Sir Robert Anderson

Chapter 13

The Bible or the Church? To the "Catholic" the antithesis here implied will seem not only fanciful but false. For, he will tell us, "Christ did not write a book; but He founded a Church, and it is to the Church that we owe the Bible." If this means that the Church on earth was established by the Lord's personal ministry the statement displays strange ignorance and error. "I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the House of Israel," He declared with reference to the limitations of His earthly min...

Chapter 12

The intelligent reader will have noticed that the blessings enumerated in the preceding chapter were only for the covenant people, "the Israel of God." But men by nature are "aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise :"' How, then, can the gulf be passed which separates these positions? This is a question to which we may reasonably demand a plain answer. Latin theology, ignoring Divine grace, points men to priestly mediation and mystical rite as the appo...

Chapter 11

Any one who approaches the study of theology with a mind trained and formed by full and systematic study of Holy Scripture enjoys an immense advantage over those who, reversing the process, have been taught to read the Scriptures in the light of theology. In dealing with the ritualists and sacerdotalists of apostolic days, the Epistle to the Hebrews attributes their errors to ignorance of the first principles of the oracles of God,"' the rudiments, that is, of revealed religion, the - A,B, C of ...

Chapter 10

"The Jews' religion" was a human system based upon a Divine revelation, and so is it with the religion of Christendom. But the Judaism of Messianic times was not an apostasy in the sense in which that can be averred of the religion of Christendom. For the Lord could sanction by His presence the services both of the temple and the synagogue. The cult was right: it was the men who were wrong. "God is Spirit, and they who worship Him must worship in spirit." With unspiritual men, therefore, even a ...

Chapter 4 - Dr. Pusey's Teaching

A theory, a legend, and a blunder - such, as we have seen, are the pillars upon which rest the proud pretensions of the great Western Church of Christendom. And the discovery may well lead us to distrust that Church's teaching, and fearlessly to investigate the truth of every dogma for which she claims our faith. Now if these dogmas be true, they are transcendental truths; and therefore it is idle to appeal to any human experience or authority in their support. A Divine revelation alone can jus...

Chapter 5

"The extravagances which disfigure the record and practice of Buddhism are to be referred to that inevitable degradation which priesthoods always inflict upon great ideas committed to their charge." Thus writes Sir Edwin Arnold, in the preface to his great Indian poem; and the words may serve to "point a moral" here. In its origin Buddhism was no more than "a mere system of morality and philosophy, founded on a pessimistic theory of life." It was lacking in the essential element of a religion, ...

Chapter 6

The great religions of the world appeal to sacred writings for their sanction. But the religion of Christendom differs in this respect from the religions of the East, that its pretended appeal to Scripture is but a juggler's trick. It claims our acceptance of doctrines which none but the credulous would believe on mere human testimony; and when we demand to know when and where has God revealed them, the answer given us is that "He has founded a Church, and in and through the Church He speaks to ...

Chapter 7

In the Church's name! "Great is Diana of the Ephesians." The only sacred thing on earth is "the Church." As for Holy Scripture, that may be patronised or mangled at pleasure: the dissecting knife of criticism cannot be applied to it too remorselessly. But to question the Divine authority of "the Church" is profanity beyond forgiveness. Just as in Pagan Rome men were free to believe in anything or in nothing, as it pleased them, so long as they were willing to burn incense at the appointed shrine...

Chapter 8

Here is an infant, born but yesterday, and yet so frail and sickly that its young life may flicker out at any moment. The question arises, If it should die, what is to be its future? If it dies in its present condition, we are told it must be lost, heaven it cannot enter. But, we plead, the poor creature does not know its right hand from its left ; it is absolutely innocent. Why should it be thus punished? Personally innocent, yes, we are answered; but by natural generation it belongs to the fa...

Chapter 9

"The illuminated mind of primitive Christendom" is a favourite illusion of modern Christian thought. It is the popular belief that in the early centuries of our era, in the days of "the undivided Church," the faith was pure, and a high morality marked the lives of those who professed it. To dispel so pleasing an illusion is an uncongenial task. But the role of the iconoclast is sometimes a useful one. When the brazen serpent became a fetish in Israel, and the people burned incense to it, the goo...
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