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Introduction Here is a masterly study of the inner life by a heart thirsting after God, eager to grasp at least the outskirts of His ways, the abyss of His love for sinners, and the height of His unapproachable majesty—and it was written by a busy pastor in Chicago! Who could imagine David writing the twenty-third Psalm on South Halsted Street, or a medieval mystic finding inspiration in a small study on the second floor of a frame house... more...

CHAPTER I THE STUDY OF THE GOSPELS If one thing more than another marks modern thought, it is a new insistence on fact. In every sphere of study there is a growing emphasis on verification. Where a generation ago a case seemed to be closed, to-day in the light of new facts it is reopened. Matters that to our grandfathers were trivialities, to be summarily dismissed, are seriously studied. Again and again we find the most fruitful avenues opened... more...

Two Christmas Celebrations. A great many years ago, Augustus Caesar, then Emperor of Rome, ordered his mighty realm to be taxed; and so, in Judea, it is said, men went to the towns where their families belonged, to be registered for assessment. From Nazareth, a little town in the north of Judea, to Bethlehem, another little but more famous town in the south, there went one Joseph, the carpenter, and his wife Mary,—obscure and poor people,... more...

THE RELIGIOUS SITUATION. (From the North American Review.) "I express myself," says Bishop Butler, "with caution, lest I should be mistaken to vilify reason, which is, indeed, the only faculty which we have to judge concerning anything, even revelation itself; or be misunderstood to assert that a supposed revelation cannot be proved false from internal characters." "The faculty of reason," he says, "is the candle of the Lord within us against... more...

INTRODUCTORY Bootstrap-lifting Bootstrap-lifting? says the reader. It is a vision I have seen: upon a vast plain, men and women are gathered in dense throngs, crouched in uncomfortable and distressing positions, their fingers hooked in the straps of their boots. They are engaged in lifting themselves; tugging and straining until they grow red in the face, exhausted. The perspiration streams from their foreheads, they show every symptom... more...


FOREWORD The tradition regarding Jesus is so glamorous that it is difficult to review his life and character with an unbiased mind. While Fundamentalists and Modernists differ regarding the divinity of Christ, all Christians and many non-Christians still cling to preconceived notions of the perfection of Jesus. He alone among men is revered as all-loving, omniscient, faultless—an unparalleled model for mankind. This convention of the... more...

SECTION I.—ITS EVIDENCES UNRELIABLE. The origin of all religions, and the ignorance which is the root of the God-idea, having been dealt with in Part I. of this Text-Book, it now becomes our duty to investigate the evidences of the origin and of the growth of Christianity, to examine its morality and its dogmas, to study the history of its supposed founder, to trace out its symbols and its ceremonies; in fine, to show cause for its utter... more...

THE GENIUS TO BE LOVED In the history of the last two thousand years there is but one Person who has been, and is supremely loved. Many have been loved by individuals, by groups of persons, or by communities; some have received the pliant idolatries of nations, such as heroes and national deliverers; but in every instance the sense of love thus excited has been intimately associated with some triumph of intellect, or some resounding achievement... more...

INTRODUCTORY THOUGHTS If the official churches have had no other merit but that they have preserved Christ as the treasury of the world, yet they are justified thereby. Even if they have solely repeated through all the past centuries "Lord! Lord!" still they stand above the secular world. For they know at least who the Lord is, whereas the world does not know. Churches may disappear, but The Church never will. For not churches are the work of... more...

INTRODUCTION SOME MOVEMENTS OF THOUGHT IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY WHICH HAVE AFFECTED CHRISTIAN BELIEFS When King Solomon's Temple was a-building, we are told that the stone was made ready at the quarry, "and there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house." The structures of intellectual beliefs which Christians have reared in the various centuries to house their religious faith have been built, for the most part, out... more...