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formed the outlook of a world. The history of ethics during the past two thousand years has been the history of the working out of this idea. And as a philosophy alone would we consider this teaching. With religion we would dissociate it in its entirety. Religio, the tie which unites the individual with the infinite, is for the individual alone. Here we would simply regard the teaching of Christ that God is our Father, as we would that of any other philosopher. If His teaching so appeals to a human mind it needs no further convincing; if otherwise, what argument is of any moment? But really, is it in accordance with experience? ask the critically inclined. It is well asked. It was so asked by an ancient world. An ancient world knew no father as its God; an ancient world above all saw its deity as a deity to be appeased. Hindooism, ever logical, would vizualize the deity in his attributes alone. Brahminism, in its imaginings, in its Brahma, the creator; Vishnu, the preserver; Siva, the destroyer-gave the key to the GREAT UNKNOWN as seen by the religions of the past. But it was Siva who loomed largest in their beliefs; it was Siva who dominated a heated imagination; it was Siva who palsied the heart with dread. Egyptian life was one long preparation for the Day of Judgment. For those weighed in the balances of Osiris and found wanting hell gaped wide. The Greek believed in Hades, and woe the unburied or those buried with incorrect rites, and woe the soul not otherwise prepared to meet Pluto on that same awful occasion. And the Jew, in his Hellenized purgatory worked out in lurid detail, trembled with like fears. Life here in general was misery itself, it found correspondence in miseries yet to be. Such the deity of a pagan world. And Christ came to show mankind this first great cause as Father of His children and the lover of all He had created. But is it in accord with experience?—the reiterated demand. We do not propose to discuss the point. For us it is only to repeat that thus Christ taught. As religion, each must answer the question for himself;/ as a philosophy we can only reply that such teaching is the basis of our present social thought, with the further fact that wherever else it has made its way, it has carried with it its justification in its results. The conception of the deity as a God of terror has always added misery to life; its utility in dragooning the masses is a myth; as a social power it has never been of the slightest utility, but on the contrary it has always dragged man down and down to the very hell it is so fertile in inventing. Nor has negation of belief in any deity at all, with the consequent void, almost invariably filled with the crassest superstition, proved much superior. On the other hand, as every missionary will testify—it is the power of his message-wherever this conception of “Our Father" has been accepted, it has in fact, brought with it a happiness or prosperity before unknown. And more, it has been accompanied by a higher and not a lower sense of social obligation. May be pure coincidence : but so it is. May be confusion of cause and effect : grant it. But it does not alter the fact. With the school of Mr. Robertson we may see in the xocolos cult of the Greek all the materials ready to hand for a Pauline Christianity, with Christ Himself entirely wanting in the setting—his trifling difficulty the teaching, the teacher non-existent—but be it so, it affects no facts. And the books themselves. With the higher critic we may view the canon old and new as other great books in their origin, writing, and redaction. Human agency is probably spelt in every line. But it is the teaching that establishes the canon, not the canon which establishes the teaching. And with the man of science, the physicist, the historian, we may find in the miraculous the same wonder stories that gathered round every early teacher and hero—and they were very ordinary affairs in those days—but without in one whit affecting the teaching itself. And the power is the teaching. If wanting, the marvellous will not give it force; if present we need not very much concern ourselves as to how it is ours. However, on these matters I express no opinion. The historical fact alone concerns us: To put it no higher-the teaching of “ Our Father " has been co-extensive with the progress of our social life and social ideals. We know the controversy which has waged round the subject. Has Christianity moulded civilization, or has civilization moulded Christianity? Probably action and reaction is to be remarked, but happy a people which has for its ideal a thought always slightly in advance of actual conditions. Wild platitude or fine sentiments are useless as moulders of conduct. And it is thus this teaching of Christ has proved the great moral force of our times. It has worked itself into the thought of the world. It has changed our outlook on life. It has revolutionized our ideas of our relationship together. In such teaching slavery is at an end, and the well-being of each becomes the common concern of all. It well unites with the progress in physical science which we have remarked, and with it helps in the general development of man. The most sceptical as well as the most devout are prepared to see in such thought a reasonable proposition that well fits in with the harmony of life as a whole. In such teaching, according to our proclivities, we may see allegory or parable or touching story illustrative of our relations with the unseen, or we may view it as the oriental imagery or eastern hyperbole of a great teacher struggling with a great truth which he would give to mankind; but its results are in the realms of ascertained fact. And here in no way is it my own views that I would give. I doubt if they are of any interest to any one but myself. All I can attempt is with every possible sympathetic appreciation to present those of our Teacher Himself. And, after all, this is the right of every speaker or author. It is not in the adulation of enthusiastic admirers, still less in the perversions of enemies, that His work should be found, but in the fair and dispassionate setting forth of the mere narrator. At the same time, owing to the special surroundings of our great subject, there are many sayings and incidents connected with His mission that are occasion of such violent difference of opinion that it seems well to omit reference to them altogether. And, after all, in this creedless Christianity, we have such a wealth of material left upon which all are agreed that for the purposes of this inquiry we may well, without risk of giving any false impression, make such omissions.

But, however approached, the subject is not an easy one; but it has this merit, the study of it can never be other than with profit.


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