideas of divine immanence and incarnation, in Mohammedanism the two equally essential truths of divine transcendence and personality. And we see the absolute dependence of India upon Christianity for its true Reformation. India needs the missionary more than she needs the schoolmaster. Let us pray that she may have a religious revival that shall turn the intellectual awakening into moral channels. That religious revival will furnish a center of unity in Christ, the one and only Revealer of God; not in a Hindu philosophy, nor in a Moslem Koran, but in a living Person, present with all his people, the soul of their soul and the life, and imparting to them his own Spirit of love and brotherhood. In Christ alone can India's renaissance become a complete reformation.



XV

MISSIONS AND SCRIPTURE

The world of scholars has recently been startled by the pretended discovery that the "Great Commission," "Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations," is not an utterance of Jesus himself, but only one attributed to him by some enthusiastic follower of his in a later time. This pretended discovery is on a par with the earlier one that there never was such a person as Jesus at all, but that his personality is simply a myth that gradually grew up in the minds of some Jewish fanatics who sought a fulfilment of Messianic prophecy. We might treat these perverse and subversive conclusions as only curious instances of a wrong method of criticism. But they filter down from the scholars to the masses of Christian believers and weaken their faith. It becomes a duty to deal with the method which leads to such results, and threatens to destroy all our missionary zeal. Hence I proceed to test the value of the method itself, even though it is commonly called "the historical method" by those who adopt it. If we can bear a somewhat roundabout way of treating the subject, we shall gain a new and valuable light upon our missionary theory and practice.

To prevent misunderstanding, however, I must premise that it is the historical method as frequently employed, and not the historical method as it ought to be, to which I offer my objections. My criticism is directed against the historical method, only when it assumes to be the exclusive means of attaining truth, follows the methods of physical science, and ignores the far more important material for religious use which is furnished by intuition and revelation. The phrase "historical method" has come to imply much that does not properly belong to it. I criticize only its frequent exclusiveness and exaggeration. And I do this, as I think, in the interest of true science.

There are two methods of reasoning possible, in this case or in any other case, and there are only two—I mean the deductive, and the inductive. I make no mention of argument from analogy, for that proceeds upon a deductive basis, presuming that there is a designed order in the world which makes analogy possible. The deductive method argues from the universal to the particular, from the higher to the lower, from God to man. The inductive method, on the other hand, argues from the particular to the universal, from the lower to the higher, from man to God. Both of these methods are correct when each is taken in connection with the other. Much depends, however, upon the question which is taken first. Shall we begin with the particular, leaving out for the time all thought of the universal? There is danger that induction will come to be regarded as itself sufficient to lead us into the truth. This is a serious error, for correct induction presupposes deduction, and therefore deduction should be the guiding principle and safeguard of induction. If this is forgotten, induction may go fearfully astray.

To make my meaning still more plain, let me say that in our investigations we need a comprehensive method, a method that will look at facts from more than one point of view. A truly historical method will look at facts from above, as well as from each side, and so the deductive process may be popularly described as vertical. The historical method falsely so called errs in confining its view to what can be seen immediately around it, and so its process is exclusively horizontal. Deduction begins vertically, and makes that which comes from above to be its guide and standard in all inductive work. Induction begins horizontally, and tends to become self-sufficient, until all light from above seems untrustworthy and useless. For example, take the study of nature. If one begins, inductively and horizontally, with mere physical and material order, instead of beginning, deductively and vertically, with man's higher powers of conscience and will, he will end by finding only impersonal force in the universe, and by practically deifying it, as the Hindus deified Brahma. Begin rightly, and, with due care in the application of the deductive principle, he will come to right conclusions. There are certain truths which cannot be reached by induction. They are known by intuition, long before induction begins. The most fundamental of these truths is the truth of God's existence. A Power above us, which has moral perfection, and which claims our obedience, is revealed to every man by conscience. Begin with this knowledge, and to the obedient spirit the physical world seems ablaze with evidences of wisdom and love; the regularities of nature are recognized as God's methods of ordinary operation; evolution is only his usual plan of growth and progress; in other words, God's transcendence is manifest as well as his immanence, his personality as well as his revelation in the forces of the universe.

Man is a theist, before he becomes a Christian. Theism is a universal intuition, ready to assert itself in practice wherever it is not prevented by an evil will from its normal manifestation. But, because man is in an abnormal condition, this normal action of his powers can be restored only by the Holy Spirit. "When he is come," says our Lord, "he will convince the world of sin, because they believe not on me," and "of righteousness, because I go unto the Father." Only when the prodigal repented, did he "come to himself," and begin to act normally. Under the influence of the Spirit, God's holiness reveals to man his sin, and God's love leads him to the feet of Jesus. This is the first step in Christian experience. To put my doctrine unmistakably and in a nutshell, deduction from the existence of God normally precedes and insures the acceptance of Christ. The sinner comes to have personal knowledge of One who has atoned, and therefore can forgive. But to him who has accepted Christ, his Lord is more than a historical Redeemer, he is a present Saviour from both the penalty and the power of sin. Without this personal knowledge of Christ, we might think of him as only one of many human examples or teachers, like Confucius or Buddha. Now, he is nothing less than God manifest in the flesh, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, whom having seen we have seen the Father.

But there is a second step in Christian experience, which I wish also to describe in a nutshell and to define as unmistakably as I described and defined the first. I claim that deduction from the existence of Christ normally precedes and insures the acceptance of Scripture. Our Lord himself has said, "My sheep hear my voice." The Christian recognizes in Scripture the voice of Christ. No change in his experience is more marked and wonderful than the change in his estimate of the Bible. A little time ago, Scripture was commonplace and unmeaning. Now it speaks to him with a living voice such words of instruction and comfort, of warning and promise, that his soul is filled alternately with sorrow and with joy. He wonders that he never saw these things before. He perceives for the first time that he has been in an abnormal condition of mind, and that condition has been due to his own perversity of will. But now the prodigal has "come to himself." Only the Holy Spirit could have made possible this new and normal exercise of his powers. The change is not in the Scripture, it is in himself. He has come in contact with a word of God that "liveth and abideth." He sees in it the divine workmanship. He can no longer regard Scripture as merely the work of man; it is also the work of the same Spirit who has transformed him, namely, the eternal Christ. Christ is the author and inspirer of Scripture, even though imperfect human agents have been employed to communicate his revelation. In spite of the rudeness and diversity of the instruments, there breathes through them all a certain divine melody and harmony. While the inductive and horizontal method would give us only finite and earthly truth, the deductive and vertical can give us truth that is infinite and eternal. The indispensable condition of success in the interpretation of Scripture is therefore a hearty belief that the Bible is Christ's revelation of God, and not merely a series of gropings after truth on the part of men. Deduction will give us truth from above, whereas induction will give us only scattered facts on the horizontal plane.

I am convinced that the so-called "historical method" of Scripture interpretation, as it is usually employed, fails to secure correct results, because it proceeds wholly by induction, leaving out of its account the knowledge of Christ which comes to the Christian in his personal experience. I do not regard such a "historical method" as really historical; I deny that it discovers the original meaning of the documents; I claim that, when made the sole avenue of approach to truth, it leads to false views of doctrine. It assumes at the outset that what rules in the realm of physics rules also in the moral and religious realm. But the Christian has learned that Christ is the supreme source of truth. By a process of either conscious or unconscious deduction he recognizes in Scripture the utterance of Christ. He must begin his investigations with one of two assumptions: Is the Bible only man's word? or, Is it also Christ's word? Is it a mere product of human intelligence? or, Is it also the product of a divine intelligence, who indeed uses human and imperfect means of communication, but who nevertheless at sundry times and in divers manners has brought to the world the knowledge of salvation?

I claim that we should begin by assuming that the Bible is a revelation of Christ. This assertion is justified, as I have already intimated, by our Christian experience. That experience has given us a knowledge of the heart, more valuable in religious things than any mere knowledge of the intellect. Doctor Tholuck, in an address to his students at his fiftieth anniversary, said that God's greatest gift to him had been the knowledge of sin. Without that conviction of sin which the Spirit of Christ can work in the human heart, there can be no proper understanding of Scripture, for Scripture is a revelation to sinners. The opening of the heart to receive Christ, and the new sense of his pardoning grace and power, give to the converted man the key to the interpretation of Scripture, for "the mystery of the gospel," the central secret of Christianity, is "Christ in you, the hope of glory." He whom the Holy Spirit has first led to the knowledge of sin, and has then led to the acceptance of Christ, is prepared to enter into the meaning of Scripture, and no other man can understand it.

This was the way in which Paul came to understand Scripture. It was not by criticism of the documents, but by receiving Christ, that "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" entered into his soul. He knew himself to be the chief of sinners. He knew Christ as his manifested God and Saviour. He applied to Christ all that the Old Testament had revealed with regard to the dealings of God with his chosen people. The light that shone upon him on the way to Damascus was the Shekinah that led Israel in the pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night, that dwelt over the mercy-seat in the tabernacle and in the temple, and that thundered and lightened from Sinai in the giving of the Law. "The Rock that followed them" in the wilderness, and gave water to the thirsty, "that Rock was Christ." And so Paul came to know Jesus Christ as preexistent and omnipresent, as Redeemer of the whole world, Gentile as well as Jew; and Christ's Cross became the embodiment and symbol of God's amazing sorrow for human sin, and of his sacrifice for its cure. All Paul's later conclusions were developments and expressions of his initial knowledge of Christ. It was a deductive and not an inductive process, by which he arrived at his theology.

Lest any Christian should say that the deductive method is impracticable to him, for the reason that he has had no such revelation of Christ to start from as that which was given to Paul, Scripture reports to us the very different experience of another apostle. I refer to Peter. Peter shows us how, by this same deductive method, an experience which at its beginning is very small, may in the end become very great. Peter goes to the banks of Jordan, a sinner, seeking pardon for his sin. John the Baptist points him to Jesus, "Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world." Peter knows nothing of Jesus' deity, nor of his atonement. But, by an instinct which is the best of logic, he is drawn to Jesus, as the one who can satisfy his needs. He becomes a Christian, that is, a follower of Jesus. His experience is a sort of caterpillar; it can creep, but it cannot soar. Yet all the elements of growth are in it. Peter begins to analyze it. What right has he to surrender himself, body and soul, to a man like himself? The answer is: Jesus is more than man. At Caesarea Philippi, Peter cries, "Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God." On the day of Pentecost, he preaches Christ as the Saviour exalted to God's right hand. And finally, in his Epistles, he declares the preexistence of Christ, and the fact of Christ's utterances through the prophets as far back in time as the days of Noah. If our higher critics only adopted Peter's method, analyzed their own experience, following on to know their Lord and meantime willing to do his will, they too, like Peter, in spite of small beginnings, would learn of Jesus' doctrine, would emerge from the caterpillar state, would be soaring instead of creeping, and would end by gladly confessing that he who met them on the way in their first experience was none other than the omnipresent Christ, whom Paul describes as God manifest in the flesh, in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. They would also learn, with Peter, that Scripture is the work and word of the preexistent Christ.

Because this experience of sin and of Christ is knowledge, it is material for science, for science is only unified knowledge. I do not deny that it is knowledge peculiar to the Christian. The princes of physics and literature and government have not known it. It is not the wisdom of this world, but it is better, even the very wisdom of God. I glory in Christian theology, as the science that will last, when all systems of merely physical science have passed away. For the man who has been saved by Christ has knowledge of him who is Creator, Upholder, and Life of all. I do not hesitate to say that the only safe interpreter of physical nature is the true Christian, for it is Christ "in whom all things consist." The true Christian is the only safe interpreter of history, for it is Christ who "upholds all things by the word of his power." And so, the true Christian is the only safe interpreter of Scripture, for it is Christ whose Spirit in the prophets "testified beforehand of his sufferings, and of the glories that should follow them." In him who is the Lord of all "are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden." Only when one is joined to Christ, can he understand the evolutionary process through which Christ has led the human race, or understand the Bible which constitutes the historical record of that process. With the Psalmist we may say, "In thy light shall we see light."

As Christ is the central object of knowledge in Christian experience, it follows that Christians recognize him as the primary author of Scripture. They find him speaking to them in the Bible, as in no other book. It becomes to them the word of God, given by divine inspiration, and able to make them wise unto salvation. From the deity and supremacy of Christ they proceed to faith in the unity, the sufficiency, and the authority of Scripture, and this determines their method of investigation. From the person of Christ to the word of Christ is a process often unconscious, but one better than any process of formal logic. Knowing their divine Saviour, they know the divinity of his word. His presence in human history and in the hearts of the righteous has given unity to his continuous revelation. The Scripture "cannot be broken," or interpreted as a promiscuous congeries of separate bits; for a divine intelligence and life throb through the whole collection. Like railway coupons, its texts are "not good if detached." We must interpret each text by its context, each part by the whole, the preparation of salvation by the fulfilment, and all the diverse contents by him who weaves all together, even Christ, the end of the law, to whom all the preliminaries point. This method gives room for the most thorough investigation of the times and ways of revelation, for recognizing the imperfection of beginnings and the variety of the product. The Bible is a gradually accumulated literature, Hebraic in form, but universal in spirit. The preexistent Christ has made all this literature one, by the influence in the sacred writers of his omnipresent Spirit. If the "historical method" would begin with this postulate of a unifying Christ, its method would be more safe and its results more sure.

Faith in an eternal and omnipresent Christ guarantees also the sufficiency of Scripture. Here, however, there is an obvious limitation. Scripture is not sufficient for all the kinds and purposes of human science. It will not tell us the configuration of the hinder side of the moon, nor reveal the future uses of electricity. It is not with such things that Scripture deals. But in religious matters, such as our relation to God and salvation, it is sufficient as a rule of faith and practice. We may find in it all needful models and helps in the divine life, as well as all needful directions about the way to begin it. The church of Christ has always found in the Bible a safe guide for her polity and conduct, and civil government has prospered when the principles of Scripture were followed by the powers that ruled the State. Because the Christian believes the Bible to be the product of men inspired by Christ, he can send it out by the million copies as equal to the moral and spiritual needs of the world.

And because Christ is, through his imperfect agents, the real author of Scripture, we believe in its absolute authority. When rightly interpreted, however. It will never do to treat poetry as if it were prose, or drama as if it were history, or allegory as if it were fact. Christ can use, and he has used, all the common methods of literary composition, and he expects us to use common sense in dealing with them. But out of the whole can be evolved a consistent doctrine and an authoritative law. The one and only way of salvation is plainly that of faith in God's provision of pardon and life in Christ. In spite of many divergences, the great body of Christians throughout the ages have agreed in their recognition of the personality and the deity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; of the incarnation and the atonement of Christ; of his resurrection and his lordship; of his omnipresence with his people even to the end of the world. They have expressed this agreement in the Apostles' Creed and in the hymnology of the church. But the great body of instructed Christians also believe in Christ as the Revealer of God in nature and in history; as "the Light that lighteth every man" in conscience and tradition; and as the righteous Judge who accepts in every nation those who fear God and work righteousness, casting themselves as sinners upon the divine mercy even though they do not yet know that this divine mercy is only another name for Christ. The Bible, as a whole and when rightly interpreted, is absolute authority, because it is the word of Christ; and Christ holds each of us, as individuals, to the duty and the privilege of interpreting the Bible for himself.

It seems to me plain that this method of interpreting Scripture in the light of the Christian's experience of Christ, is not "the historical method," as it is usually employed. This latter method seems to ignore the relation of Scripture to Christ, and to proceed in its investigations as if there were no preexistent Christ to furnish its principle. It insists upon treating Scripture as it would treat any unreligious or heathen literature, and with no relation to its divine authorship. It sees in Scripture only a promiscuous collection of disjointed documents, with no living tie to bind them together, and no significance beyond that of the time in which they were written. It would treat the Bible as a man-made book, or rather, as a man-made series of books, regardless of the fact that the plural "biblia," which once represented the thought of the church, has, under the influence of the divine Spirit, become "biblion" or Bible, a singular, and a proof that Christian consciousness has not been satisfied with rationalistic explanations, but has followed its natural impulses by attributing unity to the word of Christ its Saviour. The separate "words" have been felt to constitute the one "word of God," an organic whole, which fitly represents the eternal "Word," of whom it is the voice and expression. Scripture is not a congeries of earth-born fragments, but an organism, pulsating with divine life. The "historical method" of which I speak can never find that life, because it works only on the physical and horizontal plane, ignoring the light which comes deductively from above, and also the darkening and blinding influences which often operate unconsciously from below.



XVI

SCRIPTURE AND MISSIONS

The "historical method" of Scripture interpretation, as it is often employed, ends without Christ, because it begins without him. One of its fundamental principles is that each passage of Scripture is to be interpreted solely in the light of the knowledge and intent of the person who wrote it. The One Hundred and Tenth Psalm, for example, can have no reference to Christ, because the writer knew no other than the Jewish king whose accession and whose power he anticipates. The Psalm reads, "Jehovah said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool." The so-called historical critics would make any interpretation of this passage as a designed prophecy of Christ to be an unwarranted accommodation of it to a meaning which it did not originally bear, and the conclusion is that we are wrong in citing these words as an Old Testament assertion of Christ's deity. But, unfortunately for this method of interpretation, we have, in the Gospels of Matthew and of Mark, our Lord's own reference of this passage, not simply to some Jewish ruler of olden time, but to the coming Messiah, and since he was himself the Messiah, he refers it by implication to himself. He does not deny, but rather grants, a primary reference of the psalm to a son of David, for David was a king, and his son would be a king. But he also sees in the psalm a prophecy that this son of David would be a king whom David would call Lord. His searching examination propounds to the unbelieving Jews the question, "What think ye of the Christ? whose son is he?" And they say, "The Son of David." He answers them by asking, "How then doth David, in the Spirit, call him Lord?" In other words, inspiration declares Messiah to be a King of kings, and a Lord of lords. Since the whole discussion is one with regard to the nature and claims of the Messiah, and since the Messiah is not a mere man like David, but is seated on the throne with Jehovah and is David's Lord, Christ's answer is an assertion of his own deity. His answer antedates, even if it did not suggest, Paul's later description of Christ, as "declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead." But the higher critics differ in opinion from the Lord Jesus. They extricate themselves from their difficulty by suggesting that Jesus, like other men, was subject to the errors of his time. And so, not only Christ's knowledge of Scripture and his authority as its interpreter are denied, but also his knowledge of his own nature and place in the universe. If his knowledge of things so essential be denied, what trust can we place in any other of his utterances? To those who reason in this way, Christ cannot possibly be divine—he is only a fallible man, self-deceived, and so, deceiving others. The fault of the critics lies in their presupposition. They have begun wrongly, by leaving out the primary fact in the subject they investigate, namely, that the preincarnate Christ was the author and inspirer of the Scripture which he afterward interpreted. He used human agents, with their natural language and surroundings, as his instruments, but he could, on the way to Emmaus, "beginning from Moses and all the prophets," interpret to those humble believers "in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself." Scripture can have, and it does have, two authors, man and God, the writer and Christ; and to ignore Christ in the evolution of the Bible is to miss its chief meaning, to teach falsehood instead of truth, and, consciously or unconsciously, to deny Christ's deity.

Cannot a document have more than one author? What are the facts in other realms of art? In painting, did not Landseer get Millais to paint the human figure into the picture of his dogs? In literature, is there any more acknowledged fact than that Erckmann-Chatrian's battle-stories were the work of two writers, and not of one? The work of a single author may have two separate meanings, for Dante declares that his Divine Comedy has one meaning that is personal, and another meaning that is universal. Our extreme critics are as poor students of literature as they are of life. Their narrowness of interpretation is due to a narrowness of experience. If they knew Christ better, they would find in the Twenty-third Psalm alone enough proof to upset their theory. "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want," is an utterance inexplicable by merely human authorship. To suppose that even a king of Israel who had been a shepherd-boy could have written this psalm without divine inspiration, in a day when all lands but little Palestine were wrapt in a pall of heathen darkness, is to suppose that religion can exist and flourish without a God.

"The testimony of Jesus," says the book of Revelation, "is the spirit of prophecy." It was the recognition of constant references to Christ in the Old Testament, that enabled the apostles to convince and convert the unbelieving Jews. The absence of this recognition is the secret of all the minimizing of Christ's attributes which is so rife in our day. Do men believe in Christ's deity who ignore his promise to be with them to the end of the world, and who refuse to address him in prayer? Could one of these modern interpreters have taken the place of Philip, when he met the Ethiopian eunuch? That dignitary had been reading the prophecy of Isaiah, "He was led as a lamb to the slaughter." "Of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other?" "And Philip opened his mouth, and preached unto him Jesus." Our modern critics call this an unwarranted interpretation, because Isaiah had no knowledge of Christ. And yet, John tells us that "Isaiah saw his glory, and spake of him." The critics contradict John again, when they say that we must put no meaning into Isaiah's words but that of his own time. His great prophecy of a suffering Messiah, they say, had reference only to Jehoiachin, the captive king of Judah, or to the whole Jewish nation as the afflicted people of God. Philip and the critics are evidently at variance. If we accept their method, we shall lose all reference in the Old Testament to the atonement of Christ, and all proof that the sacrifice on Calvary was that of "the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world." Reverse the process, and we can still say,

The Holy, meek, unspotted Lamb, Who from the Father's bosom came For me and for my sins to atone, Him for my Lord and God I own.

It is needless to multiply instances of this failure to interpret the Old Testament aright. Let me call attention to the effect of this method upon the interpretation of the New Testament, for the authority of the New Testament is also undermined. The system of typical interpretation, which sees in Christ the reality prefigured in Old Testament shadows, is discredited as unscientific. The whole Epistle to the Hebrews is thrown out, as a poetical clothing of "the man of Nazareth" with the fading glories of an outworn worship. The idea that the high priest of old who entered the Holy of Holies once a year not without blood, and the whole Jewish system of which this formed the central feature, were a divinely ordered prefiguration of Christ's atoning sacrifice for the sins of men—this idea is called a mere human addition to historical truth. Christ is no longer our great High Priest. His priesthood is mere metaphor, without divine warrant or authority. He is not our Prophet, nor our King, for his prophecies are not fulfilled, and his kingdom is only that of a moral teacher and example. And all this, in spite of the fact that the Epistle to the Hebrews bears upon its front the declaration that "God, who in past times spoke to the fathers through the prophets, has in these last days spoken through his Son," whom this same Epistle then proceeds to describe as the effulgence of God's glory and the very image of his substance, the Creator, Upholder, and Redeemer of the world, the same yesterday, to-day, and forever.

I do not undervalue the historical method, when it is kept free from this agnostic presupposition that only man is the author of Scripture. This method has given us some information as to the authorship of the sacred books, and it has in some degree helped in their interpretation. I am free to acknowledge my own obligation to it. I grant the composite documentary view of the Pentateuch and of its age-long days of creation, while I still hold to its substantially Mosaic authorship. I say this, however, with deference, for a university president of note, when asked about the stories of Cain and Abel, replied that no such persons in all probability ever lived, but that the account was still valuable, since it taught the great moral lesson that it is highly improper for a man to murder his brother! I grant that there may be more than one Isaiah, while yet I see in the later Isaiah a continuance of the divine revelation given through the earlier. Any honest Christian, I would say, has the right to interpret Jonah and Daniel as allegories, rather than as histories. I can look upon the book of Job as a drama, while I still assert that Job was a historical character. I can see in the Song of Solomon the celebration of a pure human love, while at the same time I claim that the Song had divinely injected into it the meaning that union with Christ is the goal and climax of all human passion. In short, I take the historical method as my servant and not my master; as partially but not wholly revealing the truth; as showing me, not how man made the Scripture for himself, but how God made the Scripture through the imperfect agency of man. So I find unity in the Scriptures, because they are the work of the omnipresent and omniscient Christ: I find sufficiency in the Scriptures, because they satisfy every religious need of the individual and of the church; I find authority in the Scriptures, because, though coming through man, they are, when taken together and rightly interpreted, the veritable word of God. I denounce the historical method, only when it claims to be the solely valid method of reaching truth, and so, leaves out the primary agency and determining influence of Christ.

What sort of systematic theology is left us, when the perverted historical method is made the only clue to the labyrinth of Scripture? There is but one answer: No such thing as systematic theology is possible. Science is knowledge, and to have a system you must have unified knowledge. The historical method so called can see no unity in Scripture, because it does not carry with it the primary knowledge of Christ. It simply applies in its investigations the principles of physical science. Physical science begins with the outward and visible, not with the inward and spiritual, with matter and not with mind. Laplace swept the heavens with his telescope, but he said that he nowhere found a God. He might just as well have swept his kitchen with a broom, and then complained that he could not find God there. God is not stars, nor dust. God is spirit, and he is not to be apprehended by the senses. Laplace should have taken man's conscience and will for his starting-point. And just as physical science can find no God in the universe by the use of the forceps and the microscope, so this historical method can find no Christ in the Scriptures, because it looks there for only human agency. The result is that it finds only a collection of seemingly contradictory fragments, with no divine Spirit to harmonize them and bind them together. Its method is purely inductive, whereas its induction should always be guided by a knowledge of Christ, gained before investigation begins, and furnishing the basis for a deductive process as well. Differentiation and not harmonization is its rule, and this makes its criticism destructive rather than constructive. Many a passage is set aside, because it will not fit in with a skeptical interpretation. Christ's own words with regard to his being "a ransom for many," and with regard to his having "all power committed to him in heaven and in earth," are held to be later words attributed to him by his followers. The whole New Testament story comes to be regarded as a mythical growth, like that which gradually placed haloes about the heads of the apostles. The Gospel of John is not accepted as historical, but is said to be a work of the second century. Jesus, it is said, never himself claimed to be the Messiah, since it is only John who reports his saying to the woman of Samaria, "I that speak unto thee am he." Paul is set aside, as being the author of a rabbinical theology which has no claim upon us; and that, in spite of Christ's own declaration that there were many things which he could not teach while he was here in the flesh, but which he would teach, by his Spirit, after his resurrection, and ascension.

Prof. Kirsopp Lake, in a recent address before the Harvard Divinity School, deprecated the use of the term "theology." "Theology," he said, "presupposes divine revelation, which we do not accept." He proposed the term "philosophy," as expressive of the aim of the Unitarian school. This is honest and plain. What shall we say of those who speak of the "new emphasis" needed in modern theology, when they really mean that the preaching of the old doctrines of sin and salvation must give place to "another gospel" of cooperative Christian work? From their neglect to put any further emphasis upon "the faith once for all delivered to the saints," we can only infer that, for their structure of doctrine, no other foundation than philosophy is needed, and that they, like the Unitarians, no longer accept the fact of a divine revelation. "Other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ," and to lay greater emphasis upon the fruits of Christianity than upon its roots, is to insult Christ, and ultimately to make Christianity itself only one of many earth-born religions, powerless like them either to save the individual soul or to redeem society. Professor Lake is quite right: If there is no divine revelation, there can be, not only no systematic theology, but no theology at all.

What is the effect of this method upon our theological seminaries? It is to deprive the gospel message of all definiteness, and to make professors and students disseminators of doubts. Many a professor has found teaching preferable to preaching, because he lacked the initial Christian experience which gives to preaching its certainty and power. He chooses the line of least resistance, and becomes in the theological seminary a blind leader of the blind. Having no system of truth to teach, he becomes a mere lecturer on the history of doctrine. Having no key in Christ to the unity of Scripture, he becomes a critic of what he is pleased to call its fragments, that is, the dissector of a cadaver. Ask him if he believes in the preexistence, deity, virgin birth, miracles, atoning death, physical resurrection, omnipresence, and omnipotence of Christ, and he denies your right to require of him any statement of his own beliefs. He does not conceive it to be his duty to furnish his students with any fixed conclusions as to doctrine but only to aid them in coming to conclusions for themselves. The apostle Paul was not so reticent. He was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, but rather gloried in it. He even pronounced his anathema upon any who taught other doctrine. It is no wonder that our modern critics cry, "Back to Christ," for this means, "Away from Paul." The result of such teaching in our seminaries is that the student, unless he has had a Pauline experience before he came, has all his early conceptions of Scripture and of Christian doctrine weakened, has no longer any positive message to deliver, loses the ardor of his love for Christ, and at his graduation leaves the seminary, not to become preacher or pastor as he had once hoped, but to sow his doubts broadcast, as teacher in some college, as editor of some religious journal, as secretary of some Young Men's Christian Association, or as agent of some mutual life insurance company. This method of interpretation switches off upon some side-track of social service many a young man who otherwise would be a heroic preacher of the everlasting gospel. The theological seminaries of almost all our denominations are becoming so infected with this grievous error, that they are not so much organs of Christ, as they are organs of Antichrist. This accounts for the rise, all over the land, of Bible schools, to take the place of the seminaries. The evil is coming in like a flood, and the Spirit of the Lord will surely raise up a standard against it. But oh the pity! that money given by godly men to provide preachers of the gospel should be devoted to undermining the Christian cause!

What is the effect of this method of interpretation upon the churches of our denomination? It is to cut the tap-root of their strength, and to imperil their very existence. Baptist churches are founded upon Scripture. Their doctrine of regenerate church-membership, and of church ordinances as belonging only to believers, presupposes an authoritative rule of faith and practice in the New Testament. In controversy with other denominations we have always appealed "to the law and to the testimony," and we have declared that, if other faiths "speak not according to this word, surely there is no morning for them." We have held that the authority of Scripture is not an arbitrary authority, but that the ordinances have so much of meaning that to change their form is to destroy them altogether. We stand for immersion as the only real baptism, not because much water is better than little water, but because baptism is the symbol of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection, and the symbol also of our spiritual death, burial, and resurrection with him. When we are "buried with him in baptism," we show forth his death, just as we show forth his death in the Lord's Supper. To change the form of the Lord's Supper so as to leave out all reference to the breaking of Christ's body and the shedding of his blood, would be to break down one great visible monument and testimony to Christ's atoning death, and to destroy the Lord's Supper itself. And to change the form of baptism so as to leave out its symbolism of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection, is to break down another great visible monument and testimony to Christ's essential work, and to destroy the ordinance of baptism. Only the surrender of belief in the authority of Scripture, and a consequent ignoring of the meaning of baptism can explain the proposal to give us our requisition of immersion. The weakness of our denomination in such cities as New York results from the acceptance of the method of Scripture interpretation which I have been criticizing. We are losing our faith in the Bible, and our determination to stand for its teachings. We are introducing into our ministry men who either never knew the Lord, or who have lost their faith in him and their love for him. The unbelief in our seminary teaching is like a blinding mist which is slowly settling down upon our churches, and is gradually abolishing, not only all definite views of Christian doctrine, but also all conviction of duty to "contend earnestly for the faith" of our fathers. So we are giving up our polity, to please and to join other denominations. If this were only a lapse in denominationalism, we might call it a mere change in our ways of expressing faith. But it is a far more radical evil. It is apostasy from Christ and revolt against his government. It is refusal to rally to Christ's colors in the great conflict with error and sin. We are ceasing to be evangelistic as well as evangelical, and if this downward progress continues, we shall in due time cease to exist. This is the fate of Unitarianism to-day. We Baptists must reform, or die.

What is the effect of this method of interpretation upon missions? I have just come from an extensive tour in mission fields. I have visited missionaries of several denominations. I have found those missions most successful which have held to the old gospel and to the polity of the New Testament. But I have found a growing tendency to depend upon education, rather than upon evangelism. What would Peter have said on the day of Pentecost, if you had advised him not to incur the wrath of the Jews by his preaching, but to establish schools, and to trust to the gradual enlightenment of the Jewish nation by means of literature? He might have replied that our Lord made it his first duty to "make disciples," and only afterwards to "teach them to observe all things which he had commanded." Christian schools and Christian teaching are necessary in their place, but they are second, not first. Our lack at home of the right interpretation of Scripture, and our fading knowledge in experience of the presence and power of Christ, have gone from us round the world. Some boards are sending out as missionaries young men who lack definite views of doctrine. These young men, having nothing positive to preach, choose rather to teach in the English language, in schools where English is spoken, rather than preach in the native language which requires a lifetime of study. When they teach, they cannot help revealing their mental poverty, and disturbing the simple faith of their pupils. Having no certainty themselves, they can inspire no certainty in others, for "if the trumpet gives no certain sound, who will arm himself for the battle?" These unprepared and inefficient teachers may become themselves converted through their very sense of weakness in presence of the towering systems of idolatry and superstition around them. But if they are not so converted, they will handicap the mission and paralyze its influence. Some of our best missionaries have said to me, "The Lord deliver us from such helpers!" No man has a right to go, and no board has a right to send, as a missionary, one who has not had such a personal experience of Christ as will enable him to stand against this unscientific and unchristian method of Scripture interpretation.

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