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insufficiencies, and errors. Even the greatest and best of them, however ancient or prevalent, clearly appear as simply natural products of human thought, seeking to interpret the world and human life. They exhibit the fruits of effort, in different degrees of success, to read the revelation which nature gives of the existence, power, character, and will of its Author, and to learn therefrom how men should conduct themselves in order to escape evils and attain happiness. The study of this prolonged and manifold effort is full of deep interest and varied instruction. It shows us both how much and how little human reason alone, interpreting nature, can furnish for the moral and spiritual need of mankind.

The amount of its showing can easily be summed up. It appears in two general results : (a) A greatly varied and confused rational theism, and (6) a large body of ethical truth and precepts for the right order and conduct of life. From the two sources of the world of external nature and the action of conscience within men, the world-wide effort of reason has established many of the great natural truths concerning God and the life of duty. Culled out of the immense and often inane or misleading material thus accumulated, appear some precious findings of theistic truth and many gems of moral conception and teaching. These precious, though broken, insights into the truths of the being and character of God and into the principles of ethical obligation, have captivated many minds and led to much overestimation of some of these religions. In the most ancient religions of Egypt and China, in Buddhism and Confucianism, and in Zoroastrian teaching, some imagine they discover close approaches to the excellence of Christianity—so close as to require us either to assume for them a divine inspiration or to abandon such claim for Christianity. But such views and claims are hasty and superficial. For the truths in question are, after all, plainly within the reach of purely rational finding. Moreover, the conceptions which these religions give of the nature, character, and will of God, and of His relations to the world, as well as many of their moral directions, are radically defective and misleading. While among the immense rubbish of their moral counsels many single, isolated rules of conduct are found, here and there, which stand parallel with and rival in excellence and beauty the highest and noblest Christian precepts, yet their ethical systems, taken as systems, are greatly inferior and fail either to disclose the full foundations of virtue or to supply an adequate dynamic for the realization of the ethical task. Their isolated moral rules are not integrated in the living principle or force of any adequate religious provision or power. This ethical defect brings to view the fatal lack in the ethnic faiths as religions. This needs to be distinctly noted. To the question of deliverance from the guilt and thraldom of sin, the great reality which forms the deepest and most persistent fact in human life, these religions are either voiceless or mutter only incoherent and misguiding suggestions. In most of them God is either reduced to identity with the merciless forces of wasting and pitiless nature, in fatalistic pantheisms, or He is enthroned in such absolute transcendence above the world as to take no concern or interest in human affairs. Though the wail of the race's misery has piteously cried to the heavens for deliverance from the bondage and consequences of sin and vanity, yet through these ethnic religions no effective answer of salvation has come. Not one of them is redemptory. In not one is God conceived of as a Being of redeeming love and redemptive administration. Not a single one of them exhibits God as lovingly and actively a Saviour from the consequences and power of sin or moral evil. In Christianity alone He is presented as historically carrying forward for man a course of redemptory activity, whose manifestation and record form revelation, and whose effects become a gracious forgiveness of sin and recovery of the sinful to an obedient, holy, happy, eternal life. This is the great, unique fact in Christianity, setting it apart from all the ethnic religions, and still justifying the distinction which theology has been wont to make between it and all the rest when it classes the rest as “false religions.” They do not truly unfold God's gracious way of love and salvation. In Chistianity alone there has been adequately furnished a true knowledge of God, of His character, relations, will, and government, the way of deliverance from the guilt and evil of sin, right and holy worship, duty and destiny.

These brief statements concerning the fact of religion as a reality, normal in some form or other to the relations and life of man, everywhere and always, and the explanation thus given of its universal appearance in various manifestations in all the world, together with the unique position of Christianity, will suffice to indicate how Christian Theology stands related to the whole subject of religion. It is secondary to the great fact of religion, and must treat of the materials which religion presupposes and furnishes, and develop its systematic view out of the essential realities and implications thus presented. Underneath Natural Theology lies the whole realm of natural religion, and under Christian Theology are all the divine activities, facts, and truths embodied in the Christian religion.

1 Buddhism is claimed by Albert Reville, D. D., as redemptory : Prolegomena of the Hist. of Religions, Hibbert Lectures for 1884 (Williams & Norgate), p. 97. But the claim is not sustained.

answer of salvation has come. Not one of them is redemptory. In not one is God conceived of as a Being of redeeming love and redemptive administration. Not a single one of them exhibits God as lovingly and actively a Saviour from the consequences and power of sin or moral evil. In Christianity alone He is presented as historically carrying forward for man a course of redemptory activity, whose manifestation and record form revelation, and whose effects become a gracious forgiveness of sin and recovery of the sinful to an obedient, holy, happy, eternal life. This is the great, unique fact in Christianity, setting it apart from all the ethnic religions, and still justifying the distinction which theology has been wont to make between it and all the rest when it classes the rest as “false religions." They do not truly unfold God's gracious way of love and sal. vation. In Chistianity alone there has been adequately furnished a true knowledge of God, of His character, relations, will, and government, the way of deliverance from the guilt and evil of sin, right and holy worship, duty and destiny.

These brief statements concerning the fact of religion as a reality, normal in some form or other to the relations and life of man, everywhere and always, and the explanation thus given of its universal appearance in various manifestations in all the world, together with the unique position of Christianity, will suffice to indicate how Christian Theology stands related to the whole subject of religion. It is secondary to the great fact of religion, and must treat of the materials which religion pre

1 Buddhism is claimed by Albert Reville, D. D., as redemptory : Prolegomena of the Hist. of Religions, Hibbert Lectures for 1884 (Williams & Norgate), p. 97. But the claim is not sustained.

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