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which knows nothing of the relation of man to God must not only
refuse belief to our Lord's most undoubted teaching, but must deny
the reality of the spiritual convictions in which he lived and died.''
As evidence of that teaching and of those convictions I appealed to
three testimonies the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord's Prayer, and
the story of the Passion and I urged that whatever critical opinion
might be held respecting the origin and structure of the four Gospels,
there could not be any reasonable doubt that those testimonies " afford
a true account of our Lord's essential belief and cardinal teaching.'*

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CHRISTIANITY AND AGNOSTICISM. 4 or

In his original reply, instead of meeting this appeal to three specific
testimonies, Prof. Huxley shifted the argument to the question of the
general credibility of the Gospels, and appealed to "the main results
of biblical criticism, as they are set forth in the works of Strauss,
Baur, Reuss, and Volkmar." He referred to these supposed "results"
in support of his assertion that we know "absolutely nothing" of the
authorship or genuineness of the four Gospels, and he challenged my
reference to Renan as a witness to the fact that criticism has estab-
lished no such results. In answer, I quoted passage after passage from
Renan and from Reuss showing that the results at which they had
arrived were directly contradictory of Prof. Huxley's assertions. How
does he meet this evidence ? He simply says, in a foot-note, " For
the present I must content myself with warning my readers against
any reliance upon Dr. Wace's statements as to the results arrived at
by modern criticism. They are as gravely as surprisingly erroneous."
I might ask by what right Prof. Huxley thus presumes to pronounce,
as it were ex cathedra, without adducing any evidence, that the state-
ments of another writer are " surprisingly erroneous "? But I in my
turn content myself with pointing out that, if my quotations from
Renan and Reuss had been incorrect, he could not only have said so,
but could have produced the correst quotations. But he does not
deny, as of course he can not, that Reuss, for example, really states, as
the mature result of his investigations, what I quoted from him
respecting St. Luke's Gospel, namely, that it was written by St. Luke
and has reached us in its primitive form, and, further, that St. Luke
used a book written by St. Mark, the disciple of St. Peter, and that
this book in all probability comprised in its primitive form what we
read in the present day from Mark i, 21, to xiii, 37. These are the
results of modern criticism as stated by a biblical critic in whom
Prof. Huxley expressed special confidence. It was not therefore my
statements of the results of biblical criticism with which Prof. Hux-
ley was confronted, but Reuss's statements; and, unless he can show
that my quotation was a false one, he ought to have had the candor to
acknowledge that Reuss, at least, is on these vital points dead against
him. Instead of any such frank admission, he endeavors to explain
away the force of his reference to Reuss. It may, he says, be well for
him

to observe that approbation of the manner in which a great biblical scholar for instance, Reuse
does his work does not commit me to the adoption of all, or indeed of any, of his views ; and, fur-
ther, that the disagreements of a series of investigators do not in any way interfere with the fact
that each of them has made important contributions to the body of truth ultimately established.

But I beg to observe that Prof. Huxley did not appeal to Reuss's
methods, but to Reuss's results. He said that no retraction by M.
Renan would sensibly affect " the main remits of biblical criticism as
they are set forth in the works of Strauss, Baur, Reuss, and Volk-
mar." I have given him the results as set forth by Reuss in Reuss's
own words, and all he has to offer in reply is an tpse dixit in a foot-
note and an evasion in the text of his article.

But, as I said, this general discussion respecting the authenticity
and credibility of the Gospels was an evasion of my argument, whicn
rested upon the specific testimony of the Sermon on the Mount, the
Lord's Prayer, and the narrative of the Passion ; and, accordingly, in
his present rejoinder Prof. Huxley, with much protestation that he
made no evasion, addressed himself to these three points. And what
ie his answer? I feel obliged to characterize it as another evasion,

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4 03 BEACON LIGHTS OF SCIENCE.

and in one particular an evasion of a flagrant kind. The main point
of his argument is that from various circumstances, which I will
presently notice more particularly, there is much reason to doubt
whether the Sermon on the Mount was ever actually delivered in the
form in which it is recorded in St. Matthew. He notices, for
instance, the combined similarity and difference between St. Matthew's
Sermon on the Mount and St. Luke's so-called " Sermon on the
Plain," and then he adds:

I thought that all fairly attentive and intelligent students of the Gospels, to say nothing of theo-
logians of reputation, knew these things. But how can any one who does know them have the
conscience to ask whether there is " any reasonable doubt" that tne Sermon on the Mount was
preached by Jesus of Nazareth ?

It is a pity that Prof. Huxley seems as incapable of accuracy in his
quotations of an opponent's words as in his references to the author-
ities to whom he appeals. I did not ask " whether there is any
reasonable doubt that the Sermon on the Mount was preached by
Jesus of Nazareth," and I expressly observed, in the article to which
Prof. Huxley is replying, that " Prof. Reuss thinks, as many good
critics have thought, that the Sermon on the Mount combines various
distinct utterances of our Lord." What I did ask, in words which
Prof. Huxley quotes, and therefore had before his eyes, was "whether
there is any reasonable doubt that the Lord's Prayer and the Sermon
on the Mount afford a true account of our Lord's essential belief and
cardinal teaching." That is an absolutely distinct question from the
one which Prof. Huxley dissects, and a confusion of the two is pecul-
iarly inexcusable in a person who holds that purely human view of
the Gospel narratives which he represents. If a long report of a
speech appears in the " Times " and a shortened report appears in the
" Standard," every one knows that we are none the less made
acquainted perhaps made still better acquainted with the essential
purport and cardinal meaning of the speaker. On the supposition,
similarlv, that St. Matthew and St. Luke are simply giving two dis-
tinct accounts of the same address, with such omissions and varia-
tions of order as suited the purposes of their respective narratives, we
are in at least as good a position for knowing what was the main bur-
den of the address as if we only had one account, and perhaps in a
better position, as we see what were the points which both reporters
deemed essential. As Prof. Huxley himself observes, we have reports
of speeches in ancient historians which are certainly not in the very
words of the speakers; yet no one doubts that we know the main pur-
port of the speeches of Pericles which Thucydides records.

This attempt, therefore, to answer my appeal to the substance of
the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount is a palpable evasion, and
it is aggravated by the manner in which Prof. Huxley quotes a
high German authority in support of his contention. I am much
obliged to him for appealing to Holtzmann; for, though Holtzmann's
own conclusions respecting the books of the New Testament eeem to
me often extravagantly skeptical and far-fetched, and though I can
not, therefore, quite agree with Prof. Huxley that his " Lehrbuch "
gives " a remarkably full and fair account of the present results of
criticism," yet I agree that it gives on the whole a full and fair
account of the course of criticism and of the opinions of its chief
representatives. Instead, therefore, of imitating Prof. Huxley, and
pronouncing an ipse dixit as to the state of criticism or the opinions
of critics, I am very glad to be able to refer to a book of which the

68



CHRISTIANITY AND AGNOSTICISM. 403

authority is recognized by him, and which will save both my readers
and myself from embarking on the wide and waste ocean of the Ger-
man criticism of the last fifty years. " Holtzmann, then," says Prof.
Huxley in a note on page 104, " has no doubt that the Sermon on the
Mount is a compilation, or, as he calls it in his recently published
'Lehrbuch' (p. 372), 'an artificial mosaic work. 03 Now, let the
reader attend to what Holtzmann really says in the passage referred
to. His words are : " In the so-called Sermon on the Mount (Matt,
y-vii) we find constructed, on the basis of a real discourse of funda-
mental significance, a skillfully articulated mosaic work."* The
phrase was not so long a one that Prof. Huxley need have omitted the
important words by which those he quotes are qualified. Holtzmann
recognizes, as will be seen, that a real discourse of fundamental signif-
cance underlies the Sermon on the Mount. That is enough for my
purpose; for no reasonable person will suppose that the fundamental
significance of the real discourse has been entirely obliterated, espe-
cially as the main purport of the sermon in St. Luke is of the same
character. But Prof. Huxley must know perfectly well, as every one
else does, that he would be maintaining a paradox, in which every
critic of repute, to say nothing of every man of common sense, would
be against him, if he were to maintain that the Sermon on the Mount
does not give a substantially correct idea of our Lord's teaching. But
to admit this is to admit my point, so he rides off on a side issue as to
the question of the precise form in which the sermon was delivered.

I must, however, take some notice of Prof. Huxley's argument on
this irrelevant issue, as it affords a striking illustration of that supe-
rior method of ratiocination in these matters on which he prides him-
self. I need not trouble the reader much on the questions he raises
as to the relations of the first three Gospels. Any one who cares to
see a full and thorough discussion of that difficult question, conducted
with a complete knowledge of foreign criticism on the subject, and at
the same time marked by the greatest lucidity and interest, may be
referred to the admirable " Introduction to the New Testament, by
Dr. Salmon, who, like Prof. Huxley, is a Fellow of the Eoyal Society,
and who became eminent as one of the first mathematicians of Europe
before he became similarly eminent as a theologian. I am content
here to let Prof. Huxley's assumption pass, as I am only concerned to
illustrate the fallacious character of the reasoning he founds upon
them. He tells us, then, that

there is now no doubt that the three synoptic Gospels, so far from being the work of three inde-
pendent writers, nre closely interdependent, and that in one of two ways. Either all three contain,
as their foundation, versions, to a large extent- verbally identical, of one and the same tradition ;
or two of them are thus closely dependent on the third : and the opinion of the majority of the
best critics has, of late years, more and more converged toward the conviction that our canonical
second Gospel (the so-called "Mark's " Gospel) is that which most closely represents (he primitive
groundwork of the three. That I take to be one of the most valid results of New Testament criti-
cism, of immeasurably greater importance than the discussion about dates and authorship. But if,
as I believe to be tha case beyond any rational doubt or dispute, the second Gospel is the nearest
extant representative of the oldest tradition, whether written or oral, how comes it that it contains
neither the ' Sermon on the Mount " nor the " Lord's Prayer," those typical embodiments, accord-
ing to Dr. Wace, of the " essential belief aud cardinal teaching" of Jesus?

I have quoted every word of this passage because I am anxious for
the reader to estimate the value of Prof. Huxley's own statement of
his case. It is, as he says, the opinion of many critics of authority
that a certain fixed tradition, written or oral, was used by the writers
of the first three Gospels. In the first place, why this shonld prevent
those three Gospels from being the work of "three independent

* " In der sog. Bergpredigt, Mt. 5-7, gibt sich eine, anf Grand einer wirklichen Rede yon funda-
mentaler Bedeutung sich erhebende, kunstreich gegliederte Mosaikarbeit."

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404 hLALOi\' Lluii'l's Ul ; SCIENCE.

writers " I am at a loss to conceive. If Mr. Froude, the lat* Prof.
Brewer, and the late Mr. Green each use the Rolls Calendars of the
reign of Henry VIII, I do not see that this abolishes their individu-
ality. Any historian who describes the Peloponnesian War uses the
memoirs of that war written by Thncydides; but Bishop Thirlwall
and Mr. Grote were, I presume, independent writers. But to pass to
a more important point, that which is assumed is that the alleged
tradition, writen or oral, was the groundwork of our first three Gos-
pels, and it is, therefore, older than they are. Let it be granted, for
the sake of argument. But how does this prove that the tradition in
question is " the oldest," so that anything which was not in it is
thereby discredited ? It was, let us allow, an old tradition used by
the writers of the first three Gospels. But how does this fact raise
the slightest presumption against the probability that there were other
traditions equally old which they might use with equal justification so
far as their scope required? Prof. Huxley alleges, and I do not care
to dispute the allegation, that the first three Gospels embody a certain
record older than themselves. But by what right does he ask me to
accept this as evidence, or as affording even the slightest presumption,
that there was no other? Between his allegation in one sentence that
the second Gospel " most closely represents the primitive groundwork
of the three," and his allegation, in the next sentence but one, that
" the second Gospel is the nearest extant representative of the oldest
tradition," there is an absolute and palpable non sequitur. It is a
mere juggle of phrases, and upon this juggle the whole of his subse-
quent argument on this point depends. St. Mark's Gospel may very
well represent the oldest tradition relative to the common matter of the
three, without, therefore, necessarily representing " the oldest tradi-
tion" in such a sense as to be a touchstone for all other reports of our
Lord's life. Prof. Huxley must know very well that from the time of
Schleiermacher many critics have believed in the existence of another
document containing a collection of our Lord's discourses. Holtz-
mann concludes (" Lehrbuch," page 376) that " under all the circum-
stances the hypothesis of two sources offers the most probable solution
of the synoptical problem"; and it is surely incredible that no old
traditions of our Lord's teaching should have existed beyond those
which are common to the three Gospels. St. Luke, in fact, in that
preface which Prof. Huxley has no hesitation in using for his own
purposes, says that "many had taken in hand to set forth in order a
declaration of those things which are most surely believed among
us"; but Prof. Huxley asks us to assume that none of these records
were old, and none trustworthy, but that particular one which fur-
nishes a sort of skeleton to the first three Gospels. There is no evi-
dence whatever, beyond Prof. Huxley's private judgment, for such an
assumption. Nay, he himself tells us that, according to Holtzmann,
it is at present a " burning question " among critics " whether the
relatively primitive narration and the root of the other synoptic texts
is contained in Matthew or in Mark."* Yet while his own authority
tells him that this is a burning question, he treats it as settled in
favor of St. Mark, "beyond any rational doubt or dispute," and
employs this assumption as sufficiently solid ground on which to rest
his doubts of the genuineness of the Sermon on the Mount and the
Lord's Prayer 1 ^^^^^

*Page .
70



CHRISTIANITY AND AGNOSTICISM. 405

But let us pass to another point in Prof. Huxley's mode of argu-
ment. Let us grant, again, for the sake of argument, his non sequitur
that the second Gospel is the nearest extant representative of the
oldest tradition. " How comes it," he asks, " that it contains neither
the Sermon on the Mount nor the Lord's Prayer?" Well, that is a
very interesting inquiry, which has, in point of fact, often been con-
sidered by Christian divines; and various answers are conceivable,
equally reasonable and sufficient. If it was St. Mark's object to
record our Lord's acts rather than his teaching, what right has Prof.
Huxley, from his purely human point of view, to find fault with
him? If, from a Christian point of view, St. Mark was inspired
by a divine guidance to present the most vivid, brief, and effective
sketch possible of our Lord's action as a Savior, and for that purpose
to leave to another writer the description of oar Lord as a.teacher, the
phenomenon is not less satisfactorily explained. St Mark, according
to that tradition of the Church which Prof. Huxley believes to be
quite worthless, but which his authority Holtzmann does not, was in
great measure the mouth-piece of St. Peter. Now, St. Peter is
recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, in his address to Cornelius, as
summing up our Lord's life in these words: "How God anointed
Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power, who went
about doing good, and healing all who were oppressed of the devil;
for God was with him " ; and this is very much the point of view
represented in St. Mark's Gospel. When, in fact, Prof. Huxley asks,
in answer to Holtzmann, who is again unfavorable to his views,
" What conceivable motive could Mark have for omitting it ? " * the
answers that arise are innumerable. Perhaps, as has been suggested,
St. Mark was more concerned with acts than words; perhaps he
wanted to be brief; perhaps he was writing for persons who wanted
one kind of record and not another; and, above all, perhaps it was
not so much a question of " omission " as of selection. It is really
astonishing that this latter consideration never seems to cross the
mind of Prof. Huxley and writers like him. The Gospels are among
the briefest biographies in the world. I have sometimes thought that
there is evidence of something superhuman about them in the mere
fact that, while human biographers labor through volumes in order to
give us some idea of their subject, every one of the Gospels, occupying
no more than a chapter or two in length of an ordinary biography,
nevertheless gives us an image of our Lord sufficiently vivid to have
made him the living companion of all subsequent generations. But
if "the gospel of Jesus Christ" was to be told within the compass of
the sixteen chapters of St. Mark, some selection had to be made out of
the mass of our Lord's words and deeds as recorded by the tradition
of those " who from the beginning were eye-witnesses and ministers of
the word." The very greatness and effectiveness of these four Gospels
consist in this wonderful power of selection, like that by which a
great artist depicts a character and a figure in half a dozen touches;
and Prof. Huxley may, perhaps, to put the matter on its lowest level,
find out a conceivable motive for St. Mark's omissions when he can
produce such an effective narrative as St. Mark's. As St. John savs at
the end of his Gospel, "There are also many other things which Jesus
did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that

* Page M.

71



406 BEACON LIGHTS OF SCIENCE.

even the world itself could not contain the books that should be
written." So St John, like St. Mark, had to make his selection, and
selection involves omission.

But, after all, I venture to ask whether anything can be more pre-
posterous than this supposition that because a certain tradition is the
oldest authority, therefore every other authority is discredited? Bos-
well writes a life of Johnson; therefore every record of Johnson's acts
or words which is not in Boswell is to be suspected. Carlyle writes a
life of Sterling first, and Archdeacon Hare writes one afterward;
therefore nothing in the archdeacon's life is to be trusted which was
not also in Carlyle's. What seems to me so astonishing about Prof.
Huxley's articles is not the wildness of their conclusions, but the
rottenness of their ratiocination. To take another instance:

Luke either knew the collection of loosely connected and aphoristic utterances which appear
under the name of the " Sermon on the Mount " in " Matthew, or he did not. If he did not, he
must have been ignorant of the existence of such a document as our canonical " Matthew," a fact
which does not make for the genuineness or the authority of that hook. If he did, he has shown
that he does not care for its authority on a matter of fact of no small importance; and that does
not permit us to conceive that he believed the first Gospel to be the work of an authority to whom
he ought to defer, let alone that of an apostolic eye-witness.

I pass by the description of the Sermon on the Mount as a " collec-
tion of loosely connected utterances," though it is a kind of begging
of a very important question. But supposing St. Luke to have been
ignorant of the existence of St. Matthew's Gospel, how does this reflect
on the genuineness of that book unless we know, as no one does, that
St. Matthew's Gospel was written before St. Luke's, and sufficiently
long before it to have become known to him ? Or, if he did know it,
where is the disrespect to its authority in his having given for his own
purposes an abridgment of that which St. Matthew gave more fully ?
Prof. Huxley might almost seem dominated by the mechanical theory
of inspiration which he denounces in his antagonists. He writes as if
there were something absolutely sacred, neither to be altered nor
added to, in the mere words of some old authority of which he con-
ceives himself to be in possession. Dr. Abbott, with admirable labor,
has had printed for him, in clear type, the words or bits of words
which are common to the first three Gospels, and he seems immedi-
ately to adopt the anathema of the book of Revelation, and to pro-
claim to every man, evangelists and apostles included, " if any man
shall add unto these things, . . . and if any man shall take away from
the words "of this "common tradition" of Dr. Abbott, he shall be
forthwith scientifically excommunicated. I venture to submit, as a
mere matter of common sense, that if three persons used one docu-
ment, it is the height of rashness to conclude that it contained
nothing but what they all three quote; that it is not only possible but
probable that, while certain parts were used by all, each may have
used some parts as suitable to his own purpose which the others did
not find suitable to theirs; and, lastly, that the fact of there haviug
been one such document in existence is so far from being evidence
that there were no others, that it even creates some presumption that
there were. In short, I must beg leave to represent, not so much that
Prof. Huxley's conclusions are very wrong, but that there is absolutely
no validity in the reasoning by which he endeavors to support them.
It is not, in fact, reasoning at all, but mere presumption and guess-
work, inconsistent, moreover, with all experience and common sense.

Of course, if Prof. Huxley's quibbles against the Sermon on the
Mount go to pieces, so do his cavils at the authenticity of the Lord's

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CHRISTIANITY AND AGNOSTICISM. 407

Prayer ; and, indeed, on these two points I venture to think that the
case for which I was contending is carried by the mere fact that it
seems necessary to Prof. Huxley's position to dispute them. If he can
not maintain his ground without pushing his agnosticism to such a
length as to deny the substantial genuineness of the Sermon on the
Mount and the Lord's Prayer, I think he will be found to have
allowed enough to satisfy reasonable men that his case must be a bad
one. I shall not, therefore, waste more time on these points, as I
must say something on his strange treatment of the third point in the
evangelical records to which I referred, the story of the Passion. It is
really difficult to take seriously what he says on this subject He



I am not quite sure what Dr. Wace means by this I am not aware that any one (with the



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