of God, the soul's relation to God, the essence of the soul, the inspiration of the Scriptures, the nature of sin, and the characteristics of another state.
It seems to me that most of that is dream and revery.
The marvel of the New Testament is that when you read it through, only about one line in four touches upon any such problems.
There is very little of it there.
Christianity does not attempt to teach us any of this metaphysics.
The glimpses it gives us of it are all accidental, indirect, in passing along.
All through the New Testament it is not the future life and the essence of the soul that are dwelt on; it is the problems that make up the society of to-day.
Open your New Testament, and you will be surprised to find the comparative, the relative amount that there is on the one topic to what there is on the other.
While bishops were discussing the metaphysics of the soul, and German theologians were dividing brains, Christianity was writing its record by the pen of Beccaria, when he taught Europe
a better system of penal laws.
I remember, of course, the duty and value of prayer; the place devotion has; the need all human nature has for meditation and self-culture.
But viewed broadly, and noting the distinctive nature of Christianity, when Voltaire
thundered across Europe
in defence of Calais
, struggling for rational religion, he was nearer to the heart of Christ
than Jeremy Taylor
when he wrote his eloquent and most religious essays, “Holy
Living and Dying.”
Bating some human imperfections, trampling under foot his personal vices, and remembering only his large service to his race, when even that name of all names which the Christian
has been taught to hate,--when even Thomas Paine
went into the other world he was much more likely to be received with “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
than many a bishop who died under an English mitre.