I seek it either in Greece
or Mahomet, I find a civilization of caste, exclusively a civilization of animal supremacy,--a civilization in itself natural, not wholly useless, but superficial, grovelling, and short-lived.
In a world covered over with this religious experience, out of a world lying in murky ignorance, except where one or two points like Athens
and some old cities of Asia
towered out of it by an intellectual life, all at once there started up a system which we call Christianity; the outgrowth of the narrowest, and, as the world supposed, the most degraded tribe of human beings that occupied its surface.
I am not going to touch on its doctrines, because I do not believe that it has many doctrines.
I do not believe that out of the New Testament you can, by any torture of ingenuity, make a creed.
I do not believe that the New Testament intended that you should make a creed.
The sneer of the infidel is that you may get anything out of the New Testament.
It is like the napkin in the hands of a juggler.
It can be made to assume many shapes,--church-towers, rabbit's head, baby's-cradle,--but it is a napkin still.
When you torture the New Testament into Calvinism or Romanism or Catholicism or Universalism or Unitarianism, it is nothing but the New Testament after all.
There are certain great principles inherent in Christianity, as a religious and an intellectual movement, that distinguish it from all others, judging in two ways,--either by the fair current of its records or by the fruit of its existence.
There are two ways of judging Christianity,--one to open its records, and the other to trace Europe
and its hi tory under the influence of Christianity.
I wish to call attention to two or three principles of Christianity which are not included in any other religious system, and the first is the principle of sacrifice.
“Bear ye one another's burdens” is the cardinal principle