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It was this faith in God, and the resulting confidence in the spiritual possibilities
of humanity, that inspired his unflagging energy and lifted his life to the calm
levels of heroism.

''And Wesley had little confidence in any other means to uplift and direct
mankind, apart from this force of pergonal religion. It is true, as we have seen,
that he was in advance of his age in his advocacy of measures to improve the
moral and physical condition of society; it may perhaps be true, as the most
brilliant of recent English historians has said, that the noblest result of the
Wesleyan movement was *the steady attempt, which has never ceased from that
day to this, to remedy the guilt, the ignorance, the physical suffering, the social
degradation of the profligate and the poor.' Yet we must insist that the Wesleyan
movement was distinctly a religious revival. Wesley was no believer in salvation
by education and culture, by economic and social reform. He accepted the
declaration of the Master, 'Ye must be bom again.' He did assert most positively
— ^as the Master did — that a genuine religious life must be known by its fruit
in outward conduct, and would admit no man to be a good Christian who was
not also a good citizen. But he was convinced that the truly righteous life, the
life that realized the best pqssibilities of human nature, must spring from that
devout love to God which changes and directs and controls all a man's desires;
and he knew that such a life is inspired and nurtured by influences supernatural
and divine. Philanthropist, social reformer, he was first of all, and always, the
preacher of personal religion.

"He was not a perfect man, and his followers then and since then have
perhaps often idealized him. Yet among religious reformers where is there a
nobler figure, a purer example of a life hospitable to truth, fostering culture^ yet
subordinating all aspiration, directing all culture, to the unselfish service of
humanity? It were idle to ask whether he were the greatest man of his century.
That century was rich in names the world calls great — great generals like
Marlborough, great monarchs like Frederick, great statesmen like Chatham and
Burke, poets and critics like Pope and Johnson and Lessing, writers who
helped revolutionize society like Voltaire and Rousseau; but run over the whole
brilliant list, and where among them all is the man whose motives were so pure,
whose life was so unselfish, whose character was so spotless. And where among
them all is the man whose influence — social, moral, religious — was productive
of such vast good and of so little evil, as that exerted by this plain man who
exemplified himself, and^ taught thousands of his fellow-men to know, what the
religion of Jesus Christ really means 1"— The Life of John Wesley, by C T.
Winchester, Professor of English Literature in Wesleyan University.

The Bible as an Aid to Self-Discovery

By President Henry Churchill King, D.D., Obrrlin College, OberIin, Ohio

Has the Bible any pre-eminent place in bringing the man of the twentiedi

century to self-discovery? Especially, can it help him to that highest wdi-

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The Christian Student 87

knowledge that implies conscious relations with God? If so, it must be because
in pre-emiiftnt degree it makes available a wealth of complex experience, puts
us in direct contact with the most significant personal life, and challenges our
every power even more by the depth than by the breadth of its appeal.

It is worth noting, that the question has been already tested for us in
history. It was the Christianity of the Bible that awakened men to real self-
consdousness, made forever impdssible the simple, satisfied attitude of an-
tiquity toward life and the world, and compelled the bringing in of the modern
romantic spirit In the words of a great philosopher, "Christianity had de-
molished this calm sdf-sufficingness of the secular world" in which the ancient
rested. "There began then to be developed, for the first time, that personal
consciousness which thenceforward, with all its problems,— freedom of the
will and predestination, guilt and responsibility, resurrection and immortality, —
has given a totally different coloring to the whole background of man's mental
life." Paulsen makes "the longing for the transcendent" one of the truths
which "Christianity has engraven upon the hearts of men." "Antiquity," he
adds, "was satisfied with the earth; the modem era has never been wholly
free from the feeling that the given reality is wholly inadequate." Now, the
Book whose influence has been thus sufficiently powerful to draw the decisive
line of demarkation between the ancient and the modem worlds, and to
awaken the modem man to that which is most characteristic in his conscious-
ness, can hardly fail of pre-eminent power in bringing the individual to the
discovery of himself.

No man, certainly, is likely to come to full self-knowledge independently
of those influences which have streamed forth from the Bible. It suggests the
laws of our life and it tests our powers in too concrete and telling a fashion
to be wisely ignored.

The Bible is a most deeply and broadly human book; and so furnishes
that appeal of complex experience so necessary to full self-consciousness. It
touches unerringly the whole gamut of the deeper human emotions and as-
pirations, and embodies them in figures that mankind will not willingly let die.
The experience of the rade increasingly confirms the testimony of Lotze, who
says even of the Old Testament, that "for the most faithful delineation of the
ever-recurring fundametital characteristics of human life, ... the Hebrew
histories and hymns are imperishable models." And he adds, conceming this
universal human appeal of the Scripture: "The treasures of classic culture
are open to but few, but from that Eastern fountain countless multitudes of
men have for centuries gone on drawing ennobling consolation in misery,
judicious doctrines of practical wisdom, and warm enthusiasm for all that
is exalted." A book with such breadth of appeal cannot fail to stir to larger
self-consciousness any man who will face its phenomena with attention.

Moreover, it is of critical importance as an aid to self-discovery, that the
Bible should be in such rare degree a personal book; for persons are chiefly
stirred by persons. And the Bible is so instinct with life, that it is hardly
possible to put the point of a needle into it anywhere without drawing blood.
It brings us face to face with what must be counted the most significant line
of personalities which history anywhere presents. And it is the great glory
of the historical study of these later years that it enables us to see these
prophetic men as living personalities, facing precise problems. Nothing so
stirs and fmctifies our own life, nothing so brings us to a glad sense of our
own higher possibilities, as this appreciative and responsive sharing of the
visions of the higher man. Like children, we grow best by tryiM to measure

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88 The Christian Student

up to things beyond our present capacity. And this splendid vision haunts
US perpetually, until we have tried to ma^e it our own in deed as well as in
thought We come to a new self-consciousness.

For it is only true to say, on the one hand, even of the Old Testament;
that it is the one great moral book of antiquity. It is not a mere collection
of moral aphorisms, but shows the developing moral sense everywhere, in
everything. Character is really the supreme interest in this book. Among
all the ancient peoples in truth only the Jews have the modem sense of sin,
and the Bible is, in this particular, the only ancient book with a really modem
tone. Compared with these sober Jews, even the gifted Greeks are but plajring
children in their sense of sin and character. This clear and constantly-de-
veloping ethical tone marks out the Bible distinctly from all other ancient

And when one passes to the New Testament, this powerful ethical im-
pression is only increased. One may well say with Sabatier: "What other
book like this can awaken dumb or sleeping consciences, reveal the secret needs
of the soul, sharpen the thom of sin and press its cmel point upon us, tear
away our delusions, humiliate our pride, and disturb our false serenity?
What sudden lightnings it shoots in to the abysses of our hearts! What
searchings of conscience are like those which we make by this light ?^ And
all this means that in sober fact we must concede to the Bible unrivalled power
in bringing a man to moral self-consciousness.

Even the Old Testament is the one great religious book of antiquity. For
the actual life of the civilization of this twentieth century, amongst all the
ancient world's religious books, only the Bible is of prime significance. These
Old Testament writers have been, as a matter of fact, among all the ancient
writers, the world's great spiritual and religious seers.

And if this can be said even of the Old Testament, how much more is it
true of the New, with its vision of the supreme personality of Christ For
self-discovery, this is most significant Just so surely as religious interest is
deeply laid in the very foundations of man's nature, just so surdy as religion
is die supreme factor "in the organizing and regulating of our personal and
collective life," just so surely as it brings us into the highest personal relation
of which we are capable, just so surely as religion is thus the deepest experi-
ence into which a man may enter,— even so surely mtist that Book, which is
the transcendent religious Book of the world, stir our whole natures as nothing
else can stir them. For the unity of our natures makes it impossible that this
highest appeal should be responded to without profound influence upon all the
rest of our life. As does no other book, therefore, the BiUe brings to con-
sciousness the whole man.

As the record of the progressive seeking of men after God, and of the
progressive revelation of God to men, moreover, the Bible offers peculiar hdp
in the devdopment of our own highest consciousness; for it enables us to
relive, as it were, in our own personal experience this whole religious life of
the world, to apply thus to our own deepeist life-problems a real historical
method. And hardly any procedure could be more hdpful in bringing us to
intelligent consciousness of oursdves than this retracing of the most important
steps in the working out of character and faith in the world.

But the Bible is all this, finally, because it is, above all else, a book of
honest testimony to experience. Its supreme value lies just here. For the tes-
timony of another is our chief road to enlargement of life. Most of all, it is

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through such simple, honest witness that the New Testament puts us face
to face with the redeeming personality of Jesus Christ Whatever our theories
about the Bible, it is not as compelling authority but as simple, honest wit-
ness, that the New Testament brings us emancipating power.

Now, this is the priceless and indispensable service of the Bible. And it is
the more indispensable to the modem man the more deeply he has entered into
the modem spirit For the deeper our moral consciousness, the greater our
sense of moral need. For the modem man who has awakened to full moral
consciousness, many an ancient way of approach to God is decisively closed;
and if he is to come into communion with God at all, it must be by a manifesta-
tion of God great enough to make certain both the holiness and the forgive-
ness of God. Now, it is just through this witness of the New Testament
writers that we find in Christ for ourselves a fact so g^eat, so transcendent,
that we come back to it again and again with calm assurance, to find in its
simple presence of the indubitable conviction of the spiritual world, of our own
intended destiny, of God, and of His holiness and His love. Christ does not
merely tell us diese things; He does much more— He makes us able to believe
them. He - and no other as He — searches us, humbles us, assures us, and
exalts us &t the same time. Only through Him do we come with assurance
into the gifeat convictions, the great hopes, and the great aspirations; and
these measure us as does nothing else. Only through Him do we come thus
to real consciousness of ourselves, in our sin and in our weakness, and yet
in our majestic possibilities as children of the living, loving God. Only through
Him are we brought into living communion with the living God.

To have sounded thus the depths of the Bible, is to have sounded, at the
same time, the depths of our own nature. Here indeed "deep calleth unto

From The Aims of Religious Education— Proceedings of the Third Annual
Gmvention of the Religious Educational Association.

The Moral and Religious Qualifications of the Teachet

Nathan C Schaeffer, Ph.D., LL.D.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

For the purposes of this discussion teachers may be divided into three
classes: To the first class belong those who never miss an opportunity to sneer
an attitude of indifference on the subject of religion; to the third class belong
those who are in sympathy with the religious life of their pupils, in spite of
differences of creeds and customs. Under existing laws the first and second
classes of teachers cannot be excluded from the elementary school; but the
parent can shield his children from their pernicious influence by having them
transferred to other schools, or by sending them to private schools. Perhaps
the worst service which a teacher can render a child is to undermine its faith in
the unseen and the divine, because he deprives it of the strongest solace and sup-
port in the midst of the trials and struggles of this life. A child whose attention
is never turned from nature up to nature's God receives only a partial education.

In schools in which positive religious instruction can be given, the teacher
should possess qualifications in addition to the sympathy which he should feel
for the religious convictions of the child or of its parents. It is self-evident that
he should have a dear conception of the truth to be taught This is the first
qualification. No professional school can ever escape the task of academic work.

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The medical college must impart a knowledge of the different branches of
medicine as well as the art of practicing medicine. The law school teaches a
knowledge of the law as well as the practice of law. The theological seminary
spends most of its time in imparting a knowledge of the Bible, of Christian
doctrine, and of church history, and only a small fraction of the time in homiletic
exercises and the preparation of sermons.

Much harm results from misconceptions of biblical truth. We sometimes
hear the phrase "total depravitsr^ used as if it signified that human nature is as
bad as it can be. The church never taught this, 'Total depravit/' as used by
the church fathers does not mean utter depravity ; the doctrine of total depravity
was formulated to combat a heresy which affirmed that the sinful tendency has
its seat in the flesh, and hence only in the body; whereas the church in every age
and clime has taught that the sinful tendency is found in the totality of man's
being, and not merely in a part of his nature. One constantly hears at educa-
tional gatherings the phrase "total depravity" used to denote the utter depravity
of man, which, if true of a human being, would put him beyond the possibility
of redemption.

"Truth" was a favorite word of Jesus. A teacher whose favorite word
is "truth" must have claimed the intellect for himselL He came not to impart
scientific truth, nor any other kind of truth which man can evolve or discover
for himself. It was his mission to impart revealed truth. A knowledge of the
truth as it is in Jesus I would predicate as the first of the essential qualifications
of the teacher of religion.

In the next place, it should be emphasized that no one really knows the
truth as it is in Jesus until he has experienced that truth in his heart Precept
must be reinforced by example. The life of a preacher or a Sunday school
teacher should give adequate expression to the religious truth which he seeks to
instill into the minds of his hearers. Mere cant will not suffice. With unerring
instinct children detect sham and pretense, and distinguish the genuine teacher
from the one whose life does not harmonize with his professions.

Thirdly, it should be noted that there is a difference between knowledge and
teaching power. Of Pascal it was said that his style was a garment of light
The same may be predicated of Jesus, who was the greatest teacher of all the
ages, at least so far as moral and religious truth is concerned. He took the
profoundest truths of time and eternity, and clothed them in a garb suited to the
grasp of ordinary minds. Skill in the art of imparting religious truth can be
acquired by care and study and prayer.

Finally, it seems to me that the method of Jesus has not received sufficient
attention from those who would qualify themselves as teachers. The disciples
were known from the fact that they had been with Jesus. They acquired from
him something that lay at the foundation of their success. One sermon of
Peter converted three thousand souls, whereas to-day it takes three thousand
sermons to convert a single soul The two disciples who conversed with Jesus
on the way to Emmaus exclaimed : "Did not our hearts bum within us while he
talked willi us by the way and while he opened to us the Scriptures?" Those
who listened to Peter on the day of Pentecost were pricked in their hearts, and
instead of praising Peter's eloquence they asked : '^Men and brethren, what shall
we do?"

There are teachers whose advent means dullness and intellectual apttby.
They cannot strike a light anywhere. The successful teacher kindles enthusiasm
while he conveys truth; he reaches the heart whenever he touches the intellect.

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The Christian Student 91

and challenges the will so that men ask, ''What shall we do?" and, having learned
what to do, lose no time in doing it This power to reach the deepest depths
of the human heart, there to touch the springs of action, can be acquired from
daily contact with Jesus. Like the early disciples, we should daily sit at his
feet if we would attain the highest qualifications of a teacher of religious truth.
—The Bible in Practical Life, 1^4,

G>Uege Instniction in Religion and Morals

President George Harris^ D.D., LL.D.

Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts.

There are three kinds of formal instruction in religion ancl morals possible
to the college.

The first is instruction by regular courses in religion. In college the Bible
can be studied from the historical and critical points of view. The teacher of
to-day need not be cautious about modifying preconceived theories of inerrancy
and infallibility, because students, for the most part, have no cherished theory
of any sort His work is constructive, to show the history of an ancient people,
the growth of its literature, the development and significance of its ritual, the
value of its contribution to true religion. It is important that educated men know
the Bible for what it is: the greatest force in civilization. A curriculum is
deficient which does not include the English Bible as a course of study, to be
mastered as any history or literature is mastered, in scientific and spiritual
apprehension. This course should be elective. The fact that every college has
students who are not Protestants, that it has Jews, Catholics, even Japanese and
Chinese, precludes a requirement of studying Christianity. -^

The history of the church and the history of Christian thought are suitable
courses for colleges, although I should not be strenuous to provide them. The
study of European history necessarily includes the history of the church and the
history of doctrine.

The history of Oriental religions may be offered as a course of study. The
best approach to the history of Asiatic peoples is through their religions.
Indeed, their customs, civilization, and government cannot well be understood
without such knowledge. Now that relations with the great nations of the East
are becoming more intimate, there is a practical value in the study of their
religions, even if there were less truth in them than there is.

The second kind of formal instruction is the part which the Bible and its
religion have in other studies, or, at least, may have and should have. The
literature of our own tongue is imbued with the thought and even the language
of the English Bible. Some of the best literature is partly unintelligible to
those who are ignorant of the Bible. Shakespeare, Milton, Browning, Emerson,
Arnold, are felicitous in their allusions to Scripture. The classical allusions
L'Allegro and Comus are traced to their sources; why not the biblical allusions
in Paradise Lost and the Hymn on the Nativity? With Browning's Saul the
story itself should be read; with the Death on the Desert, the story of John
and of the Gnostic heresy. The nearest book of reference, constantly consulted
in the study of literature, should be the Bible. Why should not portions of the
Bible be included directly in literature courses? Why should not the sublime
prophecies of Isaiah, the devotional and nature-poetry of the psalms, the medita-
tions of John, the theology of Paul, the parables and precepts of Jesus, be as
carefully studied as the poems of Homer and Horace, the orations of Cicero

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and Demosthenes? The Bible is not so sacred as religion that it may not be
investigated as literature.

Another study includes moral instruction— philosophy— inseparable from
ethics. Every problem of philosophy has a bearing on life. What is philosophy
but the theory of life? Nor can ethics be separate from religion. How natural
that such courses as the following, taken from college catalogues, should be
announced: The Philosophy of Nature, with Especial Reference to Bfan's Place
in Nature; Fundamental Conceptions of Natural Science and their Relation to
Ethical and Religious Truth; the Theory of Morals, considered constructively;
Ethics of the Social Question; the Problems of Poor-relief; the Family, Tem-
perance, and various phases of the labor question in the light of ethical theory.
And these, from another catlaogue, also under Philosophy; Metaphysics of
Ethics; Objective Ethics; Philosophy and Evolution of Religion; Christian
Apologetics; History and Exposition of Christian Doctrine.

The third kind of instruction is the religious services which are maintained.
Religion should have a home and should be at home in the college. The college
pulpit is a throne of power. The great preacher comes gladly to the college
with the message of truth and righteousness. The student responds with all
his heart, for the intellectual man is the spiritual man. If you should sit Sunday
after Sunday in a college congregation, as I do, you would find students listening
eagerly to preaching on the real, human Christ and on the service of man to
man. Every college and university should, if possible, have its own pulpit
Daily services of Scripture reading, singing, and prayer make their impression.
Students, at least, become familiar with the Bible read responsively or listened to.

Voluntary associations of students for religious culture, for Bible study,
and for Christian service are, when rightly conducted, of great moral and
religious power.

There is more practical religion in the colleges to-day than in any period of
their history. Cant and pretense are not tolerated; irrational doctrine is dis-
carded; but faith, hope, love, character, are exalted. The university and college
should and may encourage, by teaching and by influence, sane, healthy, God-
loving, and man-saving religion. — The Aims of Religious Education, 1905*

Aspirinsf Boston Newsboys

Boston has an association of newsboys which has begun to establish a fund
for educating at Harvard one or more among them, and has raised already $2,000
toward the necessary amount This lively association has already been addressed
by President Eliot more than once, and its latest step shows how full of hi^
ambition these boys are. There could be, we gratefully believe, no more sterling
proof of opportunity and of character in America than these self-supporting

Online LibraryMethodist Episcopal Church. Board of EducationThe Christian student → online text (page 36 of 41)