BLTC Press Titles

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Paradoxes of the Highest Science

Eliphas Levi

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Lewis Carroll

Novalis Including Hymns to the Night

Novalis, George MacDonald, Thomas Carlyle

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

A. Conan Doyle

On the incarnation

by John Alexander Frere


IT is against the more mysterious doctrines of Christianity that its opponents in modern days chiefly direct their attack.

This attack is conducted in two ways. They endeavour to shew, (1) that the Christian Dogma is the result of an intermixture of Jewish and Hellenic Theosophy: and (2) that, even if received, such mysterious doctrines can be of no practical utility.

It is to the discussion of the first of these points that I have devoted the portion of my work now given to the public. In an after portion I shall endeavour to address myself to the second.

I ought to add that for some hints worked out in the third and fourth Chapters, I am indebted to Dorner's Entwickelungsgeschichte der Lehre der Person Christi.

Trinity College,
Dee. 7, 1853.



IT is common for those who attack the system of Christian revelation, on the ground of the mysterious character of many of its doctrines, to assume that the reception of such mysteries is supposed to lead to nothing further. They argue as if the advocate of the Gospel was content with inculcating the importance of such mysteries in themselves, without pointing out any further practical results to which the acceptance of them must necessarily conduct the believer in them. If we were to judge of the nature of the Gospel teaching from the character of the attacks thus directed against it, we should conceive it to be nothing more than a setting forth to the world of sundry doctrines, a belief in the truth of which was required as absolutely necessary to salvation, but which were neither intelligible to the reason of men, nor, even if received, could exercise any practical influence on their conduct. The truths which, as derived from the Bible, are taught by the Church to her followers, are represented as, in many cases, equally unfathomable by the intellect, and uncalculated, even where entertained, to touch the heart of man. And the

[C.A.] 1

- teachers of this the Gospel of Christ Jesus are consequently charged, on the one hand, with the grossest bigotry and narrowest intolerance, in pressing on the attention of their hearers, as necessary to their acceptance with God, tenets the practical value of which is represented as altogether insignificant; while, on the other side, they are accused of losing sight of the real objects of the teaching of Him, whose doctrine they profess to enforce and illustrate. It is the settled conviction of most of our adversaries, (a conviction which they take no pains to disguise) that Christianity as taught in our day, (or indeed as put forward in the days of the Apostles,) is not the religion of Jesus. In his divine system of teaching, according to these reasoners, no mysteries were to be found. His religion was one alike of light and of love. By the flood of radiance which he poured in upon the soul of man, she was taught her real worth, was raised from the bondage of fear to the glorious liberty befitting a child of God, and taught her own true relation to the Divine. In such teaching, it is asserted, Christ, in fact, anticipated the wants of this the latter age of the world, an age " which deals in broad and exhaustive theories, and requires a system which will account for every thing, aye, for the whole economy of things around us."

v • When however we come to enquire on what these assumptions as to the defective character of modern Christian -teaching are founded, we shall find them mainly based on the supposition that, in the Church system, belief in the doctrines of the Scriptures is made to be self-terminating: that it goes not out into life, but remains, to the last, a mere speculative notion, more or less fully realized in the mind, but with no perceptible value or influence in forming the character.

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